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


TODAY in Sharm                                                    
23-May, SEVEN:

It;s the last day in Sharm and while at least one Egyptian winner is guaranteed, the crowd will be hoping for a home double ...


[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2 [5] Heba El Torky (Egy) 
                                     12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (67m)

 [1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 Ali Farag (Egy)
                                     11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 (80m)




Match Reports

[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2 [5] Heba El Torky (Egy) 
                               12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (67m)

The first game started with Heba under high surveillance from the central Ref Nasser that wanted to make sure the "little refereeing hiccup" in the semis would stay only that. If you haven't read my repport, Tesni's semi last night had been impaired by a "bad day at the office" from a ref that just muddled up score a few times. And it could have reflected badly on the refs that honestly had been pretty good all week!

So strict Nasser was, and Heba was warned to "focus on the court, and to forget about the refs" after the Egyptian young lady questionned a few calls, maybe losing a bit of her focus and concentration in the process.

And focus, she needed, Heba did, because it was a pretty close and intense match from the first rally. 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, and yes you guessed 9/9, 10/10...Tesni finally takes the opening game 12/10 on her second game ball.

Heba comes back with a vengeance, and hitting hard and low, she zooms at 6/2, 9/3 to level it up 11/6. And it doesn't look good for the Welsh girl when she loses the third one, from 5/5, she will only score two points, losing that game 11/7. It looked like she hit the wall really.

But strangely enough, Heba seemed to tense up, like tetanised from that point on. Did she put too much pressure on herself? Did the change of tactic from her opponent unsettled her? I'm not sure. But it's her turn, from 5/5, to only score 2 points, to lose the 4th 11/7.

An excellent start for Heba in the 5th, 3/1, but Tesni levels it up at 3/3, and rushes to 6/3. Heba is more and more tense. Tesni is now in complete control, 7/3, 10/4 and match, 11/5. A very fair crowd saluted Tesni's performance, the Girl that Loves her Five Setters...

I'm very happy to win this. I was 2/1 down, and at that point, I was realllly down. I couldn't see a way through, I couldn't see the end.

So I told myself, this is it. Push. And when I got the 4th, I thought, ok, just one more game.

I think that Heba tensed a little bit from the 4th, maybe because I wasn't giving her any pace.

I need to thank a few people, my family, and more particularly my dad, as he is coaching me, also Simon, Line and Deon, who got me through today, Welsh Squash and Sports Wales for all their support, and my sponsor Karakal, they are the best!!!

[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 Ali Farag (Egy)
                      11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 (80m)

That was the match of the tournament, and quite fittingly, the last one! What a match, what a joy, what amazing fair and amazing talents we had to close this tournament.

Ali didn't start as cleverly as he played the other matches. For a whole game, he tried and matched Karim on his own turf, as in playing "reflex squash", a bit of a junior match really, condition game: we are not hitting anything but short, no use of the backwall allowed.

Mmmm, at that game, Karim is the master.

So in the second, Ali became a bit wiser. He started to remember that there is a backwall, and that if you want to put your opponent under pressure, making the court big for him is a good start. And he started to find a better length, although he kept courtcrossing without a good enough width. Still, he takes the second on 11/8, and we now have a nice match on our hands.

The third is riddled by 4 unforced errors from Ali in no time. The boy is paying the price of a long week and heavy matches. But he comes back in it, as Karim is not that fresh either bless him. 2/2, 5/5, 8/8, 9/9. Karim shows a bit his exerience at crucial time, a nice deception and a squeeze, 11/9 from Karim.

But in the 4th, he is clearly tired, and Ali, who know has found his second win, is playing better and better. A good use of the lob, allied with a much better width, and lovely counterdrops, 5/2, 7/4, 9/5 and game 11/6. Of COURSE we were going to five, why change the habit of the week!

Now Karim is the one looking fresh, while Ali hits the wall, 5/2, 8/3 for Karim. A little bit of inattention from Karim while Ali has got nothing to lose anymore, and a few ridiculous rallies later, we are back at 8/8. It's nailbitting stuff, and Ali's parents, sitting just in front of me, are quietly encouraging their son, although their hearts must have gone booom booom....

But scoring 5 points in a row took a lot of mental energy from Ali, 10/8 in no time, match ball Karim. A superb backhand boast - gutsy stuff at that point of the match, and a provoqued tin, 10/10. Another stupendous rally, this time, Ali clipps it, third match ball. A last squeeze, and Ali very sincerly embraces his opponent, extremely relieved with that ending.

"It was a flip of a coin. Two nights ago, it went my way. Tonight, it didn't...."

All the matches I played with Ali have always been clean and fair matches. He is one of the fairest player on Tour, and nobody can ever play anything but clean matches against him.

As you know, he is a very fast player and I am not still 100% fit, so I was trying to best to win 3/0. And to be honest I was dead in the third, and to that moment I still don't know how I won this!

I am lucky in the 5th, as he made a very unforced errors at the end.

I'm very happy to win this and end my season on a high after the issues I had this week. Now I'm going to be able to train hard during the summer on my fitness, and start the second part of the season in good condition.

I need to thank my parents for everything they did for me, since I started squash I was 6 up to now, they have been so supportive of me. And a big thank you to my coaches Mohamed Abbas and Omar Abdel Aziz for the hard work they are doing with me.

I started with the wrong tactic. He moves pretty well on court as you know and I needed to mix my pace, which I didn't do at all in the first game.

It was really a Battle of the Backhand Side tonight. When I was crosscourting, he would volley and kill me. So I had to find an alternative, either a lob or a sidewall boast. But I had to be careful as he is lethal whenever he can put his racquet on the ball!

Every time we play, he seems to get an extra gear in the last game!

At the end, it was a flip of a coin, two nights ago, it went my way. Tonight, it didn't. But Hamdullah very much, because I could have been out of the tournament in the first round!

I need to thank the four people that were with him this week, my parents, Bassem and Nour my fiancée, without forgetting my brother/coach Wael, and also my former coach Mike Way.