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Beng Hee Battles To Major Career Title In Detroit

Motor City Open 2012
25-30 Jan, Detroit, Usa, $50k
Round One
27 Jan  from 17.00
28 Jan
29 Jan
30 Jan
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-4, 11-9, 11-9
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11-5, 11-9, 11-8
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11-9, 11-7, 13-11
Ong Beng Hee
Ong Beng Hee
11-8, 11-9, 11-7
Hisham Ashour
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
11-8, 11-6, 11-5
Alan Clyne (Sco)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8
[Q] Greg Marche

Ong Beng Hee
8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5
Cameron Pilley
Shahier (Razik (Can)
 11-6, 11-3, 11-9
[4] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
[3] Alister Walker (Bot)
8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)

Alister Walker
 9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-7
Steve Coppinger
Steve Coppinger
8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9
 Hisham Ashour
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11-5, 11-13, 13-11, 11-5
[Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
11-7, 12-10, 11-5
[Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
Max Lee
11-9, 11-8, 11-5
Hisham Ashour
Adrian Grant (Eng)
11-6, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5
[2] Hisham Ashour (Egy)

Beng Hee Battles To Major Career Title In Detroit

Ong Beng Hee's fairy tale run in the Motor City Open in the USA went the full distance when the unseeded Malaysian despatched second seed Hisham Mohamed Ashour in straight games in the final of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, near Detroit, to win the second biggest title of his career.

It was after a difficult 2011 which brought him to the brink of retirement that the rejuvenated 31-year-old completed back-to-back upsets of the No4 and No1 seeds before ousting Ashour to secure his biggest PSA Tour title since winning the Malaysian Open in 2008.

In front of a sold-out Birmingham Athletic Club crowd, world No34 Beng Hee completed a wild four days by beating the world No14 from Egypt 11-8, 11-9, 11-7. The win netted the veteran a Rolex Explorer II watch, courtesy of sponsor Greenstone Jewellers, a winner's cheque of $8,000, and a standing ovation from the packed house.

"After I won the last point, I was very emotional," said the 31-year-old who in December contemplated retirement following first round exits in 10 of his 14 tournament appearances in 2011. "It's been a very long road up to here."

The road to the championship was an exhausting one for the former world No7. Beng Hee survived five-game marathons against Frenchman Gregoire Marche and Australian Cameron Pilley in the first two rounds before sweeping defending champion and world No6 Mohamed El Shorbagy in the semi-finals. Executing a flawless game plan against the talented Ashour, Beng Hee capped his week with another straight game win.

"For me, this tournament has been everything and luck," Beng Hee said. "Managing to beat Pilley in five while having cramps - and Cameron cramping as well - that's never happened before. And to be able to beat Shorbagy yesterday and then back it up to beat Hisham today . . . . luck played a big part."

The Egyptian Ashour, famed for his deft racket and crafty shots, struggled with the bouncy club court - often forcing shots out of frustration. In the first game alone, the 29-year-old made nine unforced errors.

"The ball was bouncing like a like a tennis ball," the colourful Ashour said afterwards. "I couldn't put it anywhere. Every time I was putting it somewhere it was popping up again, so I couldn't make him do the work. It was all in his favour. He controlled the whole situation. I'm a bit disappointed. I feel pain. But I'll live."

For Beng Hee, who last won a title in the USA in 1998 when he claimed the world junior crown, and as a 19-year old advanced to the Motor City Open semi-finals in 2000, it's now about returning to form and ending his career on a high note.

"It took me a long time and I wanted to justify my retirement. I'm going to retire as high as I can," he said. "I've given myself another year, hopefully two. And to be able to win this tournament: what a feeling!"

Beng Hee Bursts Into Motor City Open Final

Unseeded Malaysian Ong Beng Hee continued his blistering run in the Motor City Open when he ousted title-holder Mohamed El Shorbagy in straight games to reach the final of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, near Detroit.

"The thirty one-year old world No34 may be in the twilight of his career but the veteran still has some gas in the tank," said tournament spokesman AJ Hakim after Beng Hee brushed aside the 21-year-old top-seeded Egyptian 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 to reach his first squash final in the USA since winning the World Junior Championship in Princeton in 1998.

Beng Hee made his Motor City Open debut in 2000 when he was a 19-year-old up-and-comer on the PSA World Tour. That year, he advanced to the semi-finals, losing to then world No9 Alex Gough in four games. Since then he has risen as high as seven in the world rankings and been a steady presence in the Top 20 before injuries slowed him up in the last year.

His 2012 semi-final victory was over a fresher, younger, El Shorbagy. Beng Hee was playing just 24 hours after a five-game, 122-minute marathon quarter against fourth seed Cameron Pilley - and two nights after another five-game endurance-test against Frenchman Gregoire Marche.

"I'm extremely happy I made the final this time," said Beng Hee, now in the 22nd Tour final of his career. "I've been struggling the last season, so to start this year being in the final - I'm extremely happy."

After executing his game plan, pushing the shot-making Egyptian deep in the court, and playing a near-perfect first two games, Beng Hee started to feel fatigue late in the third.

