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Ricketts Rockets To Virginia Victory

Virginia Pro Squash Championship,
Virginia, USA

[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [2] Lee Beachill (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) (40m)

[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (47m)

[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [6] Wael El Hindi (EGY) 11-5, 11-10 (2-0), 11-2
[Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt [3] John White (SCO) 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0)
[7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt [4] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-10 (4-2)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [5] Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5

1st round:
[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [Q] Dan Jenson (AUS) 11-5, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0) (44m)
[6] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-8, 10-11 (0-2), 11-8, 11-3 (60m)
[3] John White (SCO) bt Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 11-6, 11-5, 11-10 (2-0) (33m)
[Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt [8] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-2, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7 (36m)
[7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt [Q] Bradley Ball (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 (45m)
[4] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt Joey Barrington (ENG)11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-10 (2-0)(70m)
[5] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Renan Lavigne (FRA) 5-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (56m)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [Q] Rafael F Alarcon (BRA) 11-1, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)

Qualifying finals:
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (30m)
Dan Jenson (AUS) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-9, 7-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 (50m)
Bradley Ball (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-4, 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-5 (65m)
Rafael F Alarcon (BRA) bt Amr Mansi (EGY) 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8 (56m)

Ricketts Rockets To Virginia Victory
Australia's Anthony Ricketts picked up his first PSA Tour title of the year when he beat Englishman Lee Beachill in the final of the Virginia Pro Squash Championship in Richmond, in the US state of Virginia.

Neither player had dropped a game in reaching the final. And the event favourite from Sydney started off like a greyhound out of the traps - taking every opportunity to volley the ball and control the rallies. Ricketts had the upper hand throughout the first two games and soon built up a 2/0 lead.

The pace slowed in the third as the 27-year-old Aussie became unable to maintain the intensity of the first two games, allowing Beachill to relax into his own rhythm.

At 5-4 up, the second-seeded Yorkshireman ran off four straight points virtually unchallenged with some exceptional ball control. Ricketts appeared unable to re-assert himself and two rallies and a very accurate drop shot later, Beachill held game ball at 10-5.

Almost immediately, Ricketts seemed to switch back into 'machine mode' - and with a clinical display of pure concentration, Ricketts took seven unanswered points to claim the game in emphatic style - and the match 11-8, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) in 40 minutes.

The triumph - his ninth on the PSA Tour - marked a significant opening of Ricketts's 2007 campaign, after winning only one title, the Super Series Finals, in 2006 and now already boasting two final appearances in the New Year.

Ricketts & Beachill In Virginia Pro Final
Top seeds Anthony Ricketts and Lee Beachill will meet in the final of the Virginia Pro Squash Championship - both players reaching the climax of the 5-star PSA Tour event in Virginia, USA, without conceding any games throughout the tournament.

Ricketts, the event favourite from Australia, ended the giant-killing run of Egyptian qualifier Hisham Mohd Ashour. Clearly feeling the effects of his five-game dismissal of third seed John White 24 hours earlier, the 24-year-old from Cairo was unable to match the pace of the Australian who was runner-up in last month's Windy City Open in Chicago.

A few late surges were quickly quashed by the gutsy 27-year-old from Sydney and Ricketts ultimately booked himself a place in the final with an 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 scoreline after 40 minutes.

It took Englishman Beachill seven minutes longer to achieve his straight games win over another Egyptian, seventh seed Mohammed Abbas. The 29-year-old second seed from Pontefract in Yorkshire extended his unbeaten PSA Tour record over the 26-year-old from Cairo with an 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 victory.

Ricketts is celebrating his 16th appearance in a PSA Tour final, while Beachill is marking his 17th. While the Australian claimed the Super Series Finals crown last year, Beachill is looking for his first Tour win since becoming the US Open champion in November 2005.

Egyptians Ashour & Abbas Storm Into Virginia Pro Semis
Egyptians Hisham Mohd Ashour and Mohammed Abbas claimed unexpected places in the semi-finals of the Virginia Pro Squash Championship after dramatic upsets over higher-seeded opponents in the 5-star PSA Tour event in Virginia , USA .

Third seed John White suffered his second defeat by a member of the Ashour family in three days! Earlier in the week, the US-based Scot went down to the new world No5 Ramy Ashour in the final of the EBS Dayton Open in Ohio .

