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Gaultier Storms To Qatar Classic Success

In his first major title success for more than two years, France's Gregory Gaultier stormed to victory over England's higher-ranked James Willstrop in the final of the 2011 Qatar Classic to pick up the trophy for the first time in the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

Both playing in their second Qatar Classic final - Willstrop was champion in 2005 and the Frenchman runner-up in 2007 - both players had been in impressive form in the run up to the final, and delivered a quality match to the packed audience in the glass court arena.

After pulling clear from seven-all in a tight first game to go 1/0 ahead, Gaultier was on top early in the second, establishing a 6-2 lead which, despite the fourth-seeded Englishman's efforts, Willstrop couldn't close down as Gaultier doubled his advantage.

The third game was all Willstrop, and after the Englishman had pulled clear Gaultier let the last few points go, clearly preparing himself for the fourth.

And it was Willstrop again who made the stronger start, leading 4-1 and 7-4. But, with the crowd noisily on his side, Gaultier fought back to draw level at eight-all.

After numerous lets in the closing stages, it was Gaultier who eventually took the final three points to claim his first World Series title since winning the PSA World Series Finals crown for the second time in a row in March 2009.

"We've been playing each other since we were that high, since we were juniors," the delighted Gaultier said after his 11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 victory. "We had some memorable battles. It's actually nice to see each other back in the final. He is just a gentleman on court, such a fair player - I have tremendous respect for him.

"Doha is my second home now," continued the 28-year-old world No6 from Aix-en-Provence. "Joking apart, I've been coming here since the age of 16 or 17, and I've seen all the great players win this title - so for me, it's like a dream come true, especially as I haven't won a major event for two years now."

Yorkshireman Willstrop, celebrating his 25th appearance in a Tour final, was full of praise for his opponent: "In the first two games Greg played down the backhand side and was much better than me, which is a bit frustrating as it's normally considered my strength. He played some super squash, his attacks were better than mine, his accuracy and length was just superior to mine.

"In the third, I put it together better, I used my brain plus the help of Chris (Robertson, the England national coach), as I knew something had to change," continued the world No4 from Leeds.

"I had to find a way to stop him damaging me on that backhand side, as he was in a comfortable position to hurt me with his shots. Maybe I made a few too many errors there, but it was probably something to do with the way he was playing!

"There are reasons why he keeps on winning matches like that, my length and width was just not good enough to preventing him from attacking, which means that, at the end of the day, he played better.

"He's been going on all week about how good he felt, how good he played - and he proved it tonight."

The win marks the 19th PSA Tour title of Gaultier's career - and will boost the former world number one's confidence on the eve of next month's PSA World Open in Rotterdam.

Men's Draw
Women's Draw

Men's Reports

. Final
. Semis
. Quarters

. 2nd Round
1st Round
. Qualifying

. Women's Reports

2010 Event
2009 Event
2008 Event
2007 Event

Gregory Gaultier and Nicol David Celebrate Their Victory

Englands James Willstrop goes into the against frenchman Gregory Gaultier (right)

Nicolas Mueller, Sui, continues his giant-killing run by taking out Mohd Iskandar, Mas Tarek Momen, Egy, beats world no 1 Nick Matthew, Eng, 3-0 James Willstrop puts paid to England team-mate Peter Barker in 4 games

Nicholas Mueller secures the best win of his career by beating 5th seed and 4 times World Champion Amr Shabana 3-0 2nd seed Ramy Ashour retires with a leg injury after going 2 games down against Tom Richards Gregory Gaultier stops Takek Momen’s run in a fiery encounter

Men's Draw
Qatar Classic 2011
14-20 October, Doha

Round One
16-17 Oct
Round Two Quarters Semis Final
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (38m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Nick Matthew
11-9, 12-10, 11-8 (44m)
Tarek Momen

Tarek Momen
11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (65m)
Gregory Gaultier

Gregory Gaultier
11-8, 11-4, 11-1 (42m)
Karim Darwish

Gregory Gaultier
11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 (70m)
James Willstrop

Tarek Momen (Egy)
15-13, 11-8, 11-5 (47m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-1 (64m)
[Q] Siddharth Suchde (IND)
Siddharth Suchde
11-3, 11-3, 11-8 (44m)
Gregory Gaultier
[6] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11-8, 11-3, 11-4 (31m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (24m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)

Nicolas Mueller
11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 (60m)
Azlan Iskandar

Nicolas Mueller
2-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (35m)
Karim Darwish
Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (24m)
Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
4-1 ret
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
Henrik Mustonen
11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (29m)
Karim Darwish
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy)
11-2, 11-2, 11-2 (20m)
[Q] Kamran Khan (MAS)
[Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (30m)
[4] James Willstrop (Eng)
James Willstrop
11-5, 11-2, 14-12 (47m)
Simon Rosner
James Willstrop
6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 13-11 (56m)
Peter Barker
James Willstrop
11-8, 11-3, 11-9 (56m)
Stewart Boswell
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5 (56m)
[Q] Chris Ryder (ENG)
Thierry Lincou (Fra)
9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (62m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
Thierry Lincou
11-6, 11-3, 11-9 (56m)
Peter Barker
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2 (63m)
[7] Peter Barker (Eng)
Alan Clyne (SCO)
12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4 (56m)
[8] David Palmer (Aus)

