TODAY at the Qatar Classic -
Daily updates from Doha
31-Oct, Day Three, Round One,
Upsets continue in Doha
more matches today at the Khalifa International Tennis &
Squash Complex, as the main the men's and women's competitions
kicked off with the top half of the draws.
day started with a huge upset as Joshana Chinappa knocked
out top seed and world #1 Raneem El Welily, and that was far
from the end of it as Yathreb Adel and qualifiers
Amina Yousry and Fiona Moverley all progressed at the
expense of seeded opponents.
evening men's session started with top seed Mohamed
Elshorbagy stopping wildcard Abdullah Al Tamimi, but
qualifiers Mohamed Abouelghar and Ryan Cuskelly
both advanced to the last sixteen - at the expense of James
Willstrop and Mathieu Castagnet - , and Chris Simpson continued
his run of good form with a nailbiting won over Marwan
Reports, quotes and photos below, with a few more to
Men's Round One (top):
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Abdullah AlTamimi (Qat)
11/9, 11/4, 11/9
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar
3-2 (Egy) James Willstrop (Eng)
5/11, 9/11, 11/9,
11/3, 11/9 (73m)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-1  Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
3/11, 11/9, 11/4,
Max Lee (Hkg) 3-1 [Q] Greg Lobban (Sco)
4/11, 11/7, 11/3,
 Simon Rosner (Ger) 3-2 Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
6/11, 11/9, 11/9 (86m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1 Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
11/3, 14/12 (65m)
 Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-1 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/7, 11/8, 12/14,
Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-1 Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/9, 12/10, 6/11,
Women's Round One (top):
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-1  Raneem El Welily
4/11, 11/9 (37m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0  Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
11/7, 11/7 (36m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-1 Line Hansen (Den)
11/7, 16/14, 4/11, 11/7 (47m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-0 Habiba Mohamed (Egy)
11/6, 11/4, 11/6 (14m)
 Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Nadine Shahin (Egy)
11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (27m)
[Q] Amina Yousry (Egy) 3-2  Emily Whitlock (Eng)
13/11, 14/12, 9/11, 9/11, 11/7 (67m)
 Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Mena Nasser (Egy)
11/7, 11/3 (23m)
[Q] Fiona Moverley (Eng) 3-1  Salma Hany (Egy)
7/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (32m)
Joshana takes out top seed in
opening match on the glass court
Chinappa (Ind) 3-1  Raneem El Welily (Egy)
4/11, 11/9 (37m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0  Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
11/7, 11/7 (36m)
Two upsets as Joshana takes out world #1
you'd told anyone that there would be one Egyptian and one
Indian winner in the first pair of matches, no-one would have
been surprised - but few would have predicted it this way round
A bad start for Raneem, feeling the pressure of her new ranking
no doubt. Joshana didnít have any though, and played from the
start with poise and aggression that I rarely saw in her really.
Raneem made her normal quota of unforced errors in the first
two, to show the Champion she is and why she is in the 3rd,
stringing 7 points from 2/3 to 9/3, taking that game in 6m, 11/4
it looked we were in for a little hiccup in the first round of a
top seed when she took complete control in the 4th, 9/5 in 3
minutes. But Joshana finds a winner, backhand volley kill, then
another, and another, and we are suddenly at 9/9 after a superb
rally, stunning and intense, where Raneem clips the tin.
Another long rally, ending with a no let, that will stay a not
let after video review, 10/9 match ball. And match. Joshana just
score 6 points to oust our World number 1 and seed 1Ö.
Howís that for an opener???
my God, I donít know what to say, itís almost like, everything
just worked for me today. In patches, she was dominating
completely, but then at 9/5 in the 4th, I just found a better
length, I got a couple of nice winners and I also got a few
decisions in my favour.
This is by far the best win of my career - it doesnít get any
better than beating the player at the top of the world rankings.
Iíve not been looking at my rankings or anything like that of
late and I think thatís showing through in my game. Iím more
relaxed on court and hopefully I can keep my momentum going now
and take that into my next match and see how far I can go.
