WORLD OPEN 2011 (Men)
Matthew Still The Champion
Matthew Still The Champion
It took a little over three times as
long as the women's final, but Nick Matthew retained his
World Open title with a scintillating performance in front
of a packed crowd at the Luxor Theatre.
Gregory Gaultier, playing in
his third final, pulled away to take a tough first game, but
Matthew took an equally tough second, then pulled clear at
the end of the third after the Frenchman took a small injury
break after a mid-court collision.
The defending champion made a
strong start to the fourth, and at 6/1 it looked as is the
end might come quickly, but Gaultier, invoking the crowd to
help, started on a comeback that was cut short at 6/4 by a
couple of errors.
Once Matthew had
re-established the lead he closed the match out and raised
his arms in triumph ... still the World Champion.
"Even though I lost the first
I knew that I was not playing badly," said Matthew, "not
doing anything wrong in particular, but that he was just
playing better than me.
"I stuck in, stuck in, stuck
in, and just started to attack a little bit. I got a finger
in the door, and then my body through, and saw a chink of
light and went for it.
"When I won today, it was
pure joy, and pure relief. I feel for him, he’s been in
three finals now, but hopefully he’ll will after I’m
World Open Squash 2011
[Q] Stephane Galifi (Ita)
11/4, 11/9, 11/4 (47m)
8-11, 11-5, 11-9,
5-11, 11-1 (100m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
6-11, 11-8, 11-8,
11-9, 11-9, 11-1
6/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/5 (92m)
11-1, 11-5 (53m)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
[Q] Clinton Leeuw (Rsa)
12/10, 11/7, 12/10 (49m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
7-11, 11-6 (36m)
Jon Kemp (Eng)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
[Q] Raphael Kandra (Ger)
11/9, 11/3, 11/5 (46m)
11-7, 12-10, 11-4
11-4, 11-4 (55m)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
9/11, 11/5, 11/4, 11/8 (57m)
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
6-11, 4-11, 11-8 (90m)
Alan Clyne (Sco)
11/6, 11/13, 11/5, 11/5 (70m)
11-9, 3-11, 11-8,
6-11, 11-9 (96m)
11-9, 11-7, 11-1
11-5, 11-7, 11-5
Joey Barrington (Eng)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
Stewart Boswell (Aus)
11/5, 8/11, 11/7, 11/7 (66m)
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
11-3, 4-11, 15-13 (98m)
 Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
9-11, 11-9 (59m)
 Omar Mosaad (Egy)
6/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (76m)
11-9, 11-7, 11-1
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
9-11, 11-3 (59m)
Borja Golan (Esp)
11-3, 11-1 (35m)
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
Wael El Hindi
11/9, 11/3, 11/4 (52m)
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
[Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
11-8, 11-6, 11-7
 James Willstrop (Eng)
11/1, 4/1 (13m)
11-8, 11-3, 11-0
Marwan El Shorbagy
11-8, 11-2, 11-13,
11-6, 11-8, 11-4
[Q] Joe Lee (Eng)
11-5, 11-9, 6-11,
Shahier Razik (Can)
[Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-6, 11-8 ret.
Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
Marwan El Shorbagy
11/8, 11/7, 4/11, 4/11, 14/12 (94m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (Eng)
11-2, 13-11, 11-7
 Daryl Selby (Eng)
[Q] Zac Alexander (Aus)
11-6, 13-11, 11-6
 Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11/3, 11/8, 16/14 (38m)
3-11, 8-11, 11-4,
11-9, 11-5 (48m)
3-11, 4-11, 11-8,
11-8, 11-8 (94m)
Jan Koukal (Cze)
Abdel Gawad (Egy)
12-10, 11-9, 11-5
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Karim Abdel Gawad
5/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/9 (50m)
[Q] Eric Galvez (Mex)
11-8, 11-6, 11-6
 Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-4, 11-3, 11-6
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/3, 11/9, 11/5 (49m)
8-11, 5-11, 11-5,
11-2, 11-7 (97m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-8, 11-1, 1-0
8-11, 11-3, 11-5,
8-11, 11-5 (68m)
[Q] Cesar Salazar (Mex)
[Q] Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
11-5, 14-12 (Disq.)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11/4, 9/11, 11/6, 11/5 (65m)
[Q] Grégoire Marche (Fra)
11-7, 13-11 (84m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-5, 11-8, 11-8
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
10/12, 11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (68m)
8-11, 3-11, 11-6,
11-9, 11-3 (69m)
11-5, 11-8, 11-8
Alister Walker (Bot)
11-5, 11-9, 4-11,
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
8/11, 9/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/5 (60m)
[Q] Alex Grayson (Nzl)
11-9, 14-12, 11-5
 Ramy Ashour (Egy)
Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt Dick Lau (HKG) 12-10, 4-11, 11-2, 8-11,
Eric Galvez (MEX) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-3, 11-9, 11-9
Max Lee (HKG) bt Joel Hinds (ENG) 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 (58m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 8-11, 11-8, 11-3,
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 14-12, 11-5, 11-6 (52m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt Amr Ramsy Swelim (ITA) 11-8, 11-5,
2-11, 14-12 (62m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-9, 11-6, 8-11,
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7
Clinton Leeuw (! RSA) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-7, 9-11, 4-11,
11-5, 11-5 (76m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 12-14, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 6-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-4
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 14-12,
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 5-11, 11-5, 11-7,
1st qualifying round:
Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt Rasool Hashim Abdullah (IRQ) w/o
Dick Lau (HKG) bt Lucas Buit (NED) 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (48m)
Eric Galvez (MEX) bt Gabor Marges (NED) 11-7, 11-4, 11-1
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) bt Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 12-10,
11-4, 11-7 (39m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Tomas de Paauw (NED) 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 (18m)
