Qatar's No.1 player and the World No. 30 Abdulla Al Tamimi did not disappoint the home fans as he dug deep to produce a five-games 3-2 (10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3) win in 54 minutes against England's Patrick Rooney in the first round of Qatar Classic 2020 on Sunday, while 2011 champion Gregory Gaultier praised the Qatar Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation for the opportunity to play again after about 40 months of lay off due to injury.
Tamimi could have rounded up the match in the fourth game, but some unexpected errors from him allowed his 52-ranked English opponent bounced back from a 4-7 deficit to take the game to a decider.
Energized by the presence of the supportive home fans, Tamimi, who reached the Round of 16 at last year's PSA World Championships held at the same venue, wasted no time in putting the game to bed in less than 10 minutes of the deciding game.
For the 38-year-old Gaultier, age counted for nothing against his much younger opponent, Spain's Iker Pajares Bernabeu. The Frenchman won 3-1 (10-12, 11-3, 11-9, 11-8) in 57 minutes in his first match since coming back from injury.
While thanking card for granting him a wildcard entrant into the tournament, Gaultier said, "I've always played well in Qatar, and I've enjoyed all my visits here. I've been coming here for several years now. Though I missed the last two events due to injury, I'm pleased to be here again. I am grateful to the Qatar Squash Federation for giving me the wildcard to play at this tournament. I was out for about 40 months, and my rankings went from No.1 to No. 600. I'm grateful to Qatar for the opportunity to play otherwise, I won't be here."?