Qureshi Wins Thai Open With New Partner

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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Pakistani tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi formed a triumphant pairing with Oliver Marach of Austria to go on to win the Thailand Open men’s doubles tennis tournament. Qureshi and Marach defeated the German pair of Michael Coleman and Alexander Waske to clinch the title. The final score was 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5).

Qureshi and Marach were the top seeded team in the tournament, and they gathered enough momentum to lose only one set during the entire tournament. Qureshi said winning in Thailand was a great experience and he expressed solidarity with the flood victims of Pakistan and Thailand.

“I feel very excited and great. Oliver is a great player. He’s been in the Top Ten for so many years. It’s my pleasure playing with him this week. I love coming back to Thailand, where I won Futures and Challengers also,” he told the official website of the Thailand Open.

“On behalf of myself and the Pakistanis at home, we all support the flood victims because Pakistan has been hit by floods as well as Thailand. I wish all the Thai people and the country all the patience and courage to overcome the natural disaster,” he added.

While this was a great accomplishment for Qureshi and his new partner, Qureshi is expected to return to playing with his regular doubles partner, India’s Rohan Bopanna, with whom he has formed the celebrated pairing dubbed “The Indo-Pak Express.”

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Ramy Ashour Wins Australian Squash Open

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

OzchampsEgyptian squash player Ramy Ashour won the Australian Open by upending world No1 Nick Matthew in five games. The final score was 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, the 23-year-old Egyptian revealed a robust mental game was behind his success.

His coach was not able to be in his corner for the match so when asked by The Canberra Times for the keys to his victory, Ashour was not quite able to formulate his thoughts. But he did seem to suggest that came down to his mental state. ‘‘It’s a bit complicated really, I can’t really describe it,’’ Ashour told The Canberra Times. “You have to always be right in your head as much as you can and that’s your mission on court.

‘‘Your mission’s not to keep on running or hit the right shots. You need to have all kinds of plans, you can’t just stick to one plan. In everything in your life you can’t just stick to one plan and that’s what most of the people do, they just don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. When they don’t get out of their comfort zone they don’t achieve much.’’

Ashour got off to a slow start, losing the first game, and two of the first three, before building momentum with his patented arsenal of shot-making. Eventually, he was a runaway train. ‘‘He just ran away from me, sometimes he can get on a run of points in a blink of an eye,’’ Matthew told The Canberra Times. “I couldn’t stop the rot.”

‘‘He played a good fifth, I played a bad fifth and that was the difference. From the games I won I had the lead and he fought back and took it to tie breaks both times. Everyone gives him credit for his shot-making. Some people forget he’s got that [mental strength] side of his game as well which you need to go alongside and that makes him such a champion.’’

The victory was Ashour’s seventh in 12 meetings with Matthew, with Ashour being the only player on the professional squash tour with a winning record against the world number one. ‘‘It’s such a thin margin,’’ Ashour said. “Maybe Nick has a little bit more pressure on him because he’s No1 and I’m No2.’’

The two now have the men’s world team championships in Germany to look forward to later this year. And that should be a competition in which Ashour has ample reinforcements, with fellow Egyptians Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana ranked number three and number five in the world respectively.

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Sania Mirza Loses in French Final

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

french-open-preview-L-BewaPyIndia’s Sania Mirza was within a whisker of winning her second Grand Slam title, but at the end of the day, it was “So close, yet so far away,” for Mirza and her Russian doubles partner Elena Vesnina at the French Open. Mirza and Vesnina, the seventh seeds in the ladies’ doubles division, lost in the finals to the unseeded Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. The final score was 6-4, 6-3.

Sania previously won the mixed doubles at another Grand Slam event, the 2009 Australian Open, which she won with fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi. Mirza did become the first Indian female tennis player to reach a women’s doubles final. But it ended up being an off day for Mirza and Vesnina, as they were unable to overcome their unforced errors, especially in the face of inclement weather.
Mirza and Vesnina split the 165,000 euro second prize, while the victors took home a total of 330,000 euro. After the match Vesnina was thankful to her partner announcing, “Thanks Sania for the great experience we’ve had here. Hope we’ll have more of such games in the future.”

After the tournament, Mirza reached a career high doubles ranking of 14. And as a team, Mirza and Vesnina moved into the number three position in the WTA Championship rankings, putting them in contention for the year-end WTA championship event in Istanbul, Turkey. The event is only for the top four teams in the WTA rankings.

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