Former World No.1 James Willstrop ended an 18-month barren spell to
capture his 19th career PSA World Tour title with a victory over in-form
Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid in the final of the Wimbledon Club Squash
Squared Open, PSA M25 tournament.
The Yorkshireman has been in spellbinding form throughout the event and
downed a trio of fellow Englishman in straight games to reach the final.
Meguid, meanwhile, is in the midst of some of his best ever form and had
won three of his last four PSA World Tour events heading into the
tournament in Wimbledon.
It was the pair’s second ever professional meeting, with Willstrop
prevailing in their first encounter at last year’s Canary Wharf Classic.
Both players controlled the opening game in patches but it was
Willstrop’s error-free display that saw him take it to build up a 1-0
advantage. Meguid rallied and surged into a five-point lead in game two
but Willstrop’s pinpoint accuracy and masterful shot-selection soon came
to the fore as he took 11 of the next 13 points to go two games to the
A resilient Meguid battled back though in the third and the man from
Giza overturned a three-point Willstrop lead to reduce the arrears as he
sought to gain a foothold in the encounter.
Willstrop responded with some hard, accurate hitting and outmanoeuvred
his opponent impressively to close out the fourth game, earning an 11-8,
11-7, 8-11, 11-4 triumph which will give the World No.13 plenty of
confidence heading into next week’s prestigious Allam British Open where
he has finished as a runner-up on three occasions.
"It was a very high intensity match," Willstrop said to SquashSite.
"We are two big fellows, I don’t think that there are two bigger or
heavier players than us on the Tour so I think that we did pretty well.
I’m very happy to play at that level, I hope the crowd enjoyed it and
I’m thrilled to win the title. When you’ve been in the [world’s] top 10,
you have more experience with the big points, you work very hard for
hours and it allows us to have the knack to be able to put the ball away
at crucial times.
"The level is so high, it’s been tight squash from the first match. I’m
in the top 15 [in the world] and Robbie [Downer] in my first match was
ranked 123rd and it was tight throughout the match. The depth of the
game is just remarkable and I had to use every bit of experience.
"It’s a mental intensity that I think you develop after hours and hours
of work and time on court and matches."
Quarter FinalsFormer World No.1 and title favourite James Willstrop
secured his place in the last four of the Wimbledon Club Squash
Squared Open, PSA M25 tournament with a fine 3-0 victory over fellow
Englishman Joe Lee in the quarter-final.
The opening game featured a fluid and entertaining style of squash
with both players mixing up the height and length of their shots to
great effect. Willstrop’s superior accuracy eventually saw him pull
away to take a one-game lead but the experienced Yorkshireman found
himself pegged back in the second after Lee used a series of
expertly-placed volley drops to take an early three-point lead.
Willstrop recovered though to double his advantage after some errors
from his opponent and, despite Lee surging into a 4-0 lead in the
third, the 18-time PSA World Tour title winner held on to complete
an 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 triumph and move to within just one win of
reaching his first final Tour final since September 2014.
“Joe made a few unforced errors but it’s because I put him under a
lot of pressure,” Willstrop said to SquashSite.
“I had to be intense and play sharp squash to win today and, if I
was him, I wouldn’t be too disappointed with my performance.”
Willstrop will face number three seed Declan James in the semi-final
after the 22-year-old came out on top of an exciting five-game
thriller with compatriot George Parker. The lead changed hands
multiple times in a tight encounter with James taking it to advance
to the last four.
The other quarter-final fixtures saw Omar Abdel Meguid and Joshua
Masters prevail in their respective matches against Charles Sharpes
and Matthew Hopkin.
English qualifier George Parker made a winning start to his campaign
at the inaugural Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open, PSA M25
tournament with a dramatic 3-2 win over compatriot and number five
seed Ben Coleman in the first round.
Parker comes into the event on the back of a superb title win at the
True Potential Northumbria Open a fortnight ago and has continued
his fine performances into this tournament. After taking the opening
game, the Leicester-based 19-year-old found himself 2-1 down against
an opponent ranked 25 places above him but he responded with a
maturity that belied his teenage years as he fought back to claim
the victory by an 11-8, 6-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4 scoreline.
“This is the first time I beat him,” said Parker to SquashSite.
“Last time we played, he beat me 3-0. I was the one doing the
holding and the shot playing and I was moving alright today. He
didn’t put me under pressure at the front [of the court] but he put
me under pressure by picking up a lot of my shots.
“I was cutting the ball well in the corner but his length was great
and I was having problems.”
