Germany’s Raphael Kandra came from behind to defeat World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy to make it into the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Platinum level Qatar QTerminals Classic on Tuesday evening, his first since 2018.
The last time the German made it to the last eight of a major tournament came at the Allam British Open in 2018, where he went all the way to the semi-finals. ElShorbagy had won five of their previous six matches, with Kandra’s sole victory coming in that run in Hull three years previous.
With ElShorbagy winning four on the trot against the World No.22, the Egyptian was the heavy favourite coming into the match and he took the opening game on the tie-break after both players had squandered two game balls.
There were too many errors from the World No.5’s racket in the second though as Kandra drew level for the loss of just three points. ElShorbagy again triumphed on a tie break in the third game to move to within one game win of a place in the last eight.
But he struggled to put away a tenacious Kandra, with the left-hander playing some immaculate drops on the forehand side. ElShorbagy grew increasingly frustrated with the referee as the match wore on, and he was unable to claw back control of the match as Kandra completed victories in games four and five to seal the win.
“I feel a little shaky because we’ve had so many matches like this when I’ve been leading, he’s been leading, and it’s always quick-fire squash against him,” the German said.
“You don’t get any time to relax. I think I need to settle a little bit to realise I am in the quarter finals of the Qatar Classic, it means a lot to me. I’ve been working for such a long time on the steps to make not only the last 16, to make the last eight, which is a big difference.
“We [Kandra and Elias] recently played at the U.S. Open and he demolished me. I was 2-0 down within 15 minutes and I didn’t really get used to his game. I fought back and it was really close in the fourth. I have a good plan to play him and I want to show that on the court. I’m feeling comfortable here in Qatar so I hope I can continue feeling like that.”
Kandra will now face Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias in the quarter-finals, after the South American got the better of Frenchman Gregoire Marche in a pulsating five-game battle in which he came back from the brink.
It was the second time in as many days that Elias had been on the right end of a 3-2 victory, with his round two fixture against England’s Declan James seeing him overturn a 2-1 deficit. This time, he had to come from even further behind.
Marche rattled off a number of winners and Elias’s usual fluid movement was not present as the Frenchman opened up a commanding two-game lead. The ‘Peruvian Puma’ started firing in the third game though as he finally found his range.
A comfortable third game went the way of Elias, and he doubled up in the fourth to draw level, sneaking it 11-9. And as the fifth game came around, there was only going to be one winner as Marche cut a disconsolate figure.
“I won the last few times, so I knew he wanted revenge and he started really strongly,” said Elias.
“He hit a lot of winners, the court is a bit cold, so the ball stays in the front. I wasn’t moving my best and he took every opportunity, so it was good from him, but I’m happy to come back and find a way to win.
“In the past I would be very worried because I wasn’t the best physically, but I think I’m getting stronger and I’m ready to play a few more five gamers.”
Elsewhere, Mazen Hesham also came through a five-game battle on Tuesday evening in Doha, as the World No.13 got the better of compatriot Youssef Ibrahim, coming from behind to win 3-2.
Hesham will face Welshman Joel Makin in the quarter-finals at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on Thursday, after the World No.10 defeated Englishman Patrick Rooney in straight games.
The third round of the Qatar QTerminals Classic continue tomorrow with play starting at 15:00 (GMT+3) at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. Glass court action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
For more information on the 2021 Qatar QTerminals Classic, visit the tournament’s official website, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Results – Third Round (Top Half): Qatar QTerminals Classic 2021
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 11-8 (61m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 (38m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 5-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (73m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 12-14, 11-3, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7 (58m)
Third Round Draw (Bottom Half): To Be Played October 20th
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Mostafa Asal (EGY)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Quarter-Final Draw (Top Half): To Be Played October 21st
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
 Diego Elias (PER) v Raphael Kandra (GER)