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George Parker

Qatar Classic Day One Side Courts: As It Happens

The Qatar Q-Terminals Classic gets underway today with 48 men aiming for glory come the end of seven days of play.

For the opening two days, there will be side court action, with eight matches taking place across Courts 1 and 2 on the first day.

You can watch all the action from the traditional courts on the first two days will be shown live and for free on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Court 1
(All times local – GMT +3)
12:00 Bernat Jaume (ESP) v George Parker (ENG)
12:45 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
13:30 Adrian Waller (ENG) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
14:15 Christopher Gordon (USA) v Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY)

Court 2
(All times local – GMT +3)
12:00 Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA)
12:45 Lucas Serme (FRA) v Mazen Gamal (EGY)
13:30 Shahjahan Khan (USA) v Tom Richards (ENG)
14:15 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN)

Here's what took place on Day One.

Bonmalais and Parker Take Wins

In differing ways, Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais and England’s George Parker both booked their places in the second round of the Qatar QTerminals Classic in Doha.

Bonmalais came up against Mexico’s Cesar Salazar and he took the first game in a tight tie-break 12-10. After seeing the World No.37 fight back, the Frenchman then showed his qualities in the third game.

Sebastien Bonmalais

The match ended with Salazar retiring hurt in the early stages of the third game, with Bonmalais moving through to. The last 32 of the competition.

“I played well and I am happy to be through. I had a good tournament at the U.S. Open and to confirm that by making it to the second round here, I’m very happy,” Bonmalais said.

“I was feeling confident and in the fourth, I felt like I could play for a long time. I just wanted to keep the ball on the court and it would break him. It was really positive for me!”

On Court 1, England’s George Parker had to show his bottle to fight his way back from match ball down to win in five. He started slowly, and found himself 2-0 down, but it got worse.

In the end, Parker saved seven match balls, with four of those coming from a position of being 10-6 down in the third. He was then 10-7 down in the fourth as well, but he was able to save every single point.

The Englishman then ran out a comfortable winner in the fifth game, taking it 11-6 to book his place in the second round in Doha.

“I am just happy to be playing really. I haven’t played that much and it was good to play and have a bit of a mental battle with myself. It didn’t matter what level of opponent it was, it was just good to play and get through,” Parker said after his win.

“Obviously, the voice in the back of my head was saying to pack my bags, but the second voice was saying to focus on the task, and playing, which I don’t normally do. I didn’t get involved with stuff outside the points, which is something I have been working on with a psychologist.

“I am happy to be playing and I don’t really care who I have next. I just want to play and keep learning so any opportunity to play and compete is good for me!”

Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 12-10, 6-11, 11-3, 2-0 retired (48m)
George Parker (ENG) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-2: 3-11, 9-11, 14-12, 13-11, 11-6 (76m)

Pajares Battles Past Steinmann, Serme Through In Three

Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu and Frenchman Lucas Serme have booked their spots in the last 32 in Doha, after very different victories.

The Spaniard needed a fifth game decider to overcome Swiss No.2 Dimitri Steinmann on the opening day, although he could have won it much sooner.

Iker Pajares celebrates his win over Dimitri Steinmann

Pajares was 2-0 up quite quickly and he then had a chance to win it in the third game. However, Steinmann fought his way through, saving match ball before taking it 12-10. He then did exactly the same in the fourth as well. To take it into ad decider.

The Spaniard eventually took the victory after more than 80 minutes of play, winning the fifth game to make his way into the second round of the tournament.

“It was very tough. I had a bad tournament last week in Cleveland so I had no confidence. The last week at home ,I worked to get that confidence back because it was very hard to lose in the first round of a Challenger 30 event, and I lost 3-0,” he explained.

“Mentally, it was very tough for me so I was very happy to win today in five. I was very close to take it in three. I had chances to win it in the third, and then the fourth, but I am very happy to win this. It was a big battle mentally, and I am happy to get through.

“I have been in this situation so many times. It is not the first time, like in the British Open, I was 2-0 up against Alan Clyne and I won in five, and the same happened in Egypt last month as well. I have to push very hard, and that is what I did, I reset and started again, and it worked.”

Serme, on the other hand, needed just 40 minutes and three games to get the better of Egypt’s Mazen Gamal to book his place in the second round.

It was the pair’s first battle for some time, and the Frenchman came into the match fresh and ready to go, and he showed his class. He allowed the Egyptian to score just 15 points across the entire contest, winning out 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 to book his place in the next round.

“I feel like it has been a while since I won in three actually. I feel like there’s been a lot of hard matches lately. It was really hard, obviously, because he is a good player but to win in three was good, and it gives me confidence.

