DOHA (AFP) – Amr Shabana, the 35-year-old four times former world champion, defied the years in emphatic fashion to reach the World Open quarter-finals for the 12th time in a row.
The resiliently brilliant Egyptian did that by overwhelming Max Lee, the rising Hong Kong player, by 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 with an encouragingly incisive performance in less than half an hour.
The focussed and rapid success could be a significant help for the oldest man in the draw, who may consequently have a better chance of further progress, possibly at the expense of Nick Matthew, the defending world champion.
Shabana’s result was all the more notable because Lee, the first Chinese player to reach the world’s top 20, came within three points of beating him at last month’s US Open in Philadelphia. Now though he was almost continuously outplayed.
Shabana mixed the short and the long games superbly, taking Lee in short whenever he had half a chance, and striking the ball heavily and with meticulous accuracy when he wanted to send his opponent plunging to the back again.
There was an important phase as Lee reached 6-5 and then 7-6 in the second game, when the match might have changed character.
Instead Shabana produced five superb attacks and finished them all with winners, two to the front, three to the back, snuffing out the younger man’s recovery.