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El Hindi Triumphs In Cairo Petrosport Final

PetroSport International 2008
Sky PetroSport Club, 28th Jul - 4th August, $140k
Round One
30/31 Jul
Round Two
01 Aug
02 Aug
03 Aug
04 Aug
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11/9, 11/8, 7/11, 11/4 (41m)
[Q] Amr Swelim (Egy)
Amr Shabana
12-14, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (63m)
Omar Mosaad
Amr Shabana
9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (63m)
Peter Barker
Amr Shabana
11-9, 10-3 ret. (30m)
Wael El Hindi
Wael El Hindi
11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9 (67m)
Karim Darwish
[15] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/7, 11/2, 11/8 (30m)
[Q] Amr Mansi (Egy)
[6] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/6, 6/11, 11/5, 11/4 (55m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
Peter Barker
11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (43m)
Ali Anwar Reda
[10] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
6/11, 7/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (106m)
[Q] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
14/12, 7/11, 10/12, 11/8, 11/4 (69m)
[Q] Yasir Butt (Pak)
Ramy Ashour
Adrian Grant
Adrian Grant
16-14, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2 (91m)
Wael El Hindi
[9] Adrian Grant (Eng)
11/6, 11/7, 9/11, 8/11, 11/5 (71m)
[Q] Jan Koukal (Cze)
[5] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11/2, 11/2, 11/4 (22m)
Karim AGA Samy (Egy) WC
Wael El Hindi
11-3, 11-5, 11-1 (34m)
Olli Tuominen
[12] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/6, 7/11, 9,11, 11/5, 11/8 (78m)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
7/11, 11/5, 4/11, 11/8, 11/7 (80m)
[13] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Farhan Mehboob
9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (85m)
Ong Beng Hee
Farhan Mehboob
11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (32m)
Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish
11-3, 11-2 ret. (14m)
Azlan Iskandar
[Q] Simon Rosner (Ger)
11/8, 11/9, 11/7 (39m)
[7] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
6/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/6 (81m)
[11] LJ Anjema (Ned)
LJ Anjema
11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4 (60m)
Karim Darwish
Renan Lavigne (Fra)
11/7, 11/5, 11/7 (33m)
[4] Karim Darwish (Egy)
[16] Hisham Ashour (Egy)
6/11, 10/12, 11/9, 11/6, 11/9 (66m)
[LL] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
Hisham Ashour
9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (46m)
Azlan Iskandar
Azlan Iskandar
11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 4-11, 11-8 (60m)
Tarek Momen
[Q] Stephane Galifi (Fra)
11/2, 8/11, 11/2, 11/8 (42m)
[8] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11/8, 11/4, 8/11, 11/5 (75m)
[14] Borja Golan (Esp)
Borja Golan
11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5 (88m)
Tarek Momen
[Q] Tarek Momen (Egy)
4/11, 11/7, 11/4, 5/11, 14/12 (64m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)

El Hindi Triumphs In Cairo Petrosport Final

The inaugural Petrosport International Championship in Cairo - featuring two of the Egyptian capital's finest international squash stars - came to a magnificent climax at the Sky Club when fifth seed Wael El Hindi emerged triumphant after four games in the final against fourth seed Karim Darwish to win the $140,000 PSA Super Series Platinum event title, and the first Super Series trophy of his career.

Despite the fact that 12 Egyptians lined up in the first round of this 32-man event - the fifth PSA Super Series event of the year - only one was predicted to reach the final.  But, following the shock exit of second-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the first round, and the disappointing early retirement of Egyptian favourite Amr Shabana, the world number one, in the semi-finals, it was a dream 'hometown' climax that was presented to the packed final crowd.

El Hindi, the 28-year-old who slipped from 9 to 12 in the world rankings this month, took a two-game lead - then overcame a third-game fight back by Darwish, the world No8, to record a dramatic 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9 victory after 67 minutes.

"Such a relief, a big relief," were the new champion's first words afterwards.  "In the first two games I was playing rather well, and especially moving so well, and I could smell the pressure on him. And every time I was looking at him, I knew I was getting stronger and stronger, and that I was doing the right thing.