Joel Hinds (ENG) bt Tom Lucas (NED) 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (17m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Piedro Schweertman (NED) 11-9, 10-12,
11-6, 11-8 (55m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Joan Lezaud (FRA) 11-4, 11-1,
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Rick Penders (NED) 11-6, 13-15, 11-2,
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt Marc ter Sluis (NED) w/o
Jens Schoor (GER) bt Stephen Cooke (NED) 10-12, 11-3, 11-8,
4-11, 11-7 (57m)
Marw! an El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Rene Mijs (NED) 11-5, 11-5,
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt Kim Are Killingberg (NOR) 11-2,
11-3, 11-4 (23m)
Amr Ramsy Swelim (ITA) bt Kashif Shuja (NZL) 12-10, 11-5,
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Sander van Tour (NED) 11-2, 11-5,
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Michael Ernst (NED) 11-3, 11-5, 11-8
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 5-11, 11-9,
11-6, 11-3 (51m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Fabien Verseille (FRA) 11-6,
7-11, 13-11, 11-4 (45m)
Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt Neeraj Aggarwal (AUS) 11-7, 11-7,
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Andre Haschker (GER) 12-14, 11-8,
11-8, 11-6 (75m)
Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Joe Chapman (IVB) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt Guido Ploem (NED) 11-5, 11-5, 11-4
Eddie Charlton (E! NG) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-8,
11-9, 11-7 (47m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Roshan Bharos (NED) 11-3, 11-2, 11-1 (22m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 11-5, 11-4, 11-6
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Lewis Walters (ENG) 11-4, 9-11, 12-10,
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (32m)
Julien Balbo (FRA) bt Frank Hartkoren (NED) 11-6, 11-5, 11-2
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Reiko Peter (SUI) 12-10, 11-7, 11-5
Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Sebastian Weenink (NED) 11-6, 11-9, 7-11,
11-13, 11-4 (63m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Bart Ravelli (NED) 11-7, 11-4,
Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 8-11, 11-8,
11-7, 11-6 (51m)
Champion Matthew & Gaultier To Contest World
England's Nick Matthew and Frenchman
Gregory Gaultier will contest the PSA World Open
final after surviving straight games semi-finals today at
the New Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam.
Title-holder Matthew, who is hoping to become
the first man in 15 years to successfully defend the title,
beat Egypt's third seed Karim Darwish 11-9, 11-9,
11-1 - while sixth Gautier, the runner-up in 2006 and 2007,
put paid to an all-English final by beating James
Willstrop 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 and is now bidding to make it
third time lucky on Sunday.
It was neck and neck in the first two games
of the first semi - with Matthew edging both games before
overwhelming the 30-year-old from Cairo in the third to
reach the final for the second year in a row.
"The first two games were
crucial," explained Darwish said
afterwards. "We were point for point the whole game, but he
managed to win the crucial points, playing extremely well at
the end of each game."
It was a blow for the Egyptian, who had
reached the final without dropping a single game - while
Matthew had been stretched the full distance in the last 16
round and to four games in the quarter-finals.
The Englishman was delighted with the way the
match panned out: "Getting through in three is obviously a
massive bonus. We know Karim can come back from those
situations - he's beaten me from two love down before.
"When you have two close games like that,
it's massively important to keep momentum. I knew that if I
had a good start in the third it would be a very long way
back for him.
"The crowd were amazing today," added the
31-year-old from Sheffield. "There wasn't a home player as
such, but they seem to get behind squash as a sport.
Hopefully the final will live up to the expectations and I
look forward to playing in it tomorrow."
The success marks the 46th PSA World Tour
final of Matthew's career - and his 11th since winning the
2010 World Open crown in Saudi Arabia last December.
Hopes of a repeat of last year's
Matthew/Willstrop final were dashed when Gaultier repeated
his victory over the Yorkshireman in last month's Qatar
Classic final - but unlike that match, which went to
four games, this was wrapped up in three.
But the Frenchman was full of praise for
Willstrop - with whom he shared a 6/6 head-to-head record
before the match: "We've been playing each other since we
were kids. Our generation had a lot of strong players
Thierry, James, Nick - it's nice to still compete with all
"It was a bit of a fight in the first game,
but then I think we both relaxed," Gaultier (left) continued. "I
don't think either of us wanted to be too aggressive on
court. He's not like that at all and I don't think I'm too
like that either!
"It was nice to play from the second game. It
was a much better game and I tried a lot more and so we
relaxed a lot and he chose a better game I think. So we gave
100% in this semi-final stage of the World Open.
"This week I took it match per match. I've
felt very relaxed on court and haven't been thinking about
the title. It's not over yet so I'm just going to try and
relax tonight and my physio can get to work. I'll try to do
my best tomorrow. I wish him luck, but I also wish myself a
lot of luck!"
Gaultier's win marks up his 42nd Tour final
Ramy Suffers As Gaultier Makes World
Clearly in considerable pain,
Egypt's former champion Ramy Ashour was forced to concede his match in
today's quarter-finals of the PSA World Open to allow sixth-seeded
Frenchman Gregory Gaultier through to his fourth semi-final in six years
at the New Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam.
There was no hint of what was to
come in a fast and attacking evenly-contested first game. To the obvious delight
of the crowd, Gaultier edged ahead to go one game up. But the second was
entirely different as world No2 Ashour was suddenly almost immobile on the court
- with the Frenchman serving the game out in just three minutes.
