Day SEVEN: Finals day in Doha
ElShorbagy captures fourth Qatar Classic title
England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy won the first Platinum title of the season and his first since May 2021 as he downed surprise finalist Victor Crouin to capture his fourth Qatar Classic title.
Crouin was the first player outside of the top eight seeds to reach the final since Lee Beachill in 2003, went into the match with a 2-0 losing record against ElShorbagy, who won the title here in 2017, 2015, and 2013.
ElShorbagy took a quick first game 11-4 and the second 11-6, but Crouin fought back to take the third 11-7. ElShorbagy was back in the ascendancy in the fourth as he went 10-6 up and took thew title as he won the game 11-8.
“I can’t express how I feel right now,” said ElShorbagy. “It was the first ever Platinum event I won, here in 2013. Now, almost ten years later, I’m winning my fourth title here. It’s the place I’ve had the most success in my career and will always have a special place in my heart.
Crouin added: “It’s been a fantastic week. I’d never gone past the third round of a Platinum event, then reached my first quarter-final, the next day a first semi-final and today a final! Of course I wanted to go for the title today, but Mohamed showed me the way for the next time I reach the final!
For Crouin, attention now turns to the Bronze-level Open de France de Squash 2022, which begins on Sep 12th, before he and ElShorbagy take part in the Platinum-level CIB Egyptian Open at the Pyramids of Giza, which begins on Sep 19th.
Day SIX : Semi-Finals in Doha
Crouin downs Momen to reach first major final
Having reached his first Bronze final last month in the Zed Open, France’s Victor Crouin continued his spectacular run in Doha to take out sixth seed Tarek Momen in four games to reach his first Platinum final.
Crouin took the first two games and although Momen took the third and then saved four match balls in the fourth, it was the young Frenchman who prevailed 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10 in 68 minutes.
“It feels like everything’s fitting into place,” said Victor. “Today I felt like I wasn’t as good as in previous days and I hit the tin a little more, but that’s probably because Tarek was putting a lot of pressure on me. I kept telling myself to be proactive and aggressive, because that’s how you win rallies. I’m just enjoying it on court. Not overthinking, just hitting my targets and it’s working. One more push tomorrow.”
In the final he’ll meet England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy, who beat third seed Mostafa Asal, also in four games.
“I don’t think Mostafa gets the credit he deserves,” said ElShorbagy. “He’s only 21 years old and for me, he’s the current best player in the world. Once I was down in the first game, I had to give a ‘Nick Matthew performance’ – make the second game as tough as possible as that’s exactly what he would have done!”
Day FIVE : Quarter-Finals in Doha
The QTerminals Qatar Classic 2022 continues on Thursday with four quarter-final matches. You can follow on Live Scoring, you can Watch Live on SquashTV, and we’ll have a roundup at the end of the day.
Momen ends Elias’s reign as Crouin stops Tamimi’s run
Tarek Momen stormed back to knock out defending champion Diego Elias in the QTerminals Qatar Classic at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.Elias, who defeated Paul Coll last year to lift the Qatar Classic title, was undone by a fightback from the 34-year-old who battled back from 2-1 down to progress to the last four.
“I don’t know what to say, other than I’m really proud of how I fought back – especially after the third game – because I gave it everything and then I really started to feel it,” said Momen afterwards. “I felt really tired and I knew that wasn’t it. That’s not me, I don’t get tired after three games and don’t fight back. I told myself between games, ‘even if you can’t walk, you need to fight until the last point.’”
In tomorrow’s semi-final, Momen meets Victor Crouin, who clinched his first-ever Platinum last four place after overpowering Abdulla Al Tamimi. Al Tamimi, on home court, had stolen the headlines all week after he first dumped No.2 seed Coll out in round two before earning his first quarter-final appearance at a Platinum event with a win over England’s George Parker.
However, it was Crouin who came out on top, edging a tightly-contested first game 13-11 and, despite a fightback from Al Tamimi in the second, the Frenchman kept his composure to extinguish hopes of Qatar’s No.1 claiming a semi-final berth by comfortably winning the remaining two games.
“I feel like I came in really strong and used that momentum for the rest of the match,” Crouin said. “If you’re not disciplined against Abdulla and try to play the way he plays, he’s going to beat you. I had to use my strength and aggressiveness that I used in the first four rallies of the match where I just went for shots.”
