Young Egyptians to clash for a place in the Qatar semi-finals
By NATHAN CLARKE in Doha
Rising Egyptian talents Mazen Hesham and Ali Farag produced two of the most impressive and dominant performances of the tournament so far to progress to the quarter-finals of the 2015 Qatar Classic in Doha yesterday (Nov 3).
The duo will meet each other in a highly anticipated encounter tomorrow after 21-year-old Hesham produced a sensational performance to overcome World No.6 Omar Mosaad, the Delaware Investments U.S. Open runner-up, in straight-games, while Farag showed class and maturity beyond his 23-years as he ran proceedings against experienced English campaigner and World No.16 Daryl Selby.
“Today is a very, very good day,” said Farag, who graduated from Harvard University last year.
“I knew I could win and I believed I could win but I didn’t expect to put in a performance like that – that is the best I have played all week and the best I have played in a long time.
“It’s my first time in the second round of a World Series tournament and now I’m into the quarters for the first time and that feels amazing. I’m really happy with how disciplined I played as I didn’t go for many silly shots and that is pleasing.”
Meanwhile, Karim Abdel Gawad overcame Gregoire Marche of France in an enthralling 81-minute battle that ranks as one of the tournaments standout encounters so far to set up a last eight match up with French number one Gregory Gaultier.
In a back-and-forth battle Gawad came from 7-3 down in the fifth game, notching up seven consecutive points, to defeat the acrobatic Marche.
“Even when I was 7-3 down I still believed that I could win because he still had to win four points to make it,” said Gawad.
“So I tried hard not to think about the score and just told myself to push as hard as I can on each point because that was absolutely critical, especially as I need to be even more consistent to keep my top 10 ranking and keep improving.
“I didn’t play my best today so I’m happy to win and I know that’s what the top players do – they win on bad days – so I’m very happy I was able to do that.”
In the women’s draw defending champion Nicol David, who lifted the trophy when the tournament last took place in the Emirate in 2011, led the charge into the last eight with a straightforward victory over England’s Victoria Lust to keep alive her hopes of winning a first PSA World Series title since the 2014 U.S. Open.
“It was a bit of an up and down match but I am happy to get through in three,” said David.
“In the middle of each game she was doing her own things so I had to reassess and make sure that I worked to impose my own game.
“I have been working hard on improving my strength in training to get lower on the ball, be faster onto the ball and also to be more assertive with my shots.”
Egyptian Nour El Sherbini came through a showdown of sharp-shooters with veteran Australian Rachael Grinham, while Frenchwoman Camille Serme prevailed in a battle of wills with American number one Amanda Sobhy.
Qatar Classic: PSA World Series, Doha, Qatar (November 3, 2015)
Results: Men’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (39m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (37m)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0:11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (47m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) – Walkover
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 13-11, 11-7 (51m)
[Q] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (36m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 11-8, 4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8 (81m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Fares Dessouki (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (48m)
Draw – Quarter-finals:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Max Lee (HKG)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [Q] Ali Farag (EGY)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Results: Women’s Second Round (Top Half):
Joshana Chinappa (IND) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 16-14, 11-8, 11-8 (37m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 15-13 (38m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Amina Yousry (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (23m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-1: 14-12, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9 (51m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 4-11, 13-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 (57m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 11-6 (23m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 12-10, 11-9 (35m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
Draw – Quarter-finals:
Joshana Chinappa (IND) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Nicol David (MAS) results
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA