Gaultier (Fra) 3-2 Ali Farag (Egy) 5-11,
11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-3 (72m)
GREG CONTAINS ALIÖ
Ö and that took some doingÖ
Itís all in the head you know? And the head talks to the legsÖ
last time those two played, Greg didnít expect the Hurricane Farag to
hit him hard Ė forcing him to battle for 90m and only clinching the game
12/10 in the 5th in the first round of the San Fran Open Ė this time,
the Frenchman was ready.
But still, he didnít manage to overcome the Egyptian at first. ďI hadnít
been really tested up to thenĒ he told me at the end. ďHe sure did open
my lungs! I needed that, it didnít damage me physically, au contraire,
it helped me cleansing out my tirednessĒ. Ali dominates the first game
from 3/3, he goes to 11/5 in 14m of hard work, but with a nice safety
net all the way.
The second is a typical of Greg, like it could be of the top 4 guys.
Under enormous physical strain, looking like under distress and about to
fall, white as it comes, 3/3, 4/4, Greg just finds a way. He takes more
time to receive serve, just 10, 12s more, then gets the cleaners out,
another 15, 20s to recover. And the magic Ė that comes with hours and
hours and hours of physical preparation Ė occurs: second wind, he gets
the game to 9/6, 10/7 11/8 in 15m, and has found his rhythm.
in the 3rd, Ali gets him under his control tactically again! From 2/2,
the young Egyptian soars to 7/3, 9/5, 10/6 game ball! Turning point of
the match. ďCome back time, GregĒ shout in front of me a young Indian
that has been coming to each and every match from the start of the week.
And he is spot on. Like he did in most of his matches in Qatar, Greg
claws back to force Ali to dig in mentally and physically. And Ali will
finally take the game 12/10 on his 5th game ball. But the damage is
From that point on, the stress, the physical and mental stress has gone
to Aliís legs. Because if the first time they played, Ali was
pressure-free, this time, he KNOWS he can win. He EXPECTS himself to
win. And thatís just too much for the Body/Brain to handle at the point.
that 4th, Ali is constantly trying to stretch his left left while Greg
just strings the points , 4/0, 11/1 in 6m.
The 5th will be of the same suffering for the Cairo boy, who just cannot
move at all, and is in excruciating pain. He still manages to win a few
points, God only knows how, and when he finally loses the last point,
just collapses in agony, absolutely unable to leave the court. Greg is
helping, Shabana and Hossan Ė the Egyptian physio Ė just get him first
to a seat on the first row of the backwall seating, then will help him
with Greg all the way to his corner.
Heíll lay there for about 15m before being able to be movedÖ. ďCíest la
loi du SportĒ states Greg. ďThere is always one that cracks up before
the other one. This time it was him. Maybe next time it will be me.Ē
was tough enough, he is only 23 years old, and the way he plays already
Still feeling good after the match. That was the first match where I was
really tested - I havenít had that kind of level of intensity so far
during the tournament so at the beginning of the match I was a bit
surprised by the speed because i havenít played that kind of match since
I played against Elshorbagy in Qatar so it was a good test and it will
definitely open up my lungs for the next match.
Even when I was down 2-1 I still believed in myself. This is the World
Championship and the tournament that everyone wants to win. I have been
training so hard all summer - injury free - to try and make my dream
come true and even when you're down you have to keep your head up.
I made some errors in the third at 10-10 - I wasnít confident with my
feel today but I fought hard to the end and that made the difference.
I could see he was struggling with cramp so I had to keep pushing and
pushing until he was truly broken down.
Heís an unbelievable player. His ranking will be top ten in a few months
- heís already up there at that level. Itís good for us all to have new
players like him coming through and testing us because it keeps us all
on our toes.
what experience does, you knowÖ
I had a game plan in the first three games, but after the 4th, no game
plan, nothing, just thinking. Thinking happened to me in the 4th, and I
couldnít stop it. I tried, I shouted, I told myself to be calm, to stay
focus, I even tried hitting the ball very hard, still I couldnít stop
I told Amr, what do I do? He told me just take rally per rally, point
per point. But it was too late, the too much stress I put on myself took
its toll, and my whole body started to cramp down.
But itís not taking anything away from him, itís actually all credit to
him, he push me to my extremesÖ
Iím just upset because itís my brother Waelís birthday today, and I
wanted to pay back a little bit what he does for me. But I came just
A good week for sure overallÖ
Willstrop (Eng) 3-0  Miguel Rodriguez
(Col) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (42m)
JAMES IS OFFICIALY JIMMY
guess the Americans have adopted Gentleman James. His fine performance,
his underdog status, his English reserve and fair squash seem to have
seduced the passionate, loud and numerous crowd Ė not on seat on the
side of the court today for those quarters, and thatís a hell of the lot
of them Ė who have nicknamed him ďJimmyĒ.
