Day 1, 2, 3
Ali Farag (WD)
Elshorbagy (Smouha) 6-1, 11-3, 11-3, 11-5
Nour El Tayeb (Heliopolis) 3-0 Raneem El Welily
(WD) 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 (39m)
Hashim Samir (Gezira) 3-0
Ahmed Farag Mohamed (Shooting) 11-7, 11-8, 11-6
Tarek Mahmoud (Heliopolis) 3-0 Ezz Eldin
Salem (Sporting) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5
The Diamond Couple Hits
Framboise reports from Cairo Stadium
A packed audience, and two matches dominated by the Ali
Farag/Nour El Tayeb couple who seem to grow in confidence and
relaxation when they play side by side. Nour won her third title
today, but it was Ali's first victory in two finals...
NOUR NEVER TREMBLED
yesterday in the semis against Hania, Nour was all over the
place in the first game, she was all lights on against Raneem
today! It's not like Raneem wasn't focused, but Nour was all
over the court, attacking beautifully, moving extremely well and
retrieving Raneem superb short game, which put the World Champ
under terrible pressure.
The first game was first of all dominated by a relaxed and
confident Nour, 5/3, 8/4, 9/5, only to see Raneem able to put
more pressure on her opponent, coming back from 10/6 to 9/10,
only to force it ever so slightly to find the tin, 11/6, all
credit to Nour's pressure...
The second sees a Raneem made a few errors at crucial times, a
bit of mental tiredness from her match the day before, and also
a few calls that didn't go her way - to be fair, I was agreeing
with her on her disagreement, but then again, what the heck do I
know - that made her lose focus, 4 tins, 9/2, 11/4.
The third is riddled with Raneem's errors, again at the start of
the game a let that could/should have been a stroke in her
favour unsettles her - although she kept her calm, it was
obvious her head was gone -and 8 tins will follow, offering 2018
title to a delighted Nour, 11/5.
When we played in Saudi, it was right after the
World Champs, and she was just playing too well, and I think
that I went on there thinking that I couldn’t win. But then,
when we played in the TOC, then I was more confident in my game,
I knew I could play well against her.
Also, let’s go back to my match yesterday, where I started so
badly, I wasn’t focused at all, and I knew today that I just
couldn’t afford to do that against Raneem.
So, the difference between today and Saudi is Focus and Self
Also, I think that Raneen was not only tired from her 5 setter
against Nouran yesterday, coming back from 2/0 down, but also I
came back about three weeks ago, I had time to rest and train,
whereas she came back from Cleveland only 10 days ago. She is
probably not as prepared or rested as I am, or as she would
But no doubt she’ll be prepared and ready for Chicago, for her
ALI WANTED IT MORE...
Marwan The Controller was very sharp in the first game.
Making the court very big for his opponent, he was pushing him
deep in the back, and had a lot of time to adjust his short
game, controlled the rallies 8/4, taking the opener 11-6 and
looking extremely good.
A complete different tactic in the second, Ali picked up the
pace while keeping his length immaculately impeccable, and that
in my opinion was the key of the match. He took the T away from
Marwan, taking the second in no time, 11/3, levelling the games
at 1/1. The third is about the same pattern, Ali in perfect
control and tactical mood, 11/3.
The fourth sees a resurgence of the Vice World Champion, 1/1,
3/3, 5/5, and Ali losing his plan for a while, forcing things a
bit, errors creeping in. But I truly feel that Ali wanted this
title very much, I'm not sure it was THAT important for Marwan.
Wining it would have been nice and rewarding but I feel that Ali
wanted to make history again at home, in front of his friends
and family, and somehow, make his wife even prouder of him - if
that's ever possible, and from 8/6, Ali got in the 6th gear,
closing the match 11/6.
the length was crucial in this match. In the first game, my
length was just far too short, falling too close to the front.
So my coaches told me after the loss of the first game to really
put the ball in the four corners: or very short at the front, or
very deep at the back.
It's incredible, I don't know what it is, but whenever Nour
wins, I seem to win too! She inspires me, her lenght today was
the key too, her plan was spot on.
