TODAY at the Qatar Classic -
Daily updates from Doha
|30-Oct, Day Two, Qualifying Finals
Sixteen matches today at the Khalifa International Tennis &
Squash Complex, with places in the main draw on offer in the
men's and women's competitions.
It was another good day for the Egyptian girls as they claimed
five of the eight spots. Young Mayar Hany opened the day
by beating top seed Donna Urquhart, and Mena Nasser
finished it by putting out second seed Misaki Kobayashi ]who had
to retire injured after a collision early in the fourth game].
In between Nadine Shahin got the better of Milou van der
Heijden, Amina Yousry beat Sina Wall, and Hania El
Hammamy won her all-action all-Egyptian match with Nouran El
upsetting the odds to reach the main draw for the first time was
England's Fiona Moverley, and while Olivia
Blatchford and Coline Aumard justified their seedings
to win, Aumard finds herself up against fellow Frenchwoman
Camille Serme - who was coaching her during the match - in the
In the men's draw six of the matches went to seeding, although
none could be classed as easy wins. Greg Lobban and
Ali Farag progressed against the seedings, Lobban beating
Zahed Mohamed in five to book himself match against Max Lee, a
repeat of their US Open first round, while Farag came from a
game down to beat fellow-Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid.
Men's Qualifying Finals:
updated main draws
 Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0  Joe Lee (Eng)
11/4, 11/4, 11/3 (40m)
 Leo Au (Hkg) 3-2 Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
6/11, 11/4, 10/12, 11/9, 11/2 (57m)
 Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-2  Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
11/9, 3/11, 5/11, 11/7, 13/11 (73m)
 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-0 Charles Sharpes (Eng)
15/13, 11/5, 11/6 (50m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-2  Raphael Kandra (Ger)
11/5, 10/12, 11/8, 9/11, 11/4 (67m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-0  Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/7, 11/4, 11/7 (31m)
 Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1  Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
9/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (54m)
 Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-1  Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
8/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (52m)
Women's Qualifying Finals:
 Mayar Hany (Egy) 3-2  Donna Urquhart (Aus)
7/11, 12/10, 11/6, 9/11, 11/8 (55m)
 Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-1  Millie Tomlinson (Eng)
11/3, 11/8, 8/11, 12/10 (57m)
 Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-0  Milou van der Heijden
11/7, 11/7, 11/8 (25m)
 Olivia Blatchford (Usa) 3-0  Lee Ka Yi (Hkg)
11/5, 11/7, 11/9 (26m)
 Fiona Moverley (Eng) 3-0 ]4] Mariam Metwally (Egy)
12/10, 11/5, 11/8 (26m)
Amina Yousry (Egy) 3-0  Sina Wall (Ger)
11/6, 11/4, 11/8 (21m)
 Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-2  Nouran El Torky (Egy)
11/9, 11/6, 3/11, 6/11, 11/4 (48m)
 Mena Nasser (Egy) 3-1  Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn)
7/11, 11/6, 11/7, 3/4 rtd (28m)
Draws & Results
"we qualified !!!"
 Alan Clyne
(Sco) 3-0  Joe Lee (Eng) 11/4, 11/4, 11/3 (40m)
of those matches where the scores definitely doesn’t tell you
the story, and the hard work produced. Both first games were 14m
each, with massive, absolutely massive rallies at the start of
each game, where Alan seemed to dictate the pace/game, and never
seemed out of his comfort zone.
Joe matched the Scot physically, but got the wrong end of sooo
many long and gruelling rallies, he got frustrated at times,
trying the attack from maybe not the best of position. From the
middle of the game, Alan collected the dividends of his tactics,
with Joe attacking a bit too early, making a few too many errors
for his own good.
Not that I am hammering the point AT ALL, you know me, not my
style, but we had 6 decisions. Six. And it was a bleeping
disputed match. No discussion, no argument, no need for a
prominent refereeing…. I rest my case.
very happy, it’s not often you get to win two matches 3/0 under
40m in the qualifying. And I must have played well to beat
somebody like Joe in straight games.
I had a game plan, I stuck to it… you can’t for much more…
It is quite tough when you have beaten a player during two
seasons, four times in a row, and suddenly, he beat me during
the GP in Manchester, and again today. I feel he probably played
a bit better, while I played just a bit worse, and that show the
fine line there is between the players.
