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Rampant Ramy Romps To Canadian Classic Crown

Pace Canadian Squash Classic
John Bassett Theatre at Metro Toronto Convention Centre January 11-14, 2006

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Rampant Ramy Romps To Canadian Classic Crown


Egyptian teenager Ramy Ashour reached another milestone in his phenomenal rise through the world squash rankings when he crushed Australia 's world No2 David Palmer in straight games in the final of the PACE Canadian Classic at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to earn the first PSA Super Series title of his brief career to date.


The 19-year-old record two-times world junior champion from Cairo - currently ranked six in the world but well outside the top 30 just a year ago - defeated the World Open champion from Lithgow in New South Wales 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 in the climax of the first Super Series event of 2007.


The experienced Palmer, a 30-year-old former world number one, could find no chink in Ashour's armour.  He tried slow-balling him, he tried exchanging drop shots; he even tried slamming him off the court.  However, the exuberant young Egyptian had an answer for everything and most of those answers found the ball nestled in the nick for an outright winner.


Although Palmer led the first game 5-4, those were his only brief moments of glory.  Ashour received two penalty strokes to lead 6-5 and from that moment on the Australian was a condemned man.


Ashour’s reading of the game and his blinding speed were simply too much for the number two seed who has been in the world’s top ten for nearly seven years.  The brilliant young Egyptian ran away to win the first game in under ten minutes and then raced through the second in under eight minutes.


It was almost a humiliation for Palmer who could do nothing to stem the tide as Ashour washed over him in the third game to finish the 31-minute drubbing.


"He picked me to pieces," Palmer said of his opponent.  "I thought I started well and then hit a couple of errors and lost it.  I tried changing the game, but that didn't work either."


Ramy was his usual bubbly self:  "It was a good day for me – I always try to enjoy myself.  I play every match as though it is the last match of my life," said the 19-year-old.


The pair now head for Chicago where the second Super Series event of the year gets underway on Tuesday.  Ashour and defending champion Palmer are in the bottom half of the draw of the Infor Windy City Open and could meet again in the semi-finals.


Before the PACE final, the packed auditorium was treated to a filmed tribute to Canadian great Jonathon Power, who won the Classic title three times in six years.  He was presented with a trophy by former great Sharif Khan, who was North American champion for 13 years.  The audience was also given glimpses of a possible future champion as Power's very pregnant wife Sita was brought on stage.  The baby is due any moment.  Dunlop, the official equipment supplier for the tournament, invited the entire audience to a special champagne reception for Jonathon following the finale.


Pace Canadian Classic 2007
06-12 Jan, Toronto, $75k
Round One
08 Jan
Round Two
09 Jan
10 Jan
11 Jan
12 Jan
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11/8, 11/7, 10/11(4-6), 11/6 (63m)
Shahier Razik (Can)
Amr Shabana
11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 (48m)
Azlan Iskandar
Azlan Iskandar
9-11, 11-6, 10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 11-6 (66m)
Ramy Ashour
Ramy Ashour
11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8 (65m)
Anthony Ricketts

Ramy Ashour
11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (31m)
David Palmer

