Farag (Egy) 3-1  Simon RŲsner (Ger) 7-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9
ALI IMPOSES HIS GAME
Another match that was played in the head. Not on skills, or fitness,
but just a mental battle, just a tactical chess game today yet again.
styles of play: Simon, so strong and hard hitter, with superb volley
skills, who likes to play fast and furious. Ali, not that powerful Ė
although he can hit hard Ė but his game is a mid pace spiderman kind of
feel, taking any pace off the ball really, making you do all the work
and not opening the court enough for you to have fun! So you want to
create your own fun, and often, you do it from the wrong position and
you end up with a tinÖ or a winnerÖ
Letís remind ourselves what happened 3 weeks ago. Those two played in
the first round of the US Open, and Simon won 7-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-4
in 69m. As in, pretty close indeed. And they were both very conscious of
that: the top guy wanted to prevent the same close match, and the
contender knew he had a chance.
the opener, excellent start for Simon, 3/0, 4/1. Blood injury break,
18m, and when he comes back, Ali scores 5 points in a row. ďThat gave me
confidence I could beat him todayĒ he confessed. Ali drew Simon in his
web, but Simon is alert, and can see what is happening. He speeds up the
pace, pushed physically his opponent, 6/6, 7/7, and a huge rally
absolutely kills Aliís resistance, heíll make 3 tins in a row and Simon
looks bleeping good, 11/7 in 14 effective game time.
Again a great start for Simon in the 2nd, 3/1, and he keeps that
advantage all the way to 8/6, always a little cushion. The pace is high,
Simon is in control, and Fairest Farag, normally very quiet and the kind
you want to introduce to your parents suddenly goes Yalllah at every
shot, getting more and more pumped up bless him!
An that seems to work for great for him. He comes back to 8/8, 9/9. A no
let will will Simon game ball, 10/9, and heíll even have another chance
at 11/10, but itís the Egyptian that clinches the game 13/11, who
celebrates his victory by a HUUUUUUUUGE COOOOOMMME OOOOON!!!!!! So out
of character. Ali is on the war path.
the match follows exactly the pattern of their previous match, we think
we are on for a feisty 3rd, but no, Simon seems no, not tired, but just
mentally disheartened. Heíll go down, 7/1, 8/3 before he seems to get
back in the energy, heíll lose that one in 8m, 11/6.
And energy the German has indeed in the 4th, 3/0 up he goes. But Ali is
attracting him in his game again, and we are back in the mental battle,
you play MY game, no YOU play MINE. Rallies are superb, breathtaking,
lovely and ridiculous pick-ups and boasting from both. 3/3, 4/4, 5/5,
6/6, 8/8, 9/9. A superb battle at the front of the court, and a last
counterdrop Simon cannot return, match ball for the Egyptian. And with a
ridiculous nick roll winner, Ali is sealing his victory.
For his first ever World Champs, he just reached the corners. ďIím in
7th HeavenĒ. You bet.
is such a great player, he beat me in the US Open, so to get my revenge
here is unbelievableÖ Oh whaoooo, oh whaoooo, I feelÖ I have no wordÖ
I was lucky at the start when we have the injury break to have Hossam to
stop the bleeding, and Shabana for the mental side, he helped me to stay
focused, he told me how he dealt with those situations, and it really
was good for me to have that good spell in the first, because otherwise,
I wouldnít have believed in my chances in beating him today.
As Shabana said, mix it up, and if you give him anything in the middle,
heíll crush you, thatís how lethal he is.
The spectators are our fuel, to feel appreciated is the most wonderful
feeling in the world, and itís nice to see the hard work is payingÖ
What a feeling that is, absolutely delighted, when I saw the draw in the
US Open, I thought I had a chance if I was playing my best, and here I
am in the quarters, 3 more to goÖ
Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (28m)
Greg eases through
What ended up as the shortest match of the day saw four-time runner-up
Gregory Gaultier continue his impressive run so far as he dismissed
young Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi in straight games to reach a seventh
consecutive - and ninth overall - quarter-final.
had a great tournament, he has created a few surprises, a few upsets, I
thought it was time to stop the upset!!
