TODAY at the Al-Ahram
|Wed 21-Sep, Day FIVE, Quarters
Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-2
 Nicol David (Mas)
11/9, 3/11, 4/11, 11/8, 11/9 (61m)
 Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1  Amanda Sobhy (Usa)
11/9, 4/11, 11/6, 11/3 (35m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-0  Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/5, 11/4, 11/6 (40m)
 Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-0 [LL] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
11/2, 13/11, 11/9 (55m)
Perry shocks David as
semi-final lineups are completed
second day of quarter-final play at the Great Pyramids of Giza
saw three more Egyptian winners and one big upset.
In the opening match Sarah-Jane Perry, having already
beaten Camille Serme in a first round upset, did it again as she
overcame eight-time world champion Nicol David, coming from
one-two down to record another impressive win.
Third seed Raneem El Welily overcame American Amanda
Sobhy in four games to complete the semi-finals, which will
feature three Egyptians.
The men's semi-final will both be all-Egyptian affairs after
second and third seeds Omar Mosaad and Karim Abdel
Gawad overcame fellow Egyptians Tarek Momen and Zahed
Mohamed, both in straight games although the last match finished
in controversial circumstances.
Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)
3-2  Nicol David (Mas)
11/9, 3/11, 4/11, 11/8,
FROM NEVER WINING A GAME
TO BEATING NICOL …
I guess that Camille won’t feel as bad after Sarah-Jane’s match
against Nicol: Sarah-Jane is just on fire in this event, and is
killing her shots and her opponents one after the other.
SJ saw the draw, Camille who she never beat in nine matches,
then Nicol that she never took a game of in four encounters, I
guess you cannot blame her for booking a flight tomorrow….
Well, who is looking like having to pay for a change of date
then? Oh yes…
It started very well for the English, 4/1, Nicol right back 4/4,
7/4 SJ, the rallies are very long, and they are both making a
lot of work. 9/6, Nicol comes back, but a little bit too late,
10/8, 11/9 in 13m.
Then something weird happens. SJ is obviously drained out. She
is making error upon error, visibly out of breath/oxygen – it
was still 39°C at 6pm – and just cannot stop Nicol’s amazing
volley drops to kill her, 11/3 (7m), 11/5 (9m).
To be fair, a 3/1 looks highly on the cards, but suddenly, out
of nowhere, a bit of an E.T. resurrecting flower pot – you can't
take the actress out of me, sue me – SJ starts finding her
range, and it’s now her turn to kill Nic at the front. 5/2, 8/3.
being Nicol, OF COURSE she finds solutions, she hangs in there
and comes back to 8/9. But a stroke and a long drop shot later,
we are back at 2/2, 11/8, in 9m.
The fifth sees a good start from the Malaysian, 2/0, 3/1, but SJ
is now full of confidence and volley nicks, 3/3, 4/4, up she
goes 8/5, 9/6. Again, Nic’s experience and grit led her to 9/9.
But Sarah-Jane is just flying and will score the last two
points. Her emotion is visible. She cannot believe she just beat
Nicol. Probably the “plus beau jour de sa vie de joueuse”. Look
don't know what to say. It was tough tough tough. Before I came
here, my aim was to just play on the glass court. And now, I’m
about to play the semis.
In the fifth, I thought I was ahead, and suddenly, we were 9/9
again, having to play at a ridiculous pace. She is amazing. I
have been looking up to her for years. She's such a fierce
I had I had a bit of a second wind after the third, but I also
listen to my coaches (Sue Wright over the phone and Alison here)
who told me I was making myself do a lot of extra work. They
told me to stop running around her in circles, and play my game.
the end I got a bit emotional because it's a lot o hard work
paying off. I didn't feel my best today but I made myself out
everything into it. Nicol never stops - I've had lots of game
balls against her before and lost them so I knew I had to keep
focusing until the end.
Before the event, if you had told me I would reach the semis… I
had the feeling my game was changing and improving, but there is
nothing like getting some big wins to give you confidence in
Only problem, I have to change my flight now…
It’s not that I didn’t do much wrong, I just
didn’t much at all. I am playing average squash, and that’s not
going to get me anywhere.
I did a lot of work this summer, I thought I got a few things
right, but I guess I didn’t, it didn’t work AT ALL, so I’ll have
to stop and think for a while, how I want to carry forward.