Itís my first time ever beating a top 5, last few times we
played, she beat me 3/0. I donít know what Iíve done differently, I donít
think itís anything in particular, since my ACL injury a few
years back, I am more relaxed, and just enjoying my squash
better. Itís all about putting the work in and let it happenÖ
very short affair between two shotmakers, Yathreb and Dipika.
Short rallies, lots of beautiful shots on a cold traditional
court that takes the ball short very well indeed. With the lower
tin, the first one that was dominating the middle got away with
A few decisions that seemed a bit strange from where I was
standing, far left, that seemed to unsettle the Indian player,
but I didnít manage to see the last game as the World Number 1
was in trouble on the glasscourt and I had to rush to that
pleased with my match today, I was coming from the qualifiers, I
was relaxed, no pressure on me whatsoever. I was looking forward
to playing Dipika and was up for it.
The only time we played was during the World Juniors, I was 13,
and she chopped me 3/0. It was revenge time I guess, 6 years
Basically, I had to be on my toes the whole time, she plays that
amazing boast, so it was always on my mind and I had to be ready
to move. I focused on playing tight, to take away the centre
from her, because she is very dangerous there.
It was our first time playing a PSA event, and I thought, just
go on there, enjoy it, and the game will comeÖ
"It's never easy to play
someone from your own country,
especially when it's your best friend - we played a five setter
the day before we left to come to Qatar !
"We know each other's game so well, you have to try to do
something different, that backhand crosscourt isn't one of my
shots at all.
"She played well and wasn't nervous like she sometimes is, it
was a good match with some tough rallies, but I'm just glad to
be through to the next round."
"It's not good to see top
seeds going out early, but you can't
let the carnage going on around you affect you, you just have to
prepare for your game, if anything it maybe makes you take every
opponent a little more seriously.
"I'm used to playing young Egyptians now, and Mena is obviously
a good player having come through two tough qualifying matches,
but she maybe hasn't got as much experience on the glass court.
I was pretty happy to get a match on there to start, and felt I
was playing well."
Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-1 Line Hansen (Den)
11/7, 16/14, 4/11,
A superb display from Line
Hansen today, who had nothing to lose and really played out of
her skin. She managed to see through Omneyaís attack pretty
well, not only getting to her shots, but early enough to create
a lot of trouble for the world number 6!
The second game is crucial, truly. Both girls will have 3
chances, but itís Omneya that clinches it 16/14. And even if
Omneya is a bit tired in that following game, while Line is
really going for the jugular, 5/0, 7/2, 11/4 in 8m, Omneya is
still in charge in the 4th, 6/2, 7/3, 10/5 to take the match
11/6 superbly it has to be said.
A truly entertaining match, it was nice to see how well Line was
moving on that court, she is fitter than she ever was, up for
it, and fighting as ever for every shot. Itís a pleasure to see
her out there and the mix Omneyaís attacking skills versus Line
physicality and anticipation, made a truly entertaining
encounter. Loved it.
Of course, Raneem
was on my mind today, I watched the whole match, Raneem and I
have similar games, and today, she made so many errors, I donít
know why, itís not her normal game. So I tried and focused on my
own game, losing my match wouldnít help, nowÖ
It was not an easy match, Line is a dangerous player, she had a
few nice wins, she can smack or nick the ball in the court
easily, so I had to be 100% focus. She was reading my game so
well, I think because she was stepping a few further up.
I had to mix my shots all the time, pace, height, weight, fast
slow, mentally it was really hard to keep switching, and I still
was thinking about Raneem. Plus, the court is cold, so you have
to adapt the way you hit the ball when you try and play a drop
shot, you have to hit harder, itís not the same sensation in the
racquet. And the lower tin, we like it, but strangely, we still
hit it, because I think we feel itís lower than itís actually
Tomorrow, a day of rest, thatís good, and Iím happy I got
through that one.