So many people underestimate the Egyptian Nationals, but for us,
it's huge, it's like another World Open, and I'm extremely proud
to have won today and it's a immense honour for both of us to
Day 1, 2, 3
(WD) 3-1 Karim Abdel Gawad (Ahly)
11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9
Marwan Elshorbagy (Smouha) 3-0
(Gezira) 11-7, 11-6, 12-10
El Tayeb (Heliopolis) 3-1 Hania Hammamy
(Heliopolis) 5-11, 11-2, 15-13, 11-8
Welily (WD) 3-2 Nouran Gohar (WD)
9-11, 9-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-7
Hashim Samir (Gezira) 3-0
Tarek Abo Taleb
11-5, 11-8, 11-8
Ahmed Farag Mohamed (Shooting) 3-0 Ahmed Elmtawly (Hall3)
11-3, 11-9, 11-7
Tarek Mahmoud (Heliopolis) 3-0 Mohamed
11-5, 11-7, 12-10
Ezz Eldin Salem (Sporting) 3-0 Hesham Eltanawy
(Heliopolis) 18-16, 11-3, 11-7
The Top Seed will meet for
the finals in Nationals
Fram reports from Cairo
We'll have again some mouth-watering
matches in Cairo Stadium for those Nationals finals, Ali
Farag will play last year's finalist Marwan Elshorbagy,
while Raneem El Welily will also play last year's
finalist, Nour El Tayeb.
Four interesting matches today kept us on the edge of our seats,
with a bit of drama on the ref department as well!! Read on....
The day didn't start well for me to be honest, as I
nearly didn't make it to Nasr City where the Stadium is located.
Friday being our day off here, traffic is normally pretty light
but an accident PLUS some road works on the 6th of October
Bridge, the fastest way to get from Zamalek to Nasr City, meant
a good 20m delay. It wouldn't have not been that bad if my
Careem's Car driver - competitor to Uber - didn't decide to lose
me in the streets!!! I finally arrived, but late, annoyed and
The office was still closed and it was Friday, so it took a
while - about one hour - to get the key to open it. It didn't
help with my stress, but the cherry on the cake was still my
internet connection that just didn't work AT ALL today. It was
on strike, like "I have worked enough this week, and I need a
day off, live with it" kind of moment.
But it was worth it of course. Having established my remote
office in one of the seats in the central court, I was
surrounded by kids, passionate about squash, explaining to me
why they were supporting THAT player, what was going on the
The best comment was still from a 10 years old, trilingual
Arabic, English French, who stated when we lost our ref - yes,
one of our refs just walked out of Ali and Karim's match: "oh
well, we are better without the refs, the players can do it
themselves"... Bless his little cotton socks...
El Tayeb (Heliopolis) 3-1 Hania Hammamy
(Heliopolis) 5-11, 11-2, 15-13, 11-8
CONTAINING THE FUTURE...
planned, we started with World Number 3 Nour El Tayeb
against one of the brightest young juniors coming up from
Egypt, Hania El Hammamy. Let's be clear here. Nour was
just not in the match at all to start with, Hania was.
There was a lot of movement around the central, people and kids
moving around a lot and the players have troubles seeing a black
ball on the glass walls. Nour was the most annoyed, and Hania
took full advantage of the situation, attacking every single
shot, with Nour struggling to get grip with the game, 3/0, 10/3,
11/4 in no time.
After a good chat from husband Ali, Nour came back a different
player. Hania, not able to adapt, saw Nour string point after
point after point, 9 winners for Nour, 1 for Hania.
But once the young contender settled, we had a match on our
hands in the 3rd! Not a point between them from 3/3 to 13/13!
Hania went a bit "junior" on us at some stage, 6 errors for 3
for Nour, at crucial stages of that game, but she had a game
ball, and Nour needed 4 of those to finally impose her
Hania kept in the rallies in the 4th, but the legs were heavy,
rallies short. Still, it was neck to neck up tot e 6/6. Two
juniors errors - going for too much too soon at 7/8 got Nour to
match ball, 10/7, match 11/8.