"But again - as I did so many times in my career, when I found myself at 2/0 up - I starting thinking that I was maybe going to win the match, and lost my way," explained El Hindi, now with six PSA Tour titles to his name.

"I had so many conversations with Jonah (Barrington) about that problem. And he told me just relax, take it point by point, donít get excited. And at 8/8 in the fourth, thatís exactly what I did, I said to myself, letís take one point at a time, and it worked, and I ended up with the biggest win of my career."

Like El Hindi, Darwish was also celebrating his maiden appearance in a Super Series final.  But the 26-year-old could not hide his disappointment at the outcome:  "Iím so disappointed. I played well all week, but tonight, I just couldnít play my game.

"There was so much pressure on me tonight, he was more relaxed than I was, and he deserved to win."

Richard Graham, the recently-installed Chief Executive of the PSA, was also witnessing his first major Tour event in Egypt, one of the leading countries for the sport:  "This was a stunning final, and I would like to congratulate Wael and Karim for the great show they gave us tonight.

"I hope this is an event where will be coming to for many years to come."

The Petrosport triumph also marked a sensational week for British squash legend Jonah Barrington.  The former record six-time British Open champion not only coaches El Hindi, but also fellow Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 17-year-old who four days earlier became the World Junior champion in Switzerland!


Darwish & El Hindi In Cairo Final After Abbreviated Semis

The crowd watching the climax of the Petrosport International Championship in Cairo will be treated to an all-Egyptian final - but the crowd witnessing the semi-finals of the $140,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash event at the city's Sky Club were given two truncated matches after both ended prematurely following retirements.

But Wael El Hindi, the fifth seed from Cairo, and Karim Darwish, the No4 seed who is also from the host city, will both be celebrating their maiden appearances in a Super Series event final after their semi-final successes.

El Hindi, the world No12, ended world number one Amr Shabana's chance of winning the 14th Super Series title of his career when the top seed stopped the match within a point of the end of the second game.

"I was already injured before the tournament - I had an injury in my wrist - but yesterday when I was playing Peter (Barker), I got a blister on my big toe, so that's why I didn't complete the match," Shabana explained afterwards.

El Hindi, now in the 11th Tour final of his career, was full of sympathy for his friend after the 11-9, 10-3 (ret.) win:  "I saw that he just couldnít move when I played a disguised shot, and I knew then he was in trouble.  I know he is already injured with his wrist, but that was different.

"Shabana is a friend of mine; I hope that this is not serious, and that he recovers very soon. He is such a player, and I do respect him, and so should the crowd, because what heís achieved, nobody else could have achieved but him.  We should be all so proud of him."

World No8 Darwish swept to victory in just 14 minutes, beating Malaysia's eighth seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-3, 11-2 (ret.).

"I injured my groin a week before Malaysia," said a disconsolate Iskandar later.  "I had a lot of physio treatment and ultrasound, and that made it better for a while.  Iíve been on anti-inflammatories for two weeks now!

"Tonight, I thought that I was going to be fine, and the idea was to get on court, and test it, see how it was going, and see if I could play or not.  But when I heard that Shabana had retired, I knew I HAD to give something to the crowd, and decided to play.

"But I just couldnít do anything, I just couldnít move."

Darwish, celebrating his 20th Tour final and 5/4 ahead on head-to-head clashes with his compatriot since 2000, has his eyes focussed on the match:  "Iím looking forward to playing him in the final; this is a tournament I really want to win."

Iskandar Denies All-Egyptian Cairo Semis

In the final match of the day, Mohd Azlan Iskandar denied the hosts an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up in the Petrosport International Championship - but the eighth seed from Malaysia was taken the full distance by Egyptian qualifier Tarek Momen before winning his quarter-final in the new $140,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash event at the Sky Club in Cairo.

The 26-year-old from Kuala Lumpur took the first two games before 20-year-old Momen - who had claimed the scalps of world No2 Gregory Gaultier and 14th seed Borja Golan to reach this stage - fought back to draw level.

