ē Sharm El Sheikh Squash Championships 2015 ē 17-23 May ē Egypt ē  


TODAY in Sharm
20-May, Day FOUR:
Grinhams exit in  Last 16 upsets,
Egyptian men's winner already guaranteed

The Men's and Women's draws were at the same stage today, with the quarter-finalists to be determined in the Club courts this afternoon and on the glass court this evening.

There were two big upsets in the women's draw as both Grinham sisters were beaten - Natali in a five-game thriller by French qualifier Coline Aumard, and top seed Rachael in straight games by Wales' Deon Saffery. Second seed  Nicolette Fernandes survived by the skin of her teeth in an 85-minute encounter with wildcard Hania El Hammamy.

In the men's draw an Egyptian winner is already guaranteed as the seven top seeds - all Egyptian - are joined by Ali Farag, who followed up his first round win over LJ Anjema with a four-game win against Kuuwait's Ammar Altamimi.


Women's Last 16:

Deon Saffery
(Wal) 3-0 [1] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
                             11/6, 11/8, 11/8 (25m)
[8] Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Farah Abdel Meguid (Egy)
                          9/11, 11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (48m)

[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 [Q] Mayar Hany (Egy)
                          11/8, 12/10, 11/7 (41m)
[4] Salma Hany (Egy) 3-1 Milou van der Heijden (Ned)
                         11/6, 11/8, 6/11, 11/7 (36m)

Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-2 [3] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
                          6/11, 11/7, 8/11, 11/9, 11/5 (51m)
[6] Line Hansen
(Den) 3-0 [Q] Nouran El Torky (Egy)
                          11/2, 11/7, 11/4 (21m)

[5] Heba El Torky
(Egy) 3-1 Siyoli Waters (Rsa)
                          1/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/8 (33m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-2 [wc] Hania El Hammamy
                            6/11, 14/12, 11/9, 11/13, 11/5 (82m)

Men's Last 16:

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Amr Arafa (Egy)
                            9/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/3 (48m)
[5] Mohamed Abouelghar
(Egy) 3-0 Youssef Soliman (Egy)
                          11/3, 11/7, 11/7 (27m)

[8] Andrew Wagih
(Egy) 3-0 Adil Maqbool (Pak)
                          11/6, 11/9, 11/4 (19m)
[3] Omar Abdel Meguid
(Egy) 3-0 [Q] Youssef Ebrahim (Egy)
                         11/4, 11/7, 11/6 (23m)

[4] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-0 Ahmad Al-Saraj (Jor)
                         11/6, 5/0 rtd
[7] Zahed Mohamed (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Mazen Gamal (Egy)
                          14/16, 11/1, 11/9, 11/9 (65m)

Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 Ammar Altamimi (Kuw)
                         11/7, 11/9, 10/12, 11/5 (35m)
[2] Fares Dessouki (Egy) 3-0 Shehab Essam (Egy)
                           11/7, 11/8, 11/3 (45m)
Glass Court matches

[4] Mazen Hesham
(Egy) 3-0 Ahmad Al-Saraj (Jor)
            11/6, 5/0 rtd

During his 5 setter against Qualifier Basem Makram, young Jordanian Ahmad Al-Saraj twisted his right ankle, and just couldnít push anymore on his leg todayÖ

[4] Salma Hany (Egy) 3-1 Milou van der Heijden (Ned)
           11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (36m)

A very good match from Milou that seemed to be as comfortable on that court as Salma wasnít! The Dutch girl played some strong squash, finding good hitting and good winner. But Salma got more and more lethal at the front, and finally controlled the short rallies very well.

I donít know, I felt very flat from the beginning, my shots werenít going in, I was struggling with the court, couldnít see the ball at all, so I tried and be as patient as I could, and wait for the opening. She really surprised me today. I had to make sure that I avoided easy mistakes and loose shots. Really happy I went throughÖ

[Q] Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-2 [3] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
                   6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (51m)

A hard match on there. Short rallies but intense pace, with both players attacking from way back, and counter-dropping. Some good drives, accurate squash, really a good match, very few calls. Natalie probably felt a bit tired in the 5th, we know she was poorly in Hull and couldnít play in the British, so she is probably not 100% physically yet. But thatís not taking anything away from Coline, who had to play at her best and stay focused at all times

It was a hard matchÖ I really focused on my counterdrops today.

Natalie is truly an idol of mine, a true role model. I always say that I would like to be able to do what she does, as in, having 2 kids and still play at such a high level.

