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Nick Matthew: Hong Kong Open Champion & World No1

Men's Draw
Hong Kong Open 2013
Hong Kong Squash Centre $150k
03-08 December


Squash on BBC

Official event website: www.hksquashopen.com

click here for Squash Player Women's Event Pages
Round One
03-04 Dec
Round Two
05 Dec
06 Dec
07 Dec
08 Dec
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
[Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan
Ramy Ashour
11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (31m)
Adrian Waller
Ramy Ashour
5/11, 5/11, 11/1, 7/0 rtd (30m)
Borja Golan
Borja Golan
11/6, 11/3, 11/9 (39m)
James Willstrop
Borja Golan
11-1, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5 (65m)
Nick Matthew
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (54m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11-8, 12-10, 11-5 (51m)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
Chris Simpson
12-10, 11-8, 11-4 (52m)
Borja Golan
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (36m)
[7] Borja Golan (Esp)
[5] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
13-11, 11-1, 11-5 (30m)
Leo Au (Hkg)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7 (49m)
Marwan El Shorbagy
Mohamed El Shorbagy
9/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/9, 20/18 (122m)
James Willstrop
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 (54m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (42m)
Tom Richards (Eng)
Simon Rosner
11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (52m)
James Willstrop
Adrian Grant (Eng)
11-1, 11-3, 11-1 (28m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng)
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11-5, 11-6, 13-11 (54m)
Daryl Selby (Eng)
Nick Matthew
3-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (53m)
Saurav Ghosal
Nick Matthew
9/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/9, 20/18 (122m)
Amr Shabana
Nick Matthew
11/13, 11/4, 11/4, 8/11, 11/3 (87m)
Gregory Gaultier
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (40m)
[Q] Lucas Serme (FRA)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 5-11, 15-13 (89m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Nicolas Mueller
12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7 (48m)
Amr Shabana
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-6, 16-14, 11-5 (58m)
[6] Amr Shabana (Egy)
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy)
6-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-4 (58m)
[Q] Max Lee (HKG)
Tarek Momen
13-11, 11-13, 11-4, 16-14 (51m)
Olli Tuominen
Tarek Momen
11/8, 8/11, 11/9, 11/13, 11/5 (72m)
Gregory Gaultier
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (45m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (80m)
[Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
Karim Abdel Gawad
11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)
Gregory Gaultier
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-8, 11-2, 10-12, 11-7 (59m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)

RESULTS: PSA World Series Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, Hong Kong

Qualifying finals:
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 11-8 (77m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (67m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 11-8, 1-11, 11-6, 11-5 (51m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 11-5, 6-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8 (50m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 (53m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 11-0, 11-4, 11-8 (40m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (40m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 11-8, 11-2, 11-3 (30m)

1st qualifying round:
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Yeung Ho Wai (HKG) 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (24m)
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt Henry Leung (HKG) 11-4, 11-8, 11-9 (30m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (38m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Cheuk Yan Tang (HKG) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (24m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)
Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Yuen Tsun-Hei (HKG) 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 (24m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) bt Chris Lo (HKG) 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Ma Tsz Hei (HKG) 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (25m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7 (63m)
Nasir Iqbal (PAK) bt Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 (27m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (45m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (38m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt James Huang (TPE) 11-8, 11-4, 10-12, 11-1 (45m)
Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt Chi Him Wong (HKG) 12-10, 13-11, 11-9 (34m)
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 11-2, 11-9, 11-8 (28m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Hon Fung Wong (HKG) 10-12, 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (23m)


Nick Matthew: Hong Kong Open Champion & World No1

England's Nick Matthew finished the year on the best of highs in Hong Kong today when his maiden title triumph in the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open - the eighth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year - will see him return to number one in the world rankings next month after a 22-month gap.

The 2013 Hong Kong Open - one of the international circuit's longest-standing events, which was launched in 1985 - came to a glorious climax today on an all-glass showcourt at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on the spectacular Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront.

Three-time World Champion Matthew, 33, from Sheffield, went into the event as the No.4 seed - but made his breakthrough in the semi-finals where he ousted France's World No.2 Gregory Gaultier in a repeat of last month's PSA World Championship final in Manchester.

But his opponent was also a surprise finalist - and the first Spaniard ever to teach the event's climax. Seventh seed Borja Golan, the World No.7 from Santiago de Compostela, had brushed aside third seed James Willstrop, the 2011 champion from England, in the other semi to celebrate his first appearance in a World Series final.

