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James Willstrop Clinches Kuwait PSA Cup

Kuwait PSA Cup 2011
23-29 Nov, Kuwait ($165k)
Round Two
24 Nov
Round Three
25 Nov
27 Nov
New Draw
28 Nov
29 Nov
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11/6, 11/3, 11/1 (29m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
Nick Matthew
11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (52m)
Cameron Pilley

Stewart Boswell
8/11, 11/5, 11/2, 11/5 (58m)
Gregory Gaultier
Gregory Gaultier
11-9, 11-6, 11-3 (58m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop
11/7, 10/12, 11/4, 11/2 (65m)
Karim Darwish
[13] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/8, 11/9, 11/6 (58m)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
[9] Daryl Selby (Eng)
9/11, 11/3, 11/9, 5/11, 11/9 (66m)
Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
Daryl Selby
11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8 (50m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
12/10, 11/7, 5/11, 2/11, 12/10 (85m)
Borja Golan (Esp)
[8] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
11/6, 13/11, 11/6 (47m)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Thierry Lincou
11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 (71m)
Laurens Jan Anjema

Peter Barker
11/9, 11/7, 11/7 (36m)
James Willstrop
[10] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11/5, 9/11, 12/10, 11/2 (70m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
[16] Alister Walker (Bot)
6/11, 11/6, 11/7, 8/11, 11/8 (85m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fa)
Alister Walker
11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (34m)
James Willstrop
[3] James Willstrop (Eng)
11/0, 11/8, 11/9 (27m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11/8, 11/7, 11/6 (22m)
[4] Amr Shabana (Egy)
Simon Rosner
7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 12-10 (67m)
Stewart Boswell

Nick Matthew
w/o (pulled muscle)
Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish
11-4, 11-9, 5-11, 15-13 (74m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/5, 11/6, 11/6 (40m)
[15] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
11/3, 11/4, 11/9 (18m) 
[12] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)

Azlan Iskandar
11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (50m)
Gregory Gaultier
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11/7, 11/2, 11/6 (34m)
[5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Jan Koukal (Cze)
11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (42m)
[6] Peter Barker (Eng)
Peter Barker
11-6, 11-5, 11-1 (55m)
Adrian Grant

Laurens Jan Anjema
11/8, 11/5, 7/11, 11/7 (52m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/6, 11/13, 5/11, 11/4, 11/3 (76m)
[14] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Max Lee (Hkg)
11/8, 11/13, 11/7, 11/5 (67m) 
[11] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
Omar Mosaad
11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)
Karim Darwish
Mohammed Abbas
11/5, 11/4, 11/5 (28m)
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy)

1st Round: 23/11/11

Q1:  Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Greg Marche (Fra)     11/8, 5/11, 11/8, 6/11, 11/6 (75m)
Q2:  Chris Ryder (Eng) bt Andrew Wagih (Egy)                        11/7, 11/4, 11/6 (47m)
Q3:  Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw) bt Miguel Rodriguez (Col)   11/5, 14/12, 11/7 (36m)
Q4:  Borja Golan (Esp) bt Tom Richards (Eng)                 7/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/9 (71m)
Q5:  Olli Tuominen (Fin) bt Robbie Temple (Eng)         11/7, 11/13, 11/6, 12/10 (65m)
Q6:  Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Tarek Momen (Egy)    11/9, 6/11, 8/11, 11/7, 11/5 (75m)
Q7:  Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Mark Krajcsak (Hun)             11/5, 11/7, 11/7 (45m)
Q8:  Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl)  9/11, 11/6, 11/4, 5/11, 11/8 (80m)
Q9:    Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)  4/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (59m)
Q10:  Steve Coppinger (Rsa) bt Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)              11/3, 11/5, 11/9 (48m)
Q11:  Jon Kemp (Eng) bt Martin Knight (Nzl)                   9/11, 11/2, 11/8, 11/4 (45m)
Q12:  Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Karim A/Gawad (Egy)    8/11, 11/9, 11/6, 12/10 (65m)
Q13:  Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Alan Clyne (Sco)                     9/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/8 (60m)
Q14:  Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)                   11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (43m)
Q15:  Max Lee (Hkg) bt Farhan Mehboob (Pak)                         11/3, 11/4, 11/7 (23m)
Q16:  Mohammed Abbas (Egy) bt Adrian Waller (Eng)       11/2, 11/6, 8/11, 11/4  (39m)

A brand new event format, reflecting the open draw style of English football's prestigious FA Cup, is being launched by the men's Professional Squash Association this week at the Kuwait PSA Cup, a PSA World Series event with a prize fund of $165,000 involving the world's top 48 players.

