Preview ] Day Zero ]

Thu 2nd Dec, Round One, Top:

Saudi Arabia has been waiting five years for its World Open, since the inaugural Saudi International in 2005, and today is the day that dream becomes a reality.

It's a 12-noon start for the top half of the 64-man (reduced to 62 with Davide Bianchetti and Jan Koukal out) draw, with 11 matches on the outside courts followed by four on the Glass Court this evening.

[27] Shahier Razik (Can) bt [Q] Joe Lee (Eng)
          12/10, 11/7, 11/6 (44m)
[12] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
          11/5, 11/8, 9/11, 9/11, 11/8 (86m)
[29] Joey Barrington (Eng) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
          11/7, 11/5, 11/6 (49m)
[24] Hisham Ashour (Egy) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)
          11/4, 11/5, 12/10 (34m)
Mark Krajcsak (Hun) bt [31] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
         11/8, 11/5, 11/4 (40m)
[22] Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt [Q] Julien Balbo (Fra)
          11/7, 11/5, 4/11, 11/5 (42m)
[28] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy) bt [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
          11/1, 11/8, 4/11, 11/4 (40m)
[30] Farhan Mehboob (Pak) bt [Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
          11/6, 11/8, 9/11, 11/5 (41m)
[21] Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Rafael Alarcon (Bra)
           11/2, 11/5, 11/9 (11m)       
[16] Alister Walker (Eng) v Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
           12/14 ...
[10] David Palmer (Aus) bt [Q] Stéphane Galifi (Ita)
           11/3, 11/2, 12/10 (29m)

17.00 CG [7] Thierry Lincou (Fra) v [Q] Kashif Shuja (Nzl)
18.00 GC [3] Amr Shabana (Egy) v [Q] Chris Simpson (Eng)

19.30 Opening Ceremony

19.45 GC [5] Grégory Gaultier (Fra) v Mohammed Taher Al-Saif (Ksa)
20.45 GC [1] Nick Matthew Eng) v Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)

Rakiz first man through, LJ struggles

"THat never happens to me, thaty I'm on early and kick the tournament off," said Shahier Razik after the Canadian had won the opening match of the Saudi World Open 2010, "it's a nice feeling."

Qualifier Joe Lee had given him a good workout, and had he managed to keep the momentum after recovering from 10/8 down in the first to force extra points, it might have been a different story. The young Englishman took a 7/1 lead in the second, but was pegged back by the experienced Canadian who took ten points in a row, and was always in control in the third.

"The first was a key game," admitted Razik, "it's always nice to go one up. Joe's playing well, I played him last week and the first two games were really tough, so I knew what I was getting myself into."

The day after reaching the top ten for the first time, LJ Anjema looked to be on course for an energy-saving victory against Mohammed Abbas, but the experienced Egyptian had other ideas as he stormed back to equalise.

At 5-all in the decider though it was the Dutchman who found the extra gear.

"Never in doubt ....................." was coach Lucas Buit's tongue in cheek assessment.  Malcolm's report to follow.

Joey & Hisham ease through

The bad news for the qualifiers - who had a three-month wait after securing their places - continued as Joey Barrington came through surprisingly quickly against Alan Clyne. The Scotsman could never quite get to terms with Barrington, although he made the Englishman work exceedingly hard to take the last few points of the match.

"That was good going," said Barrington. "All the first rounds are tough, and on paper and current form that looked a tough one, so I'm pleased to get through, especially in three."

Watched by younger brother Ramy, Hisham Ashour made quick work of the first two games against the in-form Chris Ryder, then held off a spirited challenge from the Englishman in the third.

"He's a tough player," said Ashour, "very light, always thinking and he always puts the ball away from you.

"I'm fired up though, I've lost too many matches I should have won. I've trained hard recently and have a good feeling inside, hopefully it will start paying off in this tournament.

"It was tough luck for him today, I was very sharp. LJ is a tough next round, but I'm going to be a tough opponent, for anyone."

Krackerjack Mark

As soon as Mark Krajcsak had caused the first upset of the tournament in putting out Miguel Angel Rodriguez in straight games, he went straight to the travel agent that's situated in the Sunset Beach sports centre to change his flight home.

"I was as surprised as anyone to win that," admitted the Hungarian, "especially in three. I hadn't played him before so I don't know if it was me playing well or him playing badly, but I'll take that for sure.

"I was really unhappy when I lose easily in London last week, so I refocused on this event, I wanted to play as well as I could in my last tournament of the year, and that's a good start."

Mark's flight home was on a non-changeable ticket, so hopefully he won't use all his extra prize money on a new one. Next in the queue for the travel agent was, of course, Rodriguez.

Kemp at the Double

"Ok, I'll get on there for five minutes now," quipped Rafael Alarcon as the Krajcsak match finished.

Little did we know that he really meant it. Having torn his calf muscle on Friday, treatment on Saturday, the Brazilian simply went for everything, everything except rallies, that is.

And in Jon Kemp he found an opponent all too willing to join in the fun.

The first two games were over in a flash, Rafa did a little better in the third, he even led 9/7, but Kemp finished it off, to smiles all round. "Three nil or three-two, it's all the same," said Rafa, "we had some fun on there and at the end I told him he must have been getting worried!"

At 11 minutes it was one of, if not the, shortest World Open matches of all time. Usually when you see a time like that you ask "does that include the breaks?". In this case yes, it does, it's just that they didn't have any breaks ...


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