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Shabana Overcomes Ashour To Win Kuwait Final


Avenging his loss to Ramy Ashour only seven days earlier on home soil, Egypt's world number one Amr Shabana defeated his fellow countryman in straight games in the final of the Kuwait Open to reverse the result of last year's final of the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash championship at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


Last week, in the climax of the Hurghada International final in Egypt, world number two Ashour came from behind in games to beat his illustrious compatriot for the second time this year.


The 20-year-old from Cairo threatened to do it again in Kuwait:  top seed Shabana led the first game 8-3, the second 8-1 and the third 6-0 - and each time Ramy came back.


But on this occasion Shabana held firm to take the title 11-9, 11-7, 11-10 (3-1) in 52 minutes, to increase the head-to-head tally over his young pretender to 5-3.


"Today, my game plan against Ramy was to play perfect squash, and that's what I had to do to beat him, play perfect squash," explained Shabana, whose 30th appearance in a PSA Tour final had produced his 21st win. 


"I stuck to my plan until 6-0 in the third - when I saw a twinkle in his eye.  And that's never good, to see a twinkle in Ramy's eye, because you know he is going to come back!


"And I could see him hurting, but I saw him make a last push. And that's why I'm so happy to have won 3/0 - I'm so happy to beat Ramy today.


"I played differently than I did in Hurghada last week.  I made sure that I was finishing every game, and not giving him any chances - because if you do give him a chance, he'll eat you!"


Ashour admitted that his Egyptian team-mate deserved the win:  "I don't want to take anything away - the man was too good today, he played the right shot at the right time, he was accurate, precise and fast.  He fully deserves it.


"I'm happy I went in the final, and that I'm finally enjoying it.  And, like Shabana said last week, today, I lost against the world number one:  that's not too bad," added the second seed.

Official website: www.sheikhasquash.com



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. Draw
. Qualifying



2007 Event Page




Kuwait Open 2007
Men's Draw
Round One
23 April
Round Two
24 April
25 April
26 April
27 April
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 (49m)
Q] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
Amr Shabana
10-11 (0-2), 11-2, 11-2, 11-5 (45m)
Adrian Grant
Amr Shabana
11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0) (43m)
Ong Beng Hee
Amr Shabana
11-10 (3-1), 4-11, 3-11, 11-8, 8-2 ret. (60m)
Gregory Gaultier
Amr Shabana
11-9, 11-7, 11-10 (3-1) (52m)
Ramy Ashour
[12] Adrian Grant (Eng)
11-7, 11-10 (2-0), 10-11 (2-4), 11-4 (63m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
[8] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11-6, 8-11, 3-11, 11-4, 11-6 (76m)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Cameron Pilley
11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9 (108m)
Ong Beng Hee
[14] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (63m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11-10 (2-0), 11-8, 11-1 (40m)
Alex Gough (Wal)
Gregory Gaultier
11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (30m)
Olli Tuominen
Gregory Gaultier
11-9, 11-9, 11-10 (5-3) (54m)
Karim Darwish
[13] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-9, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7 (50m)
Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
[7] Karim Darwish (Egy)
11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (53m)
[Q] Renan Lavigne (FRA)
Karim Darwish
9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (58m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
[16] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (45m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
[Q] Alister Walker (ENG)
6-11, 11-10 (4-2), 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 (73m)
[15] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
Azlan Iskandar
11-10 (2-0), 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3 (77m)
Thierry Lincou
Thierry Lincou
9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (70m)
James Willstrop
Thierry Lincou
11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5 (45m)
Ramy Ashour
[Q] Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-9, 11-9, 11-2 (45m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Julian Illingworth (USA)
11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (50m)
[9] Peter Barker (Eng)
Peter Barker
10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 10-11 (1-3), 11-8, 11-9 (105m)
James Willstrop
[Q] Kashif Shuja (NZL)
11-9, 11-4, 11-1 (35m)
[4] James Willstrop (Eng)
Borja Golan (Esp)
11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 11-8 (56m)
[10] Lee Beachill (Eng)
Lee Beachill
11-7, 11-10 (3-1), 11-9 (55m)
David Palmer
Lee Beachill
8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4 (53m)
Ramy Ashour
Shahier Razik (Can)
11-5, 10-11 (0-2), 11-1, 11-5 (59m)
[5] David Palmer (Aus)
[Q] Tarek Momen (EGY)
5-11, 11-10 (6-4), 11-2, 11-5 (47m)
[11] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Tarek Momen
11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (32m)
Ramy Ashour
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11-7, 11-10 (4-2), 11-6 (36m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy)


