in Doha: Daily Reports from the World Champs
Fram reports, Steve clicks away
17th, Day FIVE:
Round two continued with the bottom half of the
draw, eight more matches on the glass court to determine the
WE started with an upset, but thereafter all the seeds -
including defending champion Nick Matthew and world number one
Mohamed Elshorbagy - all booked their places in round three.
Round Two, bottom half:
Max Lee (Hkg)
3-2  Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
13/11, 3/11, 11/7, 6/11, 11/8 (76m)
 Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Tom Richards
11/6, 11/7 (53m)
 Amr Shabana (Egy) 3-1 Nicolas
20/18, 8/11, 11/4 (62m)
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa) 3-0 Ong
Beng Hee (Mas)
11/6, 11/6 (43m)
 Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 3-1 Nasir
11/7, 5/11, 11/9, 11/4 (51m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0
Gregoire Marche (Fra)
11/6, 11/3, 11/4 (40m)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0
Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind)
11/6, 11/4, 11/1 (29m)
 Simon Rösner (Ger) 3-1 [Q] Lucas
6/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/9 (64m)
Day Five Roundup
Just as yesterday, the play started with a five-game upset as
Max Lee got the better of 15th seed Karim Abdel Gawad in a
Tarek Momen provided Egypt's first winner of the day as
he came from a game down to beat Tom Richards, followed by
four-time champion Amr Shabana, who powered through at
the end of a hugely entertaining match with Nicolas Mueller.
The afternoon session ended with another unseeded player going
through as South Africa's Steve Coppinger kept a tight
grip on his match against Ong Beng Hee to beat the Malaysian -
playing in his 14th World Champs - in straight games.
Saurav Ghosal was given a good test by young Pakistani
Nasir Iqbal, but the Indian weathered the storm and took the
fourth game comfortably to progress.
Gregoire March and Mahesh Mangaonkar found their opponents too
strong on the day - Marche getting more and more frustrated with
himself as he lost to Nick Matthew, Mangaonkar coming up
against a too hot to handle Mohamed Elshorbagy.
Matthew is, unusually, the only Englishman left in the draw,
whereas Egypt will be represented in six of the eight round
three matches tomorrow!
Round two concluded as Simon Rosner came from a game down
to beat qualifier Lucas Serme.
Lee (Hkg) 3-2  Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
13/11, 3/11, 11/7, 6/11, 11/8 (78m)
MAX WINS A MAD PACE ROLLERCOASTER
If you had told me that
this opening match between two attackers that keep hitting the
front corners every 2 seconds would take more than75m, I would
have smile discreetly and thought you didn’t know much about
was right.. for about 5m, when after that time, Karim was up7/5.
The little I knew that the game would go on and on, 18m, and
would see Max get the game on his 4th game ball, 13/11….
The second, a trimmed and moving extremely well Karim took in no
time, 8m, 11/3, forcing a few errors from Max.
the Hong Kong player collected the dividends of the first game
and its hard work in the 3rd, as Karim hit the wall, and offered
him 7 points on a silver tray. Blesssss. The old Karim, the one
that was not fit enough and just tried to finish the point too
soon was back in Qatar Town…
Fourth, ah, a bit of rest in the 3rd, and zoooom, Karim is the
boss again. More assertive, stepping up the court, finding good
length/volley drop shots, he was up 10/3 up before Max started
to show he was still around and well, 11/6.
5th was a mad intense game, both attacking with all what they
had, long mad fast rallies, attacking those poor front corners
that didn’t do anything
wrong but still got punished again and again. Not more than a
point between them up to 8/8. And it’s Max that creates the gap
after a multitude of amazing rallies/shots/pace, 10/8. One match
Stunning stuff to open the day. I think this is going to be a
Today, the most important element was the Mental side. I think
that taking the first game – I was so lucky there – helped me in
the 5th believing that I could take it. It was a real mental
I was trying to get my length, but there was so much switch on,
switch off today!
