Qatar Classic 2007
Khalifa Squash & Tennis Complex,
28-Oct to 03-Nov
Framboise in Doha ...
Sat 3rd, Day Seven, FINALS:
 Nicol David (Mas) bt  Natalie Grainger (Usa)
9/6, 9/4, 10/9 (43m)
 Amr Shabana (Egy) bt  Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/4, 8/11, 11/6, 11/5 (52m)
seeds take Qatar Crowns
For Nicol David it was a return to form and a third title in Doha
in twelve months, while for Amr Shabana it was a second major title
in quick succession but his first in Qatar ...
NICOL IN FRONT…
On a dead court like Qatar’s, if you let the World number one at the
front, you’re bound to face some problems…
that’s what Natalie had to face today. She was still playing some
stunning shots, her backhand volley is out of this world. But because
Nicol pushed her right in the back corners, she had to go for high
percentage shots, that ended in the tin far too often, and couldn’t
really settle into the match.
Nicol was caracoling ahead most of the encounter and set up her first
match point at 8/3 in the third. Having nothing to lose anymore, USA
Natalie gave it a last push, and started worrying Queen Nicol, who had
another two match balls before her opponent got a game ball of her own
But she couldn’t close it out, and Nicol took that last one under the
ovations of her large Malaysian support group… Her second win here in
Qatar Classic in six months…
was too good today...
"I played well at the end of the third, but I left it a bit late!
"Still, nice to be able to be closing down on the the top three
players in the world…
"Nicol’s just been through a tough time, losing in the last two
events, she shown some real mental strength, and that’s all credit
"Qatar seems to suit me fine, I always seem to do fine here, I just
hope that next time, I’ll get it!"
"The only thing you can do is your best, and be on, on that day.
"I’m so glad to have so many supporters in Doha, they’ve been
following me and supporting for several years now, and I get a lot
of positive energy from them…
"Natalie goes for the roll if you give her an inch… You can be in
control and suddenly, she decides to go for it, and before you know
it, she scored three points…!
"In the third, the only thing I was thinking about was to win the
next two points. But I think that the turning point of the match was
that I didn’t stop attacking despite the fact that Natalie was coming
back. I think that’s what paid off in the end…
"When I get on a tournament now, I just try and play my best, I don’t
have any expectations. And when you play your best, the results
"And it’s good to start winning again…"
"In the first game, I
played well, but in the second, he came out firing. Greg doesn’t
give up, he has the reputation of never letting go and he fights
even when he is tired, and when he got the second, I got worried.
All credit to Greg, he is a fighter and you can’t afford to let
in the third, the crowd went mad and tried and get behind me a bit
too much, it affected both of us, and he started to get annoyed with
"At 5/5, I worked hard to get two points to 7/5, to get a two point
cushion I needed to win that game, that was a crucial win…
"I don’t think this was the best of match for either of us. I
always have to work on finding the right balance between attack and
patience. There is a very fine line between too much and not enough.
"I don’t really pay any attention to the points, the ranking and all
that. It’s the worst thing you can do. For two months, I’ve been
focusing on winning titles. I’m doing my best, and if it happens, it
"Tonight, we are off to Hong Kong. We start all over again. Another
fight. Another battle."
MATES HAVING A HIT…
If you imagine that squash players are like boxers that you have to keep
carefully apart before the big match till the big explosion, you are
gravely mistaken. Most of the players (no, I agree, not all of them, but
most) are good friends, and sometimes good mates.
that’s the case between Shabana and Greg, who trained together yesterday,
then had breakfast and lunch together today…
The match was pretty much on the same level all way long, except a
moment at the end of the third, where a combination of factors, tiredness,
the crowd demonstrating during the rallies – “Conduct Warning to the
crowd,” laughed Greg” and expressing his support to the Prince of Egypt
with an enthusiasm that unsettled both players, and some decisions that
displeased both each their turn, raised the temperature on court for half
But after a short discussion at the start of the fourth, everything went
back to normal, and on match ball, 10/6 for Shabana, they were both
joking with each other, taking the Mickey out of each other, and having
a great time, oblivious to the rest of the world and to the outcome that
seemed to them a bit derisory…
The second title for Shabana in two weeks. He is not about to let the
number one position fall into other hands soon, now, is he…?
"In the first, I couldn’t move at all, I worked very hard in the
second, giving it everything I had, then, at 5/5 in the third, we get
that enormous rally, and a surprising decision, that really threw
"I just couldn’t do much, I’m just too tired. I didn’t haven’t any
energy left, two hard five setters, just a bit too much this week. I
tried to push, but I had nothing left in the legs -
I’m not a machine you know, I get tired, like everybody else…
"We really played a tough game today, it was hard for both of us. I
wish I had the mental and physical strength to defend my chances
"I’m happy for Shabana, but I hope I’ll get my revenge soon…
BACK ON THE KEYBOARD...
As Complete Legend is in the air again, on his way to Hong Kong, I find
myself having to webmaster yet again this final day. Not overjoyed, but
hey, the words/photos and results are not going to jump all by
themselves on the page, are they...?
So, stay tuned, not sure I'll can keep it up as I did in Madrid, as I
would like to see the matches too... You may experience a few hours
delay before getting our normal stuff up there, but I'm sure you won't
mind that much...