Claims Australian Open Crown
Ramy Ashour showed just why he is considered the most exciting squash player
in the world when he came from behind to overcome defending champion Nick
Matthew in today's enthralling final of the Viridian Australian Open,
the third PSA World Series event of the year in Canberra.
2010, Ashour was forced to dig deep into his considerable bag of tricks to see
off the world No1 from England 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4 in a high quality
played some spectacular squash throughout the final but the 23-year-old from
Cairo finished the stronger and was a deserving winner of his first Australian
gone into the match as the slight favourite following his impressive semi-final
win over local hero David Palmer on Saturday.
And he looked
every inch the favourite as he opened up a 10-6 lead in the first game, only to
hold off a comeback from the Egyptian.
levelled the match in the next game before Matthew got his nose back in front,
again having to hold off an Ashour comeback.
fought back again to win a tight fourth game before exploding in the fifth,
controlling the front of the court and hitting a string of winners to quickly
race to 10-3.
managed to save one match point but the end, when it came, was inevitable and
Ashour raised his arms in triumph as he became the first Egyptian to win the
"It's such a
great thing to win the Australian Open, I've been thinking about this since last
year when I lost to Nick," said the world number two.
"It's one of
the biggest names on tour, to win the Australian Open, so I'm glad to join those
great players on the trophy."
Ashour said he
went in with a set game plan and he stuck with it right to the end.
"My goal was
to fight for every point, to push myself to the limit and give 100 percent, win
or lose," he said. "I think in the fifth I just went for my shots and I pushed
myself again and again.
"The match was
tough for both of us both physically and mentally, but I think he had a little
bit more pressure on him because he's number one."
one poor game had cost him the match, but paid tribute to Ashour's fighting
"Even in the
games I won I took the lead and he fought back and took it to a tiebreak both
times," said the 31-year-old from Sheffield.
gives him credit for his shot-making but some people forget he's got that side
to his game as well, that makes him such a champion.
disappointed with the fifth - I'd like to have it over again. It just ran away
from me and sometimes he can get on a run of points in the blink of an eye and
before I knew it he was five, six, seven, eight and I couldn't stop the rot."
buoyed by the good-natured cheering from a group of Egyptians in the stands.
expect these people to be here. It's good to have Egyptian people here
supporting me. It doesn't happen much and it feels good to hear Egyptian words,"
"But the crowd
has been so good, it's such a knowledgeable crowd and they know about every
shot, and that we have to produce the best squash every time - you don't get any
takes Ashour's PSA Tour title tally to 21 - one more than rival Matthew.
moves ahead of Matthew to top the latest Dunlop PSA World Series Standings.
Englishman James Willstrop holds onto third position, while Australian
hero David Palmer is rewarded for his surprise semi-final berth in
Canberra with a rise to fourth place.
Gregory Gaultier and Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema both move into the
top eight following their Australian Open successes - Gaultier making the semis
as fifth seed and unseeded Anjema reaching the last eight.
Dunlop PSA World Series Standings:
Laurens Jan Anjema
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan
Ashour Set Up Dream Canberra Climax
number one Nick Matthew ended local hero David Palmer's fairytale
run in the Viridian Australian Open to set up a dream final on Sunday
with world No2 Ramy Ashour in the third PSA World Series event of
the year in Canberra.
Matthew recorded a ruthless 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 semi-final win over unseeded
Australian Palmer - and will now face Egyptian Ashour, a 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9
winner over France's fifth seed Gregory Gaultier, in a repeat of the 2010
decider, won in straight games by Matthew.
35-year-old Palmer has been carrying an ankle injury during the week but has
been playing great squash, culminating in a win over world number three Karim
Darwish in the quarter-finals.
despite the vocal support of a large home crowd, the 2008 champion came up short
against a player at the peak of his game.
away to a great start and jumped out to a 5-2 lead, only for Matthew to claw his
way back to level terms, the two then going point for point until Mathew broke
away at 9-9 to close out the first game.
champion then stepped up a gear against an increasingly tired looking Palmer to
take control of the rest of the match.
As the match
wore on, Palmer found it harder and harder to read Matthew's shots and was often
left flat footed at the back of the court.
