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23/05/2010
SKY OPEN
 

Sky Opens Up For World No1 Matthew

Sky Open 2010
Sky Petrosport Club, 15-22 May, $150k
Round One
17 May
Round Two
18/19 May
Quarters
20 May
Semis
21 May
Final
22 May
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (37m)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
Ramy Ashour
 11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (35m)
Saurav Ghosal
Ramy Ashour
11/6, 11/9, 13/11 (39m)
James Willstrop
Ramy Ashour
11/8, 11/5, 11/7 (33m)
Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish
6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 13-11 (60m)
Nick Matthew
[16] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/9, 4/11, 11/8, 11/2 (52m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
[5] James Willstrop (Eng)
12/10, 12/10, 11/3 (34m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
James Willstrop
11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (43m)
Ali Anwar Reda
[9] Daryl Selby (Eng)
5/11, 11/7, 11/2, 9/11, 11/4 (97m)
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
[4] Karim Darwish (Egy)
 11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (35m)
[Q] Dylan Bennett (Ned)
Karim Darwish
11/8, 12/10, 13/11 (57m)
David Palmer
Karim Darwish
11/5, 11/9, 11/4 (33m)
Gregory Gaultier
[10] David Palmer (Aus)
11/7, 11/5, 11/2 (34m)
[Q] Tom Richards (Eng)
[6] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/3, 11/9, 12/10 (54m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Gregory Gaultier
11/8, 2/11, 11/5, 11/4 (71m)
Cameron Pilley
[15] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
9/11, 11/2, 11/1, 11/6 (32m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (53m)
[14] Alister Walker (Eng)
Alister Walker
8/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/4
Thierry Lincou
Thierry Lincou
7/11, 11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (54m)
Wael El Hindi
Thierry Lincou
11/8, 7/11, 11/9, 11/5 (60m)
Nick Matthew
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/3, 11/7, 9/11, 11/4 (59m)
[7] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/8, 11/9, 11/9 (59m)
[12] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
Wael El Hindi
w/o
Amr Shabana
Karim AGA Samy (Egy)
 11/9, 11/7, 7/11, 11/7 (31m)
[3] Amr Shabana (Egy)
[Q] Ali Farag (Egy)
6/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (55m)
[13] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Adrian Grant
14-12, 11-9, 11-5 (88m)
Peter Barker
Peter Barker
12/10, 11/4, 11/6 (44m)
Nick Matthew
[Q] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/6, 11/6, 11/7 (43m)
[8] Peter Barker (Eng)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
11/8, 6/11, 11/5, 11/3 (54m)
[11] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-4, 11-2, 11-5 (30m)
Nick Matthew
[Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
 11/5, 11/6, 11/9 (47m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)

Sky Opens Up For World No1 Matthew

click for larger view

Less than 24 hours after ensuring his new status as the world squash number one, Nick Matthew clinched the $150,000 Sky Open title after beating defending champion Karim Darwish in the final of the third PSA Super Series 2010 event on an all-glass court at the Sky Resort in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

It was Matthew's four-game semi-final victory over Frenchman Thierry Lincou that ensured that the Englishman will top the PSA world rankings next month for the first time - after reigning world number one Ramy Ashour was defeated in straight games by fellow Egyptian Darwish in the other semi.

And Matthew and Darwish, seeded two and four respectively in the climax of the biggest PSA Super Series event of the year to date, went into the match evenly poised at three wins apiece in their career head-to-head Tour record.

Cairo-based Darwish celebrated his third successive appearance in the final by taking the opening game - but Yorkshireman Matthew battled back to take control before winning 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 13-11 in 60 minutes to claim the 14th Tour title of his career - and his second successive Super Series trophy of 2010.

"It's a surreal feeling - it will probably sink in when I get home and in the company of my family, friends and my team," said the new champion after the presentations.

"I was inspired tonight by what Karim did in Saudi and that drove me to play as though my life was on it. Now I am looking for a break away from the game - a trip to Mexico and then home to work on staying in this position.

"World number one sounds great!" added the 29-year-old from Sheffield.

Matthew also extends his lead at the top of the PSA Super Series Rankings, with 240 points - ahead of Ramy Ashour (170), fellow Englishman James Willstrop (165), and Karim Darwish (120)

Matthew On Top Of The World After Ramy Rout

A stunning straight games defeat of top seed Ramy Ashour by fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish, followed by a four-game win by Nick Matthew over Frenchman Thierry Lincou in the $150,000 Sky Open, will take Englishman Matthew to the top of the PSA world squash rankings for the first time next month.

It was a dramatic evening of world-class action in the semi-finals of the third, and biggest so far this year, PSA Super Series 2010 event, on an all-glass court at the Sky Resort in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Darwish, the 28-year-old fourth seed, went into the match with Egyptian team-mate Ashour, the world number one since January, 4/7 down in their career head-to-head record - and only last month lost to the 22-year-old in the Egyptian national championship final.

But Darwish, the defending champion who had already beaten two former world number ones en-route to the last four, was determined to make the Sky Open final in his home city for the third year in a row - and despatched his rival 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 in just 33 minutes to claim his 30th appearance in a PSA Tour final.

Incredibly, the result was Ashour's quickest defeat in a PSA World Tour ranking event since May 2006!

The Ramy rout set up one of the most crucial matches of his life for Nick Matthew, the second seed and world number two behind Ashour since the beginning of the year.

Such was the narrow margin of Ashour's lead in the PSA list that pre-event calculations showed that all that Yorkshireman Matthew had to do was finish ahead of his rival in Cairo to take over the top spot.

Matthew also faced a former world number one in his bid: veteran Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the 34-year-old seventh seed celebrating his first appearance in a Super Series semi since November 2008.

The 29-year-old from Sheffield dropped his first game of the tournament in this all-important clash - but fought back to beat Lincou 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 in exactly one hour to achieve his life-long dream.

"It's a strange feeling right now as I've only won a semi final so it feels like I've not finished the job yet," said a jubilant Matthew afterwards. "But obviously I'm delighted, more so for the people at home; my parents, family, friends, manager, coach, trainer, physio, etc. etc.

"I've been a professional since 1998 and I've been working towards this every single day of my life since then, and couldn't have done it without their help.

"I go on holiday to Mexico next week and it's going to be a fantastic holiday now!!!"

Matthew is also celebrating his 34th appearance in a PSA Tour final - and, win or lose in the final, the Englishman will continue to head the 2010 PSA Super Series rankings.

Matthew & Barker Ensure English Semi-Finalist In Cairo

Contrasting successes by Nick Matthew and Peter Barker in the second round of the $150,000 Sky Open in Egypt has guaranteed English interest in the semi-finals of the third - and biggest so far this year - PSA Super Series 2010 squash event at the Sky Petrosport Club in Cairo.

Second seed Nick Matthew, the world number two from Sheffield, took just 30 minutes to overcome Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the No11 seed, 11-4, 11-2, 11-5.

Winner of the previous PSA Super Series event, the North American Open in Virginia in February, Matthew has his sights on the world number one ranking - and knows that a better finish in Cairo than Egyptian rival Ramy Ashour, his opponent in the US final, could achieve this.

Peter Barker will have to tackle an England team-mate for the second time in 24 hours when he faces Matthew. But the eighth-seeded Londoner had to work hard to get the better of fellow left-hander Adrian Grant - taking 88 minutes to beat the No13 seed 14-12, 11-9, 11-5.

Egypt's third seed Amr Shabana, the four-time World Open champion and winner of more Super Series titles (16) than any other current Tour player, suffered a back 'twinge' during the knock-up of his first round match - but was able to contain it to win through to the second.

But the celebrated left-hander felt unable to continue further in the tournament and conceded his match to compatriot Wael El Hindi, the Cairo-born but now New York-based 12th seed.

El Hindi can now look forward to an unexpected quarter-final clash with seventh seed Thierry Lincou after the former world champion and world number one from France recovered from a game down to beat Englishman Alister Walker 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 in 65 minutes.

Lincou boasts a 4/1 career head-to-head lead over El Hindi, but the Egyptian's one win was achieved at last year's Sky Open after a bruising 110-minute second round encounter.

Local Stars Ashour & Darwish Thrive In Cairo

Two of Cairo's most celebrated squash players took their anticipated places in the quarter-finals of the $150,000 Sky Open when Ramy Ashour and Karim Darwish prevailed in straight games in their second round matches in the third - and biggest so far this year - PSA Super Series 2010 event at the Egyptian's capital's Sky Petrosport Club.

Darwish, the 28-year-old fourth seed who spent all but one month last year at the top of the PSA world rankings, faced distinguished Australian David Palmer, a veteran of more than 50 World Tour finals and also a former world number one.

With 14 previous Tour meetings to their credit, the pair's head-to-head tally was poised on seven wins apiece before Darwish and Palmer began their Sky Open encounter.

Two of the games went to tie-breaks, but it was defending champion Darwish who ultimately prevailed 11-8, 12-10, 13-11 in 57 minutes to extend his winning run over the 33-year-old from New South Wales to five matches since May 2008.

In a repeat of last year's final, Darwish now faces Gregory Gaultier, the Frenchman who succeeded him as world number one last November. The sixth seed from Aix-en-Provence boasted a 5/1 head-to-head lead over 15th seed Cameron Pilley before the match - but it was the Australian who came through in their last meeting earlier this year in the Swedish Open.

But Gaultier, still looking to reproduce the form which took him to the top of the world rankings, battled for 71 minutes to regain his authority over his tall opponent, winning 11-8, 2-11, 11-5, 11-4.

Ramy Ashour is the reigning world number one - but the 22-year-old 'King of Cairo' is still looking for his first Super Series title of the year, and moved comfortably towards that goal with an 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 victory over unseeded Saurav Ghosal, the 23-year-old world No27 from Chennai who has become India's highest-ranked player of all-time.

Ashour now faces the year's first Super Series event champion James Willstrop, the fifth-seeded Englishman who beat the Egyptian in the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions final in New York.

Willstrop eased past his second Egyptian in the event, beating unseeded Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 in 43 minutes.

Ghosal & Reda Produce Upsets In Cairo

Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda and Indian number one Saurav Ghosal produced significant upsets on the opening day of main draw action in the $150,000 Sky Open to claim unexpected places in the last 16 of the third - and biggest so far this year - PSA Super Series 2010 squash event at the Sky Petrosport Club in Cairo.

Reda, the 21-year-old world No28 from Cairo, battled for 97 minutes to overcome England's No9 seed Daryl Selby, ranked nine in the world, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4.

It was a disappointing end to the first half of the year for England international Selby who has enjoyed considerable success on the PSA Tour since starting last year outside the world top30.

Home town hero Reda, who joins four fellow Cairo-based compatriots in the second round, will now take on England's James Willstrop for a place in the quarter-finals.

Fifth seed Willstrop, winner of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York, the first PSA Super Series event of the year, despatched unseeded Egyptian Hisham Mohd Ashour 12-10, 12-10, 11-3 in 34 minutes.

Saurav Ghosal went into match against 16th seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar following four successive Tour defeats by the Malaysian. But the rising star from Chennai, who has become India's highest-ranked player of all-time, made his breakthrough against Iskandar in last month's Asian Team Championships - beating the world No18 for the first time in his career.

And 23-year-old Ghosal carried this new-found confidence into his Cairo encounter, winning 11-9, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2 in 52 minutes to achieve his first success in a Super Series event this year.

Ghosal goes on to tackle the event's biggest name, top seed Ramy Ashour - the world number one looking to earn his first Super Series crown of the year in his home city.

Ashour faced England's Joey Barrington in the second match of the evening on the all-glass court. After the first game, the two players requested that the match be moved to a glass-backed court.

"The court floor was very slippery despite a day of cleaning," explained tournament director Robert Edwards. "The first match between Amr Shabana and Karim Samy saw them slipping, but they decided to finish their match.

"The floor was cleaned again at the end of their match, but we agreed that if the next two players complained about the floor and requested a move, we would move them to the glass backs to finish. They did request a move during the first game and were promptly moved to the other court."

Ashour continued his domination of the match on the new court and swiftly beat Barrington 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 to take up his second round place.