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Amr Shabana & Nicol David Maintain Grip On Hong Kong Titles

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open 2009
Men's Draw $145k
Round One
Oct 14
Round Two
Oct 15
Oct 16
Oct 17
Oct 18
[1] Karim Darwish (Egy)
 11/7, 11/1, 11/5 (29m)
[Q] Julien Balbo (Fra)
Karim Darwish
11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (53m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
Karim Darwish
11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (71m)
Azlan Iskandar
Karim Darwish
12-10, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana
11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 5-2 ret. (48m)
Gregory Gaultier
[11] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11/8, 11/7, 11/8 (47m)
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
[5] David Palmer (Aus)
11/2, 11/7, 11/4 (34m)
[Q] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
David Palmer
6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4 (72m)
Azlan Iskandar
[15] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 11/9, 11/7, 11/4 (45m)
Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
[3] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11/6, 11/7, 11/7 (28m)
[Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Amr Shabana
12-10, 11-5, 11-9 (55m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Amr Shabana
8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (56m)
Daryl Selby
[14] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/8, 11/7, 5/11, 11/8 (47m)
Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
[7] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/3, 11/1, 11/7 (36m)
[Q] Renan Lavigne (Fra)
Peter Barker
11-5, 11-6, 11-1 (40m)
Daryl Selby
[16] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
12/10, 11/9, 13/11 (63m)
Daryl Selby (Eng)
[Q] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (32m)
[13] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
Stewart Boswell
11-9, 17-15, 11-5 (49m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop
6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (47m)
Ramy Ashour
James Willstrop
11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (47m)
Gregory Gaultier
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
12/10, 11/4, 9/11, 7/11, 14/12 (90m)
[8] James Willstrop (Eng)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11/6, 11/7, 11/2 (32m)
[10] Alister Walker (Eng)
Alister Walker
11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 (44m)
Ramy Ashour
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11/6, 11/4, 11/9 (27m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
[Q] Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/4, 11/9, 11/13, 11/5 (48m)
[12] Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Aamir Atlas Khan
11-7, 2-11, 11-2, 11-2 (39m)
Thierry Lincou
Thierry Lincou
11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 11-4 (60m)
Gregory Gaultier
Dick Lau (Hkg)
11/6, 11/6, 11/8 (34m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
11/5, 14/12, 11/6 (47m)
[9] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Adrian Grant
11-5, 16-14, 7-3 ret. (87m)
Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
11/8, 10/12, 11/7, 11/3 (51m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open 2009
Women's Draw, $74k
Round One
Oct 14
Round Two
Oct 15
Oct 16
Oct 17
Oct 18
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (28m)
Line Hansen (Den)
Nicol David
11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (26m)
Rebecca Chiu
Nicol David
11-2, 11-6, 11-8 (34m)
Jenny Duncalf
Nicol David
11-6, 11-5, 12-10 (41m)
Laura Massaro
Nicol David
11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (25m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
[13] Rebecca Chiu (Hkg)
11/9, 11/4, 11/4 (21m)
[Q] Song Sun-Mi (Kor)
[5] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
11/7, 11/7, 11/8 (25m)
[Q] Low Wee Wern (Mas)
Jenny Duncalf
11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5 (47m)
Engy Kheirallah
[12] Annie Au (Hkg)
4/11, 11/5, 11/4, 11/6 (37m)
Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
[4] Alison Waters (Eng)
11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (21m)
[Q] Orla Noom (Ned)r
Alison Waters
11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (31m)
Raneem El Weleily
Alison Waters
11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-3 (52m)
Laura Massaro
[16] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
 11/8, 9/11, 11/7, 11/7 28m)
[Q] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
[8] Laura Massaro (Eng)
11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (28m)
[Q] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
Laura Massaro
11-6, 11-6, 14-12 (42m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter
[15] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
11/6, 11/5, 13/15, 11/0 (58m)
Latasha Khan (Usa)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
11/8, 11/5, 11/9 (34m)
[11] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
Donna Urquhart
11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (28m)
Madeline Perry
Madeline Perry
11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
Rachael Grinham
Rachael Grinham
11-4, 11-4, 11-7 (27m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
Lauren Briggs (Eng)
1/8, 11/6, 11/5 (30m)
[7] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Sarah Kippax (Eng)
11/6, 11/8, 5/11, 11/9 (49m)
[9] Kasey Brown (Aus)
Kasey Brown
11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 (35m)
Rachael Grinham
Delia Arnold (Mas)
11/3, 11/7, 11/4 (20m)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
Aisling Blake (Irl)
2/11, 12/14, 11/4, 11/5, 11/8 (52m)
[10] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
Isabelle Stoehr
10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (43m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
Omneya Abdel Kawy
11-3, 11-6, 14-12 (27m)
Camille Serme
[Q] Sharon Wee (Mas)
11/6, 11/2, 11/6 (18m)
[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
Joey Chan (Hkg)
11/7, 10/12, 6/11, 11/2, 11/5 (50m)
[14] Camille Serme (Fra)
Camille Serme
Natalie Grinham
[Q] Elise Ng (Hkg)
11/8, 11/8, 11/5 (22m)
[2] Natalie Grinham (Ned)

