KUWAIT PSA CUP 2013
13 mars 2013, Demi-Final :  Ramy Ashour (Egy) bat  Grégory Gaultier (Fra) 11/8, 11/5, 11/2 (36m)
AMY IS AN ALIEN, GREG ON ONE FOOT…
Squash is a pool for amazing people. To start with, Greg, who managed to get in the semis of a major tournament on one foot – he rolled his ankle on Nick’s foot in Richmond and has been unhappy with his movement, not being able to push off his foot properly, not able to train properly since then, so reaching the semis is quite an achievement.
And of course Ramy, bless him, squashed out in the second round and quarters, looking yesterday like playing squash was for him as fun as having a root canal without injection. And today, ‘gazelle-ing” away from the first minute on court, bouncing up and down, like a kid in a bouncy castle.
In Greg’s game, one can know immediately if he feels confident with his movement, because when he does, he keeps the errors to a minimum, one or two per game in average. In the first game, he did 4, 4 in the second, 4 in the 3rd, well, in the first rallies of the third, as he basically stopped playing very early in that final game.
The first game was the most disputed, 17m and some superb rallies, an excellent start from Greg, 4/0, Ramy catches up 4/4, 6/6, and Ramy starts taking a lead that he won’t lose, game ball 10/7, game 11/8.
Frustration started quickly for Greg in the second, he just couldn’t push off at all. “When you play against such a champion as Ramy, and you can’t pick up two boasts in a row, it drives you nuts,” Greg told me after the match. And it showed. Gradually losing his focus, he even had a go at the crowd that was – probably not cleverly – clapping enthusiastically each of Greg's tins, with two loud “SHUT UP”!
Ramy led 8/2 to take the second game 11/5 in 8m and Greg just didn’t show up in the third at all, 11/2, even sending the ball out of court on his last serve at 2/10…
12 mars 2013, Quarts : Grégory Gaultier bat Peter Barker 11/3, 11/2 rtd (19m)
PETER, KNEE NOT RIGHT
It’s not fair you would think. After sorting the injury that crippled him in HK and prevented him from playing the semis, a hamstring trouble, it’s now the Tband that is pulling on the patella, inflicting a sharp knife-like pain in your knee.
How do I know so much about it ? Cause that’s the one I’ve been suffering from for now 10 years, so I saw the signs…
“I hope that Peter is going to be able to stop to get sorted, he had several injuries, first the hamstring, now the Tband, I know it’s hard to stop, but I’ve done it, and it’s worth it, because you come back, not only better but hungrier for victory…” said Greg to Adrian Davies the MC after the match.
We of course noticed immediately that something was not right from the first movement he didn’t make to the back, and the grimace he made as he went for Greg’s boast.
What a sad sad moment for Pete, yet again. Get well soon, mate.
"I could see from my first boast that he was struggling,
I asked him if he was ok to carry on ..."
9 mars 2013, Troisième tour : Grégory Gaultier bat Borja Golan (Esp) 11/6, 11/3, 11/8 (62m)
BORJA VERY ACCURATE
One typical match where the score doesn’t reflect the intensity, the length of each game might, 18, 19, 21 m.
Borja’s game was spotless today I thought, and it took Greg’s top game to shake him off, the battle that went on for the dominance of the left side was paramount.
Greg’s retrieving saved the day, as Borja attacks were truly lethal.
A few too many lets in the third game in particular, but both players working extremely hard, and in a good spirit.
"I was trying to stay accurate, not doing too much at the front, at a mid pace.
"I would have liked a bit more rhythm probably, less stop start, but happy to get through in 3 before my match against Peter tomorrow."
9 mars 2013, Deuxième tour :
Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bat Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw)
11/9, 11/5, 11/6 (36m)
GREG ENDS ABDULLAH'S RUN
To be honest, this one won’t stay as a classic. Abdullah, far from being fresh bless him, after clinching a superb victory against up and coming Steve Coppinger yesterday, just didn’t move that well, and was not mentally/physically to do that terribly hard work he would have had to produce to win against a world number one.
Slightly overweight, studying hard for his university, Abdullah was not fit enough to back up two enormous win in a row. He tried, though, especially in the 3rd, when Greg’s length dropped to virtually nothing and led 4/0, 6/2.
Sensing danger, the Frenchman closed the gap quickly, but was not very happy – quite rightly – with his performance tonight. Like most of the players that just came back from Richmond, he is struggling with the jetlag, and played a match tonight that would have been the middle of the night for him. And he was not moving/thinking as well as he normally does.
But as he knows pretty well, this is only the beginning of the tournament, he will get better and tuned all his weapons out for the next match the day after tomorrow.
"You don’t exactly change your game as you get older, but you try and add up things to your game, and as I’m far away from perfect, I’m always trying working on different elements of my game.
"Tonight it was far away from being easy, Abdullah gave it his best, but he had a massive win yesterday, and it took a lot out of him. I could see him struggling to move in the second, but he came back strong in the third. He is an excellent player, he’s got unbelievable hands, and Kuwait can be proud of him."