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25/09/2011
BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2011
 

Ramy Ashour Retains ROWE British Grand Prix Title


19-25 Sep, Manchester, $115k
Round One
19 / 20 Sep
Round Two
21 Sep
Quarters
22 / 23 Sep
Semis
24 Sep
Final
2
5 Sep
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng)
 11/3, 11/3, 11/6 (26m)
Jens Schoor (Ger)
Nick Matthew
11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (38m)
Ali Anwar Reda
Nick Matthew
11-5, 15-13, 8-11, 11-7 (78m)
Peter Barker
Nick Matthew
11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-3 (54m)
Amr Shabana
 
Nick Matthew
1-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 (67m)
Ramy Ashour
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
11/7, 11/8, 7/11, 7/11, 11/8 (76m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/4, 11/3, 12/10 (52m)
[Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Azlan Iskandar
11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (60m)
Peter Barker
[7] Peter Barker (Eng)
 11/7, 11/4, 11/3 (39m)
[Q] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy)
7/11, 11/4, 11/7, 11/2 (36m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
Amr Shabana
11-9, 14-12, 4-11, 11-7 (54m)
Simon Rosner
Amr Shabana
1
1-5, 11-6, 12-10 (46m)
Adrian Grant
Tom Richards (Eng)
12/10, 11/8, 12/10 (58m)
[Q] Simon Rosner (Ger)
Adrian Grant (Eng)
 6/11, 11/7, 11/13, 11/2, 11/3 (67m)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Adrian Grant
10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (83m)
James Willstrop
[4] James Willstrop (Eng)
 11/9, 11/4, 9/11, 11/3 (58m)
[Q] Borja Golan (Esp)
Stewart Boswell (Aus)
 9/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (67m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy)
 Karim Darwish
11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-4 (48m)
Tarek Momen
Karim Darwish
11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (57m)
Omar Mosaad
Karim Darwish
11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-5 (54m)
Ramy Ashour
Alister Walker (Bot)
 11/8, 10/12, 11/6, 11/6 (57m)
[Q] Tarek Momen (Egy)
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
 14/12, 8/11, 11/5, 10/12, 11/9 (65m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
Omar Mosaad
11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-5, 11-4 (66m)
Thierry Lincou
[Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/6, 11/3, 11/7 (27m)
[8] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (47m)
[6] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Gregory Gaultier
11-2, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4 (61m)
Daryl Selby
Gregory Gaultier
12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (69m)
Ramy Ashour
Daryl Selby (Eng)
5-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8 (83m)
[Q] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (31m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Cameron Pilley
11-7, 11-8, 12-14, 11-3 (62m)
Ramy Ashour
[Q] Chris Ryder (Eng)
11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (34m)
[
2] Ramy Ashour (Egy)

2010 Event Page

RESULTS: PSA World Series ROWE British Grand Prix, Wolverhampton, England

Qualifying finals:
Simon Rosner (GER) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (43m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 (88m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (44m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-2 (62m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (34m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 6-11, 11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 11-4 (61m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Anthony Graham (ENG) 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 (29m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7 (64m)

1st qualifying round:
Simon Rosner (GER) bt Richard Birks (ENG) 12-10, 11-9, 11-6 (31m)
Siddha Suchde (IND) bt Declan James (ENG) 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 (43m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Rafael Alarcon (BRA) 11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 11-3 (48m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (39m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Andrew Birks (ENG) 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (40m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Oliver Mapp (ENG) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (23m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10 (65m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6 (79m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-9, 13-11, 2-11, 11-5 (64m)
Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Ben Ford (ENG) 7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (58m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (44m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 15-13, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7 (65m)
Anthony Graham (ENG) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 (69m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Oliver Holland (ENG) 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (29m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Darren Lewis (ENG) 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (26m)

 

Ramy Ashour Retains ROWE British Grand Prix Title

After winning just a single point in the opening game, Egypt's world No2 Ramy Ashour went on to overcome Nick Matthew, the world number one from England, in four games in the final of the ROWE British Grand Prix to retain the PSA World Series squash title at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Matthew was in dazzling form in the first game while Ashour had a 'fallout', he later admitted.

But, with two successful victories over Matthew in the last six weeks, Ashour bounded back into the match - quickly building up a 5-1 lead in the second as the Yorkshireman's control began to evaporate.

More and more errors crept into the local hero's game as the mercurial Egyptian claimed winners from all parts of the court before going on to claim his 1-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 victory in 67 minutes.

The triumph marks Ashour's third PSA World Series title of the year, and the 22nd Tour trophy of his career.