Women's qualifying finals:

Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS) 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9 (35m)

Elise Ng (HKG) bt Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 13-11, 16-14, 11-8 (33m)

Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Joelle King (NZL) 14-12, 11-5, 11-5 (40m)

Orla Noom (NED) bt Leung Shin-Nga (HKG) 11-3, 11-8, 11-4 (21m)

Song Sun-Mi (KOR) bt Christina Mak (HKG) 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 (56m)

Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Miwa Maekawa (JPN) 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (25m)

Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 (28m)

Sharon Wee (MAS) bt Fiona Moverley (ENG) 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (33m)


Amr Shabana & Nicol David Maintain Grip On Hong Kong Titles


Two of the world's leading squash players maintained their love-affair with Hong Kong today when Malaysia's reigning world number one Nicol David and Egypt's former world number one Amr Shabana successfully defended their titles in the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open - celebrating their fourth successive Hong Kong Open triumphs, but their fifth major Tour titles in the People's Republic of China territory after both winning the World Open crowns in Hong Kong in 2005.


Top seed Nicol David recorded her most decisive win of the set when she overwhelmed Omneya Abdel Kawy, the sixth seed from Egypt, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 in the final of the women's $74,000 women's WISPA Gold event just 25 minutes. 


Abdel Kawy, the 24-year-old world No8 from Cairo, celebrated her maiden appearance in a WISPA Gold final after upsetting Australia's third seed Rachael Grinham in the semi-finals.


But it was one-way traffic for David in the final as the Penang 26-year-old - who arrived in Hong Kong fresh from winning her fourth World Open title in Amsterdam - brushed aside the younger Egyptian's challenge to claim the 41st WISPA World Tour title of her career, and her seventh of the year.


"I always feel comfortable here, I think itís because itís the closest I get to home," David said afterwards.  "And I guess Hong Kong is my lucky charm. Iíve been pretty lucky here since 2005, and so far so good!


"Although I havenít dropped a game this week, this was in no way an easy tournament.  All the girls seem to raise their games when they play against me, and believe me, I had to work hard every round. But I just arrived from the Worlds, and I guess I carried the momentum with me.


"I thought I played very well today - I wish it could be like that all the time," concluded the five-time HK champion.


Third seed Amr Shabana made his breakthrough in the men's $145,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum event when he beat top seed Karim Darwish, the world number one and fellow Egyptian, in the semi-finals.


For the third time in as many years, the 28-year-old from Giza faced French rival Gregory Gaultier in the final.  The second seed and world number two had reached the climax in straightforward style, dropping just two games since the first round.


Shabana took the opening game, but - in a repeat of the pattern 12 months ago - Gaultier fought back to draw level.


But it soon became clear that the 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence was being troubled by a thigh injury picked up some months earlier.  Shabana took the third easily before Gaultier conceded the match midway through the fourth, with the score standing at 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 5-2.


"Winning my fifth title here is an amazing feeling, especially with the quality of the players nowadays on the tour," exclaimed a delighted Shabana later.  "If you donít play well one day, thatís it, you are out.


"Of course, you would like to win a match by winning the last point, not because your opponent is injured, but a tournament like this is five matches, and I beat the World Junior Champion, the World number one on the way, and Iíve perform my best all week I feel.  So itís not just about winning the final.


"At one-all, I could see him struggling a bit with his movement, so I gave it a big push at the start of the third. You know, Greg is a remarkable athlete, heís got a perfect balance between defence and attack, Iím sorry he is injured, but I know him enough, we are very close friends, Iím sure that within a week, heíll be as strong as anything, and probably will beat us all in the Worlds!


