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Brilliant Ashour Wins Australian Open Final

Australian Open 2012
Men's Draw
11-19 August, Canberra, $70k
Round One
13th/14th Aug
Round Two
15th/16th Aug
17 Aug
18 Aug
19 Aug
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/6, 11/6, 11/6
[Q] Kashif Shuja (Nzl)
Ramy Ashour
11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (26m)
Olivier Pett
Ramy Ashour
10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-1
Nicolas Mueller
Ramy Ashour
8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (52m)
Cameron Pilley
Ramy Ashour
11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (53m)
Omar Mosaad
Olivier Pett (Eng)
11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (29m)
[Q] Dick Lau (Hkg)
Leo Au (Hkg)
11/7, 11/7, 10/12, 11/6 (38m)
[Q] Aqeel Rehman (Aut)
Leo Au
4-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 (34m)
Nicolas Mueller
[6] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/5, 11/7, 11/6 (47m)
[Q] Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
[8] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
11/7, 11/5, 11/5 (25m)
[Q] Gonzalo Miranda (Arg)
Nafiizwan Adnan
11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 (63m)
Omar Abdel Aziz
Omar Abdel Aziz
11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6 (85m)
Cameron Pilley
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11/3, 2/11, 11/7, 11/7 (52m)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
Zac Alexander (Aus)
11/8, 7/11, 11/2, 11/3 (51m)
Rex Hedrick (Aus)
Zac Alexander
11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3 (62m)
Cameron Pilley
[4] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/7, 11/5, 11/7 (34m)
 Matthew Karwalski (Aus)
Kamran Khan (Mas)
11/7, 11/7, 14/12
[3] Tom Richards (Eng)
Tom Richards
11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4 (63m)
Ryan Cuskelly
Tom Richards
11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (37m)
Alan Clyne
Tom Richards
9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (45m)
Omar Mosaad
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
11/5, 11/9, 11/8
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
Martin Knight (Nzl)
11/5, 11/9, 9/11, 11/4
[Q] Justin Beard (Aus)
Martin Knight
11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11 (83m)
Alan Clyne
 Siddarth Suchde (Ind)
11/7, 11/5, 11/8
[7] Alan Clyne (Sco)
Ivan Yuen (Mas)
12/10, 11/8, 11/7
[5] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Ong Beng Hee
11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (60m)
Amr Khaled Khalifa
Ong Beng Hee
13-11, 11-5, 12-10 (43m)
Omar Mosaad
Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy)
 12/10, 11/5 11/8
[Q] Evan Williams (Nzl)
Jan Koukal (Cze)
11/5, 11/2 11/4
[Q] Mike Corren (Aus)
Jan Koukal
11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11 (50m)
Omar Mosaad
Max Lee (Hkg)
11/2, 12/10, 11/4
[2] Omar Mosaad (Egy)

Brilliant Ashour Wins Australian Open Final

Defending champion Ramy Ashour was at his brilliant best as he downed fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad in straight games to win his second Hi-Tec Australian Open crown today in Canberra.

Ashour took 53 minutes to see off the tall and powerful Mosaad 11-9, 11-9, 11-6, thrilling the big crowd with the audacity of his stroke play in the climax of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event in Canberra's Royal Theatre.

Mosaad was also in superb touch but Ashour always had the edge over his countryman, sneaking the first two games then stamping his authority on the third, clinching victory with a devastating drive down the forehand wall.

Ashour had to survive two gruelling matches to make the final, first downing Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller in five games in the quarter-finals, then top-ranked Australian Cameron Pilley in four in the semis.

But there were no signs of weariness in the final, the 24-year-old from Cairo choosing to keep hitting the ball during the game breaks rather than having a rest.

He said he found it difficult playing against Mosaad, someone he grew up with in Egypt. "We both know each other's games very well, we've both seen each other's shots so we're at the place where the ball is going even before it's been hit," said Ashour, the world No4 who now has 24 PSA Tour titles to his name.

"It's more of a mental match as a matter of fact," continued the former world No1. "If you're not 100 per cent accurate, the other person is going to string a lot of points together in a row, especially if you're playing someone who knows your game."

Ashour said he had been pushed hard throughout the tournament. "Every match was tough this week," he said.

"The further you go in the tournament the more pressure is on you, the more you are worried and the more you don't want to let go of what you have done."

The Egyptian has made no secret of his wish to return to world number one and also used his win to push the cause to have squash included in the Olympics.

"It's very healthy, you burn a lot of calories. This game can be very, very good for human beings in general - not just as a sport," he said.

"We have a portable court that can be put anywhere in the world. It's very fast, very interesting, very exciting and everyone whoever watches squash always comes back."

Ashour & Mosaad In All-Egyptian Canberra Climax

Top-seeded Egyptian Ramy Ashour booked his place in the final of the Hi-Tec Australian Open after overcoming Australian Cameron Pilley in a brilliant men's semi-final today in Canberra.

Ashour will play fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad in the decider of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event following his come-from-behind 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 win over the Australian number one.

Ashour and Pilley are two of the best shot-makers in the men's game and they put on an attacking master class for the large crowd in Canberra's Royal Theatre.

Pilley took the early advantage when he claimed the first game, only for defending champion Ashour to take the second after jumping away to an early lead.

The two men went point for point in the next two games, however, Ashour was able to win the big points towards the end to seal victory.

"The match could have been anyone's it was so close," Ashour said. "I'm glad to win in four and make the final."

Ashour said he knew what to expect playing against someone like Pilley. "The top players go everywhere in the world together and play each other a lot," said the 24-year-old from Cairo.

"We know each other's games so well. There is a very thin line between the players in the top 20, so I'm happy with my performance."

Pilley was also happy despite the loss. "That's the best I've played all tournament, it's the best I've moved all tournament," said the world No20 from New South Wales.

"I think I was definitely there, just towards the end of the games he's pretty experienced in those situations. I'm happy I stuck to my game plan, but he managed to play some nice shots at the right time."

Earlier, Mosaad downed an injured Tom Richards of England 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 in the first of the men's semi-finals.

Richards has been in great touch this week and looked on course for an upset when he won the first game, but he pulled a glute muscle towards the end of the game and his movement was severely restricted thereafter.

Mosaad took full advantage, going short at every opportunity and leaving Richards stranded at the back of the court unable to chase the ball down.

"It was my right glute, I just couldn't push off it," a devastated Richards said. "Generally I'm able to push through, but movement's quite a big part of my game so when I couldn't move, I couldn't put any pressure on him.

"I think he knew because he started taking it in a lot more. It's very, very disappointing because I thought I had a really good chance of winning this match today.

"I know Omar's a very good player and it would have been very tough, but I think I could have beaten him."

Pilley Outlasts Aziz To Reach Semi Against Ashour

Australian number one Cameron Pilley survived his second five-game marathon in succession to defeat Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz to reach the semi-finals of the Hi-Tec Australian Open in Canberra.

Barely 24 hours after being taken the distance by fellow Australian Zac Alexander in the second round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event, Pilley was pushed to the limit by the skilful Aziz before winning 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6 to set up a dream semi-final against top seed and defending champion Ramy Ashour.

Pilley is one of the tallest players on the tour at 191 cm and he used his incredible reach to great advantage in the first game.

But every time the Australian looked like running away with the match, Aziz fought back to keep the large crowd at Canberra's Royal Theatre enthralled as the two players battled each other and, at times, the three referees.

It is Pilley's first major semi-final since he reached the same stage of the Malaysian Open in March last year, and keeps alive his hopes of winning the Australian title after finishing runner-up in 2004, 2007 and 2009.

"I've played Omar a couple of times and I knew it was going to be tough," said the 29-year-old from New South Wales. "I've got a few years experience on him and I think that got me through in the fifth. I'm very happy with my concentration in the fifth, like yesterday.

"The other four games were just nip and tuck the whole way so I made a conscious effort in the fifth to put my head down and really concentrate on the start of the game - I was going to die on there before I lost that."

Ashour faced his own battle before emerging victorious over sixth seed Nicolas Mueller. The Swiss number one has given Ashour trouble in the past and he looked on course for a major upset when he led two games to one.

But the Egyptian claimed a tight fourth game then ran away with the fifth to win 10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-1.