"This court has never let me down," said the 23-year-old from Cairo who is unbeaten on the ASB all-glass court in four appearances since the World Open in 2008. "It's just an honour to win this prestigious event another time.

"That was the best game I played all through the tournament," added the jubilant Egyptian. "I felt I got better and better all week.

"Every time you play Nick you have to be 100% focussed - he's very fast on court. I have to adapt my game against him and keep as solid as I can.

"I may not be one of the oldest guys on the Tour, but I have spent my whole life since I was six years old working towards this. But I always try and learn something new from each match."

When asked to explain the first game, Ashour said: "I had a bit of a fallout in that game - and Nick came out fighting. But sometimes it's like that. You have patches in a match where you lose concentration, sometimes they're in the middle, sometimes at the end - but this time it was at the beginning.

"But I am very pleased with the win - and want to thank various people including my sponsors Ziad and EgyptAir, my coaches Mohamed El Said and Hosam, my manager Mick Todd, my brother Hisham, and my feeder Hisam Ashoush."

A downcast Matthew, who lost to the Egyptian twice in August - in the Australian Open final and the World Team Championship final - admitted that he lost his way in the middle of the match.

"There as a crucial point in the second game where I got frustrated by a few decisions and lost my concentration for a few minutes," said the 31-year-old from Sheffield.

"Then he came back like a steam train - he was just too good."

Despite his defeat, Matthew will retain his world number one ranking.

"It doesn't feel like I'm world number one," said the Yorkshireman. "He's beaten me now three times in a row.

"But I'll go away and come back stronger."

Ashour and Matthew, who have contested all four PSA World Series finals this year, lead the latest 2011 World Series Standings by a considerable margin - Ashour in the lead with 365 points and Matthew in second place.

There is just one change in the all-important top eight - with Karim Darwish, a British Grand Prix semi-finalist, moving into eighth place after competing in only two World Series events this year.

 

Matthew & Ashour To Star In Dream ROWE British Grand Prix Final

The world's top two squash players Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour will contest a dream final of the ROWE British Grand Prix in Manchester after identically-timed semi-final victories in the PSA World Series squash event in its second year at the National Squash Centre.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

In a career rivalry stretching back more than ten years, England's world number one Matthew beat Amr Shabana (right background) 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-3 in 54 minutes to claim his tenth PSA World Tour victory over the four-time world champion from Egypt.

Shabana, competing in his first Tour event for six months, twice led in the opening game - but Yorkshireman Matthew bounced back to take the game and lead throughout the second.

The 32-year-old left-hander from Cairo picked up his game in the third and was ahead throughout before reducing the deficit.

But after a tight start in the fourth, Matthew rattled off eight points in a row from three-all to clinch victory.

"Every rally was so evenly-contested - you can never relax for one minute against Shabs," the 31-year-old from Sheffield told the event website www.britishsquashgrandprix.com afterwards.

In describing the third game, Matthew said: "He came out and upped the pace - which was fast enough already! We got into too many exchanges at the front of the court.

"I got a bit lucky with a few errors in the fourth - and went from three-all to 8-3 without realising it. It took me by surprise as I was just concentrating on my shots," added Matthew, now in the 44th Tour final of his career.

"My coach DP (David Pearson) was a great help in my corner. I tend to get a bit excitable in games, and he helps calm me down - and that's what he did before the fourth."

Earlier Ramy Ashour (left foreground), the world No2 from Egypt, took out fellow countryman Karim Darwish, ranked just a single place below, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-5 - also in 54 minutes.

The charismatic 23-year-old from Cairo came back from losing the second game to turn on his dazzling style - winning 11 points in a row to take the game from 2-0 down.

"I think I was really focussed - but you have to be against Karim," said Ashour, now in his 35th Tour final. "He gets very confident very fast. He hits a lot of winners, especially on his forehand.

"But the more I play him, the more I learn. There's a great rivalry between us."

In trying to explain the loss of the second game, Ashour said: "Sometimes the demons can play in your head - and you have a bad patch. But that's what the game's all about - you have to keep scrappy thoughts out of you head, it's so easy to lose focus."

Remarkably, Ashour has never lost a match on the ASB all-glass showcourt in Manchester: "This court has never let me down - so I hope it won't tomorrow!"

Third seed Darwish was disappointed with his game: "I was not sharp today. I tried to slow down the pace.

"But he attacks every shot, he's a really tough opponent," said the former world number one, also from Cairo. "All credit to him."

Matthew and Ashour will be meeting for the fifth time this year - and the fourth time in PSA World Series event final.

"Ramy's got the better of me the last two times we played - but I'm more confident in my game this week than in the whole season, so I hope that translates into a good performance tomorrow," concluded England hope Matthew.

 

Darwish & Ashour Set Up All-Egyptian ROWE British Grand Prix Semi

Karim Darwish and title-holder Ramy Ashour will meet in an all-Egyptian semi-final of the ROWE British Grand Prix after prevailing in today's second day of quarter-final action in the PSA World Series squash event in its second year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

Cheered on by the capacity crowd surrounding the ASB all-glass court, defending champion Ashour (right foreground) faced Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the sixth seed, in a high quality encounter.

Underdog Gaultier took the lead various times in the opening game - and had two game-balls from 10-8. But gifted world No2 Ashour refused to submit, winning four points in a row to take the game after 27 minutes.

With both players producing a dazzling array of winners, Ashour edged ahead from four-all in the second to open up a two-game lead. And, after recovering from a 'lost ball' at 5-3 in the third, the Egyptian surged ahead to clinch his second match ball, winning 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 after 69 minutes.

"The first game was the longest ever," the exuberant Ashour said afterwards. "We both kept hanging in there. I gave a big push - but it could have been anybody's game.

"Winning the first game always gives you a boost," added the 23-year-old from Cairo. "Greg was hitting nicks all over the place. Hisham told me to be patient - and I tried to be as patient as I could. There were some crucial points for both of us.

"Karim and I play each other a lot - we know each other's games. It's always a physical and mental battle. I just hope I can play well and stay injury-free."

In the first quarter-final, former world number one Karim Darwish (left foreground) took on fellow countryman Omar Mosaad, the second young opponent he has faced from his home city of Cairo who is rapidly making a mark on the PSA World Tour.

The unseeded 23-year-old Omar Mosaad took his place in the last eight - only the second World Series quarter-final of his career - after a significant upset over experienced Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the former world champion who was seeded eight.

And after Darwish led through most of the first game, it was underdog Mosaad who took the early upper hand in the second, forging a 7-4 lead.

The third seed reeled off five points in a row to put himself back into contention and after Mosaad saved one game ball it was soon 2/0 to Darwish.

The senior Egyptian romped to a 5-0 lead in the third before Mosaad replied, but Darwish held off his tall opponent's advances to close out the match 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 after 57 minutes to earn his first World Series semi-final berth this year.

"I tried to be patient on court today. I didn't make a lot of mistakes," said Darwish.

"I had to move him around the court, he's a big guy. He's a very tough opponent, he played really well."

When asked what he thought of the fact that he might meet a third successive compatriot in the semi-finals, Darwish responded: "There are a lot of Egyptians in all events today. If I want to reach a final, I'm sure to need to beat an Egyptian."

Darwish agreed that his win in the decider of the World Team Championship final had given his game a boost: "It's especially significant in this position in the rankings where you really need to be confident. It's 80% in the head - you have to be really confident."

 

Matthew & Shabana Make ROWE British Grand Prix Semis

World number one Nick Matthew was fully tested by England team-mate Peter Barker in tonight's quarter-finals of the ROWE British Grand Prix before finally emerging triumphant after 78 minutes to earn his anticipated place in the last four of the PSA World Series squash event in its second year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The Yorkshire favourite will meet Egypt's former world number one Amr Shabana, who denied the crowd an all-English semi-final when beat Londoner Adrian Grant.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

It was favourite Matthew, the double Commonwealth Games gold medallist from Sheffield, who provided the most drama in the final match of day - coasting to victory in the first game and leading up to 8-6 in the second.

It was then that left-hander Barker, the world No7, began to assert his authority on the match - picking up four points in a row to reach game-ball.

But Matthew fought back - the advantage seesawing between the pair as Barker battled to save three game-balls against him before the Yorkshireman finally clinched the game 15-13.

Barker, however, was not to be outdone, and led almost all the way through the third before reducing the deficit.

A more-determined-than-ever Matthew returned for the fourth to build up a 9-2 lead. Barker continued to try and deny his close friend an easy conclusion, but after two match-balls the favourite clinched his 11-5, 15-13, 8-11, 11-7 victory.

"He's one of my best friends off-court, so it's always difficult to play him," said Matthew after his marathon win.

"It hinged on crucial points - and we had one or two of those in the second game," added the 31-year-old. "Then he came back in the third. But I knew Peter was coming in fresh.

"I was really good in the first game and a half and made very few errors."

