Two in a row and Three for Farag
Top seed Ali Farag claimed his second PSA Platinum title in a row – and his third Qatar Classic crown – as he beat Diego Elias in four games in Doha.
Farag had a substantial lead in the H2H but it was Elias who took the first five points of the final, before Farag responded to go 10-7 ahead, eventually taking the lead 15-13 after 26 minutes.
The fourth was even, but Farag maintained a narrow lead, finally taking the title 11-9 after 69 minutes.
“I had to put in a world-class performance to be able to compete with Diego,” said Farag. “He’s such a champion, the way he’s been playing these last couple of years.”
Top seeds through to men’s final as Hania wins a thriller to claim women’s crown
Hania El Hammamy claimed her first Qatar Classic title as she came through a thrilling five game final against Nour El Sherbini. The first four games were shared, all finishing 11-9, before Hammamy raced into a 9-1 lead in the decider, taking the game 11-6 for her third PSA Platinum crown.
“I’m definitely proud of the way I’m fighting everyday and the way I bounce back after each loss,” said Hania. “Playing against Nour is very hard. She’s the classy image of being a World #.1 and a World Champion. She’s the one I look up to and I try to learn from her to carry that image when it’s my time to be on top.
“I couldn’t have done it this week without my team, the people who supported me throughout all the difficult times. It’s been very difficult these last couple of weeks, without them it couldn’t happen.”
The men’s semi-finals saw second seed Diego Elias come through in three close games over Mazen Hesham, followed by top seed Ali Farag, who ended the run of Joel Makin in straight games.
Hammamy and Sherbini set up all-Egyptian final
Hania El Hammamy and Nour El Sherbini will contest an all-Egyptian women ‘s final in Doha after scoring comprehensive wins over surprise semi-finalists Amanda Sobhy and Tinne Gilis in Doha.
“That was exactly the type of form I was looking to find in Paris,” said Hania, “but I wasn’t able to. I’m definitely very proud of how I’m picking myself up. Each match, I’ve been working on improving each round, each game and I’m very positive of the way I’m doing on court this week.
“Amanda had a good win last night and she’s very dangerous on the volley. I just tried to stick to my plan, and I’m very pleased that I managed.”
The men’s semi-finals will feature the top two seeds against unexpected opposition. Top seed Ali Farag won an entertaining four-game battle with compatriot Tarek Momen and he’ll meet Wales’ Joel Makin who eased past Greg Lobban in straight games.
Second seed Diego Elias beat former Qatar champion Karim Abdel Gawad in four games and he’ll meet sixth seed Mazen Hesham who came through a five game thriller against Mohamed ElShorbagy, coming from two games down to win 12-10 in the fifth. The match ended controversially with Elshorbagy seemingly unready for Hesham’s serve but half-heartedly playing it only for the referee to deem he had taken it, match to Mazen.
Sobhy downs Gohar to reach last four
The women’s quarter-finals started with a four-game win for third seed Hania El Hammamy over Gina Kennedy, but an all-Egyptian semi-final was denied as USA’s Amanda Sobhy produced a huge upset as she beat top seed Nouran Gohar in straight games.
“It was a long time coming, we’ve played a lot of times and our head-to-heads have been close, but since 2019 she’s beaten me,” said a jubilant Sobhy. “Every time I play her, I’m not afraid anymore. I want to play her because it gives me that much more confidence going in against her, I was excited to know that I was going to face again here in Qatar after last week in Paris.
“I learned a lot in Paris, hopefully you can see a different version of me, especially emotionally. I’m so pumped. I sometimes get off to a slow start and with her pace it’s easy to get blown out of the court, but even when I was 10-6 down, I felt like I was still in it and I just thought that I had nothing to lose.
“It felt very relaxed and I just wanted to go out there and take it to her and I’m just glad it paid off.”
The evening matches saw both Gilis sisters in action, with Tinne prevailing in four games against Salma Hany but Nele falling in four to second seed Nour El Sherbini.
