El Gouna International Title
claimed his first 2010 PSA Super Series squash title after upsetting
favourite Ramy Ashour in an all-Egyptian final of the inaugural El
Gouna International Open in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El Gouna.
final of the $142,500 PSA Super Series event - the seventh of the year -
failed to live up to expectations when Ashour, the world number one from Cairo
bidding to win his third Super Series crown in a row, sustained an injury early
in the second game.
Darwish came from 10-7 down to take a high-quality first game 16-14, then held a
slender 4-3 advantage in the second when the favourite went forward for a ball
suffering, Ashour took a three-minute injury break - which was more than doubled
while the court was rigorously swept.
On his return,
Ashour's movement was clearly restricted as Darwish reeled off seven quick
points to take the second game and raced ahead in the third.
But, with the
score standing at 16-14, 11-3, 5-0, Ashour offered his hand to Darwish to
concede the match.
"I was really
focussing in the first and second games," Darwish said afterwards. "I had a
feeling I was going to make it tonight, all my shots were sharp and I was
"It's a real
pity it had to finish like that, I feel sorry for Ramy," added the 29-year-old
world No5 from Cairo. "I hope he recovers in time for the other tournaments
happy to win this tournament - it's an important one for me. Thanks to all the
sponsors, particularly Orascom Developments, and my own sponsors.
"And to Amr
Mansi, he's done a great job putting on a big tournament like this for his
the 18th PSA World Tour title of his career, sees Darwish move up to fourth
place in the latest 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings.
extended his lead at the top of the list to 125 points ahead of second-placed
Englishman Nick Matthew. England's James Willstrop, a
quarter-finalist in El Gouna, holds onto third place, while Frenchman Gregory
Gaultier slips to fifth. Whilst the line-up of the all-important top eight
is unchanged, France's Thierry Lincou strengthens his status by rising to
sixth-equal, sharing 180 points with Egypt's Amr Shabana.
The PSA Super
Series Tour immediately reconvenes in Kuwait, where the $172,500 HH Sheikh
Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir, Kuwait Open gets underway
on Thursday (28 October)
International Celebrates All-Egyptian Climax
El Gouna International Open will climax in a dream all-Egyptian final
after favourite Ramy Ashour and third seed Karim Darwish prevailed
in the semi-finals of the $142,500 PSA Super Series squash event - the
seventh of the year - at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El Gouna.
world number one from Cairo, was taken the full distance by Frenchman Gregory
Gaultier in the opening semi - and ultimately prevailed 11-8, 9-11, 11-5,
8-11, 11-2 in 96 minutes in the second longest match of his career.
It was a
tense, high-quality, encounter in which the Egyptian was 6-3 up in the third
when the pair collided. Fourth seed Gaultier fell to the floor, clutching his
leg for a couple of minutes before being escorted off the court by the match
13-minute break the battle continued, but Ashour immediately put in two drops,
both of which found Gaultier's movement out, and the local hero quickly finished
shame there was that accident," Gaultier said
afterwards. "We were both playing well and it broke the rhythm of the match."
The world No6
from Aix-en-Provence came out for the fourth with renewed purpose, however, and
duly levelled the match.
fourth or fifth time we've had a great match like that," said Ashour later.
"It's always good squash with me and Greg.
"It was a
mental and a physical game, there were a lot of crucial points in the middle and
I was nervous at times. I was quite lucky to win the third.
"I knew that I
had to push from the start of the fifth, and I'm pleased with how I did that,"
added the 23-year-old. "It feels great to make the final, thanks to my coaches,
my brother and to all the crowd who supported me!"
national rival Karim Darwish, the world No5 who is also from Cairo, then
reserved his place in the final with an 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 win over surprise
opponent Thierry Lincou, the No7 seed from France who upset third seed
Amr Shabana in the previous round.
"It's great to
be in the final - but Thierry's so strong, mentally and physically," said
Darwish after the pair's 14th career meeting which brought the head-to-head
tally to seven wins apiece!
"He played a
hard 3/2 yesterday, yet he was playing so well today," added Darwish of the
34-year-old Tour veteran from Marseille.
