Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Darwish & Gregory On Course For Final Meeting

The top two seeds remain on course to meet in Saturday's final of the Kuwait Men’s World Open 2009 - but Karim Darwish and Gregory Gaultier both dropped games before prevailing in the second round matches on the all-glass court at Green Island.

Egyptian favourite Karim Darwish dashed Indian hopes by beating 29th seed Saurav Ghosal 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-1.

Second seed Gregory Gaultier, the new world number one, battled for 50 minutes to overcome the USA's highest-ranked player ever Julian Illingworth 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3.

But another pair of Egyptians also looked in ominous form as former champion Amr Shabana and reigning champion Ramy Ashour despatched fellow countrymen in straight games - third seed Ashour defeating unseeded Omar Abdel Aziz 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 and fourth seed Shabana overcoming 24th seed Omar Mosaad 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.

"My preparation for this tournament has been more off-court than on-court since getting home from Hong Kong.  I have been working a lot with my physio to keep my body in shape," said Shabana, winner of the world title in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

The former world number one admitted that he had to be alert against his young fellow countryman, the 21-year-old Omar Mosaad who beat local prospect Abdullah Almezayen in the previous round.  "He's so fast and hits the ball hard.  And now he's in the World Open, he gives it 110%."

The left-hander denied that the hot conditions on the outside court in the humid Kuwait evening suited him and his fellow Egyptians anymore than the Europeans playing in the event.

"They're going to suffer tremendously," he acknowledged.  "We're just going to suffer."

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