Malaysian Open Quarters at The Curve

It was a good day for Malaysia in the WSA $70k World Series CIMB Malaysian Open as top seed Nicol David continued her quest for an eighth title and Low Wee Wern produced another stunning upset on the first day’s play at The Curve Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

No joy for the hosts in the PSA $50k Men’s draw though as the last home hope Nafiizwan Adnan went out, as did top seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish who retired injured when two games  down to Spain’s Borja Golan, leaving Mohamed El Shorbagy, who survived a fierce five-game encounter with Olli Tuominen, the only men’s seed to make the semi-finals.

13-Sep, Day Four, Quarter-Finals:

WSA $70k World Series

[1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-1 [6] Annie Au (Hkg) 6/11, 11/5, 15/13, 11/5 (46m)
[4] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-1 [7] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 11/13, 11/5, 11/7, 11/3 (35m)

[11] Low Wee Wern (Mas) 3-0 [3] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 11/7, 11/5, 11/8 (32m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-1 [15] Alison Waters (Eng) 12/10, 5/11, 11/6, 11/3, (45m)

PSA $50k  International

Borja Golan (Esp) 3-0 [1] Karim Darwish (Egy) 11/3, 12/10 rtd (20m)
Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 11/8, 11/4, 11/13, 11/4 (40m)

Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-1 [Q] Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw) 10/12, 11/5, 11/4, 11/0 (40m)
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 3-2 Olli Tuominen (Fin) 11/8, 11/9, 1/11, 5/11, 11/8 (55m)

Andrew Cross reports from KL

Shorbagy survives opener

The CIMB quarter final matches got underway at the Curve today with an opening match that was very good between Olli Tuominen and the second seed Mohammed El Shorbagy.

In the opening game the players are not giving an inch as they try to feel their way into the glass court. In the opening exchanges Olli was onto the ball very fast and when Shorbagy hit a boast he got onto it and hit a straight drive which caught Shorbagy off guard as he was looking for the cross court. The game was tied at 6-6 before Shorbagy got to 8-6 and then he maintained the advantage to win the game on a stroke after a loose ball down the middle from Olli.

In the second Olli moved his T position up the court and got his reward as he got to 4-2, and then he got to 5-3 maintaining his advantage. Shorbagy is not the world number 8 for nothing though and he came back to lead 7-5 and then 8-6 as both shared a tin each. At 8-6 a great boast from Shorbagy gave him 9-6 but a cross court nick return of serve moved Olli to 7-9. A stroke got Olli even closer at 8.9 but a stroke to Shorbagy got him to 10.8 game ball, a long rally followed and Shorbagy hit the tin on a drop, Olli close now at 9.10 but a good low backhand from Shorbagy got him a two game advantage.

In the third again Olli moved up the court taking as much as he could at the top of the bounce and volleying in front of the half court line and he shot off to 7.1. This is good play from Olli now and he continues to hit winner after winner and now Shorbagy is resigned to losing this game and Olli wraps it up 11.1.

In the fourth again Olli gets a good start to 4.1 continuing with the same tactics as before and now Shorbagy is beginning to look a little rattled. Shorbagy though lifted the pace and started striking the ball with more power and he got back to 4.4 but an unnecessary backhand boast gave Olli the lead back at 5.4. Olli dug in and got back to a 9.5 lead back to his volleying in front of the line and he went on to win the game 11.5.

At the beginning of the fifth the rallies have now got longer both not wanting to give away any cheap points. It was level at 2.2 but Shorbagy got the next four points as he carved out some openings and placed some very nice volley drops. It was the Egyptian now with the upper hand as he had a bounce in his step and leading 8.2. Olli wasn’t done though and got a second wind to get himself back to 7.9.

The momentum is now with Olli as he cuts out the flicks at the front and starts attacking straight short. Shorbagy hits a good forehand to 10.7 and he closed it out 11.8 to enter the semis.

Glad I got through .. Wasn’t easy at all but happy I was strong in the 5th game…1st time playing on a glass court in 4 months so wasn’t easy.

Mohamed El Shorbagy

Raneem makes it two for Egypt

Alison Waters and Raneem El Weleily took to the court next and the opening exchanges were a bit mixed with both girls creating chances but not being really able to finish them off as both found the tin on regular occasions.

It was now 4.6 when a cross court lob from Alison caught the back wall nick and then Raneem hit the tin to move Alison to 6.6. Raneem played some great backhand volleys the first cross, the second straight followed by a tin from Alison as it was now 9.6 to Raneem. Alison came back though a good drop and then a couple of tins from Raneem levelled the score at 9.9. Alison now controlling the T hit a low backhand off a boast to move to game ball but Raneem won the next point with a good drop of her own, and then a stroke followed before Raneem played another fantastic backhand drop to win a tight opening game.

Alison began the second more positively getting to 7.2 with Raneems shots not quite as fluid as they were in the opening game and it was more comfortable for Alison as Raneem served out at game ball down to lose the game 11.5.

In the third Raneem was back in control moving Alison to all four corners holding the ball and controlling the pace of the play. Raneem was off to 8.2 but Alison stemmed the flow of points going against her to get back to within two points. However Raneem seemed determined to win this game and she got back in control to win the remaining three points she needed for a two one lead.

Raneem was now in the ascendancy striking the ball crisply around the court hitting some low short cross courts that stayed up the court. Accompany that with some volley straight drops, a couple of errors from Alison, a Raneem serve that landed straight in the nick and then a stroke and all of a sudden it was 10.2 to Raneem match ball. Raneem got the winning point that she required to make it two Egyptians in the semis.

Mueller ends Abdullah run

After yesterdays inspiring performances from Nicolas Mueller and Abdullah Al Mezayen both boys this promised to be one interesting match. Abdullah looked one of the most relaxed people I have seen before a quarter final just sitting their enjoying the match before his.

Disaster struck for the organisers though as just as they had finished the warm up the power went off.

Both men got straight into it showing us their full array of shots in the opening game, lots of short, sharp rallies as they try to work an opening to show the crowd something special. Mueller got to 10.8 in the opening game but a couple of tins saw Abdullah draw level and get to game ball and that was all he needed as he won the opening game.

There is such creativity on court from both players with Abdullah having mastered a boast that pulls you so far up the court it is unbelievable how he can change a defensive position to an attacking one.

Mueller began the second trying to avoid playing to the front with Abdullah anything short from Abdullah he would send it to the back of the court and anything that Abdullah left short he would be first to play to the front. Mueller is now dominating this phase of the game but with Abdullah’s ability to hit some winning shots form impossible positions he always has a chance. A big rally at 6-4 where Mueller was on the ropes, scrambling to pick up points seemed to be the changing point as he won the next four points. One of Abdullah’s amazing boasts got him one point back but in the next rally he hit the tin and it was game to Mueller for one all.

Abdullah begins the third by hitting lots of tins and that amazing boast that I have been talking about is now not coming off anymore as he hits three tins. Mueller gets to 7-0 before Abdullah registers a point with a cross court nick return of serve. Mueller converts this to a 9.4 lead but Abdullah is still doing a lot with the ball holding and flicking still putting work into Mueller’s legs. Mueller was using the right tactics though and won the crucial third 11.4.

Mueller was now playing with fluidity and an enthusiasm in his squash as Abdullah’s challenge seemed to be fading. Mueller wrapped up the last game 11-0 and this means he will have to put off his golf for another day as he has a semi final match with Mohammed El Shorbagy.

won my quarters 3-1 at malaysian open!!! playing the semis tomorrow against shorbagy (Egy) world nr 8.. looking forward to a great match!
Nicolas Mueller

lost today against n.mueller 3/1 and happy with my perfomance in this tournament 🙂
Abdullah Al Mezayen

Wee Wern dumps Duncalf

Jenny Duncalf and Low Wee Wern were next onto the court for their quarter final. The squash is a lot different to the frantic pace of the men just now both girls looking to work the ball down the walls and create chances.

Jenny knowing that she will have to be the more proactive of the players is creating chances but just not finding her range at the minute as she is creating the chances and hitting the tins. Wern is edging the first 8-5 by just keeping it simple and avoiding hitting the tin. Wern reaches game ball at 10-6 as Jenny crunches in a backhand nick to pull one point back but Wern wrong foots her on the next one to win the opening game 11.7.

Wern began the second with a few rather fortunate bounces that saw her get to 4.0 before progressing to 6.1. The rallies were going along the same pattern not much really happening with Wern holding onto her lead as Jenny is now the one that needs to make something happen. Wern moves to 9.5 and a good cross court gets her within a point of the game. Wern serves from the left box and Jenny puts it straight in the tin off the return looking to get off court and regroup ready for the third.

The third didn’t begin as Jenny wouldn’t have liked as Wern gets off to a great start at 5.1, Jenny though seemed to just throw caution to the wind for the next points and get back into it a bit. From 5.1 down she is now only two points behind at 4.6 but one more tin off a backhand boast didn’t help and a very fortunate one from Wern moved her to 8.4. Wern now looking to move into the semis for the first time got to 10.6 match ball, she went for it, hit the tin, the second Jenny hit a great tight drive. Wern was not to be denied though as Jenny hit a boast into the tin.

Managed to win 3 close games against Jenny Duncalf today. Really happy to be in the Semifinals tomorrow here in front of the home crowd!
Low Wee Wern

Momen ends men’s home hopes

Wan took to the court looking to continue the Malaysian success and stop the Egyptians claiming their third semi finalist but Momen the higher ranked of the two got off to a slightly better lead usually holding a slender two point advantage. However he was snatching at a few balls and this kept Wan in the game but Wan closed it out with a backhand drop that rolled out of the nick.

Tarek again began the second well changing the angles at the front of the court aided by some errors from Wan and things weren’t quite falling into place for the Malaysian as his experience on this stage was going by all too fast.

Wan needed something now and could he come back from two games behind for the second day in a row?

