Mighty Upsets See Lobban & Gilis Make Qatar Classic Quarters
13 Sep 2023
Scot Greg Lobban and Belgium's Tinne Gilis launched brilliant comebacks at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha to overcome France's No.7 seed Victor Crouin and No.4 seed Joelle King of New Zealand, respectively, to claim unexpected berths in the quarter-finals of the 2023 QTerminals Qatar Classic.
Lobban reached the quarter-final of a Platinum event for the first time as he came back from the brink in a thrilling match with Crouin, runner-up at the 2022 championship.
The world No.25 caused the world No.9 countless problems with intelligent tactical play, but looked to have come up just short when French No.1 Crouin had two match balls at 10-8 in game four.
Lobban, however, was able to hold out, saving both and converting his own game ball at the first opportunity before going on the attack to earn a historic victory with an 11-7 win in game five.
"I'm just so happy to put myself in this position; in the last eight in one of the biggest tournaments in the world after a long, long time of trying so I'm stoked," Lobban said afterwards.
World No.10 Gilis was perhaps unfortunate to find herself two games down to world No.4 King, with the Belgian losing out in tie breaks in both games.
The 25-year-old came back well, though, sapping King's energy and, by the end, confidence as she took the next three games 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 to reach the last eight.
Afterwards, Gilis said: "I was a bit frustrated at myself that I didn't get at least one of [the first two games]. I was just happy I had Gina [England No.1 Georgina Kennedy] in my corner to lift me up again even though I was 2/0 down!"
Elsewhere, world No.1s Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag won all-Egyptian encounters against Rowan Elaraby and Fares Dessouky, men's No.8 seed Tarek Momen of Egypt ended home hopes with an entertaining 3/1 win over Qatar's Abdulla Al Tamimi, and Belgian No.6 seed Nele Gilis - older sister of Tinne - beat Egypt's Nada Abbas 3/0.