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Ramy Ashour Wins Qatar PSA World Title

  Final   Semi Finals   Quarter Finals   3rd Round   2nd Round   1st Round   Preview


Squash Player Magazine Preview (PDF)

 World Championship
Doha, Qatar $325k

Round One
7-8 Dec

Round Two
9-10 Dec

Round Three
11 Dec

12 Dec

13 Dec

14 Dec

[1] James Willstrop (Eng)
7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2 (52m)
Chris Ryder (Eng)

James Willstrop
11-2, 11-0, 11-7 (26m)
Shawn Delierre
James Willstrop
11-6, 11-7, 11-2 (49m)
Saurav Ghosal
James Willstrop
11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (65m)
Borja Golan
James Willstrop
11-9, 9-11, 14-12, 4-11, 11-8 (112m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Mohamed El Shorbagy
2-11, 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 (90m)
Ramy Ashour
Shawn Delierre (Can))
12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10 (102m)
Adrian Waller (Eng)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (30m)
Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)
Saurav Ghosal
11-4, 11-8, 6-1 ret. (28m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
[14] Tom Richards (Eng)
9-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7 (68m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
[15] Borja Golan (Esp)
11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (44m)
[Q] Kristian Frost (Den)
Borja Golan
11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (46m)
Alan Clyne
Borja Golan
11-7, 4-11, 11-3, 11-3 (45m)
Peter Barker
Alan Clyne (Sco)
9-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-6 (49m)
[Q] Charles Sharpes (Eng)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
11-7, 7-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8 (105m)
[Q] Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
Mathieu Castagnet
2-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4 (60m)
Peter Barker
[6] Peter Barker (Eng)
11-5, 11-2, 11-3 (27m)
Martin Knight (Nzl)
[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5 (56m)
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11-3, 11-9, 12-10 (43m)
Gregoire Marche
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11-13, 11-6, 11-2, 11-7
Cameron Pilley
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (50m)
Karim Darwish
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 (58m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
Nafiizwan Adnan
11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (33m)
Cameron Pilley
[16] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
8-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Ollie Pett (Eng)
[11] Daryl Selby (Eng)
12-10, 11-4, 11-9 (55m)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Daryl Selby
11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (42m)
Julian Illingworth
Daryl Selby
-9, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9 (80m)
Karim Darwish
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
8-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-4 (75m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (38m
Siddharth Suchde (Ind)
Simon Rosner
11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (37m)
Karim Darwish
[4] Karim Darwish (Egy)
11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (26m)
[Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11-5, 11-5, 11-1 (26m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Gregory Gaultier
11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
Gregory Gaultier
11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (34m)
Chris Simpson
Gregory Gaultier
12-10, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3 (92m)
Ramy Ashour
Ramy Ashour
11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 (72m)
Nick Matthew
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
11-3, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6 (42m)
[Q] Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (37m)
[Q] Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
Chris Simpson
11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 (71m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
11-7, 11-2, 11-4 (22m)
[9] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
[10] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
12-14, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (57m)
[Q] Robbie Temple (ENG)
Omar Mosaad
11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
Max Lee
Omar Mosaad
11-13, 12-10, 11-2, 14-12 (76m)
Ramy Ashour
Max Lee (Hkg)
8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7 (52m)
Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
Adrian Grant (Eng)
11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (65m)
[Q] Rex Hedrick (AUS)
Adrian Grant
11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (30m)
Ramy Ashour
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (36m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
[Q] Ivan Yuen (MAS)
11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (31m)
[7] Amr Shabana (Egy)
Amr Shabana
11-5, 11-2, 11-4 (31m)
Joe Lee
Amr Shabana
11-4, 9-3 ret. (17m)
Alister Walker
Amr Shabana
11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 (64m)
Nick Matthew
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
11-6, 24-22, 11-6 (66m)
[Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
Shahier Razik (Can)
11-6, 11-1 ret. (26m)
[Q] Shaun le Roux (RSA)
Shaun le Roux
11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
Alister Walker
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11-7, 11-3 ret. (30m)
[12] Alister Walker (Bot)
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8 (76m)
[13] Tarek Momen (Egy)
Tarek Momen
11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (37m)
Ryan Cuskelly
Tarek Momen
11-8, 11-9, 13-11 (65m)
Nick Matthew
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
13-11, 11-6, 11-3 (41m)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
Zac Alexander (Aus)
11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 13-11, 14-12 (97m)
[Q] Peter Creed (WAL)
Zac Alexander
8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (48m)
Nick Matthew

Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (36m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)

Qualifying finals:
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5 (104m)
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (78m)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (62m)
Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Admire Magwaza (ZIM) 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (24m)
Olivier Pett (ENG) bt Kim Are Killingberg (NOR) 11-7, 11-3, 11-0 (23m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (31m)
Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (38m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (68m)
Peter Creed (WAL) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 5-11, 10-12, 12-10, 13-11, 11-8 (75m)
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) bt Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 14-12, 13-11, 11-4 (61m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 3-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (49m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8 (49m)
Mark Krajcsak (HUN) bt Rasmus Nielsen (DEN) 3-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-7 (46m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (34m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt Kamran Khan (MAS) 11-4, 11-9, 11-8 (36m)
Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 11-8, 14-12, 11-8 (40m)



Ramy Ashour Wins Qatar PSA World Title

In a sensational all-Egyptian clash which went to the wire, Ramy Ashour triumphed over outsider Mohamed El Shorbagy in today's final of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha to become world champion for the second time since 2008.

Ashour, who 24 hours earlier dethroned England's defending champion Nick Matthew to ensure his status as world number one next month, had to be at his best to see off his 21-year-old opponent, the youngest player in the PSA world top 25.

The final (both players pictured below) brought to a magnificent climax the premier PSA World Tour championship which boasts a $325,000 prize-fund, the second biggest in the sport's history, and was being hosted by Qatar for the third time since 1998.

Eighth seed El Shorbagy, who upset England's world number James Willstrop in a 112-minute semi-final, got off to an excellent start - romping from 4-2 up to win the opening game in a single hand in just 10 minutes. It was the first game the youngster had taken off Ashour after two 3/0 defeats since 2009.

Ashour, who was clearly not yet in the match, stayed on court throughout the break before the second game - trying to refocus himself for the next stage.

The tactic clearly worked as the fifth seed and 2008 champion recovered from the loss of the first two points in the game to build up an 8-4 lead. Underdog Shorbagy, the world number six from Alexandria, clawed back two more points - but Ashour drew level to forcefully mark his return to the match.

Shorbagy's response was to demand a new ball and promptly returned to the court before his opponent to warm it up for the third game.

It was he who took the early advantage, but Ashour again resumed control, reeling off seven points in a row en-route to taking the game and moving 2/1 ahead.

The effect of Shorbagy's near-two-hour-long semi looked to be taking its toll - but the world final debutant refused to surrender to his experienced fellow countryman.

Shorbagy led 4-1 and 7-4 in the fourth - but from 5-8 down, Ashour pulled the game back to nine-all, just two points away from the title.

Shorbagy responded in fantastic style, surviving what PSA SquashTV commentators Joey Barrington and Paul Johnson called "an outrageous rally", to get to match-ball - which he duly converted to take the climax into a fifth game decider.

"The final has truly come alive," added Barrington.

It was nip and tuck through the fifth - Ashour leading 4-1 and 7-5 before Shorbagy clawed back to eight-all. An unforced error by Shorbagy, followed by a stroke against the underdog, took Ashour to his first match-ball.

Within seconds Ashour had converted his advantage - and the beaming 25-year-old from Cairo bent down to one of the camera positions in the court's front wall to kiss the TV camera lens!

"I am very, very, very glad I have won this title," said new world champion Ashour after his 2-11, 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 victory in 90 minutes. "But what makes me most happy is that I have done this after coming back from injury.

"Mohamed - he was amazing today.

"I'm really proud of the fact that this was an Egypt final," added Ashour.