Earlier, Cairo star Amr Shabana ended Londoner Adrian Grant's impressive run in the World Series event. Grant, returning to form after a hip injury, produced a blistering display in the previous round to upset England No2 James Willstrop, the runner-up in 2010.

But the 30-year-old former world No9 couldn't match the inspired play of the Egyptian who boasts 26 PSA World Tour titles including four World Open crowns.

Shabana, too, is making a determined bid to return to the top of the world rankings, a position he held for 33 months until the end of 2008. The charismatic left-hander led for most of the match, recording an 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 victory after 46 minutes - a win which takes the world No5 into his seventh successive PSA World Series semi-final.

When asked by compere Sue Wright, the former England international, to comment on the fact that the first game seemed tough, Shabana responded: "The whole match was tough. Adrian clearly had a game-plan and stuck to it. I was happy to get away in three."

When reminded by Wright that, despite his major title successes all over the globe, he had yet to win a tournament in England, Shabana said: "I did win a British Junior Open plate title a few years ago - but it is time for another one!"

The Prince of Cairo had much praise for his opponent: "Since his injury, he's much faster and much stronger. I had to play my best squash to beat him."

Shabana admitted that he thought his career was ending after problem with both knees in 2009 and a slipped disc the year after. "I thought about what I could do next, but hard work and determination got me back to where I am now.

"I'm in a semi-final - I must be playing well!"

 

London Pair Progress To ROWE British Grand Prix Quarters

Londoners Adrian Grant and Peter Barker booked themselves into the quarter-finals of the ROWE British Grand Prix after impressive victories in today's second round of the PSA World Series squash event in its second year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

Grant (right foreground), a former world No9 fighting back after a career-threatening hip injury, faced fellow countryman James Willstrop, the world No4 who finished as runner-up in the inaugural event last year.

Left out of England's world championship team this summer, 30-year-old Grant showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with by upsetting the fourth-seeded Yorkshireman, the England number two, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 to claim an unexpected place in the last eight.

Grant built up a 5-2 lead in the opening game before Willstrop fought back to move 6-5 up. The underdog recovered the momentum to move to game-ball at 10-6 - but again Yorkshireman Willstrop battled back to win six points in a row to capture the first game.

Midway through the second, Grant fell to the floor after turning on his ankle. His three-minute injury break was extended when it became clear that the thumb on his left hand was also bleeding.

Seemingly unaffected by the break, Grant went on to win the next two games - and in the fourth, rallied back from 5-7 down to win six straight points to pull off the biggest victory since his layoff.

"The first three or four points seemed a bit laboured and I think I panicked when I saw him coming back," explained world No17 Grant afterwards. "But in the second, I stuck to a solid game-plan.

"By the fourth, I could see he was an inch or two behind - I was snapping at everything and it all came off. But you can't relax with James - when he's down he can still be lethal.

"That injury I had was the worst and best thing that ever happened to me. It took me out of the game for a long time, but it gave me the chance to re-assess my approach to the game - and I have come back stronger.

"And I'm not young anymore, of course," added the 30-year-old.

Barker, the world No7, was delighted to record his first Tour win over Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, ranked six places below.

"I knew it was going to be a hard game," said the left-hander after his 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 win over an opponent who has beaten him twice since 2003. "We're good friends off the court, and sometimes that can be quite tough.

"But I'm happy to come off 3/0 so that I can conserve some energy for tomorrow."

Later in the evening, world number one Nick Matthew joined his England team-mates in the quarter-finals after despatching Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-5, 11-4, 11-4

The 31-year-old from Sheffield will now line up against Barker for a place in the semis.

There was a further significant upset earlier in the day when unseeded Egyptian Omar Mosaad (left background) removed eighth seed Thierry Lincou 11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-5, 11-4 after a 66-minute battle.

The world No14 from Cairo had only beaten illustrious Frenchman Lincou once before - and that was also after being 2/1 down.

Mosaad, who immediately raced out of the arena to phone his father, later agreed that his opponent was a good player - "a world number one with lots of experience."

At the beginning of the fourth game he decided to be more focussed. "I changed my game. And I was determined to get a good lead in the fifth to get an early advantage.

"I'm really happy to beat Thierry - it's my first time in the tournament and it's great to be in the quarter-finals," added the 23-year-old.

Despite being downcast, Lincou agreed that the better player won: "The conditions really suited him today - the court was cold and the ball slow - and I just wasn't able to get into my rhythm.

"He's a big guy and very powerful, also very accurate," said the former world number one and world champion. "He really deserved the win - he just outplayed me in the last two games."

Mosaad's next opponent will be Karim Darwish, the third seed who survived an all-Egyptian clash with qualifier Tarek Momen, winning 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-4.

Darwish, the 30-year-old world number three, was full of praise of his younger compatriot: "He's a great guy. He's pretty tricky to play, very quick on court and really good at the front. He's dangerous and has a very good future."

Two more Egyptians will line up at the last eight stage: Four-time world champion Amr Shabana had to be on top of his game to see off German qualifier Simon Rosner.

"He's a terrific player - totally different from when I last played him," said the distinguished 32-year-old from Cairo after his 11-9, 14-12, 4-11, 11-7 win.

"He's much faster and much lighter. He's the next German player to bring squash back to Europe.

"He took me out of my comfort zone. I was happy to get away in four," added the fifth seed.

With four world titles and 33 months as world number one to his name, did Shabana still have outstanding goals? "It would be nice to have a shot at being world number one again, or winning another World Open. If I did one of them, it would cap off my career nicely!"

It was a disappointing end to a great run by top-ranked German Rosner: "It wasn't easy. He's difficult to read and puts you under a lot of pressure. I gave it my best," said the 23-year-old from Paderborn.

Gregory Gaultier avenged Lincou's defeat by making sure of French interest in the last eight. The sixth seed from Aix-en-Provence defeated England's Daryl Selby 11-2, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4 in 61 minutes - repeating his win over the world No11 from Essex at the quarter-final stage last year.

Ramy Ashour became the fourth Egyptian through when he beat Australian Cameron Pilley 11-7, 11-8, 12-14, 11-3. The title-holder from Cairo will now face Gaultier for a place in the semis.

 

Selby Scrapes Through To ROWE British Grand Prix Second Round

After four domestic successes in Monday's top half of the ROWE British Grand Prix draw, Daryl Selby (right foreground) carried a sole English flag through to the second round from today's action in the PSA World Series squash event in its second year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

"I really scraped through this - there's plenty to work on," admitted the 28-year-old from Essex after his first appearance in Manchester since his surprise British National Championship success on the all-glass court in February.

Selby, ranked 11 in the world, had to fight back from two games down to beat Swiss qualifier Nicolas Mueller 5-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8 in 83 minutes, the longest match of the tournament so far.

"I dominated one game and he dominated one game - and the others could have gone either way. There were a few crucial points at the end of the fourth game," explained Selby, who made his world team championship debut for England last month.

"It took me a while to adjust - it's been my first PSA event for six months. I just wanted to win today - and I've done that, so I'm happy."

But Selby had much praise for his opponent, the 22-year-old world No32 from Zurich. "He's a really good young player - he's not only talented but plays it the right way. He'll be top ten at some point in the future, without doubt."

But while England dominated action on the opening day, it was Egyptian players that ruled the roost overall today.

Cairo-based qualifier Tarek Momen (left background) produced the day's only upset when he ousted world No21 Alister Walker 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6. Walker, a former England international who used to train at the centre, was making his first appearance in Manchester since switching allegiance to his country of birth, Botswana.

"It was really important for me to win today - I haven't had a good result for five months now," said 23-year-old Momen, a recent Electronic Engineering graduate from the American University in Cairo.

"Since getting my degree, I have found myself torn between playing squash and following another career," continued the world No33. "I tell myself I should do the thing I love the best - and that's squash.

"I'd really like to keep playing and get into the top ten - perhaps even become world number one."

Momen's victory was followed by Cairo colleague Omar Mosaad's 14-12, 8-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9 win over Englishman Jonathan Kemp.

Despite being ranked higher than Kemp, world No14 Mosaad was enjoying his first win over the left-hander from Halifax after three defeats since 2005.

"I had the advantage today - all the previous times he was ranked higher than me," explained the tall 23-year-old. "Most of the people I practise with are right-handed, so I find it more difficult playing left-handers.

"This was an important win for me - it will be good for my ranking. I hope to be in the top 10 this year," concluded Mosaad.

Egypt's Karim Darwish, a runner-up on the court in the 2008 World Open, also claimed his place in the last 16 round. But the third seed had to fight back from a game down to overcome experienced Australian Stewart Boswell, a former world No4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8.

"It was a tough first round - and I had to concentrate hard to beat him," said the former world No1 from Cairo. "He had a very good start - the first game against Boswell is always crucial.

"He lost a bit of energy in the second game, then I lost my focus at 10-7 in the fourth when I rushed myself."

Boswell, based in Manchester with his former England international wife Vicky Botwright, rued the fact that he had been unable to capitalise on his first game lead.

"I practise here a lot, so it's disappointing to go out in the first round," admitted the Canberra-born 33-year-old.

And title-holder Ramy Ashour became the fourth Egyptian to progress after despatching English qualifier Chris Ryder 11-8, 11-3, 11-7.

Did the world No2 feel under pressure as the defending champion? "You always have pressure, you're always expecting something of yourself. Nick (Matthew) has pressure being the world number one, especially here in England," explained the 23-year-old.

"It's been a great year for me. It's my second year here in Manchester and I'm happy to be back."

A pair of Frenchmen secured places in the second round after commanding victories: Eighth seed Thierry Lincou crushed Egyptian qualifier Marwan El Shorbagy, the recently-crowned world junior champion, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 in just 27 minutes, while sixth seed Gregory Gaultier defeated top-ranked Indian Saurav Ghosal 11-4, 11-5, 11-2.

"I had to put the pace high right from the start," said seasoned campaigner Lincou, aged 35, after his victory over 18-year-old El Shorbagy. "And sometimes it's really hard to get motivated for first round matches. But as soon as I start expressing myself on the court, the motivation comes back.

"I've seen Marwan play, so I knew something about him," continued the former world champion from Marseille. "He's so young, yet so mature for his age."

Gaultier was in high spirits after his first round win: "I have been playing well since the worlds in Germany. I wasn't feeling great after my first two tournaments, but I worked on my rackets skills and it all came together last month," explained the 28-year-old from Aix-en-Provence.

"I feel strong mentally and physically and I am really enjoying every day. I just want to compete and do my best every time I go on court. I am looking forward to winning a big tournament."

Cameron Pilley became the only Australian to make the last 16 when he beat Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan 11-6, 11-6, 11-5.

"It's strange not having David (Palmer) here and it's a pity about Bozza," said the world No16 from New South Wales.

"I'm representing everybody in Australia for squash. It's a pressure - but I like it!

"Aamir beat me the last time we played - and I was so keen to play him again. I wanted to play a bit steadier - and bring a bit more structure to my game.

"In Malaysia, he had a lot of Pakistani support, and that helped him. But I knew he was on his own here," added Pilley.

 

England Stars Dominate British Grand Prix Openers

English players dominated proceedings on the opening day of action in the ROWE British Grand Prix in Manchester, the PSA World Series squash event in its second year at the National Squash Centre.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

England's world number one Nick Matthew led the domestic charge, closing off the evening session with a straightforward 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 victory in just 26 minutes over German wild card player Jens Schoor.

"It's good to be back on the court where the England squad train - but in the end a court is just a court," said the top seed from Sheffield after his convincing first round win.

"And I can't remember Ramy Ashour ever losing on this court," added Matthew, in a reference to his main rival, the world No2 from Egypt.

Matthew was delighted to be back on court, particularly after missing out on last year' event when taken suddenly ill on the eve of the tournament. "It's a strange feeling - not having any ranking points to defend."

But the event favourite dismissed any thoughts that missing the 2010 event had had a long-lasting effect: "Luckily, I went on to have some good wins elsewhere on the Tour. I've got about 101 memories of playing on this court - and about 99 of them are good!

"A few players have put me under pressure in the first round of tournaments recently, so it was good to feel that a couple of things I've been working on came good tonight.

"I was pleased with the way I played - I got on top early in the game and was glad to come off 3/0," added the 31-year-old.

James Willstrop, the world No4 from Leeds who was runner-up last year, had a tougher battle, seeing off top-ranked Spaniard Borja Golan, a qualifier.

"When I saw the schedule, I felt I had one of the hardest draws - but getting one of the strongest opponents in the first round can be a help," said the England No2 after his 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3 win over the former world No10.

"Though I was in my home surroundings here at the NSC, it was my first match - whereas Borja has played his way through the qualifiers so had his eye in.

"It's a great feeling at the start of the season, feeling fresh and really enjoying playing."

Londoners Peter Barker and Adrian Grant (right foreground) also scored notable, albeit contrasting, successes.

Grant, a former world No9 making a comeback after injury, twice came from behind to beat top Finn Olli Tuominen 6-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-2 in 67 minutes.

"I had game-balls in the third but he played the important points better and got the game to go 2/1 up," said Grant after his first Tour win over Tuominen. "But in the fourth and fifth I just relaxed.

"Yes, this was an important win for me after my injury - I learned a lot from my experience in Australia where I think I wanted to win too badly. I played like a ten-year-old in a British U19 final!

"I've changed my game a lot and have set myself goals between now and December," added the 30-year-old, now ranked 17 in the world.