Commenting on the new format, Alex Gough, Chief Executive of the PSA said: "For the Kuwait PSA Cup we have introduced an open draw from the quarter-finals onwards. This means that the top two players could face each other as early as the last eight which is something completely new in squash.

"We are constantly looking at ways to innovate the sport and this format, which draws on the open-draw system of the FA Cup, reflects this commitment. The fact that we have the world's top 48 players from 21 different countries also shows how the sport is becoming increasingly global."

President of the World Squash Federation, N Ramachandran added: "The new format for the Kuwait PSA Cup is another example of how squash continues to innovate and embrace change to make the sport even more appealing to fans, sponsors and broadcasters. Other recent innovations in squash include the dedicated TV operation SquashTV which will cover 13 major events this year, all streamed live and distributed to 20 broadcasters worldwide, with a potential reach of 340 million viewers.

"We have also introduced 'Video Review', allowing match officials to review decisions via TV replay, and raised the bar in terms of introducing the latest all-glass show court, featuring new larger glass panels, on-court air conditioning, a new floor and revolutionary lighting. All these innovations are critical to our ambition to become part of the Olympic Games from 2020 and fans can expect more developments to the sport in the months ahead."


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James Willstrop Clinches Kuwait PSA Cup

England's James Willstrop won the biggest title of his career when he beat Egypt's Karim Darwish in tonight's final of the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup, the eighth and penultimate PSA World Series squash event of the year at Green Island in Kuwait City.

It rounded off a sensational ten-day period for the 28-year-old from Leeds who won his first World Series title of the year at last week's Hong Kong Open - again beating Darwish in the final - and can now look forward to returning to second place in the world rankings for the first time since first achieving his career-high ranking exactly six years ago.

The Englishman won a close first game, pulling away from six-all to take the lead. The Egyptian got the better start in the second and led 6-3, but Willstrop recovered to earn a game ball at 10-9.

But after a rare sequence of unforced errors from the Yorkshireman, it was Darwish who took the game to draw level - thus ending Willstrop's run of 28 consecutive games without defeat.

The tall Englishman, seeded three, was immediately back in front in the third, leading 6-1 before taking the game. It was one-way traffic in the fourth - Darwish only scoring two points as Willstrop marched on to close out the match 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 11-2 to win his first title in Kuwait.

"I'm incredibly pleased," Willstrop said afterwards. "When you try and backup two tournaments, the odds are against you - but I was pleased with the way I played, and maybe you actually can manage back to back wins when you keep on winning 3/0. That way, you put yourself under less pressure physically, even though it's still a hard battle mentally, turning up for every match, and trying to win each and every one.

"I've been receiving tremendous help from my team back home that helped me improve my physical side. And I basically adapted my squash to my physical constitution," added the new Kuwait champion who will now turn his attention to the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, the last World Series event of the year next month in India.

"Can I win three in a row? Well, I guess it can be done," said Willstrop. "If I can produce squash like that, I can win the next one! And I'm not going to let the fact that it's three in a row get in the way!"

Darwish was not entirely unhappy with the outcome: "In the third, I didn't hit the wall physically, but mentally more. I was fine physically, but I was just frustrated, I just couldn't get the ball to the back of the court anymore," said the 30-year-old from Cairo.

"I'm very happy with two finals in a row, it's very positive - and now I'm going to go home and get ready for India and the rest of the season."

In addition to producing the 14th PSA World Tour title success of his career, Willstrop's win also takes him to equal top position in the latest 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings, where he shares 425 points with fellow countryman Nick Matthew. Beaten semi-finalist Gregory Gaultier rises to fourth place in the list, while Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar narrowly holds onto eighth place.

