By Sports Reporter
Germany’s Raphael Kandra came from behind to defeat World No 5 Marwan ElShorbagy to make it into the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Platinum level Qatar QTerminals Classic at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on Tuesday.
The last time the German made it to the last eight of a major tournament came at the Allam British Open in 2018, where he went all the way to the semi-finals. ElShorbagy had won five of their previous six matches, with Kandra’s sole victory coming in that run in Hull three years previous.
With ElShorbagy winning four on the trot against the World No 22, the Egyptian was the heavy favourite coming into the match and he took the opening game on the tie-break after both players had squandered two game balls.
There were too many errors from the ElShorbagy’s racket in the second though as Kandra drew level for the loss of just three points. ElShorbagy again triumphed on a tie break in the third game to move to within one game win of a place in the last eight.
But he struggled to put away a tenacious Kandra, with the left-hander playing some immaculate drops on the forehand side. ElShorbagy grew increasingly frustrated with the referee as the match wore on, and he was unable to claw back control of the match as Kandra completed victories in games four and five to seal the win.
“I feel a little shaky because we’ve had so many matches like this when I’ve been leading, he’s been leading, and it’s always quick-fire squash against him,” the German said. “I think I need to settle a little bit to realise I am in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Classic, it means a lot to me. I’ve been working for such a long time on the steps to make not only the last 16, to make the last eight, which is a big difference. We [Kandra and Elias] recently played at the US Open and he demolished me. I was 2-0 down within 15 minutes and I didn’t really get used to his game. I fought back and it was really close in the fourth. I have a good plan to play him and I want to show that on the court. I’m feeling comfortable here in Qatar so I hope I can continue feeling like that.”
Kandra will now face Peru’s World No 8 Diego Elias in the quarter-finals, after the South American got the better of Frenchman Gregoire Marche in a pulsating five-game battle in which he came back from the brink.
It was the second time in as many days that Elias had been on the right end of a 3-2 victory, with his round two fixture against England’s Declan James seeing him overturn a 2-1 deficit. This time, he had to come from even further behind. Marche rattled off a number of winners and Elias’s usual fluid movement was not present as the Frenchman opened up a commanding two-game lead. The ‘Peruvian Puma’ started firing in the third game though as he finally found his range.
A comfortable third game went the way of Elias, and he doubled up in the fourth to draw level, sneaking it 11-9. And as the fifth game came around, there was only going to be one winner as Marche cut a disconsolate figure.
Elsewhere, Mazen Hesham also came through a five-game battle, as the World No 13 got the better of compatriot Youssef Ibrahim, coming from behind to win 3-2. Hesham will face Welshman Joel Makin in the quarter-finals tomorrow, after the World No 10 defeated Englishman Patrick Rooney.
Third Round Results
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 11-8;  Joel Makin (WAL) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-8;  Diego Elias (PER) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 5-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4; Raphael Kandra (GER) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 12-14, 11-3, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7
Today’s third round matches
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG); Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Mostafa Asal (EGY); Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG); Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
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