James, well, I guess I havenít seen him play that relaxed and fluid
since whatÖ that match against Greg in India when he reached world
number 1 status? Yes, I think thatís probably since thenÖ.
think the ENORMOUS match Miguel produced against Mathieu in the previous
round may have something to do with the South American just a bit off
performance. Yes, he may be a fitness alien, but still, Miguel is human
after all, and maybe even him must have felt a bit of acid lactic in his
Gentleman James was on a mission today. On a ďI want to arrive fresh in
the finalĒ mission. I know, one match at a time and all. But this man is
here now to win this. He certainly has the skills for it. And I start to
wonder if he wouldnít have the body for it too!
He went for 6/2, 8/3 10/4 in the opening game, denying Miguel any sniff
at it. Taking the pace off the ball, keeping it away from him and
playing extremely Pontefract-like tight squash, he just shut off Miguel
completely, 11/5 in 12m.
second is just a bit more intense score-wise, with Miguel giving a big
push physically, the rallies are more intense, he is really putting
James through a hell of twisting and turning, but James is focus and ďinťbranlableĒ,
unshakable, keeping at least two points cushion the whole of the second
game, to finally impose his dominance 10/6, same length, 12m for 11/7.
The third is weird as James seem to finally struggle a bit physically
under the assault of Miguel who really gives it all on there, the
rallies are getting longer and longer, James whiter and whiter, grinding
to a halt during some heavy rallies, but always finds the right shot at
the end to put the fighting South American away from the ball, 4/0, 5/2,
6/3, and finally, taking the match on his first attempt, 11/4 in 11m.
A masterclass in ball accuracy that was, or how to shut off the court
completely from one of the fittest squash athlete of all timesÖ
obviously delighted to be into the last four of the biggest tournament
in the squash world - Iím absolutely thrilled. More than anything Iím
thrilled with what Iíve managed to do on the court. Iíve won the matches
but what Iíve been doing Iím really pleased with because Iíve worked
hard and fro it to come together in such an important week is
tremendously satisfying. Above everything else Iím thoroughly enjoying
it and Iím try as best as I can to keep it going.
You canít help but go online and see messages from people congratulating
you (after the win over Mohamed) and I enjoyed it for a little while but
I was straight back on it because I knew i had a chance to win again
today and I wasnít going to let that slip.You donít get many
opportunities to get to any semi-final with the quality of the tour as
it is. But I have to keep doing that now and not get carried away.
donít give off loads of expression but I am really enjoying it. I love
playing the game and Iíve found that over the last year. Itís good to go
out and enjoy squash and Iíve certainly enjoyed this week - itís been a
I don;t want to worry about that (physical test) as I can only do what i
can do. I have the physio here and all I can do is prepare right. The
training is in there, I feel ok at the moment - the matches have been
hard but I donít feel like Iíve hit the bottom of teh well. Itís maybe
just whether the body and the joints and muscles, which havenít played
four matches in a row, can sustain it but Iím feeling ok.
Iím looking forward to playing Greg. We played in San Fran and it was a
real fast explosive match and it was close. He;s obviously going well
over the last few years, heís in good shape and I know how much he wants
to win this. But Iím there and Iíll give it absolutely everything.Ö
Mosaad (Egy) 3-2  Ramy Ashour (Egy) 11-8, 11-7, 1-11, 1-11, 11-5
Iím angry tonight. I am truly angry. Iím angry at the world, Iím angry
at my Angels that can bring somebody on earth with the grace and talent
of a Ramy Ashour to just keep on breaking his body and prevent him from
doing what he was meant for.
Losing a match, thatís nothing. Thatís ďla loi du sportĒ, sportís law.
It happens. You can be sad when one of your babies lose a match.
when their alien talent is being crushed, again and again by fate, sodís
law, God, whatever you want to call itÖ basically people, it stinks.
Omar Mosaad played the game of squash to perfection.. for the first two
games. He played it so well, that Ramy Ė who had been able to win his
matches without really pushing his body to the max Ė had no choice.
After losing the 2nd, he HAD to throw caution to the wind, and push the
body to the degree it needed to overcome Omar. Yes, Omar played THAT
So from the 3rd on, Ramy got into the next gear, the magic gear, the
Ramyís Artist Alien Mode, we saw the result: 11/1, 11/1, 5m each game.
the body, Ramyís hamstring, just couldnít take it. His squash is
virtually unbeatable. But the body just cannot take the strain. Only
Ramyís body could defeat Ramy.