David Palmer
11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5 (80m)
Stewart Boswell

Stewart Boswell
11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-4 (68m)
Cameron Pilley
Stewart Boswell (Aus)
11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (35m)
[Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (54m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
Cameron Pilley
11-7, 11-2, 13-11 (54m)
Tom Richards
Tom Richards (Eng)
11-4, 11-6 ret.
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy)


Qualifying finals:
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10 (57m)
Kamran Khan (MAS) bt Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8 (90m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8 (52m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-6, 11-4, 11-2 (47m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3 (50m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (31m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (40m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 12-10, 12-10, 11-7 (38m)

1st qualifying round:
Matthew Karwalski
(AUS) bye
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-7, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4 (62m)
Kamran Khan (MAS) bt Omar Abdullah Al Emadi (QAT) 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (20m)
Joey Barrington (ENG) bt Bradley Hindle (MLT) 11-5, 11-6, 2-11, 5-11, 11-7 (74m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 (58m)
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 (103m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt Wael Farag (EGY) 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 1-11, 11-4 (60m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6 (63m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 (53m)
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Ahmed Mohammed Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-0, 11-1, 11-6 (18m)
Robbie Temple (ENG! ) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (61m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 6-3 ret.
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9 (88m)
Mazen Gamal (EGY) bt Abdul Rahman Al-Malki (QAT) 13-11, 11-4, 11-4 (30m)
Farhan Mehboob (PAK) bt Elvinn Keo (MAS) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (26m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 (54m)



Willstrop & Gaultier To Contest Qatar Climax

Straight games wins in today's semi-finals of the Qatar Classic have taken England's fourth seed James Willstrop and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No6 seed, into the final of the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

Both players will be marking their first World Series final appearance this year - and, though both have reached the Doha climax before, only Willstrop has tasted success, in 2005.

The first semi was the third meeting in Doha between Gaultier, runner-up in 2007, and third seed Karim Darwish, the defending champion from Egypt.

The previous meetings had been shared, but today Gaultier turned in one of his best performances, taking a close first game, increasing his control in the second, and totally dominating the third.

"I was so comfortable on there," the delighted 28-year-old from Aix-en-Provence said later. "I was happy to play, so happy to play, and I hope I can keep on playing like that."

Gaultier's success takes him into the 41st PSA Tour final of his career - bringing his tally level with his illustrious 35-year-old fellow countryman Thierry Lincou.

The final match of the day demonstrated a different way of winning three-nil as Yorkshireman James Willstrop recovered from early deficits against unseeded Australian Stewart Boswell in the first and third games, in between cruising through the second to win 11-8, 11-3, 11-9 in 56 minutes.

Willstrop, the world No4 from Leeds, had reached the last four after comfortable wins over a succession of lower-ranked players - while Boswell, a 33-year-old former world No4 from Canberra, had battled past two higher-ranked fellow countrymen, firstly eighth seed David Palmer, then world No16 Cameron Pilley.

"He's such a smooth operator, I had to be really dogged to get through tonight," said Willstrop of Boswell. "The score-line doesn't really do him justice, but I'm so pleased to get through to the final."

Willstrop is celebrating the 25th PSA Tour final appearance of his career - but the first since last December.



Darwish & Willstrop Home In On Qatar Final

Karim Darwish and James Willstrop, now the highest two seeds left in the Qatar Classic draw, edged closer towards the final of the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year in the Qatar capital Doha after four-game quarter-final victories today at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

Willstrop, the fourth seed from England, faced fellow countryman Peter Barker in a repeat of their meeting at the same stage of the US Open just over a week ago. And, as it was then, Willstrop had to recover from a game down to beat his England team-mate.

The match looked as though it was heading for a decider as Barker led throughout the fourth, but his frustration grew as Willstrop pegged back the lead, saved two game balls, and took the match after a tie-break 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 13-11 in 56 minutes.

"Peter played a really good game for that court, he surprised me," Willstrop said later. "I didn't expect that game from him, taking the ball that early, going that short. He is really adding to his game all the time.

"Today, I had to dig in deep to turn it around."

The first match promised another upset when unseeded Swiss star Nicolas Mueller raced into an 11-2 and 4-1 lead over Darwish, the third-seeded defending champion.

The Egyptian settled, and dominated from that point on to win 2-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 in 35 minutes.

"The first game is the best game I ever played in my life, up to 4-1 in the second," exclaimed Mueller afterwards. "I was very sharp and taking the ball very early, and that surprised him a bit maybe."

Darwish, bidding to become the first three-time winner of the title, was full of praise of his young opponent - who upset Egyptian former champion Amr Shabana and top-ranked Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar to reach the last eight:

"Overall, he played superb squash - and if he goes on like that, he'll go to the top," said world No3 Darwish of Mueller.

There was to be no further upset for Egypt's Tarek Momen, who after his explosive dismissal of top seed Nick Matthew in the previous round, found sixth seed Gregory Gaultier a step too far.

Not that the Frenchman had it at all easy. Despite winning in straight games 11-5, 11-8, 11-7, Gaultier was kept on court for over an hour - and the young Egyptian had his chances in each of the last two games.

An upset of sorts finally arrived in the last match of the day as Stewart Boswell got the better of fellow Australian Cameron Pilley in four games 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-4. Both Aussies were unseeded, but on the night it was Boswell - the victor over higher-ranked compatriot David Palmer in the previous round - who won through.