Finals, 22nd April,

Renan Lavigne (Fra) bt Dylan Bennett (Ned)                   11/7, 11/2, 11/9 (45m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind)      11/7, 11/4, 11/9 (42m)
Tarek Momen (Egy) bt Davide Bianchetti (Ita)                 11/7,11/6, 11/8 (41m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Amr Swelim (Egy)                   11/3, 14/12, 11/4 (45m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind)                       11/8, 5/11, 11/5, 11/6 (65m)
Alister Walker (Eng) bt  Jan Koukal (Cze)                       11/5, 11/9, 6/11, 11/6 (50m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Farhan Mehboob (Pak)           8/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/8 (50m)
Joey Barrington (Eng) v Kashif Shuja (Nzl)

Round One, 21st April:

Renan Lavigne (Fra)                                                  bye
Dylan Bennett
(Ned) bt Mark Krajcsak (Hun)                11/8, 11/13, 11/7, 9/11, 11/9 (72m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Mohd AA Reda (Egy)          9/11, 15/13, 11/5, 4/11, 11/9 (83m)
Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) bt Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)  11/4, 11/9, 11/6 (53m)

Davide Bianchetti
(Ita) bt Jesse Engelbrecht (Rsa)       11/8, 11/8, 11/2 (35m)
Tarek Momen (Egy) bt Bader Al Hussaini (Kuw)            16/14, 11/4, 11/9 (46m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Adil Maqbool (Pak)               11/8, 11/9, 10/12, 11/8 (49m)
Amr Swelim (Egy) bt Shamlan Ahmad (Kuw)                11/1, 11/4, 11/2 (15m)

Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Mohd Al-Tuwary (Kuw)            11/5, 11/0, 11/3 (29m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Amar Tameemi (Kuw)                 11/5, 11/2, 11/2 (28m)
Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Ali Miski (Leb)                              11/1, 11/3, 11/3 (16m)
Alister Walker (Eng) bt Omar Abdulatir (Kuw)             11/1, 11/3, 11/1 (17m)

Farhan Mehboob (Pak) bt Yasser El Halaby (Egy)        11/5, 11/6, 11/9 (29m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Amr Mansi (Egy)                11/4, 11/9, 11/7 (34m)
Kashif Shuja (Nzl) bt Ahmed Al-Randy (Kuw)               11/7, 11/1, 11/6 (25m)
Joey Barrington (Eng)                                               bye


Lincou Licks Willstrop In Kuwait Upset


Sixth seed Thierry Lincou set up a second Franco/Egyptian Kuwait Open semi-final when he upset England's fourth seed James Willstrop in the quarter-finals of the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum championship - the richest squash event of the year to date - at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


Willstrop, the British National champion from Yorkshire, arrived in Kuwait as the Tour's in-form player, with title successes in his last three events - the Swedish Open, the Davenport Pro Championship and the Canary Wharf Classic.


The 24-year-old world No4 looked to be coasting to his 16th successive Tour win as he took the first two games against Frenchman Lincou. 


But the world No7 from Marseille mounted a sensational comeback, winning 9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 in 70 minutes


"I'm over the moon - over the moon because I made this effort myself," explained Lincou, the former world number one now in his first Super Series semi-final since last November.  "I came on court to do well, but not to win, and it showed.  I was playing well every other rally.  So this victory is before and foremost a victory on myself.


