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18/12/2011
PUNJ LLOYD PSA MASTERS 2011
 

James Willstrop: A PSA Master & World No1

Reports
  Final      Semi Finals      Quarter Finals     2nd Round    1st Round   Preview
 
Punj Lloyd PSA Masters 2011
12-18 Dec, New Delhi, India, $165k
Round One
12/13 Dec
Round One
14/15 Dec
Quarters
16 Dec
Semis
17 Dec
Final
18 Dec
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy)
12/10, 11/5, 11/4
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
Karim Darwish
v
Tom Richards
Karim Darwish
v
11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3 (60m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Mohamed El Shorbagy
12-10, 11-7, 11-1 (53m)
Gregory Gaultier
Gregory Gaultier
19-21, 11-8, 11-4, 4-1 ret. (99m)
James Willstrop
 
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
14/12, 13/11, 11/6
Tom Richards (Eng)
Adrian Grant (Eng)
 12/10, 11/6, 11/4 (51m)
Borja Golan (Esp)
Borja Golan
11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (63m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/7, 13/15, 11/6, 11/5
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
[8] Laurens Jan Anjema  (Ned)
11/7,11/7, 11/9
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (60m)
Omar Mosaad
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-5, 11-2, 11-5 (38m)
Gregory Gaultier
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
8/11, 11/3, 11/7, 11/9 (50m)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/6, 11/9, 11/8
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Azlan Iskandar
11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (39m)
Gregory Gaultier
[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/4 11/1, 11/6
Siddharth Suchde (Ind)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
8/11, 11/7, 11/5, 11/5
[3] James Willstrop (Eng)
James Willstrop
11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (37m)
Alister Walker
James Willstrop
11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5 (65m)
Daryl Selby
James Willstrop
11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (30m)
Peter Barker
Alister Walker (Bot)
11/5, 11/6, 11/5 (28m)
Alan Clyne (Sco)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11/7, 11/6, 11/4 (34m)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
Simon Rosner
11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 (68m)
Daryl Selby
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/5, 11/4, 11/1 (25m)
[5] Peter Barker (Eng)
Peter Barker
11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 (52m)
Saurav Ghosal


Peter Barker
11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1 (45m)
Ramy Ashour
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
 12/10, 11/4, 11/2
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/5, 9/11, 11/4, 13/11
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
Cameron Pilley
11-5, 12-14, 11-2, 11-4 (42m)
Ramy Ashour
 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
9/11, 11/3, 11/4, 11/9
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
Final
 

James Willstrop: A PSA Master & World No1

The climax to an incredible end-of-year run by James Willstrop on the international squash circuit saw the Englishman clinch his third successive PSA World Series title today at the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India in a victory which will ensure his status as world number one in the January Dunlop PSA rankings.

The 28-year-old from Leeds, whose title triumphs in the Hong Kong Open and Kuwait PSA Cup in November catapulted him to second place in the world rankings this month, faced French rival Gregory Gaultier in the climax of the ninth and final PSA World Series event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Willstrop went into the match with 14 successive Tour match wins under his belt since November - but was lining up against the last player who beat him, in the World Open semi-finals in Rotterdam.

And the opening game was a classic. The battle lasted almost an hour, with rarely more than a point separating the pair until the Frenchman emerged the winner 21-19 after one of the highest-scoring games in the history of the 'PAR to 11' scoring system.

But Willstrop fought back in the second game to draw level and was in control in the third as it became clear that all was not well with his opponent.

After treatment in the break, world No3 Gaultier returned to the court - but was clearly suffering from cramp. After a few points, the Frenchman conceded the match to give Willstrop the title, and much more!

"Winning the PSA Masters is a massive big deal," said the new champion at the trophy presentations after his historic 19-21, 11-8, 11-4, 4-1 (ret.) triumph in 99 minutes.

"We've been proud to play this event for three years now - we've been extremely well looked after. It's been a very enjoyable event to play in - so thanks to everybody involved, especially Punj Lloyd."

