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Qatar Classic - Day Two: As it Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the first round action continues at the 2016 Qatar Classic – the World Series tournament which acts as the third stage on the 2016/17 Road to Dubai.

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad appears at his first tournament since capturing the sport's most illustrious title a fortnight ago in Cairo and gets his tournament under way against fellow Egyptian Mohamed Reda.

World No.4 Omar Mosaad will meet England's Daryl Selby in one of the day's standout ties, while Australia's Ryan Cuskelly and Hong Kong's Max Lee look set to serve up a cracker in Doha.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Not able to watch? Check out our live scoring page

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+3)
12:00 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
13:00 Tom Richards (ENG) v Zahed Mohamed (EGY)
14:00 Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
15:00 Max Lee (HKG) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
17:30 Daryl Selby (ENG) v [2] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
18:30 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY)
19:30 [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
20:30 [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)

Qualifier Waller Comes Through Against Mueller

English qualifier Adrian Waller came back from a game down to defeat Swiss World No.34 Nicolas Mueller in the day’s opening fixture.

The duo, whose last meeting came at the same stage of this tournament last year, were separated by just one place in the World Rankings, with the higher-ranked Mueller leading the head-to-head record by three matches to one.

The Zurich-based 27-year-old took the match to Waller in the opening game, with his accurate shots to the front of the court causing Waller numerous problems as Mueller opened up a comfortable one-game lead.

Waller raised the standard of his play though in the second as he began to control the court, with Mueller’s consistency dropping as evidenced by the game ball that saw a poor serve from the man from Switzerland punished by a cross court nick from Waller.

A focused display from the Waller games three saw him move into the lead and he overturned two game balls in the fourth to close out the win by a 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 margin to seal his place in round two, just as he did here against Mueller 12 months ago.

“I don’t know how I managed to steal that at the end to be honest,” said Waller.

“It was a bit of a scrap at times between us. We’ve played for a lot of years and we know each other well enough to pre-empt what the other one is going to do a little bit. I think it was a good draw for both of us.

“I feel like he let me off a bit, but I thought I played well enough throughout the match to deserve a 2-1 lead. To get that fourth game was a bonus in the end, I was prepared for a fifth.

“It’s all you can really do to stay focused mentally and stick with what you think is the right way to do things. If you try and change your plan then it usually goes wrong, so you have to stick with that you’re doing.

“I like to be a little bit more positive in that situation because when they get to game ball they might think that they’ve done enough and they might sit back a little bit. I like to step up, try and be positive and make them win the game. Fortunately for me it worked out and I’m through to the next round.”

[Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (62m)

Superb Mohamed Downs Richards to Seal Place in Round Two

Just 48 hours after he reached the main draw of the 2016 Qatar Classic for the first time in his career, Egypt’s World No.25 Zahed Mohamed put in a superb display to overcome England’s Tom Richards in his first round fixture, sealing a maiden second round berth at the World Series tournament in the process.

The 24-year-old blew Richards away in game one, hitting nicks for fun and sending Richards scurrying around the back of the court as he stormed to a one-game lead.

A steely display from Richards in the early stages of the second game saw him turn the tables on his opponent but, with the man from Guilford holding five game balls, Mohamed suddenly sprung into life and took the next seven points in a row, producing a stunning reaction volley en route to doubling his lead.

The pair traded points at the beginning of the third, but Mohamed got back in front again and three tins in succession from Richards handed an 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 victory to Mohamed in just 27 minutes.

“I think that this is one of the best matches I have played on the glass court,” said Mohamed.

“Every time I play one of the top 20 players on the traditional court, I beat him and then I move to the glass court and I lose to the top eight players. I'm not used to playing on the glass court, but I know Tom Richards is a top player and once I heard that I was playing on the glass court, I arrived here two days before my matches so I could practice.

“I'm really so happy with the way I played today, it's not easy to beat Richards in three like this. In the second game I was 10-5 down and I took it step by step. I tried to give a big push so I could win this game because I knew it would be very important for me to go 2-0 up. 

“In the third game it went 3-3 and then I took the lead 5-3. Then Tom made many mistakes and I hit a lot of nicks so I'm very happy with the way I played today.”

Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)

Salazar Battles Through to Beat Meguid

Mexico’s Cesar Salazar claimed a 3-1 win over Egypt’s Omar Abdel Meguid in the World No.29’s first ever appearance at the Qatar Classic.

Salazar sits just one place below Meguid in the World Rankings, but was in sublime form in the opening two games as he controlled the early exchanges, dragging Meguid around to all four corners of the court to earn a two-game lead.

A gutsy display from Meguid in the third saw him claw a game back as he dug in his heels and improved his accuracy, before taking advantage of an unforced tinned error from Salazar at 10-9 up to halve the deficit.

28-year-old Salazar took a 6-3 lead in game four after some short, scrappy rallies went in his favour, only for Meguid to fight back once more, eventually earning a game ball after another error from Salazar handed him a lifeline. Salazar battled back though to force a tie-break, where both players surrendered more match balls, before Salazar eventually closed it out to seal his second round berth.

“Our world ranking are very close, so it was very important for me to win this as I’m trying to improve my ranking,” said Salazar.

“I tried to stay focused on my strategy and made sure that I made the rallies longer. He likes the short rallies very much. I also tried to vary my shots as much as possible, like two drives, then a crosscourt, sending him to the front and back and twisting and turning him as much as I could.

“It worked really well in the first two games. I was relaxed, I was always a few points ahead as he is a confidence player and is always better when he is ahead.

“In the third, he seemed to grow in confidence, and I made a few errors at crucial times. In the fourth, I tried to come back to my original plan, which was making the rallies as long as possible. But the pressure was now on me, and he was full of confidence, playing very well.

“I didn’t have confidence in my short game, but I put a lot of intensity in my squash, and at the end, in the last rallies, I could see he was tired. I’m very happy with my performance, it’s the first time I reach the second round of Qatar, so it’s perfect for me so far.”

Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 15-13 (53m)

Doha Delight for Cuskelly as He Defeats Lee in Five

World No.16 Ryan Cuskelly came out on top in an absorbing contest against Hong Kong’s Max Lee, with a gladiatorial five-game battle going the way of the man from Australia to claim his fifth victory over the 29-year-old.

Lee was irresistible early on as he swept to a one-game lead for the loss of three points, but a tenacious Cuskelly refused to bow down to the pressure as he battled back to go 2-1 ahead. The 29-year-old was unable to convert a match ball though, and Lee forced a decider, only to succumb to cramp as Cuskelly closed out a 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 victory.

“I haven’t been playing that well over the last two tournaments,” said Cuskelly.

“I had a really disappointing U.S Open and World Championship, so I’m trying to get some confidence back. I played really well last year, I reached the semi-finals, and I enjoy this court.

“I probably didn’t play the best but I tried to stay solid and he gave me a few cheap ones in the end before he started cramping so I was a bit lucky. Overall, I’m happy with the win.

“I’ve had a couple of bad results, so everything was going through my head. I could have lost it but I stayed strong in the fifth and snuck it.”

Cuskelly, the Australian No.2, made history last year after he became the first player since 2001 come through qualification and progress to the last four of a World Series tournament.

But it was Lee who started the match on fire as he swept to the opening game with ease, before the two traded points in the next three games to set up a climactic fifth game.

Then, in a nail-biting decider, Lee was ravaged by cramp as he tried in vain to hobble around the court, but he was forced to give up on the last point, allowing Cuskelly to book his place in round two, where he will face either Marwan ElShorbagy or Tsz Fung Yip.

Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 (96m)

Selby Ends Losing Streak to Mosaad After Spirited Fightback

England’s Daryl Selby claimed one of his biggest wins in recent years after he stormed back from 2-1 down to defeat World No.4 Omar Mosaad – ending a five-match losing streak to the Egyptian.

A strong start from the Chelmsford-based World No.19 saw Selby go a game ahead, but he was soon behind after a dogged Mosaad moved up the gears to take a 2-1 lead. However, Selby rode out a scrappy fourth game that saw the referees called into a number of decisions and controlled the tempo in a one-sided fifth game to claim a huge victory for the 34-year-old.

“It was tough as it always is, and it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m delighted obviously to beat him for the first time,” said Selby.

“It was a similar match to the ones we’ve played in the past, they always seem to be five-gamers and they’re always fairly physical. I expect that really because he’s such a big guy. He’s tough to play because he hits the ball so hard and so cleanly.