[12] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/3, 11/4, 11/4 (26m)
Matthew Guiffre (Can)
[6] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/2, 11/4, 11/9 (26m)
[Q] Tarek Momen (Egy)
Ramy Ashour
11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6 (55m)
Mohammed Abbas
[14] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11/3, 11/6, 9/11, 11/7 (47m)
Rafael Alacon (Bra)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/6, 11/9, 11/3
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
Gregory Gaultier
11-4, 11-8, 11-3 (45m)
Lee Beachill
Gregory Gaultier
11-5, 11-10 (6-4), 11-9 (55m)
Anthony Ricketts
[9] Lee Beachill (Eng)
11/4, 2/0 rtd back injury
[Q] Bernardo Samper (Col)
[5] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
11/8, 11/3, 11/5 (31m)
[Q] Dylan Bennett (Ned)
Anthony Ricketts
11-4, 11-2, 11-3 (32m)
Ong Beng Hee
[15] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/8, 11/4, 11/8 (33m)
[Q] Simon Rosner (Ger)
[Q] Omar Elborolossy (Egy)
11/10(2-0), 11/7, 9/11, 4/11, 11/6
[10] John White (Sco)
John White
10-11 (0-2), 11-8, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-9 (69m)
Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish
4-11, 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-10 (2-0) (80m)
Wael El Hindi
Wael El Hindi
5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (85m)
David Palmer
[Q] Shawn DeLierre (Can)
11/10(2-0), 11/6, 11/5 (51m)
[8] Karim Darwish (Egy)
[Q] Jean-Michel Arcucci (Fra)
11/3, 11/9, 11/8 (37m)
[13] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
Wael El Hindi
8-11, 3-11, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 11-9 (54m)
Hisham Ashour
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
9/11, 11/10(2-0), 11/8, 7/5 rtd
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng)
Dan Jenson (Aus)
11/3, 11/5, 11/4 (25m)
[11] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
Stewart Boswell
10-11 (3-5), 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 8-11, 11-8 (91m)
James Willstrop
Stewart Boswell
11-7, 11-3, 11-10 (2-0) (50m)
David Palmer
Alex Gough (Wal)
11/7, 11/10(2-0), 11/8 (39m)
[7] James Willstrop (Eng)
[Q] Julian Illingworth (Usa)
10/11(0-2), 11/9, 11/3, 9/11, 11/4 (71m)
[16] Graham Ryding (Can)
Graham Ryding
11-3, 11-9, 10-11 (2-4), 11-6 (67m)
David Palmer
Liam Kenny (Irl)
11/8, 11/9, 10/11 (2-4), 11/5
[2] David Palmer (Aus)

Qualifying finals:

Jean-Michel Arcucci (FRA) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9 (68m)

Omar Elborolossy (EGY) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2

Dylan Bennett (NED) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 6-11, 11-1

Bernardo Samper (COL) bt Robin Clarke (CAN) 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (46m)

Tarek Momen (EGY) bt David Phillips (CAN) 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (26m)

Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (42m)

Simon Rosner (GER) bt Laurent Elriani (FRA) 11-8, 11-10 (3-1), 11-6 (47m)

Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Bradley Ball (ENG) 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-5 (53m)

Qualifying Round One
Jean-Michel Arcucci (Fra) bye
Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Jay Fleishman (Can) 11/3, 11/3, 11/5 (25m) TAC
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus) bt Jeff Evans (Usa) 11/3, 11/7, 11/3 (30m) TAC
Omar Elborolossy (Egy) bt Patrick Bedore (Can) 11/6, 11/6, 11/7 (30m) TAC

Dylan Bennett (Ned) bt Tony James (Aus) 11/4, 11/3, 11/9 (25m) CC
Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Rob McFadzean (Usa) 11/3, 11/1, 11/9 (20m) CC
Bernardo Samper (Col) bt Ian Power (Can) 11/4, 11/5, 11/6 (29m) CC
Robin Clarke (Can) bt Bertrand Tissot (Fra) 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (32m) TAC

David Philipps (Can) bt Dan Sibley (Can) 11/4, 11/3, 11/3 (20m) B&R
Tarek Momen (Egy) bt Matt Serediak 11/9, 11/5, 11, 6 (23m) B&R
Chris Gordon (Usa) bt Andrew McDougall (Can) 10/11(0-2), 11/5, 11/6, 11/8 (43m) B&R
Shawn DeLierre (Can) bye

Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Tyler Hamilton (Usa) 11/7, 11/5, 11/6 (29m) TAC
Laurent Elriani (Fra) bt Mohammad Farooq (Can) 11/2, 11/1, 11/5 (20m) TAC
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Wade Johnstone (Aus) 11/2, 11/2, 11/5 (24m) TAC
Bradley Ball (Eng)


Ramy & Palmer In Canadian Classic Final

Egyptian teenage squash star Ramy Ashour will face Australia's world No2 David Palmer in the final of the PACE Canadian Classic after both players prevailed in semi-final clashes lasting more than an hour at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Whilst it will mark World Open champion Palmer's 16th appearance in the final of a PSA Super Series event, it will only be Ashour's second. It was in his first, at the Cathay Pacific Swiss Privilege Hong Kong Open in October, that the 19-year-old from Cairo first beat Palmer to reach the event climax!