It was in India that Willstrop won his first major title - the World Junior Championship - in 2002, and at the same venue in New Delhi eight years later that he contested the Commonwealth Games final. But it required victory in today's final for Willstrop to overtake the ranking points average of fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew, thereby succeeding his England team-mate at the top of the first world rankings of the New Year.

"There are so many people back home to give thanks to - but I think might avoid doing that as I'll just forget some very important people," continued the new PSA Masters champion, now winner of 15 career PSA World Tour titles.

"It's a very special day for me. I can't really believe I've played and won this match - and I'd like to thank Greg for the great spirit in which it was played.

"It's special to have achieved this here with so many close people here, including my girl-friend Vanessa (Atkinson), a fantastic and loyal friend; my Dad, Malcolm, who's given me an incredible amount of attention since the start; and my brother David, the endless sessions and work we've put in together; and Mick (Todd).

"To have had them here has made such a difference. If I'd done it here alone on this day - and Greg talked about not having his team with him here, but I've been lucky as we planned this - it's just the most special thing: they've given me so much!

"The day is so special - it wouldn't mean half as much if I hadn't had these people behind me.

"I'm very proud I've done it here in India - I've had some really nice times here - and won the world junior title here as well."

The success also means that Willstrop heads the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings, and that the line-up for January's ATCO PSA World Series Finals - which features the top eight players in the list - is now finalised.

2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings:

Position

(Prev)

1

1

James Willstrop (ENG)

525

2

1

Nick Matthew (ENG)

425

3

3

Ramy Ashour (EGY)

400

4

4

Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

335

5

6

Karim Darwish (EGY)

270

6

5

Amr Shabana (EGY)

265

7

7

Peter Barker (ENG)

240

8

8

Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)

170

9

9

Stewart Boswell (AUS)

150

10

12

Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)

145

11

11

Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)

135

12

10

David Palmer (AUS)

120

12

12

Tom Richards (ENG)

120

14

12

Nicolas Mueller (SUI)

115

14

16

Cameron Pilley (AUS)

115

16

17

Daryl Selby (ENG)

110

 

Semi Finals


Willstrop & Gaultier Make Masters Final

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier and England's James Willstrop will line up in the surprise final of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters after straight games successes in today's semi-finals of the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Fourth seed Gaultier, a former world number one from Aix-en-Provence, ended the brave run of 20-year-old Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy to reach his second World Series final of the year - while Willstrop, the third seed, despatched England team-mate Peter Barker in just 30 minutes to reach his third World Series final in a row.

After reaching No2 in the world rankings this month following World Series title successes in the Hong Kong Open and Kuwait PSA Cup last month, Willstrop is now just one victory away from becoming world number one for the first time in his career in January.

Gaultier has been in fine form at India's 2010 Commonwealth Games venue in New Delhi where he has cruised into the last four without conceding a game. There was no let up in the match against El Shorbagy, the rising star of Egyptian squash who was celebrating his second successive appearance in a World Series semi after claiming a career-first victory over his senior compatriot Karim Darwish, the event's second seed.

After prevailing in a tight first game, world No3 Gaultier took control of games two and three to close out the match 12-10, 11-7, 11-1 after 53 minutes to reach the 43rd PSA World Tour final of his career.

"For a 20-year-old like Mohamed to be nearly in the top five is really impressive," said the Frenchman after coming off court. "I was only top 10 at that age. Only him and Ramy (Ashour) have done it that quickly. He played well against Darwish last night and he's had an amazing 2011.

"I've a really good year but a poor first half of the season because of a hamstring injury. Since then I've found my squash again and I'm happy to have had a better second half," added Gaultier.

The success in Delhi has rocketed El Shorbagy up to 10th place in the 2011 PSA World Series Standings - but his defeat today ensures that Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar will finish in eighth place, and therefore qualify for next year's ATCO PSA World Series Finals for the first time.