But Iskandar reclaimed the advantage to record an 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 4-11, 11-8 victory after 60 minutes.

"I'm not at my best physically at the moment, struggling a bit with my legs," said Iskandar to
www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. "And I was 2/0 up, I just switched off a bit in the third, and he ran away with the third, and the fourth - he is such a tough little nut!

"But I stayed calm, I didnít lose my focus. All credit to him, I just donít know how he kept running, and running."

The Malaysian now takes on Karim Darwish, the fourth seed from Egypt, while the other semi-final is an all-Egyptian clash between favourite Amr Shabana and Wael El Hindi, the fifth seed.

El Hindi had been stretched for 91 minutes by No9 seed Adrian Grant before beating the English left-hander 16-14, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2.

"Adrian put up a good fight, and it could have gone either way, so Iím glad to get to the quarters, and to get to play Shaabz again here, like we did in Cairo for the Worlds in 2006, and on the same court," said El Hindi, the 28-year-old world No12.

Favourite Amr Shabana beat fellow left-hander Peter Barker, the sixth seed from England, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 in 63 minutes.

"I hate playing lefties," said the world number one after his win. "Peter has improved tremendously, his movement is so good now, and I really had to be at my best to beat him.

"What makes him so dangerous at the front is that he moves so well, gets to the ball very fast, and as he plays his shots by the book, right foot first, his body angle hides the ball, and you constantly have to watch over his shoulder to see where the ball is going.

"They are so many good players these days - youíve got to keep on your toes!"

Momen & Mehboob Make Cairo Quarters

Unseeded Pakistani Farhan Mehboob and Egyptian qualifier Tarek Momen maintained their giant-killing runs in the Petrosport International Championship after upsetting higher-ranked opponents to secure unexpected places in the quarter-finals of the new $140,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash event at the Sky Club in Cairo.
Despite the withdrawal of Cairo-based world No4 Ramy Ashour with an injury to his right knee, the dramatic day of second round action left Egyptian interest in all four of the quarter-finals.
Just 24 hours after producing his "best win ever" by defeating France's world No2 Gregory Gaultier, 20-year-old Tarek Momen battled for 88 minutes to overcome Spaniard Borja Golan, the 14th seed, 11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5.
"I was so tired after my previous matches, and after the third, the combined effort of yesterday and today took the better of me," Momen, ranked 48 in the world said. "And when I saw the way he was playing in the fourth, I thought that he would keep up with his strong pace.
"But I donít know what happened, he seemed to stop playing. Iím just glad I come out of that. Iím just so pleased I got through."
It was a day of mixed emotions for Malaysian Ong Beng Hee. Back in the top ten, with a single figure ranking for the first time for more than four years after winning the Malaysian Open last week, the 28-year-old No7 seed crashed out of the event, beaten 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 by Mehboob in an 85-minute marathon.
The 19-year-old from Peshawar, ranked 33 in the world, now faces Egyptian Karim Darwish, the fourth seed, while Momen takes on Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the No8 seed.
Favourite Amr Shabana confidently took his place in the last eight, but had to recover from a game down to beat fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad 12-14, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 in 63 minutes.
"Omar just goes for his shots - he reminds me of me at his age! And because he feels confident, the shots usually come in. He is very tough to beat," said the world number one afterwards.
"He is one of those young players coming up fast - he is the same age as Ramy, and will be in the top 20 soon. I knew this was going to be tough, and Iím happy to get a win."

Reda Rallies To Petrosport Upset In Cairo

Egyptian teenager Mohd Ali Anwar Reda pulled off a major upset on the opening day of main draw action in the Petrosport International Championship when he battled to a 106-minute victory over tenth seed Stewart Boswell to claim an unexpected place in the last sixteen of the new $140,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash event at the Sky Club in Cairo.

It was a disappointing 30th birthday celebration for Boswell, the former world number four from Canberra who is returning to Tour action after a back injury. But the world No14 took the opening two games before 19-year-old Reda took charge of the match and eventually claimed his shock 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 victory.