"He's had a
good week and he's come pretty far in the tournament, but I wasn't going to let
him have his fairytale," said Matthew, now in his 42nd Tour final.
game was quite crucial, he started off like a train but once I got the first
game I had some breathing space and it was going to a tough ask for him to come
back from it.
"I made a good
start in the second and stayed on top, I'm very pleased with my performance
today," added the 31-year-old from Sheffield.
conceded afterwards that he hadn't been physically up to the task of beating the
world's best player on Saturday. "The week caught up with me I think," he said.
"My legs got
heavier and you can't give up that much time against him. He's one of the
fastest men on the court," explained the former world number one and two-time
"I was on the
back foot and that caused my shots to be not quite as accurate as well. Still,
it was a good week for me. With my seeding, no one expected me to get this far
and considering the ankle injury I'm still pretty proud."
In the last
match of the day, Ashour downed world No6 Gaultier 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 in a
semi-final full of passion, humour, tension and remarkable shot making from both
The pair were
renewing their Australian Open rivalry from last year, where they also met in
occasion they played one of the best matches ever seen in Australia, and
although Saturday's match may have fallen short of that classic, it came fairly
chances to win every game, only to be undone by some sublime stroke play from
the audacious Egyptian, who seems able to hit clean winners from any position on
fast as a spaceship, you can see how fast he is on the court, how physically fit
he is," Ashour said, on the eve of his 34th PSA Tour final.
"He's such a
diligent guy, he works very hard and pushes himself on court to his limit. For
me to stay on court for that long and keep up gives me a lot of confidence.
it's a fight, between the points I was thinking 'why does it have to be like
this every time?'"
Ashour said he
thought he noticed Gaultier beginning to tire towards the end of the match so he
tried to increase the pace of the game, which allowed him to sneak home.
like this at the top level, it's always a very thin margin," he said.
Gaultier was left rueing his lost chances.
"It's tough to
lose three games 11-9, 11-9, 11-9," he said. "I had the opportunity to take one
of these three games but he managed to hit winners at the right time.
disappointed but I'm happy with the way I played. I think it's a good start to
the season for me to get my confidence up."
Into Australian Open Semis
David Palmer showed he's still a major force in the world of squash when he
stunned world number three Karim Darwish to reach the semi-finals of the
Viridian Australian Open, the third PSA World Series event of the
year in Canberra.
Palmer, at 35
and playing with an injured ankle, came out firing in the first game then held
off a comeback from the third-seeded Egyptian to win 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10.
Palmer's eighth win over Darwish - but the Australian number one's first since
2008, and ensures a semi-final against world number one Nick Matthew of
earlier withstood a fierce onslaught from Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema to
win 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 and move a step closer to defending his title.
But he will
first have to get past Palmer, who played brilliantly against the 29-year-old
former world number one from Cairo to the delight of the partisan fans in
Canberra's Royal Theatre.
10 in the world, injured his ankle in his opening round match and there was some
doubt as to whether he would be able to continue in the tournament.
slightly tentative in his second round win over England's Tom Richards,
but showed no signs of discomfort as he took advantage of an at times
out-of-sorts Darwish to record the tournament's biggest upset.
really expect it," admitted the former world number one and two-time world
champion later. "I can't give much up to these guys at the best of times but
I've struggled all week with my ankle and somehow I'm managing to get through.
good because I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself, just trying to
get through the match without reinjuring it and trying to make it at least
competitive. Maybe being a bit more relaxed is working," added one of the Tour's
Palmer said he
would take that attitude into the semi-final against Matthew.
nothing to lose, it's a dream to be able to play a major semi-final here in
Australia," he said. "There's a bit of rivalry with Nick but then again he's the
one with the pressure on him. I quite like playing against him, so if I'm up for
it, who knows?"
survived a brutal onslaught from Anjema, taking an early lead then holding off a
ferocious comeback from the tall left-hander.
Dutch champion came into the quarter-finals in top form, having upset seventh
seed Thierry Lincou in the first round before demolishing American
Julian Illingworth in the second.
started slowly allowing Matthew the early advantage before finding his way back
into the match.
played some spectacular squash as the momentum swung between the two.
took an early lead in the fourth as he looked to get the match back on even
terms, only for Matthew to claw his way back and eventually ease away with the
game to close out the quarter-final.
"He came back
strong, he obviously played well in the first round and had one of the best wins
of his career and then backed up really well in the second round," Matthew said.
"I felt before
the match that little buzz that I've not had this week. I felt that I was up for
a big match and I started really well. I scrapped really well - if things are
not going well that's one thing I can rely on, to scrap hard and fight for every
favourite Gregory Gaultier of France overcame a slow start to down
fourth-seeded Englishman James Willstrop 7-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-5.
out firing and had Gaultier in all sorts of trouble, but the lower-ranked
Frenchman worked his way back into the game and finished far stronger than his
beginning it was just torture for me - he made an unbelievable start and I
couldn't do anything," Gaultier said.
"I just told
myself to forget about it and fight hard. Today was not a day for accuracy from
me, so I thought to myself 'try and raise the pace and things may work out your
take on Ramy Ashour in a repeat of last year's classic semi-final.
world number two from Egypt, also overcame a slow start before storming back to
beat England's Peter Barker 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4.
World’s Top Four
Through To Semi Finals
The World’s top four players made it through to the semi finals of the
Australian Open today, albeit in contrasting styles.
World number one Nicol David had the swiftest passage through to the semi
final, when Hong Kong’s number one Annie Au had to retire early in the
third game. The world number eleven looked uncomfortable from the outset and she
struggled to move at all. Au later explained that a leg injury she picked up in
her previous match against Line Hansen had caused the problem.
David’s semi final opponent will be Rachael Grinham. The home favourite
kept the Aussie hierarchy in check when she held off the challenge from Donna
Urquhart. Urquhart looked nervous throughout the match and couldn’t make a
dent in the experienced armour of Grinham.
Grinham said she was feeling in pretty good shape and looking forward to the
challenge of playing David.
The pair have had some thrilling encounters in the past and hopefully tomorrow
will be no different. The home fans might not want to hear the facts though.
David owns a 26-6 head to head record and has not lost to Grinham since British
Open in 2007. The last four matches have all been in straight games.
The other semi final will see defending champion Madeline Perry take on
world number two Jenny Duncalf. Both players came through tough quarter
Perry gained revenge over Joelle King, recovering from 8-3 down in the
fourth to close out a closely fought contest in four games. King had stunned
Perry in straight games a few weeks ago in the first round of the CIMB Malaysian
Open, but this time Perry was in better form, her title win in Singapore
possibly giving her the extra boost of confidence she needed.
Duncalf had to be at her best to shake off the challenge of Natalie Grinham.
She won the first game with ease, but then saw Grinham fight back and chase
every ball, forcing her into errors. At 8-8 in the fourth Duncalf managed to
pull away and close out the match.
Duncalf and Perry are locked at 4-4 in their head to head and the match tomorrow
could easily swing either way. Perry did however win their last match, at the
same stage of this event last year.
Local Hero Boswell In Canberra
squash star Ramy Ashour came back from losing the first game to local
hero Stewart Boswell to power his way into the quarter-finals of the
Viridian Australian Open, the third PSA World Series squash event of
the year in Canberra.
hails from the Australian capital, had home supporters cheering when he claimed
the opening game - but the four-time champion couldn't maintain the momentum as
second seed Ashour stormed home to win 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11- 7.
33-year-old Australian, who first won his country's premier title nine years
ago, was brilliant at times - but was undone by the shot-making wizardry of the
world number two from Cairo, who was able to hit winners from seemingly
was pushed all the way by Boswell, currently ranked 21 in the world.
"He should be
ranked better than he is the way he played," said 23-year-old Ashour. "He played
like a top 10 player. I think we played a very good quality match tonight."
takes on Englishman Peter Barker, who was also in great touch as he
disposed of Malaysia's Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan with a minimum of fuss 11-4,
faced players ranked in the 40s in his first two rounds but said he wasn't too
concerned that he hadn't been really tested yet.
quite lucky I've had two players ranked where they are, but at the same time
someone like Greg (Gaultier) has had two tough matches and he's managed to win
them both three-love," said the 27-year-old Londoner.
happy with the way I'm hitting the ball, I'm very pleased with the way I'm
moving in my first tournament back."
Gregory Gaultier set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with England's
fourth seeded James Willstrop after the Frenchman beat Adrian Grant
11-7, 11-5, 11-8, showing glimpses of the form that took him to world number one
was in complete control throughout, never allowing Grant to settle into any sort
His clash with
Willstrop, an 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 winner over Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne,
is sure to be the highlight of the quarter-finals.
he believed he had an advantage heading into the match against Willstrop because
he had played two high quality players, whereas Willstrop's opponents had been
ranked much lower.
"He's in great
form but he didn't have tough matches - he hasn't played top players yet,"
"It's easy to
be in good form when you don't play top players, but he's a great player and
he's really good to watch so I think it's going to be a really good match."
in superb touch as he demolished Clyne.
through qualifying to make the main draw then outplayed Malaysian Muhd Asyraf
Azan in the first round - but he was no match for the towering Yorkshireman,
who dominated all aspects of the match.
through qualifying, he's winning his matches, he's played a few games and that
can mean a lot at this early point of the season," a delighted Willstrop said.
"He's the type
of player who will get balls back all day long, so for me to get in a position
where I win three games comfortably is a great thing for me.
finish and it's three-love in the bag, that's a good feeling."
On In Canberra
number one David Palmer overcame a badly injured ankle to edge past
Tom Richards of England in today's second round of the Viridian
Australian Open to reach the quarter-finals of the third PSA World Series
squash event of the year in Canberra.
former champion hurt his ankle when he fell awkwardly during his first round win
over Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar on Monday and needed extensive
treatment at the Australian Institute of Sport just to take the court.
35-year-old struggled badly during the first game and looked headed for an early
exit in possibly his last ever Australian Open.
the match wore on he slowly started to gain more movement and began to dominate
an increasingly frustrated Richards.
had never before lost to the 25-year-old Englishman in seven previous meetings,
took a close second game - then made decisive breaks in the third and fourth to
take the match 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 in 65 minutes.
He now has a
day off for more treatment before facing third seed Karim Darwish in the
quarter-finals following the Egyptian's 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 win over Hong
Kong's Max Lee.
"I was happy
just to get on court," Palmer said. "I've been out at the AIS getting treatment
and they've done some great work.
"In the early
stages it felt like I was dragging my leg around and I think winning that second
game was very important - if Tom had gone two-love up I think he would have run
away with it.
"I think it
probably affected Tom's game a little bit because it can be hard to play against
someone you know has an injury."
Nick Matthew remained on track to defend his title with an impressive win
over Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee.
number one from Sheffield absorbed everything the Malaysian threw at him to
close out the match 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 and move into a quarter-final against
Laurens Jan Anjema of the Netherlands.
the final eight when he beat American Julian Illingworth 11-4, 11-3,
Ong have been opponents since their junior days and the Malaysian used all his
experience to undo his opponent, hitting an array of shots to all parts of the
Matthew was up to the challenge despite struggling to close out the match in a
tight third game.
"I seem to get
to seven, eight and nine points okay before hitting a bit of a roadblock," said
the 31-year-old Englishman. "But that's a credit to Beng Hee, he stayed around
to fight to the end. He changed his tactics every point so it was hard to feel
"I was happy
to get off three-love really. I'm getting through, I'm not really playing with
full fluency yet, but it's early days in the tournament so hopefully I'll find
sort of in place, it's just a matter of piecing the bits together - I'll get
that in the next few days."
need to be at his best against Anjema, who followed up his first round upset of
fifth seed Thierry Lincou with a dominant display against Illingworth.
really well tonight - it's tough to follow up a win over someone like Thierry,"
said the six-time Dutch champion. "You walk around with your head in the clouds
but you have to tell yourself it's a new day and there's work to be done."
Palmer In Canberra Last 16
made it two Australian men into the second round of the Viridian Australian
Open when he downed India's Saurav Ghosal in straight games in
today's second day of first round action in the third PSA World Series
squash event of the year in Canberra.
Ghosal in a tight first game before easing away with the next two to take the
match 14-12, 11-2, 11-5 in 48 minutes.
33-year-old Boswell grew up in Canberra and delighted the home fans with the
emphatic win to join Australian number one David Palmer in the second
four-time champion will have to step up several gears before facing
second-seeded Egyptian Ramy Ashour, who downed Malaysian qualifier
Ivan Yuen in the last match of the night.
good, it's nice to have some support," said Boswell - winner of his country's
premier title in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2009 - about playing in Canberra.
"Normally it's for the other guy when I'm overseas, I was glad to get through at
least one round this year, that's a start."
Australian number two Cameron Pilley bowed out at the hands of classy
Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, while Englishman Peter Barker was too
steady for Hobart's Aaron Frankcomb, winning 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.
in blistering form as he downed world number 14 Pilley 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.
"It was maybe
the worst draw I could get for the first round," said Gaultier, the world No6
from Aix-en-Provence. "But I was in really good shape and moving well, finding
my length, I was really patient and I managed to play a little bit faster than
the sixth-seeded Barker in trouble at various times throughout their match, but
couldn't maintain the pressure when it counted.
beaten players ranked above him, but he hasn't always been consistent in the
past and I'm sure he'll tell you that's what he's working on," said London
left-hander Barker. "So on this court in front of his home crowd I knew I had to
fourth seed James Willstrop put on a display of superb squash as he
downed fellow countryman Chris Ryder 13-11, 11-8, 11-0, declaring later
he played almost the perfect match.
"I played some
great squash, it was really good on my part, and he really didn't do a lot
wrong," said the 27-year-old Yorkshireman. "It was just one of those bizarre
games but I got on top early, I enforced myself physically and I got a bit of
momentum there at five-love, and his head dropped a bit, because when you're
two-love, five-love down, it makes it very difficult.
"But 11-0 in
the third game wasn't a just score, but for me to put in a game like that is
flown under the radar this year with most of the attention on fellow countryman
Nick Matthew and Egypt's Ramy Ashour.
that I can beat either of them - of course all the attention's going to be on
them because they are number one and two in the world, but I don't go round
thinking there's any kind of hierarchy. I feel I'm on level terms with them. I
just have to do it more consistently."
faces Scotsman Alan Clyne, who continued his recent climb as he reached
the second round of a platinum level tournament for the first time with an 11-5,
11-9, 11-4 win over Malaysia's Muhd Asyraf Azan.
Clyne won the
first game easily, then came back from 8-2 down in the second, before running
away with the third against a disconsolate Azan.
"I managed to
get onto the pace pretty quickly in the first game because on the glass court
you need to be positive and get the ball in short and I thought I did that
really well," said the Edinburgh-based Scot.
"I thought it
was quite crucial when I came back, when you're 8-2 down you can relax because
you think the game's going to be finished - but once I got a few points I
thought if I could get that one it could just be the turning point, and it
proved to be."
Adrian Grant came from two games down to overhaul German Simon Rosner
2-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.
superbly in the first two and half games and had chances to bring up match
points, but Grant, the world No18, ranked 12 places higher, clung in and
eventually turned the tables on his younger opponent.
"I was very
tentative in my movement and my swing to begin with," Grant said. "It is the
first tournament I've played since an injury so it's been over three months
since I've played. I was a bit nervous and felt tight inside the body, but fair
play to Rosner, he's a big guy who really crunches the ball and he just didn't
let me settle in.
"In the third
I went in with nothing to lose and just tried to free up mentally and
joined fellow Malaysian Ong Beng Hee in the second round when he beat
Dick Lau from Hong Kong 11-7, 11-4, 11-3.
Palmer Through In Canberra
David Palmer defied a tenacious opponent and an ankle injury in the fifth
game to claw his way into the second round of the Viridian Australian Open
after upsetting Malaysia's Mohd Azlan Iskandar 14-12, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11,
11-8 in today's first round of the third PSA World Series squash event of
the year in Canberra.
2009 champion, won the first two games only for the eighth-seeded Malaysian to
fight back and level proceedings. The top-ranked Australian got away to an early
lead in the decider before falling awkwardly at 7-5 and twisting his ankle.
He took a
brief injury break and when he came back the 35-year-old went for his shots,
quickly bringing up match ball and then closing out an epic first round
encounter after 106 minutes with a forehand drive deep into the back corner.
Palmer now has
a day off before he plays Englishman Tom Richards in the last 16 round,
and said he would use the time to get his ankle assessed and have some medical
earlier downed Australia's Ryan Cuskelly 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 to book his
place in the second round.
one Nick Matthew made an impressive start to his title defence when he
beat South Africa's Stephen Coppinger in straight games 11-7, 11-8, 11-9.
only looked in trouble briefly in the third game when he was behind 5-9, but
stepped up the pace to storm home and wrap up a hard fought match.
