Egyptian Ali Farag, the 26-year-old from Cairo, delighted a partisan crowd inside the Khalifa Tennis & Squash Complex, Doha, as he defeated Germany’s World No.5 Simon Rösner in straight games to win the 2018 Qatar Classic – marking his second PSA World Tour Platinum title victory.
Farag’s defence of his maiden Platinum title win, the U.S. Open, was crushed by Rösner last month when the pair met in semi-finals of the 2018 edition of that event, but the World No.2 earned his revenge with a near faultless display to down Rösner 11-9, 11-7, 11-5.
It was the German who began the stronger of the two, getting the better of Farag in the opening exchanges to open up a quick lead. But it was short-lived as Farag began to nullify Rösner’s mid-court dominance to level the opening game, and from that point on he went from strength to strength to complete the win after 46 minutes.
“At the beginning I saw how crowed the venue was and the screams of the crowd were crazy which made me nervous – it took me a little while to calm my nerves down,” said Farag.
“The atmosphere was beyond my imagination. Nothing I’ve played before was like that but mid-way through the first game I managed to settle and get into my game plan.
“I tried to make sure that first game was long and that I wasn’t giving away any cheap points. I was behind and I didn’t think I would win that game, but coming through to win it made a huge psychological difference I think.
“At the U.S. Open against Simon I became too passive, and if you do that he will kill you on court. You have to find that balance and I was able to do that from the second half of the first game all the way to the end today so I am very happy.
“I’m very happy with the win, and with my week and how I backed up match after match. And I’m really proud with the way I handled the whole week.”
Speaking after the match, Rösner said:
“He was the better player today. I made a few errors – I hung in there, I tried very hard and gave everything I could, but he was just too good – but he deserves the win. I don’t have any regrets, getting to another final is huge for me. Obviously, you want to get those wins, but at the same time, you should be happy with what you have achieved.
“I have good memories from this court, last year I made the semis, this year a finalist, who knows, maybe a winner next year.”
2018 Qatar Classic Final : Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0  Simon Rösner (GER) 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (46m)