• 14th Qatar Classic Squash Championship • 29 Oct-06 Nov 2015 • Doha •  





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TODAY at the Qatar Classic - Daily updates from Doha
01- Nov, Day Four, Round ONE, Bottom
More men's seeds depart in Doha

After a long day full of upsets yesterday, it was same formula again today with sixteen matches in the bottom half of the draws to complete the last sixteens.

While there weren't the volume of upsets as yesterday, two qualifiers - Ali Farag and Greg Marche - won through to men's round two, both beating English opponents, and Karim Abdel Gawad overcame fellow-Egyptian Tarek Momen, the eighth seed, in the longest match of the day.

There were significant wins too for Mazen Hesham and Fares Dessouki to further boost Egyptian interest.

In the women's draw all the seeded players won through today, although 2009 champion Jenny Duncalf had to recover from two games down to fend off Mayar Hany, and Annie Au needed to save three match balls before beating Hong Kong teammate Joey Chan in five.

Defending champion Nicol David came through safely enough, as did birthday girl Nour El Sherbini.

Reports, quotes, photos below the results ...

Men's Round One (bottom):

[4] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Leo Au (Hkg)
                   11/9, 11/3, 11/9 (46m)
Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
                  11/7, 11/6, 11/9 (49m)

[Q] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 [6] Peter Barker (Eng)
                  11/5, 7/11, 11/3, 11/3 (33m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
                  11/9, 11/9, 11/9 (60m)

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 [8] Tarek Momen (Egy)
                  5/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/4, 11/7 (75m)
[Q] Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-0 Tom Richards (Eng)
                 11/6, 11/2, 11/6 (40m)

[2] Grégory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)
                 11/5, 11/8, 11/4 (42m)
Fares Dessouki (Egy) 3-0 Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
                  11/7, 11/8, 11/3 (40m)

Women's Round One (bottom):

[3] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 [Q] Coline Aumard (Fra)
                   11/5, 11/7, 11/6 (35m)
[14] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-0 [Q] Hania El Hammamy (Egy)
                  11/4, 11/3, 11/0 (18m)

[6] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Olivia Blatchford (Usa)
                  8/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/4 (36m)
[9] Rachael Grinham (Aus) 3-1 Heba El Torky (Egy)
                  11/6, 11/9, 8/11, 11/9 (44m)

[7] Annie Au (Hkg) 3-2 Joey Chan (Hkg)
                  11/9, 11/13, 8/11, 12/10, 11/7 (55m)
[11] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 3-2 [Q] Mayar Hany (Egy)
                   6/11, 8/11, 11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (49m)

[2] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
                  11/4, 11/4, 11/5 (32m)
[16] Victoria Lust (Eng) 3-1 Tesni Evans (Wal)
                  13/15, 11/7, 11/9, 11/8 (64m)

Photo Galleries

[14] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-0 [Q] Hania El Hammamy (Egy)        11/4, 11/3, 11/0 (18m)

A bit of a nervous Hania, a court that I thought would help the youngster, but in fact, was even colder than the glasscourt – to dry out the sweat of the players no doubt – and it was a short affair.

Amanda’s boast with a low tin is extremely efficient, and the rallies were pretty short and one sided. Hania bless her didn’t managed to get into the first game really, but the second one was the most disputed, nice few rallies that showed a glimpse of what that young 15 years old will be later on…

You see Fram, I thought about you, I read your reports, I knew you wanted us to play quickly. And you can always count on me for playing the shortest match of the tournament. Win or lose!!!!

I felt bad for her. She is so sweet off court. I’ve been there, I was the young player, I know she was a bit nervous. And now I’m the old player!!! She is what, 14, 15? She is in the 14/16 range... She’s got a long road ahead of her, but she is quite good, she will be good.

 [3] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 [Q] Coline Aumard (Fra)     11/5, 11/7, 11/6 (35m)

Not nice. Not nice at all to play your mate. We share a room, we train together, I was coaching her two days ago, and today, we play the first match on in the first round… It felt like training really.

She started well, I was more nervous, but I decided to run off my nerves, started to run and it helped me getting into the match in the first game. But I think playing on the glasscourt was to my advantage, I have more practice on there, I get a few better bounce, and that makes a few points difference, that counts.

