Fram reports, Steve clicks away in Sunset Beach
En Bref #2
 Adrian Grant (Eng) bt  Aamir
Atlas Khan (Pak)
11/6, 13/11 (62m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) bt  Wael El
 David Palmer (Aus) bt  Thierry
11/8, 5/11, 11/5 (47m)
 Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt  Mohamed
El Shorbagy (Egy)
12/10, 11/3 (32m)
English finalist guaranteed as
race for number one continues ...
An first-ever English finalist was guaranteed in Al Khobar
tonight as Adrian Grant and Nick Matthew progressed to the
semi-finals at the expense of Aamir Atlas Khan and Wael El
Hindi. Grant recovered from losing the first game while Matthew
kept his opponent in check for most of the match.
The other semi-final will see two Saudi stalwarts compete for a
place in the final. David Palmer and Thierry Lincou had shared
their previous 18 encounters, but it was the Australian who
triumphed this time to reach his fourth successive Saudi semi.
His opponent will be top seed Ramy Ashour, the 2007 runner-up,
after the Egyptian beat his compatriot successor as world junior
champion, Mohamed El Shorbagy, in a fast-paced three-game
Ashour and Matthew both have their sights on not only the Saudi
title but on the coveted world number one spot too, and whoever
does best from now on will become the new number one in January
... but Grant and Palmer will want to have their say too ...
Grant (Eng) bt  Aamir Atlas Khan
11/6, 13/11 (62m)
Grant keeps it tight
Adrian Grant kept up his unbeaten record against Aamir Atlas
Khan as he moved into the Saudi semi-finals for the first time.
The Pakistani speed merchant started the better, opening up and
converting a 6/3 lead in the first, but the Englishman tightened
up his game and controlled the next two games very effectively.
A few unforced errors let Khan ahead in the fourth and he took
advantage to open up to 7/4. Grant settled again, and got the
better of some determined rallies as he closed the gap, edged
ahead at 9/7 and finally took the victory on his third match
knew it was going to be tough, he’s been having some great
"This is obviously my best result of the year, I’m in the semis
of a platinum event. With Shabana out of the tournament, the
draw opened, but you still had to do it….
"Even after losing the first, I was still confident that I would
win, I was moving well. At the start of that fourth, I really
wanted to get off to a good start, and I was a bit too relaxed,
too confident from the first and second game, where I was
"After that, I buckled down when I saw the gap growing bigger,
and thought from now on, I’ll stick to that game plan,
outstretch myself and stick to my natural game!
"I’m normally pretty good in the tie-breaks, I don’t see them as
match point, but mentally, I go 0/0, 1/0. I got pretty tense for
my first match ball, but after that, I just relaxed, I knew I
was getting tired, I was digging in, and when I got to my last
match ball, I told myself, that’s only one more point to play…"
Matthew (Eng) bt  Wael El Hindi (Egy)
WAEL EXCELLENT IN PATCHES
The Egyptian surprised me tonight, by his intensity in the first
and third in particular, with a little drop of energy in the
Normally, Wael likes his chats with the ref, that give him a
little of breather time, he like breaking up the pace, slows it
down and counterattacks very well. But tonight, he was taking
Nick physically, hitting the ball very hard, and making the
Englishman work very hard….
An excellent game, fluid, fair, no discussion, no stoppage. A
lovely match, with suspense and all, as I really thought Wael
was going to go for a fourth there….
do you mean, he’s getting on a bit! If he is, I am too, we are
the same age!!! We’ve been playing each other for a long time
now, we’ve got a lot of respect for each other’s game.
"I’m really happy with that 3/0 win, saving legs and mind for
tomorrow’s game. I’ve been playing Adrian since we are 10 years
old, I’m so happy for him that he reached his first ever
platinum event, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match
"I’m not sure what made it all click this year, I’ve been
working very carefully on my preparation since I was very young.