Matthew (pictured above, right, in action with Golan) raced to a two-game lead in the final - but Golan asserted his authority in the third to reduce the deficit.

But the Englishman, unbeaten by Golan in two previous Tour encounters, raised his game in the fourth to close out the match 11-1, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5 in 65 minutes.

"It feels amazing," said jubilant champion Matthew (pictured above with women's champion Nicol David), who now boasts 28 PSA World Tour titles. "I've been coming here since 2001 and I've struggled to get out of the squash centre before now so to end the year on a high, with this title and going back to No.1 is an amazing feeling.

"It's been a great year for me: I got married this year as well so it's been really special for me. I think Ramy (Ashour) has shown that he is the best player so I'll take the ranking with a pinch of salt. I have to beat him on a regular basis and that's the next goal but I have had my share of injuries and know what it's like for him.

"I think Borja deserves a lot of credit for how he played in his first final," continued Matthew. "I think there was a lot of nerves in the first game and maybe handling the lights going out as well was maybe easier with my experience. I had a great start in that first game so credit to him that he came back in the third.

"He could have thrown in the towel but he came back and showed that he's got a lot of big matches in him and he's on an upward curve in his career for sure."

Semi Finals

Matthew Survives Gaultier World Top Ranking Bid In Hong Kong

England's World No.3 Nick Matthew outlasted World No.2 Gregory Gaultier in today's semi-finals of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open - the final PSA World Series squash event of the year - to give himself the chance to pip the Frenchman to the World No.1 ranking in January.

In a repeat of last month's PSA World Championship final in Manchester, Matthew survived a dramatic 87-minute clash which went the full distance - beating the four-time Hong Kong Open runner-up 11-13, 11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 on an all-glass showcourt at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on the spectacular Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront.

World champion Matthew (pictured above, right, with Gaultier), in the event's final for the first time since 2004, will meet first-time finalist Borja Golan, the seventh-seeded Spaniard who beat England's No.3 seed James Willstrop 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 in the earlier semi.

Victory over Matthew would have handed the new world number one ranking to Gaultier - but Matthew must now win the title to snatch the top spot from his French rival.

"I'm just so excited to be in the final," Matthew said later. "The last time I made the final in Hong Kong was a long time ago - there were black-and-white TVs," joked the 33-year-old No.4 seed from Sheffield.

"I'm so happy I finally got to play here. It was great; I loved it. I've seen it and almost tried too hard to get there, wanted it too badly, so tonight I just tried to enjoy it, keep my focus and not look around too much because there's a lot going on.

"This was my fourth very tough match in four days," added the Yorkshireman, now in the 58th PSA World Tour final of his career. "I played the World No.10 in the first round and the one positive is that it got me into top-10 speed from the very first round. I've had to work very hard and sometimes that can be a blessing because you're up to speed early."

Of his prospects in the final, Matthew said: "Borja's had an easier run, but credit to him. You have to be in the position to make the most of that. It has happened to me before. However, it's not always the best thing because you've not been pushed enough. I'll be sharp so hopefully that can play to my advantage.

"We played in Qatar in the semis and it was a really tough match. He's got a wicked boast, he kills the ball in the front, so I'll have to be very aggressive, move well and recover well."

Just three weeks after reaching his first World Series semi-final appearance at the Qatar Classic, World No.7 Golan is now celebrating his first final.

The 30-year-old from Santiago de Compostela went into the match 2/9 behind on his career head-to-head count with Willstrop - but former World No.1 from England survived the second longest match of his career less than 24 hours earlier when he beat in-form Mohamed Elshorbagy in 122 minutes, saving two match-balls against the 22-year-old Egyptian before clinching the deciding game 20-18.

"I'm feeling really good now and I just want to enjoy the moment," said the Spaniard (pictured above, left, with Willstrop) after his semi-final upset. "That was only my second ever (World Series) semi-final and to play and win it is unbelievable for me - and now tomorrow I will be playing in my first ever final so I just want to enjoy the moment and hopefully I can play well tomorrow and enjoy the experience.

"Squash has many factors and I think James's game with Mohamed was one of the factors," Golan continued. "James was struggling a bit with his movement and I knew that I had to play an attacking game to the front. I thought if I played to the back that I might lose that match so I had to be risky and go to the front and it worked so I am really happy with that.

"Playing in a location like Hong Kong is amazing. It was full of people and the conditions are good. The court is unbelievable and it's an historic moment for me so I want to enjoy tomorrow now."

