Published on Friday, April 18, 2014

10/18 avril 2014 - El Gouna, Egypt

Round One
13/14 Apr
Round Two
15 Apr
16 Apr
17 Apr
18 Apr
[1] Grégory Gaultier (Fra)
 11/9, 8/11, 10/12 , 11/4, 11/8 (91m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
 [1] Gregory Gaultier
  11/6, 11/4, 11/5 (38m)
 Stephen Coppinger
 [1] Gregory Gaultier


 11/3, 11/2, 12/10 (45m)


[8] Daryl Selby

 [1] Gregory Gaultier


11/6, 14/16, 11/9, 12/10 (112m)


[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy

[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy


11/7, 12/10, 8/11, 11/8 (72m)



[2] Ramy Ashour

Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
 11/8, 11/6, 11/9 (53m)
[Q] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Nicolas Muller (Sui)
18/16, 15/13, 11/2 (60m)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
  Nicolas Muller 

 11/9, 11/9, 11/5 (44m)

[8] Daryl Selby
[8] Daryl Selby (Eng)
9/11, 11/9, 11/2, 8/11, 11/6 (74m)
[WC] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
[7] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/4, 11/3, 11/6 (31m)
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
[7] Peter Barker

 11/9, 11/8, 11/9 (45m)

 Marwan Elshorbagy
[7] Peter Barker


 11/8, 11/6, 3/11, 11/3 (55m)


[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy

Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/9, 14/12, 11/9 (38m)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
 7/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (52m)
[Q] Mazen Hesham (Egy)
[Q] Mazen Hesham

11/4, 11/4, 11/8 (39m)

[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy
[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
 11/5, 14/12, 8/11, 11/9 (63m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Adrian Grant (Eng)
 13/15, 14/12, 11/6, 7/0 rtd (79m)
[4] Borja Golan (Esp)
  [4] Borja Golan

8/11, 11/5, 11/8, 11/9 (68m)

Omar Mosaad
  Omar Mosaad


 12/10, 8/11, 11/4, 11/8 (65m)


[5] Amr Shabana

[5] Amr Shabana


11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (36m)


[2] Ramy Ashour

Omar Mosaad (Egy)
 11/6, 10/12, 11/7, 11/5 (64m)
 [Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/9, 13/11, 9/11, 7/11, 11/5 (74m)
 [Q] Fares Dessouki (Egy)
  Tarek Momen

11/3, 11/8, 11/7 (40m)

[5] Amr Shabana
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/9, 12/10, 11/7 (46m)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy)
[Q] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
 11/6, 8/11, 11/4, 11/8 (53m)
[6] Karim Darwish (Egy)
  [6] Karim Darwish

 7/11, 11/9, 6/11, 14/12, 11/4 (68m)

Laurens Jan Anjema
  [6] Karim Darwish


 11/7, 4/0 rtd (16m)


[2] Ramy Ashour

Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
9/11, 12/10, 11/9, 12/10 (72m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11/7, 11/6, 11/8 (41m)
[Q] Grégoire Marche (Fra)
  Simon Rosner 

15/13, 11/8, 11/6 (47m)

[2] Ramy Ashour
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/9, 11/8, 11/6 (37m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy)


Thu 17th April - SEMIS :

[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)

1/6, 14/16, 11/9, 12/10 (112m) 


I am not afraid to say this was one of the best games I ever saw. I guess the neophyte will say that the first two games were boring. They were some of the most amazing mastermind, tactical and gutsy performance ever. Tactical and mastermind from Greg. Gutsy from Mohamed.
First game, I would say Greg did a Peter Barker style of game. And it nearly worked. Meaning that he kept the Alexandria boy at the back and to the front, and at the back and to the front, twisting and turning him. Although the Frenchman lost it, he had done a lot of damages to his opponents legs in the 21 minutes that game lasted.

In the second though, Shorbagy’s got the momentum. Again, gruelling rallies, superb variations in the speed, pace, height, and Greg is controlling the rallies. Still, Mohamed finds some great shots while Greg finds the tin, 6 in fact, up to 8/7. Then he stops them completely. Shorbagy, running a bit on fumes already, gets to game ball at 10/7. And hits the wall. Greg, feeling the tempo change, serves as quickly as he can, and put the pressure on the Egyptian. And it works. He claws back at 10/10.
 From that point on, gruelling rallies doesn’t start to describe the work those two did. Like Mohamed against James in Hong Kong or in the semi of the WO in Qatar. Yes, we are at that level of game and intensity. Greg will need 5 games balls, but he finally levels it at 1 game all, 16/14, in 49 minutes…

And it looks like the Frenchman is in the final, when Mohamed starts to go for silly shots, making a lot of errors, allowing Greg to run away with the score, 8/5. But Mohamed digs in. He digs in like very few champions can dig in. Mentally hurting, physically hurting, he just plays one more shot. And it works. Carried by a very knowledgeable crowd, not the vociferous we can have at times in Egypt, but a very fair one, he just nibbles Greg’s confidence, and equalises at 9/9. Truly exhausted, he keeps asking for the sweepers to clean the court. It’s “de bonne guerre”, you can’t blame the boy for trying. And Greg, who can see how exhausted Mohamed is, is not happy and makes his feeling clear to the ref!

And those little seconds “stolen”, are enough to allow the Egyptian to dig in deeper and deeper and deeper. When he clinches that 3rd in 16m, we all know that he’s made a huge step towards the final.
Our feelings seem to find confirmation when Mohamed, full of the adrenaline that comes from leading 2/1, zooms to 5/0. But Greg is not gone back to Paris yet. He too can claw down. He too can dig in. And he does. And the crowd is supporting the squash, not just their man. 7/7. 8/8. Is Greg going to force a decider, and if he does, will Shorbagy have enough gas left?
Out of nowhere, Mohamed finds an 5th wind, and on his 3rd match ball - Basma his mum has not nails left, Hossam his dad has lost another stone, Marwan doesn’t have a voice anymore - Mohamed just beat the World number 1 for the first time. Like he did to get to the final of the Worlds in Qatar 2 years ago. And like then, he’ll play Ramy Ashour in the final.

Wed 16th April, - QUARTERS :

[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
[8] Daryl Selby (Eng)
11/3, 11/2, 12/10 (45m)

Funny as the minute the first match finished, the wind came back, a very light breeze, and the flies just left. And the slippery conditions just disappeared the same way, the breeze just dried it out, and the court attendants were only occasionally called for… Strange isn’t it… 
For this match, don’t look at the score, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Look at the times of each game, 12m (11/3), 10m (11/2), 13m (12/10)! Daryl worked as hard in the third than he did in the first two. He just scored more points…
Greg’s pace (mid) and accuracy at the back was preventing Daryl from attacking as well as he wanted I feel. Also, I don’t think he was moving as freely as he did the day before (maybe his back was bit stiff to start with, and warmed up as the match advanced).
In the third, probably Greg relaxed a bit, while Daryl gave it a big push. The long drop shots that used to find the tin at the end of long rallies suddenly found the nick and Greg had to work bleeping hard to stay close score wise. And although Daryl didn’t manage to get a game ball, he saved a match ball at 9/10 with a superb winner, and only exits the tournament with the honours, 12/10 in that third. A truly good battle. Once again, ignore the score…

I was playing at a good pace in the first two,but I don’t think I was as accurate as I was yesterday. But that is all credit to Daryl that was handing in there. At the end of the second, I think he maybe was getting tired. But in the third, I probably relaxed a bit, I’m not sleeping as well as I would like, and sometimes I can feel a bit of tiredness is coming through I think. But he played so well in that third. You could see he forgot about losing or winning, and that he was letting the arm go and found some great shots.

But I kept working very hard, I fought for each point, even if I didn’t feel at my best in the legs and/or in the head !
Tonight, the conditions were tougher than the previous days. There was no wind, so it was not as fresh air as before, and sometimes, your head was getting very hot. Plus the mouskitos ! I don’t know what was worse, the mouskitos or no wind ! I say mouskitos actually !!!

My leg is still not right, it’s going to take a few weeks. I know it was definitely an accident, and I’m not in any way saying it wasn’t, but if he had hit me just a bit higher, it would have been very dangerous for my cross ligaments. So I talked with my physios immediately, who told me what to do, so for the past two days, I’ve been icing it and doing some Compex (electric waves). But I’m just happy I can play as only walking is painful ! Still I think that playing and the bike is good for the draining, so, it’s going to get better eventually.
I’ve been working so hard for the past three years to try and prevent those repetitive injuries, and you know, it’s always in your head. Accidents happen, and you think about it all the time. We are professionals, we just learn to deal with it.

Tue 15th April, Round Two :

[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)   
11/6, 11/4, 11/5 (38m)

Gaultier painfully through
After suffering a double injury in his first match - a poke in the eye that hampered his vision, and a dead leg that left him limping through the closing stages - it was going to be interesting to see how top seed and world number one Gregory Gaultier fared tonight against the in-form Steve Coppinger.
After a couple of errors each, and a couple of strokes going either way, the Frenchman allayed any major fears as he moved smoothly ahead from 2-4 down to take the first 11-6, controlling the short, and the odd long rallies.
He was in charge in the second too, converting a 6-1 lead to double his advantage 11/4, and carried the momentum into the third.
As Gaultier hit a crosscourt to go 3-1 up in that third he winced and hopped around a little on that leg. Whether Coppinger noticed or not, he took the next three points to lead 4-3, but Gaultier wasn't keen on an extended match and upped the pace, forcing Coppinger into the corners and forcing mistakes out of the under pressure South African as he completed the win 11/5.

"The eye's not a problem, it's the leg," admitted Gaultier. "I've spent two days trying to recover, not even stepping onto court, and I really didn't know if I'd be able to play tonight.
"It's painful, but I'm pleased that I managed to play through it, thanks to the help from my coach and physio, I wouldn't have been able to play without their help.
"I hadn't played Steve before, but he's had some good results recently so I knew I'd have to stick to my game plan and I was happy to be able to do that.
"It's going to be painful for the rest of the tournament, but as long as I can play I'm happy!"

13 April
First round :

Grégory Gaultier
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)

11/9, 8/11, 10/12, 11/4, 11/8 (91m)


What that boy retrieved today is astonishing. And if Greg play an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors, I suspect it’s mostly because all the sublime attacks the Frenchman was playing kept coming back to him with a vengeance, again, and again and again.
Whatever you are doing Saurav, keep doing it, it’s working wonders! Truly stunning squash.
 We had a bit of drama still, as two accidents on the court impaired my compatriot. First, as the games were one all, and Greg 2/1 in the second, Saurav accidentally hit him with his racquet on the left eye. 
Nothing nasty as such no blood, but a bit of swelling that prevented Greg to seem the ball properly and distracted him he told me after the match. Saurav clinched that one 12/10 on his 3rd game ball.
And another accident at 6/3, Greg played a backhand drop shot, and on his way to the ball in the left corner, Saurav took Greg’s left leg in passing. So both of them on the floor, and Greg struggling to recover for at least 15m. He was clearly in pain at the end of the match, but still managed to win on his 3rd match ball, 11/8 in the fifth.