I’m lucky she is making a few tins at the end [Coline tinned the last 4 points after long rallies], I told myself to just run after every shot, run and run, and to make sure I was consistent in my length. And she made the errors…

I’m happy to get out with a 3/0, and not like last time we played, 11/9 in the 5th (French Nationals), but we really didn’t enjoy that, especially playing in the first round. We wouldn’t mind a semi or a final though… But not in the first round…

I don’t think I ever lost against her. We haven’t played for a long time. I seem to remember a 3/1 I won. Since, she’s improved. I’ve dropped…

This was so hard. She hits the ball so hard, the pace she imposes is so fast, I was struggling in there. I kept telling myself not to rush, to take my time on the ball, but she was truly killing every loose shot and volleying every ball.

Really happy to get this one, in particular on that court. You could hack your way out of the glasscourt, but this one is much worse, so unforgiving, so punishing. Really happy…

[9] Rachael Grinham (Aus) 3-1 Heba El Torky (Egy)
              11/6, 11/9, 8/11, 11/9 (44m)

MasterMind Rachael

A very disputed match, as ever, a superb display of intelligence from Rachael, who mixes the lobs, angles, volleying and pace to perfection. Think for a minute that Lady is 38. Yop. Fit as it comes, moving so fluidly, and hiding her shots to a T. I just enjoy her Mastermind Squash like none I think.

Of course, she gets tired at times. I get tired just watching!! Especially when a young lady, so feisty, incredibly fast, hitting very hard, and volleying beautifully as Heba does.

Heba was not happy today. She got a lot of decisions against her, one that I personally thought was very harsh, a stroke on the backhand at 3/1 in the third that probably made her feel the refs were against her. Whether it’s right or wrong is not relevant, for Heba, that’s what she felt, and that’s what made her react the way she did the rest of the match….

First game, she is very nervous, and made a lot of errors, I arrived at 4/2 and she made 5 after that. That’s a lot, Rachael said thank you very much, took the game in 7m, 11/6.

Much closer in the 2nd, no more easy gifts, excellent start 4/1 from Heba, with Rach catching up 6/6. 7/7. 8/8. 9/9. Beautiful rallies, intense movement, accurate squash, very enjoyable, a no let and a beautiful combination lob/bhDrive, 11/9 Rachael.

The 4th is superb from Heba, and even Rachael rallies construction cannot stop the Egyptian Fire to burn and take that game, 10/6, 11/8 in 8m.

The 5th is the longest game, 12, and a beauty. 4/1 Rach, Heba is fighting, 4/5, Rachael again takes the lead, 9/5 – Heba is not happy with a stroke “why are you doing this to me”. But again the Fire burns, hitting hard, running the 4 corners, great squash truly.

10/6 . Heba saves one match ball, two match balls, Rachael gets a let, Heba feels she is being treated unfairly “You guys you want to make me lose”. Another match ball saved, 10/9…. And a tin. 11/9 Rachael.


"It's great to be back in Qatar, everything feels so familiar but it feels like a new tournament!

"It's nice to start the tournament off and get cracking with a good performance. The new court is really nice, but it's very unforgiving so you have to keep the ball as tight as you can.

"I'm very pleased with that start, with a lot of upsets and a lot of new, upcoming young players, you never know what to expect.

"Everyone's out to get as many points as they can and improve their ranking, you just have to be ready for it and be on top of your own game."


"We play a lot, we've been drawn against each other many times in tournaments as well as practising and playing together at home. Joey plays a really fast game and she's becoming more attacking which puts me under a lot of pressure.

"I was pretty lucky in the fourth to save those match balls - in the second I had game balls but made two bad errors so I was just telling myself to be safe, and in the end it worked.

"Winning the fourth gave me encouragement and confidence going into the fifth. After so many upsets in the first round it's a relief to get through. round."

"I was maybe a bit over-excited at the start, I was too loose and hit too many tins.

I relaxed at the start of the second, cut out the errors, volleyed better, and in the end I was pleased with how I was playing,

"Every shot was going in and I had a lot of confidence in my shots - I hope I can carry that into the next round.

"I'm happy to be through, I really didn't want to lose on my birthday!"

I don’t really like the court, it’s very dead, but it didn’t suit any of us, as we both like to move the ball around. It was very hard to get the ball to the back of the court, and when you did, it was sitting on the front wall so high it was calling for a volley….. So we just tried and stay in the rallies until the opportunities arose.

The first game, I was a bit edgy, I was quite high up, 9/5, but Tess really knows how to come back, and I was weary of that…

I like playing against Tess, she is smart, she plays good shots, and she plays different angles than the others.

Thing is, we know each other’s game so well, we don’t get to play on the tour, but we play all the time, I start running before she hit her game, and the same for her, we share rooms, not easy to have to play. A bit like Cam and Coline really.

The only thing I can say is that I’m happy to get off with a winner, and that it’s over.

[16] Victoria Lust (Eng) 3-1 Tesni Evans (Wal)
                 13/15, 11/7, 11/9, 11/8 (64m)

A truly loveable match this one was between two friends. First game, a typical come back from Welsh Runner Tess that really knows how to dig in and never let go of the ball! From 9/5 she grinded her way back to take the opener15/13 in 20m!

“That was longer than my match” smiled Amanda. That it was….

The second, Lusty was all over the ball, attacking beautifully, volleying a lot and never gave a chance to her opponent, 9/3. That’s when Tess started to apply her magic, put the English girl under a heck of a pressure, scoring 4 points in a row. But she stopped there, Lusty more weary than the first game, 11/7.

The third is very tense between the girls, a few calls, a few contacts, the two starting to chat on the court to each other, not happy with each other’s movement, and making their opinion very clear to the other too!

A very intense bit in the match, but is completely diffused at the end of the game. After 3 enormous great stupendous feisty beautiful rallies, a lovely low drive that wrongfoots the Welsh that goes “yeah, great shot Lusty”.

And that was it. War over, back to being best mates.

The 4th is dominated by the English girl, 4/2, 5/3, 6/3, 8/5, 10/5. Tess being Tess will of course run her shoes off and save 3 match balls, and as she gets a no let on a backhand drop shot, she goes “Yeah”… as in that’s right, she was too good.

Awhhhhhhh… Love my players…

[11] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 3-2 [Q] Mayar Hany (Egy)
                 6/11, 8/11, 11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (49m)

I was really happy to get on court today, I thought I had been waiting around for so long!

First two games I was down 5/1, 6/1 I think, she was playing so well, belting every ball, not going short, really playing attacking length, both drives and crosscourts, she was really strong, and she surprised me. And it was the same story for the second game, I was trying to play a “hacking game” with her, but I was very good at it! I was having no time on the ball, was rushing all the time..

So in the third, I was for more attacking shots, and I got rewarded in particular in the front left corner, on my backhand volley drop shot, I won a few points in there, it really rewarded me.

She got off the pace a bit. When we were playing long rallies, she was doing much better. When I was shortening the rallies, taking it in early, the ball died better.

I was a bit edgy at the end again, she started coming back…. I was really impressed with her, I didn’t know her, great player, great attitude.

When you are 2/0 down, it seems a long way back up. It’s been a long time since I came back from 2/0 down, especially as I tend to be a bit negative.

But when I was 2/0 down, I thought to myself, what are you going to do for the rest of the day?? Stay in the hotel room?? Might as well stay on court and play 3 more games…

Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
                         11/7, 11/6, 11/9 (49m)


What a match people, I don’t think I ever saw Wan playing a more aggressive, patient and accurate squash ever. And Amazing Mazen matched him today, beautifully.

And nearly error free! Yes, only 8 errors the whole match. If you know Mazen’s game, you must go whaaaaaa. Wan made very few too, 5… A very high quality match truly, with extremely long rallies, fast pace, four corners, and amazing retrieving/attacking/volleying all around.

Mazen started his nervous self, after leading 4/0, tinning the ball 5 times!!! Bless him. What made the difference today was that he then stopped… They both worked very hard to 6/6, until Mazen finds the accelerator, 11/7 in 17 long minutes.

The second is not as close, Wan is probably playing the price for the hard work produced in the first game, 11/6 Mazen in still 10m – score doesn’t give it justice.