It’s true this has been a great year for me, and it’s not
finished yet. Hopefully, two more matches…
"I’ve learned a lot over the year, playing Wael. I know that
it’s best for me to play continuous game instead of stop start,
he is much better than me at that! I tried to keep the pace up,
whereas at the start of the game, I played a bit too relaxed, I
think at a pace that suited him better, especially as it’s cold
enjoyed the whole match…
"A couple of silly errors, good to learn from…
"Nick is very confident at the moment, he is playing very well.
Tonight, he was stronger than me, both mentally and physically,
and truly deserves to win. I’m wishing him good luck for the
rest of the tournament…"
Palmer (Aus) bt  Thierry Lincou (Fra)
11/8, 5/11, 11/5 (47m)
Palmer moves ahead
Alister Walker reports
Thierry vs David and the
head to head makes it 9 all in previous meetings!
Thierry: 14 months world no. 1, 1 World Open Championship title,
11 times French National Champion, 100 months in the worlds top
David: 4 months world world no. 1, 2 World Open Titles and 4
times British Open Champion, 112 months in the worlds top 10.
The statistics show that these two are amongst the most
successful players of their era. Having shared a room with David
in Mumbai and Thierry here in Saudi I can tell you that both
players are still highly motivated and will both be desperate to
made his intentions clear from the first rally, hitting the ball
at pace to accurate length and finishing the rallies with
volleys to the front to take a 6-1 lead. Thierry started to find
some length but still was not getting the tall Australian behind
him enough and Palmer was extremely severe. Taking the first
game comfortably 11-5 it was obvious that if you get infront on
this court and attack then you will get the rewards.
Thierry hit the ball with more venom to start the second, it
looked like physically he was sharper onto the ball and he took
a 3-1 lead. It didn't take much for Palmer to get back to a 5-3
lead by punishing any loose ball on this rewarding court.
Thierry started to show signs that he was getting more
comfortable and that he could do what he has so often done in
the past, reeling the Australian in by keeping it deep and tight
and forcing Palmer to try and attack at the wrong time, but he
never lead and when he did get back on equal terms he seemed to
clip the tin. Palmer took the game 11-8 after some fast and
furious rallies at the front where he came out on top. Five tins
from Thierry probably made the biggest difference.
Another good start from Titi in the third. He employed the lob
effectively at the front rather than try and exchange short
shots at the front he took a 4-0 lead. Palmer stuck to his guns
hitting punishing volley kills that were making Thierry work
extremely hard to stay in the rallies. Palmer lost some momentum
as the ball got dead and temperature dropped in the Arabian
desert and Lincou's trademark counter drop became more
effective. Lincou take the third 11-5.
Palmer reasserted himself at the start of the fourth game,
adjusting to the deader ball and taking a 5-0 lead but it was
clawed back by some consistent hitting, 5-4. Another big push
from Palmer produced some good attacking rallies and Thierry
couldn't maintain his form. Palmer deservedly through but
another well contested match from two players who many a young
player can learn from.
to win obviously, it was so close yet again.
"We’ve played 18 times before, 9/9 each, so I hope we’ll stay on
this result, 10/9 for me!
"I look at Thierry, he had a great career, then a bit of a bad
patch, recovered and came up firing again. It’s a bit like me, I
have a not so good start of the season, and I got better. It’s
all a question of motivation, he can still do it, and so can I….
"Tonight, I sort of put all my eggs in one basket, I took a bit
of a gamble, just coming out firing with all I had, attacking
any loose ball, and it worked…
"In the fourth, I gave it everything I had, I got onto to an
excellent start, things went my way, and I got on a roll.."
"I’m really disappointed with the match, I took a slow start, I
was getting better, but it’s so hard to keep coming back at this
stage of the competition…
"Although I was expecting it, David still surprised me by
playing at an extremely fast and intense pace. And I haven’t
played at such a pace for a long time, so it took me a little
while to get used to the pace, but by the time I was able to
handle the tempest, it was too late.