It was tough conditions, but Ali told me at the
end of the first ‘ these are the conditions, you want to be
world number 1, you have got to adapt to the situation’. And he
was right, once I focused on the squash, it didn’t get easy but
it was more about squash than the people around…
We are from the same club, we train together all the time, and
with Raneem, we have the same coach as well, Haitham Effat. So
we play a lot and it’s nice to see that she has improved a lot!
I was lucky today as at the end she made errors at crucial
points. She will learn from it and I may not be that lucky next
She is really one of the great juniors coming up, I really
admire her, and I hope she is going to do well on PSA…
Welily (WD) 3-2 Nouran Gohar (WD) 9-11,
9-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-7
WEATHERING THE BULLETS
Followed one of the best matches I have seen well.. since
yesterday!!! Nouran played out of her skin, against Raneem who
did her best to contain, control, absorb and wait for the
opportunity to sneak in a few attacks to unsettle the
Yes, Nouran played superb squash today. Sometimes, Enigma can
let's say, go a bit wild in the tin department, but today, none
of that. It was Nouran that was finding some exquisite squash,
mixing Atomic Kills with Feathery drop shots. She led the first
two games all along, forcing Raneem to play catch up, 4/1, 7/4,
8/9, 10/8, 11/9 in the first, about the same story in the
second, 6/3, 8/5, 8/8, 9/9, a tin and a kill 11/9, and we were
2/0 up for The Terminator.
As David Pearson, coach to Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro, often
says "the 3rd is the most difficult to win". And it was for
sure. Raneem managed to lead for the first time of the match,
controlling the rallies a bit better, 4/1, but it was very close
the whole way, with Nouran wining 4 points in that game alone
with her Exploding Bullet return of serve of hers, that did a
lot of damages and got a few ohhhhhhhhhh of admiration from the
Raneem get a game ball, 10/9, but cannot close it out, three
match balls will follow, a few errors from Nouran at crucial
times, trying to force it a bit maybe. A second game ball,
14/13, stroke for Nouran and a blood injury on one of her
fingers, injury break. The third game ball is the good one for
Raneem, 16/14. Turning point.
Up to 5/5 in the 4th, it's anybody's game. A stroke for Raneem
seems to unsettle Nouran a bit and it's 11/5 in no time for
Raneem, we are levelled, 2/2.
Nouran comes back with a vengeance in the 5th, playing as
solidly as she did at the start of the match, 2/0, 3/1, 5/2,
7/4. But out of the blue, Raneem finds her best game of the
match, and will string the point to victory, 11/7...
Fram, this is Friday. This is the day I rest.
So it took me a while to wake up, plus we are at home, we played
all our matches on the traditional courts, and this was my first
match on the glass, struggling a bit to see the ball, so
considering all that....
Joke, apart, Nouran played extremely well today. I was not as
sharp nor accurate as she was and I was not gutsy enough to go
for my shots.
In the first two games, I was trying to go for shots but I was
going for tins! I just had to be patient, I had to just be
patient, weather the storm and wait for the right opportunity to
Ali Farag (WD) 3-1 Karim Abdel Gawad (Ahly)
11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9
ALI STOPS KARIM IN 4 WHILE
THE REF GIVES UP...
Karim had a hard match yesterday against Omar Mosaad, another
5 setter won 11/9 in 5, while Ali had a lighter match, 3/0
against Karim Fathi. But if Karim can sometimes start slowly, it
was not the case today. On the ball from the start, the former
World Champion was very focused but played at Ali's pace, a mid
pace in which the US Open Champ is pretty comfortable in. 6/6,
7/7, 8/8. The errors crept in for Karim, at crucial stage.
At game ball, 10/9 for Ali, Ali is not happy with a decision, he
thinks it's a stroke, and makes his opinion clear to the ref -
in that occasion, as Ali let the ball bounce on the back wall,
it was a let (although it could have been a stroke had he taken
it on his first attempt, before it touched the backwall). Still,
Karim makes yet another error, and it's 11/9 to Ali, who wheezes
through the second game in no time, 11/3.
The third sees another player coming back on court. Picking up
the pace, playing extremely fast and volleying everything, Karim
takes the time away from the ball for Ali, and it's a great
panache like squash for that game.
