Qatar Classic 2021

Qatar QTerminals Classic 2021 : FINAL

[6] Diego Elias (Per) 3-1 [2] Paul Coll (Nzl)    13-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9 (83m)

Elias claims first Platinum title in Doha

Peru’s Diego Elias claimed his first Platinum level title with a victory over New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final of the Qatar QTerminals Classic, held at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.

The pair, who are great friends off court and have trained together a lot in recent years, were meeting on Tour for only the fourth time. One of those meetings came in a final, at the Troilus Canada Cup in 2019, where the ‘Peruvian Puma’ won out in a five-game battle lasting almost 100 minutes.

Coll started the stronger of the two, with some lengthy rallies playing into the Kiwi’s favour. However, a comeback from the ‘Peruvian Puma’ saw him send the game into a tie-break, as he saved several game balls before eventually taking it 13-11, winning the game with his first opportunity.

The second game followed the same pattern to start with but Coll’s line hitting improved, along with an increased tempo, and he was able to take it 11-5 to level up the match at one game all, with Elias providing no resistance in the latter stage of the game.

The level of squash got even better in the third game, with some of the best action the tournament had seen. A 27-minute salvo went the way of Elias on a tie-break again, as he took it 13-11, despite a despairing dive from the Kiwi on the final point.

The World No.8 was able to continue his high quality squash into the fourth game, despite his obvious fatigue. He held off the Kiwi to win 13-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9 and become the first Peruvian to ever claim a major title on the PSA World Tour.

“I can’t believe it still. I am very happy with this, very happy with my game! I want to thank everyone for coming today, and thanks to all the Peruvian people who came, that is a massive help for me!” Elias said.

“Just very happy to be a Platinum champion for the first time. I have been trying for a long time now, so I am very happy and I want to thank all the organiser. This tournament is always the best, they treat us so well, it is incredible to be the champion here.

“Paul is my closest friend on Tour and it is the first time in forever that there are no Egyptians in a final, so we were very happy for that! He is such a great champion, he is an inspiration for anyone that plays squash, or any sport really. I am a massive fan too and I train with him too!

“I am very happy and I want to thank everyone who supported me since I started. My dad has been with me since the start. He has been my coach, and after that I started training with Jonathon [Power] for a long time. He has been a massive help as well so I have a great team with me! My physio that I have seen, they helped me be back here. In July I didn’t even know if I could play matches in a row, and now in October, to be a champion is just incredible. I am just very happy with this!

Coll said: “It is hard to see those positives now, but I am happy to be back here in Doha, competing in another final on such a great stage. It’s a really well run tournament, a massive thank you to the sponsors, to QTerminals for being the main sponsor here, and to the Qatar Squash Federation for putting on such a great event and making the players feel special. They look after us the best on Tour, so it is a pleasure to be here.”

Semis : Coll and Elias set up Doha final clash

New Zealand’s Paul Coll and Peru’s Diego Elias will meet in the final of the Qatar Classic at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.

Elias was on court first and he came up against Welshman Joel Makin in the opening semi-final. Both men were aiming to reach a Platinum level final for the first time, and were meeting for the first time since their Manchester Open final contest in August.

The World No.8 has not been at his usual best during the week in Qatar but made up for it with an accurate showing against a resilient Makin to become the first Peruvian to ever reach the final of a major PSA event.

He played the best squash he has all week to take an important first game, but Makin got himself back on track in the second, trying to put work into the legs of Elias as he drew level before a number of decisions and discussions with the referee started to affect the flow of the match. The Peruvian did not let that get into his head, however, as he made the most of a string of errors from Makin to regain the lead before closing out in the fourth as he targets the biggest title of his career.

“I’m very happy to reach my first [major] final. It’s been six years that I’m in the top 15 and I’ve never made it here, so I’m very happy. I played one of the worst tournaments of my career in the first few rounds and today, I played one of the best matches, I’m very happy and looking forward to tomorrow,” Elias said.

“I’m fit now, I don’t care if the rallies are long, I’m ready to play if I have to. In the morning, I came for like an hour to just do drops because it didn’t work in the whole week. The first three points my drops were already different and were going in quicker and better. When my hands are like this, I don’t mind, I can play for a while now.

“When I played [Mohamed] ElShorbagy here it was a good one, that’s one of my favourites. Today, I played an amazing match, Joel was getting some incredible balls back. I had to work really hard and I’m happy I stayed positive the whole match and got the win.

“I’m relaxed, I don’t mind who wins the other semi-final, I’ll be ready tomorrow. Both have beaten me in the last few weeks, so I want to get my revenge. I lost in a tough match against Mostafa at the U.S. Open and in the British with Paul, so I’m ready for my revenge and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Elias will face good friend Paul Coll in the final after the Kiwi broke his duck against Mostafa Asal, with a comfortable victory over the 20-year-old.

