Kuwait Round Two: Simon Shocks Shabana

All sixteen seeds were in action in today’s second round of the Kuwait PSA Cup, and fifteen of them survived to contest round three tomorrow. The exception was Amr Shabana, the two-time Kuwait champion who was unceremoniously dumped out by Simon Rosner, but local boy Abdullah Almezayen and Spain’s Borja Golan came mighty close to upsets too … read on …

[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Nicolas Mueller (Sui)  11/6, 11/3, 11/1 (29m)
[13] Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)    11/8, 11/9, 11/6 (58m)

[9] Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw) 9/11, 11/3, 11/9, 5/11, 11/9 (66m)
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Borja Golan (Esp)   12/10, 11/7, 5/11, 2/11, 12/10 (85m)

[8] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)  11/6, 13/11, 11/6 (47m)
[10] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind)   11/5, 9/11, 12/10, 11/2 (70m)

[16] Alister Walker (Bot) bt Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)    6/11, 11/6, 11/7, 8/11, 11/8 (85m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt Chris Simpson (Eng) 11/0, 11/8, 11/9 (27m)

Simon Rosner
(Ger) bt [4] Amr Shabana (Egy)   11/8, 11/7, 11/6 (22m)
[15] Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Steve Coppinger (Rsa)   11/5, 11/6, 11/6 (40m)

[12] Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt Jonathan Kemp (Eng)   11/3, 11/4, 11/9 (18m)
[5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) 11/7, 11/2, 11/6 (34m)

[6] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Jan Koukal (Cze) 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (42m)
[14] Adrian Grant (Eng) bt  Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 11/6, 11/13, 5/11, 11/4, 11/3 (76m)

[11] Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt Max Lee (Hkg) 11/8, 11/13, 11/7, 11/5 (67m)
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Mohammed Abbas (Egy)    11/5, 11/4, 11/5 (28m)

Shorbagy survives as seeds progress

With sixteen seeds in action today it was Cameron Pilley and Mohamed El Shorbagy who got the show on the road the the Qadsia Sporting Club. Pilley, seeded 13, was always ahead against Chris Ryder, but never by much and it took the big Aussie almost an hour to complete his 11/8, 11/9, 11/6 win.

Leading two-nil, seventh seed Mohamed El Shorbagy looked like beating Pilley to the showers, but a determined fightback from Borja Golan saw the Spaniard draw level, then take an 8/5 lead in the decider. Shorbagy had to save one match ball, then finished with two crosscourt volley nicks for  12/10, 11/7, 5/11, 2/11, 12/10 to his great relief and Golan’s frustration.

First up on Centre Court was Gregory Gaultier, the fifth seeded Frenchman who has reached the final in the last three major events, who had little trouble seeing off Omar Abdel Aziz 11/7, 11/2, 11/6 in just over half an hour.

Peter Barker was similarly in command against Jan Koukal, taking 42 minutes to beat the Czech 11/5, 11/6, 11/7, but on the other courts the marathons continued.

Laurens Jan Anjema needed 70 minutes to beat Saurav Ghosal, the Indian tiring after three close games to subside in the fourth 11/5, 9/11, 12/10, 11/2.

Shortest match of the day was Azlan Iskandar‘s 11/3, 11/4, 11/9 win over Jon Kemp, 18 minutes with the Englishman never getting fully involved, while Stewart Boswell‘s 11/5, 11/6, 11/6 win over Steve Coppinger, while only having one more point scored took 40 minutes, the in-form Aussie winning 11/5, 11/6, 11/6.

Completing the day at Qadsia, Omar Mosaad reached the last sixteen here for the first time as he beat Max Lee 11/8, 11/13, 11/7, 11/5 , and Adrian Grant came from 2/1 down to beat fellow left-hander Ryan Cuskelly 11/6, 11/13, 5/11, 11/4, 11/3.

And then it was off to Green Island …

Good effort Abdullah, well played Simon …

With six matches to play, top seed Nick Matthew did the schedule a favour when he despatched Nicolas Mueller in less than half an hour. Matthew was impressive from the start and Mueller accepted his fate from early in the third game as it finished 11/6, 11/3, 11/1.

Thierry Lincou
won in straight games too, but Olli Tuominen did his level best to extend the match. The Frenchman took the first easily enough, and built a good lead in the second, but a Finnish fightback took it to extra points.

Once Lincou had averted that danger, saving a game ball in the process, he reasserted in the third, finishing off the last few points quickly to win 11/6, 13/11, 11/6.

Then it was on to the main event of the night, the reason we had six matches as local wildcard Abdullah Almezayen took on Daryl Selby, the 9th seed, and came so, so close to one of the biggest upsets ever.

You normally expect to see wildcards subside quickly after a bright opening spell, but Abdullah is way better than most wildcards and gave Selby a real scare, playing some extraordinary shots and rallies.

He came from 3/7 down to take the first with six points in a row, almost came back in the third, and threatened again in the fifth, saving four match balls from 10/5 to 10/9 before, much to his opponent’s relief, playing a final dropshot into the tin for a scoreline of 9/11, 11/3, 11/9, 5/11, 11/9 in 66 minutes.

James Willstrop
didn’t look in the mood to hang about as he beat Chris Simpson 11/0 in the first game. Simpson improved, and in the third especially pushed the new Hong Kong champion close, but Willstrop closed it out 11/0, 11/8, 11/9.

The upset came in the penultimate match of the day as Simon Rosner dumped Amr Shabana, the fourth seed and two-time Kuwait champion, out of the event.

The German played well, of course he did, but it was one of those lackadaisical performances that Shabana can sometimes give … “not up for it” was another analysis offered.

So, at 10:20 the final match started, and the wager of whether all 16 seeds would progress or whether we’d finish before midnight was not going to receive and more takers.

Karim Darwish is one of the most adept at getting through early rounds without too much ado, and he finished the night off in his usual ruthlessly efficient fashion, despatching compatriot Mohammed Abbas 11/5, 11/4, 11/5.

Round three, the last sixteen, features three matches at the Qadsia Club and five more at Green Island tomorrow night.

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