“I actually have played him a few times but it has been a while, a few years, since our last encounter. I knew the kind of player he is, but I didn’t know how he managed with the pandemic. Did he train a lot? Did he play many tournaments?

“I took it like any other match, really seriously. I tried to focus on myself, feel good, relaxed and ready, and to do my thing, which I did.”

Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (40m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-2: 11-4, 11-9, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7 (86m)

English Duo of Richards and Waller Through

The English pair of Tom Richards and Adrian Waller are into the second round of the Qatar QTerminals Classic in Doha, with the latter coming through a five-gamer against compatriot Nathan Lake.

Adrian Waller (left) on court against Nathan Lake (right)

Waller found himself two games down early on in the contest, with Lake having played some magnificent squash, to keep the former English No.1 behind him.

However, it was Waller who was able to take the victory in the end, as he fought his way back from 2-0 down to win it 3-2, booking his place in the second round of the tournament.

“Waiting around to go on, and then Nathan started quickly. I didn’t grasp hold of the game in those first two, so it was just a battle to get into the match. I had to battle it out and sometimes, you just need to keep trying and trying, and it came off today,” he explained.

“I knew what I was doing wrong, but I couldn’t do anything about it because it was happening quickly and Nathan was making it harder. Every answer I had, he had an answer for. It was a matter of reducing the options he had and slowly getting into the match

“I did that in the third and then played really well in the fourth. The fifth, as always, a fifth game is just a battle really. Both of you know how close you are to the end so it is always a tough battle in the fifth.”

Richards came up against USA’s Shahjahan Khan in the first round, and it was a crucial first game tie-break, which went the way of the Englishman, which put the match in his favour.

After he took that 14-12, he was able to comfortably keep the American at bay, winning both of the next two games 11-5, to book his spot in the second round where he will face Frenchman Lucas Serme.

“I feel pretty good. I felt like I moved well on there and that is one of the main things that tells me I am playing alright. I was wary of him because I know he is a skilful player, quick and nimble. He can make games tricky, especially on courts like this,” Richards said.

“I was really pleased with getting off in three. The first game was long and tough and I knew. It would be fairly crucial for the match. He is quite a confidence player and he might have lifted [if he won it], whereas I felt like if I had lost it, I could have gone on, but I was pleased to take that away from him.

“With my knee, I had an operation five months ago and it was the first time I feel like I have been able to move freely with it, which is probably biggest bonus for me.”

Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (66m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-0: 14-12, 11-5, 11-5 (41m)

Mueller and ElSherbini Battle Through In Five

Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller and Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini both needed five games in their respective first round encounters to make it through to the second day of the Qatar QTerminals Classic.

The Swiss No.1 faced off against Japanese No.1 Ryosei Kobayashi on the opening day of the 2021 Qatar QTerminals Classic, and he needed all five game to down his opponent.

Nicolas Mueller

It was another lengthy encounter, akin to those previous on the side courts on day one, lasting just over an hour. Mueller started well but Kobayashi fought back to lead 2-1 after winning both the second and third games.

The Swiss No.1 then turned the momentum his was with a tight fourth game, as he came from 5-2 down to win it 11-9. He carried that into the decider, and was able to wrap up the victory and book his spot in the second round.

“It was very brutal. I am very happy to be through, coming back from 2-1 and 5-2 down. It took a lot of guts to come back. I am not entirely happy with the way I played,” he admitted.

“Obviously, he played very well and he didn’t let me play my game but it is tough to play well on these courts. The floor is pretty hard and it is not really the place for controlled squash.

“I was already thinking about changing my flight home, but somehow at 5-2 down in the fourth, I dug deep and I just had to push through. It wasn’t pretty, but I managed to win in the end.”

Meanwhile, after a lengthy wait due to long matches taking place on court before them, Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini and USA’s Christopher Gordon also went the distance, with the Egyptian eventually stopping a comeback.

ElSherbini went two games ahead thanks to some good squash, and he also had match balls in the third game. However, the former US No.1 dug deep to win it on a tie-break, before then also taking the fourth as well.

The young Egyptian was able to compose himself, though, and he restricted Gordon to just three points in the decider, booking his place in the last 32 of the event.

“I am not feeling well! All of my body is bruised as it was an aggressive match. I played so bad and my balls were passive. None of them were penetrating and reaching the back of the court. I am happy to have survived,” he explained.

“I didn’t want to lose. I just wanted to do anything to win and I just focussed on the last game. If I played like I was doing then I was going to lose, so I dropped what I was thinking about, and it was then 11-3 in the last game!”

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) 3-2: 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 (63m)
Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-2: 3-2: 11-9, 12-10, 10-12, 9-11, 11-3 (75m)

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