2nd Round

 Momen Momentum Downs Matthew In Qatar

Unheralded Egyptian Tarek Momen scored the best victory of his career when he crushed England's world number one Nick Matthew in today's second round of the Qatar Classic to claim an unlikely place in the quarter-finals of the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year in the Qatar capital Doha.

The straight games upset brought to an end a remarkable run of ten successive PSA World Tour final appearances by the 31-year-old Englishman - which began immediately following Matthew's semi-final exit in last year's Qatar Classic.

Matthew led 6-1 in the first game and 5-1 in the second, but both times the confident 23-year-old from Cairo battled back. The out-of-sorts top seed recovered from 1-6 and 6-9 down in the third and went on to save two match balls - but it was third time lucky for Momen as the underdog raised in arms in triumph after his shock 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 victory after 44 minutes.

"I'm speechless," said Momen after his shock win at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex. "I've been so inconsistent for the past three years, I had my upsets, but today is by far my best result.

"Today, everything was going my way, and I thought 'you've got to take the opportunity, it may never happen again'.

"Nick is such an amazing player - you just have days where you don't get it right, and I'm sure he'll be back very strong in the next tournament," added the world No26.

Matthew was happy to try and explain matters later: "He made me feel very slow today, he was so quick, and if anything, the score flatters me. Today, was not my day, but he was too good today.

"Players have no respect for reputation, you've got to go on there and play the ball, and that's exactly what Tarek did today - and maybe the English young players should take example on him, as they sometimes give too much respect to their opponent.

"But I'm getting older, I have to accept the fact that there will be days where hungry young players get the better of me - I did it when I was young, with David Palmer, Peter Nicol, John White, etc, when the adrenalin takes you to the finishing line. That's what happened today with Tarek.

"But don't you worry, I'll be back strong for the Worlds!"

Momen, celebrating his first appearance in a 2011 PSA World Series quarter-final, will now meet Gregory Gaultier after the sixth seed from France defeated Indian qualifier Siddharth Suchde 11-3, 11-3, 11-8 in the final match of the day.

There was disappointment for his compatriot Thierry Lincou earlier in the day. Unseeded on the PSA Tour for the first time for more than a decade, the 35-year-old former world number one faced Peter Barker, the seventh seed from England to whom he had never lost in four meetings since early 2006.

The left-hander from London looked to be heading for a comfortable win as he pulled clear from six-all in the first and took the second 11/3 - but, as expected, Lincou dug in and made the third tough.

At nine-all Lincou was annoyed to lose the point as Barker hit the ball from the back into the Frenchman's leg, and having used his video appeal fruitlessly on that one, had none left when Barker put in a tight forehand volley to win the match 11-6, 11-3, 11-9.

"Too many errors, unforgivable," was the Frenchman's verdict.

Barker admitted that he had been pumped up by seeing his head-to-head record with Lincou before the match: "Just before going on the court, I saw the record on the screen, and thought, well, that's no good, is it!

"I didn't play badly yesterday, but I knew I had to step up today, and I'm very happy with my two games, I think I contained him quite well, prevented him to get in front of me.

"In the third, it was a different story - he used his experience and physicality to step in front, and to be honest, I feel that I was lucky to win the third.

"Thierry is a absolute living legend, and beating him while he is in the top 100 is such an honour, and especially 3/0. I'm very happy," added the world No7.

Barker will now face England team-mate James Willstrop for the fourth time this year - and the 15th time in his Tour career. The fourth seed from Leeds overcame German number one Simon Rosner 11-5, 11-2, 14-12.

Swiss star Nicolas Mueller continued his impressive Doha run. Two days after ousting Egypt's fifth seed and former champion Amr Shabana, the unseeded 22-year-old from Zurich upset higher-ranked Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 in exactly an hour.

"In the US Open a few days ago, he beat me easily 3/0, so when I took the first game, it boosted my confidence," said Mueller.

Celebrating his maiden appearance in a World Series quarter-final, Mueller now faces third seed Karim Darwish. The defending champion from Egypt recorded the swiftest win of the day beating Finnish qualifier Henrik Mustonen 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 in just 29 minutes - in a repeat of their first round clash in the 2010 event.

Cameron Pilley guaranteed Australian presence in the semi-finals when he defeated England's Tom Richards 11-7, 11-2, 13-11 after saving two game balls in the third.

The world No16 from New South Wales will face Canberra-born Stewart Boswell, the world No19 who beat fellow countryman and eighth seed David Palmer - for only the second time in 15 career meetings - 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5 in 80 minutes.

It was another match influenced by the pair's pre-match head-to-head record, spotted by underdog Boswell: "I was not too happy about the 13/1 stats," admitted Boswell, who is now in his first World Series quarter-final since January 2008. "David was over me for over a decade, so I'm happy to squeeze this one tonight.


1st Round

Ramy Retirement Sees Richards Through In Qatar

England's unseeded Tom Richards secured a surprise place in the last 16 round of the Qatar Classic after second seed Ramy Ashour conceded their first round match in the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year in the Qatar capital Doha after just 18 minutes.

