Welshman Makin Celebrates Maiden Quarter-Final Appearance In Doha
30 Oct 2018
Joel Makin will become the first Welshman to appear in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Classic since 2005 after overcoming Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in the third round of the PSA World Tour Platinum event in Doha. The win comes just 24 hours after the 24-year-old giant-killer shocked Colombian world No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the second round.
The world No.33 from Pembrokeshire, making his debut in the event, has been in scintillating form so far this week and followed up his 78-minute first round defeat of Rex Hedrick with a 60-minute victory over Castagnet that saw the Frenchman concede through injury mid-way through the fourth game of their encounter.
Makin had been in control of the match from the outset, showing impressive recovery and tenacity as he out-worked Castagnet during the first two games. The Frenchman found his range in the third to get a foothold on the scoreboard but pulled up at the mid-way point of the fourth game to hand Makin safe passage to his first ever major tournament quarter-final.
"To reach the quarter-finals for the first time is massive achievement," said Makin. "I hadn't gotten past a first round before the start of the season so to see the hard work that's been put in over the summer pray off so quickly is really pleasing.
"Obviously it is massive to be there for the first time and I'm excited to be in the latter stages of one of the biggest tournaments on the calendar.
"There's been no secret change, it just feels like the accumulation of years of work coming together. I feel like I've been gradually increasing my level and because of that I've been able to impose my game and my physicality on court better so hopefully I can keep going that way.
"I've had a good few weeks recently and had some good results so I'm looking forward to playing again tomorrow and seeing what I can do."
In their first ever meeting, Makin will go up against 2017 tournament runner-up and world No.4 Tarek Momen for a place in the semi-finals. The Egyptian defeated former world No.1 James Willstrop while another former world No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad, the 2016 tournament winner, prevailed in a breath-taking clash with rising English star Declan James to keep his tournament hopes alive.
Gawad was pushed all the way by the world No.20 and was forced to come from behind, and withstand a huge last ditch barrage, in order to prevail and set up a last eight encounter with compatriot and world No.2 Ali Farag.
"Declan gave me a very hard time on there today - that was a very, very tough match," said Gawad.
"I think what made the difference was that I wanted to win so badly. In the end he gave me a few unforced errors that gave me a confidence push, and I think he dropped a bit physically. I saw that and I just kept pushing and pushing."
Gawad will take on compatriot and world No.2 Ali Farag - with world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy set to face Peruvian former World Junior Champion Diego Elias in a compelling clash following their third round victories over Adrian Waller and Mazen Hesham, respectively.
Lima-based Elias, the world No.13, was a quarter-finalist here last year and showed signs of returning to some of his best form as he swept aside Hesham - one of the most gifted players on the PSA World Tour - with ease, prevailing 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in just 36 minutes.
"The key today was the warm up - I had to be ready for him from the start because he's the kind of player who can send you five directions in one rally," said Elias.
"Last season, I got injured and lost in the first round of nearly every tournament. But now, I'm feeling fine and it is always good to play the world No.1 and challenge yourself so I'll be ready for it."