In the 2nd and 4th, he played so well, he score some many points
with those crosscourt winners. But somehow, at the end of the
4th, I managed to get my length back, and it helped me in the
I had a lot of practice recently, I had 7 tournaments in a row.
Majors. And that helps me. Because I can observe the top
players. I can see the way they work, the way they play, the way
they prepare. And even when I don’t play against them, I learn a
lot. So the more I do those tournaments, the more I learn. It’s
like mental practice.
The last game was my best game. But I feel really lucky. Just
lucky. Because now I find myself in the last 16…
was a bit nervous today. Sometimes, I’m so relaxed that I get a
slow start. But this time round, it’s quite the opposite, I was
very nervous, and at 9/9, he gets a nice nick, and the next
point, I play an awfully bad boast….
You know, when you are nervous, it seems that your game plan
just goes out of the window. Today, I was trying to move him
around as much as possible, and expose his movement. I think
that what made the difference today was that I covered the court
a little bit better.
I’m glad I managed to win the next three, just sticking to the
game plan, and managing to get a few loose/unforced errors out
Today, Tom made it very hard for me, he didn’t give me any cheap
point, he made sure that ever point counted. To sum it up, it
was a good win for me.
I have had a fair chance of practicing here because I arrived
early, and today gave me even more time to adapt to the court.
So I hope I’ll play better tomorrow.
(Egy) 3-1 Tom Richards (Eng)
11/6, 11/7 (53m)
Tarek Dominates, Tom just a bit short….
is rarely off the blocks like a shot kind of player. It takes
him time to adapt to the conditions, on the court and elsewhere,
and today was no exception.
But Tom was right hot from the start, and was hungry as you
would be if you had been kept away from major events for months
Tom was up 9/7, Tarek sneaked in at 9/9 but couldn’t stopped the
English to rightly take a game he dominate all along.
Tom didn’t have much chances to get into the 2nd game, 9/3 11/6
in 9m, he was neck to neck with Tarek for the next two up to the
middle of each game.
But every time, at 5/5 in the 3rd, and 7/7 in the 4th, it’s
Tarek that gets that little acceleration in the racquet, inject
that much more pace, and Tom that is just that much too far away
from the ball.
Maybe Tom misses that match fitness at that level of pace at the
No doubt he’ll catch up soon, and as long as his body stays in
one piece (literally, as he tore his hamstring in two bits!),
he’ll be somebody to be counted with.
3-1 Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
20/18, 8/11, 11/4 (62m)
Nici up for it,
Legend Shabana keeping it under control, only just!
were spoiled honestly today. If sometimes on this tournament,
the matches haven’t been classics – but it’s early days – today,
we had already two crackers, and the day is only young! First,
Max v Karim AG was stunning of fireworks in the front corners.
But this one, between Legend Shabana and Chocolate Provider Nici
was a fireworks in the FOUR corners. What a match. What a match
what a pleasure of a match.
have to remember that Nici beat Shabana here, in Qatar 2011, in
the first round, in 3 games. So I guess Shabs must have been
verrrrrry weary about him here. Not to mention that the Swiss
plays at a constant 201m/h, and early during the day, not what
the Legend would particularly enjoy….
First game, slow start from the Egyptians, down 2/5 but catching
up 5/5. 7/7. Little push from the Prince of Cairo, 11/7 in 12m.
The second will stay one of the best tie-break I saw in my
looooong life. Shabs up 8/4, we think it’s all over. But our
Nici is fit as it comes, patient, and mentally much stronger
than he used to. And he dugs in, forcing a few tins from Shabs,
to come back to 8/9. Game ball to Shabana, 10/8.
a verrrrry long story short, Nici got two game balls, but it
took 9 for the Prince to finally clinch it, in 23m, 20/18 (like
James/Mohamed in HK a two years ago). What a tie-break. Two of
the fairest players around, amazing squash, amazing attacks,
amazing saves, counterdrops, counterattacks, perfect lengths,
winners that aren’t anymore.. Only three words: Get The
So there we were, 41m of play, and the old Nici would have
probably folded it and go to the showers. But the new one, well,
just kept Duracelling on us. Kept running, and attacking and
running, and attacking. Shabana never let go, he didn’t want to
go in a 4th AT ALL! But Nici had the last word, and took that
3rd in 11 m, 11/8.
look good for Shabs. And I truly thought we could be heading for
an upset here. But that’s what differenciate players from
Champions. In 8m, the Egyptian veni, vidi, vici (I came,
I saw, I conquered). 11/4.