The pair had met three times previously on the PSA World Tour, with Asal winning all three contests. They had an average match time of over 95 minutes, but this match was nothing like the others, as Coll showed his class throughout.

The New Zealander put an end to his winless streak as he switched up his tactics to keep composed and find his length and range against Asal, who looked to be struggling to find any consistent rhythm in the match. The win sees 2021 British Open champion Coll reach his third final in Qatar, following the PSA World Championships in 2019 and the Qatar Classic last season.

“He’s one of the in-form players at the moment,” Coll said after his first win over the Egyptian.

“When you get him in the draw you know it’s going to be brutal and tough. He had an incredible U.S. Open, I’ve got big respect for how he backed up four five-setters in a row, but for me it was a huge mental battle and a hurdle I had to get over to beat him. I’m very happy with my performance today, I changed my tactics a little bit and it worked well for me.

“I had to get it past the volley, avoid the service area. His forehand is a big weapon, he’s so tight down this backhand that it’s a really good combination for him. I had to be really disciplined with my target hitting and get it past him.

“I love it. I’ve been saying all week third time lucky, so I hope tomorrow I can do it. I love coming to Qatar every year, I love this court and I’ve got a good feeling on it. Third time lucky would be great, I’m playing my good mate Diego, so I’m sure it ill be a good battle. We said whoever wins is buying the drinks tomorrow night.”

Semi-Final lineups settled in Doha

The final four of the Qatar Classic will feature just one of the top five seeds as Paul Coll, Mostafa Asal, Disgo Elias and Joel Makin won on a dramatic quarter-finals day in Doha.

Seventh seed Mostafa Asal outlasted compatriot Tarek Momen in a 114-minute battle, just days after their US Open final thriller.  Momen took the lead but Asal fought back to take the next two games and had two match balls in the fourth before finally closing out the fifth game.

“I’m glad to move through and I’m very pleased with my performance today. At the beginning I wasn’t playing my best squash, but then I started to play the squash I played at the U.S. Open. In the matches I’m getting better and better.”

Coll also came through his quarter-final contest in five games, in an absorbing clash with Egypt’s World No.15 Mohamed Abouelghar, with the Kiwi having to win the last two games – saving two match balls in the fourth – to advance to the last four.

“It was an enjoyable match to be a part of and it was high quality,” the Kiwi said. “I had to really stick to it mentally, dig deep and push through. I felt like it was close to me playing well and running away with it, there were a few leads here and there and a few shots that didn’t go my way. But I’m very happy to close it out and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

The other semi-final will see Peru’s sixth seed Diego Elias, who beat surprise quarter-finalist Raphael Kandra in four, meet eighth seeded Welshman Joel Makin, who eased past Mazen Hesham in straight games.

Day Four : Quarter-final lineups completed

Just two weeks after their pulsating five-game battle in the final of the U.S. Open, Egypt’s Mostafa Asal and Tarek Momen will face off in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Classic.

Momen made his way through to the final after a rapid-fire 29-minute clash with England’s Tom Richards, one which saw quick rally after quick rally with plenty of winners and unforced errors across the three games.

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I knew Tom is capable of giving me a hard time on court,” said Momen.  “He did today, he played really well. I can’t say I’m really happy with my performance today, I’m not so pleased with it, but I’m happy I got through in three games.

Asal came through against another Egyptian in Youssef Soliman, who was forced to retire at the start of the fourth game in a match that was shaping up to be a captivating affair.

Fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar also made his way through to the quarter-finals reaching the last eight of a Platinum event for the first time since the British Open in 2019, as he defeated Adrian Waller in straight games,

Abouelghar will now face New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the quarters, after the Kiwi got the better of France’s Baptiste Masotti in three close games.

Day Three : Kandra downs ElShorbagy

Germany’s Raphael Kandra came from behind to defeat Marwan ElShorbagy to make it into the quarter-finals.

The last time the German made it to the last eight of a major tournament came at the Allam British Open in 2018, where he went all the way to the semi-finals. ElShorbagy had won five of their previous six matches, with Kandra’s sole victory coming in that run in Hull three years previous.

“I feel a little shaky because we’ve had so many matches like this when I’ve been leading, he’s been leading, and it’s always quick-fire squash against him,” the German said.

“You don’t get any time to relax. I think I need to settle a little bit to realise I am in the quarter finals of the Qatar Classic, it means a lot to me. I’ve been working for such a long time on the steps to make not only the last 16, to make the last eight, which is a big difference.

Kandra will now face Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias in the quarter-finals, after the South American got the better of Frenchman Gregoire Marche in a pulsating five-game battle in which he came back from the brink.

“I won the last few times, so I knew he wanted revenge and he started really strongly,” said Elias.n “In the past I would be very worried because I wasn’t the best physically, but I think I’m getting stronger and I’m ready to play a few more five gamers.”