The second semi saw Englishmen Willstrop and Barker do battle on the PSA Tour for the 18th time since February 2003, and for the seventh time this year! And underdog Barker, who was celebrating his first World Series semi-final appearance since making the last four in the event two years ago in India, came out as runner-up in all but one of those meetings.

Despite confidence 24 hours earlier, Barker seemed unable to make an impression on his England team-mate in this latest clash - perhaps still recovering from his shock victory over Egypt's event favourite Ramy Ashour in the previous round.

"People, and the media especially, love to go on about the stats between me and Peter - but I don't dwell on it, and I'm sure Peter doesn't," said Willstrop after his 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 triumph - his 15th Tour match win in a row. "It's not a fair reflection as we've had some ridiculous matches in the past. It's going in my favour a bit, but every time we play it's tough.

"We're lucky in England to have such an amazing support system in place," continued Willstrop, who is already certain to finish the year at the head of the PSA World Series Standings. "Myself and Nick (Matthew), Peter and Daryl (Selby) - and the girls, obviously - get loads of help from the trainers, coaches, physios, nutritionists, etc. at home and the success we've all had wouldn't have been possible without them."

The world No2, now in the 28th Tour final of his career, has his life-long coach Malcolm Willstrop, his father, with him in India: "It's great to have Malcolm here. He thinks because I won in Hong Kong and Kuwait without him that I don't need him - but that couldn't be further from the truth.

"It's a massive help having him around at this tournament alongside the other people close to me. It often makes the difference of a couple of points a game, I reckon."
 

Quarter Finals
 

El Shorbagy Shakes Off Darwish In Delhi

Egypt's Mohamed El Shorbagy celebrated a career-first win over senior fellow countryman Karim Darwish in today's quarter-finals of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters when he upset the No2 seed in four games to reach the semi-finals of the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital New Delhi.

The 20-year-old from Alexandria has made massive strides on the PSA World Tour this year - but in four meeting in almost three years with Darwish, the former world No1 currently ranked five in the world, El Shorbagy had only previously taken one game.

But, despite difficulties in shaking off jet-lag since arriving in India, El Shorbagy was in masterful form against his experienced 30-year-old opponent - winning 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3 in 60 minutes to reach his second successive World Series semi-final.

El Shorbagy admitted afterwards that his reaction was a mixture of delight and sadness, as he had a great deal of respect for Darwish, who had been very helpful to him earlier in his career.

"I'm VERY happy," tweeted the world No8 later on. "I can't even explain how I feel right now!!!"

This late success in the year - in only his fifth appearance in a 2011 World Series event - has put El Shorbagy in touching distance of a place in January's ATCO PSA World Series Finals in London. But the youngest player in the world top 30 needs to win the title to guarantee a top eight place in the World Series standings, and therefore a place in the draw at Queen's Club.

Sixth seed El Shorbagy will now face Gregory Gaultier, the fourth seed from France who was in sparkling form to beat eighth seed Laurens Jan Anjema 11-5, 11-2, 11-5 - and deny the Dutchman a top eight finish in the PSA Word Series Standings.

The other semi-final will be an all-English affair between third seed James Willstrop and Londoner Peter Barker, the fifth seed.

Willstrop, the man in form with title triumphs in the previous two World Series events in Hong Kong and Kuwait, faced fellow countryman Daryl Selby, the No7 seed from Essex against whom he has not lost a Tour match in seven meetings since January 2007.

But the underdog from Brentwood has also rediscovered his form of late - and pushed his higher-ranked England team-mate all the way in a hard and intense battle on the all-glass court in India's 2010 Commonwealth Games venue.

Selby showed enormous courage to come back from two games down to take the third. The 29-year-old world No16 then demanded the very best from his opponent in the fourth before Willstrop emerged triumphant 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5 after 65 minutes - with Selby diving for the ball twice in the very last rally before finally conceding defeat.

"I knew it was going to be tough and dogged," said Yorkshireman Willstrop. "He's extremely tough.

