Tamimi pulls off upset win in opening match
Qatar’s champion defeats higher-ranked Gregoire Marche in PSA World Squash Championship.
Qatar’s Abdullah Al Tamimi stunned World No 14 Gregoire Marche of France 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 in his opening match of the PSA Men’s World Squash Championship at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on Friday.
Smart strategy, intense focus and vociferous home support saw the 24-year-old Qatari race to a win in the 45-minute encounter. That he was 2-0 ahead within the first 30 minutes surprised many considering the difference in world rankings – Tamimi at 47 and Marche at 14. The Qatari said his swift start was thanks largely to his game plan.
“I worked hard at staying ahead of him by at least two points. I knew that he would be strong in the rallies and would return everything I threw at him, so I made sure that I got the points quickly,” said Tamimi.
- Tarek Momen (2, Egypt) bt Raphael Kandra (Germany) 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4; Simon Rosner (5, Germany) bt Diego Elias (6, Peru) 11-8, 11-9, 14-12; Karim Abdel Gawad (3, Egypt) bt Augusta Dussourd (France) 11-4, 11-8, 13-11); Paul Coll (4, New Zealand) bt Hamad Al Amri (Qatar) 11-4, 11-4, 11-3; Mohd Abouelghar (7, Egypt) bt Tayyab Aslam (Pakistan) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7; Miguel Rodriguez (8, Colombia) bt Youssef Soliman (Egypt) 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8; Marwan El Shorbagy (9, Egypt) bt Arturo Salazar (Mexico) 11-4, 11-3, 11-7); Saurav Ghosal (10, India) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (India) 11-7, 11-7, 18-16; Mohammed El Shorbagy (1, Egypt) bt Victor Crouin (France) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7; Abdullah Al Tamimi (Qatar) bt Gregoire Marche (France) 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9; Syed Azlan Amjad (Qatar) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (Spain) retd 8-11, 12-10, 4-11, 2-0.
That’s exactly what he did in the first two games racing away to comfortable leads. Before the Frenchman knew what hit him, Tamimi had won the first game at 11-6. Marche fought back in the second, but Tamimi never relaxed his stranglehold and won the second at 11-9.
Tamimi could have wrapped up the match in the third but he was forced to change his shirt which resulted in a loss in concentration and he lost it at 7-11.
“I didn’t see why I was required to change my shirt. But it does play on your mind and I lost focus. I finally moved on and got the job done,” he said.
In the third game, which lasted just 10 minutes, Tamimi was all about clever drops. Marche’s slipping on the court twice also did not help his cause. The Frenchman attempted a comeback when he drew level at 9-9 but Tamimi’s smart placements baffled his rival. Egged on by cheers from the spectators, Tamimi finally raised his arms in victory at 11-9.
“I know Marche’s weaknesses and he knows mine. I was just better at exploiting his faults on the day. I feel good physically and mentally,” said Tamimi, almost sounding a note of warning to the others who are up against him. He next plays another Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, currently ranked 28 in the world.
Another Qatari player Syed Azlan Amjad also entered the second round after Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu retired in the fourth game. Amjad was leading 2-0 in the fourth after having won the second at 12-10 and lost the first and third at 8-11 and 4-11 respectively.
Qatar’s third player in the competition, Hamad Al Amri, went down to fourth seed Paul Coll of New Zealand 4-11, 4-11, 3-11.
The top seed Egypt’s Mohammed El Shorbagy had it easy against Victor Crouin of France, winning his first-round match 11-8, 11-6, 11-7.