Fellow Englishman Declan James will be Parker’s opponent in the
quarter-final after a scintillating straight games triumph over
World Junior Champion Youssef Soliman. The duo will lock horns for
the first time since their meeting in the final of the Courtcraft
Nick Matthew Academy Steel City Open last October which James won
Former World No.1 James Willstrop also got his tournament off to a
superb start with a 3-0 victory over wildcard Robert Downer. The
32-year-old Yorkshireman came out on top of a highly competitive
first game but dominated from that point onwards to complete the win
in three games. Up next for Willstrop is Joe Lee who prevailed over
Jens Schoor to reach the last eight.
Elsewhere, Egypt’s Omar Abdel Meguid swept to victory against
Pakistan’s Farhan Zaman and will face off with seventh seed Charles
Sharpes in the next round after Sharpes recorded an impressive 3-0
win against Tayyab Aslam.
Matthew Hopkin and Joshua Masters, who both came through qualifying
to reach the main draw, will contest the other quarter-final fixture
after they achieved wins over Shaun Le Roux and Henrik Mustonen,
Australian World No.111 Matthew Hopkin came up with a stunning
comeback to overturn a two-game deficit against top qualifying seed
Peter Creed in the final qualifying round of the Wimbledon Club
Squash Squared Open, PSA M25 tournament.
Hopkin looked to be heading out of the event at the qualifying stage
after a scintillating start from Welshman Creed saw him race out of
the traps to quickly build up a 2-0 advantage. However, a tenacious
showing from Hopkin in the third saw the 24-year-old claw a game
back on the tie-break before the man from Brisbane upped his game
further to take the next two games without reply, wrapping up a
5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 triumph to eliminate an opponent who
is 39 places above him in the world rankings.
He is set to face South Africa’s Shaun Le Roux in the first round of
the main draw as Hopkin looks to maintain the form that saw him
capture the Suez Helsinki Winter Challenger crown on his last PSA
World Tour outing.
There was also another big upset in World Junior Champion Youssef
Soliman’s fixture against second qualifying seed Richie Fallows,
with Soliman recovering from a game down to earn the win in five.
The 19-year-old Egyptian will meet Declan James in the next round as
the Englishman looks to rediscover his winning touch having won four
straight PSA World Tour events towards the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, George Parker came through on home soil against Carlos
Cornes Ribadas and will face Ben Coleman in the opening round with a
quarter-final clash against either Soliman or James up for grabs.
Joshua Masters was the other victor in the final round of qualifying
thanks to his straight games victory over Jan van den Herrewegen and
his reward is a main draw meeting with Finland’s Henrik Mustonen.
A mixture of shock results and strong performances entertained
spectators in the Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open, PSA M25
tournament as qualification got off to a superb start.
With all players hoping to secure safe passage to the main draw, the
first major upset of the day occurred when World Junior Championship
runner-up Youssef Soliman defeated World No.91 Chris Fuller in four
games. Soliman resisted Fuller’s attempts to play a fast-paced
length game by exhibiting some sumptuous drop shots at the front of
the court and the 19-year-old Egyptian took it in four to close out
an 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 win.
“I landed a bit late last night so I’m a bit tired today, but all
credit to him he played extremely well and attacked more than me,”
“I was the one doing all the running today, his shots were very
accurate and tight. I was trying to get him out of his comfort zone
to unsettle him. I was hard and fast, but I’m lucky to get the 4th,
he played so well.”
Soliman now faces Englishman Richie Fallows in the final qualifying
round, after the World comfortably overcame close friend Ashley
Elsewhere, Joshua Masters produced an extraordinary display to
overturn a 2-0 deficit against New Zealander Evan Williams,
eventually prevailing after a thrilling five game battle. Masters
will meet Belgium's Jan van den Herrewegen in the final round of
qualifying after he advanced following an injury to Welshman Joel
World No.111 Matthew Hopkin, meanwhile, fought back strongly to
defeat England’s Lyell Fuller 3-2 after a hard fought performance.
Hopkin will line up against the energetic Peter Creed for a place in
the main draw who produced a well polished display to defeat Mark
Fuller in straight games.
Newly crowned British Under 21 Champion George Parker recovered well
from a game down against Jamaica’s Lewis Walters to advance to the
final qualifying round. His triumph means that he will go
head-to-head with World No.96 Carlos Cornes Ribadas after the
Spaniard beat Ben Ford 3-0.
Fierce Battles In Wimbledon Open Qualifying.