"My mission today was to win - and I didn't care how I did it."

Willstrop's quarter-final success ensures that he will finish at the top of the 2011 PSA World Series Standings, knocking fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew, the world number one, into second place.

And in the final match of the day, Peter Barker earned his first win over Ramy Ashour since August 2006 when he beat the top-seeded Egyptian 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1.

Ashour was making his return to the PSA Tour after a hamstring injury - and looked strong throughout the first game. But soon into the second, it was clear that all was not well with the 24-year-old from Cairo, as his movement became impaired.

After losing the second, it seemed likely that the former world number one would concede - but Ashour refused to give in and manfully contested the following two games before Barker claimed victory.

"He nearly beat me on one leg," joked Barker in his post-match interview. "Ramy's a phenomenal player so I hope he's not done any real damage today."

Barker and Willstrop have played each other countless times since their junior days - but the Londoner has only achieved one win in 17 Tour meetings since 2003.

"We've played each other a lot this year," added Barker, who is celebrating his first World Series semi-final appearance since the PSA Masters two years ago. "But I'd like to think I've learned a lot from those meetings so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

2nd Round
 

Selby Celebrates World Series Quarter-Final

An appearance in his first PSA World Series event quarter-final this year was Daryl Selby's reward when the Englishman beat top-ranked German Simon Rosner in today's second round of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, the ninth and final World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital New Delhi.

The reigning British champion needed to be on his guard against Rosner, the 24-year-old from Paderborn who boasts a career-high world No24 ranking.

Seventh seed Selby took control of the first game, winning it without looking at risk. After several exciting rallies at the beginning of the second, the confident world No16 from Essex soon led 4-1 and later 7-2. Rosner pegged back a few points but Selby strolled to a two-game lead.

It seemed unlikely that the German would stage a comeback - but, seemingly encouraged by a successful 'Video Review', the underdog ran away to a 9-5 lead. When he hit a forehand volley winner at 10-8, Rosner raced from the court, pre-empting the no let decision which followed.

Selby led early 3-0 in the fourth, but was no longer the dominant force of the first two games. From 9-5, Selby romped to victory after Rosner handed him the match with two unforced errors.

"It feels great to be in my first World Series quarter finals this year," said Selby after his 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 victory in 68 minutes. "I had a good opportunity when I sneaked into the top eight but had to get through a couple of tough opponents to get there. Especially today as Simon has been playing really well lately and I knew I was in for a hard day at the office.

"I felt like I played my best squash for a few months and am at last feeling 100% fit and confident in my game again."

The 29-year-old from Brentwood will now face England team-mate James Willstrop, the world No2 from Leeds who arrived in Delhi fresh from successive title successes in the previous two PSA World Series events.

"I've got nothing to lose tomorrow against a man that is bang in form," added Selby. "But I won't be lying down easily. I'm really looking forward to it and have enjoyed it here in India again, I always seem to do well here."

Third seed Willstrop faced former Leeds resident Alister Walker, the 29-year-old world No17 who recently moved to New York and took up the nationality of Botswana, his country of birth.

Willstrop started with the assurance expected of a player in high form and soon led 4-1 and 5-2. A handful of Willstrop errors from 7-4 saw Walker draw level to seven-all.

Walker served at 10-9 but, after another remarkable rally, Willstrop took the game to a tiebreak which he won 12-10. The considerable contribution Walker had made in the first game told in the second when Willstrop raced to 7-1 before winning it 11-4.

Walker won the first two points of the third - but Willstrop regained the upper hand, hitting several winners of perfect length to lead 7-3 before pressing on to win the game and match 11-5.

A third Englishman grabbed a place in the last eight when Peter Barker ended Indian hopes in the championships by beating Kolkata-born Saurav Ghosal 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 in 52 minutes.

The win takes the fifth-seeded Londoner into his ninth successive 2011 World Series quarter-final - thus recording a more consistent World Series performance over the whole year than any other player.

Barker will now face Egyptian star Ramy Ashour, the former world No1 who is making a Tour comeback after a hamstring injury forced his withdrawal from last month's World Open.

Looking in sparkling form, top seed Ashour despatched Australian number one Cameron Pilley 11-5, 12-14, 11-2, 11-4 in 42 minutes.

Anjema Boosts World Series Finals Bid

Victory for Laurens Jan Anjema in today's second round of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India has boosted the Dutchman's chances of securing a place in January's ATCO PSA World Series Finals in London.

The eighth seed extended his unbeaten Tour run against Omar Mosaad to eight matches when he beat the world No15 from Egypt 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 to reach the quarter-finals of the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi.

Anjema's success followed defeat earlier in the day for Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the Malaysian who is in eighth place in the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings - a position which would guarantee him a place in the draw for next month's flagship PSA event at Queen's Club which features the top eight players in the final list.

Anjema, the world No12 from The Hague, currently sits in ninth place - but would need to reach Sunday's final in order to overtake Iskandar.

Iskandar went down 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 in 39 minutes to Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No4 seed who won the PSA World Series Qatar Classic in October.

Gaultier, assisted by errors from Iskandar, established early leads in the first two games and although Iskandar raised his game in the middle of the games it was Gaultier who finished the stronger in each of them.

The Frenchman found himself 6-5 down in the third, but another backhand error brought him level and when the Malaysian hit it straight back to himself down the middle of the court it was 8-6, then 9-6, before he closed out the match 11-8.

"I wasn't actually supposed to play Azlan - we were in different halves of the draw until Nick (Matthew) pulled out but then the draw changed and we realised that we could meet second round," explained the world No3 from Aix-en-Provence.

"So we still just spend time together and one hour before the match he goes one way and I go another. He's a good friend of mine but once we step on the court I just shut off my mind, shut the door and play. I'm happy with this match because it's a good preparation for my next one. Azlan plays a fast pace which helps me to get ready for the next round," added the 28-year-old.

Anjema and Gaultier will now face each other for a place in the semi-finals.

The opening match of the day saw Egypt's sixth seed Mohamed El Shorbagy take on Spaniard Borja Golan - their most recent encounter ending in a tiebreak fifth in favour of Shorbagy.

A place in the quarter final awaited: After the Egyptian opened up a 2/0 lead, Golan found himself 4-3 up in the third after a couple of Shorbagy errors on the backhand. More errors from the Egyptian and a forehand cross court winner from Golan, followed by a forehand straight drop from half court, gave the Spaniard an 8-5 lead.

But another backhand error from Shorbagy led Golan to game ball at 10-5 - which he duly converted to reduce the deficit.

But from 6-5 up in the fourth, El Shorbagy pulled quickly clear to 9-5 following errors from Golan - and later a forehand drop settled matters as the Egyptian progressed to the quarter finals following his 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 victory in 63 minutes.

El Shorbagy will now face fellow countryman Karim Darwish after the No2 seed despatched England's Tom Richards 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 in 37 minutes.

"I'm really happy to be in the quarters after playing an up-and-coming Tom Richards," said Darwish, the world No5, later. "I'm really enjoying playing at the moment and felt good on court today. The schedule is very tough but it's the same for all the guys so we just have to get on with it."

1st Round

Bottom Half

Ghosal Grabs Last 16 Slot In Delhi

Saurav Ghosal ensured surprise home interest in the second round of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India after upsetting higher-ranked US champion Julian Illingworth in today's first round of the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi.

The Kolkata-born 25-year-old arrived in the Indian capital direct from Chennai where he endorsed his status as the country's number one player by winning the Indian national title for the sixth year in a row.

Currently ranked 29 in the world, Ghosal went into his match against world No28 Illingworth with a 1/0 lead in previous Tour meetings - albeit more than four years ago, when both were ranked outside the top 40.

And spurred on by local fans, Ghosal survived a close first game before overwhelming the record seven-time US champion Illingworth 12-10, 11-4, 11-2 in 42 minutes to claim his first appearance in the last 16 of a PSA World Series event this year.