Amina Yousry (Egy) 3-2  Emily Whitlock (Eng)
9/11, 9/11, 11/7 (67m)
one more upset, and Iím going homeÖ You guys have no idea how it
puts under pressure! Like when Cubs asked Joshna if she realised
how much extra work she was giving us? ďI donít careĒ, she
giggled. Imagine thatÖ
apart, this has been an eventful day, normally first round days
are long but you can sort of organise yourself. I havenít been
able to breathe basically since 12Ö And Amina/Em match was not
going to make my life easier now was it.
I arrived at 4/4 in the second, while young 15 years old, 140 in
the world Amina Yousry just took the first one 13/11 against Em
Whitlock, 21, WR 18. Bit of a gap. But those young Egyptians,
they are afraid of nothing, or nobody. And that makes them
Emily didnít put a foot wrong today. Itís not like she went wild
with tins, or lost her length, or played the wrong tactic. It
just that today, there was a little girl on there that basically
played each and every rally as if it was the last one she would
ever play. I mean it. I rarely saw that in such a young
made that 15 years old special too, was the cleanness of her
game. I didnít ask the ref, but there wasnít many decisions,
despite the length to the rallies/match, their movement was very
fluid, and they managed to visit the court 1 million times with
very little contatct. Boys, look and learn.
You add to that an extraordinary maturity in the mixing of the
shots, and an excellent fitness, and you have a SquashBomb
really. Emily just was facing a little girl, that still made a
few wrong choices, still showed she is still very much of a
junior, but with a determination and heart you rarely find on
his planet. And with nothing to loseÖ..
The second game was as close as the first one. From 4/4 though,
Amina was always the nose in front, 7/5, 8/6, 10/8. Nerves
finally got to the little girl, while Emilyí experience and deep
length forced a few errors out of the junior. But after 28m of
game, she clinches the 2nd game to go 2/0 up, on her 4th game
ball, while Emily couldnít finalise hers.
be honest I thought as we started the 3rd, and looking at the
fighting in Emily, and her will to not let go, that we were in
for a 5 setter. And we were indeed. Emily fought hard and for
every single point in the that 3rd, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 6/6, 7/7,
9/9, a no let and a ball that touched her opponent in the
middle, 11/9 Emily.
The fourth was as close people, I kid you not, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3,
4/4, 5/5. Amina takes the lead, 8/5, rallies are getting more
and more intense, while the little girlís voice is getting
higher and higher as she encourages herself after every wining
point. Or losing point for that matter bless her.
But at 8/5, she is back being a tired little girl. Too short too
early, not making Em work hard enough, a few tins under
pressure, and Em will take that 4th, against 11/9.
Emily, who never let her emotions transpire or overwhelmed her
the whole match, is fighting beautifully, and still believes she
will take this. A very close start of the game, 2/2, 3/, 4/4.
But from that point on, Amina will be one or two points ahead.
She is exhausted, itís obvious. But the adrenalin now has taken
over the fumes in the tank. And Em seems a bit slower in her
movement (she will say after the match that her back seized but
as it was warm, she thought she would get away with it).
Amina, Em claws back, 7/8, two errors and a winner later, Amina
is shaking the hand of a distraught Emily, 11/7. ďItís my own
fault, she played very wellĒ, said Em a little later as she left
the physio table. ďBut itís the first time I leave a tournament
injured, and itís a bit too much for me at the momentĒ.
Donít believe that Emily was taking away anything from Amina,
she was not. But frustrated she was for sure. As for the
SquashBomb, here is a frightening thought for you: there is some
room for improvement in her game, and choice of shots.
Believe it or not, this is the first time ever I have that
fighting spirit on the court. Iím not normally like that. But
today, I thought, you die on this court, or you come out a
winner. Every point, I thought about that. You die or you win
the point. And thatís what got me through today.
She is a true English player, so dangerous because her game is
so solid, it was my first time playing her, and up to recently,
I never believed my game would be good enough to beat somebody
of that calibre. But I realised a few week ago that my game
could be good enough.