Quarter Finals

Willstrop Survives Mighty Hong Kong Marathon

England's 30-year-old former World No.1 James Willstrop recorded one of the biggest wins of his career when he fought back from two games down to beat higher-ranked 22-year-old Mohamed Elshorbagy in a dramatic two-hours-plus Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open quarter-final today at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

The 2011 champion boasted a 9-3 career head-to-head record over the younger Egyptian before the opening match of the day in the eighth and final PSA World Series event of the year. But Elshorbagy won their most recent meeting at last month's PSA World Championship in England and this month leapfrogged the Yorkshireman to celebrate a career-high World No.4 ranking.

Fifth seed Elshorbagy took the opening two games - a deficit from which Willstrop (pictured above, left, with Elshorbagy) had never before recovered in previous meetings. But the experienced Englishman - a full-time pro since 1999, when his opponent was eight years old - dug deep to draw level.

Then, in a 39-minute fifth game decider, Willstrop saved two match-balls against him - and finally clinched his own eighth match-ball to win 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 20-18 after 122 minutes.

The match was the longest of Elshorbagy's career - and only beaten in Willstrop's 14-year PSA career by a 127-minute semi-final battle against compatriot Nick Matthew in the 2010 Canary Wharf Classic in London.

"It was a tough match - and that's part of the sport," admitted Willstrop later. "I've got to do as much as I can to recover as quickly as I can - it's a big challenge over the next 24 hours!

"It was a really close match - we were very tightly-matched. It was so close all the way - no player had any dominance at any stage, which is very unusual as you usually get a phase where one player gets a lead but there was hardly any of that.

"I think we were both at the top of our games, both playing some quite brilliant - and tough - squash.

"I'm happy to have won the match - there are a lot of positive thoughts."

The event now moves onto an all-glass showcourt at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre at the harbour - where Willstrop will face surprise opponent Borja Golan.

The seventh-seeded Spaniard dropped the first two games to top seed Ramy Ashour - but the defending champion from Egypt then clearly suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury which thwarted his world title bid in November.

Having lost the third game for just a single point, Ashour was 7-0 down in the fourth when he offered his hand to Golan and departed quickly from the court.

"The last part of the game was not the best," said World No.7 Golan (pictured above, left, with Ashour) after the 5-11, 5-11, 11-1, 7-0 (ret.) win in just 24 minutes - which takes him into his second successive PSA World Series semi-final. "When you respect a player like we all respect Ramy it is tough. He is such a talented player and that is the last way that I want to win a match.

"I hope he is soon on the court - but for a long time, not just a few tournaments.

"I had to change my game and try to play a little bit more to the front after he got his injury because I knew he would struggle more there. I had to do my job and keep going and I knew that in the third and fourth games that I had to keep going. You could see he was moving worse and worse every point."

On his semi-final match, Golan added: "James is such a professional guy and such a fighter, he can dig in and dig in for such a long time. He has more experience in these kind of matches than me so I just have to stay focused and play my game and hopefully I can do well tomorrow."

The other semi-final will be the clash predicted by the draw, between fourth seed Nick Matthew and second seed Gregory Gaultier - a repeat of last month's World Championship final.

Matthew, the World No.3 from England had to recover from losing the first game to sixth seed Amr Shabana to beat the mercurial fellow former world number one 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 in 65 minutes.

Earlier, Frenchman Gaultier also got the better of an Egyptian - but was taken the full distance for the first time in the event by No.8 seed Tarek Momen before prevailing 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 in 73 minutes.

"The match was very tough," said World No.2 Gaultier (pictured above, left, with Momen). "To win 3/2 is never easy. Tarek is a very tough opponent and he moves fast and has great skills and you have to be alert.

"I played a bit stupid in the fourth game when I was up 9-6 but he came back strong and made no mistakes. I was glad I imposed my game in the fifth and I'm just happy to go through with this win.

"I'm in the semi-final and I just want to do my best," added the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence, four times a runner-up in the championship. "I would really like to win this tournament and finish the year on a positive note. But there is still a match tomorrow which will be really tough so I just need to get my recovery right and we will see tomorrow what will happen."

Round Two

Seeds Safely Into Hong Kong Quarters

All eight seeds safely survived today's second round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open to move into the quarter-finals of the eighth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

England's James Willstrop led the way with a straight games win over Simon Rosner, beating the top-ranked German 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 in 52 minutes.

"I think it was a good quality game - it wasn't a five-set classic but it was definitely quality," said the No.3 seed from Yorkshire (pictured above with Rosner) who won the title in 2011 and was runner-up last year. "Both took time and space away from each other and we had to be focused and not give away any chances. We can both take a lot out of today.

"Getting out in three is important," continued the 30-year-old world No.5. "You only think about winning but getting off in three is important as it keeps some in the tank and that is important for is all. I don't think many other sports can play as many high intensity games in short time, so energy in the tank is vital."

Willstrop will now take on 22-year-old Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy, the fifth seed from Alexandria who reached the quarter-finals for the first time after beating his younger brother Marwan Elshorbagy 11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7 in 49 minutes.

"It was really tough, of course, playing my brother," Elshorbagy senior (pictured above with his brother) said later. "It's tough emotionally playing him. We've been living together all our life. It has always been just me and him. We always lived together in Alexandria, we live together in England. We always train together every morning and every evening, so we know each other mentally, physically, everything, so it has been really tough.

"Normally I'm on his side, but today I had to be against him - and it's the match we're going to have to get used to more in the future."

Willstrop boasts a 9-3 career head-to-head lead over Elshorbagy, but the Egyptian triumphed in their most recent clash in last month's World Championship quarter-finals.

"It's a big game," said Elshorbagy, who has now leapfrogged the Englishman to a career fourth place in the new PSA World Rankings. "James has been playing really well. I beat him the last time we played, at the World Open, but he looks really fresh for this one. He had some tough times emotionally because he had a new baby and stuff, so he looks really hungry for this one. Malcolm [Willstrop] and Mick [Todd] are with him so he's really serious about this one and wants to end the year on a high, for sure.

"That doesn't bother me because if I'm going to be beat someone, I like to beat him when he's playing at his best. I'm happy that he's playing at his best because he's a good guy."

Egyptians will compete in all four quarter-finals - with top seed and defending champion Ramy Ashour leading the way after his 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 win over English qualifier Adrian Waller (both pictured above). The World No.1 from Cairo faces Borja Golan, the seventh seed from Spain who defeated England's Chris Simpson 12-10, 11-8, 11-4.

An eagerly-awaited clash will take place between fourth seed Nick Matthew, the reigning and three-time World Champion from England, and sixth seed Amr Shabana, a four-time winner of the World title, from Egypt.

Matthew fell to his lowest-scoring game since May in the opener against Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal. But the 33-year-old World No.3 recovered to level the match, then maintained the upper hand throughout the next two games to beat the new World No.15 from Kolkata 3-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8.

"Credit to @SauravGhosal tonight," tweeted Matthew later. "He played a perfect game for that court & made me play really well to win @HKsquash".

Five-time Hong Kong champion Shabana, competing in his 17th successive event since 1996, beat Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller 12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7.

Gregory Gaultier, the second-seeded Frenchman, brushed aside Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 in 37 minutes and will now take on Gawad's compatriot Tarek Momen, the No.8 seed who got the better of top-ranked Finn Olli Tuominen 13-11, 11-13, 11-4, 16-14 in 51 minutes.


Round One Bottom Half

Shabana Survives Hong Kong Opener

Egypt's five-time champion Amr Shabana moved comfortably into the second round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open after beating French qualifier Mathieu Castagnet in straight games in today's opening round of the eighth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

"I'm very pleased to get through," said the 34-year-old No.6 seed (pictured above with Castagnet) after his 11-6, 16-14, 11-5 victory in 58 minutes. "Mathieu was a very tough opponent in the first round - I played him a few weeks ago in the World Championship and came through in a tough four-game match, so to get through is what it's all about.

"The second game was crucial," continued the champion from 2005 to 2009. "When I was 6-1 down, I knew I had to fight and that the whole game would change if I didn't stay in there. I was fortunate to win that second game but I stuck in there. It would have made a huge difference if he had won it.

"The easier the organisers make it for the players, the easier it is to perform and they always put on a good show here," continued the former World No.1 from Cairo. "It has been going on for over 25 years and the organisers always take care of us and it shows in the way the players are pumped up for this tournament.

"2013 was a very tough year for me. I have pulled out of a lot of tournaments so it would be good to end the year on a high and carry some momentum into 2014."

Shabana will now take on Nicolas Mueller after the Swiss number one also overcame a qualifier from France. But the World No.26 from Zurich was taken the full distance by Gregoire Marche - and had to save a match-ball against the 23-year-old ranked just two places lower before converting his own fourth match-ball to win 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 5-11, 15-13 after 89 minutes.

