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Karim Abdel Gawad and Mohamed ElShorbagy in the Qatar Classic 2016 final

Throwback Thursday: Story of the Men’s 2016 Qatar Classic

The 2017 instalment of the Qatar Classic takes place October 29 – November 3 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha when the top players on the Men’s Tour battle it out at the second World Series event of the season.

Join us as we take a look back at the story of the men’s 2016 Qatar Classic.

Round one – results
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-0 (53m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8 (54m)
[Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 11-1 (47m)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2: 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 17-15 (101m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2: 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9 (71m)
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 (63m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (55m)
[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (36m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (62m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 15-13 (53m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 (96m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [2] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-2 (69m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (41m)
[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (52m)
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (27m)

There were plenty of thrilling matches taking place in the first round of the 2016 Qatar Classic.

Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew came within two points of falling to a shock defeat to tournament wildcard and home hope Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.

Matthew – who won the tournament in 2009 – relinquished a two-game lead against Qatari No.1 Al Tamimi, who was cheered on by his home crowd and went 8-4 up in the decider to threaten a huge upset but Matthew drew on his experience to wrestle back momentum of the match, taking seven of the next eight points on offer to seal the win.

2015 champion, Mohamed ElShorbagy was also forced to go all the way to five games in his encounter with Peru’s Diego Elias.
The then-World No.1 went ahead twice but was forced to a decider by Elias, who hit some superb winners but the defending champion was able to come through.

Tarek Momen and Paul Coll played out the match of the first round with their high-octane 101-minute clash.

With the scores poised at two games apiece, both players had to fight against cramp as the match crept towards its conclusion, with Coll overturning multiple match balls to stay in the encounter. However, at 16-15 down though, a lunge towards the back of the court left Coll doubling over in pain, enabling Momen to force the win over the line to close out a nail-biting 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 17-15 triumph.

Elsewhere, Daryl Selby claimed one of his biggest wins as he came through a five-game battle with then-World No.4 Omar Mosaad.

Selby went 2-1 down before producing a spirited fightback to claim a huge 11-9, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-2 victory and his first win over Mosaad.

Round two – results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8 (56m)
[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [6] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9 (76m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 11-5, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9 (55m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (48m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5 (58m)
[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-4 (39m)
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 15-13, 13-11, 11-7 (60m)

Germany’s Simon Rosner put in an immaculate display to defeat England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop.

Rosner was deadly from the outset and executed his game plan to perfection, with a powerful and accurate performance sending Willstrop into all four corners of the court and drawing the usually accurate Yorkshireman out of his comfort zone and into a number of errors.

Meanwhile, recently crowned World Champion Gawad was forced all the way to five games after a dogged challenge from fellow Egyptian Zahed Mohamed.

Gawad twice saw a one-game lead wiped out by Mohamed but a fast start to the fifth saw the 25-year-old finally break Mohamed’s resistance, and he recorded a 13-11, 9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5 victory to reach the last eight.

In another round two clash, Frenchman Gregoire Marche reached his first ever World Series quarter-final after coming through an intense five-game contest with World No.9 Tarek Momen.

Momen looked sharp as he took the first game before Marche moved up through the gears to take the next two games, but Momen managed to level before Marche took the fifth to close out a hard-fought win.

Quarter-finals – results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 (80m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 (85m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-9, 11-1, 8-11, 12-10 (70m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 (49m)

Defending champion ElShorbagy earned his place in the last four after coming through a gladiatorial five-game contest with Rosner, beating the then-World No.13 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9.

Meanwhile, Matthew produced a superb comeback from two games down to defeat Gregoire Marche after the Frenchman put in a dominant display in the early stages to take the lead.

However, Matthew’s famous mental resilience came to the fore as he fought back to take the next three games without reply.

Meanwhile, Gawad and Selby both claimed semi-final berths as they claimed respective wins over Marwan ElShorbagy and Cameron Pilley. For Selby, it was his first spot in a World Series semi-final since January 2012.

Semi-finals – results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (83m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 14-16, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (51m)

ElShorbagy and Matthew clashed in the semi-final of the Qatar Classic in the latest chapter of their epic rivalry.

The Egyptian found himself on the receiving end of a Matthew masterclass in the opening two games as the three-time World Champion limited ElShorbagy’s ferocious hitting to great effect.

But ElShorbagy managed to overturn a 9-7 deficit to win the third game, which sparked a storming comeback from the Egyptian, who outplayed Matthew in the fourth and secured a tense win in the decider to claim an 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9.

In the other semi-final, Gawad claimed a 3-1 victory over Selby as he overcame a strong start from the Englishman to take the match in four in Doha.

Final – result
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 15-13, 11-7 (67m)

Gawad stunning season continued to go from strength-to-strength after he put in a superb performance to defeat then-World No.1 ElShorbagy in the final of the 2016 Qatar Classic to lift his first ever World Series title.

ElShorbagy went into the match having won the tournament on the previous two occasions but it was Gawad who played with composure and accuracy to come out on top in tie-breaks in the opening two games to go 2-0 up.

ElShorbagy tried to halt his compatriot’s momentum in the third, but Gawad held firm to take the match 12-10, 15-13, 11-7 to seal the title.

“I’m very happy with the way I performed today,” said Gawad following the final.

“For the first time, I was under pressure. When you are a World Champion, people expect you to win and that you have a big chance to win. That is a new element I had to integrate into my preparation.

“Being World Champion and Qatar Champion sounds good, really good. I’m living the dream. But next season, I’m aware that I’ll have to make sure I’m very consistent if I want to stay in competition with the top boys.”

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