When he came back for that 5th, he basically couldnít put any weight on
his right leg. Match was finished. He kept going as a mark of respect
for his compatriot.
So tonight, Iím angry. And Iím also so sad. Not because Ramy lost a
match. But because Iím afraid weíve lost him.
Some people play the game.
Others change it. Ramy Ashour.
feeling amazing - itís the first time in my life to reach the
semi-finals of the World Championship and itís amazing. Iím really
It was my fourth match in this tournament and Iíve got more confidence
especially after beating Adnan and Borja Golan. Iím pleased with my
performance especially in those first two games. In the third and fourth
I got a little tired.
Iím really sorry for what happened to Ramy because he was controlling so
I was lucky a little bit tonight but i need to go and recover and get
ready for tomorrowís match.
Before Grasshopper I think he was ahead 12-0 on our head to head and
that was my first ever win over him. He was injured then but winning is
winning. I hope he recovers soon but Iím happy to be in the semis. Iím
trying to win and Iíll do my best to win the next match
Momen (Egy) 3-2  Nick Matthew (Eng) 5-11,
11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (84m)
Tarek Believes at last
Momen is one of those players who, like Ali Farag, chose to get a degree
before getting full time on the tour. And I guess Tarek suffered to see
his age group succeed before him. Always just a bit behind ranking wise.
And in the first round, he nearly lost against a superb Joe Lee, 2/0
down, 4/0. ďHad I lost that match, I was going to pull from HK, and take
a breakĒ he told me.
The court conditions were not favourable to the delicate backhand
volleying of the Egyptian. And to beat Nick, he would have to play a
Plan B on top of his Plan A. And thatís exactly what he had in the bag
First game, Nick just flies 2m above the ground, 7/2 up, heíll take the
game in 12m, 11/5. Which means that the rallies were constructed and
hard work produced. The second, we start to see Tarek showing us what he
can do, but Nick just wonít that it, coming back from 1/3 down to 5/3.
At 6/6, a little wobble from the three times champ, 3 tins in a row,
allowing the Egyptian to score 6 points in a row, to take the second
11/7, in 14m.
The third, Nick is on the war path again. Heís got the racquet between
the teeth, he is looking at his support camp, and will fight point for
point. Tarek is very close though, very very close, 4/4, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8.
Enormous two rallies, 9/9. A not let and a superb backhand drop shot
winner, 11/9, and the Yorkshire man celebrates his win with a fist push,
while Rockyís Theme just resound in the arenaÖ Great drama!!!!
But the 4th is probably where Nick just made a simple error: 4/0 up, and
he relaxed just a bit. Tarek only needed that little breath, to come
back to 5/5, 6/6. From there, he just get the momentum, 11/8, in 14m.
The fifth is again so tense, so close, Nick is giving it all what he
probably doesnít have anymore, to come back from 3/0 and 4/1 down to
equalise at 4/4, but at 5/4, he tins a drop shot when he had Tarek wrong
footed. 5/5. Another error, 6/5 Tarek. And a crosscourt from Tarek that
Nick just misses by half and inch, 7/5. A superb boast that dies at the
Nick is not beaten yet, he claws back at 7/8, but a lucky nick stops his
come back. He closes his eyes, he wants to shout THIS IS NOT FAIR, but
just clinches jaws and fist, 9/7. A gutsy backhand long drop shot from
the Egyptian, 10/7.
And I donít know what is the last winner/loser shot. I just look at
Nick, white as possible, jaws clinched, and at Tarek, ecstatic. Crowd
erupts. Thank Heaven we donít have anymore matches after this one. I
just couldnít take any more emotions tonight.
won it three times, I canít complainÖ
You have to keep the perspective, I try and console myself by telling
myself itís only a game of squash after all, I have a beautiful wife, an
adorable daughter waiting for me at home.
Iím happy with the fact I left it all on there tonight. I donít mind
losing when I give it everything I have, I donít like when I lose a
match like in the US Open, 11/3, 11/4, that Iím not happy at the end,
but when I give it all, Iím satisfied I tried my best.
Maybe at 4/0 up in the 4th I thought I had him, and then in that 5th, I
miss that backhand drop shot, whereas I had won the point [5/4] and then
again, when I miss that crosscourt, [5/6], itís such fine lines, it
could have made a huge difference.. There are days that are just not
your day somehowÖ
I was quite happy, flying under the radar, all the attention was on
Mohamed and Ramy, and then those two went out, and maybe thatís when I
made the error, maybe I thought it was my week, that I could take
another one. There was not a player left that I couldnít have beaten if
I was playing my bestÖ Thatís maybe the disappointing thing. You try and
not think about those things, but Iím only human, and somewhere along
the way, you just doÖ