"He surprised me by his start - he was playing the ball so early, he was totally outplaying me.  And then, I starting increasing my pressure, and he had a drop of energy, and the graph reversed," added the 32-year-old.


"It's hard when you pass 30 - you get through a tough motivational period, but now, it looks like I'm getting a second wind."


Willstrop agreed that the match turned completely in the third game:  "I felt in complete control for two games, but he's such a great competitor.  It's testimony to the guy:  you don't get to be world champion and world number one for no reason," said the Englishman.


Lincou will face second seed Ramy Ashour for a place in the final after the 20-year-old world number two from Egypt battled to an 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4 victory over England's 10th seed Lee Beachill in 53 minutes.


"We always have tough five-setters together," said Ashour.  "How can he be ten years older than me and still be that good?"


Beachill, who upset Australia's two-time world champion David Palmer to reach a surprise quarter-final, was pleased with his performance:  "I think that my level went up a bit during this event.  I played pretty well, apart from a bad start in the fourth and fifth - and when Ramy gets two points lead, he is very hard to stop - he gets in a sort of momentum.  But you've got to give him credit; he came from just clipping the tin a few times to getting the nick every shot."


The other semi-final will feature Amr Shabana, the top seed from Egypt, and France's third seed Gregory Gaultier.  World number one Shabana survived a close clash with Ong Beng Hee, beating the 14th seed from Malaysia 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0).


Gaultier also prevailed in straight games, defeating Egypt's seventh seed Karim Darwish 11-9, 11-9, 11-10 (5-3).

Shabana & Ashour Set Up Kuwait Final


Mighty Egyptians Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour will contest the final of the Kuwait Open - their fifth successive meeting in a Tour final - after overcoming French opposition in the semi-finals of the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash championship at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


In the first semi-final against third seed Gregory Gaultier, Shabana took the opening lead after a surviving a tie-break game - like all the games in his straight games quarter-final win 24 hours earlier.  But the 25-year-old Frenchman burst back to take the next two games to establish the lead.


After winning the fourth to draw level, the Egyptian continued in the ascendancy in the fifth, leading 6-2 when an accidental collision led to Gaultier injuring his ankle in a fall.  The Frenchman took a few minutes to recover, but on the resumption it was clear he was unable to compete, and after two points opened the court door and offered his hand to his opponent!


"I feel terrible," said Shabana after his 11-10 (3-1), 4-11, 3-11, 11-8, 8-2 (ret.) win in exactly one hour.  "Greg is one of my best mates of the tour, we are always together.  I know it could have been the other way around, and I feel really bad.  But it's not just for this tournament, it's our livelihood - I just hope that he'll be OK."


The victory takes left-hander Shabana, the world number one and three times world champion from Giza, into his 30th PSA Tour final.


The second semi-final produced the final the crowd wanted as Ramy Ashour blitzed the first two games against Thierry Lincou, the sixth seed from France who made the last four after fighting back from two games down to upset fourth-seeded Englishman James Willstrop.


The Frenchman threatened to repeat his comeback in the quarter-finals as he pulled a game back and took a 5-3 lead in the fourth.


Ramy was having none of it, however, as he reeled off the next eight points to win 11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5 in 45 minutes and book himself a rematch of last week's Hurghada International final.


"I've watched Thierry play for a long time now, he is such a great ambassador for the game," said 20-year-old Ashour after reaching his 15th Tour final - and fourth this year.  "Yesterday, when I was 2/1 down, Thierry was my inspiration, when he came back from 2/0 against James. But tonight, I was worried he was going to do that to me, and he kept me on my toes the whole of the third game.


"But then, I just was able to keep him in the corners, and play the right shot at the right time.


"I'm enjoying the fact that Shabana is world number one," added the Cairo-based Egyptian, who jumped to two in the world after beating his compatriot for the first time in last year's Kuwait final.  "Of course I want to beat him, but he is from my country, and he is like a big brother to me.