At 3/1, Karim wants a stroke, is awarded a let. He questions the
call, apparently the ref replies that there is too much space
for a stroke, so Ali asks, if there is too much space, why is it
a let, why not a no let. Our ref suddenly stood up, apparently
said "you need to respect me" - it's hearsay, I'm not fluent in
Arabic - and left the venue! So the marker became the ref, and
we just went on with the match.
3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 8/8. Karim is on fire, Ali is retrieving and
doing a lot of work, but it's Karim that finds the next 3
Are we going to have another come back from hell for the Baby
Face Assassin? Up to 7/7, we truly think we are on for a
decider, but kindly, Karim gives two crucial tins at 8/7, 9/7,
and it's match ball, 10/7. A tin, 8/10. A trickle boast, 9/10.
But a lovely winner from Ali to finish and close the match in 4
We honestly didn't say anything to the ref that
was disrespectful, we actually asked each other if we did, we
both agreed we didn't, and we just got on with things.
Straight game was the key today. I made sure I kept the ball as
straight as possible, to frustrate him, actually, and it paid
off, in particular in the 2nd.
I didn't think about the history we have today, and it was a
blessing I didn't as out of the 50 times we played, he won 49
out of them, and 48 of those were 3/2!!!! I'm exaggerating but
you seem my point...
There is something that Mike Way always say: the process is the
most important, that's what we need to focus on...
I think also that Karim had a tough match yesterday, and he was
not as clinical at the end of the games as he normally is, he
gave me some crucial points in the 4th in particular, 8/7, 9/7.
I think that yesterday took a lot out of him.
Marwan Elshorbagy (Smouha)
3-0 Tarek Momen
(Gezira) 11-7, 11-6, 12-10
Controversial end to the day
between Tarek & Marwan
Tarek was pretty flat from his match yesterday, and Marwan The
Controller did what was necessary to keep him that way, bless
him. He prevented Tarek to find any angles to attack and play
his dangerous volley drops.
First game was rather close up to 8/7, Mawan closing it 11/7,
the second saw Tarek tin the ball again and again, 7 times,
Marwan increasing his lead, 11/6, 2 games to love.
The third seems to go the same way, Marwan up 5/1. Tarek, not
happy with Marwan's movement and making it clear to the ref, got
fired up when he was given no let, and from 5/1, 6/3 down,
clawed back to 6/6. The game got pretty exciting, 7/7, 8/8. But
it was not Tarek's day today, his shots kept finding the tin.
But still, we were at 9/9, and everything was still possible.
Tarek will be penalised three times in four points with no let,
which from where I was standing, seems very hash: looked like
simple lets to me but what do I know. As Tarek got a last no let
on match ball, he expressed his displeasure to the ref, stating
that it wasn't fair to be penalised with 5 no lets while his
opponent was blocking
had a hard match yesterday, he was probably a bit tired, and I
took full advantage of it, making sure I made him feel flat.
This event is for me a practice for Chicago, I got three good
matches here, and tomorrow I'll be happy to play another match,
my focus being Chicago, that's what is important for me.
I think I played very well today, I felt sharp. Happy with the
way I played
Ali Farag (WD) 3-0
[Q] Karim Ali Fathy (WD)
11-7, 11-4, 11-7
Karim Abdel Gawad (Ahly) 3-2 Omar Mosaad (Heliopolis)
7-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9
(Gezira) 3-2 Mazen Hesham Sabry
(WD) 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 14-12
Marwan Elshorbagy (Smouha) 3-0 [Q] Mazen Gamal (WD)
11-7, 11-7, 11-5
Hania Hammamy 3-0 Amina Aboulenin
11-3, 11-6, 11-7
Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Nadine Shahin
11-8, 11-4, 11-3
Nouran Gohar 3-2 Salma Hany
11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-2
Raneem El Welily 3-0 Maya Hany
11-4, 11-5, 11-2
Sherif Abo Talb v Tarek Abo Taleb
Hashim Samir 3-0 Basem Fahmy
11-8, 11-9, 11-8
Ahmed Elmtawly 3-2 Osama Fekry Elfar
11-2, 12-14, 2-11, 11-7, 12-10
Ahmed Farag Mohamed 3-0 Abdallah Mohamed El Said 13-11,
Tarek Mahmoud 3-0 Amr Dabaa
11-4, 11-4, 11-5
Mohamed Eltiliny v Khaled Fawzy
Hesham Eltanawy 3-0 Ziad Elshazly
11-7, 11-8, 12-10
Ezz Eldin Salem 3-0 Mohamed Naga
11-6, 11-2, 11-3
Three superb matches in the
Fram reports from Cairo Stadium
If Raneem, Nour & Hania qualified comfortably enough
for the semis, Nouran had to work extremely hard to pass
the Salma barrier today, the match went in five and with
thought at 2/1 up 9/6 that Salma was going to create a huge
upset. But it wasn’t to be.
