Karim Darwish (Egypt) and Laura Massaro (England)
By Andrew Cross
An all English final between two players that contested last month’s British National Final. Alison Waters and Laura Massaro played five games that day with Alison winning it in 78 minutes of play.
Today In the CIMB KL Open final the opening game was tight, never more than a couple of points between them. Alison took the first lead at 6.4 before Laura put 4 good points together to lead 8.6. Alison though anticipating well wins the next two points to even up the game at 8.8 and another point to lead 9.8. Laura responds playing two volley drops in a row the second one being the winner. Laura gets to 10.9 game ball as Alison misses a forehand low drive. First game to Laura.
In the second game Laura got off to the better start leading 6.2 but Alison fights back to 4.6. This second game was key Laura wanting to maintain her momentum not letting Alison level the games score. Laura put together the better rallies managing to stay in front of Alison and won the game 11.7.
Alison began the third taking a 2.0 lead but Laura quickly wiped the lead out as she was hitting very good line and length especially down the backhand side. Laura leading 4.2 as the momentum looked to swing back in her favour. From 4.2 Laura moves to 6.3 again though Alison fights back with two good volley drop shots but a trickle boast from Laura catches her out and the score is now 7.5 to Laura. Alison hits a straight volley into the nick back to 6.7 but Laura again gets back in front to 9.6 a straight forehand drive moves her to match ball, then a boast to win the title.
As Danny Massaro told me earlier no one had ever beaten Nicol David before the final and then gone on to win the title that changed today.
Laura played well we always have tough battles but today she deserved to win never really let me in.
Really happy with my performance this week initially I was trying to get past the quarters having only ever made it to the semi finals here before. Proud to have found my form not sure where it has come from I haven’t really been playing that well so I didn’t expect to play like that.
By Andrew Cross
The top two seeds in the men’s event were taking on each other in the CIMB KL Open final 2013, Karim Darwish the top seed taking on his younger compatriot Mohammed El Shorbagy who was seeded second. Shorbagy has just moved in front of Karim in the rankings and currently Shorbagy stands at 5th and Karim 6th in the PSA World rankings. Karim leads their head to head 7-2 but Shorbagy won the last time they played winning in three games in the World Open last December.
The opening exchanges are tight, lengthy rallies followed by a couple of shorter rallies. At 6.6 Shorbagy completely misses a return of serve to give Karim a one point lead. A couple of lets follow but in the next rally Karim punishes Shorbagy with a low cross court backhand. Shorbagy responds with a forehand drop of his own and is awarded a stroke in the next rally to level at 8.8. Karim regains his lead but misses a forehand volley which he was slightly reaching for tied again at 9.9. It is Karim who gets to game ball first after Shorbagy misses a backhand drop and on game ball again he clips the top of the tin with a backhand drop.
In the second it begins the same as the first but this time there is a few more unforced errors from Shorbagy but he was also hitting a few winners. Karim leads 7.6 but then Shorbagy is awarded two no let’s so Karim now leads 9.6. Karim though hits the tin with a backhand drop, Shorbagy thunders in a big winner back to 8.9. A huge rally at 8.9 both players realising the importance of it, Karim plays a beautiful trickle boast Shorbagy dives for it gets it on the wall as Karim misses the volley with Shorbagy struggling to get to his feet. Another big rally at 9.9 Shorbagy blocking out Karim for a low straight drive winner now its game ball Shorbagy. Karim plays a great trickle boast from the back forehand then Shorbagy puts an easy one in the tin to give game ball to Karim. There is no fear though from Shorbagy as he aggressively goes for a return cross court nick but misses finding himself under pressure, with Karim eventually squeezing one tight drop on the backhand side.
Karim starts the third leading 3.0 but Shorbagy fights back to lead 5.4, Karim gets back to 5.5 as Shorbagy is awarded a no let. Karim gets his score moving forward again as Shorbagy clips a few more tins. Leading 9.6 he is only two points away from winning the title but Shorbagy isn’t done yet as he plays a forehand drop to stay in it. Karim responds with a perfect backhand drive and then a forehand drop of his own to take the 2013 CIMB KL Open title.
Karim deserved to win all credit to him for putting me under more pressure. I would like to thank CIMB for their support in this event, the referees who have done a good job. Hopefully I’ll be back again.
I had to play extremely well last time he beat me in three, He is really tough to play. Happy that my wife and son are here it’s his first time watching obviously he has brought me a bit of luck so I will have to take him with me again.
By Andrew Cross
Dato Nicol David was the final match of the evening taking on Laura Massaro, an expectant home crowd had arrived wanting to see a glimpse of the nation’s national pride. First game was close neck and neck all the way again to 9.9 until Laura lobbed one out at the side, Laura squared it up at 10.10 but Nicol held on to win the game 12.10.
In the second Laura came out firing leading 3.0 then converting this to 5.1. At this point Laura caught the top of the tin with a forehand drop, then a stroke extended her lead to 6.3. Laura then converts this to 8.4 lead but Nicol fights back with a forehand volley drop that hit the nick. Laura was playing with great touch holding the ball to great effect at 9.6 she punished a loose return with a backhand volley drop then Nicol clipped the tin to level the scores at one game all.