"We've played so many times in juniors and I won most of the huge battles we had, so I think that was in the back of both our minds," explained 24-year-old Mueller later. "I was 2/0 up but then he started to up his game and it became a real battle

"All credit to him for coming back from 2/0 down and fighting that hard. He played incredibly well but I'm really happy to get through."

England's World Champion Nick Matthew avenged his defeat by compatriot Daryl Selby in March's Kuwait PSA Cup by beating his England team-mate 11-5, 11-6, 13-11 in 54 minutes.

"I've lost to Daryl from ahead before so I was aware of that tonight," said the No.4 seed (pictured above with Selby), ranked three in the world, later. "My shot execution wasn't perfect but I'm pleased to progress."

Selby, who moved into the world top 10 this month, told his Twitter followers: "Really struggled on that court tonight. Frustratingly poor performance, was lucky to get anywhere near taking a game."

Matthew progresses to face Saurav Ghosal, the Indian No.1 who defeated France's World Series debutant Lucas Serme, a qualifier, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9.

Egypt's Tarek Momen ended local interest in the event when he beat Hong Kong No.1 Max Lee (both pictured above) 6-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-4. The eighth seed will now take on Olli Tuominen, the veteran Finn who celebrated his 12th appearance in the championships since 2000 by ousting Egyptian qualifier Omar Abdel Meguid 11-8, 11-9, 11-7.

France's No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier seemed in control of his match against Laurens Jan Anjema when he comfortably took the opening two games. But the Dutch champion fought back to take the third.

World No.2 Gaultier re-established his authority on the match, however, to win 11-8, 11-2, 10-12, 11-7 - and set up a second round clash with Karim Abdel Gawad.

The 22-year-old from Cairo became the sixth Egyptian to make the last 16 when he fought back from 2/1 down to beat English qualifier Joe Lee 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 80 minutes.

Round One Top Half

Brits Waller & Simpson Score Hong Kong Upsets

Englishmen Chris Simpson and Adrian Waller claimed notable world top 20 scalps in today's men's first round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open to advance unexpectedly to the last 16 of the eighth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

Simpson, the World No.25 from Guernsey, took out in-form South African Stephen Coppinger 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 in 51 minutes.

"It was a very tough match and I'm really pleased to win," said the Harrogate-based 26-year-old later (pictured above with Coppinger, foreground). "There are no easy matches - Steve is ranked 16 so that's a big win for me."

In one of the final matches of the day, Waller became the only qualifier to survive when he recovered from a game down to beat Australian Cameron Pilley, the World No.14, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 in 54 minutes.

"I'm pleased with how I executed my game tonight and pleased to progress," said the jubilant 23-year-old from Enfield, ranked 31 in the world. "Cameron is a really good player and you can never take a top 20 player lightly whether you are above or below them so it's really pleasing for me to get through."

The pair will be joined in the next round by fellow countryman James Willstrop, the third seed who brushed aside England team-mate Adrian Grant, a former World No.9, 11-1, 11-3, 11-1 in just 28 minutes.

Londoner Grant, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, summed up his game succinctly to his Twitter followers later: "Wow that was bad," said the World No.23.

Former World No.1 Willstrop was delighted with his opening effort: "Sometimes you just hit the mark. I played well today and it went my way but I have to refocus now on the next round.

"I've had a few short tournaments recently which adds a bit of perspective to me. I felt fresh today and that's probably right as I've had a few more days off than some of the other players," added the 30-year-Yorkshireman. "Played an accurate game today and sometime it just works - very happy to play like that today. I have a lot of respect for Adrian, we've had some real tough games in the past but it all went my way today.

"Very pleased. When you get to my age you know not to get carried away with it - you just have to take confidence from it and refocus on the next game.

Much was expected of top seed Ramy Ashour, the World No.1 from Egypt who was making his PSA World Tour comeback after a hamstring injury brought to an end his sensational 49-match unbeaten run in last month's PSA World Championship semi-finals.

The 26-year-old from Cairo despatched Malaysian qualifier Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (both pictured in action above) 11-8, 11-4, 11-5.

"I will stay worried for the rest of the tournament," admitted Ashour afterwards. "I'm not going to be over cautious, but just cautious, and will stick strictly to what the doctors have advised me to do, whether it's the practice time, the warm up, the stretching. That way, if something happens - God forbids - I know I would have done everything possible.

