NORTH AMERICAN OPEN 2011
Mighty Matthew Masters Ashour To Retain Richmond Title
2nd Round 1st Round Preview
American Open 2011
18-26 Feb, Richmond, Virginia, Usa, $115k
 Nick Matthew (Eng)
9-11, 11-6, 11-6
11-7 (49 mins)
11-7, 11-4, 11-8
8-9 retd (23 mins)
11-8, 5-11, 11-6,
v11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6 (85 mins)
Shahier Razik (Can)
12-10, 11-7, 11-7
Gilly Lane (Usa)
Stewart Boswell (Aus)
5-11, 11-4 (64 mins)
Alister Walker (Eng)
3-11, 11-6, 11-9 (61m)
David Palmer (Aus)
11-2, 11-8, 11-7
 Wael El Hindi (Egy)
 Daryl Selby (Eng)
9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (60
Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11-1, 11-5, 11-7 (48m)
6-11, 12-10, 12-10 (48 mins)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 (48 mins)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
11-7, 11-5, 11-5
[Q] Cesar Salazar
8-11, 11-7, 11-8 (54m)
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
11-8, 11-8, 11-5
 Amr Shabana (Egy)
 James Willstrop (Eng)
12-10, 11-6, 11-8 (37 mins)
[Q] Yann Perrin (FRA)
11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (30 mins)
7-11, 11-4, 11-4,
11-5 (49 mins)
5-11, 11-6 (45m)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-7, 2-11, 11-7, 11-7 (55 mins)
[Q] Martin Knight
[Q] Stephane Galifi (ITA)
6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 13-11 (93 mins)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
11-5 (28 mins)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (29 mins)
 Peter Barker (Eng)
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (41 mins)
[Q] Aaron Frankcomb
11-6, 11-6, 11-1 (36 mins)
11-5, 9-11, 11-4,
6-11, 11-8 (68 mins)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 (43 mins)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
9-11, 15-13, 11-8, 11-7 (56 mins)
Tom Richards (Eng)
6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 (45 mins)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
12-14, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10 (43 mins)
 Ramy Ashour (Egy)
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt Joel Hinds (ENG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (56m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Dylan Bennett (NED) 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 8-11, 14-12, 11-8,
9-11, 11-9 (122m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 11-9, 8-11,
14-12, 2-11, 11-6 (101m)
Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-7, 11-6, 6-11,
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6,
Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 17-15, 9-11,
11-4, 11-9 (71m)
1st qualifying round:
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt Shaun le Roux (ENG) 13-11, 12-10, 11-5
Joel Hinds (ENG) bt Sean Steinour (USA) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (16m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-9, 11-1, 11-7 (43m)
Mark Krajcsak (HUN) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-1
Martin Knight (NZL) bt David Hetherington (USA) 11-2, 11-3, 11-8
Dylan Bennett (NED) bt Francis Johnson (USA) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Eric Galvez (MEX) 11-8, 7-11, 12-10,
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt David Letourneau (CAN) 11-7, 11-6, 11-2
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt David Phillips (CAN) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11,
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 11-5, 11-8,
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS) 11-5, 11-5, 5-11,
Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 11-6, 7-11,
11-6, 11-9 (63m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 14-12, 11-8, 11-4
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira (MEX) 11-7,
7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (50m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) 11-5, 11-4,
Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Kamran Khan (MAS) 7-11, 11-6, 8-11,
11-8, 12-10 (89m)
Pictures Courtesy of Patricia Lyons click images for larger
Mighty Matthew Masters
Ashour To Retain Richmond Title
seed Nick Matthew retained the North American Open title
after beating his great rival Ramy Ashour in a momentous
final of this $115,000 PSA World Series Tour event at the
Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.
30-year-old world champion from Sheffield, England,
triumphed 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6 after 85 minutes of
magical squash as the two giants of world squash competed in
their third consecutive Richmond final.
honours level at one victory each, Matthew recovered from
8-6 down to win the first game and then powered through the
second, playing superb squash to force a succession of
errors from his 23-year-old Egyptian opponent.
Matthew continued to dominate in the third game and when he
advanced to 8-6 he was within touching distance of the
However, Ashour suddenly tightened up his game and reeled
off five points in a row to fend off defeat.
