Shabana Overcomes Ashour To
Win Kuwait Final
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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.
2007 Event Page
Kuwait Open 2007
 Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-3, 11-9, 9-11,
Q] Aamir Atlas
v10-11 (0-2), 11-2,
11-2, 11-5 (45m)
11-10 (2-0), 11-10
(2-0), 11-10 (2-0) (43m)
Ong Beng Hee
11-10 (3-1), 4-11,
3-11, 11-8, 8-2 ret. (60m)
11-10 (3-1) (52m)
 Adrian Grant (Eng)
(2-0), 10-11 (2-4), 11-4 (63m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
 Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11-6, 8-11, 3-11,
11-4, 11-6 (76m)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11-2, 7-11, 11-9,
9-11, 11-9 (108m)
Ong Beng Hee
 Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11-7, 4-11, 7-11,
11-8, 11-8 (63m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11-8, 11-1 (40m)
Alex Gough (Wal)
11-5, 11-5, 11-3
11-9, 11-9, 11-10
 Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-9, 11-2, 9-11,
Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
 Karim Darwish (Egy)
11-5, 11-6, 9-11,
[Q] Renan Lavigne
9-11, 11-7, 11-8,
Laurens Jan Anjema
 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-7, 11-2, 11-7
[Q] Omar Abdel
[Q] Alister Walker (ENG)
(4-2), 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 (73m)
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11-10 (2-0), 5-11,
11-9, 7-11, 11-3 (77m)
9-11, 4-11, 11-8,
11-8, 11-5 (70m)
11-3, 11-6, 9-11,
[Q] Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-9, 11-9, 11-2
 Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Julian Illingworth
11-7, 11-8, 11-3
 Peter Barker (Eng)
10-11 (0-2), 11-5,
10-11 (1-3), 11-8, 11-9 (105m)
[Q] Kashif Shuja (NZL)
11-9, 11-4, 11-1
 James Willstrop (Eng)
Borja Golan (Esp)
11-9, 11-8 (56m)
 Lee Beachill (Eng)
11-7, 11-10 (3-1),
8-11, 11-8, 6-11,
11-4, 11-4 (53m)
Shahier Razik (Can)
(0-2), 11-1, 11-5 (59m)
 David Palmer (Aus)
[Q] Tarek Momen (EGY)
(6-4), 11-2, 11-5 (47m)
 Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (32m)
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
(4-2), 11-6 (36m)
 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)
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)
Lincou Licks Willstrop In
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.
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.
24-year-old world No4 looked to be coasting to his 16th
successive Tour win as he took the first two games against Frenchman
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.
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
"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."
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.
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.
have tough five-setters together," said Ashour. "How can he be ten
years older than me and still be that good?"
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."
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
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
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.
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
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
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."
victory takes left-hander Shabana, the world number one and
three times world champion from Giza, into his 30th
PSA Tour final.
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.
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.
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
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.
then, I just was able to keep him in the corners, and play
the right shot at the right time.
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.
every time we play together, we are having huge matches. It
should be a great show tomorrow."
Beachill Bursts Into Kuwait
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
"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
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.
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.
improved so much recently, it's getting more and more difficult to
beat him, and he is definitely going in the right direction."
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.
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
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.
Ramy Ashour, the title-holder, took only 36 minutes to overcome
fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad 11-7, 11-10 (4-2), 11-6.
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
Kiwi Shuja Upsets
Barrington To Qualify In Kuwait
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."
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.
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.
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!"
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,
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
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
Locals Conquered in Kuwait
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.
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
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.