Mazen Hesham also came through a five-game battle to get the better of compatriot Youssef Ibrahim, coming from behind to win 3-2.

Hesham will face Welshman Joel Makin on Thursday, after he defeated Englishman Patrick Rooney in straight games.

Round Three continues on Wednesday with the bottom half of the draw.

Day Two Roundup : Ibrahim does it again

Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim got the better of top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy for the second year in succession to reach the third round in Doha. The pair faced off in last year’s third round, with Ibrahim saving match balls in a come-from-behind victory over the ‘Beast of Alexandria’.

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It is the first time since this very event twelve years ago that ElShorbagy has lost his opening match of a major tournament,  while Ibrahim will now face compatriot Mazen Hesham in the third round on Tuesday.

“I expected myself to play really well,” the World No.17 said after his victory.

“I knew he would come at me strongly, so I was very prepared from the start. He tried to push the pace so hard at the beginning and I equalled him. I didn’t want anyone to say it was a lucky win and I’m happy to be competing with the top 10 guys and beating them consistently. I think my tactics worked out well and I held my nerves well throughout the match.”

Mohamed Abouelghar also took out a seeded opponent as he defeated compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad, the fifth seed, in four games.

“I cannot put into words how much I needed this win. I’ve been losing a lot of 3-2s recently and it just got into my head too much. I managed to stay focused, put my head down and just keep working. I’m very happy with the performance tonight, I just kept it together until the end and without going for too much flashy stuff. I’m very, very happy,” the Egyptian said.

He will now face Adrian Waller in the last 16 after the Englishman received a walkover, as his second round opponent, Mohamed ElSherbini, had to withdraw from the tournament with a fractured rib.

Day One Roundup : Soares makes Portuguese history

Portugal’s Rui Soares became the first Portuguese player to  win a match at a Platinum level event on the PSA World Tour. Soares took on Mexico’s Arturo Salazar in his debut at the Qatar Classic, just two months after his first experience of a major tournament other than the PSA World Championships.

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Soares, who only entered the main draw on Thursday due to a withdrawal from England’s Richie Fallows, will now take on New Zealand’s World No.3 Paul Coll in the second round.

“It’s unbelievable to play this tournament in Qatar,” said the Portuguese No.1. “The organisation is unreal. I’ve heard a lot of good things, but it’s great to be here to play this tournament. I was really nervous to start with, it’s my first time on SQUASHTV, but I’m really happy to get that win.

Elsewhere, home hopes were dashed on the opening day, as Germany’s Raphael Kandra and England’s Declan James knocked out the two Qatari wildcards.

In other opening day matches there weas a spate of five-game thrillers on the side courts, with the English pair of George Parker and Adrian Waller coming from two games down to defeat Bernat Jaume and Nathan Lake.

Day Two will see the seeded players enter the event.

Year Men’s Final Women’s Final
2020 QC Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1
Paul Coll (Nzl)
2019 WO Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0
Paul Coll (Nzl)
2018 QC Ali Farag (Egy)  3-0
Simon Rosner (Ger)
2017 QC Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1
Tarek Momen (Egy)
2016 QC Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-0
Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)
2015 QC Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1
Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-2
Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
2014 WO Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-2
Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)
2013 QC Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-2
Nick Matthew (Eng)
2012 WO Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-2
Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)
2011 QC Gregory Gauiltier (Fra) 3-1
James Willstrop (Eng)
Nicol David (Mas) 3-0
Madeline Perry (Irl)
2010 QC Karim Darwish (Egy) 3-1
Amr Shabana (Egy)
Nicol David (Mas) 3-0
Rachael Grinham (Aus)
2009 QC Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0
Karim Darwish (Egy)
Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 3-0
Rachael Grinham (Aus)
2008 QC Karim Darwish (Egy) 3-0
Amr Shabana (Egy)
Nicol David (Mas) 3-0
Natalie Grinham (Aus)
2007 QC Amr Shabana (Egy) 3-1
Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Nicol David (Mas) 3-0
Natalie Grainger (Usa)
2006 QC (07) Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-1
David Palmer (Aus)
Nicol David (Mas) 3-1
Natalie Grinham (Aus)
2005 QC James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0
David Palmer (Aus)
Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) 3-0
Vicky Botwright (Eng)
2004 WO Thierry Lincou (Fra) 3-2
Lee Beachill (Eng)
Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) QC 3-0
Rachael Grinham (Aus)
2003 QC Lee Beachill (Eng) 3-2
John White (Sco)
Natalie Grainger (Usa) 3-1
Carol Owens (Nzl)
2002 QC Peter Nicol (Eng) 3-2
David Palmer (Aus)
Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) WO  3-1
Natalie Grainger (Usa)
2001 QC Peter Nicol (Eng)  3-2
David Palmer (Aus)
Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) 3-0
Leilani Joyce (Nzl)
1992-1997 Qatar International Qatar Classic on Wikipedia