Devastating Darwish Drives Home In Motor
reproduced the form which took him to the top of the world squash rankings for
all but one month of last year when he despatched Malaysian Mohd Azlan
Iskandar in straight games in the final of the Motor City Open to
lift the $40,000 PSA World Tour title at the Birmingham Athletic Club
in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
"If there were any doubts
about Karim Darwishís form following a month off to nurse a sore back, they were
quashed in the final," said event spokesman AJ Hakim. "The Egyptianís
supreme performance capped an event in which he did not lose a game."
Darwish dazzled a sold-out
crowd at Michiganís premier squash venue en-route to taking home his $6,400
share of the record $40,000 purse and a Rolex watch from Greenstone Jewellers.
The 28-year-old from Cairo
quickly found his rhythm, building a 9-2 lead in the first game. Dictating the
pace, he forced Iskandar Ė coming off an exhausting five-game win over second
seed Thierry Lincou the night before - into a quicker game than he could
"Last time (I was here) was
in 2004 and I lost in the semis," Darwish said of his upset loss to Olli
Tuominen in his last appearance at the MCO.
"Itís such a great feeling
to win this tournament," added the world number five after his 11-3, 11-7, 11-4
"Today I was really
focused, and really wanted to finish it as quick as possible," said Darwish. "I
didnít want to go in and play a long match, so I think I played really well
today. I didnít expect that Iíd be that comfortable, but I know that he is a
little but tired from yesterdayís match.
"I took advantage of it,
and I tried to play more offensive, tried to attack every ball and tried to get
him to the back as much as possible."
The win marks the
Egyptian's sixth successive Tour victory over the Iskandar since May 2003 - and
brings up the 17th PSA Tour title of Darwish's career.
Azlan Topples Thierry To Make Motor City
Mohd Azlan Iskandar scored a notable upset over Frenchman Thierry Lincou,
the No2 seed, in the semi-finals of the Motor City Open to reach the
final of the $40,000 PSA World Tour squash event at the Birmingham
Athletic Club in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Lincou, the 2003 runner-up
from Marseille making his PSA Tour debut this year, built up a two-games-to-one
"I was feeling really well,
started really well," said the 33-year-old Frenchman, ranked nine in the world,
afterwards. ďI had a good game plan. Then he started to pick everything up,
limit his mistakes, so it was much harder for me to make a point. On the day, I
think he was just fitter than me.Ē
Iskandar, ranked eight
places lower, used the court to his advantage, playing at a quick pace and
forcing Lincou into long, exhausting rallies.
The 27-year-old from KL
went on to record a 5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4 victory to earn his 21st
appearance in a PSA Tour final.
Hi opponent will be top
seed Karim Darwish, last year's world number one from Egypt who needed
just 35 minutes to overcome compatriot Omar Abdel Aziz 11-4, 11-5, 11-3.
"Omar is a very good
player," said Darwish, who is trying to regain his 2009 form as world No1 after
a back injury sidelined him in December. "His fitness is really good, but today
he was a little bit tired from yesterdayís match, so I took advantage of it.
"Overall, Iím happy with my
performance so far," added Darwish, now in his 28th Tour final. "My confidence
is coming back again. To be in the semis in New York (last weekís Tournament of
Champions), and to be in the final here, itís a great achievement and Iím
looking forward to my match tomorrow."
Omar Ousts Olli In Motor City Upset
Egypt's Omar Abdel Aziz
claimed an unexpected place in the semi-finals of the Motor City Open
after upsetting fourth seed Olli Tuominen in the quarter-finals of the
$40,000 PSA World Tour squash event at the Birmingham Athletic Club
in Detroit, Michigan.
The 26-year-old seventh
seed from Cairo defeated Tuominen, runner-up in the championship in 2004, 11-3,
6-11, 11-8, 11-6 - and will now face fellow countryman Karim Darwish for
a place in the final.
Darwish, the event
favourite and former world number one who is making his first appearance in the
Detroit event since 2004, beat top-ranked Hungarian Mark Krajcsak 11-7,
Aziz considers Darwish an
older brother. The duo train together while also maintaining a close
relationship outside squash. "Iím going to play my big brother, Karim," Aziz
said of his semi-final match. "And I want to play a good match."
That brotherhood paid
dividends in Azizís quarter-final bout against Tuominen. Darwish warned Aziz of
the Finn's volleying skills and advised him to work his backhand.
"I had to bring it to the
back because Olli likes to volley it. Karim told me: ĎYou have to push the ball
to the back of the court, and his mistakes will start to appear',Ē said Aziz of
his strategy afterwards.
"So, I put the ball a lot
to the back corner Ė one time, two times, three times. After that I started to
The other semi-final will
see France's No2 seed Thierry Lincou take on Mohd Azlan Iskandar,
the third seed from Malaysia. Iskandar despatched unseeded Englishman Chris
Ryder 11-4, 11-5, 11-1, while former world champion Lincou needed four games
to see off Australian qualifier Ryan Cuskelly 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6.
"Heís a strong player -
heís really improved a lot," said Lincou of Cuskelly. "He gave me a hard time
on the court, and itís good I won in four. Itís pretty tough to play on these
courts because itís really bouncy. So itís hard to be offensive too much, and
you have to mix between patience and offence.
"You need to be precise,
very accurate and save your energy as much as you can," added the 33-year-old
Ryder Leads Motor City Crashes In Detroit
Hopes of the first domestic
success in the 12-year history of the Motor City Open were dashed when
unseeded Englishman Chris Ryder upset five times US national champion
Julian Illingworth in the opening round of the $40,000 PSA World Tour
squash event at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Detroit, Michigan.
Ryder, the 29-year-old
world No39 from Leamington Spa, defeated the fifth seed from New York - ranked
nine places higher - 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 in one of three upsets on the opening day
of the established Tour event.
Rising Egyptian star
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, who arrived in Detroit after winning the Pyramid
International title in New York state at the beginning of the month, also
suffered at the hands of a lower-ranked player.
An in-form Mark Krajcsak,
the unseeded world No44 from Hungary, survived a match featuring four tie-break
games to beat the 20-year-old sixth seed from Cairo 16-18, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10,
But Ryan Cuskelly
became the only qualifier to claim a place in the last eight when he triumphed
12-10, 11-3, 11-2 in an all-Australian clash with eighth seed Aaron Frankcomb.
Meanwhile the top two seeds
progressed to the quarter-finals without incident - Egyptian favourite Karim
Darwish beating Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne 11-9, 11-7, 11-4, and
Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed making his first Tour appearance
of the New Year, despatching Australian qualifier Scott Arnold 11-5,