Willstrop & Darwish In Second World Series Final This Month

Just over a week after contesting the final of the Hong Kong Open, England's James Willstrop (Right in blue)and Egyptian Karim Darwish will play out their second successive PSA World Series climax at the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup at Green Island in Kuwait City.

In a replay of the Hong Kong semi-final, third seed Willstrop faced French rival Gregory Gaultier, the No5 seed, for a place in the final of the eighth PSA World Series squash event of the year.

After surviving two tough games, the Englishman was in absolute control of the eight-minute third before closing out the match 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 in 58 minutes.

The victory marked Willstrop's ninth successive Tour match win without dropping a game - since losing to Gaultier in the World Open semi-finals in Rotterdam.

"I was very confident on court today, I'm hitting the ball well," explained Willstrop afterwards. "It's all about keeping that streak going, and that's not always that easy. Today, I think I managed to frustrate Greg and prevent him from playing his game. I played some accurate squash, and it was a very pleasing performance."

While Willstrop went into the first semi-final poised at seven-all in his Tour head-to-head record with Gaultier, second seed Karim Darwish (left) had never even conceded a game to his opponent Mohamed El Shorbagy in three previous meetings with his ten-year-younger fellow countryman.

This record looked safe for at least the first game and a half. But 20-year-old El Shorbagy slowly started to get into the match, pulling back to take the lead at 5-4 and 8-7. But at nine-all, two rash errors cost the seventh seed the chance of levelling as Darwish extended his lead.

Darwish maintained his lead in the next game - but underdog El Shorbagy snatched seven quick points in a row before taking the third to reduce the deficit.

It was nip and tuck in the fourth with both players sharing the lead before El Shorbagy reached game ball at 10-9, only for Darwish to battle on to match-balls at 11-10 and 12-11.

El Shorbagy earned one more chance at 13-12, but Darwish saved that too before clinching his third chance to secure victory 11-4, 11-9, 5-11, 15-13 after 74 minutes.

"He didn't want to give up," exclaimed former world No1 Darwish. "Those youngsters - you can't get rid of them," added the relieved 30-year-old from Cairo.

"I'm so happy to get into the final again. James is a in a great form, but I'm happy with my performance in this tournament too. It will be a good match."

While Willstrop is marking his 27th Tour final appearance, it's the 37th for the Egyptian.


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El Shorbagy Makes Maiden World Series Semi In Kuwait

Mohamed El Shorbagy (left foreground) celebrated his first appearance in the semi-finals of a PSA World Series event - and guaranteed Egyptian interest in the final of the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup - when he beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema in the quarter-finals of the eighth World Series squash championship of the year at Green Island in Kuwait City.

After the historic 'FA Cup' style quarter-final draw the previous evening, it was a day of further drama at Green Island when top seed Nick Matthew (below right) was forced to withdraw from the championship without striking a ball.

Less than 24 hours after being drawn to face No2 seed Karim Darwish in the most eye-catching quarter-final possible, the world number one and world champion from England went onto the court - still dressed in his tracksuit - to inform everyone that he had been struggling with an adductor injury that prevented him from lunging.

The 31-year-old from Sheffield had been warming up as close as ten minutes to match time, but had reluctantly concluded that it was not possible to play.

"I'm gutted to have to pull out today but you have to be able to lunge without pain to play this fantastic sport at the speed we play," tweeted the event favourite later.

There was a further shock to come when distinguished Australian Stewart Boswell, the event's 15th seed and a former world No4, calmly announced after losing a four-game quarter-final to Gregory Gaultier that this was to be his final appearance on the PSA World Tour.

The most significant on-court outcome took place in the final match of the day when 20-year-old Mohamed El Shorbagy, the No7 seed from Alexandria, battled to an 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 victory in 52 minutes over experienced left-hander Anjema to mark his World Series semi debut.

"I played good squash, probably the best I've played in the tournament," El Shorbagy said afterwards. "It was a fair match, LJ is such a gentleman. It's always a great pleasure to play him.

"This is my first ever World Series semis, and this is very special to me. And I'm so happy that my mum is here to share that moment with me, and I'm so glad she is there to support me too."

The young Egyptian will now play his senior compatriot Karim Darwish, the former world No1 who is only one match away from his second successive World Series final.