Nicol started the third game leading 4.1, at this stage a no let was awarded to Nicol then there was a few words exchanged between the ladies. Laura was then back to 3.4 then progressed to lead by a couple of points. Laura progressed to win the game 11.8 using lots of variation from the front of the court.
Laura now leading, the crowd can’t quite believe what is happening but Laura is playing well, really well exploring all parts of the court. With a big lead in the in the fifth Laura has a five point advantage leading 10.5 but Laura only needs one as she progresses to tomorrow’s final.
“Played well today, I believed in myself, its always hard to beat Nicol in Malaysia, I have been wanting to do better than my previous events.”
By Andrew Cross
Karim Darwish taking on Nicolas Mueller was next on the court here in Berjaya Times Square. Karim is another player to have come through the draw so far without dropping a game where as Nicolas had a brutal five game match with Ong Beng Hee yesterday.
The opening exchanges were very evenly shared up until 5.5 when Karim broke clear but Nicolas fought back to 9.10 unfortunately the gap was a bit too big as he closed out the game 11.9.
In the second game both players were firing the ball in sharp low often short trying to catch each other out with deception. Nicolas who had been seen before the match icing his foot after yesterdays match just seemed slightly off the pace and not comfortable with the movement. The second was 11.5.
In the third game Karim raced off to 7.1 a long rally followed as Nicolas tried to work his way back into it but Karim won it to lead 8.1. Nicolas was not done just yet though fighting back to win the next three rallies, once catching Karim in the body then with a low forehand drive and a backhand winner. Two tins though moved Karim to 10.4 match ball as he finished it off with a forehand straight volley drop into the nick.
Malaysian Squash has invited a lot of Malaysian Olympians from previous years to attend today’s matches as we try to get as many people as possible to back the bid.
Karim said ”So far so good, I always love coming to KL, very happy that my wife and son have also followed me to this event. Its a dream for any athlete to be in the Olympics and for squash to be included in the games would be brilliant. Thank you to the Egyptian fans and Ambassadors that have come to watch. Tomorrow playing Shorbagy will be tough we played the final here three years ago so tomorrow will be good.”
By Andrew Cross
Joelle King taking on Alison Waters was next on the centre court in Berjaya Times Square, Joelle started the better taking a 6.3 lead but Alison quickly got herself back level at 6.6. The next four points were shared so we were level at 8.8. Joelle hit a big return of serve tight down the forehand, then Alison got one tight down the backhand. A tin from Joelle off a boast that was pretty unnecessary gave Alison game ball at 10.9, a nice little hold and cross sent Alison the wrong way so we were level at 10.10. Alison held her nerve though to take the first game a nick in the fornt backhand corner.
In the second Alison got off to the better start keeping a few points advantage all the way. Alison doubled her game advantage taking it 11.5.
Joelle won the opening point of the third but then lost the next three as Alison looked to keep her winning run going. Alison extended her advantage to 5.3. Joelle though was not done yet getting back into the game at 5.5. Alison held the ball the next two chances she had catching Joelle out to lead 7.5, Joelle responds with two winners of her own to square it up at 7.7. At 7.7 Alison rushes onto the ball in the front forehand to hit a cross court winner, then a little trickle boast on the backhand followed by a cross court backhand winner for her first match ball. Joelle wins the first one with a backhand volley drop, in the next rally crunches a forehand volley down the line, Alison puts her forehand return into the tin and we are level at 10.10. Joelle sets up a backhand volley but misses it and Alison hits a straight drive for a winner to progress to the final.
Alison said “ Pleased to be in the final, Joelle had two tough matches coming into today so I knew I had to try and make it hard for her, Very warm on the court so good to get off in three games”.
By Andrew Cross
Mohammed El Shorbagy began todays proceedings by taking on Borja Golan from Spain. Shorbagy has so far been pretty ruthless throughout the tournament winning all six games without dropping any games. Borja has had a slightly tougher draw winning in five brutal games yesterday.
The opening exchanges were evenly contested both trying to get used to the humid conditions watched by a packed out crowd. At 5.3 there was a huge rally neither really looking to be too attacking until Shorbagy hit a reverse boast from the back corner. In the next rally Borja held the ball pushing it to a length but Shorbagy takes the next few points to lead 8.4. Shorbagy is now using aggressive movement to get forward onto the ball extending his lead to 5 points. Shorbagy leading now 10.5 needed two attempts to take a one game advantage.
In the second game Shorbagy established himself a 6.3 lead, Golan clipped the top of the tin with a forehand drop then Shorbagy glued a shot down the backhand wall. Golan got warned for dropping his racket rather playfully rather than with any intent. Shorbagy now led 10.5 finishing the game with a forehand drop to lead two games to love.
In the third game Shorbagy started aggressively leading 6.2 but Borja fought back to 5.6. Shorbagy pushed again to 9.5, then one big rally Borja attacking as much as possible eventually hitting a cross court nick. Shorbagy throws the racket in the air, Conduct warning for Shorbagy again though there was no malice in it. Shorbagy won the match 11.6 to move in to another final here in Malaysia.
“Really good match, Borja played well, happy to be in the final, happy to be back in Malaysia thanking CIMB for their sponsorship. Thanks to the Eyptian crowd for coming today and the Egyptian Ambassador for coming to support and watch me play. I would like to thank CIMB for their support with the Olympic bid as I’m sure every squash player would”