Matthew continued to play tight, stylish and intelligent
squash to generate a 6-4 lead in the fourth game but once
again Ashour responded with his own unique brand of
winners began to flow as the capacity crowd at the Westwood
Club roared their encouragement.
collected five points in a row to lead 9-6 and then, after
Matthew had crept back to 8-9, he closed out the game to
take the match to a fifth game.
failed to maintain the momentum as Matthew marched
imperiously towards his second Richmond title.
won the first point of the game but Matthew produced a
devastating brand of controlled, almost error-free squash to
lead 5-2 and then 8-3.
had the crowd on their feet as he won three vital points to
reach 6-8 but Matthew closed out the match to gain revenge
for his defeat in the final of the Tournament of Champions
in New York, the first World Series event of the year.
delighted Matthew said: "Ramy and I are building quite a
rivalry but that match in New York was our first meeting
since August last year, which shows how many good players
there are at the top of the game who stop us from meeting in
was a great match and as Ramy is a lot younger than me I
hope I can keep the rivalry going for a few more years.
know the crowd were cheering for him to come back when I was
2-0 up but I won't hold it against them. This tournament
gets bigger and better every year and we have all enjoyed
the superb new venue at the Westwood Club.
crowds have been great every day and the game is gaining a
massive foothold in the United States.
had live coverage on ESPN for the semi-finals and finals and
we hope that squash fans over here will continue to follow
the Tour on our own PSA SquashTV streaming channel."
third consecutive evening, the crowd finished the evening's
play with a standing ovation. This time Ashour, who reached
the final with two spectacular victories against Gregory
Gaultier and James Willstrop, failed to deliver.
said: "Nick is a great champion and today he showed why he
is number one in the world. It was a fantastic match and I
am sure we will have many more of them as we go round the
world playing in so many great tournaments like this one."
dedicated his victory in New York to the Egyptian nation and
did the same in Richmond as he collected the runner's-up
Pictures Courtesy of Patricia Lyons click images for larger
Matthew Meets Ramy In American Dream Final
World champion Nick Matthew meets
world number two Ramy Ashour in the final of the
$115,000 North American Open for a third year running
after the top two seeds stormed through their semi-finals at
the Westwood Club/ in Richmond, Virginia.
The two matches in the second PSA World
Series event of the year were both England-Egypt
affairs, with Matthew overcoming Amr Shabana in just
40 minutes and Ashour taking five minutes longer to beat
Matthew's England team-mate James Willstrop.
(right) played tight, controlled squash to
win the opening game but Shabana, the four-time world
champion from Cairo, responded in spectacular style to take
the second with a succession of dazzling winners.
However, the 30-year-old from Sheffield
regained control to dominate the third and fourth games to
win 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5 to book his place in the final.
Matthew, who will be celebrating his 40th
appearance in a PSA World Tour final, said: "Amr was
unplayable in that second game and you have to try to
restrict his shot-making opportunities or he will destroy
"It feels great to be in another Richmond
final. I'm feeling good and looking forward to it."
Ashour and Willstrop received a standing
ovation from the enthusiastic Richmond crowd after an
incredible display of shot-making.
Willstrop played some superb squash in
patches but No2 seed Ashour was in extravagant, outrageous
form with sensational winners from all over the court.
Ashour edged the first game but Willstrop
wasted game-ball in the second, allowing Ashour to hit back
and take the game on a tie-break.
Willstrop tightened up in the third game and
played immaculate squash to win 11-5. However, Ashour got
off to a flying start in the fourth and although Willstrop
clawed his way back to 5-7 with some fine shots the Egyptian
genius closed out the match 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6 in
Two weeks ago Ashour
(left) joined the
demonstrations on the streets of Cairo - but he clearly was
unperturbed by any disruption to his training schedule. He
said: "That inspired me so much I didn't worry about any gap
"I love playing here in Richmond for such a
knowledgeable crowd. They inspire me, too.
"James is always a difficult opponent. He is
so skilful and we always have great matches, so I'm pleased
to win and pleased that the crowd enjoyed it as much as I
Ashour's meeting with Matthew is a repeat of
their showdown in the final of the first World Series event
of the year, the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in
New York, which the Egyptian won.