“It was a tough match, I have all the respect for Marwan. We’re friends off court but sometimes it can get a bit messy when you’re playing, but all the respect to him,” said Asal afterwards. “I’m happy to be through and thanks to the crowd for today. It was a difficult match but a full crowd which I’m really happy to see.”
“Miguel is a class act,” said ElShorbagy. “What he did against Ali is unbelievable at his age. To fight that way for 90 minutes with the World No.1! You’re not going to beat the World No.1 unless you do something special, no matter what. So, respect to him. I could see from the first point he was trying to get the ball warm and I was trying to keep him down as much as I can.”
Day Four : Abdullah does it again to reach the quarters
Abdulla Al Tamimi delighted in Doha by becoming the first ever Qatari player to reach a Platinum quarter-final as he downed England’s George Parker in straight games at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
“Normally, I don’t get this late into tournaments, especially Platinum events!” Al Tamimi said. “Plus, I’m not really used to the off day. I enjoyed my day off yesterday, I spent some time with my kid at home and I was really happy with that.
“I’m glad I found the balance between being aggressive, not making too many mistakes, and still defending a lot of balls. I’m really happy with my performance. My first Platinum quarter-final, it’s huge for me.”
Joining Al Tamimi and Crouin in the quarter-finals are defending champion Diego Elias and sixth seed Tarek Momen after they recorded comprehensive victories over Dimitri Steinmann of Switzerland and Yahya Elnawasany of Egypt.
Day THREE : Round Three part one
The QTerminals Qatar Classic 2022 continues on Tuesday with four last sixteen matches from the top half of the draw. You can follow on Live Scoring, you can Watch Live on SquashTV, and we’ll have a roundup at the end of the day.
Rodriguez takes out Farag as first quarter-finalists are decided
Farag enjoyed a 10-1 head-to-head record against the 36-year-old Colombian, and will have known not to take anything for granted after watching second seed Paul Coll crash out at the hands of Abdulla Al Tamimi yesterday, but found himself a game down after a fantastic start from Rodriguez.
Farag fought back to take the next two games and the lead, but a 9-1 start for Rodriguez in the fourth was enough for him to set up a decider. Although Farag worked his way into a 5-2 lead in the fifth, mistakes proved costly as Rodriguez worked his way back, and with two match balls at 10-8, the Colombian was able to convert at the first time of asking.
“I’ve had a difficult week [and] my head is not the best, but apart from that, I played without any pressure. “The more I stay competitive, my body responds better. I know I don’t have too much time to continue on the tour but it’s amazing to be here again.”
Rodriguez’s reward is a quarter-final clash with Mohamed ElShorbagy, after the Englishman overcame Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in straight games. Soliman, who came into the match at his highest ever World Ranking of 12, won plaudits for his impressive win at the inaugural CIB Zed Squash Open just days ago, but ElShorbagy made short work of the Egyptian in an ultimately comfortable 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 win in just 38 minutes.
Joining Rodriguez and ElShorbagy in the quarter-final will be 8th seed Marwan ElShorbagy – Mohamed’s brother – and third seed Mostafa Asal.
ElShorbagy, who has reached the quarter-finals three times before, played out an entertaining match against the USA’s World No.30 Shahjahan Khan, squandering three match balls in the fourth before claiming the decider.
Asal overcame Egyptian compatriot Fares Dessouky 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 in a fiery encounter as he looked to carry the momentum of last season – in which he won his last two major tournaments of the year – into his first event of the new season.
Day TWO : Tamimi downs Coll as Crouin takes out Makin
The QTerminals Qatar Classic 2022 continues on Monday as the seeded players enter the competition. You can follow on Live Scoring, you can Watch Live on SquashTV, and we’ll have a roundup at the end of each day.
In the shock of the tournament, Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi stunned New Zealand’s Paul Coll to win a 94-minute epic 3-2 and reach the last sixteen. Al Tamimi, who was a doubt ahead of the event due to a potential national service call up, put in an incredible performance on home court at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
“That’s by far the result of my career,” said Al Tamimi. “I’ve been very close before against the top guys. I always have a lead, I managed to choke it then. I tried not to think about it at all. I was cramping from game three to the fifth in my fingers, I tried not to show it to Paul. I was waiting for the opportunities to go for the shots and when it’s there, that’s the way to beat Paul. I can’t be negative, I had to play my game at the right time and I’m happy with the win.”