At the end, he run away with the score, but all the starts of
the games were very testing, but once he got that couple of
points, he relaxed, got more confident, and he picked me up from
is such a skilful player, he can string a few points within
seconds, and if you are out of focus for a split second, you
find yourself with a few more points on the scoreboard! And in
the 3rd, that’s what happened. I was up 9/5, relaxed a bit, and
he can win the points so easily… That is what I’m really not
happy about today.
Overall, I played the right game, send everything deep enough at
the back and minimise the angles, as if I opened the court too
early, he would have chopped me easily.
Yesterday was my first ever victory on Qatar soil, and
obviously, my first time to qualify in the Qatar Classic…
 Leo Au (Hkg)
3-2 Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
6/11, 11/4, 10/12,
11/9, 11/2 (57m)
and down and up and down would be the way to describe this one…
Leo a slow start in the first game 5/0 down where as there was
nothing wrong with Abdullah’s amazing racquet skills, 11/6 for
Leo get back in there in the second, maybe Abdullah feels the
consequences of his amazing come back yesterday against Shawn
Leroux from 2/0, easy for Leo, 11/4.
Third is strange indeed, with Abdullah tinning the ball far too
much while Leo is controlling the game, 9/5 and suddenly, our
Leo away with the HK fairies bless him, letting the Kuwaiti back
in the match, 4 points straight tot 9/9!
With a second wind and plenty of confidence, Abdullah is back to
his former WR33 instead of his actual 158, and chops his way to
12/10. Leo and the HK support clan are not happy.
The fourth is the most disputed of the 5 games, with Abdullah
truly playing amazingly well, finding nicks from outside the
court, and Leo doing his best to limit the damage and weather
3/0 for Abdullah, 4/1, 5/2, Leo claws back to 5/5, 6/6, 7/7,
8/8, 9/9! Abdullah two points away from the match, but a tin and
a stroke later, Leo forces the decider that he’ll take in
minutes, Abdullah having nothing but fumes in the tank, 11/2
The first game, I don’t think Zahed was awake and switched on
yet, but in the second and third, he came on really fast, and
outplayed me really using different angles. So Alan [Clyne] told
me to straighten out, and I try and simplify my game, trying to
concentrate on playing simple things.
In the 5th, it was not the squash I wanted to play, it was not
the nicest squash to watch, a lot of stop and start, not really
a free flowing squash. But we are both young, with so much at
I’ve been trying to concentrate on my length with several
coaches, I just spent a week in Orlando with David Palmer who
told me, like you, that my length is my weakness, and I’m
working on it, but it’s like my natural instinct is to go short
whereas my opponent is at the front… I’m improving though…
(Sco) 3-2  Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
11/9, 8/11, 5/11, 11/7, 13/11 (73m)
NEVER IN DOUBT
A very very very good game between two 23 year old hungry
attacking players, Greg L being the lower WR38, Zahed WR34.
I just love those two players. They are quite different. I never
saw either of them take a double bounce, block or not call their
ball down. Zahed is usually a very quiet boy, that doesn’t
really believe in himself or his talent, rarely/never argues a
decision. Greg is more bubbly bless him, he barks a bit
sometimes, he’s got guts and will, but they are two of the
fairest players out there.
And today, it was rather fluid squash, played played at 250m/h,
quick intense very watchable squash, and truly nice, until….
game, nothing between the players, and Greg sneaks it at the
end, 11/9. Second and third, Greg is completely outplayed to be
honest, Zahed is playing his strong at the back delicate and
surprising at the front squash, and it’s working wonders. Greg
is getting more and more frustrating.
I feel the 4th is where Zahed let himself down really. He who
had hardly made any unforced errors didn’t keep the momentum
going, and became a bit complaisant with himself, 5 tins in that
game alone, losing his length and letting the Scot waaaayyyy
back in the game, 4/4, 10/5, 11/7, with a few great rallies as
to that point, very few decisions but the 5th was going to be a
wake up/now is our time moment for the refs. Nothing between the
players that game I tell you, a few too many stoppages, and if
Zahed seems to take the advantage 3/0, 7/4, Greg won’t have it,
playing a very fast strong hard hitting squash, 3/3, 7/7.
tension is palpable, Zahed is tinning a few shots too many, Greg
is more and more intense and told to calm down. A few too many
decisions. 8/8. 9/9. 10/9 MB Greg, No Net, 10/10. Greg goes for
a huge winner, that goes in, second match ball, 11/10. Follows
an endless slow pace rally, none of them want to make the error,
but it’s a tin for Greg. Well, the refs and Zahed say it’s a
tin, Greg is not of that opinion: “ball is very good! What’s
wrong with you people”.
