Uncharted Territory for Kuwait Cup round three

25th November 2011

 Today's round of 16 - or "pre-quarter-finals" as it's referred to in India, quite appropriately in this case - was unusual in two respects.
 First, neither Ramy Ashour - injured - or Amr Shabana - beaten in round two's only upset - were present, having shared the last four finals between them.

Second, today's winners would not know who they were to play in the next round until the FA Cup style draw is performed on Saturday, the rest day.
 So, uncharted territory in a way, but all sixteen knew that the only way to get into that draw was to win today. Read on ...
Qadsia Club:

[5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt [12] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)   11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (50m)
[6] Peter Barker (Eng) bt [14] Adrian Grant (Eng)   11/6, 11/5, 11/1 (55m)
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt [9] Daryl Selby (Eng)   11/7, 11/7, 5/11, 11/8 (50m)

Green Island:

[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [13] Cameron Pilley (Aus)   11/7, 11/9, 11/8 (52m)
[10] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt [8] Thierry Lincou (Fra)    11/9, 3/11, 10/12, 11/2, 11/9 (71m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [16] Alister Walker (Bot)    11/7, 11/5, 11/3 (34m)
[15] Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Simon Rosner (Ger)    7/11, 11/5, 12/10, 12/10 (67m)
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [11] Omar Mosaad (Egy)  11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (34m)
Eight through to the Quarters ...
A solid enough start for fifth seed Gregory Gaultier on day three of the Kuwait PSA Cup as the Frenchman, who has featured in each of the last three major finals, beat Malaysia's Azlan Iskandar in straight games. 

Gaultier always had the advantage in the first two, Iskandar getting frustrated and receiving a conduct warning for flinging his racket at the end of the second, and as Gaultier advanced to the quarter-finals a repeat offence after appealing the outcome of the rally at 9/5 down saw an unhappy Iskandar receive a conduct stroke to finish the match.
Next up was an all-English, all-Left-handed affair between Peter Barker and Adrian Grant. Sixth seed Barker had enough control to take the first two games 11/6, 11/5 before easing through the first for the loss of a single point.
The final match at Qadsia Club saw Mohamed El Shorbagy beat Daryl Selby, just as the younger Shorbagy, Marwan, had done in Rotterdam. The Egyptian seventh seed got the better of the early exchanges, but Selby pulled a game back and the fourth was point for point until 8-all with Shorbagy taking the final three points to move into the quarter-finals.
Top seed, world number one and world champion Nick Matthew opened proceedings at Green Island with a straight-games win over hard-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley. Matthew pulled away from 4/3 down in the first, and although he built leads in the next two games Pilley ate into both before the top seed managed to close them out for a 11/7, 11/9, 11/8 win.
An upset followed as tenth seed Laurens Jan Anjema was very happy with his five-game win over Thierry Lincou, seeded eight, in a rollercoaster of a match. Both won one game comfortably, one game in a tight finish, but it was the Dutchman who prevailed in the point-for-point fifth game.
James Willstrop became the third Englishman to be thrown into the hat as he continued his run of straight-game victories that took him to the Hong Kong title. Alister Walker was facing an uphill task from the outset as Willstrop steadily moved ahead in each game, winning with increasing authority 11/7, 11/5, 11/3.
The seventh place in the quarters was claimed by Australia's Stewart Boswell, continuing to enjoy a good run of form. After sharing the first two games with Simon Rosner, who provided the only upset of round two in ousting four-time finalist Amr Shabana, it was Boswell who won the next two on extra points, saving a game ball in the third and just holding on to his slender lead in the fourth.
And finally it was second seed Karim Darwish, turning in another assured late-night performance, beating compatriot Omar Mosaad 11/5, 11/5, 11/7 without undue fuss who completed the quarter-final lineup ... well, not lineup exactly, just the eight players who will go into the hat at the official dinner on Saturday night, Saturday being a rest day, squash-wise.