EL GOUNA INTERNATIONAL 2012 – DAILY NEWS – Edition #1 – Thu 5th April
With home interest in all fourteen first round qualifying matches at Alexandria Sporting Club – top seeds Mathieu Castagnet and Amr Khalid Khalifa receiving byes – it was no surprise when Egyptian players started flooding into the qualifying finals.
Zahed Mohamed was the first player through, with a 3/0 win over compatriot Khaled Abdel Fatah Ghoniem.
“I’ve been on the PSA circuit for only a year, I was playing a lot as a junior,” said Zahed, “but I was concentrating on my studies (Sciences & Technologies in the Arabic Academy of Business in Alexandria). I’ve now would like to concentrate on my PSA career, but I’ve got to work even more on my fitness to get further I feel.”
“When I was down 8/2, what helped me was 1. God. 2. My father walked in exactly at time. 3. I’m a big fan of tennis, and for months now, I’ve been feeding myself with Nadal, Federal and Jokovitch. And that helped me a lot in my mental strength.”
Wael Farag didn’t make an amazing comeback, but it did take hime eight match balls to finish off Malaysia’s Kamran Khan 19/17 in the third, in a match which featured more than a few contentious moments, with Khan frequently surprised and sometimes taken aback by decisions, while Farag was frustrated with his opponent’s delaying tactics.
“The court was really hot today, and I thought that Kamran was taking a lot of time between the points, but I managed to make him work very hard,” said Farag when asked about the match. “Yes, you are right, I didn’t use the backwall much! But I knew that Kamran was a very skilful player and was going to volley a lot, so I tried to attack as much as I could and in the first two games, it worked perfectly.
“The third was more challenging, and I was really lucky to get it in the end! I’m so happy I won today 3/0, because for the past three months, I’ve been playing rather poorly. And I really want to thank Amr Mansi and his team for organising this tournament!”
Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Mezayan and Adrian Waller provided the only non-Egyptian winners so far, both with fairly omfortable 3/0 wins, over Marwan Mahmoud and Fasres Desouky.
Abdullah now meets Omar Abdel Meguid, who was in control for most of his match against Ahmed El Mehelmi, who was apparently the big fella’s nightmare player in their junior days. Meguid slipped at the start of the third and lost that game quickly as he was careful with an achilles that has caused him problems, but recovered to dominate the fourth.
“He was under no pressure, and was going for his shots, some were going in the tin, but some weren’t!” said Meguid, “and it was hard for me to run after every shot and still keep the ball at the back. Two years ago, I was able to qualify for my first Super Series here, so I’m hopeful I can do it again this year, but it will be tough against Abdullah.”
“This was a good introduction to the tournament, it’s nice to get a hard game, you actually feel better the next day, because it’s hard to train as hard as you actually do in a real game. The second was pretty hard, he started to get a bit tired, and his movement was not as good as it was in the first and we kept colliding a lot. But I thought I was playing well and I was happy to take that game. Both mentally and physically, it was hard for him to come back from 2/0 down.”
He’ll face Mohamed Abouelghar for a place in the main draw after the World Junior and British Junior Open runner-up recovered from a slow start to beat Adel El Zarka in four games.
“In the first game, I just wasn’t in the match, I’m not sure why,” admitted Abouelghar. “I was a bit flat, maybe because the court was very hot, and it’s not good for my game. The rallies were endless, because the ball was so bouncy, and I went for my shots too early.
“In the second, I went back to basics, but it’s really in the third that I had to give it a big push from 6/6, because I didn’t want to lose that game, it was going to make a big difference. In the fourth, I was controlling the game well, and hit the ball ok.”
Campbell Grayson and Ivan Yuen added to the tally of non-Egyptian winners as they both won in straight games.
“Like a lot of Egyptians, he is very hard to read, and although I was making him work pretty hard and making him move around in the first, he was really flying onto the ball, and was going for shots, of which a few got straight in! But from the second, I closed the game down and slowed down the pace, and he didn’t like it at all. And once I stopped him to fly onto the ball, he didn’t have that many options left.”
Robbie Temple, Karim Ali Fathy and Karim AGA Samy all advanced without needing to go on court as their Iraqui opponents arrived too late.
That led to an evening session which somewhat fizzled out, with Amr Swelim the last winner of the day after entertaininbg three games with Mohamed Mosaad, making it nine and a half Egyptians (Swelim plays under the Italian flag) through to the qualifying finals, all eight of which will have home interest.
Qualifying Round One, Alexandria Sporting Club
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bye
Zahed Mohamed (Egy) bt Khaled Ghoniem (Egy) 11/8, 11/8, 11/4 (37m)
Omar Mohie (Egy) bt Joey Barrington (Eng) 7/11, 8/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/6 (72m)
Wael Farag (Egy) bt Kamran Khan (Mas) 11/6, 11/9, 19/17 (56m)
Abdullah Al Muzayen (Kuw) bt Marwan Mahmoud (Egy) 11/9, 11/3, 11/1 (25m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) bt Ahmed El Mehelmi (Egy) 11/9, 11/3, 4/11, 11/5 (35m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) bt Adel El Zarka (Egy) 3/11, 13/11, 12/10, 11/5 (35m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) bt Fares Dessouki (Egy) 11/7, 13/11, 11/5 (46m)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl) bt Ahmed Hany (Egy) 11/8, 11/4, 11/6 (29m)
Andrew Wagih (Egy) bt Hesham Mohamed Aly (Egy) 11/5, 11/4, 11/6 (22m)
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy) bt Hasan Hashim Al-Sulttani (Irq) w/o
Ivan Yuen (Mas) bt Mohd Essam El Sherif (Egy) 11/7, 12/10, 11/1 (31m)
Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Husham Abdulkareem Al-Sady (Irq) w/o
Karim AGA Samy (Egy) bt Rasool Hashim Abdullah (Irq) w/o
Amr Swelim (Ita) bt Mohamed Mosaad (Egy) 11/8, 11/8, 11/9 (32m)
Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy) bye
Qualifying finals start at 17.00 on Friday.
Full Coverage: www.elgounasquashopen.com