At the moment, I’m clueless, I’m just way off, I have no fire at
 Karim Abdel Gawad
(Egy) 3-0  Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/5, 11/4, 11/6 (40m)
KARIM FLYING, TAREK, NOT SO MUCH
It’s one of those matches you really think are going to be
fireworks and over 90m, to find that it’s one-sided on the day.
two played day in day out at the Gezirah Club for 8 years now.
Karim comes from the 6th October settlement – miiiiiiiles away –
while Tarek just crossed the bridge from Garden City to Zamaleck,
and they hit the ball together.
Can they read each other’s game. Oh yes. Is there the upmost
respect between the two? Oh yes. Were there are lot of
decisions? Oh no. Was Karim flying on that court, finding
stupendous drop shots while Tarek was moving very well, but
always on the back foot, not having enough time to adjust his
lethal long drop shots out of nowhere? Oh yes.
Tarek never gave up, didn’t go Tin Mad (only 7 the whole match),
but just didn’t find his magic today. “It’s not that I didn’t do
much wrong, I just didn’t much… at all.”
It summarises the match I guess…
is such a tough player to read, you never know what he is going
to do, out of the 4 matches we played on PSA, 3 went to 3/2,
only one he beat me 3/0. So I expected a big battle today. And
you know how hard it is to play a friend you have been training
for 8 years with.. We know each other’s game so well. Not easy.
I think this is one of my best match tactically, I was able to
handle the wind and the funny bounce better than him today I
feel, maybe I adapted better to the tough conditions.
I was not focusing on wining or losing the match today, the only
thing I did was to enjoy the moment, I remember coming to see
the Legends play 10 years ago, I was a spectator, and I remember
thinking that I would give anything just to hit the ball once,
Last night, I just couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to start my
match and be on that court. So when today, I got the chance of
playing a match, I just wanted to savour that moment, and if I
could, win it, just to have the pleasure, the privilege to play
 Raneem El Welily
3-1  Amanda Sobhy (Usa)
11/6, 11/3 (35m)
RANEEM “THE SWITCH” EL WELILY SHUTS DOWN
AMANDA “THE FLASH” SOBHY
May the Angels bless Raneem, but when somebody asked me today if
she was going to win, I replied, looking up to the Skies “I
don’t think even HE knows it.”
Raneem is one of the most gifted players you can find on the
Tour. Maybe THE most gifted. But like all flamboyant Artists,
she can switch on, switch off, for no apparent reason, just
demons in her head, in her heart, in her soul. An then, booom,
back on, the switch goes….
the Problem, I’m the Solution,” she smiled softly yesterday
after her match against Joshana. So, what was she going to be
today, against the quickest shooter in SquashTown, Miss Amanda
The Flash Sobhy?
From 3/3, finding the ‘no pressure/all kills/volley drop shots’
American (well actually, I think she has dual nationality
American/Egyptian, which explains her ability to kill that
little black ball!) getting the lead 6/3, 7/5, 86, 9/7.
Already four unforced errors from Raneem at that point, and
Amanda looking pretty good to be honest. But a bit out of
nowhere, Raneem strings four points, closing the 10m game on her
first game ball, 11/9.
Khaled Sobhy told his daughter at the end of the second, it
worked! She zooms at 6/1 within seconds, rallies are very quick,
8/2, 9/3 and 11/4 in 6m.
Back to the drawing board for the Egyptian Clan. I say Clan as
there were four advising Raneem …
The Egyptian has found her length again, and making the rallies
longer, 1/1, 3/3, 4/4. At that point, I see that the American is
taking a long time to receive the serve, her shot goes out of
court, then she takes time again, a quick tin, and then she hits
extremely hard to try and finish the points very quickly. It is
obvious the weather conditions are getting to her, and even her
trademark forehand boasts cannot stop Raneem, 9/5, 11/6, in 6m.
The fourth is as they say a formality, from 2/2, 3/3, Raneem
scores the eight following points to reach 11/3, 5m game and 35m
It’s not today that Amanda the Flash will reach the 60m mark….
were playing in very hot conditions, it was tough for both of
us, as we always train in air conditioned courts, so I'm happy
to come out as the winner today.