And we had the same situation in the Men, if Marwan "The
Controller" Shorbagy and Ali Farag went through with 3/0
matches, of course, OF COURSE Karim Abdel Gawad and Tarek
Momen had to go to five now, didn’t they…
comfortable win for Hania El Hammamy today against
Amina Aboulenin who took a game to get used to the power of
the Heliopolis Star. Amina managed to get a few nice points, but
the rallies were short and often ended with a hard hitting
crosscourt that passed Amina.
Too good today.
The match between Nour El Tayeb and Nadine
Shahin was more balance, well, at least in the first game.
Nadine matched Nour’s pace and shots up to 8/8 and it was a good
battle on there, long rallies, intense and disputed. But as
often, the higher ranked player found her best game at the
businesss end of the game, 3 points in no time. From that point
on, Nadine was unable to put any kind of pressure on her
opponent who just strung the points…
No trouble for Raneem El Welily who
seems to take those champs extremely seriously this year I feel.
She is focused, playing well, and taking nobody for granted. A
good response from Maya Hany today, but Raneem was
controlling the T too well and volleying to perfection today,
not much that the young lady could do…
of the championship could well be Nouran Gohar against Salma
Hany. It was such a superb match and the packed audience
appreciated it too. Nouran clinched the first but only just,
11/9, and was completely dominated in the second by a Salma that
took the game at the back to her, hitting with the same power
accuracy than Nouran normally displays, and finishing the points
with long drop shots that was out of this world.
when the Smouha club girl sealed the win on the third 12-10, the
upset was on the cards, especially as Salma kept on with the
momentum in the 4th, 9/6 up.
But keeping that perfect game plan took a lot out of Salma, and
Nouran, with her experience, felt the little drop of energy, and
run into it, 9/9, 10/9. Salma forced a decider, but Nouran
managed to close that crucial game 12/10 on a stroke as she
waited to take her shot until the ball hit Salma. The Alexandria
girl was not impressed but the rule is the rule isn’t it…
The 5th saw a flat as a pancake Salma who kept trying but just
didn’t have enough in the can to put any pressure on Nouran,
able then to play and push Salma in the four corners. 8/1, 11/2,
but what a match…
AND THE BOYS...
Farag has got some dark shades under his eyes – just back
from his first Sweden title 2 days ago, but he was smiling and
looking forward to his battle against surprise quarters finalist
– according to seeding – Karim ‘the Smile’ Fathi.
A good encounter, Ali in control for most of the rallies, but
never to feel really comfortable with Karim having nothing to
lose and some pretty good squash to show. He played well in the
first, stopped in the second, and started again in the 3rd, up
6/3 before Ali got the front of the court in control again. A
logical result but a very entertaining match indeed.
rather comfortable for Marwan The Controller against Wadi
Degla Coach Mazen Gamal, always solid, focus and
determined, a real danger for anybody that wouldn't take him
seriously. Marwan did the job today even if he had a few hiccups
First game was close up to 6/6, when Shorbagy picked up the
pace, 11/6. The second sees the top seed zoom to 8/3 only to
relax a bit too soon: Mazen seizes the opportunity, claws back
to 7/9, but offers the last two points to his opponent as he
tries to force the issue, 2 unforced errors.