"The knee was a bit wobbly, I lacked stability tonight,
yesterday, it was fine, but today, a bit more pressure, I wasn’t
stable enough on my legs, and I find the tin too many times,
especially in the 2nd, 5 I think.
"I’m really disappointed not to have given more, I was not tired
at the end, it was just tactically, and on such a true court as
this one, in cold condition, if you are not in the right rhythm
and accurate, you get outplayed. Which David did tonight really…
"It was a long season, now I’m going home to enjoy Christmas…"
"I’ve learned a lot from this match.
"Jonah told me that I would feel how different from anybody else
Ramy is, that I would enjoy it so much. And he was right!
"I’ve played all the top 10 now, except for David Palmer, and
Ramy is just like nobody else. Ramy is only 22, and if one day,
I want to be really really really good in squash, we’re bound to
play each other more and more, if we stay injury free.
"And I’ll have to beat him some day, so now, I’ve got to go back
and think, study the match with Jonah, and see how I can play
him next time.
"At the moment, Karim is world number one, and he is Egyptian.
And everybody in Egyptian wants the world number 1 to stay an
Egyptian. So I’m wishing good luck to Ramy, I really hope he’ll
make it to the number 1 spot. We are all so proud of him…"
Ashour (Egy) bt  Mohamed El
12/10, 11/3 (32m)
Ramy still the master
Alister Walker reports
A new era brings new styles and these two definitely have a
uniquely attacking Egyptian style. Never an obvious pattern to
their play, but there must be a method to the what seems like
madness to many of us. A battle between the only players to have
won the World Junior Championship title more than once. It would
be safe to say that unless there is a drastic change there will
be many more battles between these two youngsters to come.
way the first rally started someone was going to die if the
match continued like that. I don't know how many shots were hit
in the rally exactly but i am sure it was over 50 and never were
there two straight lengths in a row exchanged. All out attack
was definitely on the menu with these two on the same court.
Although the rallies were never as long as the opening one again
both players continued to 'feel' the ball around the court with
lovely holds, flicks changes of pace and swing. Far too much
going on far too quickly because in 7 minutes the games over
11-3, Ramy with some outrageous winners. I suspect Shorbagy
played the only way he knows how and Ramy was just much better
at it in the first.
It would be fair to expect a player to come out and make an
adjustment having lost the first game 11-3 but i suspect to
Shorbagy that is totally alien to him at this stage and so the
shoot out resumed from the very first rally of the second game.
Shorbagy did better drawing level at 5 all and then 6 all. The
crowd love Ramy here, he's Ziad's boy, and perhaps he was guilty
of wanting to entertain the crowd a little too much and opened
the court up to Shorbagy who moved explosively and played into
some open spaces to keep the score board ticking over for him.
the other hand Ramy does play to the back at the right time too
and his lob is more attacking than most peoples drops.10-7 to
Ramy and Shorbagy found his winners, no adjustments even facing
three game balls to Ramy he came back shooting forcing the tie
break. Not many players can tell you better than me that when it
matters Ramy can suddenly snap out of entertainer mode and get
points on the board when he needs them, he did it last night at
10 all and he did it again 12-10 to Ramy and a 2-0 lead.
Absolutely outrageous rallies ended with even more outrageous
shots from Ramy. No sooner was he 3-0 down and he was 5-3 up
continuing to pepper the ball into the front. It was soon 11-3
and the entertainer finished in full flow and finished it in 7
minutes just like the first. It all still seemed chaos to me,
and still no closer to finding any method to what these two do.
More battles to come from these two and only David and Nick look
like they can stop Ramy in this event.
felt like a World Junior semi or final! It reminded me of my
final against Mosaad, the same excitement, feeling, pace.. I
remember looking into his eyes, they were so open with
"When I see Mohamed, I see myself, the same hunger, passion,
when I was younger. I know that a lot of people would have
played him keeping it simple, and straight, but I wanted to play
at that pace, I wanted to race with him….
"I enjoyed the match so much, no doubt he is extremely gifted,
and that he will become a spectacular player…"