"I knew it
would be a tough match from the moment I saw the draw," Matthew said. "I'm
delighted to get off in three because it could have got tough out there if I'd
have lost that first game."
Yorkshireman, who turned 31 last month, now takes on Ong Beng Hee after
the Malaysian overcame a slow start to beat New Zealand qualifier Martin
Knight 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4.
In the day's
other major upset, Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema played some superb squash
to down seventh-seeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou.
back from losing the first game in a tiebreak to record his 14-16, 11-9, 14-12,
11-5 win over the former world number one.
played some breathtaking squash throughout the match, but he was matched most of
the way by the 35-year-old Lincou, who only began to fade towards the end as
fatigue and lack of match play began to catch up with him.
Anjema's first win over the Frenchman and he was delighted to finally break the
"I had to wait
for 10 years until this guy was 35 years old and could hardly walk anymore, and
I could just about beat him," said the world No15 from The Hague.
takes on American number one Julian Illingworth, an 11-6, 11-7, 7-11,
11-9 winner over Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller.
Max Lee was the first player through to the second round when he came from a
game down to beat New South Welshman and fellow qualifier Matthew Karwalski
6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8.
In the last
match of the night, third-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish saw off a brave
challenge from Australia's Zac Alexander, winning 11-8, 11-13, 11-2,
Storms Into Australian Open Main Draw
Zac Alexander stormed into the main draw of the CSR Viridian
Australian Open in Canberra today after an impressive win over New
Zealander Chris Lloyd in the qualifying finals of the third PSA World
Series squash event of the year.
22-year-old Queenslander completed his second straight games win in a row with
an 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 win over Auckland-based Lloyd.
It is the
second year in a row that Alexander has qualified for the Open: In 2010 he bowed
out after giving classy Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy an almighty fright.
he plays another Egyptian, world number three Karim Darwish, in what is
sure to be a test of Alexander's progression over the past 12 months.
is always good - but to get through both matches three-love is obviously really
good," he said. "It's important to be as fresh as you can be for the first
who won the Queensland Open in late July, said he was feeling better
prepared than this time last year.
like I've done a good six weeks of work, I'm feeling pretty fit and obviously I
took some confidence away from two weeks ago at the Queensland Open, so I'm
feeling as good as I can be," he said.
joined in the main draw by fellow Aussie Matthew Karwalski, a 25-year-old
from New South Wales who beat fellow countryman Wade Johnstone 11-6,
will play fellow qualifier Max Lee from Hong Kong in the first round
after Lee beat former Australian Open finalist Kashif Shuja, from New
Zealand, 8-11, 8-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-4.
Ivan Yuen caused the biggest shock when he upset higher-ranked New
Zealander Campbell Grayson in four tight games.
only player outside the world top 100 to qualify, always had his nose in front
against an increasingly agitated Grayson, winning 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 to
reach the Australian Open main draw on his first attempt.
very good win for me," said Yuen, ranked 121 in the world to Grayson's 59. "It
means very good rankings points for me, which I need.
"This is my
first time playing the Australian Open, so I am happy I've made the main draw,"
added the 20-year-old, who will now play second-seed Egyptian Ramy Ashour.
playing well this tournament. The last few tournaments I wasn't playing well but
yesterday and today I was much better."
made it two Malaysian qualifying wins, following Muhd Asyraf Azan's tough
11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 win over Austria's Aqeel Rehman.
qualifying seed Alan Clyne had to survive a first game onslaught from
rapidly-improving Australian Rex Hedrick before winning 11-13, 11-9,
players are renowned for their fitness and never say die attitude and this was
in evidence in an enthralling encounter.
the Scotsman was able to lift his game when it counted to see off Hedrick and
book his place in the first round.
"I lost to
Campbell Grayson last year 3/2 so I was determined to get into the main
draw this time," said the 25-year-old from Edinburgh.
it looked a bit easier because my ranking's gone up and I was seeded to get in
this time but it was still a really tough match. Rex played really well, he came
out really strong and it was high paced - I was glad to get through it.
let anything go, he was picking up everything, and it was really bouncy.
Canberra's supposed to be cold but on court it didn't feel cold.
