The final match of opening round action at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family saw Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi and England’s Tom Richards put on a show for spectators at the University Club of Chicago, with the former prevailing in four games to book his last 32 spot.
It was exhibition stuff at times from the pair as they went head-to-head in a series of high-octane rallies, with a mammoth first game going all the way to 18-16 in Richards’ favour.
It had been a real Jekyll and Hyde performance from Al Tamimi up to that point, with flashes of brilliance followed by a succession of shots into the tin.
However, the World No.37 managed to nip that in the bud in games two and three as he swiftly came back to establish a one-game lead. Richards made a big move at the beginning of the fourth – storming 5-0 ahead- only to fade physically as Al Tamimi came back at him to complete a 16-18, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 triumph.
“I think I just lost a bit of concentration [in game four], they were two or three shot rallies at the start of that game,” said Al Tamimi after he first non-qualifying win at the Windy City Open.
“When I won the one at 5-1, he totally gave up on the ball and I knew I had him physically. I just tried to keep the ball above the tin and it worked out in the end.
“I really enjoyed playing Tom, it’s the first time and I always like the way he just goes for shots. That’s the way I play as well, and I think it was entertaining for the crowd. We both worked really hard physically in that first game because there was a lot of court coverage and a lot of court sprints.
“I’m glad all the hard work paid off in this match and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m feeling good and I’m trying to enjoy playing a bit more basic. It’s getting there, I feel I’m more patient and I wait for the right opportunities.
“I still lose concentration a little bit, but I managed to come back to the game plan and in the end I got the win.”
Al Tamimi will take on England’s Declan James for a place in the last 16.
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-1: 16-18, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (55m)