Karim Claims Qatar Classic Crown

Third-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish upset compatriot Amr Shabana in the final of the $147,500 Qatar Classic to win his second PSA Super Series squash title in three weeks at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex inDoha.

Both players had reached the climax after gruelling five-game semi-finals – Darwish, the world No3, gaining his first win over England’s world No2 Nick Matthew in almost two years, and reigning world champion Shabana overcoming France’s fourth seed Gregory Gaultier.

Darwish recovered from a game down to beat Shabana, the second seed looking for his maiden Super Series title his year, 8-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 in 54 minutes.

“We know each other’s game so well, we both take the ball so early, and they were some accidents as we were going for the ball. But it was a fair game, a clean game,” Darwish told www.squashsite.com afterwards.

“It was more of a mental match than a physical one,” added the 29-year-old from Cairo. “In the middle of the third, we had some crucial points, I gave it a bit push to make sure I would come on top leading 2/1. And after that, I think he lost a bit of his focus, and I gave it a good push to finish.

“When you come to a tournament, you want to win – but you can’t expect to win nowadays, as the competition is fierce and there are so many formidable players around,” concluded Darwish, who won the El Gouna International in Egypt last month and now boasts 19 PSA Tour titles.

Despite two 70-minute matches leading to the final, Shabana had no excuses: “Both of us had strong matches earlier in the week, so I can’t blame this defeat on a long match!

“In the second, he played far too well, my length dropped and he took full advantage of it,” explained the former world number one. “But in the third, I had my chances. But today was not to be my day.”

The Qatar triumph sees Darwish move up to third place in the latest 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings, the penultimate list before the final event of the year – the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi in December. Egypt’s world No1 Ramy Ashour heads the rankings, with Nick Matthew in second place. England’s Peter Barker strengthened his all-important position in the top eight, 30 points ahead of ninth-placed Australian David Palmer.

[3] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [2] Amr Shabana (EGY) 8-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 (54m)

Latest 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings

(Prev) Points
1 (1) Ramy Ashour (EGY) 600
2 (2) Nick Matthew (ENG) 430
3 (4) Karim Darwish (EGY) 410
4 (3) James Willstrop (ENG) 385
5 (5) Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 340
6 (6) Amr Shabana (EGY) 310
7 (7) Thierry Lincou (FRA) 230
8 (8) Peter Barker (ENG) 170
9 (9) David Palmer (AUS) 140
10 (10) Wael El Hindi (EGY) 130
11 (11) Alister Walker (ENG) 125
12 (12) Daryl Selby (ENG) 120
13 (12) Adrian Grant (ENG) 110
14 (14) Cameron Pilley (AUS) 100