Ali Farag -02- (EGY) def Saurav Ghosal -11- (IND)
Round-of-16 Final: 12-10, 11-4, 11-6 (39m)
Match recap from Squash Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Classic.
Two remarkably talented, yet modest human beings: Ali Farag and Saurav Ghosal. Game-1 was a thriller. Farag was forced to save several game-balls, ultimately stealing the first away from Ghosal after a focused and determined opening 12-minutes. Farag’s recovery was reminiscent of his tremendous game-4 in last year’s Quarterfinal loss to Mohamed Elshorbagy.
As Ali said after the match, he was far more fortunate in the rallies during games two and three, which helped lift him over a dangerous Ghosal in 3-straight. Another great win this week for Farag, who easily has the toughest draw at this year’s Qatar Classic. He has now defeated the World #9 and World #11 – just to face the World #10 and 2016 Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the Quarterfinals.
Tomorrow’s clash should be a good one. Farag and Gawad faced each other just 10-days-ago in Weybridge…A Farag victory, that lifted Ali to his second consecutive championship match at the St. George’s Hill Classic.
Announcer Corner | Ali and Saurav’s first meeting since 2015
This was only the second meeting between these two players. They last met in the 1st-Round of the 2015 CCI International in India, where Farag came back from a 2-1 deficit to earn the win in a 5th and deciding game.
► Jul 2014 – CCI International (R1) – Ali Farag | Score: 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4
Each player’s announcer introduction for today’s Round of 16 match…
 Ali Farag -02- (EGY)
Last night, this 26-year-old won an absolute thriller over World #9 Mohamed Abouelghar to reach tonight’s Round of 16 match. The reigning Egyptian National Champion; last season he was on fire, capturing his first PSA Platinum title at the US Open and reaching 3 Platinum Finals by season’s end. He earned a career-best Semifinal run at the World Championship, won the Egyptian Nationals title for the first time, and contested the championship match at the PSA World Tour Finals in Dubai.
This September, he picked-up the new season right where he left off – winning his 12th PSA title at the NetSuite Open in San Francisco, defeating Willstrop, Elias, Gaultier and Mohamed ElShorbagy en-route to the title. And just last week, appeared in his 25th career Tour-level Final, reaching the championship match at St. George’s Hill for the second year in a row. Competing in his 4th Qatar Classic Squash Championship – From Egypt, please welcome the #2 Player in the World, Ali Farag.
▲ R2 — def Mohamed Abouelghar -09- (EGY) | Score: 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (68m) | RECAP
▲ R1 — Bye
ALI FARAG’S STORYBOOK 2017-18 SEASON
Early on, Ali won his first Platinum-level title at the US Open. At the other Platinums, he reached the championship matches in both Hong Kong and El Gouna, the Semifinals at the Tournament of Champions and Windy City Open, and the Quarterfinals at the Qatar Classic and British Open. Overall, he won 3 titles, reached 7 Tour-level Finals, won the Egyptian National Championship, and climbed from World #5 to a career-high ranking of World #2. In only his second appearance at the year-end showdown, he reached the championship match at the PSA World Tour Finals. To top it off, he earned a career-best run at the World Championship, reaching the Semifinals.
ANNOUNCER CORNER | MOST SIGNIFICANT HIGHLIGHTS OF FARAG’S 2017-18 SEASON
Sep-2017 | F | China Open. 17th career PSA Tour-level Final. Falls to Ramy Ashour
Oct-2017 | W | US Open. He and Nour El Tayeb, 1st married couple to win same major sports title on same day
Oct-2017 | F | St. George’s Hill Classic. Falls to Mohamed ElShorbagy
Nov-2017 | F | Hong Kong Open. 2nd career PSA Platinum-level Final
Dec-2017 | SF| World Championship. Career best performance at sport’s most prestigious event
Feb-2018 | W | Swedish Open. 11th PSA World Tour title
Feb-2018 | W | Egyptian National Championship. Wins title for the first time
Apr-2018 | F | El Gouna International. 3rd career PSA Platinum-level Final
Jun-2018 | F | World Tour Finals. Reaches the Final in only his 2nd appearance at the year-end championship
Saurav Ghosal -11- (IND)
At 32-years-old, this 12-time Indian Nationals Champion returns to Doha with a career-high ranking of World #11. 12-years-ago on this court, he became the first squash player from India ever to earn a medal at the Asian Games, capturing individual bronze; and 7-years-later, became the first Indian player ever to reach the Quarterfinals of the prestigious PSA World Championship. A 3-time PSA Platinum Quarterfinalist, last year here in Doha – as a qualifier – he earned his first main-draw Qatar Classic victory, defeating 2016 Semifinalist Daryl Selby in the 1st-Round. He went on to capture his 7th and 8th PSA titles, won Mixed Doubles Silver at the Commonwealth Games, and finished the season ranked inside the top-12 for the first time.
He started the new season over the Summer, capturing individual and Team Bronze at the Asian Games in Jakarta; then opened his PSA season with a Semifinal run at the China Open. Yesterday, he defeated Asian Games Gold Medalist Leo Au to reach the Round of 16 here in Doha for the first time. From India, please welcome the #11 Player in the World, Saurav Ghosal.
▲ R2 — def Leo Au -22- (HKG) | Score: 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (29m) | RECAP
▲ R1 — Bye
Announcer Corner | Saurav Ghosal is an Indian record breaker:
- 2006: In Doha, became the 1st squash player from India ever to medal at the Asian Games (Bonze)
- 2013: In the UK, became the 1st player from India ever to reach the QF of the PSA World Championship
- 2014: India’s 1st Asian Games Team Championship Gold Medal. Defeated World #7 Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia in the championship round.
- NOTE: Ong Beng Hee is now one of the Qatar Classic tournament organizers.