"That was very, very tiring physically and mentally," Ashour said. "He is a good player and will make a breakthrough at a major tournament before too long. It's too bad this was a quarter-final, this would have been a good final."

The second semi-final will be between second-seeded Egyptian Omar Mosaad and third-ranked Englishman Tom Richards.

Mosaad hit a stunning array of winners on his way to downing Malaysia's No6 seed Ong Beng Hee.

After saving a game point in the opening game, Mosaad got his nose in front and stayed there as he punished anything short from the Malaysian veteran, winning 13-11, 11-5, 12-10.

"I was lucky to win the first game," he conceded. "I didn't play my usual style because I wanted to finish it early. After I won the first I began to feel more confident in the second, but then in the third I wanted to finish three-love because he was starting to play so well.

"I was lucky to win three-love."

Richards was in great touch as he comfortably saw off the challenge from Scottish number one Alan Clyne 11-7, 11-6, 11-4.

Clyne matched it with the third seed until midway through the first game when Richards pulled away and never looked back, showing he is a real contender to reach Sunday's final.

"When you are playing someone like Alan who has the capability of making it last a long time and playing at a fast pace, you don't want to be out there for 90 minutes," a relieved Richards said.


Cam Zaps Zac In Canberra Shoot-Out

Big-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley booked a place in the Hi-Tec Australian Open quarter-finals when he beat compatriot Zac Alexander in a thrilling second round match today in Canberra.

The Australian number one was forced to call on all his experience to see off Alexander, who attacked at every chance he got in the second round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event to take the game right up to his older rival.

Despite having his nose in front for much of the contest, world No20 Pilley was never able to relax as he battled to an 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3 victory - and a quarter-final against Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz.

The two Australians thrilled the crowd with their brilliant attacking play, with the match at times turning into a virtual shoot-out as the pair blazed away hitting winners from all over the court.

However, Pilley's greater experience told in the fifth as he took advantage of some errors from Alexander - ranked 18 places below - to skip away with the match.

"I put on a few points at the end and ran away with it, but it wasn't as easy as that," Pilley said. "I started well and played really well with good length to the back of the court, but as soon as I dropped short after that, because he had nothing to lose he just went for it.

"In the fifth game I got back to doing what I did in the first, and it was only in the fifth game that he started making errors when I put a bit more pressure on him," continued the Netherlands-based 29-year-old. "But it was a bit of a shoot-out."

Unseeded Aziz reached the quarter-finals after a tough 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 upset win over eighth-seeded Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan.

The two players were evenly matched throughout with Aziz managing to win the points at crucial times.

He said coming from a long way down to win the second game was a key moment in the match. "When I was down 9-5, I told myself that if I could stay in there and win the game then I was 75 per cent on the way to winning the match," said the 28-year-old from Cairo. "So I pushed really hard at that point."

Egypt's defending champion Ramy Ashour, also from Cairo, stayed on track for a possible semi-final with Pilley when he cruised past Englishman Olivier Pett 11-7, 11-5, 11-7.

Pett tried hard but couldn't cope with the skills of the Egyptian maestro, who took just 26 minutes to reach the final eight.

Ashour said he was pleased with his form this early in the tournament. "Sometimes you are a bit shaky at the start of the week, but I am getting more confident as I go along."

The world No4 will take on Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller for a place in the semis after the sixth seed recovered from a poor start to beat Hong Kong's Leo Au 4-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2.

Richards Removes Home Hope In Canberra

Third-seeded Englishman Tom Richards ended local hope Ryan Cuskelly's bid for success in the Hi-Tec Australian Open when he beat the Australian in four games in today's second round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event in Canberra.

After sharing the opening two games at the Royal Theatre, the world No16 stepped up his game to overcome Cuskelly 11-7, 9-11 11-4, 11-4 in just over an hour.

Cuskelly was matching it with his higher-ranked opponent for the first two games, but when Richards changed his game plan at the start of the third, the Englishman was able to take control over his increasingly frustrated opponent.

"He was playing really well at the end of the second, hitting nicks and winners, so I went back to basics," Richards said. "I decided to be patient and wait for the best for the best opportunities to go in and attack.

"I knew on paper that Ryan was one of the toughest players to draw in the second round, so I was mentally prepared for it tonight."

The 26-year-old from Surrey will now play Scotsman Alan Clyne, who survived a war of attrition with New Zealand's Martin Knight to win 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11 in 83 minutes.

Clyne and Knight were evenly-matched throughout and the New Zealander had three game points to make it two games apiece. But Clyne battled back to save all three then take the match in a tie-break.

Second seed Omar Mosaad was also taken to four games by Czech Jan Koukal. After winning the first two games relatively comfortably, the world No12 from Egypt had to hold off an inspired fight back from the Czech and was lucky not be taken to five games by an opponent ranked 38 places lower.

Mosaad now takes on Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee, who was the first man through to the quarter-finals when he beat Egyptian teenager Amr Khaled Khalifa 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7.

The former world No7 was able to subdue the shot-making of 19-year-old Khalifa to wrap up well-deserved victory.

"I was pretty confident going into the match," said the Penang-born 32-year-old. "After my performance yesterday I felt pretty good on court - I'm feeling a bit more comfortable as the days go by but I think the pressure was still on me today because I was playing an extremely talented young Egyptian.

"He's only 19 years old and absolutely talented with his racquet, so skilful. I think my experience got me through, especially on the bigger points so I'm quite happy with my performance.

"It's a long time since I've been in the quarter-finals of a major event - I'm very pleased."

Pilley & Ashour Move Closer To Semi Clash In Canberra

Australian number one Cameron Pilley moved a step closer to a semi-final against Egypt's defending champion Ramy Ashour when he downed fellow countryman Matthew Karwalski in today's first round of the Hi-Tec Australian Open in Canberra.

Pilley had too much experience for the improving Karwalski, winning in straight games 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 to claim a place in the second round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event at the Royal Theatre.

Top seed Ashour, the 23-year-old world No4 from Cairo, closed out the first round with a typically flamboyant 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 win over New Zealand qualifier Kashif Shuja to get his title defence underway.

"Kashif's a legend of the tour, he's been around for a long time and I think we put on a good show," Ashour said, adding that he was in great shape for the start of the new season.

"I've been working a lot on my body, which I haven't always done in the past," he said. "It's more mental than physical but I feel great."

Ashour will play young Englishman Olivier Pett who was impressive in his 11-4, 11-5 11-7 win over Hong Kong's Dick Lau.

Pilley was always ahead of Karwalski, who has moved to Florida to train with former Australian number one David Palmer. The fourth seed took early leads in the first two games, then from 3-6 down in the third, he won eight of the next nine points to clinch the match.

"Matt's improved a lot in the last 12-18 months, training with Palmer has definitely helped," Pilley said. "He's trying to replicate the way Dave plays and trains, so it was a good hit-out.

"It's been a while since I played a proper competitive match so I wasn't too sure how I was going to feel or hit it, so I was quite pleased. I've had worse first round results than that before."

Pilley now takes on Zac Alexander, who beat wildcard Rex Hedrick in another all-Australian clash.

After trading two tight opening games, Alexander changed tactics at the start of the third and went on the attack, wrapping up the last two to take the contest 11-8, 7-11, 11-2, 11-3.

"I wasn't even really playing, I was just trying to feel my way into it," Alexander said later. "Rex is so steady and fit and patient, he'd do that all day. The problems I've had in the last season are because I'm not playing enough attacking squash, I've been trying to play a length game and beat people by doing nothing with the ball.

"I think I can move the ball around pretty well so I have to be more aggressive and more positive.

"If I can be more aggressive and open up the court more it gives me chances to end the rallies - I'm not a grinder so I have to take matters into my own hands."

Earlier, sixth-seeded Swiss player Nicolas Mueller ended Australian qualifier Aaron Frankcomb's tournament with a highly entertaining 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 victory.

Eighth seed Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan joined fellow Malaysian Ong Beng Hee in the second round with a straightforward 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 win over Gonzalo Miranda.

Adnan was never in any trouble as he downed the qualifier from Argentina in just 25 minutes. "I played him a few weeks ago at the Victorian Open in Melbourne and I beat him comfortably there," Adnan said. "I was quite confident coming into the match because I knew how to play against him."

Adnan will next take on Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz, who beat New Zealand's Campbell Grayson 11-3, 2-11, 11-7, 11-7.

Aziz beat Adnan at their last outing, in Qatar last November, but the Malaysian said he was confident of gaining revenge.

"I've been training really hard over the past few months and I have improved a lot," he said. "My confidence is good and my fitness is good so I'm really looking forward to it."

Hong Kong's Leo Au prevailed over Austrian qualifier Aqeel Rehman 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6.

Czech Mate As Koukal Crowns Corren

Czech number one Jan Koukal ended Mike Corren's bid for an unlikely second round berth at the Hi-Tec Australian Open with a ruthless 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 first round win in the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event today in Canberra.

The 38-year-old Australian provided the good news story of the qualifying tournament when he beat players almost 20 years his junior to book his spot in the main draw.

But the world number 50 from Prague was in no mood for sentiment as he took advantage of Corren's difficulties in adapting to the all-glass court to wrap up the match in straight games.

Koukal dominated Corren with his speed around the court, his well-disguised drop shots regularly leaving the Australian stranded at the back.

"I felt heavy and he was bouncing around as light as a feather," Corren said. "It's been ages since I played on a glass court, it's so different and my regular go to shots weren't working at all."

Koukal said he sensed early that Corren was off his game. "On this court you have to move well and I though Mike was struggling a little bit after the couple of matches he played in qualifying," said the 29-year-old from Prague.

"I was up for it after two months of training and wanted to make sure I had a good beginning to each game to show him I was really up for it and it would be hard for him to come back. My movement is my strength and I used it to my benefit."

In the last match of the night, Egypt's Omar Mosaad used his size and strength to see off a gallant Max Lee 11-2, 12-10, 11-4.

After blitzing the first game, second seed Mosaad had to push hard all the way to finally subdue his Hong Kong opponent in 37 minutes in an ominous display.

Ryan Cuskelly became the first Australian through to the second round when he beat Malaysia's Muhd Asyraf Azan 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 in an occasionally fractious encounter.

"I've known him since we were juniors so I knew what to expect," Cuskelly said afterwards. "I was a bit rusty, I haven't played for two months and it's been a while since I played on a glass court."

Earlier there was disappointment for the Australians when qualifier Justin Beard was bundled out by New Zealand's Martin Knight.

Beard started nervously but came back into the match when he took the third game, only for Knight to assert control again and win 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4 to set up a second round clash with seventh seeded Scotsman Alan Clyne.

"It's always a nervous one, the first hit-out on the glass, but I felt quite good starting off," Knight said. "But then he recovered quite well and started to play some good squash in the next few games and I got a bit negative in the second and third games.

"After the first I probably tried to do a little too much and then tried to do not enough, I sort of got caught halfway between. If I do any of those shenanigans against Alan I'm going to be in a lot of trouble."

Clyne earlier beat Siddharth Suchde from India 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 in a confidence-boosting opener to the tournament in which he was always in control.

"I'm trying to hopefully get through a few rounds so to spend as short a time on there as possible is what you want," Clyne said. "I'm pleased it was three-love and I felt quite good out there. At the start of the game I wasn't too sure of myself but once I got going and got the first game under my belt I felt more comfortable.

"The second game I was good from the start and then I slackened off a bit at the end of the third but overall I was happy."

Third-seeded Englishman Tom Richards survived a heavy collision with the side wall during his 11-7, 11-7 14-12 win over Malaysia's Kamran Khan.

At 9-9 in the third, Richards was wrong-footed and dived into the wall, resulting in a three-minute injury break. But when he returned he was able to save game ball and eventually win a tense match in the tie-break.

"The tour is so strong now that there are really no easy matches at big tournaments," he said. "I skipped the Olympics and spent some time in Malaysia so I could get my body used to the time zone."

In other matches, Egyptian Amr Khaled Khalifa downed New Zealand qualifier Evan Williams 12-10, 11-5, 11-8 and Malaysia's former world No7 Ong Beng Hee beat fellow countryman Ivan Yuen 12-10, 11-8, 11-7.