What a man. What a match. What a sport. Hail to you too, boys.
You really made my day, my week. You are a credit to our sport,
and you set the mark for others. Mabrook, Well done, Superbe…
was not trying to throw myself on the ball like I did several
time, but there is maybe something not right with that floor, it
doesn’t grip, and I ended up in a split a few times…
The second game was that type of game, short shots, attacks,
that kind of every shot intense, and that type of game suited
him more than he suited me. He is amazing at that, and in the
third, I don’t think I did much wrong, he was just on a roll,
and when it’s like that, there is very little one can do.
So in the 4th, I just decided to finish the point before he did!
To be honest, we were both a bit “spent” in that game…
That type of match is good, it’s setting the pace up for you,
and it’s good for you if it doesn’t kill you!!! It will be now
easier for me to play the other players, because he played at
such a pace….
“I managed to keep quite a good control of proceedings on there
"I was trying to keep things simple, rather than the fast and
furious approach that I sometimes get drawn into, and it was
working so I just tried to keep it going as long as I could.
“He threatened to come back into it a few times, but then too
often made errors that released the pressure for me.
“It feels pretty good to be in the last sixteen for the first
time - it’s not over yet!”
[Steve is the first South African to reach the last 16 since
(Rsa) 3-0 Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/5, 11/6, 11/6 (43m)
Coppinger keeps a lid on Bengy
after his great result against Daryl Selby, there was a danger
that Steve Coppinger would be a little flat as he took on the
experienced Ong Beng Hee - competing in his 14th World Champs -
for a place in the last sixteen.
Not a bit of it - the South African looked cool, calm and
composed from the start, and kept the match, and his opponent,
under tight control from start to end.
After a patient opening,, Coppinger managed to edge ahead from
2-all in the first, taking leads of 5-2, 9-4, and took the lead
11-5 with a dropshot at the end of a rally in which he had
worked the Malaysian well.
much the same happened in the next two games - Coppinger
managing to keep a lid on proceedings as he worked the rallies
to his advantage and forged ahead on the scoreboard, Ong
sporadically threatening to close the gap but as often as not
coming up with an error to stop his own progress.
From 2-all in the second Coppinger led 6-3, 9-5 then 11-6, and
in the third he moved from 1-all to5-2 then 8-3 and Ong was
never going to close that gap. At 10-6 Ong was in charge of the
rally, working his opponent around the court for once, then but
tinned a simple winning dropshot and Coppinger was through.
(Ind) 3-1 Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
11/7, 5/11, 11/9, 11/4 (51m)
Saurav: “Standing on the barrel”
have now seen Nasir a few times, and every time, I am impressed
with his athletism, his movement, and his fast hands. I think
once that boy (20, WR44) gets more and more exposure to top
squash, he’ll quickly rise in the ranking, and will be one to
Saurav had to come out with the A game today.
If he took the first in 12m 11/7, leading throughout, the second
game was completely different, with the Pakistani controlling
the T beautifully and despatching the shots like Witches sweets
at Halloween! 6/2 up, then 10/5, he was dominating his opponent.
Mind you, at 5/6, Saurav could have come back, but a tremendous
rally that will make it to Rally of the Month on SquashTV for
sure gave a huge boost to his opponent. 11/5 in 8m.
it didn’t look really good in the 3rd either for the Indian, as
he found himself down 4/0.
Saurav, with the great experience he has of those matches,
didn’t panic, can just came back, point per point, 5/6, 9/9,
managing to turn the game/math around, taking that crucial one
11/9 in 13m.
Having broken his opponent spirit, Saurav just marched through
the last game, and from 2/2, never looked back, 11/4.
It was an good match for Saurav, could have been a “match piège”,
a “trick match”, Nasir was very hungry, skilled and fast. The
Indian will be very happy to get away with a win in under an
It must be incredibly hard to have such a generation of Legends
in Pakistan, and trying to back it up for the new generations.
Those guys, Nasir, Farhan Mehboob, are working extremely hard.
So in my opinion, people in Pakistan, and elsewhere in the
world, should just support them.
I have to work incredibly hard to beat Nasir today, he is trying
to get into the top 10, top 20, we had a massive match in the
Asian Games, today as well, each time was 3/1 and incredibly
hard. He has such racquet skills and movement. I had to dig deep
to beat him and come back on top of him.
In the second game, I was trying to attack and maybe I lost a
bit of accuracy there. By trying to be too pro-active, I lost my
precision. I got caught on the web…. But I nearly came back, we
had that massive rally, and he got on top of it. After that, I
just couldn’t come back…
Nice to say that Squash is in the best moment of its history in
India. We just had the better results ever in the CWG and the
Asian Games, and I’m proud to say we had the best result ever
for a Team event in India by wining the Asian Games for our
Country. And to do so, in a plateform such as the Asian Games….
To be honest, if I could, I would freeze that moment where I won
the Gold for India and stay there in that moment forever.
(Eng) 3-0 Gregoire Marche (Fra)
11/6, 11/3, 11/4 (40m)
Nick, one for England
to my Personal Stats Feeder, Mr Howard Harding from SquashInfo,
in the past 15 years, it’s only the third time there is only 1
English player in the top 16. And had Nick lost today, it would
have been the firs time EVER that there wouldn’t have been an
English Player in the last 16.
Nick, the Queen thanks you.
seriously, this match was a Nick’s Masterclass. If the first
game was a bit close/disputed up to the middle of the game, a
too anxious to finish the point Grégoire just made the errors at
the turning point, and got from 5/5 to 5/8 in a shot. Nick
hammered it down, 11/6 in a long 16m game that surely must have
taken a lot out of the French National Champion.
The second, score doesn’t tell how hard Little Greg worked, 11/3
in still 10m. But what will break The Acrobat’s heart will be
the last one, where from 2/3, he made 7 unforced errors after
working his racquet out poor mite. Nick took the gift, thank you
very much, and the game, 11/4.
It’s all part of the learning process. And I’m sure Grégoire is
learning fast, I have no doubt.
the coming up players, they have nothing to lose, and Greg is a
player on the rise, and he has a great future before him.
I knew he had a very hard game two days ago, and I know that
it’s normally the day after that you can get stiff, so I tried
and made it as hard as possible in the beginning.
We’ve been proving by the Commonwealth games, the Asians Games
that our sport is one of the best out there, and that if before
the athletic of sport didn’t show on TV, now, thanks to SquashTV
continuous effort, it really shows. But you can’t live on
regret. And nothing says that I would have had a medal anyway,
so I’m just happy I’m playing, and I hope to continue doing so
for a few years more hopefully.
What that an ideal match? To be honest, I don’t know anymore
nowadays. When you had a day rest, sometimes
you want to spend more time on court, but maybe not with a
match, and sometimes, you play a five setter, and you feel great
the next day. Of course, I’ve very aware of the potentially 5
matches in five days, and I had that in mind today. So you try
and take a couple of positive out of it.
one of them was that I kept the focus throughout the whole
match, that’s keeping the 5 matches in a row in mind. I tried
and stopped his momentum when he was starting to pick up the
pace and go faster. And I got a bit more practising on the court
And there are a lot of positive to take from the tournament
still from an English point of you, if the more experienced
players didn’t have the best of tournaments, the young ones did
well, Waller played well, Joe was very unlucky, Chris played
very well as well. It’s not all dark.