Itís such a pleasure to play her, she is such a fair player, she is ďune Grande DameĒ, and I feel that maybe winning such a match will help me believe I am able to achieve good thingsÖ

[2] Fares Dessouki 3-0 Shehab Essam  
              11/7, 11/8, 11/3 (45m)

I was not confident on court today, I didnít feel my 100% on there, I think Iím still tired from yesterdayís match and of course the flight from the UK. But I think I played better than yesterday, I was able to stick the ball to the wall. But Shehab is such a gifted player, he is an up and coming player, and Iím sure weíll see a lot of him on the Tour.

I still made too many unforced errors, Iíll have to cut them out tomorrow, as I am playing a very talented player, Ali Farag. Heís had some very good results recently, he won two tournaments, and he playing very well. So, hard match tomorrow.

[2] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-2 [wc] Hania El Hammamy
                            6-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 (82m)

Match of the tournament

What a suspense that was! A 82m match between seed number 2 Nicolette and WC Hania, sister of Karim Hammammy, former junior championÖ What a family!!!!

Hania is only 14 bless her for Cairo, and she showed today not only a great talent, but also the experience of a 30 years old! Playing a patient and mature squash, she pushed Nicolette into playing a mammoth match.

Running on fumes from the start of the 4th, the Egyptian used all the tricks (legal) in the book, taking as much time as the ref would allow to try and get some air (shoe laces, court cleaner, walking around the court, etc). She needed it as she retrieved a tremendous amount of attacks from an in form Nicolette, and sustained extremely lengthy and intense pace imposed by her opponent, saving 4 match balls in the 4th (from 10/7 down) to clinch it 13-11 on her first game ball.

Needless to say the crowd was supporting their girl! And when she went up 2/0 in the 5th, they really believed we had an upset. But Nicolette had something to say about it, and turned the tables round, 4/2. Hania had to stop the rally as she was bleeding, but even that short stop (not more than 5m) was not enough for the young talented Egyptian to find energy, and she finally bows 11/5. It took Nicolette 6 match balls to finally get that match to restÖ

[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Amr Arafa (Egy)
                      9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (48m)

It was the first time I actually saw that young 18 years old Egyptian play his first PSA! He doesnít have the typical squash body type (more of a boxer!) so fit!!! And although you canít say heís got an amazing technique, it works very well at the front, as he found some exquisite winners at the start of the match.

There was some traffic problem at some point, and Karim ďsorted them outĒ very quickly, showing to the new comer that he was the boss on court bless him!

Apart from that little moment, the rest of the match was very entertaining, lots of great rallies, short but intense, moving around a lot, with the logical winner at the end, and the challenger coming to apologise at the end of the match for the little hiccup in the movement. No hard feeling said Kari

Iím happy with the match, as we had some pretty good rallies, and I didnít have any problem with my movement today, I was moving pretty fluidly. Thatís a very good sign for me.

Itís the first time I see him play, so I didnít know what to expect. I was from the warm up that he was a very physically powerful player! He will Iím sure have great results in the U19 World Champs coming up, he is definitely an up and coming player.

I didnít play my best squash, but still happy with the way I moved. And thatís good because tomorrow, Iím playing Abou and we always have long 5 setters! Hope itís going to be a good matchÖ

Deon Saffery (Wal) 3-0 [1] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
                11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (25m)

A strong match from Deon who takes out the top seed.

Iím told that Rachael was not at her best, but hat to Deon who never let her breathe today, playing the perfect tactic!

Still, Rachael fought hard all the way, and even down 2/0 and 8/2, she still came back and only loses 11/8Ö

It was a good performance today. You cannot let Rach in, especially me, as I played her twice, and she chopped me twice. So today, I just enjoyed my squash, instead of being caught playing Rach. But we are good friends!

Afternoon Matches

[8] Andrew Wagih (Egy) 3-0 Adil Maqbool (Pak)
           11/6, 11/9, 11/4 (19m)

Some good shots coming from the Pakistani born Adil Maqbool, he managed to surprise Andrew Wagih with excellent straight drives too, but Andrewís shot and power was just a bit too much for him, and forced too many errors out of him.

I feel really happy to be able to win two matches in a row after the bad year I just had. I know that if I can to compete at the level I used to, I need to improve my fitness, now that my body seems to be holding on!

