Abdel Meguid upsets Simpson; Main Draw set for Saturday afternoon
By James Hawkins
Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid has been making quite a first impression at the 15th Motor City Open, presented by The Suburban Collection.
After his quick, 30 minute victory in Round One of Qualifying Thursday night, Abdel Meguid downed England’s Chris Simpson, the top-ranked qualifier and World #25, in straight games Friday in the Qualifying finals: 12-10, 11-2, 11-7. Abdel Meguid was one of four players that won spots in Saturday’s Main Draw. France’s Gregoire Marche, Egypt’s Marwan Elshorbagy, and veteran Olli Tuominenof Finland also advanced.
In a back-and-forth Game One, Abdel Meguid (World #30) had a game ball against at 9-10 but came back to take the next three points. Abdel Meguid closed out Game Two with a run of six straight points on an array of dazzling boasts and drop shots then sealed the match with another late flurry in Game Three.
The Egyptian’s size (6’2”, 207 pounds) and reach seemed to frustrate Simpson (5’9”, 156 pounds) as the taller player seemed able to reach anything and everything thrown at him.
“I’ve seen (Simpson) play a lot of times and he seems to struggle against someone who is bigger because he can’t see the ball properly and he’s a second late,” Abdel Meguid said. “All I wanted to do is hit every shot the same way and hit it hard enough to get him behind me. I did this and I hit a couple of shots that he misread and went in the other direction so it worked.”
Afterward, Simpson admitted that it wasn’t only Abdel Meguid’s size that bothered him as he had pulled an adductor muscle on his right side last week in New York’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
“I was just trying to play off my left leg but he’s too good to play on one leg,” Simpson said. “I gave it a go because I didn’t feel like giving up. To be honest, though, it wasn’t a true reflection of a game between us because I was trying to play tactics and not have to move as much. But he’s a big, strong guy and moves quickly.”
The Abdel Meguid and Simpson pairing lacked the drama on neighboring Court #2 between Hong Kong’s Max Lee and France’s Gregoire Marche. Marche (World #28) took the first two games and appeared poised for a sweep. But Lee (World #32) didn’t give up. He starting landing his shots, captured Games Three and Four and jumped to a 7-2 lead in the decisive Game Five. But Lee’s miraculous comeback, his lead dwindling to 9-8 before committing three unforced errors that gave Marche the game and the match: 13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-9.
“At 9-6, my leg wasn’t listening to me,” said Lee. “I felt I had to take some chances on shots because I knew if I just keep hitting length, I would lose because my leg was giving out. I just keep telling myself to keep fighting and hang in there to get those two points, but I dropped three tins.”
For Marche, it was an all too familiar situation. In last week’s ToC First Round, he led fellow Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet by two games and eventually lost in five. This time, Marche said he had breathing trouble in Game Three but didn’t let another match slip away.
“I didn’t want to give up like this so I pushed myself and it worked,” Marche said. “When I was down 6-1 (in Game Five), I didn’t want to give him space to get in a good position to play the ball. He made some mistakes and I don’t know how but I managed to win. It’s the kind of match that you won’t forget.”
Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy (World #29) and 2007 MCO champion Olli Tuominen of Finland (World #27) both won their matches in four games to earn a spot in the first round of the Main Draw, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Friday’s qualifying finals results:
- Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) def. Chris Simpson (ENG) 12-10, 11-2, 11-7 (38m)
- Gregoire Marche (FRA) def. Max Lee (HKG) 13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-9 (81m)
- Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) def. Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-7
- Olli Tuominen (FIN) def. Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (87m)
Saturday’s Main Draw Round 1 matches:
-  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) vs [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
- Tarek Momen (EGY) vs [Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
- Omar Mosaad (EGY) vs Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
-  Amr Shabana (EGY) vs [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
-  Peter Barker (ENG) vs Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
- Saurav Ghosal (IND) vs Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
- Cameron Pilley (AUS) vs Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
-  Karim Darwish (EGY) vs [Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)