Based in the UK city of Leeds, Ghosal later saw his town-mate James Willstrop secure his place in the second round. But England's new world No2 - who could become the world number one by winning the $165,000 Delhi event - found himself a game down against Nicolas Mueller before going on to beat the rising Swiss star 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 in 45 minutes.

A further pair of Englishmen made it through to round two - after straight games successes. Seventh seed Daryl Selby, the world No16 from Essex, held off a stiff challenge from Mohammed Abbas, beating the former world No13 from Egypt 11-4, 11-7, 11-9.

"Got a 3-0 win in today - but happy because Abbas is a very talented player," tweeted Selby after his win.

Peter Barker, the fifth seed from London, edged closer towards recording his ninth successive World Series quarter-final appearance this year when he beat Finland's Olli Tuominen 11-4, 11-4, 11-1 in just 25 minutes.

Top seed Ramy Ashour, the former world number one from Egypt who is making his return to the PSA World Tour after sustaining a hamstring injury in last month's World Open, needed four games to overcome Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan.

The 24-year-old from Cairo, who already has three 2011 World Series titles to his credit, battled back from a game down to beat Adnan, ranked more than 30 places lower, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-9.


Top Half

Richards Masters Hisham In New Delhi

England's Tom Richards caused the first notable upset in the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India when he defeated Egypt's world No13 Hisham Mohamed Ashour in today's first round of the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi.

Currently at 12th place in the 2011 PSA World Series Standings after a disappointing first round exit in last month's Kuwait PSA Cup, Richards pulled out all the stops in his bid to make an appearance in next month's ATCO World Series Finals, the event which will feature the top eight in the final World Series Standings of the year.

Richards battled hard to secure his career-first straight games victory over Ashour, ranked eight places higher, winning 14-12, 12-10, 11-6 in 35 minutes to secure a place in the second round.

The 25-year-old from Surrey will now meet another Egyptian for a place in the quarter-finals. But Karim Darwish is the event's second seed - and the world No5 recorded today's quickest win in despatching Australian Ryan Cuskelly 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 in 32 minutes.

But shortly after the Richards win, there was disappointment in the English camp when former world No9 Adrian Grant crashed out of the event at the first hurdle. It was the latest success in Spaniard Borja Golan's comeback trail after a major knee injury.

Golan, currently ranked 25 in the world, survived a close first game, then maintained the upper hand against London left-hander Grant, ranked six places higher, before closing out the match 12-10, 11-6, 11-4 in 51 minutes.

The Spaniard will face another of the day's successful Egyptians in Wednesday's second round. Mohamed El Shorbagy, the sixth seed from Alexandria, needed exactly an hour to quash South African Stephen Coppinger 11-7, 13-15, 11-6, 11-5.

Laurens Jan Anjema and Mohd Azlan Iskandar are two players with a keen eye on next month's ATCO World Series Finals - and both secured straight games wins at the 2010 Commonwealth Games squash venue to strengthen their chances.

Anjema became the event's No8 seed on last week's withdrawal of defending champion Nick Matthew, the world No1 from England. The Dutchman, currently in ninth place in the standings, dismissed Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 in 45 minutes.

But Iskandar is the player most in Anjema's sights: The Malaysian needs to consolidate his eighth place in the latest list - and made the best start by overcoming fellow countryman Ong Beng Hee 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 in 61 minutes.

Iskandar will now face Gregory Gaultier, the No4 seed from France who beat Indian wild card Siddharth Suchde - while Anjema lines up against lower-ranked Egyptian Omar Mosaad, the world No15 from Cairo who defeated England's Chris Ryder 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9.

Preview
 

Matthew Withdraws From PSA Masters

9 December 2011

An injury sustained in last month's penultimate PSA World Series event of the year in Kuwait has forced top seed Nick Matthew to withdraw from next week's Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, the ninth and final 2011 World Series event in India.