The capacity audience in the 1000-seat John Bassett Theatre roared and gasped in turns as sixth seed Ashour beat Australia's Anthony Ricketts, the No5 seed, in four action-packed games.

Ashour, ranked sixth in the world, started in over-drive and was 7-1 up before Ricketts had settled into the game. Although Ricketts fought back, he was unable to close the gap as Ashour ran away to a first game lead. In the second, Ricketts was fully warmed up and kept the rallies going, waiting for Ashour’s youthful exuberance to go for bad shots. It worked beautifully and it was the Australian's turn to win and draw level.

The young Egyptian fought back from 2-6 down to take the third, then won the fourth to secure the match 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 65 minutes - much to the delight of the visiting Egyptian Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Dr Mahmoud El-Saeed!

"He went faster than me and I tried to hit too many winners," Ashour said, explaining his loss in the second game. "Anthony is an explosive player, but I like to play fast. That was always my game, but now I have to slow it down - I'm playing the big guys now," said squash's charming young sport ambassador.

Reaching his sixth PSA Tour final in only 26 months is the latest chapter in the remarkable career of the Egyptian teenager who was ranked well outside the world's top 30 just a year ago.

The second semi-final was another Egyptian/Australian confrontation, but played with a very different style. Wael El Hindi, ranked 15 in the world, did not let the difference in ranking worry him as he attacked Palmer from the outset, catching the Australian a foot off the pace and taking the first game with ease - belying the fact that the 26-year-old Egyptian was playing in his 31st Super Series event, but his first semi-final!

Palmer took control of the second game to draw level - but failed to continue his dominance in the ten-minute third game as the fearless, always smiling, El Hindi once again used his shots to take a 2/1 lead. The Australian came back in the fourth game, and leading from the start, tied the match.

The fifth game was a comedy of errors with arguments, counter-arguments - and El Hindi taking a three-minute injury break after completing a full rally after he had twisted his leg. Palmer objected, and the subsequent debates with the referee began to turn the match into a minor United Nations!

El Hindi, all smiles, came back to the court late and still had a sock and shoe to put on. Palmer, far from amused by the extended delay, maintained his cool - taking the game to 10-6. El Hindi hit two more wonderful winners to get to 10-8, but Palmer secured the match 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 after 85 minutes when the Egyptian flew flat on his back during a futile dive to get to the ball.

Ricketts Routs Gaultier In Canadian Classic Upset

Recording his best result since winning the Super Series Finals last May, Australia 's Anthony Ricketts defeated fast-rising French star Gregory Gaultier in a major upset in the quarter-finals of the PACE Canadian Squash Classic at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The 27-year-old from Sydney completely dominated Gaultier, a finalist in his last three PSA Tour appearances and winner of the prestigious US Open crown on his previous North American visit in November. The obvious determination and patience in every rally from fifth seed Ricketts finally wore down the 24 year old Frenchman who has just completed the best year of his professional life by rising to world number three.

Ricketts - who lost to Gaultier in the Tournament of Champions in New York last March - had an answer to everything that the No3 seed threw at him. After winning the first game, the Aussie battled back from 1-6 in the second and kept his composure through a long dramatic tiebreak to finally emerge the 16-14 winner after 25 tense minutes.

It was a game that affected Gaultier’s determination and undermined his confidence as he allowed his opponent a handful of easy points in the third game. Although he managed to put together a run of five points to narrow the gap, Ricketts would not be denied and won the match 11-5, 11-10 (6-4), 11-9 in 55 minutes.