Later, fellow left-hander Barker despatched South African qualifier Stephen Coppinger 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 in 39 minutes.

"Steve was a dangerous first round opponent - he's got some great shots," said the No7 seed. "I was trying to keep it straight - and lift it when I was under pressure.

"It's my first time in Manchester this year and it's good to be back in familiar surroundings. But sometimes that can be tough - it being too familiar. But it's good to be playing on the court that all the English guys feel very comfortable on.

"I'm happy with my squash at the moment - probably the happiest I've ever been," enthused the 27-year-old world No7.

But there was domestic disappointment in the only upset of the day when rising English star Tom Richards went down to German qualifier Simon Rosner in straight games.

Despite numerous clashes at junior level, it was the pair's first PSA Tour meeting - and only four world ranking positions keep them apart.

"I'm so relieved to get off in three - he's such a great player," said Rosner after his 12-10, 11-8, 12-10 win. "I'm just so happy to be in the second round of the British Grand Prix - it's awesome.

"At 9-7 up in the third, I couldn't help thinking about my first round match in Australia, when I was 2/0 and lost," explained the jubilant 23-year-old from Paderborn, the German city which hosted last month's Men's World Team Championship.

"The Worlds in Paderborn gave me such a big push. And I've had some good results lately - but I've been around the same position in the world rankings for about 18 months so hopefully I'll carry this momentum now on the PSA Tour and start to move up again."

Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda also had cause for celebration after his 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8 triumph over Ong Beng Hee, the first Tour win in his third meeting with the former world No7 from Malaysia.

"I felt really good in the first two games, but he slowed down the pace in the third and he took full control in the fourth. I said to myself in the fifth, 'don't think about winning, just think about playing the right shots'. I was looking forward to beating him for the first time - I didn't want to lose three times!

"I've changed my fitness coach and have started to play a more attacking game. I had surgery on my left knee in March - and that took me out of the game for five weeks and I was struggling a bit in June," explained the 22-year-old world No24 from Cairo.

"But I won a $25,000 tournament in Cairo in July and this is now my first tournament abroad. I expect to play Nick Matthew in the next round - and I'm looking forward to my first match against him."

There was a second Egyptian success on the spectacular ASB all-glass court where fifth seed Amr Shabana, the four-time World Open champion playing in his first Tour event since February, beat fellow countryman Hisham Mohamed Ashour 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-2.

The popular Egyptian fled to USA after the recent riots in Cairo, but returned home a month ago.

"The main reason I went back to Cairo was for Ramadan - it's the first time I've spent Ramadan at home with my family since I was 14," said the 32-year-old former world number one. "But after travelling for most of the rest of the year on the Tour, I'll go back to the US in January.

"But I've been healthy and trying to do a good form of training - not just running for a hundred metres.

"Playing Hisham in the first round wasn't ideal, but I'm enjoying being back on the Tour and look forward to the next rounds."
 

Ryder Boosts Home Interest In British Grand Prix

A second successive straight games qualifying win in the ROWE British Grand Prix in Wolverhampton sees local hero Chris Ryder boost to eight the number of Englishmen competing in the PSA World Series squash event which gets underway at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine PSA World Series championships in 2011 - and the biggest squash event to be staged in the UK this year - has attracted a star-studded field featuring 16 of the world's top 20 players, including six former world number ones.

But it was at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club that Ryder, the club's former pro, delighted the crowd by defeating Finn Henrik Mustonen 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 in 44 minutes to celebrate his second successive appearance in the event's main draw.

The reward for the 31-year-old world No38 from Leamington Spa is a first round clash with defending champion Ramy Ashour, the world No2 from Egypt.

Ryder led a cosmopolitan group of players celebrating successes in the qualifying finals - including a German, Spaniard, Swiss, South African and three Egyptians.

And it was Alexandria teenager Marwan El Shorbagy who had cause for the biggest celebration after beating England's Robbie Temple to earn his first ever appearance in a PSA World Series event. Still in his first year as a member of the PSA, El Shorbagy has been making major strides on the World Tour since winning the world junior title in July.

After ousting experienced training partner Joey Barrington in the first qualifying round, the 18-year-old defeated Temple 6-11, 11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 11-4 in 61 minutes.

"It's only my second World Series event and my first time to qualify," said the world No65 who begins a course at the University of the West of England in Bristol this autumn. "I am obviously really happy and have been having quite a few good wins since the world juniors."

El Shorbagy, who is coached by British squash legend Jonah Barrington, will now line up against Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the No8 seed and a former world number one, in the first round.