In Virginia it was older brother Hisham Mohd Ashour who caused White's downfall. Ashour senior, a 24-year-old qualifier, twice fought back against White to beat the world No10 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0).

It was also a tie-break that finally resolved the other Egyptian upset when Mohammed Abbas, the No7 seed, came back from 1/2 down to defeat Malaysia's fourth seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-10 (4-2).

The event's two top seeds had comfortable straight games wins en-route to the semi-finals. Favourite Anthony Ricketts, the Australian who rose three places to No7 in this month's new world rankings, beat Egypt's sixth seed Wael El Hindi 11-5, 11-10 (2-0), 11-2, while England's second seed Lee Beachill defeated fifth-seeded compatriot Adrian Grant 11-5, 11-9, 11-5.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v [Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) v [7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY)

Hisham Assured Of Surprise Quarter-Final Slot In Virginia
Inspired, no doubt, by his 'wonder kid' younger brother Ramy, Hisham Mohd Ashour pulled off a notable upset in the first round of the Virginia Pro Squash Championship when he beat England's No8 seed Peter Barker to earn a surprise place in the last eight of the 5-star PSA Tour event in Virginia, USA.

Hisham, a qualifier, took 36 minutes to overcome the left-handed England international from Essex 11-2, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7 to set up a quarter-final clash with John White.

The third seed from Scotland disappointed local fans in Virginia when he defeated local hero Patrick Chifunda, from Zambia - the wild card entry who now lives and coaches in Richmond.

Chifunda found the pace too difficult to control in the first two games. In the third the partisan crowd thought it was going to be a 'White' wash - and at 9-6 up it looked to be the case. It was at this stage, however, that Chifunda seemed to relax and began to get to grips with the pace White plays at. The Zambian pushed the game to ten-all and the crowd were anticipating the unthinkable.

But White's experience ultimately took him through 11-6, 11-5, 11-10 (2-0) in 33 minutes.

White, who was beaten by world No6 Ramy Ashour in last week's final of the EBS Dayton Open in Ohio, will be eager for family revenge in the quarter-finals!

In the lower half of the draw, England's unseeded Joey Barrington battled with fourth seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar for 70 minutes - but eventually the higher-ranked Malaysian prevailed, winning 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-10 (2-0).

Iskandar goes on to face No7 seed Mohammed Abbas, the Egyptian who ended England qualifier Bradley Ball's run 11-5, 11-8, 11-5.

Second seed Lee Beachill became the only Englishman to survive the first round, beating Brazilian qualifier Rafael F Alarcon 11-1, 11-4, 11-3 in just 21 minutes.

The Yorkshireman is expected to face Anthony Ricketts in Saturday's final. The top seed from Australia needed 44 minutes to overcome compatriot Dan Jenson, a qualifier from Adelaide, 11-5, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0).

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v [6] Wael El Hindi (EGY)
[3] John White (SCO) v [Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
[4] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v [7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) v [5] Adrian Grant (ENG)

Ball Survives Saurav Scrap In Virginia
Bradley Ball survived the toughest battle to earn a pace in the main draw of the Virginia Pro Squash Championship when he prevailed in a five-game marathon against India's fast-rising star Saurav Ghosal in the qualifying finals of the 5-star PSA Tour event in Virginia, USA.

In the longest match of the day, the Englishman beat Ghosal 11-4, 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-5 in 65 minutes - to earn a first round clash with Egypt's Mohammed Abbas, the No7 seed.

Australian Dan Jenson had to make full use of his experience to hold off the challenge of young Englishman Tom Richards. His 11-9, 7-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 victory in 50 minutes takes the 31-year-old from Adelaide through to an all-Aussie clash with Anthony Ricketts, the top seed from Sydney.

Fresh from his appearance in the final of the Windy City Open earlier in the month in Chicago - where he beat fellow Australian David Palmer - Ricketts is expected to face second-seeded Englishman Lee Beachill in the final.

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v [Q] Dan Jenson (AUS)
[6] Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[3] John White (SCO) v Patrick Chifunda (ZAM)
[8] Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
[7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) v [Q] Bradley Ball (ENG)
[4] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Joey Barrington (ENG)
[5] Adrian Grant (ENG) v Renan Lavigne (FRA)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) v [Q] Rafael F Alarcon (BRA)