I train in the club of Champions, Wadi Degla, Raneem and Omneya,
and I hope one day Iíll be like them! Having Omneya, Nour El
Sherbini and Nouran made a huge difference to me today, having
them supporting me made me believe I could do it.
So thanks to them, thanks to my parents, first and foremost, but
also to my coaches, Haitham and Samy Farrag.
So happy I won this match. I truly donít know what I feel at the
(Eng) 3-1  Salma Hany (Egy) 7/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/5
game Salma was hitting the ball as sharply as she normally does,
but as the game unfolded, she didnít seem to move and play as
she normally did. All credit to Fiona of course that was
blasting that ball all around the court, forcing Salma to get
deeper and deeper at the back, but her heavy strapping on the
right shoulder could be another factor that didnít help the 19
years old Egyptian.
[actually, Salma was in hospital after the match, and has now
her right shoulder heavily strapped]
I was personally impressed with Fionaís game today, she was
despatching those heavy shots like UPS on Christmas Boxing Day,
with precision and diligence!
Amazing to think that one year
ago, Fiona came back on the Tour, having stopped for 4 years,
and started back at the very bottom, WR211. Welcome back Fiona,
nice to have you aroundÖ
was on the tour about 5 years ago, I went up to 43, and I was
22. Then, lack of sponsoring, no money, I just didnít want to go
half way, I wanted to be a full time pro or nothing, so I just
found myself a job, in schools, organising Sports Schedules and
Programmes, and was playing leisure squash.
And a bit of a personal thing happened, my marriage broke up, I
moved back with my mum, and I thought, ok, a few unfinished
business, letís see what would happen if I was going back to
what I didnít manage to finish. So I quit my job, took all my
savings, and went back on the tour. That was a year ago, I
started at 211 in the world, and Iím now 50.
first game, I found it was very hard to play against her, all
the rallies were 2, 3 shots, no more, she was playing only
shots, it was going so fast! So I had to do something, I had to
try and lengthen the rallies, and started to pushing the ball
back in the backcorners. And maybe she started to get a bit
frustrated, having to attack from not so good positions, and the
errors started to creep in. And there was a shifting in the
energy, I was now much more in control of the rallies.
But you know, itís not like I ever qualified for major
tournaments or anything, I guess I must have played 3, 4 times
on the glasscourt!? So I think I need a lecture on how to play
on there nowÖ
"This is the third time we play this month. First time, I beat
him in SF, 3/2, and in the US Open, he beat me 3/0, but it was
on traditional court. On the glass court, I thought I would have
a bit more chance, as it was deader.
Thatís a massive win for me. Heís such a tough guy but once I
started to get my rhythm going I was able to attack and that was
my game plan.
The first game, I was like a beginner, I couldnít get the ball
to the back at all, I hadnít played on a glass court for a
while, and I was struggling to find my rhythm.
Once I got a bit more used to the court, I took the volley from
him (my backhand, his forehand), because I know he like
attacking from there. So I stuck it to the back, and as soon as
I was in front of him, I would hit a shot, the court being very
dead, as soon as you hit a good length, you can kill the ball. I
think I got it tactically right today.
I was not feeling at my best, flying back straight from Halifax,
my biggest win so far, had to play two qualifying matches,
didnít sleep well at all.
So itís good I get a rest day tomorrow, I may sleep all day, and
get some energy from there. Iím lucky, Iím in a good part of the
draw, and with a bit of luck, we can create a few more upsetsÖ
(Aus) 3-1  Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/2 (49m)
Invoicing Mathieu for the lesson?
What a squash masterclass the ďman of the hourĒ Cuskelly gave
today to Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet. After a slow start where
Mathieu chopped him, the Australian just never gave a chance to
his opponent. The second was probably the turning point, but
itís the Australian that grabs it 11/9.
that point on, Mathieu was pushed, twisted and turned out of his
comfort zone, and just didnít that the time to breathe or
construct his patient rallies he dwells on. Ryan took the time
to the ball completely away from him, forcing Mathieu to try and
force the issue from the wrong position, at the wrong time,
forcing uncharacteristic errors from the Frenchman.