TV co-commentator Paul 'PJ' Johnson said: "Ramy put in his best performance of the tournament. I just don't know how Mohamed was still standing after what he's been through over the past few days - he has amazing heart and talent."

Barrington added: "Nobody would have thought that Mohamed would take Ramy all the way to the wire."


Semi Finals

Egyptians Rule In World Semis In Doha

The final of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship will be an all-Egyptian affair for the third time in the last five years after underdogs Mohamed El Shorbagy and Ramy Ashour triumphed against higher-ranked Englishmen in today's semi-finals of the premier PSA World Tour championship in Doha.

Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund, the second biggest in the sport's history, the Qatar PSA World Championship is being hosted by Qatar for the third time and being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

El Shorbagy (right in blue top), aged 21 and the youngest player in the world top 25, faced top seed James Willstrop in the opening semi-final. The 29-year-old world number one from Leeds boasted a 7/1 career head-to-head record over the young Alexandrian - but had been stretched to five games in a 90-minute US Open clash only two months ago.

It was one-all after 46 minutes - and it took a further 34 minutes to resolve the third game, El Shorbagy taking it 14-12 after his third game-ball.

But the experienced Willstrop, eager to win the title for the first time, battled back from 2-4 down in the fourth to draw level.

The favourite led up to 8-7 in the decider, but it was El Shorbagy who then held his nerve to win the next four points in a row to clinch the match 11-9, 9-11, 14-12, 4-11, 11-8 after 112 minutes - and earn his maiden appearance in a world final.

"Before anything I want to hug my mother," the eighth seed told event MC Robert Edwards (in Arabic) before charging off the court and into the arms of his weeping mother. The crowd shared the emotional moment as he also went to his brother and his father.

Willstrop went into the match knowing that even winning the title would not be enough to enable him to retain the world number one ranking he has held for all but one month this year.

"I didn't quite get it right," admitted the Yorkshireman about the match. "He was hitting with purpose and ferocity.

"I am as strong as anyone in the world but I felt like there was a slight drop in intensity. I haven't had a session like that for a while."

Dramatic though the opening match clearly was, the second semi-final offered not only the chance for the winner to reach the final, but also to inherit the first world number one ranking of 2013.

Ashour (left in white top), the fifth seed and champion in 2008, lined up against title-holder Nick Matthew, the world number two from England who was bidding to become the first player since Pakistan legend Jansher Khan to win the world title three times in a row.

The Cairo-based Egyptian (pictured below with Matthew) last topped the world rankings for nine months in 2010, before Matthew succeeded him to reign supreme throughout 2011.

The match lived up to expectations: Ashour, 13/7 ahead on career meetings and winner of their two most recent clashes, took the first two games - but the reigning champion fought back to reduce the deficit.

Ashour reclaimed the advantage in the fourth to win 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 after 72 minutes - and ensure his return to the top of the world rankings after a two-year absence.

Quarter Finals

El Shorbagy Gate-Crashes World Semis In Doha

Egypt's 21-year-old Mohamed El Shorbagy - the youngest player in the world top 25 - upset fourth-seeded compatriot Karim Darwish in today's quarter-finals of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship in Doha to reach the semi-finals of the premier PSA World Tour championship for the first time.

Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund, the second biggest in the sport's history, the Qatar PSA World Championship is being hosted by Qatar for the third time - following previous stagings in 1998 and 2004 - and being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

"The head-to-head between these two Egyptians was 7-1 in Darwish's favour coming into this match," observed tournament MC Robert Edwards. "But Mohamed came of age this afternoon as he wore down and finally beat his good friend."

After his sensational 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 upset over the former world number one, El Shorbagy "fell to the floor and lay there prone as the cheers washed over him," added Edwards.

Interviewed by Edwards after the match, the world No6 from Alexandria said how much respect he had for 31-year-old Darwish, who had encouraged him as a youngster coming into the game by spending time on court with him.

Later, El Shorbagy told his Twitter followers: "I'm out of words right now, I'm in the semis of the Worlds!!!"