He began better and kept in touch with Momen but Momen again began changing the angles and got himself a two point advantage and then a three point advantage but Wan fought back to 8.8 however Momen played a good volley high drop into the front for a winner. In the next rally Wan played a soft straight drop into the front too tight for Momen. Momen hit the tin to give Wan a game ball but Momen got a fortunate nick at the back. Another error from Momen gave Wan a second chance a straight drive from Momen after an exchange in the backhand front corner levelled at 11.11. Wan hit a crunching nick after Momen gave him too much angle at the back to get to his third game ball and all of a sudden the crowd comes alive. A long rally followed with Wan getting a drop tight enough to force a fourth game. The crowd is now gathering as they hope a second Malaysian can get through.

Momen starts the fourth with more purpose to his play playing three great drop shots catching Wan hanging back a little bit. Momen has played seven drops now and won five rallies the other two hitting the tin for a 5.2 lead. Momen is now playing well and moves to 8.3 again by attacking the front at every possible chance. Wan is still on there though trying to make it as hard as possible but Momen wins the game 11.4 and progresses to the semis.

Massaro keeps English hopes alive

After a short break to wait for the time of the next match to occur, Laura Massaro of England and Nour El Sherbini of Egypt entered the court to begin their Quarter Final.

Laura began the first better using her delay to good effect trying to draw the young Egyptian out of position so that she good hit the ball into the open space. The youngster was not going to go down though without a fight and she stormed back to take the game on extra points.

In the second Laura got back to holding the ball to good effect and kept the Egyptian behind her as much as possible and you can see Sherbini’s position around the T area getting further and further back and she was now standing behind the back of the service box. Laura was playing disciplined squash keeping it straight and tight and when she hit cross she made sure that the width was good enough to avoid the dangerous racket of Sherbini.

Laura is now striking the ball well especially on the backhand side hitting some low drives for winners that got her to a 3.0 start. Laura converted this to 7.3 as errors started to come off Sherbini’s racket.

It’s good solid squash form Laura but as she leaves one at three quarter length and gets punished with a cross court nick she knows she cant lose focus. The next rally sees another nick from Sherbini and now its 5.7. Laura reasserted herself back to 9.6, another hold and cross got her to 10.6 and she closed it out 11.7.

Sherbini took an injury time out before the beginning of the fourth for a cut knee but Laura was not to be distracted as she continued the good form that had seen her gain this 2.1 games lead and now she was winning 5.2.

A couple more great shots and fist pumps and she is progressing towards the semis at 8.2. Laura wins the match on a stroke, 11.3 in the fourth game.

I won against Nour El Sherbini 3-1 and am now in the semi final of the Malaysian Open. Really pleased with the result!  🙂
Laura Massaro

Happy with the way I played hope next time I will do better
Nour El Sherbini

Nicol on course for an 8th, Darwish limps out

Dato Nicol David and Annie Au was the last match on the glass court for Quarter final night with an expectant crowd having grown to see their idol in action.

The crowd was shocked though as Annie won the opening game playing some good squash as Annie was not under pressure here winning the first 11.6.

The second was more what the crowd came to expect from Nicol she got off to a much better start now using the short angles at the front of the court to her advantage catching Annie off guard a few times.

In the third Annie got off to a better start moving up the court looking to volley as much as she could and she led 5-3 before a run of five points in a row took Nicol to 8-5 and then to 9-6. Annie was not going to let her go and played some beautiful forehand cross court volley drops to the front. Annie has such a dangerous racket that if you don’t get the ball past her and with the feel and ability that she possesses you could be in trouble.

With these skills Annie got back to 8.9, Nicol won the next point to get to 10.8 but another wonderful backhand volley drop got Annie to 9.10 and a good backhand length got her level. This time she missed the backhand volley that had been so successful. Game ball to Nicol and a long rally followed before Annie hit a cross court for a winner to tie the scores. Annie got a stroke to reach her first game point but Nicol was awarded a stroke to level it up at 12.12.

A good forehand drop from Annie got her a second game point, Annie got the chance she wanted but she missed it with Nicol scrambling to get it if she hadn’t hit the tin. A slip in the back corner from Annie where Nicol played the ball and hit a winner. This game ball Nicol did enough to convert it as Annie hit another tin.

In the fourth Nicol was in an unforgiving mood as she turned up the pace a shot off to a 6.2 lead and then converted this to 8.2 as she was now so fast onto the ball taking everything at the top of the bounce.

Nicol reached match ball at 10.4 and won the game 11.5 to the delight of the home crowd where she easily achieved the biggest cheer of the night.

In the earlier match Boja Golan was winning two games to love when Karim Darwish retired with an apparent leg injury.

“I knew I had to play at my very best to win tonight. My game plan was to attack him all the time especially at the front and be very aggressive. It was working well at the start so I kept playing like that.

“In the second it was similar but he reached back more balls than in the first. At the end of the second he told me that his ankle was not good and he had to retire. I hope it is a small injury and he can play in the next tournament.”
Borja Golan

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