Title success in the New Delhi event a year ago led the Englishman to the top of the world rankings in January - a position Matthew has retained throughout the year.

"I'm obviously massively disappointed and have done everything in my power to get fit in time," said the 31-year-old from Sheffield, who is nursing an adductor injury.

"However it's too much of a risk and eventually sense has prevailed. I am going to use the extra time to come back 100% in the New Year," added Matthew.

The withdrawal could lead to Matthew losing his world number one ranking: Fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop is enjoying the best form of his life - and this month moved up to second place in the rankings after back-to-back victories in the previous two PSA World Series events, winning the Hong Kong Open and the Kuwait PSA Cup.

Should the 28-year-old from Leeds win the 2011 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, he will overtake Matthew to become world number one for the first time in January.

Willstrop is the No3 seed in Delhi, and begins his PSA Masters campaign against Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller.

Matthew's withdrawal moves Ramy Ashour to top seed and fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish to the position of second seed. Ashour, the previous world number one, is marking his return to the PSA World Tour after a hamstring injury caused his withdrawal from the PSA World Open in November.

Ashour faces Malaysia's Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan in the first round, while Darwish now takes on Australian Ryan Cuskelly.

France's Gregory Gaultier moves into the fourth seed position and now lines up against local player Siddharth Suchde. Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema becomes the new No8 seed and will now face Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda.

It is also an Egyptian that takes up the vacancy in the draw provided by Matthew's departure. Omar Abdel Aziz, the world No42 from Cairo, will meet line up against Germany's Simon Rosner.

The $165,000 championship gets underway at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi on Monday (12 December) and reaches its final the following Sunday.

Punj Lloyd PSA Masters: Revised 1st round draw:
[2] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[8] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Siddharth Suchde (IND)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
[7] Daryl Selby (ENG) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
[5] Peter Barker (ENG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)

Delhi Hosts Final PSA World Series Event Of Year

The world's best players will head to New Delhi next week to compete in the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year, the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters which is marking its third successive year in India.

Top seed in the $165,000 championship at the Siri Fort Complex - organised by KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Private Limited - will be Nick Matthew, the 31-year-old whose title triumph in the event a year ago took the Englishman to the top of January's PSA world rankings, a position he has held throughout the year.

Matthew is making a comeback after being forced to withdraw midway through last month's PSA World Series Kuwait PSA Cup with an adductor injury. The Yorkshireman opens his 2011 Masters campaign against Australian Ryan Cuskelly.

Matthew is expected to face Egyptian rival Ramy Ashour in the final on Sunday 18 December. Ashour, the previous world number one, is also returning to the PSA Tour, after a hamstring injury caused his withdrawal from the PSA World Open in November.

Ashour - winner of three World Series titles this year, in the USA, Australia and England - faces Malaysia's Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan in the first round.

But the man in form currently is England's James Willstrop, winner of back-to-back World Series titles, the Hong Kong Open and PSA Cup. Runner-up to compatriot Matthew in last year's Delhi final, fourth seed Willstrop opens his 2011 campaign against rising Swiss star Nicolas Mueller - and is scheduled to meet Ashour in the semi-finals.

The event is also the last chance for players to fight for places in next year's ATCO PSA World Series Finals - the event in London in January which will star the top eight players in the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings.

Matthew and Willstrop currently jointly head the list - with Ashour, fellow Egyptians Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish, plus Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, assured of places in the Queen's Club event. It seems unlikely that seventh-placed Englishman Peter Barker, a quarter-finalist in each of the eight events to date, will not qualify - but the eighth place is still open.

Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, currently at No8, faces fellow countryman Ong Beng Hee as he begins his bid to consolidate his place in the draw. The most likely 'outsider' is Laurens Jan Anjema - but the Dutchman, who faces German Simon Rosner in the first round, needs to achieve his best ever World Series finish to oust Iskandar.

Among those for whom outright victory could give them a place in the Queen's line-up are Mueller, England's Tom Richards and Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy.