Sharm El Sheikh Squash Championships 2015  17-23 May Egypt   


TODAY in Sharm
21-May, Day FIVE:

It was a long quarter-finals day in Sharm, with a series of five-setters on the glass court, and more upsets too.

In the men's draw unseede Ali Farag edged past second seed Fares Desouki in five, to join the remaining top seeds Karim Abdel Gawad, Omar Abdel Meguid and Mazen Hesham in all-Egyptian semi-finals.

Two upsets in the Women's draw as Heba El Torky delighted the home crowd with a 3-1 win over second seed Nicolette Fernandes, while Tesni Evans, in the longest match of the day, upset fourth seed Salm Hany.

Reports, quotes, photos below the results ...


Men's Quarters:

[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 [5] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)
                          6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-1, 11/5 (57m)

[3] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 3-1 [8] Andrew Wagih (Egy)
                                  11-7, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6 (45m)

[4] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-1 [7] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
                                   11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-8 (45m)

Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2 [2] Fares Dessouki (Egy)
                                   9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 (70m)

Women's Quarters:

[8] Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 Deon Saffery (Wal)
                                   11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 13-11 (46m)

[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2 [4] Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy)
                                   7-11, 14-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7 (85m)

[6] Line Hansen (Den) 3-1 [Q] Coline Aumard (Fra)
                                   11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4 (47m)

[5] Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-1 [2] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
                                   8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 12-10 (54m)


Match Reports


I'm happy with the way I played today, I'm happy with the experience I aquiered today playing a match at such a level while being extremely tired mentally.

I'm studying at night in my room, because I'm having exams when I go back to Alexandria. It's a bit of a mad schedule for me at the moment, and I feel mentally drained. But I'm learning.

I'm only 20, and I managed to reach top 20. And I'm proud I finished a match with a player with more experience than myself, as Ali is 24, on a tie-break in the 5th!

I tried and was a fair player today, I called all my shots out, double, etc. I'm happy with my attitude on court today.

I was disappointed with a few decisions from the refs that I don't think were correct. But I have to learn to stay focus, and stick to my game plan when that happens. There as well, I'm learning, and it was a good experience.

[3] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 3-1 [8] Andrew Wagih (Egy)
                                  11-7, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6 (45m)

Those two never played a match that goes 3/0 thanks Baaam thank you mam... They seem to bring the best (or worse in some cases) out of each other.

Today was a good day.

Both first games were close to the middle of the game - 7/7 in the 1st, 5/5 in the second, then a little drop of energy for Andrew, and an easy end for Omar.

Third was different, close up to5/5, then Omar taking a comfy lead 9/6, a superb response from Andrew, those counterdrop and long drop shots really hurt, who goes straight to 10/9, and will clintch the game 13/11.

A bit of discussion between the games at the point for Omar, not happy with a decision during that game. He comes back on court pretty fired up, 6/0. Andrew claws back once again, but the lead is too big now, 11/6 on his first match ball...

He is not easy to play. We know each other's game so well, we played like one millions times! And it comes down to who is going to hit the less errors and the more winners...

Andrew is one of the only players that can stretch to the front, and still hold the ball and play superb shots. He did it a few times today, and he is so difficult to play, and every time I don't get my length right, he will go short immediately...

I'm glad he is back from injury, and I hope he'll get stronger and better for next season.

[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2 [4] Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy)
                             7-11, 14-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7 (85m)

It was all a question of "Tesnicity" today! Yes the Welsh girl really showed her tenacity and determination.

It was not an easy match. A lot of calls, a lot of short rallies, a few too many tins as well. But some superb and intense squash rallies as well. It was a seesaw kind of match, up and down, with the poor Egyptian crowd living every winner and suffering every tin with the 18 years old, already 19WR.

I guess it was just a bit too much pressure on her young shoulder. She didn't do much wrong - she was warned to let her opponent through, but that was at the end of a looooong match, and in the 5th, she found some superb winners, long, short, vollley and lobs. But Tesni kept retrieving everything, and counterattacking beautifully. So Salma had to go lower and lower, and found some tins in crucial times.

All credit to Salma, she had a little drop of focus in the 4th, up 9/5 she faced a match ball, that she saved to take the game12/10, forcing a decider. Not much left gas-wise in the 5th, and it's the Welsh that is stronger, 3/3, 8/4, nice come back, 6/8, and Tesni closes it this time, 11/7.

Today, I just scrambled everything. If I couldn't get there, I would still get there, to make her play another shot. I think I played well tactically, I didn't open the court up, and took her shots away from her, because she is lethal with her shots.

In the 4th at 9/5 down, I thought, ok, it's going to five, but let's make it hard, and it paid off in the 5th I guess.

I'm so glad, I can't remember the last time I won a long match. I'm mentally happy with myself today.

[4] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-1 [7] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
                                   11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-8 (45m)

Difficult for Zahed to adapt on the glass court, he struggled in the first game and just couldn't see the ball (Mazen has been playing on there yesterday). And to play those incredible holds that Mazen finds at the front, you'd better see the ball!

Second and third, very good squash and Zahed starting to put Amazing Mazen under a lot of pressure, taking a superb third, just too much power coming from the Alex man.

But in the fourth, a little drop of energy from Zahed, yipppee says Mazen, 6-2, 8-3. A good come back from Zahed, match ball down 10-5, he will bow, but only just, 11-8.

"Im so relieved" will say Mazen at the end...

People looking at me talking to myself, and nodding, they are going to think I'm crazy (NEVER, FG) but I'm just trying to push myself!

I'm lucky at the end, I thought the ball was good. He could feel I was tired, and he kept playing very difficult shots.

If you give Zahed any openings, he is not going away....

I'm really proud of myself today, because before, even fit and not tired, in a tight match like that, when I was tired, I would just throw the match away. And today, I think it's the first tournament where I'm really tired, and I still force my body and my brain to keep fighting. Like in the 3rd, it was mentally I was tired, not physically. I'm so proud of myself and so happy with being in the semis is such an event in Egypt. That's really good.

[6] Line Hansen (Den) 3-1 [Q] Coline Aumard (Fra)
                                   11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4 (47m)

A very intense match, a few contacts, and Coline really raising her game for the occasion. The first two games were very close, Coline down 5-10 in the 1st, finally losing 11-8, but the message was sent - not going to be as easy at the BO - and the second close the whole way, 3-3, 5-5, 7-7. A big push from the Experienced Line, and 11/8.

Maybe the hard work paid off in the 3rd, Coline truly dominates the court and shots, 11-5. But Line is back with a vengeance in the 4th, and will never let Coline in.

Coline is a really good player, even if sometimes there is too much of drama, and I think she has the potential to be much higher ranked than she is at the moment.

We played in the BO qualifying finals, and I played better than I did today, and yet, I beat her 3/0. She played much better than she did then, and learned a few things from that match...

Line Hansen

Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2 [2] Fares Dessouki (Egy)
                       9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 (70m)

Never in doubt...

Soooo many calls in that one. I'm soooo happy I didn't have to referee that one.

A very frustrated young Fares at the end, he got warned for blocking several times, and felt hard done by a few decisions at important times. I feel that his squash was more accurate, but his mental focus was low, he made errors he doesn't normally do, of course all credit to Ali's retrieving, but also the BO was only a few hours ago!!!!

Today, Ali was the hungrier for victory. I'm not saying that Fares didn't want to win. But Ali was desperate to win. And that I feel is the key to the match. The squash was ridiculous at times, so fast, so intense. I got tired just looking at them!!!

I'm not sure those two will spend their Summer holidays together... Tense? Yes it was.

What a thriller!

Let me start by saying that I would have never won without my parents and Basem Makram here. Just the look in their eyes gave me the belief.

I was very nervous at the start, and I fell in the trap I'm falling often in to not want to lose more than wanting to win. Which makes me go very negative.

Squash was not the best, 50% I would say. But Anjema made the difference. I was much more in the tournament that he was, and ready for big battles.

At the end, it was a flip of a coin, it's not like it was easy...

[5] Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-1 [2] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
                                   8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 12-10 (54m)

Nicolette is one of the top player, she is always friendly and nice with me on the tour, and it was so difficult for me to be aggressive on court. So instead, I just did what my coach told me to do.

I had Bassem Makram at my side, and yesterday, it was Mohamed Fareed, and I want to thank them, like I need to thank Tameem Welily my coach, Karim Shohayeb and Said Abdel Kader. I know, that's a lot of people Fram, but I don't know if I'll win tomorrow!!!!

I am so happy that we have that tournament in Egypt, it's so nice to have the Egyptians cheering for me, and also my sister and my father cheering for me.

I can't believe it, and I'm happy I'm in the semis... And I could keep on talking the whole night!!!

[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 [5] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)        6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-1, 11/5 (57m)

Very disapointed Abou was. Of course. But what a match, and so clean too! I just enjoyed it very much, the talent those two have - like soooo many other Egyptians - made me remember why I do this mad mad job. Mad pace, ridiculous angles and retrieving, counterdropping so well, all the weapons fired non stop. Loved it.

Thank you boys.

I was moving well today, I feel my legs are working fine, but at the begining of the match, I was still weary as he is such a talented player, I was afraid of the long rallies and tried and went too short too early. He took full advantage of that in the first game.

And yes, another 3/2 battle with Abou where it all come down to a couple of points to decide the winner. He is truly one of the most talented player I ever played with. And any, any, I mean ANY shot I would play loose, he would kill me with one shot. Playing him, I'm always so nervous.

[8] Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 Deon Saffery (Wal)
                                   11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 13-11 (46m)

Sorry boys and girls, not a break since we started, just cannot report logically, so I can only tell you that it took 3 match ball for Yathreb to win this, and that in the 4th, Deon didn't get a game ball...

No, I didn't feel any kind of pressure, but there were so many delays today, I kept warming up, then sitting down, then warming up again, so I arrived on the court a bit flat and heavy legged.

I was playing well at the start of the game, and she was not playing her best. And, she started playing really well, her shots were coming in, and she put me under a lot of pressure. So I had to rethink my plan to finally take the game. And the second was pretty much the same.

In the third, I was far too relaxed when I came on court, and I gave her all the opportunities she needed, and didn't put any pressure on her at all.

In the fourth, Bassem told me to hit harder, with more purpose instead of just wandering around the court! So I took it shot by shot and I'm glad it all ended up well!

Tomorrow I'm playing Tesni, I feel like I'm taking on the whole of the Welsh Team! I haven't played her for ages, so I'm so looking forward to play in the semis here in Egypt.

Day FOUR - that last sixteens