Ashour, the world number two who heads the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings, was clearly struggling with an injury that hampered his movement on the all-glass court at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

Richards, the world No24 who lost to the Egyptian at the North American Open in February, took the opening two games before Ashour offered his hand in defeat.

"I know he could barely move on there," said the 25-year-old from Surrey after his surprise win. "Yet I still had to play the best squash I ever played to beat him!"

Richards goes on to face Cameron Pilley after the world No16 from Australia saw off India's world No32 Saurav Ghosal 11-6, 12-10, 11-7.

Earlier, an all-Australian second round clash was set up after Commonwealth Games Doubles silver medallists David Palmer and Stewart Boswell survived their first round battles.

Palmer, four times a runner-up in the Doha event, was given a good workout by Scotland's Alan Clyne in his last Qatar Classic.

"At the end it wasn't the best," said eighth seed Palmer after his 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4 victory in 56 minutes. "But I'll take the win - nowadays, I take what I can!

"But tomorrow, I'll have to play better," added the 35-year-old from New South Wales.

Boswell had lost after leading two-nil against Mohamed El Shorbagy in last week's US Open in Philadelphia - but having taken the first two games against his younger brother Marwan El Shorbagy, the Aussie finished it off this time, racing through the third for the loss of just two further points to set up a meeting with long-time adversary and Australian team-mate Palmer.

Distinguished Frenchman Thierry Lincou gave one of the day's most impressive performances to set up a meeting with England's No7 seed Peter Barker.

Unseeded on the PSA Tour for the first time for over ten years, former world number one Lincou found himself two games down against Egyptian Hisham Mohamed Ashour, Ramy's older brother.

But the determined 35-year-old Frenchman bravely fought back to record an impressive 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 victory after 62 minutes.

"Anything I was putting at the front ended in the tin, and I couldn't find any length either, as he was twisting and turning me too much," said the Marseille man about the first two games. "I was only able to play one rally the whole match where I was in control. I'll be ready and sharp for playing against Peter tomorrow!"

Germany's Simon Rosner, who had won his last four encounters with Chris Ryder, extended that run with a four-game win over the English qualifier.

"I'm happy to get through," said Rosner. "Although I don't think either of us were playing at our best, and I was disappointed that I relaxed a bit in the third. Still you have to win those matches."

Rosner will next face James Willstrop, after the fourth-seeded Englishman beat Egyptian qualifier Mohammed Abbas 11-6, 11-4, 11-3.

Mueller Shocks Shabana In Qatar Classic Upset

Just ten days after winning the US Open, Egypt's Amr Shabana suffered one of the biggest shocks of his illustrious career when he went down in straight games to unseeded Swiss opponent Nicolas Mueller in today's first round of the Qatar Classic, the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

It was the four-time world champion's first opening round exit since December 2009, after reaching at least the quarter-finals in 13 successive Tour events since August last year. Furthermore, Shabana had reached the Qatar final in his last three appearances in the event!

Mueller played superbly well against the out-of-sorts Egyptian to reverse the result of their only previous meeting - ironically, in the first round in Doha twelve months ago.

"Today is probably the best match I've played in my life, even if I realise that Shabana was not 100%," the 22-year-old world No30 from Zurich said after his 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 shock victory over the fifth seed, ranked five in the world.

Mueller will now face Mohd Azlan Iskandar for a place in the quarter-finals after the Malaysian overcame 16-year-old Qatari wildcard Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 11-9, 11-4, 11-4.

But there was better news for two of Shabana's fellow countrymen later in the day: Tarek Momen got the better of fellow-Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz in three close games, the 23-year-old from Cairo emerging triumphant 15-13, 11-8, 11-5 over qualifier Aziz in his first Tour meeting with his 28-year-old Cairo compatriot.

"I think we really played well today, both of us," said Momen. "I'm happy with the way I played, even if I made a few too many errors."

And Cairo-based third seed Karim Darwish successfully began the defence of his title with a 20-minute 11-2, 11-2, 11-2 win over Malaysian qualifier Kamran Khan.

The much-anticipated all-Finnish clash between Olli Tuominen and Henrik Mustonen fizzled out after just two minutes when the experienced Tuominen retired with a calf injury sustained earlier in the week. Qualifier Mustonen, who was winning his second conceded match in Doha in three days, will now go on to meet Darwish.

Top seed Nick Matthew produced an identical score-line to Malaysia's Azlan Iskandar when he beat Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 in 38 minutes.

World number one Matthew, bidding to win the title for a second time since 2009, will now line up against Tarek Momen in the last 16 round.

Siddharth Suchde delivered a second upset of the day to put out Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda. After taking a two-game lead, the Indian qualifier looked set for a straight games win - but although Reda fought back to take the third, Suchde was unstoppable in the fourth to win 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-1.

"It's quite tough to come from the qualification, you have no easy matches nowadays," said the delighted 26-year-old from Mumbai. "And then, you've got to adapt from the traditional court to the glass court. But the good thing is you've got no pressure on you at all."

Suchde's next opponent will be France's sixth seed Gregory Gaultier, who was in no mood to allow another upset, dismissing 18-year-old Egyptian qualifier Mohamed Abouelghar 11-8, 11-3, 11-4.