"Tomorrow, whoever I play will be a tough match - whether Cameron, I just had a four-setter with him, very tough, or Waller, same, he is a tough opponent, won't be easy.

"I'm just happy to play, I want to enjoy my squash, and do my best."

Ashour was joined in the last 16 round by Egypt's Elshorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan.

Fifth seed Mohamed Elshorbagy, fresh from lifting his career-first World Series title at last month's Qatar Classic, disappointed the local crowd by beating Hong Kong wild card Leo Au 13-11, 11-1, 11-5 (both pictured above).

His younger brother Marwan Elshorbagy - fresh from winning the Edmonton Open in Canada at the weekend - defeated Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8.

For only the second time ever on the Tour, the two Alexandrians will now face each other for a place in the Hong Kong Open quarter-finals!

Serme Strikes Home For World Series Debut

Frenchman Lucas Serme will make his PSA World Series event debut after masterminding his second successive upset in today's men's qualifying finals of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open.

The 21-year-old from Creteil becomes the lowest-ranked player to earn a place in the main draw of the eighth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

It was in the first qualifying round that Serme claimed one of the biggest scalps of the day when he ousted Scotland's World No.34 Alan Clyne. Today, the World No.76 reached more than 20 places above him to claim an 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 win in 53 minutes over Pakistan's Nasir Iqbal.

"Happy doesn't start to describe it," the jubilant young Frenchman said later. "I wanted to win so much - it is my first attempt to qualify for a World Series, and first time in Hong Kong!"

Serme will now face Saurav Ghosal in the main draw in his first ever meeting with the World No.15 from India.

It was a good day for Frenchmen in Hong Kong: Serme was one of a trio of French qualifiers who will join second-seeded compatriot Gregory Gaultier in the main draw.

Gregoire Marche squandered a 2/0 lead against Shaun le Roux before fighting back in the decider to beat the South African 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 11-8 in 77 minutes.

By contrast, fellow Aix-en-Provence-based Mathieu Castagnet needed only 30 minutes to see off England's Jaymie Haycocks 11-8, 11-2, 11-3.

The most popular win of the day was achieved by local hero Max Lee. But the Hong Kong number one had to fight back from 2/1 down to take out Egypt's Andrew Wagih Shoukry 11-5, 6-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8 in 50 minutes.

There was further Lee success when England's Joe Lee beat India's Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-0, 11-4, 11-8 to make the event's first round for the second year in a row.

Compatriot Adrian Waller also claimed his second successive main draw appearance after defeating Indian Harinder Pal Sandhu 11-9, 11-7, 11-7.

The other two qualifying slots went to Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid. Adnan twice came back from behind to beat New Zealand's Campbell Grayson 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7.

And it was second time lucky for Meguid who made amends for failing to qualify last year by beating lone Australian Steven Finitsis 11-8, 1-11, 11-6, 11-5.


Lee Keeps Local Hopes Alive In Hong Kong

Max Lee kept local hopes of success in the men's qualifiers of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open alive today when he became the sole Hong Kong player to survive the first qualifying round of the eighth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

Lee celebrated his four-place rise to 32 in today's new PSA World Rankings by defeating unranked 18-year-old compatriot Ma Tsz Hei (both pictured in action above) 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 in 25 minutes.

The 25-year-old Hong Kong number one will now Egypt's Andrew Wagih Shoukry for a place in the main draw. Shoukry, a 23-year-old from Cairo who is ranked 21 places lower, beat Hong Kong's Chris Lo, aged just 17, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5.

France's Lucas Serme pulled off the biggest upset when he battled to an 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7 victory over Scotland's World No.34 Alan Clyne. The 21-year-old from Creteil, ranked more than 40 places below Clyne, now faces Pakistan's Nasir Iqbal in the qualifying finals.

Indian teenager Mahesh Mangaonkar became the lowest-ranked winner of the day when he recovered from a game down to overcome Finland's World No.37 Henrik Mustonen 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4.

The 19-year-old from Mumbai, ranked 98 in the world, now faces England's World No.34 Joe Lee.

Egypt's Omar Abdel Meguid took a step closer to his first appearance in the Hong Kong Open main draw when he removed Germany's Raphael Kandra (both pictured in action above) 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8. The 25-year-old World No.30 from Giza will take on Steven Finitsis, the sole Australian in the qualifying finals.

Official event website: www.hksquashopen.com




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