A truly impressive display from the Australian, again advised by
Squash Legend Geoff Hunt who used to coach in Aspire, and now
still works as an adviser to the Federation and still helps
Abdullah who just played against Mohamed.
Abouelghar 3-2 (Egy) James Willstrop (Eng)
5/11, 9/11, 11/9,
11/3, 11/9 (73m)
upset to this day that seems endlessÖ A stupendous effort from
both players, a game of 2 halves, really, with very long,
patient, mid pace, accurate and gruelling rallies in the first
two games (scoring 8 points from 4/0 down in the first),
dominated and controlled (only just but still) by James.
A truly nailbiting third but where the pace is much much faster,
the Egyptian more confident, attacking more quickly and with
nothing between the players yet again.
we can see the hard work taking its toll on James, who tries and
gives it all to close that crucial 3rd game. Not more than a
point between the players, clinched from 9/9 by the young
Egyptian who lobbed James to perfection, 11/9.
The 4th, James doesnít show up, 9/0 11/3 in 4m. But he is up on
stage for that 5th I tell you. But itís the young Birdsbrain in
control, James is retrieving a heck of a lot, always trading
being in the points, from 6/6. Rallies outrageous of pace,
angles, retrieving, attacking. So few decisions for such a fast
and intense pace, two great warriors, fair and fluid.
need a winner, itís Abou, 11/9 in 73m. Only problem, I may have
to find another nickname for the Egyptian, who did 8 errors in
the whole 5 games. 8. Itís normally what he does in half a
Before the match, I knew how dangerous of a player he is, so I
had a game plan, trying to keep the ball in the back, and play
as fast as I could, even if I was getting tired. I had a chance
to close it in the second, but I didnít. So before the 3rd, I
decided I would give it a push as hard as I can. And that I
wouldnít get out of court without a fight.
I am more than happy with my performance today and to come from
2-0 down against someone like James and win is huge for me.
He came out determined in the fifth and Iím really happy I
managed to hang on.
I am very happy, not only because itís a big win for me, but
also before I have been working very hard for this. It was my
first time ever playing James, he is such a gentleman, I just
read his book this summer actually, and I have learned a lot
Iím looking forward to playing against Mohamed now. I know how
tough he is but I feel like I can compete at this level so Iíll
give it everything.
I want of course to thank Ali [Farag] and Mazen for coaching me
between the games and my coaches in Cairo, Mohamed Farid and
Omar Abdel Aziz.
 Simon Rosner
(Ger) 3-2 Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/7, 12/14, 6/11, 11/9, 11/9 (86m)
Simon survives -
We were that close, I mean, THAT close to yet another upset.
, with Simon taking the 1st comfortably, only to see the South
African impose his mad squash in the 2nd. I mean, I have never
seen Steve play so many volleys and react so beautifully ever.
It was magnificent to watch those two react to each other,
moving from one side to the other, at the speed of light really!
Simon was pushing in making 4 errors, Steve only 2, but the pace
was surreal. 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, 10/10, 11/11, 12/12Ö Superb, fast,
intense rallies, ridiculous squash, finally Steve takes the 2nd,
14/12 on a gigantic rally, Simon having had 1 game ball.
unforced errors for Simon in the 3rd, game dominated by Steve
completely, 4/1, 8/4, 11/6, 0 error for the South African. Scary
At 6/4 in the 4th, Cops looks bleeping good he does. But 2
strokes, and you are back at 6/6, and he gets his second wind,
while you get a bit too excited, play the ball too quickly to
the front, make one or two errors, and you lost that crucial
game, 11/9, taking your opponent right back in it, and forcing a
5th looks itís going to be over quickly, 4/1, 5/2 6/3 for Simon,
but our South African just wonít let go, and claws back 6/6.