"And every time we play together, we are having huge matches.  It should be a great show tomorrow."


Official website: www.sheikhasquash.com

Beachill Bursts Into Kuwait Quarters


England's Lee Beachill caused a major upset in the second round of the 2008 Kuwait Open when he beat Australia's fifth seed David Palmer in straight games to claim an unexpected place in the quarter-finals of the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum championship - the richest squash event of the year to date - at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


The tenth seed from Yorkshire despatched 2005 champion Palmer, a two times world champion, 11-7, 11-10 (3-1), 11-9 in 55 minutes.  It was not only Beachill's first win over the Australian since November 2005, but his first in straight games under the current PAR scoring system to 11 points!


"I don't think I played that well today," conceded the former world number one from Pontefract.  "It's been a while since I've beaten a top ten guy - I had a few hard 3/2s, but I didn't have such a win, and you wouldn't believe the confidence you get from a victory like that!


"I guess a win like that was on the cards for a little while now as I've been hitting the ball very well recently, just not getting the win.  I'm very happy to be in the quarters of one the biggest events in history."


Beachill now faces Ramy Ashour, the 20-year-old title-holder from Egypt who ended teenage qualifier Tarek Momen's run - beating his fellow countryman 11-5, 11-7, 11-7.


Beachill's Pontefract club-mate James Willstrop also made it through to the last eight - but it took the fourth seed 105 minutes to get the better of his long-time rival and England team-mate Peter Barker 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 10-11 (1-3), 11-8, 11-9.


"I created a lot of belief in myself with my recent results, and I've got to believe that I can get through those matches," said Willstrop, winner of the last three Tour events he entered.  "But it's like treading water on there, it's so much hard work, especially on that court, which is like a leveller - although playing Peter on any court would have been as hard as it was today.


"Pete has improved so much recently, it's getting more and more difficult to beat him, and he is definitely going in the right direction."


Willstrop now takes on Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the sixth seed who was also taken to five games before seeing off his opponent Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the 15th seed from Malaysia, 11-10 (2-0), 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3.


Malaysian Ong Beng Hee avenged his defeat by Cameron Pilley in last year's Malaysian Open by beating the unseeded Australian 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9 in a 108-minute marathon.  The 14th seed now faces favourite Amr Shabana, the world number one from Egypt who recovered from a game down to beat England's 12th seed Adrian Grant 10-11 (0-2), 11-2, 11-2, 11-5.

Egyptians Enjoy Contrasting Fortunes In Kuwait


It was a mixed opening day for Egyptians in the 2008 Kuwait Open as Tarek Momen became the only qualifier to prevail, but seeds Wael El Hindi and Mohammed Abbas crashed out of the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum championship - the richest squash event of the year to date - at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


Momen, the 20-year-old world No48 from Cairo, beat 11th seed Mohammed Abbas - recovering from a game down to win 5-11, 11-10 (6-4), 11-2, 11-5 and record the best win of his career.


"I'm so happy - I would have never dreamt that I could play such a squash! All my shots were going in, my length was accurate and precise," said Momen after progressing beyond the first round of a Super Series event for the first time.


It was the fast-improving Cameron Pilley that prematurely ended Wael El Hindi's run in Kuwait.  In the longest match of the day, the unseeded UK-based Australian fought back from 1/2 down to upset the eighth seed 11-6, 8-11, 3-11, 11-4, 11-6 in 76 minutes.


"I'm over the moon!  It's the first time I've beaten him in six attempts.  I've been so close in the past and never managed it, but I wanted to win so badly this time it's a joke," explained 25-year-old Pilley, who reached his biggest Tour final at the Canary Wharf Classic in London last month.


"I'm glad my training's started to come good - that's two or three good tournaments in a row.  I'm really pleased."


The top two seeds eased comfortably into the last sixteen.  Favourite Amr Shabana, the world No1 from Egypt, dropped a game to 17-year-old Pakistani qualifier Aamir Atlas Khan before beating the youngest player in the tournament 11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6.


