The opening day of main draw action at the 2015 Qatar Classic, PSA World Series tournament, saw half a dozen of the tournament’s top seeds crash out at the first hurdle as the form book got ripped apart in both the men’s and women’s draws at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha.
In the women’s draw India’s Joshana Chinappa set the scene for what was to follow as she dismissed World No.1 Raneem El Welily 3-1 to record one of the biggest wins of her career in the day’s opening matchup. The 29-year-old from Chennai came into the second PSA World Series tournament of the season in form and shot out of the blocks to establish an early two-game lead over an out-of-sorts El Welily – who’s performance was littered with errors throughout – from which the 26-year-old from Alexandria couldn’t recover.
“This is by far the best win of my career – it doesn’t get any better than beating the player at the top of the world rankings,” said Chinappa.
“I’ve not been looking at my rankings or anything like that of late and I think that’s showing through in my game. I’m more relaxed on court and hopefully I can keep my momentum going now and take that into my next match and see how far I can go.”
Chinappa will face Egyptian Yathreb Adel in the second round after she upset the odds to record an emphatic 3-0 win over World No.19 Dipika Pallikal before fellow Egyptian Amina Yousry overcame a gap of over 120 places on the World Rankings to defeat England’s Emily Whitlock in a five-game thriller.
Yousry edged the first two games courtesy of tie-breaks in what was an evenly contested and intense battle before Whitlock responded to level the match at 2-2. But 15-year-old Yousry dug deep to take the fifth and record a huge upset.
“I’m so happy to have won this match – it’s an amazing feeling,” said Yousry.
“It was my first time playing Emily and up until recently I never though my game would be good enough to beat someone of her calibre!”
In the men’s tournament qualifiers Ryan Cuskelly and Mohamed Abouelghar stole the headlines as they dispatched World No.9 Mathieu Castagnet and former World No.1 James Willstrop, respectively.
Less than a week since winning the biggest title of his career to date at the Welaptega Bluenose Squash Classic in Canada Cuskelly continued to enjoy his rich vein of form on the other side of the world as he dominated from the outset against Castagnet to record one of the best wins of his career.
“That’s a massive win for me,” said Cuskelly. “He’s such a tough guy but once I started to get my rhythm going I was able to attack and that was my game plan.
“I came here straight from Canada where I picked up the biggest title of my career so playing two qualification matches and then Mathieu was pretty tough and I can’t really believe I’ve come through. I’m in a good section of the draw and if I keep playing well I could cause a few more upsets so hopefully I can keep that momentum going.”
Cuskelly will face England’s Chris Simpson in the second round after the 28-year-old World No.23 eliminated World No.10 Marwan Elshorbagy while Abouelghar will face current World No.1 and Egyptian compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy.
Abouelghar came from two games down against Willstrop to record a 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 win and will be hoping to carry his form into Monday’s encounter with Elshorbagy.
“I am more than happy with my performance today and to come from 2-0 down against someone like James and win is huge for me,” said Abouelghar.
“He came out determined in the fifth and I’m really happy I managed to hang on and I’m looking forward to playing against Mohamed now. I know how tough he is but I feel like I can compete at this level so I’ll give it everything.”
Results: First Round, Top Half – Men’s Qatar Classic: PSA World Series
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (42m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (74m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 4-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (51m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 11-7, 12-14, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 (86m)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 3-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (49m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 13-11, 6-11, 11-3, 14-12 (65m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7 (46m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 12-14, 11-5 (63m)
Draw: First Round, Bottom Half – Men’s Qatar Classic: PSA World Series (To be played Nov 1st)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Leo Au (HKG)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)
[Q] Ali Farag (EGY) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Tom Richards (ENG) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Results: First Round, Top Half – Women’s Qatar Classic: PSA World Series
Joshana Chinappa (IND) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9 (37m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt  Dipika Pallikal (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (26m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Habiba Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (14m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 3-1: 11-7, 16-14, 4-11, 11-6 (47m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (27m)
[Q] Amina Yousry (EGY) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-2: 13-11, 14-12, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7 (67m)
[Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt  Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (33m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Menna Nasser (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (22m)
Draw: First Round, Bottom Half – Women’s Qatar Classic: PSA World Series (To be played Nov 1st)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA)
[Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Joey Chan (HKG)
[Q] Mayar Hany (EGY) v  Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Tesni Evans (WAL)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) v  Nicol David (MAS)