In the second game things weren't going my way, I was not
positive enough and I went a little flat. That's what happened
in the last two tournaments, so I didn’t panic as such, but it
was the alarm…
I was talking too much too much to myself and arguing back with
my coaches, which you should never do ever. Yes I had four
people around me. First one, my physio, he only asks if
everything is fine, then doesn’t say anything else.
Then there is Tarek for support. Then there is my fitness coach
stroke mental coach, who is the man I speak the most about
everything that goes inside me, that’s the mental side of it,
and the one who knows me the best, all the deep stuff inside me.
And then there is Haitham for the tactical technical side of
Last time with SJ it was very close, it was in the British Open,
I remember a lot of splits happening!!! But now she's much more
solid now. But so am I.
Not my day today.
Still, such a privilege to play at this iconic venue & can't
wait to be back!
 Omar Mosaad
(Egy) 3-0 [LL] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
11/2, 13/11, 11/9 (55m)
IT WAS NOT ZAHED’S NIGHT… TWICE
This is the kind of report I hate to write. Truly and utterly.
But somebody’s got to do it.
It was such a weird match. First of all, how weird that Mosaad
should play Karim Ali Fathi in the first round and then, in the
quarter-finals, play the man that Karim Ali beat in the
qualifying finals! That's because Zahed got the Lucky
Loser spot after my compatriot Castagnet had to forfeit due to
injury, then played and beat Borja in the first round.
And to be honest, it looked like poor Zahed was completely out
of his league, as in the first game, he didn’t seem to be in the
match, Omar zooming to 7/0, one tin, 9/1, another tin, 11/2 in
But one of the characteristics of Zahed – maybe not as flashy as
other Egyptians – he never ever lets go. He is the Nick Matthew
of Egypt really. He never loses a point. You have to win it from
Once he got used to the court – he had not played on it yet,
Mosaad had - and the ridiculous pace Omar was imposing on the
game, he just did what he does best: clung in, and hung in
there, frustrating the heck out of Omar!
Omar was up 2/0, 4/1, back to 4/4, up 6/4, 7/5, 7/7, up 9/7,
annnd 9/9. Zahed wouldn’t be shaken away and even got a game
ball 10/9, a tin takes care of that.
Tie-break, so each player has one video review.
Another game ball for Zahed, 11/10, another tin, followed by
another tin, 12/11, game ball Omar. Zahed is awarded a let, Omar
wants a no let, video review, “yes let, decision upheld, Mosaad
has no review remaining.”
We are still at 12/11, rally goes on, a no let against Zahed.
Immediately, Zahed asks for a review. “You have no review
remaining,” says the ref. “YES HE HAS,” I’m SHOUTING. “HE HAS A
VIDEO REVIEW.” And I repeat myself, and again, and again! Zahed
is arguing his case, his coaches are arguing his case. Nobody
wants to hear and the game is lost.
Zahed doesn’t lose his calm, bless him, and he keeps fighting in
the thid, which is as close at the second. Mosaad is having to
play his A game to contain the Sporting Man, as Zahed is on the
ball, retrieving everything and fighting on every shot, finding
some lovely counterdrops and volley drops. 1/1, 2/2.
At 4/2 for Omar, Zahed gets a let, Omar wants a review, “yes
let, decision upheld, Mosaad has no video review remaining."
4/4, 5/5, 6/5, now it’s Zahed turn to ask for a review when he
is penalised with a stroke. Decision upheld, Mohamed has no
video review remaining.
That’s sorted, no reviews left for either player.
Well, guess what. 9/9, a tin offers a match ball to Omar, 10/9.
Zahed plays an attempted kill, Mosaad appeals and a no let is
given. Mosaad immediately raises his finger to ask for a video
review - to which he is not entitled.
The review is allowed, and not only is the appeal upheld, the
decision is completely overturned from a no let to a stroke !!!!
Match to Mosaad.
I guess it was just bad luck, twice in the same match, you ask
for a video review on game ball, are refused it when you are
entitle to one, then on match ball, your opponent gets the match
on a decision overturned he didn’t have the right to.
It’s not Omar’s fault in any way, shape or form!!!! And if
things had been done correctly, it doesn’t mean that Zahed would
have won the match. Incredibly, Zahed comment was " it's ok, Fram, I’m just
learning...” I love my players
Still, after talking to both refs and management, we can safely
say that technical hicups created a "system failure", and not "human
failure".... It happens...