It was after just a single point in
the third that the visibly distressed Egyptian, seemingly suffering with a
hamstring injury, signalled the end of the match with the score at 11-8, 11-1,
Gaultier moves on to face England's
James Willstrop (left) after the fourth seed made up for failing to close out
two match-balls in the third game by beating Egypt's four-time world champion
Amr Shabana 11-8, 11-2, 11-13, 11-1.
"To lead Shabana 2/0, you can get a
little bit excited - but you don't really know where his head's at," explained
the 28-year-old from Leeds afterwards. "Obviously he's been everywhere and
there's nothing he hasn't done but you can't carried away. I knew that
physically from 2/0 it's a massive boost.
"But massive credit to him to come
out and do what he did. But I knew that if I kept pushing and pushing that I
would get a few more chances.
"In Kuwait, we played in the World
Open and he never relented physically at all. Everyone talks about his shots,
but I think he's very underrated for the physical part of his game. If he needs
to rally he will do.
"It's extremely pleasing to beat him
in a big event. Everyone knows what a player he is. I'm feeling good and looking
forward to the semis."
A significant moment in the history
of the sport came earlier in the day when, after losing to Egyptian rival
Karim Darwish, illustrious Australian David Palmer (right) confirmed his
decision to retire. The 35-year-old from New South Wales, winner of the world
title in 2002 and 2006, had reached his seventh quarter-final since 2002 after a
gruelling 96-minute five-game victory over French rival Thierry Lincou.
But third seed Darwish was too
strong, winning 11-9, 11-7, 11-1 in 42 minutes.
"He was a little bit too good
today," said Palmer, whose career summary includes 27 PSA World Tour titles
(including 4 British Opens) from 55 final appearances. "It was my first match on
the glass unfortunately - it would have been nice to get an early match on here,
just to get a feel for it. But I thought I played ok.
"I needed that first game - I needed
a good start to try and create pressure. He didn't make any mistakes today
either, he didn't give me anything. Every point I won I had to really earn - and
I think he realised he had a good game plan against me.
"But overall I'm happy," added the
winner of six Commonwealth Games medals (two silver and four bronze) over three
Games. "It's a great way to finish my career and I'm happy to make another
quarter final - and at 35, I don't think it's a bad effort!"
"I have no regrets in my career
really. Apart from maybe a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games - that's the
only thing missing. Apart from that, I'm very proud of what I've achieved.
Obviously I've left a few titles out there that I could have won, but I've won a
couple of close ones too so it's evened out over my career I think."
Darwish now takes on top seed
Nick Matthew. But the defending champion dropped the first game to seventh
seed Peter Barker before beating his England team-mate 6-11, 11-8, 11-8,
11-5 in 71 minutes.
"Pete has come on tremendously in
the last year," said the 31-year-old from Sheffield. "He's been knocking on the
door of the top for a while now. Maybe his injury this evening took it out of
him a bit in the fourth, but we had three really tough games out there today.
"I didn't play badly in the first -
he was just playing a bit better than me. He was varying the pace and his length
and width were immaculate. But I came through that patch mentally and was able
to change things a bit and turn the screws on him at the end of the second.
"He didn't then disappear in the
third either - a year or two ago he'd have faded there, but he stuck in and
showed the improvements that he's made over the last year.
"Karim's looking good - he's not
dropped a game yet, I don't think, so I'll have to play better tomorrow."
Shabana Survives World Open Shootout
In the first of three matches in which higher-ranked players survived from two
four-time world champion Amr Shabana (right)prevailed against fellow
Egyptian Hisham Mohamed Ashour on the opening day of PSA World Open
action on an all-glass squash court at the New Luxor Theatre in
Left-hander Shabana, who had never before lost to his Cairo compatriot, also
came back from behind in the fourth game before triumphing 3-11, 8-11, 11-4,
11-9, 11-5 in 48 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of the premier PSA World
Tour event for the ninth year in a row.
"The way things were going early on, it was very one-sided," said the relieved
32-year-old former world number one. "I was thinking at 2/0 down that there'd be
a flight home for me this evening!
"The desire is still there, otherwise you're just going to lose and look bad."
In what will be their 23rd Tour meeting since 2004, Shabana will now face
James Willstrop, the fourth seed from England who ended the sensational
maiden World Open run of 18-year-old Marwan El Shorbagy by beating the
Egyptian qualifier 11-8, 11-3, 11-0.
"I'm playing James tomorrow - he's an amazing player," continued Shabana. "We've
had so many battles. I think both of us have to raise our game for the World
Open and the spectators are going to be in for a treat."
Willstrop, the only player not to have dropped a game in Rotterdam, felt that
the second game was really important after getting a good start: "Mentally I was
good there today, I stayed focussed.
"We obviously have one less rest day than the top half, but we do get onto the
glass court a bit quicker - so whichever way you look at it, there are
advantages. Obviously having won like that today and not spent too much time on
court, it's better to do what I have been doing.
"Had I played a longer match today, then it would have been difficult having to
play tomorrow too. It's difficult because it has to be organised one way or
another, but I think it's evened out quite well," explained the 28-year-old from
"I've performed consistently so far
- I'm at No3 in the world now. I don't need to convince anyone - and getting to
the final last week was good. But it's about producing it on a given week, and
this is the one week of the year when we're all trying to do that at the same
time - and that's the great thing about the challenge at the moment."
hopes were pinned on Laurens Jan Anjema - and by the time the six-time
Dutch champion had gone two games up against sixth-seeded Frenchman Gregory
Gaultier, (left) a two-time world finalist, the crowd had worked itself up
into a frenzy.
But after all the Dutchman's hard
work, it was Gaultier who assumed control of the next two games to draw level. A
good lead in the decider held the Frenchman in good stead as Anjema - urged on
by the crowd - mounted a comeback.