Simon from that point on will always be in front, to get to 10/8
match ball and match 11/9, on yet another gigantic rally, ending
with an uncharacteristic tin from Steve.
To be noted some video review funny moments, when the video
review just refused to work Ė I think 3 times within a few
rallies. And then on one single point, Steve that canít get a
decision overturn, stays at the let, while the next rally, Simon
tries to get a let into a stroke and gets a no let! Nice one
When I was a kid, being a top 10 player was just a dream, so
when I reached it last year, I truly enjoyed it, and itís nice
to be there, although youíve got all those young kids that are
coming to try and take your place!
It was as expected, an extremely tough match. That man, I mean,
I thought I was volleying a lot, but he just chopping everything
on the volley, I mean everything, whether itís high, or low,
forehand, backhand, he just jumps on every single ball!!!
When I was 2/1d down, I thought I would never recover, that I
would quickly lose, but I found my second wind in the 4th and
5th, thank God for that, because if I had stay in the same
physical shape, I would have been out of the match very quickly.
Iím so happy and relieved to get through against such a worthy
opponent. Steve has improved so much for the past two years,
since he is working with Palmer. He is up in the rankings, and
he will still go higher, itís just a matter of time, heíll be
top 10 for sure.
I would consider myself ďluckyĒ today. I say lucky, it might
seem strange, but there were a few points at crucial times where
he was in front of me, with the racquet in position, and he just
found the tin, whereas he didnít for the rest of the match.
Thatís why I say Iím a bit lucky.
Sometimes, you need a bit of luck, that compensate for all those times
where you should have won, and didnít, and it was just a bit of
luck. So today, Iíll take that one, even if I think that Steve
must be feeling very disappointed, because I think the best
player lost tonight.
(Eng) 3-1 Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/9, 12/10, 6/11, 11/7 (46m)
think we started a bit both tentative, it was a big match for
both of us. It was point per point, he was up 9/7 but I still
managed to sneak that first one by getting some good opportunity
as the end of the first.
At the start on the second, he gets off firing as he does, he
gets a healthy lead, 9/3, but a few errors from him, a few
winners for me, and somehow, it gets the scoreboard close again,
and I win that one 12/10. As you may imagine, that makes a big
difference, when you find yourself up 2/0.
credit to him, he came back strongly in the 3rd, itís a bit like
the 2nd, but this time I cannot catch up, but I regrouped well
for the 4th, kept my concentration and finished the match on a
high, believing I could do it, being positive with the
opportunities that got presented, and finding the right
Quite happy with that result, tomorrow a day of rest, lucky for
someÖ I may even get a bit of sun, with sunscreen factor 50 of
(Eng) 3-1 Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
11/3, 14/12 (65m)
didn't feel I played as well as I did in the semis of final in
St George's last week, but Marwan's game doesn't suit me, he
attacks and makes me uncomfortable, so to be able to come
through that one like that was good - he beat me 3-1 in India
last month and it was a convincing 3-1, I never really felt in
control whereas today I felt more comfortable.
a tournament gives you confidence, and even though I wanted to
win today I wasn't desperate to win, which is never a good
thing. I was game balls down in the first and fourth games but
managed to play the big points well, which is always the key to
 Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-1 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/7, 11/8, 12/14,
Cameron didn't have the pressure
I had after our match in SanFran, 3/2, I didn't want that to
happen again, so I tried and was more positive, aggressive.
made a lot of errors in the second and the third which helped
At the end of the day, you've got to play each match as if it
was the final, and that from the first round. There is no easy
match anymore, and you need to give everything for each single
I had a few days back home, to rest and regroup before coming
here, I just love coming to Qatar, it's truly one of my
favourite places in the world.
I'm happy to win, not sure who I'm playing in the next round,
whoever I'm playing I'll enjoy it.
Tomorrow, going to rest,
enjoy the sun and the warmth, and get ready for the next battle