Ricketts, currently ranked 10 in the world, will now meet Egyptian teenage sensation Ramy Ashour, the new world No6 who beat Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the No12 seed from Malaysia who caused the event's biggest upset when he downed world number one Amr Shabana in the previous round.

It was a match of brilliant, intelligent squash that roused the full house of the 1000-seat John Bassett Theatre, producing gasps of astonishment between the prolonged applause for the superb rallies that these two youngsters performed for most of the 66 minutes that it took Ashour to earn his 9-11, 11-6, 10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 11-6 victory.

"I have been training very hard for the last six months and my fitness is very good," said the 19-year-old record two-times world junior champion from Cairo . "I was not tired at the end, and still had my breath."

When asked if he was after revenge for his country, Ashour smiled and said: "I was unhappy when Shabana lost, but when I went on court I did not think about my number six ranking. I remembered that it is so easy to underestimate your opponent. Iskandar played very well and cut the ball all the time.

"I had no game plan. I never go on court with a game plan. It’s just instinct," said squash’s most impressive international rising star.

The other semi-final will also be an Egyptian/Australian affair, between David Palmer, the No2 seed from New South Wales , and 13th seed Wael El Hindi, from Cairo .

El Hindi, whose game has taken on a new edge since working with Britain's legendary Jonah Barrington, claimed his second successive upset over higher-ranked Egyptian compatriot Karim Darwish, the No8 seed, winning 4-11, 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-10 (2-0) in 80 minutes.

It will be the 26-year-old from Cairo 's first time in a PSA Super Series event semi-final in 31 appearances, beginning with the World Open in 1998!

Palmer extended his head-to-head record against Stewart Boswell to 10-1 when he beat his Australian team-mate 11-7, 11-3, 11-10 (2-0) in 50 minutes.

Shabana Toppled In Toronto

In a superb performance in which he dominated play for most of the match, Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar upset top seed Amr Shabana in four games in the second round of the PACE Canadian Squash Classic in Toronto - denying the world number one from Egypt a place in the quarter-finals of a PSA Super Series event for the first time for over a year.

Iskandar, the London-based world No18, has been working with Peter Nicol recently - and the determination he showed in sticking with Shabana is evidence of the effect the former world champion from England is having on the Malaysian's game.

The first game found Iskandar fast and focused, while Shabana seemed a little slow and sluggish. Shabana’s usually sharp shooting was not working and errors at crucial times gave Iskandar the psychological edge in taking the first two games - the second in just six minutes.

After losing the first two points of the third game, Shabana finally settled down and took the next eight points in a row to lead 8-2. The 24-year-old 12th seed tried to stage a mini comeback, but crashed the ball into the tin at 4-8 to put Shabana back in charge and the Egyptian made no mistake finishing the game 11-6. The Egyptian now appeared to be very much in contention.

But Shabana’s ascendancy was short-lived - and the anticipated crumbling of Iskandar failed to happen. The Malaysian was determined, returning from 5-8 down to claim a mighty 11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 victory in 48 minutes to record the best win of his career.

In his first ever appearance in a Super Series quarter-finals, Iskandar will now face Egypt’s 19-year-old superstar Ramy Ashour, the No6 seed from Cairo who beat compatriot Mohammed Abbas, the No14 seed, 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6.

There was a further upset earlier in the first day's play at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre when Australia's 11th seed Stewart Boswell prevailed in a 91-minute marathon against England's No7 seed James Willstrop.

The skinny Australian, who almost left the sport because of injury, showed that he is not only back again, but a better squash player than when a back injury forced him to stop playing nearly three years ago.

In a game played at a furious pace, Willstrop finally gained ascendancy in the fourth game to force the match into a fifth game decider. However, Boswell sharpened the edge to win the 16-minute final game to claim a well-deserved 10-11 (3-5), 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 8-11, 11-8 victory.

Home Hero Ryding Rallies Through To Last Sixteen In Toronto

Graham Ryding single-handedly led domestic interest through to the last sixteen of the PACE Canadian Squash Classic in his home town Toronto when he beat US champion Julian Illingworth in the longest match on the opening day of the first PSA Super Series squash event of the year.