“Maybe I kept my head a little bit better in the fifth game and he looked a little bit despondent. He’s lacking a little bit of confidence at the moment, whereas I’ve been having some decent results.

“I think that was the difference really, the confidence factor. I was nearly not going to play because I’ve been struggling with a little neck injury, but managed thanks to the physio and a little bit of grit and determination. That’s why I was shouting and getting really animated because I was trying to get my adrenaline going.

“It was very physical, you have to hold your space against Omar because he’s a very, very strong boy.”

Selby adopted a patient approach at the beginning of the match as he picked his moments to attack well, but Mosaad recovered to take the next two games, with his hard-hitting style enabling him to rip some powerful drives into the back corners.

Some traffic issues in the fourth frustrated Selby, but he kept mentally focused to level, emitting a huge roar as he strode off court to set up a decider.

From there, Selby dominated ‘The Hammer of Thor’ with a clinical performance, prevailing 11-9, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-2 in 69 minutes to set up a second round clash with fellow Englishman Adrian Waller.

Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [2] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-2 (69m)

World Champion Gawad Gets Off to Winning Start

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad began his 2016 Qatar Classic campaign with a win after he overturned a one-game deficit to beat fellow Egyptian Mohamed Reda.

Gawad, the World No.3, started his World Championship campaign slowly a fortnight ago after he was forced to five games in the first two rounds in Cairo and the same looked to be true in Doha after he went a game behind courtesy of some consistent play from Reda.

But the 25-year-old found his range and showcased his sublime attacking talents to full effect as he won the next three games in comfortable fashion, taking it 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 to ensure that he will take on compatriot Zahed Mohamed for a place in the quarter-finals.

“I was very, very tired after the World Championship” said Gawad.

“I finished on the Friday and then I had to travel on Monday to Qatar. I only had a couple of sessions in Qatar, I didn't have enough time to do loads of fitness, I just tried to relax my body and tried to recover.”

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (41m)

Pilley Joins Fellow Aussie Cuskelly in Round Two After Beating Adnan

Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley followed compatriot Ryan Cuskelly into the second round of the Qatar Classic after he put in a composed display to defeat Malaysia’s World No.31 Nafiizwan Adnan.

World No.14 Pilley crashed out of the PSA Men’s World Championship two weeks ago at the first round stage to Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi, but showed no lasting effects as he went toe-to-toe with Adnan, who reached the third round in Cairo.

The duo were evenly matched in the opening exchanges until, at 5-5, Pilley got the bit between his teeth and pounced on any loose shots from Adnan, using his superior width to get the ball past his opponent.

An intense second game saw Adnan threaten to restore parity, but Pilley’s touch at the front of the court was too good and he closed out the third to seal his place in round two, where he will face Mexico’s Cesar Salazar.

“The last time we played was two years ago and it was similar to that match, it was a tough 3-0,” said Pilley.

“He came out in the first two games so quick and so aggressive. I’m pretty happy how I adapted and I’m pleased to get off in three.

“It’s my 14th year coming here [to Qatar], it’s probably one of the best squash stadiums in the world, I think. The glass court is always set up, so every time we come here we know what to expect. For us players, it’s very easy.”

[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (52m)

ElShorbagy Sees off Yip

World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy booked his place in round two after rising to a routine 3-0 win over Hong Kong’s World No.41 Tsz Fung Yip.

Yip, who claimed a notable win over World No.8 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in August’s Hong Kong Open, started brightly and went 3-0 ahead in the opening game before ElShorbagy took control, coming through 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 in 27 minutes – and he will face Australian No.2 Ryan Cuskelly in the next round.

“I was very happy, it was my first time playing Yip, he’s had a few good wins and I had to watch a few of his matches to study him,” said ElShorbagy.

“I was very prepared, knew what I was doing and if I didn’t play that well then the match could have gone somewhere else.

“I had to be careful from the beginning and not give him any chances as he would have taken them. I’m very happy to win in less than half an hour. There are no rest days for us in the bottom half, so it’s perfect for me against Cuskelly.

“I have to focus on what I’m going to do and I can’t focus on him [Cuskelly] at all. I think he’ll be fresh, he’ll have done some good recovery work today and tomorrow is another day for me. I’ll get some recovery done myself and I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (27m)

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