But it was too late, and Gaultier
prevailed 8-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-7 after 97 minutes.
"It was difficult in the beginning
to make my mark on the court tonight," said world No5 Gaultier when interviewed
court-side by Dutch international Vanessa Atkinson afterwards. "I was
behind him and I managed to stay focussed."
The Frenchman then addressed the
Dutch crowd: "And you guys chased me out so much. I'm not pleased with you all
tonight, but hopefully tomorrow night you will come and cheer for me this time!
"I'm used to playing the home
favourite. Last week, for example, in Qatar, when you play an Egyptian there you
get the crowd against you. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some support!"
there was more drama in the final match of the night when 2008 champion Ramy
Ashour, (right) the No2 seed from Egypt, also fell two games behind - to
unseeded Alister Walker, of Botswana.
But the Cairo-based 24-year-old
increased the tempo to draw level, then calmed down in the decider before
closing out the match 8-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 in 69 minutes.
"It was one of the toughest matches
I've played for a while," admitted Ashour later. "At this stage of the year
everyone's hitting the ball as good as a world No1 so you have to be prepared
and you have to be on your toes.
"I could barely see the ball in the
first two games, he was all over me. The pace of the game is so high and I had
to keep up with him, there was no way of winning unless I kept up the momentum.
"This win has given me more
confidence in my body, and in my head and I'm enjoying it so far so I hope I can
Palmer Prevails Over Lincou In World
In a sensational squash match
between two of the great warriors of today's game, Australia's David Palmer
emerged victorious over Frenchman Thierry Lincou after 96 minutes to
claim a place in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Open in Rotterdam.
It was a match worthy of the two
former champions - both of whom recently celebrated ten unbroken years in the
world's top ten. And both 35-year-olds were also making their 12th unbroken
appearances in the event since 1998.
Palmer twice took the lead, but
Lincou levelled and opened up an 8-5 advantage in the decider. But in a tense
finish, it was Palmer who took the final few points as the crowd rose to applaud
"Thierry's the master," said Palmer
after the 11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 triumph which takes him into his seventh
- but last - World Open quarter-final. "Even at 2/1 up, he just hangs in and
slows the pace down. I knew I had to play faster but he just he sucks it out of
you somehow. The slow game suits him, especially on this court. I knew I had to
inject some pace in there but it's hard when you're tired.
"In the end I just wanted to go down
swinging. I've lost the last couple of matches where I've been tentative. Being
my last one, when I got back to seven-all, I just thought if it's there for
taking then I'm going to go for it. To be honest it was 50/50 at the end there.
I went for some shots and caught him out. He got a bit tentative near the end
there I think.
"Suddenly I relaxed and he tensed up
a bit and obviously there were a couple of rallies there where we're trying to
clear each other. It's one of those ones where 'do you try to play it, or take
the let or stroke?' and I just came out better in those situations. It could
easily have gone either way though.
"But, yes, I'm very happy to get
through. My recent form hasn't been great, but my goal was to come here and get
to the quarters.
"It's my last Word Open tournament
and I've done that now so I'm very happy. It's nice to obviously have Melinda
and the girls watching. And my physio Pat with me who's been with me all my
career. I've a lot of good memories from this part of the world."
The US-based Australian will now
take on Egyptian rival Karim Darwish after the third seed needed only 31
minutes to see off unseeded Spaniard Borja Golan 11-9, 11-7, 11-1.
But there was more drama to come
when defending champion Nick Matthew, the world number one from England,
was taken to the wire by Mohamed El Shorbagy before beating the
20-year-old ninth seed from Egypt 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 11-1 in a 100-minute
"It's a bit of a blur right now,"
said the 31-year-old from England who is bidding to become the first player to
defend the title for 15 years. "It was one of the toughest matches I've had in a
few years. I had to fight with every last drip of energy in my body, it was
"You can't give him enough credit.
He was excellent and it was a brutal match, but i just managed to get a good
start in the fifth match and it saw me through. The court was really warm and
bouncy. We both went through patches where, I think we had drops in energy and
then came back fighting - it was a very momentum based game."
The event now moves to the city's
New Luxor Theatre where all matches will be played on an all-glass court.
Matthew will meet England team-mate Peter Barker, who beat Cameron
Pilley 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 to reduce his head-to-head deficit to the
Australian to 2/3.
"I'm pleased to be off the plaster
courts now and onto the glass court," continued Matthew. "The glass court is
where everyone wants to play. We have the extra day off, what with being in the
top half of the draw, but the bottom half get an extra game on the glass court.
I know which I'd prefer to have!
"The glass court is where squash is
played at the very highest level of the game. Three rounds is a lot here, so I'm
glad to get through. It's almost like two separate tournaments, with two
eight-man draws and then another eight-man draw following that at the New Luxor
Theatre in two days time.
"I need to go away now, recover well
and come out fighting because it's going to get tougher and tougher."
El Shorbagy Junior Sinks Selby In
World junior champion Marwan El
Shorbagy, (left) at 18, the youngest player in the championships, caused the
biggest upset in today's second round of the PSA World Open in
Rotterdam when he overcame England's 11th seed Daryl Selby in a
bitterly-contested 94-minute marathon to reach the last 16 of the premier PSA
World Tour squash event of the year at Victoria Squash in the Dutch
City of Sport.
Marwan, younger brother of ninth
seed Mohamed El Shorbagy, took the opening two games against the world
No12. But British champion Selby fought back to draw level - then move 9-6 ahead
in the decider.