The third is beautiful, after a great start from the Egyptian 3/0, we are back at 6/6, then 9/6 to Mazen who gets cold feet. Two tins and a stroke later, we are back at 9/9. Two stupendous breathtaking rallies will follow, Mazen is more and more intense, but will finally take the match, 11/9 in 14m…

It was the first time Amazing Mazen managed to win not only in Qatar, but also against Wan who apparently, “taught him squash every time they played”…. The Egyptian made his happiness quite obvious at the end, bless his Eye Racquet… to the point he apologise to us with a “sorry for the noise”…

I’m overwhelmed, I’m blessed, I’m so happy, whatever you can say I am!!!!! With all the tournaments I’ve done, 5K, 10K, 15K, events, I have never ever win here, for 6 7 years I’ve been coming here.

And what makes it sweeter, is that I have never ever won against him!!! Ever time we play, he teaches me squash!!!! You heard the shout at the end… I am blessed, Elhamdoulillah…

I know I still made a few errors, but I’m improving so much, normally, when I play against him, I made 20 UE per game!!!

And today, I made them, and I stopped. I regrouped. And we went on playing long rallies, really hard, to see who was going to win them. And lucky for me, it was me today.
I am blessed.
Mazen Hesham


I’ve been coming here since 2002, and I remember how over the moon I was to qualify for the event.. This has been my 14th year on the Tour

My best moments? It’s actually here, beating Shabana, who was one of my heros, so that one stands up. Also playing for England, every time is an honour, I managed to get more than a 100 caps, and of course, wining the Word Team Title with England.

It had a great time playing squash, it doesn’t owe me anything, I managed to earn a living out of a hobby I started a few years ago.

Elhamdulillah very much….

First of all, let me start by saying that Peter Barker has been in the top 10 since I started squash, and just getting on court with him is an honour. I am aware he is struggling with his knee, and I wish I would have had the chance to play him injury free.

I started the first game very tense, because I knew how clinical and dangerous he could me. And if I win the first game easily is because he was testing things out, the court, or his knee.

Thank God I had Abou in my corner, and he told me to tidy things out, and take away his shots.

Elhamdulillah, it worked…

[Q] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 [6] Peter Barker (Eng)
                 11/5, 7/11, 11/3, 11/3 (33m)

Peter not 100%

I didn’t manage to see the first game, and when I arrived, those two were in the second, Peter leading 6/3. The rallies were fierce, and as ever on this court, Peter was attacking that ball very hard – Pete always seem to like the Qatar conditions, and did more attacking squash here than I never see him play elsewhere. He takes the game rather comfortably, in 8 m, just playing accurate and positive squash.

But in the 3rd, at 4/2 Ali serving, I saw a rictus of pain on Pete’s face. Match was over, although the Englishman respected his opponent and the spectators enough to finish what will probably be his last match on this court as he is thinking about retirement…

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 [8] Tarek Momen (Egy)
                  5/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/4, 11/7 (75m)

Qatar Lucky for Karim

I guess the Egyptian will have a found memory of this country as it seems it’s bringing him good luck! The only time in Karim’s career where he beat Tarek was actually here in Qatar, in November 2013, like today, in 5 hard games, with only 1 minute difference, 74 in 2013, 75 this time round!

Also, today is the “start of his squash career” bless him, as Karim is now in the top 10 few members club. Proud he was today, and with reasons, as he had some pretty bad times over back injuries for a few years now. He’s trained hard, got in shape, lost the weight. He truly deserves the rewards, not taking anything away from Tarek…

But to be honest, I thought that we were in for another Tarek’s dominance today, as the Momentator started superbly well. There was nothing wrong AT ALL with his backhand volley drop shot I tell you. I rarely saw that much precision, maybe the day he beat Nick on that same court. Pure magic. 5/1, 6/2, 8/2, 9/3, 11/5 in 8m. This could be pretty short I thought.

But Karim just changes his game completely, takes Tarek on the other side, and tries to move him around. It works nicely, 4/0 Karim, 5/2, 9/5, thanks to a few unforced errors, 6 in this game. And if the Momentor manages to come back at the end, it’s too little too late, 11/8 Karim, in 16 long minutes.