Egyptian Quartet Boosts Qatar Classic Draw

Egyptians claimed half of the qualifying places on offer in the 2011 Qatar Classic as Alexandrian Marwan El Shorbagy and Cairo-based Mohammed Abbas, Mohamed Abouelghar and Omar Abdel Aziz secured slots in the main draw of the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

Abouelghar recorded the first Egyptian win of the day as the 18-year-old came from a game down to beat France's Yann Perrin in an entertaining four-game tussle. Ranked 109 in the world, Abouelghar becomes the lowest-ranked qualifier in the main draw - where he faces France's sixth seed Gregory Gaultier for the first time in his career.

Abdel Aziz removed England's Jaymie Haycocks in four games, while veteran Mohammed Abbas defeated Farhan Mehboob in three close games, coming from 3-9 down in the second to frustrate the Pakistani.

El Shorbagy junior similarly took three close games against fellow Egyptian Mazen Gamal, winning 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.

"I played well, the right tactic, and tried my best to avoid any silly shots," El Shorbagy said afterwards. "I'm really happy with the way I played."

India's Siddharth Suchde recovered from a game down to beat Matthew Karwalski 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10. The Australian, who is being coached by David Palmer in Orlando, threatened to take the match into a decider as he took a 10-6 lead in the fourth, but a final flurry of five points in a row saw the 26-year-old from Mumbai through in just short of an hour.

"I wouldn't say it was a good match," said Suchde. "We were both a bit edgy, but you know what it is, when you're trying to qualify."

In the longest match of the day, Kamran Khan became the only Malaysian to qualify when he beat England's Joey Barrington 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8 in 90 minutes.

"I have nothing to say except that I'm happy - well, relieved, more like," said Khan.

Chris Ryder provided the only English success, getting the better of Malaysia's Muhd Asyraf Azan in a comfortable three games.

Henrik Mustonen also enjoyed a straight games victory, beating Englishman Robbie Temple 11-4, 11-4, 11-4. The Finnish number two's reward is a first round clash with Olli Tuominen, the top-ranked Finn!

"I played better today than I played all season," said Mustonen. "I did a lot of work this summer, but it was not showing on court, so it's nice to finally see some result."

Egyptians Dominate Qatar Classic Qualifiers

Egyptians dominated the opening day of qualifying in the Qatar Classic, the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

Teenagers Marwan El Shorbagy and Mohamed Abouelghar both overcame higher-ranked opponents to secure places in the qualifying finals of the popular event in its 11th year. El Shorbagy, the 18-year-old world junior champion from Alexandria, ranked 62 in the world, stemmed a fightback by Ryan Cuskelly, ranked 21 places higher, to beat the experienced Australian 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9 in 88 minutes.

"I just didn't want to lose today," El Shorbagy said afterwards.

Abouelghar, also 18, but from Cairo, reached 69 places above his world No109 ranking to topple compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9.

Cairo-based Mazen Gamal denied local hope Abdul Rahman Al-Malki a place in the qualifying finals, beating the 23-year-old Qatar number one 13-11, 11-4, 11-4.

In an earlier match between two players separated by just three world ranking positions, Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz upset Malaysia's world No39 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 to set up a meeting with Jaymie Haycocks, one of four successful Englishmen.

The Leeds-based 27-year-old despatched Qatar's 19-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Al Tamimi 11-0, 11-1, 11-6 in just 18 minutes.

Haycocks will be joined by compatriots Chris Ryder, Joey Barrington and Robbie Temple in the play-offs for places in the main draw.

Experienced Mohammed Abbas became the fifth Egyptian to make the qualifying finals when he beat India's Harinder Pal Sandhu 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 in the final match of the day.

Champion Darwish In Qatar Classic Record Bid

Egypt's Karim Darwish will be bidding to become the first player to win the Qatar Classic three times when the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year, in its 11th edition since 2001, gets underway at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha this week.

The world number three from Cairo reached the final for the third year in a row last year - and went on to win his second title after beating compatriot Amr Shabana in four games.

But third seed Darwish, who has played in each event since 2001, is expected to face stiff competition this year - not only again from Shabana, but also from fellow countryman Ramy Ashour, the world No2, and favourite Nick Matthew, the world number one from England.

Darwish opens his 2011 campaign against a qualifier and is expected to meet fifth seed Shabana in the quarter-finals, before a semi-final clash with top seed Matthew, whom he beat at the same stage in 2010.

Matthew begins his Qatar Classic campaign against Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan - and will be hoping to maintain the impressive run this year which has seen the 31-year-old from Sheffield reach all five World Series event finals so far.

But Shabana is the man in the best form currently, after overcoming the Englishman in the US Open final earlier this month. The four-time World Open champion, Doha winner in 2007, takes on Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller in the opening round.

Second seed Ramy Ashour - who, despite forgoing the US Open, heads the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings - lines up against up-and-coming Englishman Tom Richards in the first round, before a likely quarter-final encounter with eighth seed David Palmer. The distinguished two-time World Open champion from Australia has reached the final four times since 2001, but has yet to pick up one of the Tour's most prized titles.

After qualifying on 14 & 15 October, the main draw of the 2011 Qatar Classic gets underway on Sunday 16 October leading to the final on Friday (21 October).