11/11. 5 lets, and a stunning return of serve from the Scott
Zahed cannot pick up, third match ball, 12/11. And on a stroke –
which in my opinion was a bit harsh as it seemed from where I
was there was space to the ball, but what do I know – it’s a
never in doubt match for an ecstatic young Scott. Zahed, on the
other hand, was logically not a happy bunny and made his opinion
very clear in Arabic…
 Ryan Cuskelly
(Aus) 3-0 Charles Sharpes (Eng)
15/13, 11/5, 11/6
very long first game, 23m (thanks to Graham Waters for his
perfect scoresheets), with Ryan comfy ahead, 7/4, only to be
caught up very a few hungry/upforit/nothingtolose young
Englishman, 7/8, 8/9. Game ball Ryan, 10/9, who’ll have three
more before closing it finally, 15/13.
Understandably, Charles a bit flat in the second, Ryan takes it
11/5, but still 10m game. The third is muuuuch closer, with
Charles taking a healthy lead 5/1 before Ryan felt the danger to
come back 5/5, 6/6, but again, a few lovely attacks – including
sharp angles – and it’s 11/6 in 12m….
courts are a bit slippery. It’s not just here, they seem to put
a coating, a lacquer that means that it’s easier to maintain,
but the sweat just seems to stand on it instead of disappearing
like with the old courts. Today, I slipped in the second, and
broke a shoe lace, and it seemed to have happen a few times now.
It’s the same on the glasscourt nowadays, not just traditional.
I hope it gets sorted quickly, because when you have two
players, the sweat seems to stand there and when you are at full
speed, it can be pretty dangerous and you can easily snap a
hamstring when you slip.
I had a bit of a lead in the first, but lost a bit of
concentration, and I only managed to sneak that one out 15/13,
it was an important game to win. Pretty happy with the fact I’m
feeling much better today, yesterday I just arrived, so it took
me a day to get used to the time zone, conditions etc.
In the third, I played a few silly shots, wanting to finish the
rallies too quickly, but I didn’t want him to win the third, and
take confidence in his shots. So I got my length again, attacked
a bit more and managed to keep the rallies short at the end,
happy with that.
Adnan (Mas) 3-0  Olli Tuominen (Fin) 11/7, 11/4, 11/7 (31m)
He was not at his best I think, his movement to the front was
not as fluid as usual. But I just concentrated on playing my
best squash, not on the fact he might be injured.
A month ago, I moved to Manchester as my wife is doing a
postgraduate course in Orthodontic – she is a dentist. So it was
good for her, and good for me. I’m now training with Andy Whipp,
he is a good coach, he is teaching me how to win matches like
today, on concentrating on little things, like making sure I’m
pushing myself at all times to put him under pressure and force
him to do a lot of work.
Pretty simple, but it works…
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-2
 Raphael Kandra (Ger)
11/5, 10/12, 11/8, 9/11, 11/4 (67m)
a great entertainment that match was. Two great young warriors,
so fair, so fast, so clever and skilful, both reading each
other’s game beautifully – amazingly I may add, as some of their
reflex/reactions was just stunningly magic, very few decisions,
fast pace, lovely angles, attacking squash. Loved it from
beginning to end.
Of course, OF COURSE, Abou had to make too many errors at times.
That mental side of the game – and probably physical as well, as
he gets a bit tired sometimes and will try and shorten the
rallies – is his weakness. If you look at the ratio age/results,
Marwan and him were in the final of the World Juniors in Qatar.
Marwan is 22, top 10. Abou same age, 36. The only thing that is
preventing Abou from reaching the top is Abou’s brain. Not the
talent. Cause that he has plenty.
is one of those players I feel that need a break. He is working
so hard, so gifted, but maybe lacking confidence, never really
letting his talent go through in important matches. Maybe too
self critical. But clever. And hard worker. And soooo gifted
with a racquet. He proved it tonight, keeping up with Abou in
all the compartments of the game, speed, reading of the game,
attacking skills, reactions, mental toughness. A joy to watch.
It’s a cliché. But one of those matches you don’t want a loser
to emerge out of. And it was a pretty open one all the way to
the 4th, with Abou wizzing through the first game 11/5, finally
making the gap in the 2nd 10/8 to tin nicely the next 3 points,
Third, a great start for the young German, 4/0, 5/1, 6/3, 8/5,
but cutting the errors down to a minimum, Abou claws back and
will string 6 points from there, 11/8.
is the longest game of the match, 18m with stunning rallies all
the way, amazing pickups, shots that don’t exist in the book,
“Unbelievable that guy, he is sooo crazy” shouts Rafa after a
ridiculous shot from the Egyptian, only to find an even more
ridiculous one himself on the next shot! 6 tins for Abou, none
for Rafa. Incredible game, Rafa takes it 11/9….
But that last game takes just a bit too much out of the German,
who gets a bad start, NoLet, a tin and a winner from About, 3/0.
From that point on, Abou has got the momentum/confidence, Rafa
is losing his length, will make 5 UE out of the blue. The
Egyptian takes the decider, 11/4 in 6m…
Still, what a game what a game what a game.
feel that I’m on the right track, I’ve made changes to my
training regime, I’m starting to work on the mental side [‘BOUT
TIME IF YOU ASK ME, FG]. That match, a year ago, I would have
gone for my shots and find the tin, and I would have lost for
It was not my best squash, but I’m happy with the way I handled
things today. And I hope this year is my breakthrough year. I
had a good season so far, I hope I can get a few more good wins…
I felt well today,
happy with my racquet skills, and movement wise too. I have had
a good 6 months, and I was up for the match today, as I need
points, I would like to be able to get up in the ranking enough
to get to the main draw, as I never qualified for a World Series
Last time we played was in HK, I lost again in 5 in a very tight
game. What the most frustrating is that it’s not about the way I
play, it’s all about him, if he plays winners or tins. I don’t
have much saying in the matter, he is doing the match.
the 5th shows the difference of level between us, I was not
patient enough, lacked accuracy. He played some outrageous shots,
and was on top of the ball and I was not positive enough, I just
hung in there.
Now I’m off to my Military Camp, that’s why I’m missing all the
end of the year massive tournaments, but they are my main
sponsors, they have been very good to me. So no regrets, and my
first tournament back should be the ToC in New York…
Marche (Fra) 3-1  Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
8/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7
What a stunning lovely great game that was! And for two and a
half game I thought we were in for an upset, as Nasir was making
the game, the show, and the winners!
Nasir, one of the nicest players on the tour, and the best
Pakistani to come out of the former Squash Flagship country for
a very long time, impressed the nicks out of me today, yet
He put TGreg under so much pressure taking the first game from
8/8 to 11/8 by just outplaying the Frenchman completely.
If TGreg comes back with a vengeance in the second, forcing a
few errors out of the Pakistani racquet, 11/7, Nasir completely
dominated the French, yet again in the third, well, up to 8/4
that is. That’s when he hit the wall.
The enormous effort he had to produce and the running/intensity
he had to put on Greg to win each point – Greg being himself and
retrieving everything – just caught up with the young Pakistani,
21 and 44 in the world. TGreg, more experienced, 25 and WR32,
was able to sustain the pace much longer, stringing 6 points to
11/8 while Nasir found the tin 6 times just in that game.
And even if Nasir managed to find some lovely shots in the 4th,
3/3, 4/4, Greg looked always the winner and the stronger player,
11/7 in the 5th, still 15m long, as in, they both worked
was struggling to play the ball at the back, so I had no
confidence on my length, and I was struggling to attack from a
good position. Very grateful for the fact he made a lot of
errors and that he was not patient enough.
I was hoping for that I have to admit, I was trying to make the
rallies long but I didn’t manage to do it for the whole match,
lacking a bit of
Anyway, not the best squash, but a win is a win, and I needed
it. But what a good and fair player Nasir was today.
He is such an honest guy, he corrects the bad decisions, he
congratulates you when you play a good shot, and he deserves to
go up in the rankings.
I was prepared all day, did
my routine as usual, I was completely ready for the match, but
in the first rallies of the match, I was not in it, neither of
us were I feel. That’s why maybe I was a bit nervous and vocal
out there today, a bit unsettled.