But Tarek is back in control, and the momentum switches completely, 3/0, 8/2, 9/5. Karim gets a few points in, but it’s still Tarek, 11/7 in 13m. They are both working very hard…

In my opinion, could be wrong, Tarek is truly tired in the 4th. He goes for too much too soon, from the middle of the game, and makes a lot of unforced errors from 4/5 to 4/8. That gives his opponents wings and hope, and from 4/5, Karim is stringing the points, 6 in total, to take the game in one hand, 11/4 in 14 verrrry long minutes.

The last game will be again very disputed, and very close again, Tarek having found his second wind. 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6. But again, Karim finds the winners, the rallies are still magical and fast and in the 4 cardinal points and breathtaking. But it’s 4 points in row for Karim, 10/6, another mad pace rally, another inch perfect volley drop shot, and it’s match, Karim, 11/7…

I feel today is my birthday! I mean, since I’m very young, my dad asks me, what do you want to do – my parents have always supported me to become a squashplayer, I always privilege it to studies – and I always replied, I want to be the world number 1. But to become number 1, you first have got to be number 10. So today, I’m 24, and I’m world number 10. I feel my squash career is starting today. I have worked and pushed hard. I’m so happy and I hope that my parents are proud of me.

Beating Tarek is a great result for me. He’s such a dangerous player and one of the quickest and most talented guys on the tour so I’m very proud and very happy that I was able to come through. In the 8 years we’ve been training together, I never managed to beat him. So beating him today is a great achievement for me.

Today he was killing me on the backhand front corner. That’s my greatest strength, but he kept on conterdropping too well, and I couldn’t do anything. So I varied my attacks, went on the other side, volley drive deep, and I had to come back to my left front corner but I kept switching between the two to try and surprise him.

"I played very well, really solid and played the right squash.

"I felt comfortable on there from the start and was right onto every point.

"He's so dangerous, I wanted to make sure I didn't give him any easy points, and I think I did that well today."


"Right from the start I felt pretty good, and after winning the first I was just telling myself to make sure I carried on like this.

"I was consistent from start to finish, and it's a long time since I've been able to say that about any match, I managed to stay ion the rhythm all the match.

"He was getting frustrated, not sure if he wasn't playing as he's like or because I was playing well, but I'm very happy to progress to the next round."

"That was very tough, Alan's always a difficult opponent, he's very dangerous on any court and has added more dimensions to his game recently.

"I think I managed to keep a 49 to 51% control on the match and it was just one or two points in each game that was the difference so I'm very happy to get off three-nil."

[2] Grégory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)
                 11/5, 11/8, 11/4 (42m)

Greg in control

We all remember a certain match on that same court, November 2013, quarter final here, where Borja beat Greg in a bit of a controversial match – the only time to this day the Spanish number one beat the Frenchman.

That match was the turning point I feel in Borja’s career, as he has now changed his behaviour completely, changed his game, and got some pretty amazing matches since…

Today it was Greg’s day though. The Frenchman started very well indeed, 3/0, 10/4, 11/5, but that took 15m, and on the glasscourt! Means a lot of work was done people, very few decisions, just hard rallies and a lot of running.

The second is a bit weird, with Greg relaxing a bit at 4/1 up, only to see our Borja carpe diem gladly – seize the opportunity – to score 7 points in a row ... only to get a taste of his own medicine as Greg himself then scored the following 7 ones in 16 minutes…

The third is close until the middle of the game, 3/3, but Greg will not be stopped, momentum and confidence high, he’ll win the game and match, 11/4 in 8 minutes…

Not too bad for the start of a tournament…

When I found myself up in the second, 4/1, and suddenly lost a few points, I thought to myself, ok, this is a bad moment, you are not training for no reason, if you lose that one, ok, but you are going to make him work hard and hard and hard to get there.

And my squash just came back.

I’m happy, between the US Open and here, I was able to have three big training sessions, they refreshed me and completed the training I’ve done up to know.

You know, I’m 32, I don’t torture my brain with metaphysical questions anymore, I just try and enjoy the day and the good things in life.

I’m able to accept that sometimes, somebody will just be better than me, and move on to the next tournament, to the next event, there are a few nowadays! So I relax much more and just enjoy.

I think today I produced some good squash…

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