Ashour won the NAO title two years ago but
was forced to concede in last year's final because of
The final will mark the players' 13th Tour
meeting since April 2007 - and their seventh in the USA.
Ashour heads the career head-to-head tally 7-5, but the pair
are level at three-all in US clashes.
As a treat for viewers in the USA, the
North American Open goes out live on ESPN3.com this
Pictures Courtesy of Patricia Lyons click images for larger
Matthew marches into Richmond semi-finals as injury KOs Palmer
world champion Nick Matthew (right) was given a walkover into the semi-finals of the
$115,000 North American Open when his Australian opponent David Palmer was
forced to retire through injury.
Sheffield-based world No.1, was trailing 8-9 in a tense and physical opening
game when the two players collided in mid-court as Palmer tried to chase a ball
into the back left corner.
treatment to a twisted ankle, the 34-year-old veteran announced that he could
not continue play in this World Series Tour event, the second of the year, at
the Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.
“I have another tournament coming up soon and it would be silly to risk it. The
ankle swelled up really badly. It’s a shame because Nick and I were both playing
well and it was shaping up to be a great match.”
Matthew, the reigning NAO champion, meets Amr Shabana (left) in the semi-finals after
the No.4 seed overcame Malaysian Azlan Iskander in a wonderful match full of
It was so
tight that Shabana needed to squeeze home in two tiebreaks before winning 11-7,
6-11, 12-10, 12-10 in 48 minutes of brilliant shot-making and phenomenal
James Willstrop maintained his unbeaten record against England team-mate Peter
Barker. In their 12th PSA Tour meeting, Willstrop recovered after
losing the first game to win 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 in 49 minutes.
It was a
stylish, measured performance and No.3 seed Willstrop will need a repeat
performance in the semi-finals against Ramy Ashour.
genius overcame Gregory Gaultier in a spectacular finale to the evening.
played superbly but Ashour’s speed around the court and a succession of deadly
crosscourt kill shots proved the decisive factors.
clinching a 68-minute victory, with a scoreline of 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8,
Ashour acknowledged the contribution of his opponent. He said: “Greg has been
out of action with an injury for a long time since the World Open and he is back
playing better than he was before.
“That’s why I
needed to be so fast, just to get the ball back. He was playing incredible
squash and I am very happy and relieved to be through to the semi-finals against
James. That should be another great match.”
2nd Round Bottom Half
Ramy's Relief As
Richards Rocks Richmond
Rising England star Tom Richards came desperately close to a shock win over No.2
seed Ramy Ashour
in the second round of the North American Open in Richmond,
Richards won the opening game but squandered game ball in the second and let
slip a 9-4 lead in the fourth before the Egyptian maestro clinched victory 6-11,
12-10, 11-6, 11-9.
Richards dominated the opening game and held game ball in the second at 10-9 but
was unable to close it out. Ashour squeezed home 12-10 and from 5-4 down he won
the third 11-6.
However, Richards roared back in the fourth and looked set to take the match the
full distance as he led 9-4, but the Egyptian maestro put together an
astonishing run of seven points without reply to clinch victory.
Ashour said: "Tom played a great game and was ahead in all of the games. I am a
little bit disappointed with the way I played but all credit to Tom. He played
very well. But I will need to play a lot better in the next round."
Richards said: “I am very disappointed to have lost because I was in some very
good positions in the second and fourth games and should have finished them off.
But in a couple of days I might feel a bit differently.”
meets England team-mate Peter Barker in the quarter-finals after
both players crushed qualifiers.
Barker took just 28 minutes to beat Malaysian Nafizwan Adnan and Willstrop took
two minutes longer to beat New Zealander Martin Knight in straight games.
With world champion Nick Matthew already through, the quarter-final schedule
features three Englishmen.
draw features four outstanding contests, with Ashour facing Frenchman Gregory
Gaultier, who outclassed Finnish No.1 Olli Tuominen 11-6, 11-6, 11-1.