Al Tamimi will have a rest day before playing England’s George Parker, who beat the USA’s Todd Harrity, in the next round.
Elsewhere, Victor Crouin continued his terrific start to the season with a 3-1 win over No.7 seed Joel Makin to reach the third round of the Qatar Classic in his first season as a full-time professional
“I came in and just wanted to win one game. “I just wanted to win the game and I believed that I could win the match. After winning the first game I knew I could go and get the win. I’m really happy about that.”
Crouin will play England’s Patrick Rooney for a place in the quarter-finals after Rooney downed Nathan Lake 3-0 in an all-English affair.
Also through to the next round is top seed Ali Farag, who received a walkover after an injury to Cesar Salazar, and defending champion Diego Elias, who overcame a spirited performance from India’s Saurav Ghosal to progress.
“I won my biggest title here last year and played one of my best matches of my career [in last year’s final against Coll]. I think I’ve always played great here. I guess I just have to get used to the court again and I’ll be ok,” Elias said.
Day ONE : Plenty of upsets on opening day in Doha
France’s Mathieu Castagnet turned back the clock on a day of upsets to oust Moustafa El Sirty and set up a second round clash with last week’s CIB Zed Squash Open champion Youssef Soliman as the QTerminals Qatar Classic 2022 got underway in Doha.
“It was really difficult to be honest, that was my first match for three or four months now,” Castagnet explained after his four game win. “I am really happy to be back in good shape! He is a very talented young player. He is a fighter, really strong, so it was not easy for me. I love this kind of match, and that was a really good fight.”
Castagnet was not the only experienced player to upset a younger opponent as Spain’s 39-year-old Borja Golan blew Mohamed ElSherbini away 3-0. Afterwards, Golan said: “Every match I play nowadays is so special, so coming out here to Qatar again on this beautiful court and in this great event is amazing. I think today felt so good.”
To the delight of the home fans, Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi was able to provide another upset as he comfortably overcame the higher-ranked Ramit Tandon of India in the day’s final match to set up an enticing encounter with second seed Paul Coll in tomorrow’s second round.
After the match, Al Tamimi said: “I’d like to thank everyone for the support. I couldn’t play last year, my first time missing the event since 2010. “I’m really happy to be back here and I’m really happy with the win. Until yesterday, I was 50/50 to play this event because I have national service, but thanks to the Federation, who helped me. I hope I can play the whole season and the upcoming seasons without having to disappear from the tour for a while.”
There were more upsets on the opening day in Doha as Declan James beat Baptiste Masotti 3-1, Dimitri Steinmann beat Adrian Waller 3-1 and Yahya Elnawasany came from behind to beat Sebastien Bonmalais 3-2.
Preview : Farag tops 2022 Doha Draw
Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag will return to Doha for the first time since taking victory in 2020, as he starts his 2022-2023 season as the top seed for the QTerminals Qatar Classic, which will take place from 4th to 10th September.
Farag missed last year’s tournament, but has fond memories of the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, having won this tournament in 2020, when he defeated New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final. The pair will be the top two seeds once again next month, with Farag set to face either Mexico’s Cesar Salazar or Qatar’s Syed Azlan Amjad, one of two wildcards for the event. He could then face either Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez or Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller in the third round, before a possible meeting with England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy in the last eight.
Meanwhile, double Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Paul Coll will start his campaign in Doha against either home favourite Abdulla Al Tamimi or India’s Ramit Tandon, followed by a possible meeting with either Germany’s Raphael Kandra or England’s George Parker. Welshman Joel Makin could lie in wait in the last eight, in was would be a repeat of their Commonwealth Games final.
Defending champion Diego Elias will meet Indian #1 Saurav Ghosal, the Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, in the second round in Doha, before a possible clash with England’s Adrian Waller in the last 16. Either Frenchman Gregoire Marche or Egypt’s Tarek Momen, the winner of the 2019-2020 PSA World Championships at the very same venue, could lie in wait for the Peruvian in the quarter finals.
Egypt’s World #3 Mostafa Asal will face one of the toughest tests possible in his opening match of the 2022-2023 season, as he will take on World #9 Marwan ElShorbagy in the second round of the Platinum level tournament. Possible meetings with Egypt’s Fares Dessouky and Mazen Hesham could come prior to the quarter finals.