Saurav next. Funnily enough, I got a practice with him this
morning. I had a look at him, he had a look at me, it happens
sometimes, the luck of the practice!! I feel that Greg was a
good practice for him, he plays very fast as well, about the
same style of play, but with Saurav having more experience with
the big events, whereas Greg rushed a bit the important points
at the end.
Yes, with all the English Boys out of the tournament, I feel
like a Tennis Star, or like Greg, he is the only player I know
that has got a full team, I have the whole support team for
myself! Of course, DP is still coaching Ali and a few of the
boys that are playing Dubai next week, but I have him for
myself, Camps (David Campion), the new Jade our physio, all for
myself. No excuses!!!
That was an interesting match for me, I used to be lower guy
playing the bigger guy, now I am the bigger guy playing the
lower one. Like him, I wanted to play the top guys to learn from
The first time I saw him was in Qatar, in the World Juniors, and
I was impressed. He is one of the coming up players, and I’m
really happy to get a 3/0 against him. Like I told him when we
shook hands, I’m sure we are going to be playing again a lot in
the future, and it was good for me to play him now for sure.
I'm feeling really good at the moment - I knew it would be
important to keep the first two matches short if possible and
from tomorrow I think my tournament really gets started.
I think I have maybe the toughest draw of the top players. If
things go to seeding I have to beat two top ten players just to
reach the semi-final but to be the No.1 you have to beat
everyone and I believe I can deal with it.
Jonah has been so great for me, he’s been coaching me for the
past 8, 9 years of my career, and I wouldn’t be standing here
without him, I’m very lucky to have him, hopefully I can keep
My mother and my father, pushing me, it’s great having their
support all the time, and I hope I’ll be keeping them proud for
(Egy) 3-0 Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind)
11/6, 11/4, 11/1 (29m)
Shorbagy in cruise control
He's been here two weeks already, and has had lots of practice
time on the court - and it shows.
Elshorbagy eased through to the last sixteen with a
comprehensive win over Mahesh Mangaonkar, dominating the match
from start to finish despite the young Indian's best efforts.
A couple of early tins from the world number one put us at 3-all
in the first game, but once he cut out those errors Shorbagy was
in command, moving ahead to 7-3, and taking the lead 11-6.
A quick 3-0 start to the second was extended to 7-2, then 11-4
for a two-nil lead, and the Egyptian's control became greater in
the third as he went 5-1 up quickly.
Mangaonkar was in contention in a lot of the rallies, but even
when he seemed to have the upper hand Shorbagy's court coverage
and determined retrieving made sure that he stayed ahead - the
rallies the Egyptian won to go 5-1, then 8-1, and finally 11-1
were all like that - under pressure but still emerging the
Not a nice experience for the underdog, that's for sure, but a
bit of a statement from the world number one, who now professes
to like this new court even more than the old one on which he
reached the World final and won his first Super Series title ...
my First ever world Open!
When I knew that Karim and LJ were not in the draw, I really
wanted to play on of the top players, I knew it would be good
experience for the future.
The pace is getting higher since I’m in the seniors, I’m just
beginning, it’s a whole different ball of game.
And like Adrian said, it’s like 5 persons at once. That’s
exactly how I felt!!!!
(Ger) 3-1 [Q] Lucas Serme (Fra)
6/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/9 (64m)
Lucas Le Grand impresses
I have said it to Simon, so I can allow myself to write it. I
don’t have I have ever seen Simon played as badly as he played
in the first game. Six unforced errors, and really unforced as
they happened at times Lucas didn’t put him under that much
On the other hand, my little Lucas, who I truly and utterly
believe in, played the best squash I saw him play ever.
is like Camille, I’ve never ever heard them have a bad word
against anybody, push or block, never aggressive, never took a
double bounce ever, very matter of fact, and never took my work
for them/France for granted, like so many others have done over
the years. With Lucas, like with Camille, what you see is what
And what we saw from Lucas tonight was a heck of a lot!!!! I
know, Lucas doesn’t think he played that great, that he could
have done better. Well, he lost, so yes, of course, he could
have done better. But Simon is one of the best players in the
world for crying out loud, and my Godfathers, did that young
Frenchman gave him hell tonight.