"I was world number one for a while, then I lost my ranking, I was injured, but as long as the body holds, Iím up for getting my place back. The equation is really simple. You win matches, your ranking goes up. You lose matches, your ranking goes down.  I know what Iíve got to do!"


Champions On Course For Fourth Hong Kong Titles


Stunning straight games wins in today's (Saturday) semi-finals of the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open have put Amr Shabana and Nicol David on course to win their fourth successive titles in the established international squash event which was first staged in 1985.


Egypt's third seed Amr Shabana will face Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the final of the men's $145,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum event for the third year in a row.


It was on all-glass court set in Hollywood Plaza, one of Hong Kong's busiest shopping malls, that Shabana beat fellow countryman Karim Darwish, the top seed who succeeded him as world number one at the beginning of the year, 12-10, 11-8, 11-4 in 35 minutes.


"Iím happy to be in the final of Hong Kong again," the 30-year-old from Giza said  afterwards.  "Beating Karim today, the world number one, is a great moment for me.


"Physically was not the hardest aspect of the match, it was more from a mental side it was the hardest.  Youíve got to be extremely strong.


"People donít realise what one of Karimís greatest talent is - he reads the game better than anybody else. So youíve got to keep mixing up your shots constantly, because if you keep on doing the same thing again and again, heíll get used to it.  So youíve got to keep changing and changing all the time."


Like Shabana, Gaultier is also celebrating his 36th appearance in a PSA Tour final.  The world number two from Aix-en-Provence ended James Willstrop's run, beating the eighth-seeded Englishman 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 in a repeat of his victory over his European rival at the same stage of the competition twelve months ago.


Nicol David arrived in Hong Kong fresh from winning her fourth World Open title in Amsterdam.  And the world number one from Malaysia maintained the same level of concentration in the semi-finals of the women's $74,000 women's WISPA Gold event to beat England's Laura Massaro - the eighth seed who upset fourth-seeded compatriot Alison Waters in the previous round.


"It's great to be in Hong Kong, there's a very Asian feel to it which makes me feel at home, and all the spectators watching here in the Plaza make for a great atmosphere," said David after the 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 victory which takes the 26-year-old into the 56th Tour final of her career.


David meets former junior rival Omneya Abdel Kawy in the unexpected climax of the women's championship.  The sixth-seeded Egyptian avenged her loss to Rachael Grinham in the World Open semi-finals by beating the Australian third seed 11-4, 11-4, 11-7 in just 27 minutes.


"I was really focused, it was my second major semi-final and I really wanted to make a final, and I lost from 2-0 against Rachael in the worlds which was so frustrating so I really wanted to win for that reason too," explained the beaming 24-year-old from Cairo later.


"Last time I was thinking too much about what was happening, about the next round, so this time I made sure I was just taking it point by point in the third, I think I kept my focus well.


"I'm so pleased to reach my first major final, I've done well in a few silver events, but this will be good for my ranking and my confidence."


England's Willstrop & Massaro Make The Hong Kong Headlines


England internationals James Willstrop and Laura Massaro recorded breakthrough wins in the quarter-finals of the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open to earn unexpected places in the semi-finals of the established international squash event first staged in 1985.


Eighth seed Willstrop, still fighting back to top form after a layoff following ankle surgery, recovered from a game down to beat Egypt's world champion Ramy Ashour 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 in 47 minutes to reach the last four of the men's $145,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum event for the third time in four years.


It was only the 26-year-old Yorkshireman's second win over the fourth-ranked player in the world in seven meetings Ė and followed a marathon 90-minute first round win, and 49-minutes last sixteen success for Willstrop in the previous 48 hours.


"Itís good to be able to play such a game after two hard matches - Iím not sure that 18 months ago I would have been able to do it," conceded Willstrop afterwards. 


"But itís only the quarters, Iím only in the semis - and I came here to win.  But you canít get a win over Ramy and not recognise itís a good day!"


The former world number two from Leeds now lines up against long-time European rival Gregory Gaultier.


Second-seeded Frenchman Gaultier took exactly an hour to overcome compatriot Thierry Lincou Ė champion of the event in 2004 - 11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 11-4 to get one step closer to his third final appearance in a row.


The other men's semi-final is the eagerly-awaited all-Egyptian clash predicted by the seedings Ė featuring top seed Karim Darwish, the world number one who has never before progressed beyond the quarter-finals, and third seed Amr Shabana, the former world number one who has his sights on a fourth successive crown.