Women's Draw
Qatar Classic 2011
14-20 October, Doha

Round One
19 Nov
Round Two
20 Nov
21 Nov
22 Nov
23 Nov
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/4, 11/4, 11/4 (25m)
Line Hansen (Den)
Nicol David
11/6, 11/7, 11/1 (25m)
Kanzy El Dafrawy
Nicol David
11/6, 11/4, 11/8 (27m)
Raneem El Weleily
Nicol David
11/6, 4/11, 11/6, 11/8 (51mins)
Rachael Grinham
Nicol David
11/2, 11/7, 11/3 (33m)
Madeline Perry
[16] Delia Arnold (Mas)
 11/8, 4/11, 6/11, 11/6, 11/8 (73m
Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy)
[7] Camille Serme (Fra)
11/3, 11/8, 11/5 (26m)
[Q] Tenille Van Der Merwe (Rsa)
Camille Serme
11/7, 11/5, 11/5 (26m)
Raneem El Weleily
[9] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11/4, 11/6, 8/11, 10/12, 11/3 (41m)
[Q] Tania Bailey (Eng)r
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
 11/8, 11/5, 11/2 (26m)
[Q] Yathreb Adel (Egy)
Rachael Grinham
7/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/5 (49m)
Aisling Blake
Rachael Grinham
14/12, 11/4, 11/7 (30m)
Emma Beddoes
[14] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
11/1, 11/9, 11/3 (32m)
Aisling Blake (Irl)
[8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
6/11, 11/3, 11/7, 13/11 (44m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng)
Emma Beddoes
 8/11, 11/6, 11/7, 6/11, 13/11 (54m)
Joey Chan
[15] Joey Chan (Hkg)
6/0 rtd
Heba El Torky (Egy)
[Q] Emily Whitlock (Eng)
11/3, 11/9, 11/5 (28m)
[12] Low Wee Wern (Mas)
Low Wee Wern
 11/6, 3/11, 12/10, 11/9 (57m)
Laura Massaro
Low Wee Wern
11/8, 11/5, 11/9 (42m)
Madeline Perry
Madeline Perry
11/9, 19/17, 11/9 (61mins)
Nour El Tayeb
[Q] Merhan Amr Mahmoud (Egy)
  11/4, 11/3, 11/5 (22m)
[5] Laura Massaro (Eng)
[Q] Farah Abdel Meguid (Egy)
 11/3, 5/11, 11/8, 11/7 (30m)
[11] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
Farah Abdel Meguid
11/5, 11/5, 11/3 (21m)
Madeline Perry
[Q] Siti Munirah Juson (Mas)
11/6, 11/4, 11/2 (20m)
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Victoria Lust (Eng)
 11/3, 12/14, 6/11, 11/6, 11/8 (53m)
[10] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
Donna Urquhart
11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (29m)
Nour El Sherbini
Nour El Sherbini
11/8, 5/11, 11/8, 13/11 (46m)
Nour El Tayeb
Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
   11/9, 7/11, 11/5 rtd (36m)
[6] Kasey Brown (Aus)
Gaby Huber (Sui)
11/1, 14/12, 11/8 (25m)
[13] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
Nour El Tayeb
11/8, 5/11, 11/9, 12/10 (59m)
Jenny Duncalf
[Q] Sina Wall (Ger)
  11/6, 11/3, 11/6 (20m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)

Women's Reports


Nicol David claimed her fifth Qatar Classic title in six years after a dominant win over Madeline Perry yesterday in Doha. 

The Malaysian player was in no mood for messing around as she instantly set about the task at hand and leapt to a six-point lead with Perry unable to answer. 

With David poised high up the court and taking the ball early, there was little Perry could to do prevent the dominance, and the Irishwoman was 7-1 in no time at all. 

It was perhaps a slower start than Perry would have liked after her 61 minute effort against Nour El Tayeb in Thursdays semi-final, but David was frequently playing the ball short to no reply from the world no4. 

The world no1 played out the first game with a comfortable 11-2 scoreline and stuck to her tactics in the second, racing onto every ball , denying her opponent time and finding a good weight of length into the back corners. 

Already down in the second, Perry began to assert herself.  She clawed back a three-point deficit at 2-5, gaining some space on the tee and chipping away at David’s defences.  At 7-7 the game could have gone either way, with both women looking strong in parts and playing confident squash but David went up a gear to hit four winners and claim the game 11-7. 

Perry struggled getting on the tee throughout the match, and no more so than in the third game as David’s dominance proved too much.  The Malaysian took five-points in a row to lead 9-2, proving excellent retrieval skills at whatever Perry could throw at her. 

It took just one match ball attempt after a lengthy rally for David to close out the final 3-0 in comfortable style. 

The Qatar Classic champion told SquashSite after the match: “This was the best I felt and the best I played all tournament.  I felt good on there and comfortable from the start. 

My length was really good I was able to contain her and prevent her form playing her shots as she can be so dangerous on the volley.  It’s one of those days where everything just comes together!”


Semi Finals

Perry and David to contest 2011 Qatar Classic

A deceptively close three-game win for Madeline Perry saw the Irishwoman book her place in the 2011 Qatar Classic Final at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha last night.  

Having never before faced her opponent Nour El Tayeb, the game was one void of all reservations as both players looked to attack the ball as quickly as possible to gain the upper hand. 

The upper hand never came though in the first game, as neither player was able to fully dominate the court and a game of cat and mouse was only ended when Perry pulled two points clear at 9-all to claim the first game. 