First game was 10m, 4/0, 6/2, 9/3, 10/4. Lucas dominated
completely the game. Yes, Simon just couldn’t adapt to the
court, while Lucas just got on there as if he belonged there. He
adapted perfectly from traditional to glass, as an old pro bless
him. He didn’t much to lose mind. Simon did…
It could only get better from the German after that AWFUL start,
and in the second, 4/1, 6/3, 8/4 he went. Lucas was on his tail,
6/8, but started to make a few uncharacteristic errors, and
bowed in 15m (first game was 10).
The third was about Simon taking the control, 10/4, and Lucas
giving a big push at the end, to bow 11/6. But the fourth was a
completely back in the game, Simon was hitting so hard, trying
(and succeeding most of the times) to overpower the French boy,
and as every would mix it with feathery drop shots. But Lucas
defending like Beng Hee, finding exquisite crosscourt lobs that
seem to really bother Simon, and found a perfect balance between
perfect long game and short game/counterdropping.
Lucas was that close to force a decider, down 2/6 8/4, when he
managed to make the German doubt again when he clawed back to
At 10/8, Simon turned, and as he had a no let in a “similar
situation, although not the same”, hit the ball with all the
power he could… and drilled poor Lucas. He was penalised for
dangerous play, 9/10. He was soooo embarrassed poor mite, and I
swear that there is no way it was intentional. Never ever
everrrrr Simon would so something like that in purpose. Lucas
knew it, we all knew it.
“Il a cassé mon Lucas” I laughed “He broke my Lucas”…..
Anyway, Simon finally took the next rally and won the match. It
was a superb performance from my little compatriot, who made me
very proud tonight. Whereas Simon has now a match on that court,
and I have no doubt he’ll play a much better game against
Shorbagy tomorrow. He won’t have the choice, mind. But tomorrow,
he’ll be the one having nothing to lose…. And that will change a
lot of things…
I guess I played a good enough match, but to be honest, from the
second onwards, I just lost my length. I know, he was putting me
under a lot of pressure, but not all the time, and I should have
been more pro active there. I think I could have put him under
more pressure there.
Thing is, I felt a bit like a spectator at times. I never had
the review thingy, so when I was looking at the back, and I
would see the tv screen, for a split second, I had that feeling
where I thought I was at home, watching SquashTV! That was
Now physically, I felt good. Even when he was putting me under
pressure, at no time I felt tired. So I feel a bit frustrated,
like I missed a bit of an opportunity there. I had more to give…
promise you, I never ever wanted to drill him, I thought he was
out of the way, but then he moved. Never I would hit him in
purpose. [and we all know that Simon, don’t worry, Fram]
When I went to practice this morning, it was the first time ever
I got to hit on there, there was not availability before, I felt
like the tin was higher.
Not much, a millimetre, but just enough higher to make me clip
it. And it’s exactly what happened in the first game.
Tonight I felt like I have been running my way in the match. I
had no feeling off the ball, I couldn’t finish off the rallies,
and I basically had to run for each point. I was behind the ball
all the time..
I guess it’s one of those days where you are happy to get
through despite having no feeling and no confidence.
Lucas has got a great lob. And I just didn’t know what to do
with it. He even managed to lob me, and that says the lot, with
As I didn’t have any confidence with my shots at the front, I
didn’t know what to do. He just played so well. I’m not just
saying that. He truly played very well. And I think he’ll be top
20 soon if he keeps on playing like that. I didn’t see him play
before, and I am truly impressed.
I’ll definitely will have to raise my game tomorrow.