Darwish ended Mohd Azlan Iskandar's run Ė but it took the 28-year-old from Cairo five games and 71 minutes to overcome the unseeded Malaysian 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7.


Shabana also faced an unseeded opponent Ė and dropped the first game to English outsider Daryl Selby before coming back to win 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 in 56 minutes.


"Daryl is so hard to read, which means that you are not standing on the ball the way you would like to, and you see the ball a bit too late.  Iíve been watching him play for years, I was very wary of him, and really had to push," explained the world number three.


"He is such a dangerous player.  I like his technique, he hits the ball very flat, and every time I would open the court, I just didnít know what he was going to do!"


Laura Massaro, also the eighth seed in the women's $74,000 women's WISPA Gold event, took on fourth seed Alison Waters, the England team-mate whom she had only beaten once before in nine meetings over the past six years.


After taking the first two games, Massaro squandered the next two to allow her opponent to draw level.  But, spurred on by her sports psychologist husband Danny Massaro, the Lancashire lass battled back to win 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-3 in 52 minutes.


"I felt good from the start, found my rhythm and everything was coming quite easily.  I've been trying to relax and enjoy it more while I'm playing, and I felt very relaxed at the start of the match.


"Danny fired me up after the fourth - he told me I'd been two-nil up, did I think I could win and did I really want it.  I said 'yes', expecting some more advice - but he just said 'go for it then,' and left me to it!" explained the 25-year-old from Preston.


"I've been on the wrong end of some tough 3/1 and 3/2 matches against Ali, so it's good to get one back. It's great to be in the semis, and I'm really looking forward to playing on the glass court in the Plaza."


Massaro now faces top seed Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who took just 34 minutes to brush aside England's fifth seed Jenny Duncalf 11-2, 11-6, 11-8.


Australia's Rachael Grinham was expecting to meet her younger sister Natalie Grinham in the other women's semi-final.  Third seed Rachael beat Ireland's Madeline Perry to earn her place in the last four - but illness caused second seeded Natalie to pull out of the event after the first round, leaving France's 14th seed Camille Serme and Egypt's 6th seed Omneya Abdel Kawy to fight for the last semi-final berth.


It was the higher-ranked Kawy who prevailed, winning 11-3, 11-6, 14-12 in 27 minutes to set up her 22nd career clash with Grinham senior, with the Australian currently heading their head-to-head standings 16-5.


Selby & Iskandar Earn First-Time Appearances In Hong Kong Quarters


Unseeded Daryl Selby and Mohd Azlan Iskandar captured notable scalps in the second round of the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open to earn their first appearances in the quarter-finals of the men's $145,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum squash event, which was established in 1985.


Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar claimed the biggest scalp, beating 2001 champion David Palmer - the fifth seed from Australia who has not failed to reach the event's last eight since winning the title in 2001. 


The world No20 from Kuala Lumpur recovered from a game down, then stemmed a fourth game fightback by former world champion Palmer to win 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4 in 72 minutes.


"Iíve always admired David, he is my role model, and will be for still a very long time," Iskandar said after his first ever win over the Australian.  "I was moving a bit better than David, and I think that made the difference. I donít think he was playing at his best today.


"I was leading pretty much every game, I played deep in the corners, good length to then take it short. Iím also working at keeping and controlling my emotions better, not to get over excited.  So, Iím happy with the win, obviously - but I have to stay humble, because I really donít think David was at his best."


Englishman Selby faced Essex county colleague and good friend Peter Barker, the seventh seed.  The 26-year-old world No21 was in sparkling form, despatching world No9 Barker 11-5, 11-6, 11-1 to register the first Tour win over his Essex rival in six meetings since February 2006.


"I played very well - it was some of the best squash I've ever played," conceded Selby later.


The two non-seeds now face the event's biggest names:  Iskandar takes on top seed Karim Darwish, the world number one who defeated Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, while Selby also faces an Egyptian, defending champion Amr Shabana - who took 55 minutes to overcome up-and-coming fellow countryman Mohamed El Shorbagy 12-10, 11-5, 11-9.


The last sixteen matches in the women's $74,000 women's WISPA Gold event all went with seeding - except for the bottom match in the draw which was unplayed after second seed Natalie Grinham was taken ill during the previous night and too weak to take part.


"I'm really disappointed as I have been playing well and was really prepared for this week," said the Dutch world number two.  "It's a title I haven't won but I have been hit hard by this overnight so I guess I will have to wait another year to try again."


France's 14th seed Camille Serme was the lucky recipient of the walkover.  The 20-year-old from Creteil will take on Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy after the sixth seed beat France's Isabelle Stoehr 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.


Malaysia's world number one Nicol David moved another step towards her fourth successive title after ending Hong Kong interest in the event by beating Asian rival Rebecca Chiu 11-3, 11-6, 11-3.


Top seed David will now face England's Jenny Duncalf in a repeat of their recent World Open quarter-final in Amsterdam.  Duncalf, the fifth seed from Harrogate in Yorkshire, defeated unseeded Egyptian Engy Kheirallah 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5.


Chiu Keeps Home Hopes Alive In Hong Kong


Rebecca Chiu will fly a lone flag for Hong Kong in the second round of her country's biggest international squash tournament after beating South Korea's Song Sun-Mi in the first round of the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open, the long-established Tour event which has attracted the world's top men and women.


The former Asian Games gold medallist conquered qualifier Song Sun-Mi 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 Ė and was expected to join Annie Au, her successor as Hong Kong number one, in the last sixteen of the $74,000 women's WISPA Gold event.


But Au, the 20-year-old 12th seed, crashed out of the event Ė beaten 4-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 by unseeded Egyptian Engy Kheirallah.


The 27-year-old from Cairo will go on to meet England's fifth seed Jenny Duncalf Ė while Chiu will be reunited with Asian rival Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is seeded to win the title for the fourth year in a row.  It was David who stopped Chiu in last year's second round.


"It's my annual meeting with Nicol next, we always seem to play once a twice a year and usually here," Chiu said later.   "Don't ask me what my game plan is - I don't have one!  I'll just go on to try my best and see what happens!"


The biggest upset in the women's event was claimed by Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart.  Celebrating her 100th match on the WISPA World Tour, the 22-year-old from New South Wales beat New Zealand's Jaclyn Hawkes, the 11th seed, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 - reproducing the same form which saw her reach the quarter-finals of last month's British Open as a qualifier.


A pair of seeds also failed to make the last sixteen in the men's $145,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum event. 


England's Daryl Selby maintained the form which has seen him rise to a career-high world No21 ranking by overcoming Finland's 16th seed Olli Tuominen 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 in 63 minutes.


"Iím so happy with this win, it was a big match for me," said the 26-year-old from Essex Ė who now faces county colleague and England team-mate Peter Barker.  The seventh-seeded left-hander despatched French qualifier Renan Lavigne 11-3, 11-1, 11-7.


Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar also recorded a straight games upset, beating Australia's 15th seed Cameron Pilley 11-9, 11-7, 11-4.  The 27-year-old world No20, ranked three positions below Pilley, will now face another Australian, David Palmer.


The fifth seed, champion of the event in 2001, saw off Egyptian qualifier Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-2, 11-7, 11-4.


Amr Shabana, the defending champion from Egypt who is bidding to win the men's title for the fourth successive year and become the second most successful champion in the event's 24-year history, needed only 28 minutes to conquer Colombian qualifier Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-6, 11-7, 11-7.


The third seed will now line up against compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy after the 18-year-old 14th seed defeated Pakistan's Farhan Mehboob 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8.


The day's most disappointed player will no doubt be Ong Beng Hee, the unseeded Malaysian who kept eighth seed James Willstrop on court for 90 minutes, and recovered from two games down to reach match ball in the decider Ė but ultimately went down 12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 14-12.


The Englishman, twice a semi-finalist over the past three years, will now face Australia's 13th seed Stewart Boswell.


Elise Extends Local Interest In Hong Kong Open


Elise Ng became Hong Kong's sole success in the qualifying finals of the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open after surviving two tie-break games to earn a place in the main draw of the $74,000 women's WISPA Gold squash event.


In the men's $145,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum event, France's Julien Balbo twice came from behind to deny another local success when he beat Hong Kong's Max Lee 5-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-2 in an 82-minute battle.


Elise Ng beat Japan's Misaki Kobayashi 13-11, 16-14, 11-8 in 33 minutes and, in her third successive appearance in the event's first round, will line up against second seed Natalie Grinham, from the Netherlands.


India's Dipika Pallikal became the youngest - and lowest ranked - player to earn a place in the main draw after an impressive straight games success.  The 18-year-old from Chennai, ranked 54 in the world, ousted Joelle King - beating the New Zealander ranked 32 in the world 14-12, 11-5, 11-5.  The teenager is drawn to face Egypt's Raneem El Weleily, the 16th seed.