The second game was more attritional from both players but no less attacking.  Perry seemed more in control than in the previous game, but struggled to finish off the rallies as El Tayeb again demonstrated her excellent speed and retrieval skills.  El Tayeb’s refusal to submit to her higher seeded opponent saw the 10-10 tiebreak extended to an exhausting 17-17 before Perry was able to close out the 28 minute second game, 19-17. 

El Tayeb showed no signs of mental or physical fatigue from the two first games, and again showed the relentless characteristic that has seen her into her second successive Qatar Classic semi-final.  The third game was an all-out attacking display from the young Egyptian and still there was very little separating the pair of them.  Neither opponent was ever more than two points ahead of the other, but it was Perry’s tour experience that helped her through the vital points when it mattered and El Tayeb fell just short again as her opponent took the third game 11-9. 

Perry told after the match: “It was a three-love, but it was never a three-love was it?  I as just able to play the big points better at the end of the games, but I was very happy to win that last point!”

Before that, World no1 Nicol David booked her place in the final with a closely fought win over Rachael Grinham of Australia. 

Both players started the match carefully, sizing each other up and testing the waters as they drew level at 5-all.  From this point though, David pulled ahead, finding a higher court position to force errors from her opponent and won the next 6 points to Grinham’s 1. 

Grinham found more consistency in the second and began to ask questions of the Malaysian champion.  Aided by her higher position on the tee, she moved David around the court well, finished the points with simple volleys and rightly took the game 11/4. 

She was unable to keep the momentum however, as David regained control around the middle of the court and played a consistent game, chipping away at the defences of Grinham and moving her around well.  11/6 the score of the third. 

The Australian came out and gave it her all in the fourth game, but David was equal to her attacking shots.  After a back-and-forth initial exchange, David began to pull away and Grinham was unable to claw back the deficit.  The final game ended 11/8 and David books her fifth Qatar final slot in six years.  She told “Our matches are nearly always five setters and/or over 90mins so needless to say I’m very happy with a 3-1 victory in 50 minutes.”

Quarter Finals

Following some major upsets in round two of the Qatar Classic, the remaining seeded players resumed normality in progressing through to the semi finals. 

Malaysian Nicol David continued her battle to retain her Qatar title by beating Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily in the first quarter-final match in Qatar’s capital city Doha. 

The World Champion led the game early on but the young El Weleily played some good squash to draw level at 5-5.  A lapse in concentration allowed David to get in front of her opponent and a number of unforced errors consigned El Weleily to an 11-6 defeat in the first game.   

Raneem seemed to respond well initially but she was unable to keep further errors from her game and David was happy to retrieve and wait for the errors which became more frequent as the game progressed.

The third game showed a more consistent approach from El Weleily.  She fought well to stay level, having found a better length than in previous games and even pulled ahead at 8-7.  But Nicol dug in and extended the rallies in the hunt for Raneem’s inevitable errors to come through and David closed out the win in 27 minutes.  11-6, 11/4, 11/8

Experienced number three seed Rachael Grinham played young Englishwoman Emma Beddoes in the second quarter-final of the day. 

Beddoes started well, utilising a good cross court drop that Grinham struggled to respond to as the younger player clawed back three game balls to lead at 11-10.  Grinham’s tour experience worked in her favour however, as she stayed with her opponent, giving little away and eventually forcing an error to claim a tight first game 14-12. 

Grinham raced to an early 6-0 lead in the second, through a combination of mid-court domination and a number of errors from Beddoes.  Beddoes was unable to find a consistent length and struggled to find the corners, allowing Grinham to work the volley to her advantage and punishing any lose shots, winning 11/4. 

Beddoes started brightly in the third. She was explosive into the front of the court and gained three quick points having forced Grinham out of position.  Grinham held her nerve though, and weathered the storm to fight back to 6-6, stopping Beddoes getting comfortable on the Tee.  Steady, patient play worked in Grinhams favour and her retrieval from the back was paramount in extending a lead late on to hold and win match-ball, 11-7. 

The number four seed Madeline Perry continued her run of 3-0 wins in Qatar with deceptively close 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 victory over Malaysian Low Wee Wern.  Low claimed a four-game win over number five seed Laura Massaro in round two, and Perry was well aware of what would happen if she lost focus.  The Irish international volleyed well though, and was a dominating court presence throughout.  Despite a more open third game, Perry was able to increase the pressure on her opponent and close out the win in 42 minutes.  

The last quarter final of the day was a fast-paced, all-Egyptian affair between number 13 seed Nour El Tayeb and Nour El Sherbini.  A repeat of the World Junior Open Final in July as well as the Alexandria Open Final in September, both players know each others game well and as such, raced out of the blocks with short, quick-fire rallies and neither player really gaining momentum over the other.  El Tayeb, who defeated number 2 seed Jenny Duncalf in the previous round, won the first game narrowly 11-8, but was met with resistance in the second by a determined and more consistent El Sherbini who claimed the second 11-5. 

El Tayeb then came from 5-7 down in the third to win a succession of points on the bounce and win the game 11-8, reclaiming her lead.  Neither player wanted to concede the fourth game, a point made evident by some aggressive shot selection from both players, and El Tayeb’s retrieval sending her flying across the floor on a number of occasions. 