“I’m pretty much speechless at the moment,” Tinne admitted after reaching her first Platinum semi-final. “For me, it’s always hardest when you’re so close and yet so far, you have to think that she could still come back and it could go either way so I had to focus, which is something that I struggle with at these crucial points.
“I just said to myself, ‘just keep the rally going, don’t rush anything, just pretend it’s 5-5, but don’t think you’re match ball up and just try to keep your focus’.
The men’s matches started with Mohamed ElShorbagy surviving a see-saw five game battle with Youssef Ibrahim, while Mazen Hesham won his all-Egyptian match with Aly Abou Eleinen in straight games.
In the evening session second seed Diego Elias eased past Youssef Soliman to set up a meeting with former Qatar champion Karim Abdel Gawad, who beat Nicolas Mueller in four.
Tue 12th Day FOUR :
Just the glass court in action from now on as Women’s R3 concludes and Men’s R3 starts …
Tinne and Greg upset seedings on day four
Day four started with two seeding upsets as Tinne Gilis came from two games down to beat fourth seed Joelle King and Greg Lobban came through a five game tussle to down seventh seed Victor Crouin. ins for Salma Hany and Joel Makin completed the afternoon session.
The evening session went to seeding as Nele Gilis, Nour El Sherbini, Ali Farag and Tarek Momen won through to the quarters.
Day THREE : Makin downs Coll
Wales’ Joel Makin shocked New Zealand’s fourth seed Paul Coll in a pulsating 93-minute encounter on day three in Doha. Makin built a 2-1 lead after 11-6 and 11-8 games, either side of an 11-7 Coll win in game two. In a tense fourth game, Makin saw five match balls saved before finally taking the contest 14-12 to set up a third-round clash with Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini, who got the better of Scotland’s Rory Stewart.
Elsewhere in the men’s event, reigning champion Mohamed ElShorbagy came from behind to beat England teammate Charlie Lee, 2016 champion Karim Abdel Gawad overcame fifth seed Marwan ElShorbagy, and Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi dispatched Omar Mosaad to keep home hopes alive.
In the women’s draw, four round three matches were played o the glass court, with Nouran Gohar, Amanda Sobhy, Gina Kennedy and Hania El Hammamy winning through to the querter-finals.
Sobhy overcame 16-year-old Junior World Champion Amina Orfi 3-1, while top seed Gohar, El Hammamy and Kennedy all won in straight games.
Day TWO : Lee shocks Marche, Hany upsets El Tayeb and Orfi wins on extra points
England’s Charlie Lee downed France’s Gregoire Marche to win his first Platinum-level match and Salma Hany beat fifth seeded Egyptian compatriot Nour El Tayeb as the Qatar Classic resumed in Doha.
World #.45 Lee reached the second round of a Platinum event for the first time with an impressive 3-0 win over World #25 Marche to seal his spot in the second round, where he faces Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Hany through a tense five-game affair with El Tayeb, getting over the line 11-4 in the fifth to set up a meeting with Canada’s Hollie Naughton in Round Three.
Match of the day was a 75-minut all-Egyptian encounter between Amina Orfi and Fayrouz Aboelkhier which saw Orfi coming from two games down and all five games finishing in extra points!
In the final match of the day home favourite Abdulla Al Tamimi impressed with a 3-0 win over Lucas Serme to earn a second round clash with Egypt’s Omar Mosaad.
Sat 9th, Day ONE : Women’s Round One
With action taking place on three courts at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex, there were plenty of comebacks, upsets and five-gamers on the opening day.
On the all-glass show court, Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi and England’s Katie Malliff both came from behind to win in five games, with Lee beating Egypt’s Hana Moataz and Malliff getting the better of Finland’s Emilia Soini.
On the traditional courts Nour Aboulmakarim overcame both opponent and injury to eke out a 3-2 win against club mate Menna Hamed, while 16-year-old Amina Orfi continued to impress as she upset fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin.