R2: Abdulla al Tamimi 3-0 Mathieu Castagnet

Abdulla Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 12-10, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)

Abood – as we call him – made a whole country very happy. At 24, he is finally able to show what he can do in his own country, and in front of his friends, family and sponsors. For years, I’ve seen him work at his art, tinning his way around, making Geoff Hunt’s hair ever greyer….

But today was a magisterial performance really. Truly and utterly. Also, the first game was crucial. Leading 1/0 gave him huge confidence, and it probably the key to the match…

That first game was superb from both really, 16 m of excellent and fair squash, not a point between them throughout, 10/9 game ball Mathieu – who just became a father a week ago – but saved with a stunning winner, 10/10.

And as it often happens, pressure, pressure, Mathieu, who didn’t make a single error the whole game, tinned the last two points, 12/10 for the Qatari.

Excellent response from the French, 3/0, and as Abood tinned a couple, I feared for him a return to his junior days but no, 3/3, 4/4, 7/7, 8/8. A big push to the front with splendid long volley drop shots from the young Qatari, and it’s 3 points in a row, 11/8 in 11m.

Very close in the 3rd, superb squash, intelligent, moving beautifully both, using the four corners and mixing the heights, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3 6/6. A calm, mature, in control Abood – I can’t believe I’m writing those words actually – takes control of the rallies, and will not be stopped or contained. Today I feel that Mathieu didn’t put a foot wrong. But Abood was just flying out there, high on the Qatari Vibe….


It feels really good, especially here at home. It was really hard today to back it up after yesterday. I played really well yesterday to beat French No.1 Gregoire Marche, and to back it up, to beat Castagnet who is a former World No.6, I was really happy to win in three.

I was not expecting that performance today and I think I did really well to get off there in three, and I am really looking forward to playing again on Monday.

After every rally the fans were cheering and jumping from their chairs. I was trying to focus on court and I was not looking outside. Afterwards, I saw all my friends and family who I didn’t even realise were there.

People from the Aspire Academy and from the Federation, they have all been here from the first day and I am looking forward to seeing them here as well on Monday.