R3: Ali 3-0 Rafi, Paul 3-0 Greg L

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0 Raphael Kandra (GER)  11-4, 11-4, 11-7 (31m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0 Greg Lobban (SCO)  11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (36m)

Nine minutes, three times. If Ali seemed very relaxed and accurate in the first two games, he looked a bit too casual maybe at the start of the third. Rafi decides to go for a big push, and it’s paying dividends very quickly: 3/1, 5/2. The German is running in the four corners, starting to put more and more pressure on his opponent.

But finding his deep game again, the World number one levels, 5/5, 6/6, and from that point on, will keep stringing the points happily, to reach match ball 10/6. An uncharacteristic unforced error there, but he takes the next one on a stroke, 11/7.

Tarek awaits….


“It feels great. I remember Nick Matthew once saying in the World Championships that he put the tournaments into two separate weeks – until he gets through to the second venue this is an event in itself. I’m done with this one and now I’m looking forward to the Pyramids.

“It’s always great on the body and mind (winning in straight sets). It keeps you sharp, physically and mentally, and I think today’s performance was even better than yesterday’s so I’m definitely happy with that.

“It’s a dream of ours since we were very young (to play at the Pyramids). It doesn’t get any less inspiring every time you go there. It gives you chills from when you are a kid and watching all the great champions from Egypt and abroad. Now I’m like one of them which is a great feeling – I was able to get my hands on that trophy twice and it would be great to do it for a third time.”


“I’m very happy. Another 3-0 in that heat is always a good thing. Greg is one of my best mates on tour, we were having fun out there, in good spirits in the match which is always very enjoyable. In this heat you don’t want to waste any energy because it can zap you pretty quickly from past experiences, so I’m very happy to get off 3-0 and conserve a lot of energy.

“I can’t wait! It’s the best venue in squash (the Pyramids). We’ve got the new glass court and glass floor which is very nice in these conditions so I’m looking forward to getting going on Friday. Rest day tomorrow, get the body sorted with plenty of practice and I’m looking forward to it.”