South Korea's Song Sun-Mi also recorded a notable win - and claimed her first place in the main draw of a WISPA Gold event as a qualifier after upsetting higher-ranked Hong Kong opponent Christina Mak 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8.  The 19-year-old from Kyung-Do now meets another local player, Hong Kong number one Rebecca Chiu, the 13th seed.


Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez earned his first appearance in the men's main draw of the Hong Kong Open after surviving a 78-minute battle against Egypt's Omar Abdel Aziz, winning 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8.


The 23-year-old from Bogota now faces third seed Amr Shabana, the defending champion from Egypt who is hoping to win his fourth successive title in Hong Kong.


South African Stephen Coppinger pulled off a notable upset, beating England's world No45 Chris Simpson 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4.  The Dublin-born world No60 now takes on Australia's 13th seed Stewart Boswell in his maiden appearance in the main draw.


Darwish Set To Foil Shabana's Fourth Title Bid In Hong Kong


Amr Shabana's bid to become the second most successful player ever in one of the longest-established events on the PSA World Tour could be scuppered by fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish in this week's Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open.


The $145,000 Super Series Platinum event - established in 1985 and one of the longest-running events on the men's world squash circuit - gets underway at the Hong Kong Squash Centre following two days of qualifying.  Semi-finals and final action will take place on an all-glass court at the Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.


Darwish, the world number one from Cairo, is seeded to win the Hong Kong Open crown for the first time - while Shabana, his predecessor at the top of the PSA world rankings, is the event's third seed and hoping to win the title for the fourth successive year. 


Success would take Shabana ahead of fellow three-time winner Peter Nicol, and make the 30-year-old the event's second most successful player - behind eight times champion Jansher Khan.


And, after jointly celebrating one of the most rewarding successes of their careers when Egypt secured the title at the world team championships last month, Darwish and Shabana are expected to go head-to-head in the Hong Kong Open semi-finals. 


Shabana, who is marking his 12th successive appearance in the event since 1996, takes on a qualifier in the opening round and is predicted to meet England's No7 seed Peter Barker in the quarter-finals.


Darwish arrives in Hong Kong fresh from victory in the Sky Open, also a Super Series Platinum event, in his home city last month.  But the 28-year-old has yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals in six Hong Kong appearances since 2001.  He also meets a qualifier in the first round - and is scheduled to meet 2001 champion David Palmer, the fifth seed from Australia, in the last eight round.


But Gregory Gaultier will also be hungry for success in Hong Kong after finishing as runner-up for the past two years.  The Frenchman, ranked two in the world, is the second seed - and begins his 2009 campaign against a qualifier before a likely quarter-final clash with compatriot Thierry Lincou, the sixth seed who won the title in 2004.


Nicol David Sets Sights On Fourth Successive Crown In Hong Kong


After notching up her 40th WISPA World Tour squash title at the Forexx Womenís World Open Championship in Amsterdam last month, Nicol David is going for her fourth crown in a row this week in Hong Kong where the Malaysian is seeded to win the Women's Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open.


The $74,000 WISPA Gold event gets underway at the Hong Kong Squash Centre on Wednesday (14 October) following two days of qualifying.  Semi-finals and final action will take place on an all-glass court at the Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.


David, who has held the world number one ranking continuously since August 2006, will face top-ranked Dane Line Hansen in the opening round Ė and is expected to go on to face Asian rival and local star Rebecca Chiu in the next round before coming up against a pair of English opponents, Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters, as she sets up her predicted place in the final.


Remarkably, the anticipated battles with fifth seed Duncalf and fourth seed Waters would be repeats of last month's quarter-final and semi-final World Open clashes!


The draw suggests that Nicol David's opponent in Sunday's final will be Dutch rival Natalie Grinham, the Australian-born world number two who finished as runner-up in Amsterdam.  Grinham is seeded to reach the final after overcoming her third-seeded sister Rachael Grinham in the penultimate round.  World number four Rachael was runner-up last year, while younger sister Natalie was the beaten finalist in 2007.


The 2009 championship has already incurred one casualty Ė in addition to world number three Natalie Grainger, whose foot injury prevented her entering:  England's Tania Bailey, the former world No4 who finished as runner-up in 2006, has withdrawn following a streptococcal infection.





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