Both had match-balls - indeed Selby
thought he had clinched victory at 11-10 - but it was teenager El Shorbagy who
ultimately prevailed, winning 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 4-11, 14-12 after 92 minutes.
"I'm so pleased to have got the
result here today," said the ecstatic youngster from Alexandria. "It's a massive
thing for me to get to the third round in my first World Open. I can't describe
it. I feel I played very well tonight in the first two games, but my
concentration maybe dropped in the next two and he got back into it.
"My brother was telling me to stay
focussed and not listen to him [Daryl] as he talks a lot on court and I tried
not to get distracted. I managed to get back on track and hold him off in the
Marwan goes on to meet Selby's
England team-mate James Willstrop, the new world No3 who took just 13
minutes to reach the last 16 after his Canadian opponent Shahier Razik
retired with an ankle injury with the score standing at 11-1, 4-1.
"Making it through to play James in
round three on the glass court will be amazing," continued the UK-based
18-year-old. "My preparation for the Open has been fantastic and I just want to
thank everyone who's supported me and helped me get here."
Meanwhile defending champion Nick
Matthew made up for his shock defeat by Tarek Momen in last month's
Qatar Classic by beating the 23-year-old Egyptian 11-4, 11-9, 11-4.
"There was a little bit of nervous
anticipation today as Qatar was at the forefront of my mind," admitted England's
world number one afterwards. "It was the last PSA match I'd had before this week
and he beat me fair and square, convincingly, so I had to go away and do some
research on him and come out with a plan to beat him on this court.
"I was ready for a big match - I
knew it was going to be tough. He's very hard to play and he moves like
lightning. But I was ready for him, pleased and relieved to get off court with a
3/0 - but even though it's a good win, it's only one round and we're only in
round three so there's still a long way to go.
"A little bit of time at home maybe
helped rejuvenate me," added the 31-year-old from Sheffield. "Some extra time
with my coach to get me motivated. But I'm ready now and feel that whatever
happens, someone will have to work very hard to beat me."
Momen took to the court less than an
hour after discovering that he had leapt into the world top 20, to a career-high
19. "I'm really pleased to have got into the top 20 in the world," said the
Cairo-based Egyptian. "It's quite an achievement for me and I really hope I can
keep it up. I never really think about the rankings. I don't set myself ranking
targets, I just try to do my best in every tournament and the rankings just
reflect your performance."
Of his match, Momen added: "I think
I played well today. I made a few more errors than I wanted but overall I think
I played well and Nick was just onto everything I played today. He's playing so
well. He was alert because of last time. Not an impossible task, but I think i
could have sneaked the second game. I'm pleased with my performance and I hope
that next time I will be better."
Unseeded Spaniard Borja Golan
pulled off another notable upset later in the day when he beat Omar Mosaad,
the 14th seed from Egypt, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 in 76 minutes. The 28-year-old
former world No10 is fighting back after major knee surgery - and is now
celebrating his first appearance in the third round.
In one of the final results of the
day, unseeded Alister Walker added a further surprise name to the last 16
line-up when he recovered from a game down to upset Mohd Azlan Iskandar,
the No13 seed from Malaysia, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5.
Former England international Walker,
now flying the flag of his country of birth, Botswana, will next face Ramy
Ashour, the second seed. But the 2008 world champion from Egypt had a
significant scare when he found himself 2/0 down to rising Swiss star Nicolas
Ashour dug deep however and after
exactly one hour clinched the 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 win which takes the
24-year-old from Cairo into the third round for the fourth time since 2006.
Salazar Scores Major World Open
Upset In Rotterdam
Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar
secured the biggest scalp so far in the PSA World Open in Rotterdam
when he defeated England's world No17 Adrian Grant on today's second day
of first round action in the premier PSA World Tour squash event of the
year at Victoria Squash in the Dutch City of Sport.
Making his debut in the
championship, the 23-year-old from San Luis Potosi recovered from a game down,
then stemmed a fourth game fightback by former quarter-finalist Grant to beat
the England international 8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5 in 68 minutes.
"It's my best ever win," said the
jubilant Mexican. "Adrian is a good player and it's a good victory for me. I
worked back in the third game and he liked to play to the back but I started to
play the ball quicker to the back and he started to tire in the fourth when I
got to play some quick, intense shots.
"I worked very hard before the
competition and I'm very happy."
The victory was made all the more
sweet as the world No59 had battled through two rounds of qualifying to make the
first round where he joined his higher-ranked twin brother Arturo Salazar.
But underdog Cesar has now progressed further, as Arturo was beaten in
yesterday's first round action.
But the day was otherwise dominated
by Egyptians - five of whom prevailed to join a further five who survived
Sunday's first round action in the top half of the draw.
World junior champion Marwan El
Shorbagy became the second qualifier to make the second round after his
higher-ranked opponent Farhan Mehboob, the world No47 from Pakistan,
retired injured after two games with the score at 11-6, 11-8 in the Egyptian
"I'm very happy," said the
18-year-old from Alexandria, the youngest player in the championship. "It's only
my first World Open, so reaching the second round is a very big achievement for
me so far. I didn't know about his injury, I only found out in the second game
when he was hitting the tin a lot from the return of serve.
"It's a shame to win this way, but
I'm still very pleased as I was ahead in the match already. I've had good
preparation for this tournament with my coach in England, Ian Thomas."
Marwan, whose older brother
Mohamed El Shorbagy, the ninth seed, is also through to the second round,
will now face England's 11th seed Daryl Selby, an 11-2, 13-11, 11-7
victor over fellow countryman Adrian Waller.
"I've not played Daryl before, but
I've watched him a few times and hopefully it will be a good match," concluded
El Shorbagy junior.
Cairo brothers Ramy Ashour
and Hisham Mohamed Ashour will both compete in the second round for the
fourth year in a row: Older sibling Hisham saw off Australian qualifier Zac
Alexander 11-6, 13-11, 11-6 while second seed Ramy, the 2008 champion,
battled for 40 minutes to get the better of New Zealand qualifier Campbell
Grayson 11-9, 14-12, 11-5.
England's James Willstrop
successfully began his bid to reach the final for the second year in a row with
an 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 win in 33 minutes over Hong Kong qualifier Max Lee.
"It's a bit of a cliche, but there
are dangerous players and Max is one of most dangerous qualifiers," explained
Yorkshireman Willstrop, the world No4. "It's a long week - we've got six
matches, so to put in a performance like that early on is great from all points
of view. Not only are you relaxed and winning 3/0, you're conserving a bit of
"I'm really excited about every trip
I'm doing at the minute," added the 28-year-old from Leeds who was runner-up in
last month's Qatar Classic. "I'm just enjoying the tour and happy to be
on court. It's fantastic playing in atmospheres like this and fighting for your
life in the World Open. You work hard all summer to be here so these are the
experiences you have to enjoy.
"I'm feeling good so just have to
dig in for the rest of the week - and win it!"
There was drama early in the evening
session as Italy's Davide Bianchetti, a game behind and at 12-all in the
second against India's Saurav Ghosal, argued sufficiently to get a
conduct game awarded against him. Now two games down, the Italian continued to
argue during the interval, and persevered with his comments to the officials as
they were about to start the third, when the referee's patience ran out and the
match was awarded against him.
Indian number one Ghosal will now
play local hero Laurens Jan Anjema, (left) the top-ranked Dutchman who needed 84
minutes to quash French qualifier Gregoire Marche 11-4, 10-12, 11-7,
"No, I was not surprised by Greg's performance,"
the relieved Dutchman said
later. "I haven't had the chance to see him play a lot of matches recently, but
still, I've looked at his results - he is a very good player, he trains with
Greg (Gaultier), so I didn't underestimate him for a second and although I was
ready for him, still, I was in trouble.
"Now, forget the fact that I'm in
the tournament, that I just won, just the fact that everyone who is anyone in
squash is here - every coach, every official, every squash guru is here, in
Rotterdam, in Netherlands. It's the greatest feeling ever!"
Twice a World Open runner-up,
France's Gregory Gaultier successfully began his bid to go further this
year with an 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 victory over Dutch wildcard Dylan Bennett -
and now goes on to face surprise opponent Cesar Salazar.
"The match was good," said the world
No6 from Aix-en-Provence afterwards. "I played Dylan, who qualified after
winning a regional competition I think, so he was a wild card. He gave me a good
"We spoke yesterday and he said he
was going to try hard to give me a good run, and it was a really pleasant match.
The World Open means a lot. It's the biggest competition of the year so all the
players are really up for it. Everyone is usually really fit at this time of the
season too, after competitions and training.
"But I'm not putting any pressure on
myself," added the 28-year-old who won last month's Qatar Classic. "I'm just
taking it match by match and hopefully it will go well. Today went well and I
hope I can keep it going."
Open Win Sets Up Momen Re-Match
champion and world No1 Nick Matthew (right)eased through today's
first round of the PSA World Open in Rotterdam to set up a
second round clash with
Tarek Momen, the Egyptian ranked outside the world top 25 who beat the
Englishman in this month's Qatar Classic.
Yorkshireman Matthew recovered
from 5-8 down in the first game at Victoria Squash in the Dutch
City of Sport to defeat Italian qualifier Stephane Galifi 11-8,
11-1, 11-3 in 35 minutes.
"I've had a good build up to
the World Open," said Matthew later. "Losing early in Qatar, although
unplanned, did give me a bit more time to prepare. I've had a bit of
nervous excitement in the build up to this. I've felt that edge in my
training and was maybe a little too eager in the first game today. I had
to settle into a rhythm, get used to the court and once I got the feet
moving and was able to express myself, I felt good in my game."
Of his France-based opponent,
Matthew added: "He's a wily old fox. He uses the court, slows the ball
down and plays to his strengths well. He'd had a hard match yesterday and
was probably more used to the court than I was at first. But once I'd got
the pace up his legs weren't quite there.
"I'm pleased that we've got a
good support here - my coach and physio are both here, and my parents are
on their way here too. There's no reason why we can't do well. I've been
here a few days and feel pretty good."
whose shock straight games second round victory in Doha ended a run of ten
successive final appearances by Matthew, needed 53 minutes to beat Tom
Richards 11-9, 8-11, 11-1, 11-5 - avenging his US Open defeat
by the Englishman last month in Philadelphia.
"I think I played really well
today," said the 23-year-old from Cairo. "We played three weeks ago and he
beat me, so I'm glad I got my revenge. It's an honour to play in the World
Open and it's a great marker for where your game is at this point in the
season. I hope I do much better this year - last year didn't go so well,
so I'm looking forward to staying in the competition for longer!"
In the opening match of the
day, two-time champion David Palmer took an hour and a half to fend
off the challenge of Scotland's Alan Clyne - and lead four
Australians into the next round on the day.
After taking a two-game lead,
the 2002 and 2006 champion found himself at eight-all in the fifth before
finally clinching the match 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 4-11, 11-8 - much to the
relief of himself and his watching family.
Later Ryan Cuskelly,
from New South Wales, beat England's Joey Barrington, and
Canberra-born Stewart Boswell beat Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan
Adnan, both in straight games. And rounding off the day later,
Australian number two Cameron Pilley blasted his way past German
qualifier Raphael Kandra.
After Palmer's marathon
escape, fellow former world champion Thierry Lincou also showed
that there is still life in the old dog! Palmer and Frenchman Lincou share
two significant achievements: Both are marking their 12th successive
appearances in the World Open, and both recently celebrated ten unbroken
years in the world's top ten.
Tenth seed Lincou found
himself 5-0 down in the decider to Canada's Shawn Delierre. The
Frenchman recovered to seven-all but had to save two match balls on his
way to closing out the match 13-11, 4-11, 11-3, 4-11, 15-13 after 98
"I was expecting a tough match
- he was a bit more used to this court and this atmosphere, whereas this
was my first match here," said the 35-year-old from Marseille later.
"Sometimes it's tricky for the main draw players to come here and get
stuck in on these courts.
"The glass side is a bit
tricky. But Shawn has an unusual style and it's tricky to play against. I
really had to play my best squash at points to push him into mistakes
because he was really hurting me at the front. I had to keep focussed to
"I'm very pleased with my win
overall. I can only play better from here so I'm looking forward to the
rest of the week."
made sure of German interest in the second round after a 12-10, 11-6, 11-3
victory over Germany-based South African qualifier Clinton Leeuw.
"It's never easy in the first
round - I'm really happy to get through in three, which means that I'm fit
and ready for next match," said Rosner, the top-ranked German. "In the
first game, Clinton came out firing - I didn't know where to look, he was
cutting the ball out well.
"It was surprising in the
first but I got into the game better and managed to take control of the
match. I know his game a bit as he also lives in Germany, so we've played
a couple of times before. I'm really enjoying Rotterdam - it's only a
three-hour drive for me so that's a nice change to be able to drive to the
After Leeuw's loss, Stephen
Coppinger made sure there would be South African interest in round two
as he beat Chris Simpson 11-1, 12-10, 11-8. The 27-year-old from
Cape Town now meets another Englishman in seventh seed Peter Barker,
who eased past less-than-fully-fit Aussie Aaron Frankcomb 11-4,
Birthday Boy Kandra Makes World Open
German's Raphael Kandra
celebrated his 21st birthday in fine style when he secured an unexpected
place in the main draw of the 2011 PSA World Open in Rotterdam
after beating Frenchman Julien Balbo. The Essen-based German No3
will not only make his world championship debut, but also becomes the
lowest-ranked player in the premier PSA World Tour squash event at
Victoria Squash in the Dutch City of Sport.
Players from 12 countries -
Canada, Italy, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, France, New Zealand,
Egypt, Australia, South Africa and Germany - battled through the
qualifying finals to earn places in the first round of the event which
will reach its final stages at the New Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam.
Kandra recovered from a game
down to overcome Balbo - ranked more than 40 places higher - 6-11, 15-13,
11-9, 11-4 in 75 minutes, with the Frenchman struggling with a turned
ankle in the latter stages of the encounter. The young German's reward is
a first round clash with hard-hitting Australian Cameron Pilley,
the No16 seed.
"Yes, my first ever World Open," a
delighted Kandra said afterwards.
"And as it is my birthday today, it's a good reason for cancelling the
party that I had planned at home (I live not too far away from here). You
can say that actually, I made my own birthday gift!"
Egypt's world junior champion
Marwan El Shorbagy beat Germany's Jens Schoor in straight
games to join his brother Mohamed in the main draw, where he lines up
against Pakistan's Farhan Mehboob.
"Today, I played well, in
particular on the volleying, was comfortable on the T," said 18-year-old
Marwan - who becomes the event's youngest competitor. "But Jens is a very
good player - so dangerous at the front. I had to play my best today to
beat him. I think my Mum must be crying at home, as this is my first time
qualifying for the Worlds."
will also join his brother in the main draw. The 23-year-old Mexican beat
Frenchman Yann Perrin 12-14, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 and will line up
alongside twin Arturo Salazar after his first successful qualifying
bid in his third attempt.
"For about three or four
months I have felt good," explained Cesar. "I feel strong, and that my
squash is getting better. I want to thank the Mexican government who
understand that we need to travel to Europe to play more tournaments, and
they help the top four with funding. And yes, it's my first time getting
into the Worlds!"
But there was French success
for Gregoire Marche after the 21-year-old's 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2
win over Australian Matthew Karwalski.
The longest match of the day,
at 76 minutes, saw another first time qualifier in South Africa's
Clinton Leeuw who came from 2/1 down to deny England's Robbie
Temple 11-7, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5.
Two Englishmen made it through
to the main draw, as Joe Lee overcame fierce resistance from
compatriot Eddie Charlton, and Adrian Waller denied South
Africa a second qualifier by beating Shaun le Roux. Waller meets
fellow Englishman Daryl Selby while Lee faces Canada's Shahier
In one of the last matches of
the day, Finland's Henrik Mustonen fought back from 2/1 and
match-ball down to overcome Malaysian Ivan Yuen 11-9, 4-11, 6-11,
14-12, 11-6. The 20-year-old Finn faces third seed Karim Darwish in
a repeat of their meeting in last week's Qatar Classic.
Australia's Steven Finitsis
held a substantial lead in the fourth game against Omar Abdel Meguid,
but the Egyptian clawed it back to close out the match 5-11, 11-5, 11-7,
12-10. Meguid meets compatriot Omar Mosaad.
And when the draw for the
qualifiers in the first round was made, it was Italian Stephane Galifi
who was lined up with top seed Nick Matthew, the title-holder from
England, and New Zealander Campbell Grayson who will face No2 seed
Ramy Ashour, the 2008 champion from Egypt.
It will be the third time in
the World Open main draw for Galifi, but the France-based 33-year-old was
delighted, after his five-game victory over Hong Kong's Dick Lau:
"What's at stake is enormous when we try and qualify for such a
tournament. You can never be relaxed in the qualifiers, there is so much
pressure. People may think it's easy, but it's not. And from the
psychological point of view, it's one of the hardest things to do. He
played so well, and I'm so proud to win this one."
The men's first round takes
place over two days, starting on Sunday and concluding on Monday.
Krajcsak In World Qualifying Upset
Australian Steven Finitsis
rounded off a packed day of qualifying action in the 2011 PSA World
Open in Rotterdam when he despatched the second highest-ranked
player in the draw to reach the qualifying finals of the premier PSA
World Tour event at Victoria Squash in the Dutch City of Sport.
The Dutch-based Aussie, ranked
more then 50 places lower than top-ranked Hungarian Mark Krajcsak,
delighted the appreciative audience on Victoria's centre court with his
8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 victory in 51 minutes.
"It's a good win for me and good for
my confidence," Finitsis said afterwards.
"I've been training hard, but not playing many tournaments recently.
"Maybe now it's time to bite
the bullet and go for some big ones," added the 28-year-old Queenslander.
Though almost all the 32
matches went according to expectations, England's Eddie Charlton
removed higher-ranked US No2 Christopher Gordon 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 in
another notable upset.
"I thought I had a chance
today, even if ranking-wise, I was not meant to win this match," admitted
Charlton, who won his first Tour title in the Czech Republic earlier this
month. "Happy with a 3/0 win, especially as I didn't play as well as I
have been, so, keeping fresh for tomorrow."
Italy's Amr Ramsy Swelim
- who only got the nod that he was in the draw 24 hours earlier - beat
Netherlands-based New Zealander Kashif Shuja 12-10, 11-5, 11-5,
although the Kiwi was not at full fitness.
delighted the German camp with a fine 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 win over Hong
Kong's Leo Au, winner of two Tour titles over the past four months.
"I played well," said the
delighted Kandra. "I was dominating the rallies, especially in the second
game, and I could see he was not comfortable, he didn't move as well as he
normally does. I've been a pro for only a year, it takes time to get
things in place, but I can feel that my game is getting better, week by
There was little joy for the
home fans who were out in force supporting the local players. But all
sixteen - ranging in age from 44 to 16 - failed to progress to Saturday's
National coach Lucas Buit
was one of the first casualties, although he made Hong Kong's Dick Lau
work hard for his three-game win; Stephen Cooke - originally
English - took Germany's Jens Schoor the distance; and Sebastian
Weenink almost finished the night off nicely, but after coming from
two game down against Malaysian Ivan Yuen his challenge tailed off
in the fifth.
"It was a nice match, both
first games were very close," admitted Buit, who can now concentrate on
his coaching duties. "Still, from 2/0 down, it was just too hard. I think
I deserved one game - but I can't complain, at 44."
Matthew Set To Retain World Title In Rotterdam
Defending champion Nick Matthew, the world number
one from England, is expected to retain his title in next month's PSA
World Open, according to the draw for the sport's most prestigious
event made in Rotterdam.
The 2011 championship, featuring a stunning line-up
including five former world champions and seven world number ones, will be
held for the first time in Rotterdam, from 28 October to 6 November. After
qualifying and early rounds at the renowned Victoria Squash club,
the event will move onto an ASB all-glass court which will be erected on
the podium of the New Luxor Theatre in the Dutch City of Sports.
Matthew, who became England's first ever world champion in
Saudi Arabia last year, begins the defence of his title against a
qualifier - and is expected to meet his first seeded opponent in the last
16 round when he faces Egypt's Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 20-year-old
world No8 from Egypt in only his fourth appearance in the championship.
The 31-year-old from Sheffield's predicted quarter-final
opponent is England team-mate Peter Barker, the world No7 from
London. And Egyptian rival Karim Darwish, the No3 seed from Cairo,
is his expected semi-final opponent before the expected clash with Egypt's
world No2 Ramy Ashour in the final.
Ashour, winner of the 2008 event in England and already
champion of three PSA World Series events in 2011, also begins his
Rotterdam campaign against a qualifier. The 24-year-old from Cairo would
expect to meet top-ranked Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the
quarter-finals, before a semi-final clash with England's James
Willstrop, the fourth seed.
The field features three players competing in their 12th
successive championships after making their debuts in Qatar in 1998 -
though France's Thierry Lincou also first attempted to qualify 14
years ago in 1997. Like Egypt's Amr Shabana and Australian David
Palmer, Lincou is both a former world number one and a former world
champion, and begins his 2011 campaign against a qualifier.
Shabana is bidding to emulate Pakistani legends Jahangir
Khan and Jansher Khan by becoming only the third player in
history to win the title a fifth time. The 32-year-old from Cairo won the
crown in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Boosted by his title triumph in this
month's US Open in Philadelphia, the fifth seed begins his 2011 campaign
against a qualifier.
Palmer, the 35-year-old who famously won his first of two
world titles in his then home country of Belgium in 2002 after saving
match-balls in the final, is seeded eight - his first opponent being
Scotland's Alan Clyne.
Dutch interest will be led by Laurens Jan Anjema,
the six-time national champion from The Hague who is the 12th seed. Anjema,
winner of this week's new PSA International 35 NetSuite Open in the
USA, will be making his eighth appearance in the event - and looking to
reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Malaysian interest in the 2011 World Open will be very much
focussed in the lower half of the draw where it two leading players
Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the No13 seed, and Ong Beng Hee, the
former world No7, have been drawn against each other in the first round!