He had a great victory in the second round, when he beat Fares in a very
long match, and if he moved very well in the first few rallies, I
quickly realised he was really struggling with his movement,
So I made sure I was keeping the rallies going instead of killing the
ball, and made him even more tired!
But well done to him for such a great tournament really.
Iíve been feeling the ball well and moving good on court so far this
week so Iíve been able to get off without spending too much time on
Which is important because tomorrow is a big match. Ali was sharp today
and Iím going to have to be prepared for that.
Rodriguez (Col) 3-1  Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2 (75m)
MIGUEL IS OFFICIALLY A FITNESS ALIEN
that boy Ė now the only ever South American to reach this level of the
competition Ė retrieved and run today is nothing short of astonishing.
Mathieu is fit, you know, and played out of his skin today, but Miguel,
just, well.. killed him. Both mentally and physically.
First game was a superb display from the Frenchman, 29, just turned 8,
who pushed his opponent, same age, nį5, to make 6 uncharacteristic
errors. 4/1 to Mat, but Miguel comes back, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6. Mathieu is
leading the dance though and takes the game 11/7 in 18m. Thatís longÖ.
The rallies are gruelling, intense, in the four cornersÖ
second is completely dominated by the Colombian, who has now picked up
the pace, and leads 7/3, 9/5 only to see my compatriot coming back into
the game when he gets a no let that seems very harsh and a ball that he
thinks is down. Heíll claw back to 8/9, on adrenalin, but loses the game
The third will be the turning point, with nothing between the players
from 1/1 to 7/7, and rallies that you HAVE to watch on SquashTV, pure
magic between two lunatics that really get the ball to every space of
At 7/7, a rally that Iím sure went over 100 strokes. I was just
incredible. Just impossible what Miguel managed to save, what Mathieu
volleyed, and run, both running, and attacking and retrieving and
changed angles, height, pace. Miguel takes it with a backhand driveÖ
And Mathieu is broken. Heíll tin three shots to lose the game, 11/7 in
Ďonlyí 17m, and wonít be able to compete in the 4th, just broken down in
little pieces, 11/2 in 6m.
Comment from the French team: ďthe man is a machineĒ.
was pretty hard, itís always the case with Mathieu, he is tricky,
talented, tough physically and mentally. In the first game, he played
very well, and I had really to push very hard in the second and third to
break his rhythm. I think at the end of the match, I was stronger
physically than me.
Iím so proud to be the first South American to reach the quarters. Iíve
played all the Worlds since Cairo, apart from Rotterdam, and I think Iím
playing my best squash right now. Reaching that level of the competition
is amazing, unique and very specialÖ
Iím happy that people appreciate my game, my style, I think they like
the turns and the dives, but itís sometimes not energy efficient, so Iím
trying not to do it too often, but sometimes, you have to do it! Iím
just trying to be as strong mentally as I can, but itís in my blood!
That rally in the 3rd, I was very aware he was pretty tired, I tried and
serve as quickly as possible, and force the same speed, the same
intensity. From that point on, 2/1 up, Mathieu probably thought it was
going to be impossible to come back. And in the 4th, I played very good
squash, I didnít make any errors, and all my shots went in.
Willstrop (Eng) 3-1  Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 11-4, 11-7, 10-12,
THAT ONE, I NEVER SAW COMING
need to apologise to James. I never ever ever ever ever would have
predicted that one. I just counted him out. For me Ė and I would guess
for a lot of people, Mohamed was in the final.
I had a few signs though, Mohamed has had a pretty busy season. And his
win in Qatar last year Ė although great for his confidence Ė maybe
didnít do much good for his legs and his mental focus. I know, I know,
you are thinking there she goes again, taking away the victory from the
winner. Iím not.