"Last time we played was in Malaysia, and he beat me yet again 3/0," continued Shorbagy. "We are very good friends, I have the utmost respect for him.

"I never took a game off him, so tomorrow, I'm really going to try and do my best, and play good squash."

It was in the opening match of the session that fifth-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier (left) recovered from a stuttering start to beat Stewart Boswell 8-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-5 in 58 minutes.

Too emotional to talk afterwards, Boswell simply handed over a hand-written letter, explaining his decision to retire.

The all-English clash which the earlier draw produced ended in the same result it has in all but one of their 16 earlier meetings when James Willstrop beat Peter Barker 11-9, 11-7, 11-7.

Third seed Willstrop (right foreground)  stayed ahead throughout the first two games, but sixth seed Barker rallied to take a 6-3 lead in the third. However, Yorkshireman Willstrop won eight of the next nine points to run out the winner in just 36 minutes.

Willstrop will face Gaultier in the pair's fourth World Series clash this year.


Top Seeds Paired Up In Kuwait Quarters Draw

The 'FA Cup' style open draw introduced by the Professional Squash Association as an innovation at the quarter-final stage of the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup produced a dramatic result when the event's top two seeds Nick Matthew and Karim Darwish were pulled out of the hat to face each other for a place in the semi-finals of the eighth PSA World Series event of the year at Green Island in Kuwait City.

The draw took place at a Gala Dinner in Kuwait, at which host and Tournament Chairman Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah drew the first name Stewart Boswell. The 15th seed from Australian then drew his opponent - Gregory Gaultier, the No5 seed from France.

The next match drawn pitched English rivals James Willstrop and Peter Barker together.

Karim Darwish, the No2 seed from Egypt, was the next name drawn - and he duly provided the 'dream' quarter-final clash when he picked Nick Matthew, the top seed from England who is also the world number one and reigning world champion.

It will be the pair's ninth Tour meeting since 2004 - but their second of the month after clashing in the World Open semi-finals in Rotterdam.

The final quarter-final Kuwait Cup pairing sees Egypt's No7 seed Mohamed El Shorbagy take on Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the No10 seed.

"The Kuwait Towers was a fabulous setting to host the first ever PSA Cup draw, which was certainly a intense experience for all involved," said PSA Chief Operating Officer Lee Beachill.

"We were delighted with the amount of attention the draw created with local television and media taking a big interest in the event hosted by Sheikha Fadyah.

"The random draw was obviously going to create some interesting line-ups - and with some players happy with their draw, and some not, what it has created is an exciting climax to this unique event."


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Anjema Axes Lincou To Make Kuwait Quarters

Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema survived today's longest match in the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup to secure an unexpected place in the quarter-finals of the eighth PSA World Series squash event of the year after upsetting eighth seed Thierry Lincou in five games at Green Island in Kuwait City.

Frenchman Lincou, the former world number one who has made the last eight in his previous four appearances in Kuwait, battled hard to build up a 2/1 lead over his younger rival - ranked just one position lower.

But the left-hander from The Hague overwhelmed Lincou in the fourth to draw level - then held his nerve to clinch an 11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 victory over the 35-year-old after 71 minutes, to earn his first quarter-final appearance in Kuwait.

"What can I say?" Anjema (left in black shorts) said afterwards. "Growing up, I was looking up to Thierry, Palmer, Nicol, and it's so hard when you have them as role models to one day start playing against them, then competing with them, then sometimes having a fight with them, and finally beating them.

"And to think that at that age, he is still in that shape - it's pretty incredible," added the 28-year-old world No11.

The unique format of the Kuwait PSA Cup means that the Dutchman will now have to wait 24 hours before he discovers the identity of his quarter-final opponent - which will be drawn at a special Gala Dinner in Kuwait.

"About the new format: I tend to never look at the draw at all - I don't like wasting my energy worrying about who I might play. So, I'm all for it!"

Stewart Boswell became another surprise quarter-finalist: The 15th seed from Australia beat unseeded German Simon Rosner 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 12-10 in 67 minutes - the outcome of which takes the Canberra-born 33-year-old into his third successive PSA World Series quarter-final against expectation!