"I had to
focus from the first point. I knew that if I left any openings he would take
them. I managed to win some important points at crucial stages which made a big
pleased with his performance: "I thought I played well, but I just missed a bit
of energy - I was at maybe 90%, but you have to be 100% to beat someone like
celebrating the 29th PSA Tour final of his career - and his seventh this
year - while 29-year-old Darwish is marking his 31st Tour climax. Ashour is one
win away from his third successive Super Series title success, while Darwish is
seeking his first title in the 2010 PSA Super Series.
Shabana For Last Four Berth In El Gouna
Frenchman Thierry Lincou celebrated his 20th Tour meeting with
career-long rival Amr Shabana in the quarter-finals of the El Gouna
International Open by recording his longest ever win over the Egyptian to
reach the last four of the inaugural $142,500 PSA Super Series squash
event at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El Gouna.
34-year-old from Marseille had won their previous encounter, in last year's
Super Series Finals in England, Lincou went into the match 7-12 down in the
their head-to-head Tour tally since September 2003.
In a clash
described by an observer as "probably the best match of the tournament so far",
seventh seed Lincou recovered from losing the first game, then survived a
tie-break in the third before moving on to secure his 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 5-11,
11-4 upset in 69 minutes over the second-seeded reigning World Open
"I just tried
to stay focused on my width and length," explained former world number one
Lincou afterwards. "Because on this court - especially against Shabana - you
don't get forgiven for anything loose.
"It took me a
lot of energy to stay patient, but at the same time I was trying to stay in
front of him. It was just mental at the end, I just needed to give it a hard
push to the finish.
pleasing to reach a Platinum semi-final, it's what I'm working and training for,
keeping the faith!"
Lincou, now in
his second Super Series semi of the year, will face another Egyptian Karim
Darwish after the third seed from Cairo defeated Australia's 13th seed
Cameron Pilley 11-6, 11-9, 11-4.
But an earlier
eagerly-awaited match between European rivals Gregory Gaultier and
James Willstrop failed to live up to expectations when Willstrop, the fifth
seed from England, was forced to concede the match midway through the second
game as a result of slippery conditions on the court floor.
Both had found
the court slippery during practice during the day - but had expected the
night-time conditions to improve things.
looked subdued throughout the match, not risking chasing anything that might
require a stretch. At 9-0 down in the second, the Yorkshireman offered his hand.
"I know people
may say I'm always complaining about this," said Willstrop. "But it's not as if
I have problems on many courts. We train all year to play good matches against
the other top guys in settings like this, and to be honest it's disgusting that
anyone should have to concede for risk of injury because of something like this.
on courts all over the world, I certainly don't want to come off, but it's just
not worth the risk."
fourth seed from Aix-en-Provence, agreed that the court conditions had affected
the match: "I feel really bad about taking a match like that. I could feel it
was a bit slippy too, but it was affecting James more than me. There was no
match - we played maybe two proper points.
"We played a great match just the other day, I was looking forward to another
one. It's not what anyone wants."
now face favourite Ramy Ashour, the world number one from Egypt who raced
to an 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 victory over unseeded compatriot Omar Mosaad.
Through To El Gouna Quarters
Cameron Pilley pulled off the only upset on the second day of second round
action in the El Gouna International Open when he defeated England's
sixth seed Peter Barker to reach the quarter-finals of the inaugural
$142,500 PSA Super Series squash event at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of
winning two Commonwealth Games medals in Delhi, Pilley recovered from a
game down to beat Barker, the world No8 from London, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 in
62 minutes on the all-glass court at El Gouna.
The win in the
seventh 2010 PSA Super Series event takes the 27-year-old 13th seed from
New South Wales into his first Super Series quarter-final of the year.
"The first was
a bit frustrating," the Netherlands-based world No16 said afterwards. "I gave
him too many opportunities to put the ball away, so I had to change my tactics.
I started hitting it straighter and volleying more, and I was finding the
corners, front and back. I kept that going for three games and I won!"
now meet one of four Egyptians who will line up in the quarter-finals. Karim
Darwish, the third seed from Cairo, also had to come from behind in his
second round match - recovering from a game down to beat Malaysia's 12th seed
Mohd Azlan Iskandar 8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-1.
of the fittest guys on the circuit," said the former world number one
afterwards. "He played better than me in the first game, but I knew that if I
could keep working him to the corners it would work to my advantage. I'm more
used to these conditions."
Tour rivalry between two former world number ones will add a further chapter
when Egypt's reigning world champion Amr Shabana takes on France's former
world champion Thierry Lincou for a place in the El Gouna semis.
Lincou ended qualifier Chris Ryder's hopes, beating the 30-year-old
Englishman 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 in just under an hour.
"It was my
first match on this court - it always takes a little while to get used to new
conditions," explained 34-year-old Lincou, the world No7 who is celebrating his
sixth successive Super Series quarter-final appearance.
Shabana caused the second Malaysian downfall of the day when he beat 15th seed
Ong Beng Hee 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.
"I knew I had
to be positive against Bengy," said the 31-year-old from Cairo. "And today was a
day when being positive was good for me.
"He gets more
into it as the game goes on, unlike some who start strongly and then fade, so I
had to be very focused at the end of the match, I didn't want to be on there for
Slippery Start In El Gouna
number one Ramy Ashour survived the opening match of the El Gouna
International Open on the first day of action in the inaugural $142,500
PSA Super Series squash event on an all-glass court in El Gouna.
unusually humid evening caused excessively slippery conditions on the court -
and the second round clash had to be halted for more than half an hour, midway
through the first game, while the wind played its part in helping to restore the
court to a playable condition.
action in Alexandria, the 2010 El Gouna International Open - the seventh
2010 PSA Super Series event and the second this year to be staged in
Egypt - is now being staged in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El Gouna, through
to the grand final on Sunday (24 October).
Ashour was facing Karim Abdel Gawad, a 19-year-old qualifier from Cairo -
and recovered from the break to beat his young compatriot 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 in 48
minutes of playing time.
happened to me twice before," Ashour told
when asked to comment about the interruption. "The first time I was completely
lost, but now I know how to deal with it. In the end the court was fine, we both
played well and it was a good match."
revelled in his glass court debut: "I've wanted to play on a court like this in
an event like this against the best in the world since I was eight!"
quarter-finals, Ashour will face his third fellow countryman in the event after
unseeded Egyptian Omar Mosaad battled for 95 minutes to overcome fellow
non-seed Farhan Mehboob, a 21-year-old Pakistani ranked nine places
lower, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6.
happy to win today," said Mosaad, the 22-year-old world No22. "The first time in
my life in the quarters of such a big event.
very good, very fast and fast hands. I was lucky to win the first, but then I
was leading the second and lost. There was a lot of stopping in the third and
the fourth, in the fifth I just had to start again and focus."
Gregory Gaultier stopped the Egyptian march through to the last eight when
he beat 19-year-old Alexandrian Mohamed El Shorbagy. But the No4 seed
dropped the opening game to ninth seed El Shorbagy before taking control to
close out the match 11-13, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10.
prepared to play tomorrow," said the relieved former world number one from
Aix-en-Provence after his 78-minute victory.
problems with the floor, and I got on an hour and a half late after warming up
twenty times. I didn't realise it until after we started, but my legs felt
heavy, my fitness wasn't there, so I just had to dig in."
In the final
match of the day, England's James Willstrop - one of a number of players
who flew straight to Egypt following ten days of Commonwealth Games
action in Delhi - despatched Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-6, 11-3,
As Egyptians Thrive In El Gouna Opener
All but two of
the second round matches in the inaugural El Gouna International Open
will feature Egyptian interest after local players led a flurry of upsets in the
first round of the $142,500 PSA Super Series squash event at the
Alexandria Sporting Club in Alexandria.
The 2010 El
Gouna International Open - the seventh 2010 PSA Super Series event
and the second this year to be staged in Egypt - will now move to the Egyptian
Red Sea resort of El Gouna from the second round, leading to the grand
final on Sunday 24 October.
In a marathon
101-minute battle, qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad fought back from two games
down to overcome experienced Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the No11 seed,
7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9.
Alexandria-born 19-year-old from Cairo will now face compatriot Ramy Ashour,
the top seed. But the world number one was also tested by a fellow countryman in
the opening round before fending off Mohammed Abbas, a qualifier once
ranked 13 in the world, 11-9, 11-13, 11-3, 11-6.
Daryl Selby was the highest seed to fall. The eighth seed, ranked ten in the
world, went down 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2 in 80 minutes to unseeded Omar Mosaad,
ranked 12 places lower.
22-year-old from Cairo will now face another non-seed for a place in the
quarter-finals. Pakistan's Farhan Mehboob contrived to reduce the
Egyptian interest in the event by upsetting Cairo-born tenth seed Wael El
Hindi 9-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5.
all-Egyptian first round clash produced a surprise outcome when unseeded Mohd
Ali Anwar Reda beat 16th seed Tarek Momen 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6.