I just know things that maybe not everybody thinks or knows? If Iím
knackered, and I have only done 2 events, with only 10 hours jet lag,
how do the players feel? Greg was dead in Qatar and still reached the
final, Mohamed acknowledged it in his quote after the win. Why shouldnít
I take notice of Mohamed fatigue?
about James. Gentleman James had it not that easy for the past 18
months. Heís been trough a few humbling moments, and as he told me after
his match in the first round ďOn my day, any player can beat meĒ. Thatís
a former number 1 talking, at 32, and a finalist in 2010 yet, unseeded
Whatever Mohamed's state, tired or not, James played one of the best
matches of his life today. And I have seen him play a fewÖ He basically
took Mohamed to the throat, and never let go. Ever. And Mohamed, with
the pressure on him Ė and I donít think people realise how hard it is
for him that everybody expect Ramy to win this when he is the one
working his racquet off day in day out Ė just wasnít able to find his
top squash to contain the Yorkshire man.
game is over in 9 minutes, we are stunned. James is at the top of his
game. Thatís when I realise I never even considered Mohamed could lose,
The second, Mohamed, who let James dictate the pace in the opener, just
goes up 5 gear, twisting and turning James but the Englishman just stays
in control, and goes up a couple of points ahead, to get comfy at 9/4.
Mohamed knows he is in great danger, heíll score 4 points giving it a
big push, but James takes it back, and take the second, 11/7 in 11m.
When Mohamed comes back, he is angry, angry at himself for being in the
situation. And he goes for the ďwinning uglyĒ attitude that helped him
so many times. He doesnít mean that he is playing ugly.
means he gets in the mental attitude of the winner, no matter what. Itís
very positive for Mohamed, it saved him a few times. A few discussions
with the ref, Damien Green warning both players to clear the ball,
Mohamed complaining that James is not moving at all, and preventing
access to the ball. James is not happy with Mohamed chatting. Itís all
Tense, intense, come to mind to describe this one.
1/1. 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7. James suddenly gets the lead, 10/7,
and itís match ball. But Mohamed knows those situations, he lived them,
again and again. He steps up the pace, raises his game, and scores the
following 5 points and take the game 12/10 in 22m. The crowd is going
to be truthful, I thought that was it for James. I thought Mohamed was
still going to take it in 5, and then struggle against Miguel tomorrow.
But I again didnít see James again, finding those ridiculous shots
again, attacking everything on the planet and on the next one for that
matter. On one foot, on the head. It was James at his best. Truly. No
fear. No pressure. Just pure flair.
And like in the 3rd, James went from 6/6, 7/7 to 10/7, thanks a tin from
Mohamed, to set up that fourth match ball for James: it was to be the
one. In 64m, James just took out the favourite of the tournament.
Standing ovation for a very emotional James that just couldnít speak.
That doesnít happen often. Both: him crying and him being speechless.
sorryÖ what was that all about, me crying, itís only sport for crying
Of course, itís a great win, to be able to compete at the level, being
able to do what I do, what I love to do, being able to perform at my
best to beat a fantastic player, World number one.
But itís much more than a squash match, itís about all those people that
have been helping me over those past months.
Itís much much more than squash. Itís peopleís days and lives and
efforts - itís such as selfish game but so many people behind the scenes
are so selfless and I want to acknowledge everyone. I feel very lucky to
do what I do and to play like that today is a hat off to all the people
whoíve supported me.
In context of everything itís maybe one of my best ever performance).
When I got to No.1 I was ready to be No.1 but I havenít played to that
kind of level for so long. Itís probably about as good as Iíve ever
played all things considered.
After being out and not knowing where I am and the process Iíve had to
go through - I havenít had many chances to play at the level and pace of
a player like Mohamed Elshorbagy and when I play did in May I was
nowhere near that level.
been a slow process and itís taken a while to get moment into it and
maybe now that Iíve been going since January my body is getting used to
the training load and match play again. But because itís been so long
itís certainly a turn-up for the books
There are times when Iíve left a match and said I didnít get the rub of
the green or things didnít go my way - but no doubt about it I had the
rub of the green today. My shots were going into nicks and clinging when
they could have hit the wall. People always say, even the best, that you
always need a little bit of luck in matches and tournament. I had to
play great squash no doubt about it and I couldnít afford to put a foot
wring against him, but no question, things went my way as well.