"I donít know what to say," the surprise winner said afterwards. "I donít know why I played so badly in the first two games, maybe because I was so nervous.

"Stewart is such a great player, in and out of the court. Iím so happy to have played against him - I used to watch him play when I was eight, so itís an honour for me to win this match.

"I absolutely need to thank my coaches, the four of them. They are working so hard on me - Ahmed Matany, Hatem Hassan, Amir Wagih and Mohd Sayed."

After recording his career-first Super Series win, Reda now goes on to face Peter Barker, the sixth seed who defeated fellow Englishman - and fellow left-hander - Jonathan Kemp 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4.

Local interest on the first day of first round action was led by top seed Amr Shabana, the world number one from Giza, and 20-year-old Ramy Ashour, the sport's rising star who is seeded three.

But, while Shabana had a reasonably comfortable 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4 win over compatriot Amr Swelim, a 24-year-old qualifier, Ashour - troubled by a knee injury - had to battle from 2/1 down to overcome Pakistan qualifier Yasir Butt 14-12, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4.

"I was very nervous today, I knew that I was going to play bad because I know myself if I am going to play well or if not, so I was expecting what I did," explained Ashour, competing in his first event since suffering a shock second round loss in the British Open in May.

"I am going to the doctor today, I hope my leg will be fine. When I had the injury I started to be more and more nervous."

Ashour will face ninth seed Adrian Grant in the second round on Friday. The Englishman was also taken the full distance before beating Czech qualifier Jan Koukal 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5 in 71 minutes.

Egyptians Surge Into Petrosport International

Local interest in the Petrosport International Championship was boosted by the addition of four further Egyptians after completion of the qualifying finals for the new $140,000 PSA Super Series Platinum squash event at the Sky Club in Cairo.

Amr Swelim, one of three qualifiers from Cairo, beat Cairo-born Swede Badr Abdel Aziz 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 to earn a first round clash with compatriot Amr Shabana, the world number one from Giza who is seeded to win his 14th Super Series title on home soil.

Mohd Ali Anwar Reda recovered from two games down to beat higher-ranked Indian champion Saurav Ghosal 2-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 12-10 in 109 minutes. But there was a 23-minute break in the first game when Ghosal was struck on the face, causing a suspension of the match while the gash was treated.

"After I accidentally hit him at 4-2, I lost concentration and lost the first two games very quickly," Reda said afterwards.

The Cairo-born 19-year-old now faces Australian Stewart Boswell, the tenth seed who celebrated his 30th birthday on the eve of the first round.

But the surprise of the day was caused by Stephane Galifi, the 29-year-old Frenchman making his return to the PSA Tour after a two-year break. The former world No40 from Aix-en-Provence - now ranked 173 - beat rising Englishman Tom Richards 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 in 41 minutes.

Galifi, in his first Super Series event since reaching the qualifying finals of the Tournament of Champions in New York in 2005, now faces Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the eighth seed from Malaysia who was runner-up in last week's CIMB Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

Shabana Seeded To Win New Petrosport International On Home Soil

Egypt's world number one Amr Shabana is seeded to win his 14th PSA Super Series squash title in the Petrosport International Championship, the draw for which was revealed by the organisers in Cairo.

The new $140,000 Super Series Platinum event gets underway at the Sky Club in Cairo following the completion of the qualifying finals.

The Petrosport International - the fifth PSA Super Series event of the year - has attracted a world-class field, featuring seven Egyptians already in the main draw, plus a further six making a bid though the final qualifiers.

Top seed Shabana, the 28-year-old from Giza hoping to win the 22nd PSA Tour title of his career, faces a qualifier in the first round - but is expected to come up against fellow countryman Ramy Ashour in the semi-finals.

Ashour, the 20-year-old from Cairo who rocketed to No2 in the world rankings last year, is seeded three - and beat Shabana the last time they met in their home country, in the final of the Hurghada International in April.

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the current world number two, is expected to meet Shabana in Monday's final. The 25-year-old from Aix-en-Provence also takes on a qualifier in the first round.