Hero Fathi Takes Le Sport Crown
packed crowd at the isquash Grand Prix in Wales delighted in
'local' success in the inaugural PSA World Tour Challenger 5
squash event at Le Sport Health & Fitness Club in Rhos-on-Sea
when Egypt's Karim Ali Fathi upset Julien Balbo in the
final to win the third Tour title of his career.
at the Rhos-on-Sea club, Fathi was meeting the higher-ranked Frenchman
in a Tour final for the second time this year - the first, in Spain in
January, beating the world No84 from Challes Les Eaux in straight games.
first game at Le Sport club was close until Fathi was able to pull away
to 8-3 before taking the early lead with devastating forehand drop.
Teenager Fathi piled the pressure on 33-year-old Balbo in the second
game, dropping just a single point before taking a 2/0 lead.
experienced Frenchman regrouped in the third and came out with a new
game plan, slowing the game right down and building up a 7-4 lead.
the 19-year-old local hero adapted his game and extended the rallies,
sensing that Balbo was getting tired. Fathi recovered to eight-all
before clinching the match 11-6, 11-1, 11-8 after 55 minutes.
England international Phil Whitlock, Fathi's long-time coach, was
delighted with the Egyptian's performance: "The way he plays reminds me
of Peter Marshall - relentless hitting at a ridiculous pace.
had a tough match against Dec (James) yesterday and so to come out today
and put in a performance like that was great. His movement has really
improved a lot and when he can get out of his cross court hacking mode
and be a bit more disciplined, you can see the potential he has."
 Julien Balbo (FRA) bt Kevin Moran (SCO) 11-5, 11-5,
12-14, 11-2 (70m)
[Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Michael Harris (ENG) 8-11,
11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (60m)
Chris Fuller (ENG) bt [Q] James Simpson (ENG) 14-12, 11-3,
8-11, 11-4 (57m)
 Alex Phillips (ENG) bt Steven London (ENG) 10-12,
6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 (70m)
 Ben Ford (ENG) bt Rory Pennell (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 11-9
Declan James (ENG) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 9-11, 11-9,
9-11, 11-8, 11-8 (95m)
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt [Q] David Haley (WAL) 11-0, 11-8,
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Philip Whitlock (ENG) 11-4,
11-3, 11-4 (30m)
 Julien Balbo (FRA) bt [Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-5,
11-6, 11-5 (30m)
 Alex Phillips (ENG) bt Chris Fuller (ENG) 11-5, 11-9,
9-11, 11-9 (61m)
Declan James (ENG) bt  Ben Ford (ENG) 11-2, 6-2 ret.
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 11-5, 11-7,
 Julien Balbo (FRA) bt  Alex Phillips (ENG) 11-7,
7-11, 11-5, 11-2 (50m)
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 11-9,
11-8, 11-8 (70m)
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt  Julien Balbo (FRA) 11-6,
11-1, 11-8 (55m)