Matthew meets Australia’s David Palmer, and four-times world champion Amr
Shabana tackles Malaysian Azlan Iskandar, who has looked impressive this week at
the Westwood Club.
Pictures Courtesy of Patricia Lyons click images for larger
2nd Round Top Half
Masters His Demons To Reach Richmond Quarters
world champion Nick Matthew admitted to "getting the demons out of my
head" after he and Egyptian superstar Amr Shabana advanced to the
quarter-finals of the North American Open in contrasting styles at the
Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.
The two are
seeded to meet in the semi-finals of this $115,000 PSA World Series
squash event, the second of the year, on Friday.
reigning NAO champion, beat Canadian No1 Shahier Razik in straight games,
but Shabana had to fight back from 2/1 down to overcome England's Jonathan
uncomfortable during his first round match with Julian Illingworth,
having complained about a slippery floor, but he encountered no such problems
against Razik, who tried his hardest to slow the game down.
"It was a
battle of contrasting styles," said Matthew after his 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 win. "Shahier
was trying to slow the ball down and I was trying to speed things up. He is a
very tricky opponent and I was much happier with the way I played tonight. I was
more relaxed after getting the first match under my belt and I managed to get
the demons out of my head.
"There are so
many good players around that competition is always tough, no matter what round
you play in - and the pressure is always on to deliver your best," explained the
30-year-old from Sheffield. "Sometimes you have to take stock and remember just
how much you love playing this game for a living."
quarter-finals Matthew meets Australian veteran David Palmer (right). The former
world champion showed that he can still play phenomenal squash at 34 as he
overpowered England's Alister Walker in four games, 11-6, 3-11, 11-6,
admitted: "I relaxed a bit at 8-2 up in the fourth and Alister showed what a
dangerous player he is. It was very hard and I lost the plot a bit in the second
game but I'm happy to be playing well and pleased to be in the quarter-finals."
forced to battle all the way by Kemp, finally winning 11-8, 13-15, 8-11, 11-7,
11-8 after a brilliantly entertaining match, full of dazzling shots at the front
of the court.
Shabana's magical qualities for most of the match and recovered well to win the
second game tie-break after trailing 10-8. The 29-year-old from Halifax in
Yorkshire maintained the momentum to win the third and a shock looked on the
cards as he led 3-0 in the fourth. But fellow left-hander Shabana showed
confidence and composure in a crisis and strung together a run of points to win
At 5-5 in the
fifth it was wide open, but Shabana's (left) experience shone through as he clinched
his place in the quarter-finals.
match, the four-time world champion from Cairo was typically gracious to his
opponent, saying: "The way Jonathan has come back from hip and back surgery to
continue his career in squash is a phenomenal achievement.
injuries would have finished the careers of many athletes and he is a very
talented player - always difficult to play against.
"At 5-5 in the fifth I wasn't really worried. I just knew that the player who
would win would be the one who could keep to his game and not make too many
mistakes. Fortunately that was me."
meets Mohd Azlan Iskandar, who followed up his first round win over new
British champion Daryl Selby by beating German No1 Simon Rosner.
The Malaysian changed his approach after losing the opening game and simply
crushed his opponent 11-1 in the second.
The cool court
suited his attack at the front of the court and Rosner admitted: "I was
hopeless. He changed his tactics and got in front. After that I simply couldn't
get the ball past him to the back of the court."
admitted: "They weren't big changes, just a few subtle alterations. I knew that
I couldn't play anything loose because Simon is such a good player these days
that he was able to punish all my mistakes.
improved so much in the last few months and there are a lot of guys like him who
are putting pressure on the top guys. The cool court may have looked like it
suited my game but I grew up in Malaysia with 100 per cent humidity so it's not
something I'm used to."
Richards Needs Another Assured Performance In
Rising England star Tom Richards played some of the best squash of his career to
beat Egyptian firebrand Hisham Ashour in the first round of the North American
Open at the Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.
he aims to produce a similar performance against Hisham’s brother Ramy, the
former world champion who is the No.2 seed in this star-studded $115,000-dollar
PSA World Series event.
Richards triumphed 9-11, 15-13, 11-8, 11-7 in 56 minutes of
non-stop attacking squash and both players deserved the ovation from an
It was a similar story in the following match as Ramy overcame
Swiss underdog Nicolas Mueller, the world No.36 from Zurich, in four games of
extravagant shot-making and breathtaking retrieving.
A shock looked on the cards as Mueller took advantage of a string
of errors from his opponent to win the opening game 14-12 on a tiebreak, but
Ashour responded in dazzling style, winning the next two games 11-5 with an
array of winners from all over the court. He then had to hold his nerve as
Mueller fought back in the fourth and forced the game to another tiebreak. This
time Ramy edged home 12-10.
Richards is looking forward to meeting the Egyptian maestro and
said: “Confidence is 80 per cent of what this game is all about. I feel that I
am now producing the type of squash that will help me do well against the top
“I knew what to expect from Hisham and definitely came with a
solid game plan in mind and I am pleased that it worked. It was a great game to
play in and I was pleased to hang in at times when Hisham was going for
everything. We all know he can hit nicks from anywhere in the court.”
Ramy was full of admiration for his Swiss opponent and said: “Nic
is improving all the time and one day I am sure I will be playing him in finals
of events like this instead of the first round.
“I often take a while to get my concentration going in the first
round but I was very pleased to get through a very difficult match. I love
coming here to Richmond. It’s a fantastic tournament and I have been in the last
two finals, so I hope I can reach another one.”
Former world No.1 Gregory Gaultier made an impressive return to
the PSA tour after an injury suffered in last year’s World Open kept him off
court for eight weeks.
He overcame battling Australian Aaron Frankcomb in straight games
and said: "I am so pleased to be
back playing. After my injury in the World Open I was out for two months and I
got fed up with sitting on the sofa putting on weight. I was playing very well
at the time I got injured and there was some great competition between the top
five or six players.”
Gaultier was striking the ball with pace and precision and his immaculate line
and length gave Frankcomb few openings.
Leading English players James Willstrop and Peter Barker joined compatriots
Jonathan Kemp, Alister Walker and world champion Nick Matthew in the second
round after victories.
Willstrop overcame Frenchman Yann Perrin in a scrappy affair while Barker simply
overpowered Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz.
Both face qualifers in the second round, Willstrop meets Martin Knight from New
Zealand while Barker tackles Malaysia’s Nafizwan Adnan, who overcame the
volatile Italian Stephane Galifi in a physical battle.
Galifi received several conduct warnings and was reported after the match by
referee Wendy Danzey for unsporting behaviour.
1st Round Top Half|
champion Selby crashes as Azlan roars in Richmond
squash champion Daryl Selby admitted that he was "feeling flat" as he crashed
out of the North American Open first round to lion-hearted Malaysian Azlan
The London-based Iskander defeated Selby after losing the opening game, hitting
back to win 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 in 60 minutes.
Selby, the No.7 seed from Essex, said he found it difficult to repeat the
fantastic form he showed a week ago to beat world champion Nick Matthew in the
final of the British Nationals in Manchester.
Selby said: "I have to admit I was feeling a bit flat after winning the
Nationals. It's very difficult to play that well on a regular basis and Azlan
played superbly today. I didn't feel I was doing much wrong but often felt half
a yard off the pace. I guess that's a sure sign that I was feeling a bit flat.
But Azza deserved to win, definitely. He hardly made a mistake."
Asked about the draw, which paired the world No.10 against the world No.13 in
the first round, Selby said: "I can't have any complaints. I have benefitted in
the past and I am sure these things even themselves out over the year. I have
heard that some fine tuning might take place to sort out one or two possible
anomalies, but I have no complaints.”
Iskander said that he was fine-tuning his game under coach Peter Genever in
London. He said: "There are no massive changes, just some subtle adjustments
about how you play certain shots. You do the same stuff all the time but Peter
gets you to think creatively about some subtle differences in playing certain
Iskander meets Simon Rosner in the second round after the German No.1 beat Joey
Barrington 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 in a physical battle in which Barrington
received a conduct warning for remarks made to referee Wendy Danzey.
Reigning champion Matthew was almost floored himself in the first round. He
blamed the slippery floor for his flawed performance against US No.1 Julian
Illingworth and needed to show his trademark resilience to avoid a shock defeat.
The world champion complained of slipping on the recently-painted court floor as
he lost the opening game but he battled back to win the three tight games that
Matthew, the top seed from Sheffield, eventually triumphed 8-11, 11-6, 11-6,
11-7 in 49 minutes and was relieved to book his place in the second round.
Matthew said: "Julian played very well and put me under pressure for the whole
match. The floor was very slippery and I was struggling badly at the start.
"Julian has come through qualifying and was obviously feeling a lot more
comfortable then I was at the start. He read the conditions very well and was
hitting a lot of hard, low shots that seemed to shoot through on the floor.
"Julian is constantly improving and has the type of game that could trouble a
lot of the top guys, as he did with me tonight."
Illingworth was pleased with his performance and is doing all he can to help
squash grow in the US. He said: "We have a lot of schools programs in place that
are introducing young people to the sport and staging major tournaments like
this one helps to raise the profile of the sport in America."
His compatriot Gilly Lane fell in straight games to an in-form Shahier Razik,
the Canadian No.1 who meets Matthew in the second round. Razik won in straight
games but had to fight back from game ball down in the first. He eventually won
the tiebreak 12-10 and managed to close out the second and third by an identical
Former world champion David Palmer powered past Egyptian No.8 seed Wael El Hindi
to book a second round meeting with New York-based Englishman Alister Walker,
who overcame another experienced Aussie, Stewart Boswell, in four games of
high-paced, aggressive squash.
Amr Shabana, the four-times world champion from Egypt, cruised through against
Arturo Salazar but the Mexican earned the accolade of “shot of the day” for a
spectacular diving recovery shot from behind his back after being sent from the
front to the rear of the court several times in a row. Earlier the Mexican’s
brother, Cesar, lost to a sharp-looking Jonathan Kemp from England.
Illingworth Draws World Champion Matthew In Virginia
US squash star
Julian Illingworth's reward for cementing his domestic supremacy in the
qualifying finals of the North American Open, the second PSA World
Series event of the year in Richmond, Virginia, was to draw England's
world champion Nick Matthew in the first round.
the record six-time US national champion from New York, overcame US team-mate
Christopher Gordon in a 71-minute clash, triumphing 17-15, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9
after a marathon tie-break in a 28-minute opening game at the Country Club of
It was far
from the longest match on a day of brutal battles as the game's rising stars
fought for eight vacant places in the first round of this $115,000 PSA World
of France overcame Australia's Ryan Cuskelly 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 9-11,
11-9 in 122 minutes to become the lowest-ranked player to qualify.
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan was not far behind with his 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 8-11,
11-6 victory over Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad taking 101 minutes.
Frenchman, Yann Perrin, recovered from two-one down in games to beat
Australia's Zac Alexander 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 in 92 minutes.
Perrin, the world No58 from Aix-en-Provence, meets No3 seed James Willstrop
of England in the first round.
Cesar Salazar will join his twin brother Arturo Salazar in the main
draw after beating Hungarian number one Mark Krajcsak 7-11, 11-5, 11-7,
11-8 in 58 minutes - one of only two of the day's matches wrapped up in under an
Cesar lines up
against England left-hander Jonathan Kemp, while Arturo will face Egypt's
fourth seed Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion who was a
semi-finalist last year.
Illingworth Boost US Interest In North American Open
US interest in
the main draw of the North American Open will be doubled after
Christopher Gordon and Julian Illingworth set up an all-American
qualifying finals clash in the second PSA World Series squash event of
the year in Richmond, Virginia.
Gordon despatched Pakistan's Arshad Iqbal Burki in straight games in the
first qualifying round.
But US number
one Julian Illingworth was taken the full distance by Kamran Khan
before beating the Malaysian son of the legendary Jansher Khan. Khan, the
20-year-old world No80, twice led in the 89-minute marathon - but Illingworth,
the New York-based 27-year-old ranked 40 in the world, maintained his focus to
close out the match 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10 in the longest battle of the
Illingworth will now resume their domestic rivalry to fight for a place in the
main draw of the $115,000 World Series Gold event - to join Philadelphia
wild card Gilly Lane in the first round.
earned the lion's share of the places in the qualifying finals, with Hobart's
Aaron Frankcomb, New South Welshman Ryan Cuskelly and Queenslander
Zac Alexander all safely overcoming first round opponents.
Cesar Salazar took a step closer to joining his twin brother Arturo
Salazar in the main draw when he upset higher-ranked Czech number one Jan
Koukal 11-9, 11-1, 11-7. The 23-year-old world No59 from San Luis Potosi
will now face Hungarian Mark Krajcsak for a place in the first round.
Leading Squash Stars Renew Rivalry In Richmond
Nick Matthew will be seeking revenge from his great rival Ramy Ashour
next week in the North American Open Squash Championship, the PSA
World Series Gold event which is being staged at the stylish Westwood
Club in Richmond, Virginia.
players enjoyed a series of phenomenal battles last year as they competed for
the world number one ranking position.
was renewed in the first major PSA World Series event of the year in January,
when the mercurial Egyptian Ashour triumphed over Englishman Matthew in the
final of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York.
world's leading players are heading to the USA for the second 2011 World Series
event, affectionately known as the NAO. The $115,000 championship takes place
from 20-26 February.
champion Matthew is looking forward to returning to Richmond. His maiden victory
in the tournament last year helped propel him to the world number one ranking
status for the first time in his career, in June 2010, and provided the
springboard for a sensational season of achievements.
number one spot in the world rankings was one of the main goals I set myself
last year," said the 30-year-old Englishman. "Winning the World Open and
achieving a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in India were the others
- and there is no doubt that winning in Richmond helped that process.
matches and winning tournaments gives you the confidence you need to succeed.
There is no doubt that the NAO is up there among the greatest tournaments in the
world, and that is a special tribute to a dedicated team of people who make it
happen every year.
players look forward to going to Richmond," Matthew continued. "They know they
will be well looked after, the hospitality and the administration is first
class, and we are all looking forward to playing in a new venue at the Westwood
Club this year."
Matthew is preparing to lock horns again with Egyptian genius Ashour. The duo
have shared the world number one ranking for the past year and have featured in
the past two Richmond finals, Ashour winning in 2009 and Matthew triumphing last
Matthew's ascendancy for most of 2010, Ashour began 2011 in style by winning the
sport's first "Major" of the year, the JP Morgan Tournament of
Champions, staged at Grand Central Terminal in New York.
distractions of a revolution back home in Egypt, Ashour produced a focused
performance to regain the title he had won in 2009.
Now free of
injuries, Ashour is also determined to regain the Richmond trophy. He dedicated
his triumph in New York, his 19th PSA World Tour title, and the 13th World
Series crown of his career, to the people of Egypt, where squash ranks second
only to soccer in popularity.
"The really good thing about New York was that I was moving well and in touch
with my body. I was so happy to be feeling good again and moving so well on
court. Nick moved me to a lot of corners in the final."
has also returned to the fray fitter and stronger after a shoulder injury two
years ago, was also pleased that Ashour was injury-free. He said: "It is good to
have Ramy back on the tour. He is a much more exciting player to watch than I
national champion Daryl Selby, who produced the most sensational
performance of his career to beat Matthew in Sunday's final, faces Malaysian
Mohd Azlan Iskandar in the first round, with a seeded quarter-final against
four-times world champion Amr Shabana of Egypt.
is another new national champion making his Tour return in Virginia. The fifth
seed won his fourth French national title at the weekend - and will face a
qualifier in the first round in Richmond before a likely quarter-final clash
wild card is US international Gilly Lane from Philadelphia. He faces
Canada's leading player Shahier Razik in the first round, with the winner
due to face top seed Matthew in the second round.
rising Swiss star Nicolas Mueller, who was promoted into the main draw
following the withdrawal of England's Adrian Grant.
features the new PSA seeding system, which has thrown up some tremendous first
round clashes, including Australia's former world champion David Palmer
against New York-based Egyptian Wael El Hindi.
The tournament also has an unusual feature with several qualifiers drawn
together in the bottom half of the draw, which offers a guaranteed second round
place for at least two lower-ranked PSA members.