It was the first time I was playing Adil, but I know his game, Iíve seen him play a lot. And I saw that he made some changes in his game, he was making the rallies last longer, maybe because he knew I was not 100% physically. But I enjoyed it.

Tomorrow, the winner of Meguid/Ebrahim. If I was to play Meguid which would be according to seeding, we know each otherís game quite well, we played and played a lot. We are good friends off court, and he has made some changes to his game, and I just hope that my body holds up and that we have a good game.

I wanted to thank the Government and Omar Sherbini for organising that tournament, in this brand new venue, the courts are really good!

[5] Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-1 Siyoli Waters (Rsa)
           1/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/8 (33m)

Furious rallies between Heba and Siyoli, good squash, varied angles, with the South African playing extremely well in the first game, and Heba slowly getting in the match, eventually finding her shots and imposing her game

Donít ask me what happened in the 1st, I just donít know! It was the same against Nour in the British, the games I lost, I lost really badly, and the only thing I can say is, she was playing too well, and I donít know!

Today I knew that Siyoli had good results in the British Open, and that she would play very well. And that what she did. So from the second on, I really had to play my best squash to win. That was the only way.

[6] Line Hansen (Den) 3-0 [Q] Nouran El Torky (Egy)
            11/2, 11/7, 11/4 (21m)

I really like the court, you get rewarded if you play a good shot.

I played really well today, you are always a bit nervous playing a young Egyptian in Egypt, and in your first roundÖ But I kept to my tactics, and didnít get mentally distractedÖ

Tomorrow, Iím playing the winner of Nat and Coline, which could be an interesting matchÖ

[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 [Q] Mayar Hany (Egy)
            11/8, 12/10, 11/7 (41m)

A bit of an intense match this one, with a few discussion with yet a very good lady ref from Egypt, Tesni keeping her head, and maybe a bit of lack of experience for Mayar who got a bit too excited at times, still a very talented young player, ranked 100 in the world but that shows great promises.

Yes, itís a new tactic, I get down 8/3 only to distract my opponent and then I win 12/10. It worked though. I may do that againÖ NOT!!!

No, I was just getting frustrated and started to hack (as in hitting hard and low but it was not going anywhere). So I thought Iíd lost the game, and started to relax. And thatís when the shots started coming in.

I was controlling the rallies well, taking the pace off because she likes to hit hard and crosscourts a lot. I was hitting good length, and I got a few boasts from her, and I was able to counterdrop nicely.

[7] Zahed Mohamed (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Mazen Gamal (Egy)
            14/16, 11/1, 11/9, 11/5 (65m)

The longest match so far, with a looooooot of discussion with a very calm ref who has seen it all, and knows the players very well. 7 game balls in the first game, where Zahed was up 10/8, to finally lose it 16/14!

A very intense and disputed match, excellent squash and long rallies. Loved it, despite far too many discussions to make it a classicÖ

We havenít played a lot, a PSA match 4 years ago, where he beat me 3/2, then two National in Egypt, where I beat him 3/0. But no, we donít know each otherís game well.

In the first game, I was playing well, went up 10/8 and before I knew it, I lost the game 16/14, my shots were just not accurate enough, I was playing a lot in the middle! In the second, it was much easier (11/1), but in the 3rd, he started well and again I was not accurate enough, he went up 9/6. I knew that I had to win that game to have a chance to win. So I dug in, and won it 11/9.

In the 4th, it was my turn to start well, 6/2, but I started to get involved with the ref, over some consistency matters. He went 8/6, but I reallllly didnít want to get into a 5th, and eventually took the game 11/9.

Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 Ammar Altamimi (Kuw)
            11/7, 11/9, 10/12, 11/5 (35m)

Iím not happy with my performance, I was too relaxed. I truly have an issue, I donít seem to be able to back up a good win. It happened to me in India when I beat Saurav, the next day, I found myself 2/0 against Kristian Frost within minutes.

So I emailed Mike Way my coach in Harvard, and telling him, I donít want that to happen again, loosen up. But it did! All I can say, Iím happy I went through, thatís all I can say.

[5] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-0 Youssef Soliman
             11/3, 11/7, 11/7 (27m)

We train almost every day, so itís never easy. I knew what to expect, so did he. I tried and not gave him any openings, because he takes his space very well and makes the court very long. I wish if all the luck for the World Juniors, and I hope he takes it back in EgyptÖ

Iím very happy with the way I played, and looking forward to play well I hope on the glass court!

Day THREE: Another great day for Egypt - what they said