Today 2010

• 10th Qatar Classic Squash Championship  • 04-12 Nov 2010 • Doha •  




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TODAY at the Qatar Classic 2010
Fri 12th, Day EIGHT, the Finals  

Finals Gallery

En Bref #4

[1] Nicol David (Mas) v [4] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
          11/5, 11/8, 11/9 (34m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [2] Amr Shabana (Egy) 
          8/11, 11/2, 11/7, 11/6 (53m)

Been here before ...  the preview ...

After seven days of action we were down to the finals, and for a significant majority of the crowd at the Khalifa Tennis & Squash Complex they were able to cheer on their favourites.

Nicol David, champion here in 2006, 2007 and 2008, suffered her last defeat in the semi-finals here last year, and although the Malaysian superstar has now gone one better in reaching the final, she won't get the chance to avenge that defeat at the hands of Jenny Duncalf since Rachael Grinham got in there first, last night reversing the result of last year's final.

They last met here in the 2007 final. Nicol was a 3-2 winner that day, which was the start of a series of 10 wins in a row for David, taking their career head to head to 25-6 in the Malaysian's favour.

The bad news for Rachael is that not only has Nicol won the last ten, she's won 23 of the last 24 - mind you the 1 was that spectacular 87-minute British Open final in 2007. Should Nicol maintain the run she will collect her 50th WISPA title tonight - for Rachael it would be a 31st.

The men's finalists, both of whom came through five game thrillers yesterday, are no strangers to each other either. Amr Shabana won the Qatar Classic title in 2007, then lost to Karim Darwish in the 2008 final. Overall Shabana leads 12-7 with a 50/50 split over the last ten clashes, but this will be their first meeting for over a year.

For completeness - Shabana could win his 27th PSA title, Darwish his 19th ...

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [4] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
         11/5, 11/8, 11/9 (34m)

Nicol back on top in Qatar       Steve reports

"It's great to win again in Qatar," said Nicol David after capturing her fourth Qatar Classic and her 50th WISPA title, "I didn't like losing here last year.

She didn't like it so much that she hasn't lost since, winning everything she's entered and some 50-odd matches along the way. She might have liked to get revenge against Jenny Duncalf for that defeat, but she's done that a few times since, so tonight it was Rachael Grinham who stood in the way of her regaining the Qatar Classic title.

Urged on by the numerous and noisy Malaysian supporters - there were a few Aussies but they were heavily outnumbered and outshouted - Nicol pulled clear after a cagey and even opening to the first game.

From 3-all she moved to 10/4, generally pinning Rachael to the back of the court, where her flicks drops and lobs are less effective, and took the lead 11/5 as Rachael tried too hard with a boast that clipped the tin.

Strange game, played almost at walking pace at times, but it picked up from then on ...

In the second Rachael was able to move the play up the court a little, engaging Nicol in a few of those scrambling rallies crisscrossing the court, but Nicol managed to keep a lid on it. 3-all, 6-all, 9-all it went, but Rachael was always the one needing to catch up.

Two winners from Nicol and and a service return into the tin and Nicol was two games to the good.

In the third Rachael managed to move the play a little further up the court again, taking advantage of some scrambling rallies to put in some winning drops, and forcing some uncharacteristic tins from Nicol - 4/0, 5/2 and 9/4 she led.

Not for nothing is Nicol famed for her comebacks though. She never panics, never thinks she has to get the points back quickly, she just tightens up her game, rises up on her toes a little more, and good things usually happen.

She worked her way back to 9-all courtesy of two winners from her racket and three errors from Rachael's, reached match ball on another Aussie tin and sealed the win with a little boast that was just too tight for he awaiting Australian racket.

"I maybe wasn't as patient as I needed to be today, especially when I was up in the third, I tried to finish it too quickly I think.

"I wasn't as accurate as I'd like either, I sprayed a few balls around and missed a few basic straight shots, it could be about a bit of stiffness and not being as properly stable on the shot, but that's something everyone has to deal with.

"Not too bad overall, but I could have done with snatching that third ..."

"Rachael and I know each other's games so well, you're always going to get close matches and long rallies - you have to keep watching that front corner every other shot, you know she's going to go for it.

"You try not to thin k about past matches, head to head records, but the one you lost always comes to your mind and you know it's not going to be easy.

"When she was ahead in the third I just told myself I didn't want to lose this game, just had to get my focus back and fortunately she made a few errors which gave me a boost, that doesn't come from her very often so you have to take advantage when it does.

"It was great that the crowd got involved, I get so much support here it really helps, so thanks to the supporters, the organisers and the sponsors for another great tournament, it's so good to keep coming back here year after year.

"It's good to finish the WISPA season on a winning note, now it's back to Malaysia for a few days and then join up with the rest of the team for the Asian Games ..."


Both of us had strong matches earlier in the week, so I can’t blame this defeat on a long match!

In the second, he played far too well, my length dropped and he took full advantage of it. But in the third, I had my chances. But today was not to be my day, you win, you lose…

[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [2] Amr Shabana (Egy)
          8/11, 11/2, 11/7, 11/6 (53m)

NOT TOO FLUID…                   Fram reports

Far too many decisions. Far too many in my opinion. Just in the first game, 24. Stop and start game, that last 21m, a long time on that rewarding court…

Shabana’s frustration grew and grew as the match unfolded, but from the first rally, The Prince of Egypt was not happy with his compatriot asking for lets, nor with the refs for awarding them! And he started asking for them too…. Fluid, this match was not.

In my mind, that first game was crucial. If Shabs wanted to have a chance, after his two heavy matches, and the way he feels at the moment, he HAD to take it. And he did. Wasn’t easy, the atmosphere was a bit tense on there, Shabana actually talking to Karim at mid game, visibly not happy with something. What? Not sure…

Not much between the players, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. A stroke, a tin, and a no let later, Shabana was clinging that game.

But I guess this had taken a lot out of Shabs, and Karim just pushed the ball into the nick for the following 4m30s, equalising 11/2.

So that third was going to be THE crucial game after all. And the Prince of Egypt took a good start, 2/0, 4/2. But suddenly, Shabana finds tin after tin, and on 9 points, will make six unforced errors, as Karim is pressuring him. Needless to say that it’s the latter that win it, 11/7.

In the fourth, Shabs takes an awful start, mentally already on the plane back to Cairo. But pride slides in, and he claws back to 6/5, playing beautifully again, but Karim has now full confidence in his victory, in a single hand, scores six points in short rallies to take his second title….

We know each other’s game so well, we both take the ball so early, and they were some accidents as we were going for the ball. But it was a fair game, a clean game. I only had two bad decisions at the start of the match, I lost a bit of concentration there. But after that, it was fine.

I did my best to play tight, as he is so good in the middle and the front of the court. I had to find the perfect balance between attack and defence, because if I was defending only, he would kill me with his shots, and if I attacked too much, he would just send it to the back… So, I just tried and moved him around.

It was more of a mental match than a physical one. In the middle of the 3rd, we had some crucial points, I gave it a bit push to make sure I would come on top leading 2/1. And after that, I think he lost a bit of his focus, and I gave it a good push to finish.

When you come to a tournament, you want to win, you would like to win, but you can’t expect to win nowadays, as the competition is fierce and there are so many formidable players around. So I just come and try to enjoy my squash, and leave the result to…..

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