Friday, May 24, 2024

QATAR: No baby blues as Willstrop cruises in



James Willstrop’s first taste of PSA action since the birth of his son Logan a week ago predictably looked a little rusty but he still had few problems easing into the second round of the Qatar Classic in Doha today.

The second seed from Yorkshire, England overcame Qatari Abdulla Al Tamimi, the highly rated world ranked 4 junior who was playing in front of his legendary coach, Aussie Geoff Hunt.

The 18-year-old from Doha was making his maiden appearance in the main draw of one of the biggest tournaments on the world circuit only months after making history by becoming the first Qatari to reach the semi-finals of the World Junior Championship.

Willstrop took a game and half to get into his stride as Tamimi energetically put the World No.3 under pressure. The result was never an issue but the tie served both players perfectly, Willstrop re-engaging his squash mindset away from the joys of new fatherhood and Tamimi testing his progress against one of the finest players in the world.


Willstrop will now face England team-mate Daryl Selby for a place in the quarter-finals. Selby, the world No 11, beat French qualifier Gregoire Marche 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 in 40 minutes.

“Happy to get through 3-0 against Greg,” Tweeted the 31-year-old Essex man later. “Talented young player but I managed to stick to a good game plan. Lovely day off tomorrow.”

The first day of first round action was otherwise dominated by Egyptians – with wins by Tarek MomenKarim Abdel GawadOmar Mosaad and twice champion Karim Darwish already guaranteeing an Egyptian semi-finalist!

Eighth seed Momen reserved his place in the last 16 round in unusual circumstances – when his opponent Kristian Frost Olesen, a qualifier from Denmark, conceded the match at match-ball in the third game having lost the first two for just five points!

Momen, the world No 12 from Cairo, will now face Gawad, the world No 22 also from Cairo, who had to fight back from 2/1 down to dismiss fellow countryman Mohamed Abouelghar(pictured with Gawad above), a qualifier, 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 59 minutes.

Fourth seed Darwish, winner of the title in 2008 and 2010, was fully tested by England’sAdrian Grant before beating the London left-hander, ranked 20 in the world, 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8 in 64 minutes.

Darwish, who is making his 13th appearance in the event since 2001, will now face Egyptian team-mate Mosaad, the world No 9 who defeated veteran Malaysian Ong Beng Hee 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 in the last match of day.

The day’s most dramatic match also eventually led to Egyptian success when fifth seedMohamed Elshorbagy recovered from two games down, then from 3-0 and 5-3 down in the decider, to beat England’s Chris Simpson 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 in 67 minutes.

Elshorbagy, the 22-year-old world No 6 (pictured above with Simpson) who reached the World Championship semi-finals in Manchester for the second year in a row, will now face Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema in the second round.

Anjema, the world No 18 from The Hague, beat Olli Tuominen 11-3, 14-12, 11-8 in 51 minutes to celebrate his career-first victory over the experienced Finn, a 34-year-old qualifier who, like Darwish, was marking his latest appearance in the event after making his debut in 2001.

1st round (top half of draw):
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 (27m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (40m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-3, 14-12, 11-8 (51m)
[5] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (67m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-2, 11-3, 10-3 ret. (20m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9 (59m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (31m)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8 (64m)


[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[6] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[7] Borja Golan (ESP) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Tom Richards (ENG) v [Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Simon Rosner (GER)

LJ punches the air after his win over Olli Tuominen

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