2015 Men's World Championship Bellevue - Day SIX
REPORTS:  Marche | Golan | Momen | Mosaad
Marwan | Matthew | Ashour | Gawad

Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-2 [15] Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
            5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7 (88m)

LET THE SQUASH DO THE TALKING

A nice easy 3/0 opening of the day, 34 m… Yes, I’m kidding. A lovely 88m to start a very long day, thanks guys..

It didn’t start well at all for TGreg who I think was pretty nervous. He felt he had a chance I guess, probably put a bit of pressure on himself, but didn’t start the way he should have bless him. “I didn’t start well, but I don’t mind that much if I can finish the match the way I ended this one…” You can say that again.

From the first rally, TGreg started to chat with the ref, even prompted them the decision “it’s a stroke, it’s a stroke” before they gave the answer. Of COURSE that went very well with the officials…

Then poor mite broke two strings, and really didn’t have a good focus on the game, arguing with the ref, thinking his lets were actually stroke, and truly putting the refs in a position where they didn’t have another choice than making the Frenchman understand that that wasn’t going to do.

A NO LET for what should have been a let (and a stroke in the French’s mind), Greg goes mad! “If you can’t see that one, it’s going to be a long match”. He loses quite logically the opener, 11/6 in 19 long minutes.

Cops, just focused on his game, hasn’t said a word.

After chatting with Greg Gaultier, who knows a bit about losing your focus chatting with refs, and learned from it in those past years, TGreg comes back and does what he should have done from the start, let his squash do the talking. He’ll take the 2nd in 12m, 11/4, forcing a few errors from the South African that seems just a bit off timing wise. Now we have a match on our hands.

The third is very close again, lots of work produced, superb squash, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 5/5, 6/6. I write on my notebook at that point, “Greg is eroding Cops”. And I think that it’s exactly what he did. By forcing the Tall South African to play just one more shot, he twisted and turned him just enough to tire him just a fraction, allowing the French to go 11/8 in again 17 long minutes, 2/1 for TGreg.

The 4th, Cops is just so good, tactically, he doesn’t give anything to TGreg, backhand is superbly accurate, length immaculate, and he is as positive as he was in the 4th, 4/0, 10/1, 11/3.

The 5th to be honest is dominated by the energy of the Frenchman, 36 in the World, maybe more positive and hungry at that point? Maybe Cops went a bit defensive? 3/1, 7/3. It looks all over. Cops give it a huge push, the rallies are monumental, breathtaking, he comes back to 7/9, but the momentum of the French just won’t be broken. He is flying around the court, truly imposing his flamboyant move on there and takes the 18m last game, 11/7….

Three French in the last 16. That’s a first. What a time politically I mean to achieve such a result. Well done boys.

It’s a right time to be proud to be French. It’s something that motivates all of us, and in the 5th, I actually thought about it…

We have a very strong French team, we actually hope to do in the World Teams next month, and it’s not just in this event, it’s all year round. They did a great job on me on this tournament, I arrived in a poor shape, a bit sick, a bit jetlag, and today I was feeling really good on the court, thanks to them.

I started really poorly, 4, 5 down, and then I locked myself head to head with the refs, it was maybe my fault, but there were a few decisions I really didn’t understand. Now, it’s my fault, I should know better, it’s up to me to deal with it.

And actually, I’m quite proud of the way I did deal with it, from the 2nd back on, I just focused on the job to be done.

In the 4th, he really played so well, he locked me out the backhand side, and I just couldn’t break him to get back in there.

It’s been a long time wait for this kind of victory, that significant, and what a time to do it, here and now. Truly looking forward to the next match.

[14] Borja Golan (Esp) 3-0 Paul Coll (Nzl) 11-9, 13-11, 11-5 (55m)

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PAUL COLL …

… is basically nothing. Talk about an up and coming young man!! I know he is based in Netherlands with Cameron Pilley and LJ I think…. Not sure what they are doing in that squash centre, but it’s producing great squash!!!

What a match people, what a match! I can tell you something, is that Borja just never relaxed the whole time. From the first rally, Paul was at his throat and never let go, and truly today, you couldn’t see who was not in the top 13!!!

Not much between the players in the opening game, Paul going even up 7/5, but a couple of tins at the wrong time, 7/7, allowing the Spanish to come back in the game quickly, 9/7, 10/8. A tin from Borja but a squeeze on the backhand wall, and it’s 11/9 in 18m… Lots of work was done that, I tell you, moving the ball well those two were, very entertaining match indeed.

It became a bit more tense when the Refs started to play a big part. In the first rally, Central Ref Roy Gingell warned the Spanish to “go for the ball, and not for the man”. Again a very close game, 5/5. When we think Borja is in control, lovely boasts mixed with powerful crosscourts, 8/5, a no let frustrate him. “We told you to go for the man, not for the ball” reiterates the ref. Borja likes it less and less bless him.

At 7/9, Paul actually falls on his back trying to hit a backhand drop shot from Borja. Stroke says the ref. Borja is not happy at all, starts to chat, the ref asks him to get on with the game, Borja does, Conduct Warning, Borja asks if he’s got a review, Ref says no, but Borja keeps talking – I lost a bit the thread there – only to get a conduct stroke. “I was just asking if I got a review”. “I told you you didn’t!” “I didn’t hear you!!!!”

It’s all happening.

Meanwhile, Paul is still focused, didn’t open his mouth the whole of the match, putting his head down, hitting the ball perfectly, running superbly, retrieving, basically, being in the zone. He gets a game ball, 10/9, that Borja saves by a squeeze on the right wall. The Spanish finally will take that crucial game 13/11, in 21m, on a stroke that seemed very harsh to me. “Why” said a very surprised Kiwi. That’s the first time I heard his voice, wasn’t even sure he had one!!!

The third is a bit more one sided, are you surprised, 6/0, 8/1, but with Paul giving it all he doesn’t have anymore, diving himself so many times to try and retrieve Borja's now lethal attacks, but can only bow, 11/5, 10m.

Superb display of squash by Paul, he just misses a few little tuning here and there, but truly, what a game, Borja will be DELIGHTED to have get away from that one in 3. That was a “dangerous banana slip” that was..

Was that 3/0? It felt more than that! Really hard match today.

I’m lucky I sneaked those two at the beginning, and maybe even the 3rd. He is an up and coming player, he played unbelievable today, he is so quick and fast. I had to work very hard and play very well to win this one.



I’m happy with the way I played, I had my opportunities to take the two first games, but Borja is so experienced, he played the crucial points better. Of course, I’m disappointed, especially with the way I had those big points and let them slip away…

[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0 Diego Elias (Per) 11-6, 11-1, 17-15 (43m)

TAREK IN THREE … AT LAST

“I’m so happy, I haven’t won a match in 3/0 for a long time”. That’s how Tarek started his after-match interview with a big smile on his face. It was a different story of course on the other side of the court, with a very disappointed Diego. “I have been injured recently, my ankle was still hurting a bit and I couldn’t move as well as I wanted, but I most of all lack of match fitness and against somebody playing that well…..”

Ah ha. That explained a bit that second game, 5m in duration, where Diego just didn’t play at all. I thought he went all junior on us but not, absolutely not. Just lacking matches and fitness. That made much more sense.

I hadn’t seen the Peruvian for a while and my friends, he is truly someone to watch. But today, unfortunately for him, Mister Momenator turned up. We had a few absences from the Top Egyptian lately, with a string of unforced errors or bad shot selection. But today none of that. We had the RealDeal, inventive, full of flair and changes of directions, moving particularly well and putting enormous, and I mean enormous pressure on the extremely talented Diego.

The twice World Junior Champion took a good start, 5/2, 5/5, 6/6, but hit the physical roof then, and will Tarek score 13 points before he’ll save himself from the Beggle humiliation, losing the first game 11/6, and the second 11/1 (11m, 5m). The third was the game to see really with Diego giving it all he had to save two match balls at 10/8. The rallies were incredible of speed, movement, visiting the four corners, change of angle, counterdrop, you name it, they played it. Diego will have 2 game balls 12/11 and 13/12, but Tarek, eventually, will take that precious 3rd on his 6th match ball…

If Tarek can keep that kind of mental focus, he could certainly be a contender this year…

Last time we played, he took me to 5, so I was very aware of how good he can be. You spend years developing experience, and those young kids, they just arrive having played like a year, and they put you through hell!!! Already the first time we played, I saw how mature his squash was…

I’m happy I recovered from my first match against Joe rather well, and I think it helped me to stay that long on the court, I had more time on court, I had a better feel with the ball today.
 
Of COURSE there had a be a few unforced errors, but I felt my accuracy was better.

I’m so happy to win a match 3/0 that didn’t happen for a long time. You know, you think you have matured, that you are more patient, not making unforced errors, and then, you have a summer break, and BAOUM!!!! You are back where we were…

But I’m happy with my progress this season, two months ago I was somewhere else, I feel I’m getting better with each tournament, and I hope I can build on it.