"It is getting more exciting for me now - and I always remember Jonah used to tell me that every match I play could be the match of my life so I hope to get as much experience against the top players as I can in this event."

Compatriots Tarek Momen and Mohammed Abbas also survived the qualifiers - bringing the Egyptian interest in the main draw to nine players. Abbas, a former world No13, needed five games to see off France's Mathieu Castagnet 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 in an 88-minute marathon, while 23-year-old Momen was also fully extended before overcoming top-ranked Scot Alan Clyne 11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7.

In the shortest match of the night South African Stephen Coppinger overcame England's Anthony Graham 11-4, 11-6, 11-9, whilst in the final match of the evening Borja Golan of Spain beat France's Gregoire Marche 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 showing much of the form that made him a top 10 player a couple of years ago.

And German number one Simon Rosner will join his fellow countryman Jens Schoor, the wild card player, in the main draw after seeing off Siddharth Suchde, of India, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.

Nicolas Mueller becomes the first Swiss player to compete in the ROWE British Grand Prix after his 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-2 victory over Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan.

Ryder Romps Into ROWE British Grand Prix Qualifying Finals

Local hero Chris Ryder led a trio of Englishman through to the qualifying finals of the ROWE British Grand Prix after despatching fellow countryman Andrew Birks in straight games in the first qualifying round of the PSA World Series squash event at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in Wolverhampton.

Ryder, the club's former pro now based in Leamington Spa, defeated Shropshire lad Birks - ranked over 200 places lower - 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 in 40 minutes.

"My new coach has worked on making me much more aggressive on court, hitting the ball much harder than I used to, as well as improving my fitness," said the 31-year-old world No38 afterwards.

Ryder, hoping to make his second successive appearance in the ROWE British Grand Prix - which gets underway at the National Squash Centre in Manchester on Monday - will now face Henrik Mustonen in the qualifying finals. The Finn needed just 23 minutes to see off beat Englishman Oliver Mapp 11-2, 11-2, 11-4.

Londoner Robbie Temple survived an all-English clash with Ben Ford, recovering from a game down to beat the experienced 36-year-old from Kent 7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 in 58 minutes.

The Gloucester-born 25-year-old will now face Egyptian sensation Marwan El Shorbagy. The 1

8-year-old world junior champion from Alexandria, who is coached by British legend Jonah Barrington, produced one of the biggest upsets of the day when he beat Jonah's higher-ranked son Joey Barrington - a regular training partner - 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 in 44 minutes.

But an earlier major shock resulted in unexpected home interest in the final qualifying round when Anthony Graham defeated Frenchman Julien Balbo, who is ranked seventy places higher in the world rankings.

Both the first and second games went to 10-all and could have gone either way - and were shared - but at one-all and 7-7 in the third, the in-form Graham, playing tight accurate squash, forced a frustrated Balbo into making too many errors, eventually closing out the game 11-9.

But, after staging a significant comeback in the fourth, Gloucestershire-based Graham ran out a 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 winner after 69 minutes.

"My aim this year was to beat a top sixty ranked player," said Graham - who narrowly missed his aim by two ranking places!

The Zimbabwe-born 21-year-old - ranked 126 in the world - now takes on South Africa's world No34 Stephen Coppinger, a 15-13, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7 winner over New Zealander Campbell Grayson.

Matthew Bids For Revenge In Manchester

England's Nick Matthew will be after revenge when he competes in next month's ROWE British Grand Prix Squash Championship, the fourth and latest PSA World Series championship of the year in Manchester.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, one of the nine PSA World Series championships in 2011, will take place at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from 19-25 September.

Matthew, the world number one from Sheffield, is expected to face title-holder Ramy Ashour, the world No2 from Egypt, in the event's final on the spectacular all-glass showcourt in Manchester.

After twice leading his Egyptian rival in last week's final of the Viridian Australian Open - the third PSA World Series event of the year - Matthew went down in five games in his first loss to Ashour since January.

"I was disappointed with the fifth - 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," said the 31-year-old World Open champion and double Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

"But I am looking forward to getting stuck back in in Manchester," added Matthew. "It's one of my favourite venues in the world - the England team regularly train there and I have enjoyed a number of important title successes on that court.

"And the Manchester crowds are amongst the best in the world - and this will be a huge boost."

Matthew begins his 2011 ROWE British Grand Prix campaign against German wild card Jens Schoor. The top seed, England's first world number one for six years, will want to make up for the disappointment of being forced to withdraw from last year's championship after being taken ill on the eve of the event.