At 9-6 up, El Tayeb may have thought the match was hers, but a stubborn El Sherbini refused to give in and fought back, sending the game to a tie-break.  It was the higher seed who wanted it more in the end though, finishing off her match ball at the second time of asking to book her place in the semi final, against the number four seed Madeline Perry


Second Round

It was carnage in Qatar as the seeds continued to tumble in the Qatar Classic 2011. 

There were few signs of the things to come as top seed Nicol David once again wasted little time in seeing off Egyptian Kanzy El Dafrawy in three games. David went about her business in her usual composed fashion while the 17-year old Egyptian once again covered all four corners of the court. There was no diving today, but at 10-0 down in the third she let out a loud "YES" as a mishit boast saved her from a whitewash! "I really enjoyed it," Kanzy said, "I've wanted to play Nicol since the day I was born! She gave me no chance, but I'm happy with my tournament."

Raneem El Weleily will be the next young Egyptian to test Nicol, and judging by the form she showed in this re-run of her world junior final against Camille Serme, the Malaysian will be well tested. El Weleily always looked in control, Serme unable to make much headway as thge constant pressure contributed to more errors than is normal for the Frenchwoman."This is the third time I played Camille this year and we were one-all," Weleily said, "so I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Yesterday I played well for two games then it didn't go the way I wanted, so even at 2-0 up I told myself it wasn't over, to stay on court, stay on court. A disappointed Serme explained: "I wanted to do well in this tournament and I went in with a game plan, but from the start I just couldn't breathe properly and my body just wouldn't let me do what I knew I needed to do. It's disappointing, but I'll just have to put this tournament behind me and hop to do better in the Worlds."

Third seeded Australian Rachael Grinham started slowly against Aisling Blake. The Irishwoman, who ousted Sarah Kippax yesterday, raced into a 5/0 lead in the first, and although Grinham pulled back it was too late to salvage the game. However it did seem to set her up better for the rest of the match as she kept her focus to win four.

"Aisling is tough to play, she's improved a lost and I saw he play really well yesterday," Grinham said. "After that start I resigned myself to losing the first, but needed to get into the match as soon as I could rather than waiting for the second."I told myself that if you took away the start I could have won the first.”

The final match of the session saw a nail-biter between Emma Beddoes and Joey Chan. Covering very inch of the court they shared the first four games with hardly an intervention from the referees. The fifth was point for point, and although Chan got to match ball first it was still finley balanced as Beddoes evened it up. The Hong Kong left-hander got one more chance at 11/10 but Beddoes hit a winning return of serve and then after some frantic retrieveng by Joey Emma finally put a crosscourt too wide for 13/11 and let out a big "YES".

"I'm so delighted," a jubilant winner said. "Matches like that go either way and today it was me so I'm happy to take it this time, it doesn't happen too often!

"We were ranked about the same so we knew it would be close, but it was a really good, fair game - she called her own ball out at 8-all in the first and there were maybe two decisions in the whole match. "I'm ecstatic, it's the furthest I've got in a big tournament, especially to win after saving two match balls like I did yesterday, and taking on Rachael on the glass court tomorrow should be an experience.

However, it was the evening session was where the drama really unfolded. "That's definitely my best win," a delighted Low Wee Wern said after she had beaten England's in-form Laura Massaro in four tough games to start the evening session. "Especially since she just won the US Open and I didn't even make te main draw," added the diminutive Malaysian. After losing the first from 6/2 up, Massaro looked to have steadied the ship as she took the second comfortably, but Low won the big points at the end of two tough, long games, saving a game ball in the third and coming from 9/7 down in the fourth to win 11/9. 

Third seed Madeline Perry stemmed the flow of upsets – albeit only temporarily - with a comfortable 11/5, 11/5, 11/3 victory over qualifier Farah Abdel Meguid in 22 minutes. "I was pleased with that," the Irishwoman said, "I'd only seen her play a handful of points before, but I knew that if she beat Jaclyn [Hawkes] she must be a good player, so I had to be on my toes from the start."

The Egyptian charge was soon back on course though, as Nour El Sherbini put another seed out to pasture, beating Donna Urquhart 11/8, 11/7, 11/5 in just under half an hour.

"That's frustrating," Urquhart said. "I just never managed to get into it and I'm not at all tired. I'd never seen her play before, but she's fast and strong and puts the ball away from anywhere - and she just played better than me today." Sherbini was naturally pleased with her win. "I think I played well today," said the 16-year-old former world junior number two. "I knew I had to concentrate from the start, and I wasn't thinking about the size of the tournament or her being left-handed, I just tied to play my game the best I could and I think I did that.

A night of upsets was completed with World Junior Champion Nour El Tayeb beating the world number two Jenny Duncalf. El Tayeb played well in the first game to win it 11/8, Duncalf bounced back to level with 11/5, and then in a similar vein to previous matches it was the underdog who prevailed at the end of tough and tense games. "I knew I had to win the third and the fourth," said El Tayeb said, "if I'd lost either of those my fitness wouldn't have carried me through the fifth." She did win them both, just, taking two tense rallies at the end of the third for 11/9 and almost letting a 7/2 in the fourth slip, diving in vain on her first two match balls as Duncalf levelled it 10-all. A third match ball was enough though, and after 59 minutes another top seed was out.



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