The third is a bit like the first, close up to the middle of the
game, with Marwan just playing too fast at the business end,
11/5 from 5/5....
Hold the Press: Karim
Samy wins a five setter
didn’t start well for the Al-Ahly man against Heliopolis
Hammer of Thor today. Omar was focused and wanted to do very
well in front of his fiancée Nouran, taking the opener 11-7.
Karim replied strongly and it’s 11-3, 1 game all.
Omar is on fire in the 3rd and keeps shot for shot with Karim.
6/6, 7/7, but nicks roll out of the Hammer’s racquet, and it’s
11/7, 2/1 Omar.
Of COURSE we went to five, with a close game till 6/6 and Omar
looking like a bit tired and letting that one go. With the
momentum and the confidence that comes from wining 13,456 five
setters in his career, Baby Face Assassin keeps killing Omar at
the front, 7/0, 8/1.
But pride kicks in for the Hammer, and out of the blue, he
starts playing his best squash, solid, accurate and powerful.
Next to me I have a little boy from Heliopolis who is rooting
for Omar and keeps the score in “only 8 to go”. “Only 7 to go”
and so on.
That seemed to work! Omar slowly took the confidence away from
the former World Champ, and we are 8/9! A terrible terrible shot
that hits the floor gets the Hammer commenting in Arabic about
the quality of his game – I got it all but won’t tell you – 10/8
A long and gruelling rally, ending with a clear stroke for the
Hammer, 9/10, but a quick rally that ends in the tin. Omar stays
stunned with disbelief for a few second, while Karim doesn’t
believe his luck… It’s 11/9 in 5 for Karim.
Tarek comes back from
2/0 down, what a surprise
I arrived at the beginning of the second game,
as so often, and Mazen was imposing his style of play, fast and
hieratic, taking time away from the ball, and forcing Tarek to
rush instead of play his accurate squash.
as the Gezira boy hadn't seen anything in the first game, not
focused really while Mazen was up for it, Tarek's frustration
grew more and more. A "stroke" decision at 5/1 Mazen saw our
Tiko explode against central ref. The call was harsh, and both
Omar Abdel Aziz, coach to Mazen, and Mazen himself, just turned
it to a let decision. The discussion went on in Arabic, but I
didn't need to understand the words of it to get the general
meaning, and it was not a friendly discussion for sure.
But that's what Tarek needed to channel his aggression. He got
back into the game, slowing down the pace, keeping the ball
straight. 8/8. 9/9. A kill and a tin later, Mazen was up 2/0 and
"I don't want to play another 5 setter" said Tarek to his team
after losing that crucial second. But I guess Haitham, Raneem
and probably at least one or two more voices managed to find the
today had a great ally in his corner. The tin. That piece of
metal came to play a great role in the match....
The third sees a seesaw game, both trying to impose their game
plan, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/6. Tarek manages to find his pace,
and forces a few crucial errors at the end of the game, 3 from
6/6, and it's 11/6 for Tarek, with 7 unforced errors from Mazen.
The fourth is copy paste of the third, nothing between them up
to 5/5, then 4 errors from Mazen from that point on, and it's
11/7, 6 unforced errors from Mazen.
The 5th is a classic, and we audience were at the end of our
seats. Seriously stunning game from both, Mazen playing his
surreal clever imaginative ambitious and panache squash, against
Tarek's accurate, smooth, well build, incredible fluid squash.
Monumental game, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 7/7.
Mazen is on fire. He is not suffering physically it seems, he
seems to have a lot more under the pedal, and sets himself with
3 match balls, 10/7. Tarek finds his A game at the end of very
long rallies and a no let at 9/10 against Mazen sees his racquet
learning to fly - and awarding him with a warning...
10/10. And this time it's match ball for Tarek, 11/10. Shots
from Planet Mars get Mazen back to another match ball, 12/11, no
let... And it's finally Tarek that seals his incredible come
back from 2/0 down and 7/10 in the 5th.
More incredible: Mazen nearly won the game and match having made
9 unforced errors. NINE UNFORCED ERRORS. Out of those 14
points Tarek shows on the score board, he only scored 5....