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Welshman Makin Halts World No.6 Rodriguez On Thrilling Doha Day

World No.33 Joel Makin, the 24-year-old from Pembrokeshire, Wales, shocked Colombian World No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in a thrilling 106-minute encounter to reach the third round of the 2018 Qatar Classic PSA World Tour Platinum event taking place in Doha on a day of action that also saw World No.2 Ali Farag and World No.10 Karim Abdel Gawad narrowly escape second round defeats.

Makin pulled off one of the biggest wins of his career last week at the Channel Vas Championship and proved that result was no fluke as he out-hustled and out-played the tenacious Rodriguez, winner of the 2018 British Open, to secure his place in the third round of a major PSA event for just the second time in his career courtesy of an 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9 triumph.

He will now got up against Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet for a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament and the rising star says he is hungry to capitalise on the opportunity and go one step further than his round of sixteen finish at the U.S. Open earlier this month.

“My first round match yesterday was tough but I felt like I got the win last week (over ElShorbagy) out of my system in that match and felt like I played much better today,” said Makin.

“I knew I had to be so patient today because if you open the court up too soon against Miguel he has such quick reactions and can hurt you from anywhere.

“I was just trying to slow the ball down and take the pace out of the game. I had to be disciplined, and maybe it was a bit boring at the end, but it was all about controlling the pace when I wanted it, not when he decided it.

“I feel like I’m getting good wins and getting close to reaching the latter stages of tournaments at the moment. Today was a big ranking win for me and one that could mean me going into the last eight, so I will do what I can to try and make that happen in a few days because I want to be competing day in day out with the top guys.”

Castagnet secured his third round spot with a 3-0 win over Australia’s Cameron Pilley while 2016 tournament winner and former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad used his get out of jail free card to come from two-games down to beat Malaysian former World Junior Champion Eain Yow NG 3-2.

NG had beaten local favourite Abdulla Al Tamimi in the first round and picked up where he left off as he produced squash of the highest calibre in the opening games to leave Gawad, the World No.10 from Giza, searching for a way to stop the onslaught – which he duly found to turn the match upside down and keep alive his hopes of winning the title for the second time in his career.

“You do not become Junior World Champion if you are not very good, strong and skilful and he made it a very tough battle for me today,” said Gawad.

“I didn’t start positive, I was weak. But I used my experience today to be tough on court and I’m very relieved to be into the next round – where I know I have to play better.”

Gawad will now go up against England’s Declan James after the Nottingham-based player beat Karim Ali Fathi in straight games while tournament second seed Ali Farag will face India’s Saurav Ghosal after coming through a thrilling battle with compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in what was a match of the season contender.

For long spells Farag was powerless to stop the attacking barrage coming from the racket of Abouelghar but his persistence and grit paid off in the crucial fifth game when, tied at 9-9, he managed to sneak two decisive rallies to escape from the clutches of defeat.

“I don’t know how I won that, I think I just got lucky at the end,” said Farag afterwards.

“He’s such a dangerous player, he’s so attacking, so dangerous, so skilful. It was a very hard match mentally and physically, so I’m just really glad to win. There are no easy matched at this level so I just have to fully focus on my recovery now and come back and give it my best tomorrow.”

The third round of the PSA World Tour Platinum event will be played tomorrow, October 30.

Results – 2018 Qatar Classic: Second Round – Top Half
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (27m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-1: 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 16-14, 11-2, 11-8 (48m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt [5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9 (106m)
[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-2: 9-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (61m)
Declan James (ENG) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (35m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (29m)
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (68m)

Draw – 2018 Qatar Classic: Third Round
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [8] Diego Elias (PER)
[7] Paul Coll (NZL) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Tom Richards (ENG) v [4] Simon Rösner (GER)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Joel Makin (WAL)
[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

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