The Canadian number one had to fight surprisingly hard to beat Illingworth, the most promising player to come out of the USA for a decade. Illingworth is currently ranked 91 in the world compared to Ryding’s lofty 23, but the American is a rapidly improving player and 16th seed Ryding had a tough fight before prevailing 10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 11-4.

A dream match for Canadian squash fans saw the country's number two Shahier Razik take on the world number one Amr Shabana of Egypt.

The two players actually grew up and competed together as children in Cairo. Fifteen years ago Razik’s family moved to Toronto and since then he has played under the maple leaf flag. While 29-year-old Razik has fought to get into the top echelon – he is now world number 26 - Amr Shabana has brought discipline to his naturally scintillating shots to create a world beating deadly combination. The 27-year-old has twice won the world title and this month celebrated his tenth month as world number one.

Despite the disparity in rankings, Shabana did not have it all his own way. Razik gave as good as he got, pushing Shabana in the first and second games - both players marshalling their best efforts for game three.

Shabana was up 10-9 up and ready to close out the match, but Razik had other ideas, forcing an error out of Shabana to tie the game at 10-10, sending it into a tie-break. The excitement built as the two players doggedly swapped point for point with Shabana unable to get the vital two point lead for victory. Razik’s determination was eventually rewarded with a penalty stroke to win 16-14 and give hope for a Canadian victory.

Shabana upped the pace in the fourth game, running out to a 7-2 lead with the help of some lucky nicks. He stifled a come-back run by Razik at 9-6 and went on to take the game after eight minutes - and the match 11-8, 11-7, 10-11 (4-6), 11-6 in 63 minutes.

The only upset of the day came when England's fourth seed Nick Matthew was forced to concede his match against Egypt's unseeded Hisham Mohd Ashour. The world number five from Sheffield was 1/2 down to the Egyptian when he tripped over Ashour’s foot and twisted his ankle so badly that he was taken to hospital. Wisely, Matthew decided to retire even before the x-rays were taken - giving the match to Ashour in a 9-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-8, 8-5 ret. scoreline.

Delierre & Illingworth Boost North American Interest In Pace Canadian Classic

Canadian Shawn Delierre and US champion Julian Illingworth survived the qualifying finals of the PACE Canadian Classic to boost North American interest in the first PSA Super Series squash event of the year, which is being staged in the country's largest city Toronto.

The $75,000 Super Series Silver championship has attracted a star-studded field including all but one of the top ten players in the world, led by Amr Shabana - the world No1 from Egypt who won the Toronto title last year before going on to secure four further PSA Tour titles to end 2006 as the PSA Player of the Year.

Delierre, 24, from Montreal, despatched the Tour's highest-ranked American when he beat Christopher Gordon, the world No67 from New York, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4. Illingworth, ranked 72 in the world, caused a notable upset when he beat England's world No37 Bradley Ball 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-5 in 53 minutes to earn his maiden appearance in the event which is in its fourth year of title sponsorship by PACE Savings & Credit Union.

Delierre and Illingworth are joined in the main draw of the event by fellow qualifiers Jean-Michel Arcucci, from France; Egyptians Omar Elborolossy and Tarek Momen; Dutchman Dylan Bennett; Bernardo Samper from Colombia; and Germany's Simon Rosner.

World Open Champion David Palmer from Australia currently holds down the No2 spot on the PSA world rankings, but a major challenge is expected from France’s Gregory Gaultier who has had a meteoric rise through the rankings this year, moving from 12th to 3rd at the close of the 2006 season when he ousted Palmer from the semi-finals at the Saudi International in December. The eyes of the squash world will also be riveted on teenage superstar Ramy Ashour from Egypt who rocketed to No6 in the PSA world standings this month.

Canadians included in the 32-player main draw event, which gets underway at three venues today before moving to the John Bassett Theatre at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, are: Graham Ryding (Toronto), Shahier Razik (Toronto), Matthew Giuffre (Edmonton) and qualifier Shawn Delierre (Montreal).

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