Carnage in Qatar

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It was carnage in Qatar as the seeds continued to tumble in the Qatar Classic 2011.

There were few signs of the things to come as top seed Nicol David once again wasted little time in seeing off Egyptian Kanzy El Dafrawy in three games. David went about her business in her usual composed fashion while the 17-year old Egyptian once again covered all four corners of the court. There was no diving today, but at 10-0 down in the third she let out a loud “YES” as a mishit boast saved her from a whitewash! “I really enjoyed it,” Kanzy told, “I’ve wanted to play Nicol since the day I was born! She gave me no chance, but I’m happy with my tournament.”

Raneem El Weleily will be the next young Egyptian to test Nicol, and judging by the form she showed in this re-run of her world junior final against Camille Serme, the Malaysian will be well tested. El Weleily always looked in control, Serme unable to make much headway as thge constant pressure contributed to more errors than is normal for the Frenchwoman.”This is the third time I played Camille this year and we were one-all,” Weleily told Squashsite, “so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Yesterday I played well for two games then it didn’t go the way I wanted, so even at 2-0 up I told myself it wasn’t over, to stay on court, stay on court. A disappointed Serme explained: “I wanted to do well in this tournament and I went in with a game plan, but from the start I just couldn’t breathe properly and my body just wouldn’t let me do what I knew I needed to do. It’s disappointing, but I’ll just have to put this tournament behind me and hop to do better in the Worlds.”

Third seeded Australian Rachael Grinham started slowly against Aisling Blake. The Irishwoman, who ousted Sarah Kippax yesterday, raced into a 5/0 lead in the first, and although Grinham pulled back it was too late to salvage the game. However it did seem to set her up better for the rest of the match as she kept her focus to win four.

“Aisling is tough to play, she’s improved a lot and I saw her play really well yesterday,” Grinham told Squashsite. “After that start I resigned myself to losing the first, but needed to get into the match as soon as I could rather than waiting for the second.”I told myself that if you took away the start I could have won the first.”

The final match of the session saw a nail-biter between Emma Beddoes and Joey Chan. Covering very inch of the court they shared the first four games with hardly an intervention from the referees. The fifth was point for point, and although Chan got to match ball first it was still finley balanced as Beddoes evened it up. The Hong Kong left-hander got one more chance at 11/10 but Beddoes hit a winning return of serve and then after some frantic retrieveng by Joey Emma finally put a crosscourt too wide for 13/11 and let out a big “YES”.

“I’m so delighted,” a jubilant winner told Squashsite. “Matches like that go either way and today it was me so I’m happy to take it this time, it doesn’t happen too often!

“We were ranked about the same so we knew it would be close, but it was a really good, fair game – she called her own ball out at 8-all in the first and there were maybe two decisions in the whole match. “I’m ecstatic, it’s the furthest I’ve got in a big tournament, especially to win after saving two match balls like I did yesterday, and taking on Rachael on the glass court tomorrow should be an experience.

However, it was the evening session was where the drama really unfolded. “That’s definitely my best win,” a delighted Low Wee Wern told Squashsite after she had beaten England’s in-form Laura Massaro in four tough games to start the evening session. “Especially since she just won the US Open and I didn’t even make te main draw,” added the diminutive Malaysian. After losing the first from 6/2 up, Massaro looked to have steadied the ship as she took the second comfortably, but Low won the big points at the end of two tough, long games, saving a game ball in the third and coming from 9/7 down in the fourth to win 11/9.

Third seed Madeline Perry stemmed the flow of upsets – albeit only temporarily – with a comfortable 11/5, 11/5, 11/3 victory over qualifier Farah Abdel Meguid in 22 minutes. “I was pleased with that,” the Irishwoman told Squashsite, “I’d only seen her play a handful of points before, but I knew that if she beat Jaclyn [Hawkes] she must be a good player, so I had to be on my toes from the start.”

The Egyptian charge was soon back on course though, as Nour El Sherbini put another seed out to pasture, beating Donna Urquhart 11/8, 11/7, 11/5 in just under half an hour.

“That’s frustrating,” Urquhart told Squashsite. “I just never managed to get into it and I’m not at all tired. I’d never seen her play before, but she’s fast and strong and puts the ball away from anywhere – and she just played better than me today.” Sherbini was naturally pleased with her win. “I think I played well today,” said the 16-year-old former world junior number two. “I knew I had to concentrate from the start, and I wasn’t thinking about the size of the tournament or her being left-handed, I just tied to play my game the best I could and I think I did that.

A night of upsets was completed with World Junior Champion Nour El Tayeb beating the world number two Jenny Duncalf. El Tayeb played well in the first game to win it 11/8, Duncalf bounced back to level with 11/5, and then in a similar vein to previous matches it was the underdog who prevailed at the end of tough and tense games. “I knew I had to win the third and the fourth,” said El Tayeb told Squashsite, “if I’d lost either of those my fitness wouldn’t have carried me through the fifth.” She did win them both, just, taking two tense rallies at the end of the third for 11/9 and almost letting a 7/2 in the fourth slip, diving in vain on her first two match balls as Duncalf levelled it 10-all. A third match ball was enough though, and after 59 minutes another top seed was out.

Women’s Round Two
[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy) 11/6, 11/7, 11/1 (25m)
[9] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) bt [7] Camille Serme (Fra) 11/7, 11/5, 11/5 (26m)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt Aisling Blake (Irl) 7/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/5 (49m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng) bt [15] Joey Chan (Hkg) 8/11, 11/6, 11/7, 6/11, 13/11 (54m)
[12] Low Wee Wern (Mas) bt [5] Laura Massaro (Eng) 11/6, 3/11, 12/10, 11/9 (57m)
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl) bt [Q] Farah Abdel Meguid (Egy) 11/5, 11/5, 11/3 (21m)
Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt [10] Donna Urquhart (Aus) 11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (29m)
[13] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt [2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 11/8, 5/11, 11/9, 12/10 (59m)

Wednesday – Quarter final line up
Nicol David v Raneeem El Weleily
Rachael Grinham v Emma Beddoes
Madeline Perry v Low Wee Wern
Nour El Tayeb v Nour El Sherbini

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