[7] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-2 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 11-7, 10-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-1 (75m)

Mosaad survives

Omar Mosaad added to the growing number of Egyptians in the last sixteen, but he was pushed almost to the limit before finally quelling the challenge of Nafiizwan Adnan.

After an even start Mosaad pulled clear to take the first, but quickly found himself 2-8 down in the second.

The Egyptian recovered to force extra points but Adnan, annoyed at letting the lead slip, levelled the match and carried the momentum convincingly through to the third to take the lead.

Mosaad reasserted in the fourth, but his 6-0 lead became 6-all before he finally finished it off to force a decider, which was one way traffic as Adnan, after a poor start, knew the game was up.

I was a bit nervous, he beat me 2 months ago in Macau, of course, I wasn’t that focused on the tournament because of the accident [that cost the life of his Mother and Sister], but all credit to him, he played really well then and again today.

In the first game, I played well, like I did then, and won on the same score, 11/5. Same as well for the 2nd and 3rd, I lost concentration, like I did then as well, and he played superb squash!

So at the end of the 3rd, I told myself, right. This is going to 5, for sure. You win it or you lose it, but you take it to the end.

I was so happy to have the support of my Egyptian team, Tarek, Shorbagy and Shabana of course that helps us so much. The 4th and 5th was pure mental battle. I just didn’t want to lose, not here in front of the spectators, not in front of the people in Egypt watching on TV, and I didn’t want to lose in the World Champs.

I’m happy with my mental strength today, and looking forward to tomorrow’s big battle waiting for me, against Borja. I hope I’ll play well, and I hope I’ll win!!!

[10] Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Daryl Selby (Eng) 11-7, 11-5, 13-11 (61m)

NO LOVE LOST

It was never going to be an easy match, and I don’t think they will spend the Christmas break together bless them, but they left the court in really good terms, which is the best we could hope on there. There is a bit of history between them of course, their first ever match, the Worlds in Rotterdam, and a memorable match, 92m on a boiling hot court, and that was not just the court conditions.

Since, they played twice, one in the English League, on in PSA, and Daryl won. But they hadn’t played for two years. And a lot of things happened since then. Daryl is not top 10 anymore, Marwan is. And the pressure was today on the 22years old Egyptian.

Was it a nice match to watch? Not really. A lot of calls, stop starts. A lot of discussions, the second game ends with a conduct stroke against Daryl for racquet abuse – he actually broke his racquet in frustration.

The third is very close, some patches of very good rallies, but again at 7/7, conduct warning “the let is given, the pushing is unnecessary” says busy central ref Damien Greene, same warning to Daryl at 8/8.

But did Marwan and Daryl give it all on there? Yes. 100% yes. Like I said, some really good patches of squash…. And that third, the Egyptian really wanted it… He’ll need 3 match balls to close the match, but close the match he does, in 61m.

I played Daryl four years ago, in the World Champs as well, I was 18 at the time, and he was the seeded player, and I was the up and coming, it was a big upset that I got to the final 16.

This time, I’m the seeded player, and the pressure was on me.

He is such a great player, he is such a fighter, and I knew how important that 3rd was.

In the first round I suffered with cramps, but I got it sorted now, hopefully, the tournament doesn’t stop there.

I made it to top 10 a few weeks back, it was a great achievement for me, at my age in particular. I have been working very hard on my game, training very hard, trying to improve on every aspect of my game. And getting a 3/0 win against Daryl means a lot to me.



"Frustrating day at the office. Very inconsistent at the moment, play well one day and then average the next. Today was an average day..."  Daryl on Twitter

[4] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-0 Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (37m)

RAMY'S HAMSTRING TESTED

Jzzzzz, if anything was ever going to test the Egyptian muscles, Mazen in the first round and Abou today would! Those two do not take prisoners, they just go for it, like Egyptian drivers Ramy would say. They see the opening, and they just go for it!!!!

Ramy had to put a bit of order in his game, and eventually those two hit the backwall, not often though, they could have played without it frankly. At times, I wonder if there is actually an Arabic translation for the word LENGTH.

Probably not.

It was a quick and refresh match, Abou did very well errors wise, only 8 errors the whole game, that’s unusual enough to mention. But Ramy’s open game was what Abou needed to find his ridiculously inventive squash…

Ramy’s hip stretching at the end of the match was enough to raise a few fears in his support camp, but apparently, it’s still going more or less fine.

“La suite au prochain episode”… Stay tuned…

Abou never stops, he goes for every shot, you’ve got to be on your toes, you never know where the ball is going or coming from, he wants to do something different with his shots all the time, he reminds me of something I know… He is not easy to beat, he plays so well in the 4 corners, he makes work for every point you win.

You know, out of 365 days of the year, I played about 345 training solo, so you develop a sort of relationship, in my case, a close one with the court! And you need to have the courage to come back after the injuries, the courage to get on there and tell yourself, don’t think about it, don’t listen to the demons, just smile, don’t remember, because it’s like a mental injury you know, it gives scars, that not one ultrasound can heal….

In the 3rd, I was just testing, my muscles haven’t been tested or stretched to that extend for a long time, I’m trying to stay positive, but until I have a whole year without injury, or limping out of court, I will never relax.

So I’m trying not to think, I’m trying to smile at all times, just live day by day, not expecting too much of myself – that’s the hard part.

But still ambitious…

[2] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Karim El Hammamy (Egy) 11-2, 11-8, 11-4 (38m)

Yes, I’m on a mission to try and finish it quickly! I’ve watched Greg and Ramy, and I’m very jealous! I tried to play those shots, but I just can’t! I have Marwan waiting for me next round, and that’s going an incredibly hard match, I didn’t want to mess about today….

He did very well today, he is pretty quick isn’t he? I know Karim had a 100-minute match two days ago and it’s never easy to back that up, especially after coming from a traditional court to the glass court. He’s pretty quick, maybe when he gets a bit stronger and a bit more experienced I’ll be retired.

You have to manage your energy so well throughout because your playing six matches. It’s a long week and you don’t have much downtime on your own in your hotel room so you’ve got to maximise that but, at the same time, you have to be very good at getting out of that relaxed mode. In the World Championship, if you want to do well, there’s always one day where you just have to dig it out and win ugly and I’m prepared to do that if necessary.

I was so nervous, it was my first time ever on SquashTV, I had all my family watching, so many people! Plus the audience here, I couldn’t believe it, for a second round, so many people. Add to that playing Nick the Legend… All those factors, made me nervous!!!!! But also excited…

In the first game, I just couldn’t read his game, I couldn’t stop him from volleying in particular on the backhand, I couldn’t contain him at all.

In the second, I stopped my crosscourts, started to play tight drives, and I managed to get to 6/4, but then I changed the plan and fell again into to much crosscourting and ending up doing a lot of running….

In the 3rd, I just couldn’t go back there focus wise, I was down 8/0, and I was so scared to get a 11/0 on SquashTV!!! But thank God he put the ball in the tin…

I’m happy with my second game, and overall, for the week, I’m delighted with my performance, in particular against Declan, apparently, it was the longest match of the tournament. Very happy really.

[12] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-0 Cesar Salazar (Mex) 11-7, 11-3, 14-12 (37m)

KARIM IN GREAT FORM

Well, 37m, Karim and Ramy spent exactly the same time on court today. Nick, 1m more…
Thanks guys, very much appreciated, I’m happy to have a few players that make it sweet and short. Sorry for the ones that didn’t win, but it’s late, and I’m tired….

Karim completely dominated the first two games, 11m and 6m, with Cesar unable to stop the shot hammering from the newly top 10 Egyptian. But in the 3rd, a bit of relaxation from Karim maybe – he made 8 unforced errors, including a serve out of court – and Cesar rushed into that breach as he should.

It became a beautiful intense battle, from 10/6 match ball, superb rallies, hard hitting, lovely skills, great fitness and movement, and lovely volleying from both! Cesar finally got a chance to show what he could do with the ball, moved superbly, saved 4 match balls to get to 10/10, but never managed to get a game ball of his own. He’ll push Karim to make a few errors at the end of very long rallies, played at 200m/h, but the Egyptian will finally take the match on his 7th attempt.

Ramy awaits.

I like playing on the glasscourt, you can feel the ball better, you can feel your game better, and I like the atmosphere that comes from having people watching, and liking what we do. When you have a crowd that loves a shot you play, you see them smile, you hear them clapping, and that gives you the will to play some more good shots….

Next, Ramy, the first thing you do when you play Ramy, is you want to enjoy the moment, but to be honest, people that watch the match enjoy to see Ramy playing, but us who actually play him don’t enjoy him that much…. But it’s really good to have him back on court…

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