"Oh man - he's like Speedy Gonzales that boy, a little Jansher," said Shabana of the teenager who is a nephew of the Pakistan legend.


Second seed Ramy Ashour, the title-holder, took only 36 minutes to overcome fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad 11-7, 11-10 (4-2), 11-6.


But the swiftest victory of the day was earned by fourth seed James Willstrop, the England number one who is looking for his fourth PSA Tour title success in a row.  A 35-minute 11-9, 11-4, 11-1 win over New Zealand qualifier Kashif Shuja takes Willstrop through to a last sixteen clash with England team-mate Peter Barker.

Kiwi Shuja Upsets Barrington To Qualify In Kuwait


New Zealand's Kashif Shuja put paid to a trio of Englishmen making it into the main draw of the 2008 Kuwait Open when he upset world No28 Joey Barrington in the longest final qualifying match of the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum championship - the richest squash event of the year to date - at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


Barrington, who has been selected to make his England debut in next week's European Team Championships in Amsterdam, opened up a 2/1 lead over the Kiwi, ranked 13 places lower in the world.  But Pakistan-born Shuja reclaimed the advantage to run out an 11-8, 7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) winner after 68 minutes.


"That's a good win, one of my best," said the delighted 28-year-old from Auckland afterwards.  "I've played Joey in a few professional matches, so I know how tough he is and I knew I would have to maintain it physically to beat him.  I lost in the qualifying finals here last year, so it's great to go one better, especially after saving a couple of match balls in the fifth."


Shuja is drawn to face another Englishman in the first round - James Willstrop, the in-form fourth seed from Yorkshire who is looking for his 14th straight Tour win after lifting three PSA titles since February.


Daryl Selby and Alister Walker boosted the English content of the draw by two following four-game qualifying final wins over India's Saurav Ghosal and Jan Koukal, from the Czech Republic, respectively.


"I'm ecstatic to qualify for such a big event again," said 25-year-old Selby after his 11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-6 victory.  "There's always pressure on the top eight seeds in qualifiers, and it's such a big difference in points and money if you get through.  I've just got a new flat with my girlfriend, so she can have a trip to IKEA now!"


Julian Illingworth, the three times US champion from New York, made it through to the biggest tournament of his career when he beat former Indian champion Ritwik Bhattacharya 11-7, 11-4, 11-9. 


"I don't have a game plan really - if I'm hitting it well, I go for it, if not, I'm not going to force it, whatever the body/racquet tells you on the day," explained the 24-year-old world No39.  "But today, I was shooting more than I would normally do, because at the back, he is pretty strong."


Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan became the youngest player to qualify when he beat fellow countryman Farhan Mehboob 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8.  The reward for the 17-year-old from Peshawar is his first ever meeting with favourite Amr Shabana, the world number one from Egypt.


Locals Conquered in Kuwait Open Qualifiers


Local interest in the qualifying tournament for the 2008 Kuwait Open expired on the opening day of action in the $200,000 PSA Super Series Platinum championship - the richest squash event of the year to date - at the KSF Squash Complex in Kuwait City


With many of their players in Bahrain for the Gulf Championships, five Kuwaiti juniors joined the experienced Badr Al Hussaini in representing the host nation.  While the juniors all gained valuable experience without taking a game, Hussaini - encouraged by a sizeable crowd - pushed young Egyptian Tarek Momen before going down to the world No48 11-10 (6-4), 11-4, 11-9 in 46 minutes.


The two longest matches saw Dutchman Dylan Bennett squeeze past Hungary's Mark Krajcsak in five games and 72 minutes, and US number one Julian Illingworth come from behind in the decider to beat Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, this time in 83 minutes.


The only upset came as Ritwik Bhattacharya, the former Indian champion returning to the venue where he played the Asian Championships in February, overcame Australian Aaron Frankcomb - ranked 15 places higher in the world - in three well-contested games, triumphing 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 in 53 minutes.





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