The only phase it didnít was when he stifled me at the end of the third
and saved the match balls from 10-7. It would be easy to think
negatively at the end of that third game but I looked at it and told
myself Ďyouíre 2-1 up and youíre in the leadí. Maybe the momentum has
changed a bit, but you are still in the lead. Itís all about that
physiology. It was disappointing to lose but there was nothing I could
do about it - I didnít get down about it. I just did what I needed to do
in the fourth and it worked.
I feel great for the moment but I canít get too carried away - itís not
the end. This is the biggest tournament in the world and I need to get
myself together now for the next round. Iíve won but I need to perform
again tomorrow. Itís as simple as that.
Bad days in the office can happen but I do hate it when it
happens in big tournaments!! Good to see James back at his best though!
But one thing I know for sure....I will be back!!
Mohamed Elshorbagy on twitter!
Mosaad (Egy) 3-1  Borja Golan (Esp) 6-11,
11-4, 11-2, 13-11 (65m)
Mosaad makes the quarters
Egyptians would make it through to the last eight, and although Omar
Mosaad has been in the world's top ten and is seeded seven, he'd never
previously made the quarter-finals.
Spain's Borja Golan made him work hard, very hard to get through to a
first quarter-final, taking the first game and threatening to take the
match into a decider as he saved three match balls in the fourth before
really hard to play long matches back-to-back.
Iím really happy with my squash today. i think I did a good job
especially after yesterdayís 3-2 and Iím really happy to win today be
into the quarter-finals.
I feel Ramy is playing a national tournament - heís plying
all-Egyptians! It will be a great match between him and Karim. Iíll
enjoy watching it while Iím stretching and just make sure Iím prepared
Ashour (Egy) 3-1  Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (54m)
Ashour still going strong
was curious to see how Ramy would cope with the major upset that was
Mohamed Ė his most dangerous opponent on the tour, who still never beat
him in a PSA tournament. Came close though, Match ball in El Gouna - 4?
- Match ball in Qatar. But as long as Mohamed was on course, the
pressure was on him. Suddenly, a bit like when Borg retired, McEnroe was
upset. Nobody to match up with. I know for a fact that Mohamed didnít
like seeing Ramy retiring from the US Open and consecutively from Qatar.
Was Ramy equally going to be unsettled by his early exit?
It didnít seem so in the first part of the match. Very focused in the
first game, Ramy zoomed up to 7/2, 8/4, 10/5 taking the game 11/6 in 9m.
It looked like the Artist was going for an easy 3/0 like for their two
previous matches, 4 years ago.
Karim is not top 10 for nothing you know, and when Ramy relaxed a bit at
10/6 up in the second, Karim started to chase every shot, and not only
retrieved, but found some pretty amazing shots himself Ė the fact that
Ramy forgot the meaning of the word LENGTH probably helped too. Karim
scored 4 points in a score, not a tin from Ramy, really scored them, but
Ramy finally stops him 12/10 amazingly enough, with the first unforced
error in the game from Karim Ė and his second only on the whole match!
And our Ramy probably started thinking about the 12,504 thoughts heís
got by the minute, Mohamed probably one of them, forgetting how
dangerous his opponent could be. And Karim just rolled him into batter,
and ate him raw in a sushi roll, 4/0, 8/3, 10/6! Ramy was trying to
contain him, but the shots were too good, too fast, too inventive. 11/8
Karim in 8 minutes.
4th is not comfy for the Artist at all! He tins 4 shots in 8 points, but
at 5/5 finally, Karim is showing signs of tiredness, not surprising with
the work produced. Heíll still fight, 6/6, 7/7.
At 8/7 Ramy, Karim gets a let he thinks is stroke, then a no let that he
finds very harsh. ďThe ball is very highĒ he says. The ref: ďthe ball
was too good, you couldnít have reached itĒ. And a spectator: ďHave you
been watching the match???Ē
Karim now a bit out of focused, not happy with the calls, and add insult
to injury, heíll lose the match on a strokeÖ.
