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21/09/2010
BRITISH GRAND PRIX
 

Ashour Beats Willstrop To Deny English British Grand Prix Win

ROWE British Grand Prix 2010
13-20 Sep, Manchester, $92k
Round One
15/16 Sep
Round Two
17 Sep
Quarters
18 Sep
Semis
19 Sep
Final
20 Sep
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG)
w/o
[Q] Chris Simpson (ENG)
Chris Simpson
11-4, 7-11, 14-12, 11-4 (55m)
 
Saurav Ghosal
Saurav Ghosal
11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (37m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop
11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 5-11, 11-9 (101m)
Gregory Gaultier
James Willstrop
11-7, 3-11, 11-3, 11-5 (40m)
 Ramy Ashour
[14] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 (54m)
Chris Ryder (ENG)
[5] James Willstrop (ENG)
11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (26m)
[Q] Max Lee (HKG)
 James Willstrop
11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (45m)
Stewart Boswell
[11] Stewart Boswell (AUS)
11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 11-13, 11-3 (57m)
[Q] Kashif Shuja (NZL)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-6, 11-2, 11-3 (27m)
Martin Knight (NZL)
Gregory Gaultier
11-4, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9 (75m)
 Adrian Grant
Gregory Gaultier
11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (57m)
Daryl Selby
[9] Adrian Grant (ENG)
11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (30m)
Jens Schoor (GER)
[7] Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-5, 11-3, 11-2 (38m)
[Q] Robbie Temple (ENG)
Daryl Selby
11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (61m)
 Alister Walker
[10] Alister Walker (ENG)
11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (38m)
[Q] Ivan Yuen (MAS)
[Q] Amr Swelim (ITA)
11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (23m)
[12]
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
Aamir Atlas Khan
11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6 (53m)
David Palmer
David Palmer
11-3, 2-0 ret. (10m)
 Amr Shabana
David Palmer
5-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-9 (57m)
 
Ramy Ashour
Julian Illingworth (USA)
11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (38m)
[8] David Palmer (AUS)
Rafael Alarcon (BRA)
11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (31m)
[13] Hisham Ashour (EGY)
 Hisham Ashour
11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (38m)
 Amr Shabana
Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (28m)
[3] Amr Shabana (EGY)
Campbell Grayson (NZL)
13-15, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (75m)
[15] Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Ali Anwar Reda
11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 (60m)
Thierry Lincou
Thierry Lincou
11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (24m)
 Ramy Ashour
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (45m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA)
Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)
11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 16-14 (61m)
[16] Farhan Mehboob (PAK)
Alan Clyne
11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (23m)
Ramy Ashour
[Q] Laurence Delasaux (ENG)
11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (23m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY)

Qualifying finals:
Laurence Delasaux (ENG) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 11-3 (57m)
Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (79m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (52m)
Kashif Shuja (NZL) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (42m)
Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Steve Finitsis (AUS) 12-10, 14-16, 11-4, 11-9 (78m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 8-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 (80m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Clinton Leeuw (RSA) 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)
Amr Swelim (ITA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (50m)

1st qualifying round:
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 1-11, 11-8, 12-10, 13-11 (55m)
Laurence Delasaux (ENG) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (42m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Pete Goodings (ENG) 11-7, 11-1, 11-6 (25m)
Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (41m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Adam Murrills (ENG) 11-2, 11-5, 11-3 (29m)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Lewis Walters (ENG) 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (62m)
Kashif Shuja (NZL) bt Ben Ford (ENG) 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 (30m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11 (75m)
Steve Finitsis (AUS) bt Ollie Holland (ENG) 11-4, 11-7, 11-2 (35m)
Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Anthony Graham (ENG) 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (52m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Andrew Birks! (ENG) 11-9, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6 (63m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Joel Hinds (ENG) 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (57m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Shaun le Roux (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 6-11, 11-2 (84m)
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 11-7 (65m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Richard Birks (ENG) 11-7, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7 (52m)
Amr Swelim (ITA) bt James Snell (ENG) 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6 (44m)

 

Ashour Beats Willstrop To Deny English British Grand Prix Win

"He's got my number at the minute," admitted a dejected James Willstrop after the English hope went down in four games to Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour in the final of the ROWE British Grand Prix, the biggest squash event in Europe this year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The climax of the $92,500 PSA Super Series event was the eleventh meeting of the pair's careers, and their fourth this year - Yorkshireman Willstrop winning the first in the Tournament of Champions final in New York to take the first PSA Super Series title of the year, and Ashour twice gaining his revenge in his home town Cairo and last month in Hong Kong.

Willstrop, the world No6 who claimed his unexpected place in the final after outlasting France's world No5 Gregory Gaultier in a 100-minute semi-final marathon, led 7-3 in the opening game.

But Ashour, the 22-year-old from Cairo who reclaimed the world number one ranking this month from Willstrop's England team-mate Nick Matthew, immediately turned things round by taking the next eight points in a row to win the game.

In a remarkable reversal of fortunes, it was crowd favourite Willstrop who then came out firing - racing to game ball at 10-0 before Ashour picked up a couple of points to prevent a whitewash.

At one game apiece, a more assured Ashour returned for the third and Willstrop seemed unable to match the speed and accuracy of Egypt's latest squash star. After 40 minutes, it was second seed Ashour who raised his hands in triumph to celebrate his 11-7, 3-11, 11-3, 11-5 victory.

"It's such a letdown when you can't produce," said the distraught runner-up afterwards. "It was too physical - he was just too good.

"I wasn't physically good enough today - I don't know why," explained 27-year-old Willstrop, from Leeds. "I expected to come out stronger. I gave it everything I could."

A jubilant Ashour expressed his delight at competing in the event - and winning his 17th PSA Tour title: "I'm really glad I came here and really glad to win. I think it was a really good match, but I think we were both tired - James had a very long game yesterday for more than 100 minutes.

"I was a bit stuffed mentally when I arrived here - I was OK physically - but I really pushed myself during the week. My brother (Hisham) has done a great job - I've learned a lot from him.

"And I have been able to phone my parents every day - and that helped me a lot too.

"James is a great player - I played him in Hong Kong last month, but this was tougher. He has a special kind of game - a mixture of Egyptian and English.

"It's always great to play him," concluded the new champion Ashour.

Willstrop Survives Marathon To Make ROWE British Grand Prix Final

England's James Willstrop reached the final of the biggest squash event in Europe this year after surviving an incident-packed semi-final in the ROWE British Grand Prix in Manchester and will now meet Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour for the $92,500 PSA Super Series event title at the National Squash Centre.

The Yorkshireman's clash with Gregory Gaultier was his latest encounter with the life-long French rival whom he first competed against as a fellow 14-year-old. Leading by two games, the now 27-year-old world No6 from Leeds suffered a dead leg after an accidental collision with the Frenchman, ranked one place higher.

After a seven-minute injury break, Willstrop returned to the court and recovered from 1-5 down to lead 9-7 - two points away from a straight games victory.

But the determined Gaultier fought back to take the game - and then won the fourth to force a decider.

The world No5 twice led - and also had injury break for four minutes after treatment for an ankle injury. But Willstrop held his nerve to clinch a remarkable 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 5-11, 11-9 win after 101 minutes.

"When both of us are playing at the highest of intensities - which both of us were today - you can't keep it going for five games," explained Willstrop afterwards. "When we were good, we were very good.

"I'm just glad to have come back in the fifth.

"That third was a most bizarre game. The injury break didn't help me - but I remember thinking at 8-5, 'I can't settle down'," said the England number two from Leeds.

"It's brilliant to be in another Super Series final," added Willstrop, now in the 22nd Tour final of his career. "I love playing here - the crowd was incredible."

A dejected Gaultier admitted that he hadn't stuck to his game-plan: "I didn't follow the tactic I wanted at the beginning. I was a bit disappointed to lose the second game.

"In the third, I think he was a bit tired and I tried to make the rallies longer. The fifth was anybody's game.

"I am really disappointed to lose - but I will come back stronger next time," added the former world number one from Aix-en-Provence.

Ramy Ashour, who despatched his three earlier opponents 3/0 in little more than an hour of playing time, dropped the first game against veteran Australian David Palmer, the 34-year-old from New South Wales who is the event's No8 seed.

Palmer, who celebrated ten unbroken years in the world's top ten a month ago, was playing the game of his life - while 22-year-old Ashour was scurrying around the court to keep up with the former world No1 and two-time world champion.

Second seed Ashour reclaimed the upper hand in the second game, but the US-based Aussie battled back to earn four game balls in the third before his younger opponent forged a 2/1 lead.

Palmer twice led in the fourth, but again Ashour recovered before closing out the match 5-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-9 in 57 minutes.

"I couldn't believe it - he was incredible today," Ashour acknowledged to the crowd afterwards. "Sometimes, there was nothing I could do against him."

On the prospect of the final, Ashour said: "James is a great player - very skilful on court. I'm sure it will be a great game."

Despite losing, Palmer took positives from his performance: "It's given me encouragement," said the four-time British Open champion. "I haven't been able to play a match like that for the last four or five months.

"The Commonwealth Games is very important to me - and it looks as if I'm back in form. It's better late than never!

"So I can go back home and be happy now.

"But it's going to be very tough in Delhi - James looks like he's in great form," concluded Palmer.

Willstrop Waltzes Into ROWE British Grand Prix Semis

Hopes of home success in the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championship rest exclusively with James Willstrop after the fifth-seeded Yorkshireman beat his Pontefract club-mate and Indian number one Saurav Ghosal in straight games to claim a semi-final berth in the $92,500 PSA Super Series event - the biggest squash tournament in Europe this year which is being staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

It was a dazzling display of master v student as the experienced 27-year-old from Leeds, ranked six in the world, despatched the now 24-year-old from Calcutta who honed his game while earning a first class honours Economics degree at Leeds University.

"You can't help but think about the friendship when you play someone like that, but I think I was a bit more ruthless than him today," said Willstrop after his 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 victory.

"There's a lot of respect between both of us," added the former world No2. "He's extremely quick - in fact, probably the quickest on the Tour. You have to be very accurate against him."

Willstrop, winner of the first Super Series event of the year in New York, is celebrating his fourth semi-final appearance in 2010: "To be in the semis of a Super Series event is a pretty good effort. It feels great - but that's not it; there's a lot more to do. I've now got to get ready for the next one."

When asked if he was particularly focussed on regaining his England No1 status, Willstrop said: "To be England No1 is a big thing, without doubt - but I don't think about rankings.

"But I aspire to achieve what players like Nick (Matthew) and Ramy (Ashour) do. They're at the top of their game. That's my next step - and I'm playing well."

Ghosal, who was making his Super Series quarter-final debut, was full of praise for Willstrop: "He's playing really well - his accuracy is incredible," said the world No26 from Chennai. "Most of the points I won, I really had to work hard to get.

"I was with him for two games - and then he really went away. He came out in the third game firing - playing ridiculous shots. I must have said 'great shot' to him about four times!"

On the effect of the friendship when they play each other, Ghosal explained: "I think it's harder for me than it is for him.

"It was a privilege to play him - I really hope he goes on to win the tournament."

Willstrop will now face life-long French rival Gregory Gaultier, the former world number one who denied the crowd an all-English semi by beating Daryl Selby, the world No9 from Essex, 11-3, 11-8, 11-5.

"I have had seven weeks of great preparation and think I am playing well - in fact I think I am better than I was at my peak," explained the 27-year-old from Aix-en-Provence, who slumped five places in the rankings just four months after reaching No1 last November.

"I played really badly earlier in the year - I was really wasting my capacity. But now I am happy with my life, and I think it shows on court. I really want to get back to world number one."

Selby was disappointed with his reversal of form over 24 hours: "I played really well yesterday to reach the quarters, but I just didn't replicate that today," admitted the England international.

"That was half down to Greg playing well and half to me feeling a bit sluggish. He started the match playing perfect squash - and once he has that confidence, he's hard to break down.

"His movement is excellent and he's a phenomenal athlete - I've got tremendous respect for his squash," added Selby, who will now turn his focus on next month's Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The other semi-final will feature Egypt's world No1 Ramy Ashour and Australia's former world No1 David Palmer.

Palmer faced Amr Shabana, the reigning world champion from Egypt. The capacity and knowledgeable crowd at Sportcity were anticipating a high quality clash between two giants of the game - but were treated to a brief encounter which lasted just 10 minutes when Shabana offered his hand to the Australian just two points into the second game.

"It's a nagging back problem which I've been aware of throughout the tournament," said the 31-year-old from Cairo as he grimaced with pain while undergoing physiotherapy treatment within minutes of leaving the court.

"I felt that if I pushed it hard, I might inflame it. I didn't want to risk doing any serious damage," Shabana explained.

The final quarter-final was also short - a 24-minute display in which second seed Ashour despatched a less-than-fully-agile Frenchman Thierry Lincou 11-3, 11-4, 11-3.

"I feel my age is catching up on me - some weeks I feel older than others, and this hasn't been a good week for me," said the 34-year-old from Marseille.

"I have a problem with my left leg and this is restricting my movement. When my movement is not efficient, I suffer. And Ramy was playing at such a ridiculous pace, I couldn't do anything," explained the forlorn Frenchman.

By contrast, the exuberant young Egyptian was positively bubbling with enthusiasm for his performance. "I was very confident in my play today, but I knew he was not playing his normal game," said 22-year-old Ashour, who has only spent 70 minutes over his three matches on the Manchester all-glass court.

"But tomorrow will be the biggest test - and if I am in the final, that will be even bigger!"

Willstrop & Selby Raise Home Hopes In ROWE British Grand Prix

England team-mates James Willstrop and Daryl Selby ensured domestic interest in the quarter-finals of the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championship after straight games successes in the second round of the $92,500 PSA Super Series event - the biggest in Europe this year - being staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Selby, the No7 seed from Essex who broke into the world top ten this year, was looking for his first Tour win over English rival Alister Walker after defeats in their two previous Tour clashes.

And the world number nine finally made his breakthrough with an 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 win over Walker, the Leeds-based world No17 from Gloucestershire.

"To get Alister in three games is no mean feat," said the jubilant 27-year-old. "I want to do well in this tournament, and if I carry on playing like that, anything can happen."

Selby feels he is back on track after a shock defeat to lower-ranked fellow countryman Tom Richards in the first round of the Australian Open last month. "That gave me quite a kick start as I was playing well - but he played better and thoroughly deserved the win.

"In hindsight, it perhaps did me some good, as I've been playing better since then - sometimes you can learn more from a loss than a win. You can turn a negative into a positive.

"Perhaps I owe Tom a vote of thanks," added Selby.

Willstrop, the fifth seed from Leeds, battled for 45 minutes to quash Manchester-based Australian Stewart Boswell 11-6, 11-9, 11-9.

"Stewart is not only very good, but experienced too. I know him pretty well - we train together a lot

When asked what are his goals, Willstrop replied: "Kuwait, Qatar, India, Egypt," referring to the locations of the PSA Super Series events which follow the British Grand Prix.

"To win a Super Series event is huge," admitted the 27-year-old Yorkshireman. "And of course there's the Commonwealth Games, and finally the World Open," added the former world No2.

Does the current world No6 yearn to reclaim his No2 position - then move on to become the world's top-ranked player? "I concentrate on the tournaments - I don't think too much about rankings. Do well in the tournaments and hopefully the rankings will follow!"

Winner of the opening PSA Super Series event of the year in New York, Willstrop is now poised to exploit the gap in the field left by the withdrawal through illness of compatriot Nick Matthew, the world No2.

Willstrop, a finalist in his previous two appearances on the all-glass Manchester court, will now meet Pontefract club training partner Saurav Ghosal, the 14th seed from India who ousted Guernsey-born qualifier Chris Simpson 11-4, 7-11, 14-12, 11-4.

"It's my first quarter-final in a Super Series event - I am so happy," said the Calcutta-born 24-year-old who is India's highest-ranked player of all-time.

"Playing James is always a pleasure. I've learned so much from him. I'm going to try and play the best I can - hopefully we'll play some good squash," added the world No26.

Gregory Gaultier became one of two Frenchmen to make the last eight when he beat England left-hander Adrian Grant, the No9 seed. Gaining revenge for an acrimonious clash on the same court in the Manchester World Open almost two years ago, Gaultier beat London-born Grant 11-4, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9 in 75 minutes.

"I knew Adrian would be up for it as he's had some good results - and he would want to play well in front of his home crowd," said the Frenchman. "I managed to push hard in the fourth to close the match. I wanted to make him work hard.

"I'm happy to go through. I played really well in Australia and Hong Kong - that built up my confidence," added the 27-year-old from Aix-en-Provence who is bidding to return to the form which saw him reach No1 in the world rankings in November last year.

Gaultier will be joined in the last eight by fellow countryman Thierry Lincou, the sixth seed who fought for exactly an hour to quash rising Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, the 15th seed, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8.

The 34-year-old from Marseille has little to prove - having won the world title and reached world number one in his illustrious career. "My goal for this season is to qualify for the Super Series Finals. I need to be consistent and make a few quarter-finals and semi-finals.

"But I still love the game, and love the training - and I get great support from my family," added Lincou. "But my aim isn't to get back to world No1 - I'd like to stay in the top eight.

"And it would be nice to keep causing a few upsets!"

Lincou now lines up against Egypt's new world number one Ramy Ashour, the 22-year-old from Cairo who ended Alan Clyne's run with an 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 win over the Scottish qualifier from Edinburgh.

Ashour will be joined in the quarters by fellow countryman Amr Shabana, the reigning world champion from Cairo who beat his older brother Hisham Mohd Ashour 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4.

Shabana, a four-time world champion, boasts 26 PSA Tour titles - as does his quarter-final opponent David Palmer, the eighth seed from Australia who defeated Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6.

Flying Scot Clyne Claims First ROWE British Grand Prix Upset

British interest in the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championship was unexpectedly boosted in Manchester tonight when Scotland's Alan Clyne claimed the first upset in the $92,500 PSA Super Series event, the biggest event in Europe this year, at the National Squash Centre.

The 24-year-old qualifier from Edinburgh took a two-game lead over 16th seed Farhan Mehboob - but the world No29 from Pakistan struck back to level the match before forging an 8-0 lead in the decider.

The flying Scot reclaimed seven points in a single hand, however, and went on to save three match balls before finally celebrating a sensational 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 16-14 victory after 61 minutes.

"That's definitely my best win ever," said the Inverness-born world No55. "He's the first top 30 player I've beaten - and it's in a Super Series event too. It's a great result!"

Clyne now faces second seed Ramy Ashour, the new world No1 from Egypt who dismissed English qualifier Laurence Delasaux, from Hull, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5.

It was third time lucky for Mohd Ali Anwar Reda earlier when he recovered from two games down to beat unseeded New Zealander Campbell Grayson 13-15, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 in 75 minutes - the longest match in the first round.

It was the 15th seed from Egypt's first win in Manchester in three attempts. "When I was two games down, I thought 'oh no, not again'," said the jubilant 21-year-old from Cairo.

Reda will line up against experienced Frenchman Thierry Lincou after the sixth seed from France, one of six former world number ones in the event, beat Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5.

Veteran Australian David Palmer saw off rising US star Julian Illingworth in straight games in the afternoon session - then admitted that he is still far from being at full strength after being laid low by tonsillitis back in his home country last month.

Eighth seed Palmer, the 34-year-old from New South Wales who slipped to No12 this month to end a remarkable unbroken ten-year run in the world top ten, despatched Illingworth, the world No35 from New York, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 to reach the last 16.

"To win three love on a pretty dead court is not bad," said the US-based Palmer after his 38-minute win. "We play a lot in the US. He's done well - he's dangerous."

The former world No1 and two-time world champion was struck down by tonsillitis a week before the Australian Open, and was on antibiotics for a month. "I haven't quite got back to my full strength. I still feel a bit run down - though my results haven't been disastrous.

"But I was terrible in Australia," admitted Palmer.

Winner of four British Open titles in England, Palmer now has his sights on success in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi: "It's my fourth Commonwealth Games, and I'm pretty proud of that. I've got a few medals, but I'm still missing the gold!

"It's going to be pretty tough - but I feel, on my day, I can pull off an upset. I just hope I get my health back."

Ambitions? "I would love to get back into the top eight again - and also get one more World Open title!"

The reigning World Open champion Amr Shabana also progressed in straightforward fashion to the last sixteen with an 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 victory over Italian Davide Bianchetti 28 minutes.

The distinguished Egyptian, a four-time winner of the world title and the world number one for 33 months in a row until December 2008, has yet to win a title in England - and was reminded of the fact by tournament MC Andrew Nickeas.

"There are still a few tournaments here - we'll see if it can happen," quipped Shabana, who boasts 26 PSA World Tour titles.

The 31-year-old from Cairo also admitted that he is fighting back to full fitness after suffering with tendonitis in both knees, coupled with a back injury.

"I'm on my way back - but I feel I am currently only at about 60%!

"It's been about two years now that I've been suffering with injuries - and my main ambition is to get back my world number one ranking.

"But first, I've got to get my health back," concluded the third seed.

Shabana will meet Hisham Mohd Ashour in the next round after his compatriot, the No13 seed, beat Brazilian Rafael F Alarcon 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7.

Palmer will take on Aamir Atlas Khan, the 12th seed from Pakistan who defeated Cairo-based Italian Amr Swelim 11-3, 11-5, 11-7.

English Quintet Make British Grand Prix Last 16

A quintet of Englishmen battled through to the second round of the ROWE British Grand Prix in Manchester after successes in the opening day of action in the $92,500 PSA Super Series event, the biggest squash event in Europe this year at the National Squash Centre.

But the day's biggest upset took place off-court when Nick Matthew, the top-ranked Englishman who was hoping to reclaim his world number one ranking following success in the sixth Super Series event of the year, was forced to pull out less than two hours before his opening match.

"During my practice session yesterday afternoon, I felt strange - my heartbeat was going at about 200 beats a minute - and by the time I got back to my hotel room I was really shivering," Matthew told the crowd after seeing the EIS (English Institute of Sport) doctor minutes before in the same building.

"I woke in the middle of the night with a heavy fever and covered in sweat. I left it as long as I could today before making my decision, but the doctor has advised me not to play.

"I'm very disappointed to pull out," said the clearly emotional Yorkshireman. "It's my favourite venue and I was really looking forward to playing here."

Later Manchester favourite James Willstrop, the No5 seed who was expected to line up against his England team-mate in the quarter-finals, pulled away from seven-all in the first game against Max Lee to beat the Hong Kong qualifier 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 in 26 minutes.

"I really feel for him - he must be feeling dreadful at the moment," said the 27-year-old from Leeds when asked about Matthew. "Nick being out of the event is obviously a bitter blow for the tournament, but devastating for him.

"It's the worst thing getting injured - we all feel for him, we know what it's like!"

Asked about his match against Lee, a 22-year-old making his Tour debut in Manchester, Willstrop agreed that there are no easy games. "I had to be on my toes - it was really level at seven-all - there was not too much of a gap, to be honest."

After suffering the worst experience of his life, causing him to be hospitalised for six days in Australia, England international Adrian Grant was clearly back at his best today when he despatched German opponent Jens Schoor in straight games.

It was after winning his first round match in last month's Australian Open in Canberra that the London-born left-hander was taken ill within an hour of eating an evening meal with his England team-mates.

"I have never felt so ill - and it came on so suddenly," said the Leeds-based former world No9 who was later diagnosed with severe gastro-enteritis, and spent six days in hospital where he lost almost a stone in weight.

"It's the worst experience I've ever had - I was in an absolute mess."

Grant then played at the Hong Kong Open, losing in the first round: "I was only playing at about 20% - I'd lost all my muscle strength.

"Getting home in itself was massive - and, with help from the EIS here in Manchester, I had a really good two weeks, building my strength back up.

"So my season starts here," said the event's 29-year-old ninth seed after his 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 win over wildcard Schoor. "I'm taking this as the first tournament of the season - and I'm really focussed."

Grant will now face Gregory Gaultier after the fourth-seeded Frenchman defeated New Zealander Martin Knight 11-6, 11-2, 11-3.

The 27-year-old from Aix-en-Provence is making a notable return to form after failing to exploit his world number one ranking last November, when he slumped to sixth place within the next four months.

"The most important thing was to get myself back in shape and get my motivation back," said Gaultier, who became the first Frenchman to win the British Open title on the same all-glass court three years ago.

"I'm looking for good times again - and I feel pretty confident," added the world No5.

Grant was joined by two fellow Englishmen in the second round after tenth seed Alister Walker, from Leeds, beat Malaysian qualifier Ivan Yuen 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 in the opening match of the day, and Essex's No7 seed Daryl Selby defeated Gloucestershire qualifier Robbie Temple 11-5, 11-3, 11-2.

Matthew Forced To Withdraw In Manchester

 

Nick Matthew, the top-ranked Englishman who was hoping to reclaim his world number one ranking following success in the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championship, was forced to pull out of the $92,500 PSA Super Series event today less than two hours before his opening match in Manchester

 

"During my practice session yesterday afternoon, I felt strange - my heartbeat was going at about 200 beats a minute – and by the time I got back to my hotel room I was really shivering," Matthew told the crowd at the National Squash Centre after seeing the EIS (English Institute of Sport) doctor in the same building.

 

"I woke in the middle of the night with a heavy fever and covered in sweat.  I left it as long as I could today before making my decision, but the doctor has advised me not to play.

 

"I'm very disappointed to pull out," said the clearly emotional Yorkshireman.  "It's my favourite venue and I was really looking forward to playing here."

 

Britons Progress In British Grand Prix Qualifiers

Home interest in the ROWE British Grand Prix has been significantly boosted after four Britons battled through the qualifying finals of the $92,500 Professional Squash Association (PSA) Super Series event which gets underway at the National Squash Centre in Manchester on Wednesday (15 September).

Qualifying for the ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2010, Europe's biggest squash event this year and the sixth of ten 2010 PSA Super Series championships being held around the world, took place at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in Wolverhampton.

Yorkshireman Laurence Delasaux claimed an unexpected place in the main draw after beating local hope Jaymie Haycocks, the long-time Wolverhampton club member who despatched South African Stephen Coppinger, the highest-ranked player in the event, in the first round.

But Haycocks was unable to repeat his heroics against compatriot Delasaux as the 25-year-old from Hull claimed his first Super Series event appearance of the year following his 11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 11-3 victory. Delasaux's reward is a first round clash with Ramy Ashour, the second seed from Egypt who is the world number one.

Guernsey-born Chris Simpson is also celebrating his first appearance in a Super Series event this year after beating India's Siddharth Suchde 11-8, 11-8, 11-4. The Harrogate-based 23-year-old will now face fellow countryman Nick Matthew, the top seed and former world number one from Sheffield, in the main draw.

In the final match of the evening, Gloucester's Robbie Temple overcame Australia's Steve Finitsis. The match was halted for 27 minutes at 11-11 in the second game after Finitsis sustained a blood injury.

The Australian went on to win the game to level the match, but London-based Temple fought back to take the next two games to win 12-10, 14-16, 11-4, 11-9 after 78 minutes of playing time. The success also takes left-hander Temple into his first Super Series event of the year.

Scotland will also be represented in Europe's biggest championship in 2010 after Alan Clyne survived the longest match of the day to beat England's Joe Lee 8-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 in 80 minutes.

The 24-year-old from Edinburgh will now face rising Pakistan star Farhan Mehboob, the 16th seed from Peshawar.

Teenager Ivan Yuen will provide Malaysia's sole interest in Manchester after upsetting England's Adrian Waller 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 in 79 minutes. The 19-year-old from Selangor - at 81 in the world, the lowest-ranked player in the draw - will line up against England's No10 seed Alister Walker, from Leeds, in the first round.

New Zealand's Kashif Shuja overcame Matthew Karwalski of Australia 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8, while Italy's Amr Swelim recovered from a game down to beat USA's Christopher Gordon 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8.

Late addition Clinton Leeuw, the South African who had defeated Egypt's up-and-coming star Karim Abdel Gawad in the previous round, could not continue his form - losing out to Hong Kong's Max Lee 11-8, 11-9, 11-4.

Hero Haycocks Leads Local Hopes Into Grand Prix Qualifying Finals

Local hero Jaymie Haycocks produced the biggest shock in the first qualifying round of the ROWE British Grand Prix when he beat the event's highest-ranked player Stephen Coppinger in a dramatic 55-minute encounter at Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in Wolverhampton, England.

English players dominated today's action which has reduced the field to 16 players who will compete in Wolverhampton for the eight qualifying places available in the ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2010, Europe's biggest squash event this year. The $92,500 ROWE British Grand Prix, which will be staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from 15-20 September, is the sixth of ten PSA Super Series championships being held around the world this year.

Jaymie Haycocks, the world No 101 who has been a member of the Wolverhampton club for more than ten years, defeated Coppinger, ranked 57 places higher, 1-11, 11-8, 12-10, 13-11 in 55 minutes.

After the first game dominated by Coppinger, Haycocks slowed the place and played tight accurate squash producing a stream of mistakes from the South African's racket. The fourth game could have gone either way and a controversial point at 9-9 could have upset the local hero, but Haycocks held his nerve to close out the match.

The Shrewsbury-born 26-year-old will now face fellow Englishman Laurence Delasaux, a 25-year-old Yorkshireman from Hull who beat Surrey teenager Charles Sharpes 11-6, 11-9, 11-8.

Former England junior international Adrian Waller, from Enfield, was too strong for local Over 35 player Pete Goodings, in a game played in good spirit by both players - whilst Kashif Shuja of New Zealand recorded an 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 victory over Kent's Ben Ford, who made the draw following a late withdrawal.

Guernsey's Chris Simpson enjoyed a convincing straight games win over compatriot Adam Murrills, as did Australia's Steve Finitsis who defeated Nottingham's Ollie Holland 11-4 11-7 11-2.

Australian Matthew Karwalski recovered from two games down to beat Finland's Henrik Mustonen 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11 - with both players having served for the match which lasted a full 75 minutes.

After losing the first game, Scot Alan Clyne got into his rhythm and ran out a comfortable winner over Derbyshire's Joel Hinds, whilst Italian Amr Swelim defeated Devon's James Snell 8-11 11-4 12-10 11-6.

Brothers Andrew and Richard Birks, both of whom play at Wolverhampton, both took games from their higher-ranked opponents - but England's Joe Lee went on to beat Andrew 11-9, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6 and USA's Christopher Gordon defeated Richard 11-7, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7.

Max Lee of Hong Kong overcame England's Shaun Le Roux to earn his place in the second round with a hard fought 11-8 11-7 13-11 6-11 11-2 win - whilst late addition (due to a no show) Clinton Leeuw of South Africa caused a further significant upset when he defeated Egypt's rising star Karim Abdel Gawad 11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 11-7.

In the final match of the night Robbie Temple defeated fellow Englishman Anthony Graham 10-12 11-9 11-7 11-7 to progress to the next round.

Qualifying finals line-up:
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) v Laurence Delasaux (ENG)
Adrian Waller (ENG) v Ivan Yuen (MAS)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v Siddharth Suchde (IND)
Kashif Shuja (NZL) v Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
Robbie Temple (ENG) v Steve Finitsis (AUS)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Joe Lee (ENG)
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) v Max Lee (HKG)
Amr Swelim (ITA) v Christopher Gordon (USA)


Gregory Gaultier Heads to Manchester for ROWE British Grand Prix

 

French No1 Gregory Gaultier has confirmed his participation in the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championship 2010, to be staged in Manchester, England, from 15-20 September.

 

Gaultier has fond memories of the spectacular National Squash Centre venue having, in 2007, become the first French winner of the British Open title in the event’s 80-year history.  The former World No1 will be keen to mount a determined challenge for the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour Super Series event which will include a star-studded field led by England’s newly-crowned World No1 Nick Matthew.

 

“I’m really looking forward to the new season and to competing in Manchester,” said the World No5. “It’s always nice to play in Manchester. It’s a great court and atmosphere, and I have no doubts that this year will be a success as always,” added Gaultier.

 

The ROWE British Grand Prix – Manchester 2010, one of only ten PSA Super Series 2010 events and the only PSA Super Series ranking event to be staged in the UK this year, will be held at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity and establishes Manchester alongside other major squash destinations including New York, New Delhi, Cairo, Canberra, Hong Kong, Kuwait City, Doha and Dammam (Saudi Arabia).

 

ROWE British Grand Prix – Manchester 2010 Website Goes Live

 

Today sees the unveiling of www.britishsquashgrandprix.com the official website of the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championships 2010 which will be staged from 15-20 September in Manchester, England.

 

The ROWE British Grand Prix – Manchester 2010, will boast prize money of US$92,500, the largest prize fund of any World Tour ranking event in Europe, and will be contested by a star-studded line-up led by England’s newly-crowned World No1 Nick Matthew.

 

The new site has come to fruition after months of meticulous planning and will show not only the colour and excitement of Europe’s leading squash championship but give international viewers a minute-by-minute account of the action on the spectacular all-glass court at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity.

 

Although there are still more than two months to go before the world’s leading players arrive in Manchester, interest in the championship is starting to build and the dynamic and informative bespoke website, which has been created by award-winning design company MDB Consulting in England, is packed full of fascinating information, and is a must visit for all squash fans.

 

Event Promoters internationalSPORTgroup are now pleased to launch the site in readiness for the only PSA Super Series ranking event to be staged in the UK and Europe this year as part of its comprehensive marketing strategy to expand the reach of media coverage in the lead-up and during the championship.

 

Peter Schmidl, Event & Media Manager for the ROWE British Grand Prix, said: “It’s fantastic that we have been able to launch the website in advance of what promises to be the biggest and best World Tour ranking event in Europe.

 

“The site has been designed to provide interesting content for all levels of squash fan, as well as important event information. The site will be the definitive source of information for all matters relating to the championship and through strong and consistent event branding will redefine and present the championship in a way that differs from other squash events.”

 

World No1 Nick Matthew To Compete In ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championships

 

England’s newly crowned World No1 Nick Matthew has become the first player to confirm his participation in the ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championships, to be staged in the English city of Manchester from 15-20 September.

 

The 29-year-old who recently became the sixteenth player in history to top the men’s world list and only the second English-born World No.1, has an impressive record at the National Squash Centre venue in the heart of Manchester’s Sportcity, having won the third staging of the British Grand Prix in 2006; three British National titles; as well as his second British Open crown last year.

 

The ROWE British Grand Prix – Manchester 2010, one of only ten Professional Squash Association (PSA) Super Series events in 2010, and the only PSA Super Series ranking event to be staged in the UK this year, establishes Manchester alongside other major squash destinations including New York, New Delhi, Cairo, Canberra, Hong Kong, Kuwait City, Doha and Dammam (Saudi Arabia).

 

“This is a very exciting time for squash and the elevation of the British Grand Prix to Europe’s leading PSA Super Series World Tour event is further evidence of the success of the men’s international circuit,” said Sheffield-based Matthew.

 

“It’s particularly good news for the players who love playing in front of Manchester’s loyal and knowledgeable crowds,” said the Yorkshireman who secured the sport’s premier position after winning the Sky Open in Egypt in May - a triumph which marked his fourth World Tour title of 2010 and moved the Englishman ahead of arch rival Ramy Ashour to end a prolonged and intense spell chasing the mercurial Egyptian.

 

“Nick Matthew is the ultimate competitor and his record and consistency over the past twelve months has been nothing short of incredible,” said Event Manager Peter Schmidl.

 

“Not only is Nick the most successful and consistent player currently on the PSA World Tour, but he is arguably the most exciting to watch and certainly one of the most well-supported.  His entry in this year’s ROWE British Grand Prix will undoubtedly prove a major attraction for all spectators in Manchester and is further testament to the highest regard that the players hold for the championships", added Schmidl.

This year's British Grand Prix Squash Championship will be staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from the 15th to 20th September

 

The ROWE British Grand Prix  - Manchester 2010, the first event of a pioneering three year agreement with Manchester City Council, will be the first European Super Series event on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour, boasting the largest prize money offered by any World Tour ranking event in Europe and contested by the world's leading players.


Alongside English No.1 and British Champion Nick Matthew, other leading contenders for the title are likely to include; Egyptians Ramy Ashour, Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana; Frenchmen Thierry Lincou and Gregory Gaultier; Australian David Palmer and English compatriots James Willstrop and Peter Barker.

 

All matches will be played on the all-glass show court and below is a summary of the championship schedule and details of available seating:

 

1st Round, 15th September 2010 (from 12noon):
Admission £10.00

1st Round, 16th September 2010 (from 12noon):
Admission £10.00

2nd Round, 17th September 2010 (from 12noon):
Admission £10.00

Quarter-Finals, 18th September 2010 - 1st session (12noon to 3pm):
Reserved Back Wall £20.00
Unreserved £10.00 per session

Quarter-Finals, 18th September 2010 - 2nd session (4pm to 7pm):
Reserved Back Wall £20.00
Unreserved £10.00 per session

Semi-Finals, 19th September 2010 - 1st session (12noon to 3pm):
Reserved Back Wall £20.00
Unreserved £10.00 per session

Semi-Finals, 19th September 2010 - 2nd session (4pm to 7pm):
Reserved Back Wall £20.00
Unreserved £10.00 per session

Finals: 20th September 2010 (from 6pm):
Reserved Back  Wall £25.00
Unreserved £10.00

 

Please note that this offer is subject to availability and for further information  telephone 0844 870 0000.