All credit to him, the match was extremely fair today, very
clean and honest match. Normally, when I play Omar, I stick the
ball to the wall to close his angles. But today, he was leaning
to the wall before I was playing the ball and volleying it so
well. So I had to change my game, and vary my shots a lot, but
I was lucky he had a hard match yesterday, I felt like he let go
of the last few points, the only thing I can say is that I’m
grateful! It was always going to be tough playing against Omar,
but finishing the match 3/1 a bit fresh physically is an
 Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1  Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
9/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (54m)
It was a nice match to watch. Clean and fair, very few decisions
and no arguing at all. Omar was not as sharp as he was yesterday,
his first round match was brutal, and must have taken a bit out
of him, both mentally and physically.
After a bit of an hesitant start for both, Omar clinches the
first game thanks to a tin and a stunning winner, 11/9 in 18m.
The second starts with the momentum for Omar, 3/0, but Ali is
very much on the ball right away, and scores 6 points in a row,
6/3, then 8/4, 9/5. Omar makes a few mistakes he didn’t do
yesterday, that probably unsettled/frustrated him. He will come
back to 7/9, but can’t stop the shots from Ali, and it’s 11/7
for the Harvard Man. 10m for that one.
The third is about the same pattern, excellent start from our
Dentist, 3/1, but a roll of points for Ali, 5, 6/3, then another
5, 11/5. The 4th, a balanced beginning, not much between the
players, but Ali just a couple of points ahead, just enough to
relax him completely, wrong footing Omar at crucial times, from
4/4 to 6/4 then 10/5, 11/6 with not too much resistance from him
in the last points it seemed…
 Mayar Hany
(Egy) 3-2  Donna Urquhart (Aus)
7/11, 12/10, 11/6, 9/11, 11/8 (55m)
The first women's qualifying
final saw the demise of top seed Donna Urquhart at the hands of
teenage Egyptian Mayar Hany. When the Australian went 5-0 up in
the first a five-setter didn't look on the cards, but Hany took
an immediate lead in the second and from there on it it was
close all the way to the end.
so happy, I’m 18, I’m still a junior, it’s my first time on a
major tournament, I would have never thought I could qualify for
such a big event, especially against somebody like Donna!
I never saw her play, but she is so dangerous, the others told
me, so they told me just do your best, try everything. So I went
in there with no pressure, I would have never expected to beat
her. I am sooo happy, and I want to thank a lot of people, my
coaches, Haitham and Mohamed Farid, Mazen Hesham my cousin,
Captain Ahmed Faragala, my parents and my brother Asser.
Aumard (Fra) 3-1  Millie Tomlinson (Eng)
11/3, 11/8, 8/11, 12/10 (57m)
What started out looking like a
comfortable passage into the main draw for French #2 Coline
Aumard turned into a real battle as Millie Tomlinson fought back
and so nearly took the match in to a decider.
Aumard was getting frustrated with herself, and with what she
perceived as poor movement from her opponent, but held
together in the end to save a couple of game balls before taking
the fourth to move into the main draw.
the beginning I played well, but then I lost my length and was
running too much - that's ok, I like running, but we've played a
few times and she knows what to do to unsettle me and it was
"I got some no lets I didn't understand, but in the end I came
through, I just had to calm down and keep the ball tight.
"I'm very happy to qualify on my first visit to Qatar ... and
thanks to Camille [Serme] for the coaching!"
"I thought I played well, and
felt in control for most of the
match, but I knew I had to be.
I did some research before, and I knew she'd come at me with
pace and try to chop it in, so I wanted to try to be the one to
step it up first.
"It's my first ever main draw in a World Series event, so I'm
really excited about that, and I'd love to get to play on the
"She's got real potential and great hands, you've got to keep it
away from those.
"Beforehand I told myself not to lose focus, but sure enough at
9-4 in the third I started to get a bit edgy. But then I played
a good point which settled me and helped me to finish it off.
"That's two for two in qualifying for the big events this
season, I hope I can go further this time."
"I knew it was going to be tough, I told myself that I had to
stick to my game plan and it worked.
"It's the first time I managed to make the main draw of a big
event like this, so I'm really excited about that.
"I hope I get to play on the glass court."
the same as last time I played Nouran last month in India, I was
two-nil up and fin ally won three-two, it's always tough.
"I just can't believe that I qualified for such a big tournament
as this for the first time. It would be such a thrill to play on
the glass court ..."
Misaki bows out