Meguid fails to halt the Shabana express as his hot form continues
By LEE HORTON – Squash Mad Reporter
JUST 24 hours after winning his first major PSA World Tour ranking title for more than two years at the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York, Egypt squash maestro Amr Shabana maintained his winning ways in Detroit, Michigan, where he defeated compatriot Omar Abdel Meguid in the opening round of the Motor City Open.
The PSA International 70 event at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit – one of the longest-established events on the PSA Tour, first staged in 1999 – has attracted a star-studded field including 50% of the players in the world top 20, and four former champions!
Title-holder Shabana, the 34-year-old fourth seed, needed 61 minutes to see off 25-year-old qualifier Meguid 11-5, 18-16, 11-2.
“Omar has incredible hands, a very wide reach and any loose shots he’s going to put away,” said former world number one Shabana (pictured above) later. “That’s why the second game was crucial. If he would’ve won that second game, it could’ve turned the match around so that’s I really pushed it.”
Another Egyptian stands in Shabana’s way of a place in the semi-finals after fifth seed Omar Mosaad survived a 90-minute battle with Ong Beng Hee to beat the 2012 champion from Malaysia 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9.
Finland’s Olli Tuominen pulled off the day’s only upset when he beat Tarek Momen, the No6 seed from Cairo, 13-11, 7-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8 in 82 minutes – thus putting paid to an all-Egyptian top half of the draw.
“Tarek is a very good player and I have never beaten him before,” said Tuominen. “He’s so precise and hits ball a lot to the front, but I was able to get most of them back. I just managed to keep my game accurate enough, not give him many opportunities so that he made some mistakes and punish him a little bit when he came to the front and move him around.
“It’s one of the best matches I’ve played in a while,” added the 2004 runner-up.
Tuominen, the 34-year-old world number 38, now faces favourite Mohamed Elshorbagy, the world number four and 2011 champion from Alexandria who despatched French qualifier Gregoire Marche 11-2, 11-6, 11-5.
Second seed Karim Darwish leads Egyptian interest in the other half of the draw. The 2010 champion, ranked six in the world, beat Egyptian qualifier Marwan Elshorbagy 12-10, 11-9, 11-3.
First Round Results:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-0 [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 (30m)
[Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-2  Tarek Momen (EGY) 13-11, 7-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8 (82m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-2 Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 (90m)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) 3-0 [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 11-5, 18-16, 11-2 (61m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) 3-1 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-1 (89m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2 Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 12-14, 11-7 (111m)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0 Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (36m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) 3-0 [Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v  Cameron Pilley (AUS)
How they qualified – Meguid upsets Simpson as Marche wins epic
EGYPTIAN Omar Abdel Meguid has been making quite a first impression at the 15th Motor City Open, presented by The Suburban Collection.
After his quick, 30 minute victory in Round One of Qualifying Thursday night, Abdel Meguid downed England’s Chris Simpson, the top-ranked qualifier and world number 25, in straight games in the Qualifying finals: 12-10, 11-2, 11-7.
Abdel Meguid was one of four players that won spots in Saturday’s Main Draw. France’s Gregoire Marche, Egypt’s Marwan Elshorbagy, and veteran Olli Tuominenof Finland also advanced.
In a back-and-forth Game One, Abdel Meguid (world number 30) had a game ball against at 9-10 but came back to take the next three points.
Abdel Meguid closed out the second game with a run of six straight points on an array of dazzling boasts and drop shots then sealed the match with another late flurry in game three.
The Egyptian’s size (6’2”, 207 pounds) and reach seemed to frustrate Simpson (5’9”, 156 pounds) as the taller player seemed able to reach anything and everything thrown at him.
“I’ve seen (Simpson) play a lot of times and he seems to struggle against someone who is bigger because he can’t see the ball properly and he’s a second late,” Abdel Meguid said.
“All I wanted to do is hit every shot the same way and hit it hard enough to get him behind me. I did this and I hit a couple of shots that he misread and went in the other direction so it worked.”
Afterward, Simpson admitted that it wasn’t only Abdel Meguid’s size that bothered him as he had pulled an adductor muscle on his right side last week in New York’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
“I was just trying to play off my left leg but he’s too good to play on one leg,” Simpson said. “I gave it a go because I didn’t feel like giving up.
“To be honest, though, it wasn’t a true reflection of a game between us because I was trying to play tactics and not have to move as much. But he’s a big, strong guy and moves quickly.”
The Abdel Meguid and Simpson pairing lacked the drama on neighbouring court two between Hong Kong’s Max Lee and France’s Gregoire Marche.
Marche (world number 28) took the first two games and appeared poised for a sweep. But Lee (world number 32) didn’t give up.
He starting landing his shots, captured games three and four and jumped to a 7-2 lead in the decisive game five. But Lee’s miraculous comeback came to a halt.
His lead dwindled to 9-8 before he committed three unforced errors that gave Marche the game and the match: 13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-9.
“At 9-6, my leg wasn’t listening to me,” said Lee. “I felt I had to take some chances on shots because I knew if I just keep hitting length, I would lose because my leg was giving out.
“I just keep telling myself to keep fighting and hang in there to get those two points, but I dropped three tins.”
For Marche, it was an all too familiar situation. In last week’s ToC First Round, he led fellow Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet by two games and eventually lost in five.
This time, Marche said he had breathing trouble in Game Three but didn’t let another match slip away.
“I didn’t want to give up like this so I pushed myself and it worked,” Marche said. “When I was down 6-1 (in game five), I didn’t want to give him space to get in a good position to play the ball.
“He made some mistakes and I don’t know how but I managed to win. It’s the kind of match that you won’t forget.”
Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy (world number 29) and 2007 MCO champion Olli Tuominen of Finland (world number 27) both won their matches in four games to earn a spot in the first round of the Main Draw, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Qualifying Finals Results:
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0 Chris Simpson (ENG) 12-10, 11-2, 11-7 (38m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2 Max Lee (HKG) 13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-9 (81m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1 Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-7
Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-1 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (87m)
Round One Draw:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [Q]Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Ong Ben Hee (MAS)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)