I was a fair bit clear but then he came back. The first it was nip and tuck, I
thought it was going to be an important one and if I got that one I thought I
would be clear.
missing that one the match was going to go either way and I was up against it
but I just managed to keep the pace up and got it in the end."
ended the challenge of Englishman Alex Phillips with a comfortable 11-3,
11-9, 11-4 win. Lau said the win came as a welcome relief after some poor recent
travelled to Egypt a few weeks ago and played really badly so my confidence
wasn't really high," said the 25-year-old from Hong Kong. "I think yesterday's
match and today's match have given me a little more confidence going into the
first round tomorrow.
has trained with him and played him in England and he told me he was a quick
player and had quick hands, so I made sure I went for longer rallies, make sure
he moved front and back.
"I like the
weather here, not too hot so I don't sweat that much, and the court is pretty
dead - I like that."
ensured it was not all doom and gloom for the Kiwis as he beat in form German
Raphael Kandra 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.
By Shabana Withdrawal
squash number one David Palmer will be breathing slightly easier
following the overnight withdrawal from the Viridian Australian Open of
world number five Amr Shabana.
been drawn to play Shabana in the first round of the PSA World Series
event - the third of the year - in Canberra next month in a battle of two
former world number ones.
following the Egyptian's withdrawal, the draw was remade and Palmer will now
face Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the new eighth seed from Malaysia.
ranked 10th in the world while Palmer is 11th, but the 35-year-old Australian
would no doubt rather be facing Iskandar in the tournament opener than four-time
world champion Shabana.
withdrawal also means good news for New South Wales's Ryan Cuskelly, who,
as the highest ranked player in qualifying, now comes into the main draw.
world No42, will take on Englishman Tom Richards, ranked 24 in the world,
in the first round.
Open will be played on the all-glass court at Canberra's Royal Theatre
from August 8-14.
For First Australian Open Title
one Nicol David has won just about every major tournament going in squash
in the last six year; 53 WISPA titles, three British Opens, five World Opens and
Commonwealth Games Gold. However, an Australian Open title is something she
doesn’t have to her name.
superstar will be making her debut at the event, which starts on 6th
August in Australia’s capital, Canberra.
Thanks to the
sponsors, the tournament has once again been upgraded in prize money and now
boasts a prize fund of $60,000. It will be the third World Series event of the
year and will feature 10 of the world’s top 20 players, as well as some of the
young stars of the future. It will also be the first World Series event of the
year to run along the PSA World Series.
for her third World Series title in a row, will start her campaign against young
Australian Samantha Davies, who will relish the experience of playing the
world number one at home on the main show court. David’s projected second round
opponent will be the winner of an intriguing encounter between New Zealand’s 16th
seed Kylie Lindsay and England Junior no.1 Emily Whitlock, who
recently reached the semi final of the World Junior Champs in Boston. 2008
Champion Annie Au will likely await David in the quarter final.
two Jenny Duncalf will return to Australia where she reached the semi
finals last year. David’s closest rival on the tour will begin against a
qualifier. She is set to do battle with Kasey Brown in the quarter
finals, a rematch of the quarter final from last week’s Malaysian Open where
Brown pushed Duncalf to five games. Brown will have to negotiate a tricky second
round before this against former Aussie Natalie Grinham. The former world
number two beat Brown in their last meeting in the Cayman Islands and is also
the last person to beat David in Australia, in the 2006 Commonwealth Games semi
final. Natalie opens against Aussie’s young star Melody Francis.
sister Rachael Grinham is the third seed and is set in the top half of
the draw .The Aussie world number three will open against Czech number one
Lucie Fialova. She has tough quarter that also features compatriot Donna
Urquhart, Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern and Indian star Dipika Pallikal.
quarter of the draw features two former champions. Defending champion
Madeline Perry will be looking to find the same magic that saw her storm to
the title last year. The world number four will face Malaysia’s Siti Munirah
Jusoh in her opening match. Her expected quarter final opponent is New
Zealand number one Joelle King. King won the title back in 2009 and will
fancy her chances of reaching the semi finals after upsetting Perry last week in
Malaysia. She opens against Swiss number one Gaby Huber.
With some of
the top players not participating and important World Series points up for
grabs, the competition in Canberra is sure to be fierce.