Ashour Make Fourth Kuwait Climax
Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour will fight for the $172,500 HH Sheikh
Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir, Kuwait Open title
after reaching the PSA Super Series squash event's final for the fourth
match on the penultimate day of the eighth PSA Super Series event of the year at
Green Island saw third seed Shabana, winner of the World Open
title on the same court almost 12 months ago, take on career-long French rival
Gregory Gaultier, the fifth seed.
In a match he
later described as "probably the hardest I ever played in my life", Shabana won
a closely-contested first game, in which the Frenchman saved one game-ball.
clear that the unusually hot conditions began to take its toll on Gaultier in
the second game - and, after taking a three-minute injury break midway through
the third game, the Frenchman shook hands with
Shabana to concede the match,
with score at 11-9, 11-3, 7-5.
"I think we
both raised the game today, and this first game was probably the hardest I ever
played in my life - and in very hot conditions as well," explained Shabana said
afterwards. "Greg pushed and pushed, until he's got nothing left. He is a great
athlete, that's all I can say.
"We played a
very good game of squash tonight, and I hope that he will be recovering soon,
because we need Greg's squash on the tour.
played too much squash up to now, as I was recovering from an injury," continued
the 31-year-old from Giza, now in his 38th Tour final. "I played a few matches
in El Gouna, and now here.
"One thing I
find when you are getting older, you don't have to spend that much time in
training, making heavy running or gym. You've done the work for 25 years, so the
only thing you need is fine tuning and going on court playing matches."
It took 82
minutes to resolve the other semi, in which England's sixth seed James
Willstrop saved a match-ball in the fourth game to force a decider before
Ramy Ashour went on to clinch an 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7 victory which
takes the world number one into his 30th Tour final.
hard, of course - it's one of the toughest games I ever played. But tonight,
with the crowd cheering me, I just couldn't let them down," said 23-year-old
perfectly - he was ready to snap every shot, every ball. He is hard to play
against, you never know where he is going to put the ball."
ahead to his fourth Kuwait meeting in four years with his compatriot, Ashour
added: "The toughest thing about playing Shabana is that I know his game, and he
knows mine. So it's all about mixing the game and changing my squash when I play
reflected on the positives of the match afterwards - particularly following his
85-minute five-game upset over fourth seed Karim Darwish in the previous
"I got Ramy to
make mistakes, that's something. Because the last times we played, he'd been on
fire, and as far as I remember, he only played one backhand nick the whole
match, and that's not bad.
"I think the
big match I had last night helped me relax, I mean, it was such a brutal match,
I finished late, trying and sleep was a nightmare because of the adrenaline
pumping. I was still up for it, of course, but not putting too much pressure on
myself," added the 27-year-old world No4 from Leeds.
Downs Darwish To Make Kuwait Semis
James Willstrop survived an 85-minute marathon in the quarter-finals of the
$172,500 HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir,
Kuwait Open to upset Egypt's fourth seed Karim Darwish and claim an
unexpected place in the last four of the eighth PSA Super Series squash
event of the year at Green Island in Kuwait.
In fact, the
tall Englishman has had the upper hand over former world number one Darwish
since November 2006 - but the Egyptian, ranked four in the world, arrived in
Kuwait full of confidence after winning last week's Super Series event in El
Gouna on home soil.
Darwish took the opening game, but saw his sixth-seeded opponent move ahead by
taking the next two games before the Egyptian came out firing in the fourth to
level the match.
Neck and neck
up to five-all in the decider, it was Willstrop who prevailed in the final few
points to close out the match 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6.
"It was not
easy, and why should it be?" suggested Willstrop afterwards. "The man has such a
trade record. It was a real battle out there, a real battle, and I'm happy to be
at the better end of that.
"Yes, I did
expect to win, like I do expect to win any matches really. I feel good, and I
had a good week here, much better than last week - that was a bit of a
disappointment. I didn't feel I was at my sharpest, but then again, that may be
coming from the heat.
"Do I still
want to get to number one? Yes, I'm doing everything I can to achieve it, and if
I get there, fantastic, but at least, I'll know that I would have done my best,"
added the 27-year-old from Leeds.
faces his third Egyptian in the event - and will be hoping to reverse his recent
three results this year against world number one Ramy Ashour.
Ashour was in blistering form as he despatched experienced seventh seed
Thierry Lincou 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 in 33 minutes - the shortest match of the
a former world number one and world champion, was in no doubt about the result:
"Ramy deserves his number one status. He is hungry for every match, every
tournament. His pace was just incredible tonight," said Lincou.
Ashour is one
win away from reaching the Kuwait final for the fourth year in a row - and so is
Amr Shabana, the compatriot who beat him in the 2008 and 2009 climaxes.
Shabana defeated fellow left-hander Peter Barker, the eighth seed from
England, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 - and will now face French rival Gregory Gaultier
for a place in the 2010 final.
fifth seed from Aix-en-Provence, ended the run of giant-killer Daryl Selby
- beating the ninth seed, who ousted fellow Englishman and world No2 Nick
Matthew the day before, 11-6, 11-2, 11-1.
"I felt that I
had a great advantage on him, as I played already twice on that court, and that
at some point on the match, he wouldn't see the ball as clearly as he would have
wished," explained Shabana after his win. "Peter is a fighter, he won't give you
anything, and I'm happy to get through 3/0."
recognised the significance of the effort Selby had made earlier in achieving
his first ever victory over Matthew - winner of three Super Series events this
"We had a very
hard first game, I was up 7/1, and he gave it a big push," explained the world
No6. "All credit to him, as I knew he would probably struggle today after his
big win yesterday.
players get through phases where they lose motivation, it was the case with
Daryl last week in El Gouna, and it's nice to see him playing well again
'Best Career Win' To Reach Kuwait Quarters
celebrated 'the best win of my career' when he recorded his first ever victory
over England team-mate Nick Matthew, the world No2, in the second round
of the $172,500 HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir,
Kuwait Open - the eighth PSA Super Series squash event of the year
at Green Island in Kuwait.
The world No10
from Essex, who had never previously even taken a game off his national rival,
recovered from two games down to defeat Matthew, a former world No1 and the
event's top seed, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-7 in 83 minutes.
the best win of my career," exclaimed the ninth seed said afterwards. "Nick was
number one for most of the season, and with Ramy (Ashour), they are the best
players in the world.
"Nick is a
very good friend, and we respect each other. I give him the respect he deserves,
and he gives me the respect I deserve," added the 27-year-old from Essex about
the in-form Yorkshireman who won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games
earlier in the month.
"What am I
going to do now? Change my flight, first of all, and try to get a good night
sleep - if my room-mate Peter Barker doesn't snore too much! He's been
pretty good so far!"
shell-shocked Matthew found it difficult to explain what had happened: "I was
leading 2/0, and in the third he made two errors in a row - and in my head I
thought 'that's it, I've won'. And he just gave it a last push, gave it all he
worked. Which is a good lesson of what you should never do. I had it. And I let
physically tired, it's just I don't have mentally anything to give. The game
became scrappy, but normally, I can get through those scrappy stages - but
today, I just couldn't.
overly disappointed because, this year, I think it's my third loss - so I'm not
doing too badly! And I really couldn't expect much. Yesterday was my first day
of preparation since the Commonwealth Games. It was my biggest goal ever,
and after that, I really didn't want to even look at a squash court!
"But if Delhi
made it impossible for me to go for the world ranking, the world title is still
possible. So there is always a silver lining, and I guess that I'll be able to
rest a bit more this week.
he wanted it more than me," concluded the 30-year-old from Sheffield.
Selby, now in
his second Super Series quarter-final of the year, will next face Gregory
Gaultier, the fifth-seeded Frenchman who beat England's Adrian Grant
11-3, 11-4, 11-6.
Egyptians Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour remain on course to meet in
the Kuwait final for the fourth year in a row. Shabana, the third seed who won
his fourth World Open title on the all-glass court at Green Island last
year, battled for 56 minutes to overcome Australia's 16th seed Cameron Pilley
7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.
31-year-old former world number one will now face fellow left-hander Peter
Barker, the No8 seed who needed 82 minutes to get the better of fellow
Englishman Alister Walker 5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.
world number one who is bidding to win his third 2010 Super Series crown, also
had to recover from a game behind to beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema,
the 11th seed, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-0.
Centre Stage In Kuwait
After a day
dominated by Englishmen, it was Egyptians who took centre stage on the second
day of first round action in the $172,500 HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah
Trophy, The Patriarch Amir, Kuwait Open as Cairo-based world number
one Ramy Ashour led four compatriots through to the last 16 of the eighth
PSA Super Series squash event of the year at Green Island in
signs of the injury which caused his withdrawal midway through last week's final
of the El Gouna International Open in Egypt, Ashour despatched fellow
countryman Omar Mosaad 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 in 33 minutes.
"Thank God I'm
still playing well, and I'm still winning," exclaimed the exuberant 23-year-old
said afterwards. "But you know one thing? I'm more desperate to win than anybody
at the moment. Before, I wanted to win - but not that much. But now, I really,
really, want to win!"
faces top Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, who also ousted an Egyptian,
qualifier Omar Abdel Aziz, to reserve his place in the second round. With
Dutch national coach Lucas Buit in his corner, 11th seed Anjema cruised
to an 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 victory over the 27-year-old from Cairo.
"I think I
hardly did anything wrong today. Last week, I lost in the first round, and some
things I've been working with Lucas didn't work too well. It was an upset
really, but I learned a lot from it," explained the world No11 from The Hague.
"Today was a
good example of how I can play, of how I should play all the time. And, sorry
for the cliché, but it's really great to win your first round match - and to do
it 3/0. It will give me the confidence for the rest of the year."
the world No5 from Egypt who won the El Gouna Super Series event, also survived
his first round match - but was the only player to require more than three games
to earn his second round slot.
seed from Cairo recovered from dropping the second game to beat Hungarian
qualifier Mark Krajcsak 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6.
really well tonight, he had nothing to lose," said the former world number one.
"He normally runs a lot and takes the ball to the back - but tonight, he went
for shots, and in the warm conditions tonight on there, it put me under a lot of
revealed the secret of his new form: "I've been training this summer for the
first time ever away from home, and I worked for a month with Greg Gaultier,
down in Aix en Provence. And that made all the difference really," explained the
26-year-old from Budapest, his country's most successful player of all time.
"I'm also much
more organised with my training now. You know, I'm 26, and I've got to make it
"Greg is a
role model for me, and a good friend too. I hope I will keep training with him,
his game is so good for me to train with. That made the difference tonight I
Shine In Kuwait Open
Nick Matthew led a quintet of Englishmen through to the second round of the
$172,500 HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir,
Kuwait Open - the eighth PSA Super Series event of the year at
Green Island in Kuwait.
world No2 from Sheffield playing in his first Tour event since winning two
Commonwealth Games gold medals in Delhi, faced South African Stephen
Coppinger. The Cape Town-based world No45 was a last-minute replacement for
the injured Australian David Palmer - and arrived in Kuwait fresh from
winning the Sao Paulo Open in Brazil.
his first ever meeting with the South African, battled for 49 minutes to secure
his 11-9, 13-11, 11-6 win.
"I watched him
play numerous times and I thought I knew his game - but it's always different
until you actually play against him," admitted the favourite said afterwards. "I
found it hard to read his game, and he was able to break my game - all credit to
now face one of his Delhi England team-mates Daryl Selby for a place in
the quarter-finals. Despite playing a far-from-match-fit fellow countryman
Jonathan Kemp, who was competing in his first match since undergoing hip
surgery in July, ninth seed Selby was delighted with his 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 win.
"Today, I was
aware of Jonathan's condition - unlucky for him, but lucky for me," said Selby,
the world No10. "Still, he can hit a nick from any position, so you've always
got to be on your toes.
Commonwealth Games were tough for me, a very exciting experience, but
disappointing for me, as I set myself goals I couldn't reach. And right behind
that, I had a bad week in Egypt. So at the moment, I'm trying to remember the
matches that got me to the top 10 - because I truly believe that the players
that reach that level deserve it. So I just try and remember how I got there."
Adrian Grant survived the toughest test to earn his place in the last 16.
The left-hander, who partnered Matthew to Doubles gold in Delhi, was stretched
to the limit by qualifier Nicolas Mueller before beating the rising Swiss
star 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 in 85 minutes.
quarter-final place is reserved for an Englishman after Londoner Peter Barker,
the eighth seed, beat Spanish qualifier Borja Golan 11-6, 7-11, 11-3,
11-7, and 15th seed Alister Walker overcame experienced Finn Olli
Tuominen 11-4, 11-7, 11-5.
Shabana reproduced the form that won him a fourth World Open title on
the same court 12 months ago when he beat tough Australian Stewart Boswell.
Despite this being the 14th year that both have competed on the PSA Tour,
this was only their fourth meeting, since their first in 2002!
Shabana recovered from a game down to beat the former world No4 7-11, 11-8,
11-7, 11-6 in 58 minutes.
"In the first
game, Boswell came out firing, taking the ball so early, and he kept in front of
me on the T," explained the former world number one from Cairo. "He can hit the
ball better than anybody else really, hits it sharper than anybody else, I feel.
when you are playing well, it's easy to stay up there, mentally. I know I'm
playing well at the moment, but I know there is still better that I can
Begins Countdown To World Series Finals Places
for places in next year's ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals begins this
week in Kuwait where the $172,500 HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah
Trophy, The Patriarch Amir, Kuwait Open, the eighth of ten 2010
PSA Super Series events gets underway.
triumphs in the Hong Kong Open and British Grand Prix - and final
appearances in all but one of the seven Super Series championships already this
year - Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour heads the Super Series
rankings by a massive 125 points.
Only the top
eight players, with points accumulated from this year's Super Series events,
will qualify for the ATCO PSA World Series Finals at The
Queen's Club in London from 11-15 January 2011.
Nick Matthew - who chose not to play in last week's El Gouna
International Open in Egypt after competing in the Commonwealth Games
in Delhi, where he won two gold medals - is in second place in the latest list
after winning titles at the North American Open, the Australian Open,
and the Sky Open in Egypt.
As the top two
seeds in Kuwait, Ashour and Matthew are expected to meet in next Tuesday's final
at Green Island.
Englishman James Willstrop, winner of the opening Super Series event of
the year at the Tournament of Champions in New York; fourth-placed
Egyptian Karim Darwish, the El Gouna champion; and France's fifth-placed
Gregory Gaultier, a two-time World Series Finals champion, can
feel reasonably comfortable with their positions in the Super Series rankings.
veterans Thierry Lincou, Amr Shabana and David Palmer will
not feel entirely safe in their current positions in the top eight. Frenchman
Lincou, looking to make his ninth World Series Finals appearance next
year, shares sixth place with Egypt's reigning World Open champion Amr
Shabana - while Palmer, the 2002 World Series champion, is only five points
ahead of Peter Barker, the ninth-placed Englishman eager to make his
World Series Finals debut.
Wael El Hindi
World's Top Players Plan Latest Kuwait Open Title Bid
more than half of the top ten seeds in the 2010 HH
Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir, Kuwait Open having
held the world number one ranking in their careers, the $172,500 PSA
Super Series squash event due to
take place on from 28 October to 2 November promises to be one of the most
competitive ever seen in the country.
2010 Kuwait Open, the eighth
Super Series event of the year, provides the climax of the first year of a
three-year agreement between Sheikha
Fadia Al-Sabah of Kuwait and the Professional
Squash Association which
guarantees nine PSA World Tour events
in the Middle East country over the period.
Open has been a leading annual
event on the PSA Tour since
first backed by Sheikha Fadia Al-Sabah in 2004 - and will continue to be a
popular Middle East stop-off on the Tour's flagship PSA Super Series.
Sheikha Fadia's guidance, Kuwait hosted the 2009 Men's World
Open - a star-studded
championship which was staged at the Green Island Resort and boasted a world
record $277,500 prize-fund.
England's Nick Matthew is
seeded to win his fourth Super Series event of the year at the Kuwait
Open. The world No2 from Sheffield will face Cameron
Pilley, the Australian No2, in the opening round - and is expected to line
up against second seedRamy Ashour, the Egyptian who succeeded him as
world No1 this month, in the final.
the draw predicts that Matthew may have first to overcome distinguished EgyptianAmr
Shabana in the semi-finals. The
31-year-old from Cairo won his fourth World
Open title last year in Green
Island, and was the previous year's Kuwait
Indeed in both cases Shabana defeated Ashour in the finals - and lost out to his
younger compatriot in the 2007 final!
Rising star Abdullah Almezayen single-handedly
represents local interest in the championship. The 22-year-old left-hander faces
a tough first round opponent in fifth-seeded Frenchman Gregory