21-year-old world No29 from Cairo, now lines up against England's fifth seed
James Willstrop, an 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 winner over Egyptian qualifier Wael
qualifier also claimed an unexpected place in the last 16 round in the Red Sea
resort of El Gouna when Chris Ryder defeated fellow countryman Alister
Walker, the 14th seed, 11-1, 12-10, 11-8.
Ryder, at 30,
the oldest player to qualify, will now take on Thierry Lincou, the No7
seed from France who ousted Czech number one Jan Koukal, a qualifier,
11-4, 11-3, 11-9.
Quartet Boost Local Interest In El Gouna International
Alexandria-born teenager Karim Abdel Gawad became the youngest of four
Egyptians to claim places in the main draw of the inaugural El Gouna
International Open after surviving the qualifying finals of the $142,500
PSA Super Series squash event at the Alexandria Sporting Club in
qualifying and first round action in Alexandria, the 2010 El Gouna
International Open - the seventh 2010 PSA Super Series event and the
second this year to be staged in Egypt - will move to the Egyptian Red Sea
resort of El Gouna from the second round, leading to the grand final on
Sunday 24 October.
19-year-old world No56, despatched Dutch number two Dylan Bennett 13-11,
11-7, 11-3 - and will now face 11th seed Laurens Jan Anjema, the Dutch
No1, in the first round.
Egyptian Mohammed Abbas also made the main draw. The 29-year-old former
world No13, who is making a comeback after a year-long foot injury layoff,
needed five games to outwit rising local star Marwan El Shorbagy, a
17-year-old from Alexandria making his PSA Tour debut, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8,
10-12, 11-5 in 65 minutes.
currently ranked 47 in the world, will now face his third compatriot in the
event - the reigning world number one Ramy Ashour who is seeded to win
his third successive PSA Super Series event on home soil.
was the lowest-ranked player to qualify. The 22-year-old from Giza, ranked 119
in the world, reached almost 80 places higher to dismiss Australian Aaron
Frankcomb, the world No40, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-3 in an 89-minute
reward is a clash with third-seeded compatriot Karim Darwish, the world
No5 from Cairo.
Flourish In El Gouna Qualifiers
interest in the inaugural El Gouna International Open is likely to be
considerably boosted after seven Egyptians claimed places in the qualifying
finals of the $142,500 PSA Super Series squash event which are being
staged at the Alexandria Sporting Club in Alexandria.
qualifying and first round action in Alexandria, the 2010 El Gouna
International Open - the seventh PSA Super Series event of the year and the
second to be staged in Egypt - will move to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El
Gouna from the second round, leading to the grand final on Sunday 24
21-year-old Karim AGA Samy produced the biggest qualifying shock by
overcoming compatriot Omar Abdel Aziz, the second highest-ranked player
in the competition. Samy, ranked 98 in the world, recovered from 2/1 down to
topple Aziz, the world No34, 11-6, 4-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9 in 70 minutes.
stands in Samy's way of claiming a place in the main draw. The Czech number one
battled for three minutes longer to secure a straight games victory over
Robbie Temple, beating the left-hander from England 11-9, 12-10, 18-16.
Ten days of
fierce competition in the Commonwealth Games in India, leading to
quarter-final berths in two doubles events, clearly took its toll on Campbell
Grayson after the New Zealander bowed out prematurely in Alexandria.
world No49 from Auckland, took the opening game against Marwan El Shorbagy
- but the 17-year-old Egyptian took control thereafter and, after just 38
minutes, claimed his surprise 10-12, 11-6, 11-3, 11-0 win, and a place in the
But just three
days after winning a Commonwealth Games Men's Doubles Bronze medal,
Australian Ryan Cuskelly successfully returned to singles action in
Alexandria by beating Egypt's Basem Makram 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 in 27
23-year-old world No37 from New South Wales will now face another Egyptian
Wael Farag, ranked almost 80 places lower, for a place in the main draw.
Tom Richards (ENG) v Julien Balbo (FRA)
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Wael Farag (EGY)
Chris Ryder (ENG) v Ali Farag (EGY)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Dylan Bennett (NED) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Karim AGA Samy (EGY) v Jan Koukal (CZE)