"I don't think Shorbagy played his best, maybe a bit nervous because he's the defending champion and I had no pressure," Beng Hee said of his opponent, the world No6. "When I went 10-7 up, I got a bit tired because I think I played really well until then. And Shorbagy started to pick up his momentum. He's a young guy, so he's obviously extremely fit and very strong. And he started to play a lot better.

"I think towards the end I got a bit lucky," continued the Malaysian. "Eleven-all is anyone's game. Had he won it, it would have definitely gone to five because I was getting a bit tired."

Hisham Mohamed Ashour, his opponent in the final, was also feeling tired with legs heavy from competing in his third straight tournament. However, the second-seeded Egyptian defeated South African Stephen Coppinger 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9.

"I know he's been playing really well lately," Ashour said of unseeded Coppinger, ranked 34 in the world. "The thing is, my legs are so heavy today, and he takes the ball so early too. He's a half-volleyer. He takes the ball early so I knew my legs are not super fast, so I had to hold the ball a lot and try to always keep him behind me."

The 29-year-old advances to his second final in 2012, having reached the climax at the Comfort Inn Open in Vancouver. He hopes his fast start in 2012 and possible MCO championship will help him achieve a childhood dream.

"I'm pretty happy I'm in the final," said the current world No14. "If I win this tournament I think I move from 14 to into the top ten, which has been my dream since I was 10 years old. I'm almost 30 now."

Ashour and Beng Hee met previously in November at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, with Ashour winning in four. "May the best player win," said Beng Hee. "I think it's going to be a tough match."

Beng Hee & Coppinger Progress In Detroit

Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee and South African Stephen Coppinger pulled off impressive upsets over seeded opponents in the Motor City Open to claim unexpected places in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, near Detroit, in the USA.

Beng Hee, a former world No7 who made his Motor City Open debut 12 years ago, achieved his first win over Cameron Pilley for almost four years when he beat the fourth seed from Australia 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5.

The world No34 from Kuala Lumpur, now aged 31, will now face defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy.

The top seed from Egypt cruised to his second straight games win in the event when he defeated Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.

Coppinger stunned third seed Alister Walker, the New York-based world No15 from Botswana.

Ranked 15 places below Walker, the 27-year-old from Cape Town recovered from a game down to see off his seeded opponent 9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-7.

Coppinger will now line up against Hisham Mohamed Ashour, the No2 seed from Egypt who ended Max Lee's great run when he beat the Hong Kong qualifier 11-9, 11-8, 11-5.

Lee Lays On Lone Upset In Motor City Open

Qualifier Max Lee shook up the 2012 Motor City Open with the only upset in the first round of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, near Detroit, in the USA.

The 24-year-old from Hong Kong beat world No32 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan - ranked seven places higher - 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 in his first career victory over the Malaysian.

"Same court, same time," Lee said jokingly about his lucky Court No2 where he has won all his matches this week.

"This is just a really great start for me. The first time getting to the Tournament of Champions last week and now this tournament, getting into the second round."

Lee, who trains with Adnan in London, said his friend wasn't playing at his usual level. "He made too many unforced errors. I just keep it simple, and when the space came, I take it in."

Defending champion and top seed Mohamed El Shorbagy cruised through as expected - to be joined in the quarter-finals by Hisham Mohamed Ashour, Cameron Pilley, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Stephen Coppinger, Alister Walker and Ong Beng Hee.

Walker, the third seed from Botswana, and Beng Hee, the Malaysian who made his first Motor City appearance in 2000, both survived gruelling five-game matches.

Former world No7 Beng Hee jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the final game against Gregoire Marche before narrowly escaping defeat by beating the French qualifier 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8.

Walker, the world No15 making his Detroit debut, was given a tough ride by unseeded Aamir Atlas Khan. The New York-based dreadlock-sporting star eked out an 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8 win over the Pakistani.

"The depth in squash at the moment is really, really something special," Walker said afterwards. "I don't think there's ever been as much quality and depth as there is now. Aamir is ranked between 20 and 30, but he's beaten everyone. I didn't play that well in New York last week, so this is a bit of a relief."

"I just had to be consistent in trying to keep the ball straight because he's very good with the angles," continued the 29-year-old. "When you sort of think he's getting a bit dejected, suddenly he goes for a few shots and rolls a few, gets some winners and suddenly he's back in it. It's just about mentally being steady, but I managed in the end."

World No6 El Shorbagy appeared in top form against feisty qualifier Mathieu Castagnet of France. The Egyptian brushed aside the world No46 in a tight, often testy match. A determined ball hound, Castagnet lunged and dived at every possible return, even after suffering a hamstring injury midway through game two.

"I'm really happy I won today," said Shorbagy after his 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 victory. "I wanted to win 3/0 and I did. Normally, it's 3/1, 3/2. I mean, you saw the way he was in the second and third games - he was almost killing himself."

Despite the injury, Castagnet acknowledged, Shorbagy's skills were too much. "I'm disappointed in my hamstring," he said. "It was difficult for me to push off on my forehand. But if I was in good shape, it still would've been difficult for me. He was better than me today."




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