A trio of Englishmen will bid for places in the semi-finals after third round successes today: Londoner Peter Barker, who has become the World Series' "Mr Consistency", claimed his eighth successive quarter-final berth with his 11-6, 11-5, 11-1 win in 55 minutes over fellow countryman, fellow Londoner, and fellow left-hander Adrian Grant, the No14 seed.

And Yorkshire rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop (right in Blue shirt) will hope that the draw keeps them in opposing halves. Top seed, world number one and world champion Matthew opened proceedings at Green Island with a straight games win over hard-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley. Matthew pulled away from 4-3 down in the first - and, although he built leads in the next two games, Pilley ate into both before the favourite managed to close them out for an 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 win.

After winning last week's Hong Kong Open without dropping a game, third seed Willstrop continued his run of straight game victories by beating former England team-mate Alister Walker - the 16th seed now representing Botswana - 11-7, 11-5, 11-3.

A Frenchman and two Egyptians secured the other three quarter-final berths: Gregory Gaultier, the fifth seed from Aix-en-Provence, needed 50 minutes to quash Malaysia's Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-4, 11-7, 11-5, while Egyptians Mohamed El Shorbagy and Karim Darwish overcame Daryl Selby, of England, and compatriot Omar Mosaad, respectively.

Rosner Removes Kuwait Champion Shabana

Egypt's fourth seed Amr Shabana, a finalist in his last four appearances in Kuwait, crashed out of the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup today, beaten in straight games by unseeded German Simon Rosner in the second round of the eighth PSA World Series squash event of the year in Kuwait City.

It was on the same all-glass court at Green Island in 2009 that the former world number one from Giza won his fourth World Open title, equalling the achievements of former greats Geoff Hunt, Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan.

But last year's Kuwait Open runner-up, currently ranked four in the world, was no match for the ever-improving Rosner, as the 24-year-old from Paderborn - who has never before progressed beyond the first round - romped to an 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 victory in 22 minutes.

"I'll take a 3/0 win against Shabana any day," the delighted Rosner said afterwards. "He beat me so many times, and he's been my idol since the age or 12 or 13.

"So a win against him today is pretty special, not to mention my best win over a top player," added Rosner, who celebrated a career-best world No24 ranking this month.

Rosner will now face Stewart Boswell after the No15 seed from Australia beat South African Stephen Coppinger 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.

But the standout match of the day took place later on the same court when Kuwaiti wildcard Abdullah Al Muzayen, who upset higher-ranked Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 24 hours earlier, stretched ninth seed Daryl Selby to five games before finally bowing out to the experienced world No12 from England 9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9 after 66 minutes.

"He is such a great player, he has improved so much over the past year," said Selby of the Kuwaiti number one who is ranked 80 in the world. "He's been playing a lot of tournaments around these areas, and has started to make his mark. And if he keeps on playing like that, there is absolutely no reason he couldn't reach top 20, top 10.

"This court is just great," Selby continued. "It's what we professional squash players train for all year, to play in front of great crowds like this one in Kuwait. I had pretty good memories here, and tonight, it went my side - well, just about!"

Despite his defeat, Al Muzayen enjoyed the experience: "I so enjoyed playing Daryl - what a great player, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play one of the top players in the world. And I hope that I made the Kuwait crowd happy tonight.

"Next year, I'll be coming back and play better squash," added the 23-year-old left-hander. "I'm going to work hard and train to improve both my fitness and my squash. And I'll be a better player next year."

Top-seeded Englishman Nick Matthew earned his place in the last 16 following an 11-6, 11-3, 11-1 victory over Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller.

"I had the utmost respect for him, for the way he plays at the moment, and that's the best compliment I can give him," said the world number one and world champion after his win. "I was ready for him!"

Egypt's No7 seed Mohamed El Shorbagy squandered a 2/0 lead over Borja Golan when the unseeded Spaniard came back to level the match and build up an 8-5 lead in the decider. The 20-year-old from Alexandria had to save one match ball, then finished with two crosscourt volley nicks to win 12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 2-11, 12-10 after 85 minutes

Al Muzayen Delights Kuwait Cup Crowd

Local hero Abdullah Al Muzayen fully justified his wildcard status in the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup when he dismissed higher-ranked Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in straight games in tonight's first round match in the eighth PSA World Series squash event of the year at Green Island in Kuwait City.

At 80, Kuwaiti Al Muzayen is the lowest-ranked player in the 48-man draw of the star-studded international event being held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. It was his first meeting with the experienced Colombian, ranked 46 places higher.

But the cool left-hander defeated Rodriguez 11-5, 14-12, 11-7 in 36 minutes - and immediately thanked the organisers for giving him the break.

"I really would like to thank Her Excellency Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah and the organisers for this amazing tournament," the delighted 23-year-old said afterwards. "I'm so proud I won for them tonight.

"I've been training very hard, thanks to the support of the KW Federation, Her Excellency Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah and my sponsor, Mahmood Al Ghanin.

"I knew that I had to work on my fitness to be able to compete with the top players. And tonight, I have my reward. I just beat the world number 34!"

Hong Kong's Max Lee was another notable first round winner. The 23-year-old world No56 beat out-of-sorts Pakistani Farhan Mehboob, a former world No16, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in just 23 minutes.

And Australian Ryan Cuskelly denied former world No7 Ong Beng Hee the chance of a second round place when he beat the higher-ranked Malaysian 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.

India's world No32 Saurav Ghosal survived one of the toughest clashes of the day, coming back from 2/1 down to beat fast-rising Egyptian Tarek Momen, the world No19, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 in 75 minutes.

"I'm really happy, as this is my only big win since my foot injury months ago," said the Kolkata-born 25-year-old. "I knew the form was coming back, I had a pretty close call against Daryl (Selby) in Hong Kong, and did not too bad against LJ (Anjema) in Rotterdam.

"But beating Tarek, who is playing so well at the moment, is really a great achievement for me. You don't beat Nick (Matthew) 3/0 if you are not playing very well!"

The longest match of the day saw England's Chris Simpson prevail 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 over New Zealander Campbell Grayson in 80 minutes.

Chris Ryder and Jonathan Kemp provided further English first round successes: Ryder downed Andrew Wagih Shoukry, a 21-year-old Egyptian making his first ever appearance in a World Series event, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6, while Kemp saw off New Zealander Martin Knight 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-4.

PSA Launches Innovative Kuwait Cup

A brand new event format, reflecting the open draw style of English football's prestigious FA Cup, will be launched by the Professional Squash Association this week in Kuwait.

The Kuwait PSA Cup will feature the top 48 players in the world - but the draw for the quarter-finals will not be made until the last 16 round has been completed.

The event, from 23-29 November, is being held to honour the 50th anniversary of the sovereign Arab state of Kuwait, and will be staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jal Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait. The players will be competing for the HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, created in honour of the late Patriarch Amir of Kuwait.

"The top eight players in the PSA world rankings are so close today that matches between them are often too close to call," said PSA Chief Operating Officer Lee Beachill.

"Without at this stage making the complete draw open, we wanted to introduce some variety in the final stage of one of our major events - squash fans want to see different line-ups from those that fixed draws often set up.

"We feel the 48 draw format really highlights the tremendous depth currently on the PSA World Tour and with players from 21 different countries all competing in Kuwait, I don't think our top 50 has ever been so universal.

"Kuwait really wanted a showcase event and I think the Kuwait PSA Cup delivers just that," added the former world number one. "A unique draw format, the very best players in the world, and the added twist of a random draw for the quarter-final line ups."

The quarter-final draw will be made at a Gala Dinner in Kuwait on a rest day once the line-up has been resolved - with the highest-ranked player drawing his opponent, then the next drawing his, etc, until the following day's schedule is confirmed.

The Kuwait PSA Cup, which boasts a $165,000 prize fund, will be the eighth PSA World Series event of the year. A further unique feature will be that the top 16 seeds will receive a bye in the first round.

Jahangir Khan, the record ten-time British Open champion who is the event's vice chairman, added: "The Kuwait PSA Cup will be a major event in Kuwait as the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence in 1961.

"It will also be a tribute to Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, who has personally done so much to raise the profile of squash in Kuwait."

Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, daughter of the Patriarch Amir HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah, is the event's Chairman. The Sheikha has played a major role in supporting squash in Kuwait over the past ten years, and is currently responsible for five men's and women's events each year.