To be noted that in that 4th, Ramy started diving again, twice. Good
move, Ramy, just go and break your bionic leg/hip/shoulder, see if we
Mohamed losing, I have so much in my mind I cannot handle any more, itís
just crazy, I just glad that the energy of the upset didnít get to meÖ I
can only say there is no guarantees, thatís my favourite quote, anyone
can beat anyone on the day.
I could have stayed home and play the Nationals, itís crazy, Iíve only
been playing Egyptians, but then again, it cannot get any worse, can it.
And they all go for their shots.. He was moving so well, you canít hear
him move, thatís why, 50% of the times, he was there on the shot I
played, because he donít hear his feet on the floor, he just floats out
Iím fine physically, although I havenít played at the level for a while,
he is very relaxed on court, a bit like ďOh, I was just passing by, so
Iím just going to play in the tournament thenĒ kind of feel coming from
him. So itís very confusing he is so fast, both mentally and physically
We havenít played that often itís good for us both, itís good to play
different people. And I feel fine. I wouldnít have been able to beat him
today they way he played if I wasnít 100%.
was playing well, and up 2/0 and I got too comfortable, starting to
think about something else, and that was a huge error, I stopped
thinking about the match for a second, and the minute you start doing
that, you are being punished, your ego is being punished. You learn
something with every match.
I really would like to thank the people that have made this tournament
happen, Shabana Khan and her team, and the Sponsors, thanks ever so
much, itís the first time that tournament is playing in the USA, it was
very courageous of Shabana and of all the sponsors that made it happen.
Thanks again to all.
Iím very happy with the way I played, Iím in the quarters of the Worlds,
thatís a big deal. Itís all about not expecting too muchÖ
remember the first times I played him, I even couldnít see the ball!
Everybody know how talented he is, both front and back of the court, no
need to stress that one out. So today, I tried to enjoy it, keeping my
shots tight to the side to minimise his winners as much as I could.
Iím very happy with the way I have been playing those past months, with
the hard work Iíve done to improve on the physical side.
I really enjoyed the match, until 7/7 that is, where I got three bad
decisions, I wouldnít have minded losing, but those decisions leave me a
bit sad really. I would have rather it would have a different finished.
It was the first time every I was able to really compete with him on
court, and truly, I wish him good luck for the tournament, itís nice to
see him play and on court, he is such a great ambassador for our sport.
Matthew (Eng) 3-0  Marwan Elshorbagy
(Egy) 13-11, 12-10, 11-5 (53m)
NICK MATTHEW: IíM STILL HERE!
was a very dangerous banana skin for the three times world Champ.
Marwan, left alone to defend the Shorbagyís honour, was on the war path
from the word go, and imposed his patient and gruelling game to Nick,
setting up two game balls 10/8. Nick grinded them out, saving another
game ball at 11/10 before closing it down 13/11.
The second was more controlled by Nick, who physically managed to
dominate the middle of the court, finding his pace mid game, 8/4, 10/5
game ball. Did he relax a bit? I donít think so. Marwan, like his
brother, has the ability to relax the arm and just string points,
finding a positive momentum out of nowhere. And Nick will only manage to
clinch the second 12/10, on a not up called by Marwan Ė not the refÖ.
The third is a very high mountain to climb, 3/0 5/2, 8/3, 9/5. Again
Marwan calls his shot not up, to set up match ball, and Nick finishes it
with an AceÖ
Not a good evening for the Shorbagys. But Marwan is close, veryyyyy
close. And as for the World number 1, he said ďOne thing is sure, Iíll
be backĒ. I have noooooo doubt.
was playing incredible squash for the first two games, I was 2/0 up I
could easily have been 2/0 down, 1/1 would have been a fair reflection
of the match.
He had the lead in the first, I had the lead in the second. It was a bit
of a roll of fortune, I took advantage of it, he mentally got a bit
deflated in the third, plus a bit of my experience played its role at
No more day off now, unless you lose, youíd could have all the days off
you want, so I hope no more day off until the end now, those opponents
get quicker and quicker, so Iím going to have some stretching and then a
few ladder drills to prepare for tomorrowÖ