The eighth-seeded underdog now faces top seed James Willstrop for a place in the final. The world number one from England, bidding to win the crown for the first time, ended Spaniard Borja Golan's run - beating the surprise quarter-finalist from Santiago de Compostela 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 in 65 minutes.

"We clashed out there," admitted the 29-year-old from Leeds later. "It wasn't pretty and not the best match to be involved in. People have had recent issues with movement but I'm not meaning to block. Sometimes squash brings out these issues.

"But you need to win these ropey matches. People think I am a rhythmical player - but I showed I can win scrappy too!"

Golan, who had become the first Spaniard for 20 years to reach the world quarter-finals, added: "I was playing the world number one. I tried one hundred per cent on each point, but today he was better than me.

"But this is the best I have done in my career, and I am pleased about that," concluded the world No13.

The other semi-final will also be an Anglo/Egyptian clash - between England's defending champion Nick Matthew and 2008 champion Ramy Ashour.

Fifth seed Ashour overcame French rival Gregory Gaultier, the No3 seed, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3 in an exhilarating 92-minute encounter in which the Egyptian saved five game-balls in the first game and Gaultier saved five in the second!

In the final match of the day Matthew, the world number two from England bidding to become the first player since Pakistan legend Jansher Khan to win the world title three times in a row, faced illustrious Egyptian Amr Shabana, a four-time winner of the trophy.

It was the pair's 21st PSA Tour match over the past 11 years, with the head-to-head poised at 11-9 in the Englishman's favour before they went on court.

It took more than an hour for Matthew to extend the record, winning 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 in 64 minutes to reach his fourth semi-final since 2007.


3rd Round

Golan Beats Barker In Spanish World Breakthrough

Borja Golan upset sixth-seeded Englishman Peter Barker in today's third round of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship in Doha to become the first Spaniard to reach the quarter-finals of the premier PSA World Tour championship for 20 years.

Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund, the second biggest in the sport's history, the Qatar PSA World Championship is being hosted by Qatar for the third time - following previous stagings in 1998 and 2004 - and is being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

Londoner Barker, who retired injured during last week's Hong Kong Open, was clearly still suffering the effects of his pulled hamstring. But Golan meant business from the outset and, despite dropping the second game, was largely in control of the clash which he went on to win 11-7, 4-11, 11-3, 11-3 in 45 minutes - denying Barker a quarter-final berth in a PSA World Series event for the first time since December 2010.

"I've played Peter since we were juniors and I know how tough he is," said a jubilant Golan (pictured below with Barker) afterwards. "I don't think he was 100 per cent because he had a problem with his leg, but I tried to be focussed on my game.

"In the second game I was not patient," added the 29-year-old world No13 from Santiago de Compostela. "I tried to play from the front, and when you give players like him a chance they don't let you back into it.

"I learnt from that and I was more patient, and that helped me take my chance."

Austin Adarraga was the last Spaniard to reach the world quarter-finals - a feat the former world No11 achieved in 1992, before going on to reach the last four where he went down to the legendary Pakistani Jansher Khan.

"I remember Austin very well," said Golan. "He was an inspiration to me. I shall have to win again to equal what he did."

Golan will now face top seed James Willstrop. The world number one from England beat his Pontefract club training partner Saurav Ghosal, the Indian number one, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2.

There will be Egyptian interest in each of the other three quarter-finals. Ramy Ashour, the 2008 champion who arrived in Doha fresh from winning last week's Hong Kong Open, was taken to tie-breaks in the first two games against fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad before overwhelming the tenth seed in the third game to open up a 2/1 lead.

At 10-8 and match ball in the fourth game, fifth seed Ashour took a bad fall in the back hand back corner of the court. The 25-year-old from Cairo immediately emerged unscathed, but quickly faced two game-balls against him before finally surviving 11-13, 12-10, 11-2, 14-12 after 76 minutes - a win which stretched Ashour's unbeaten career record against Mosaad to ten matches.

"He played superbly," responded Ashour when asked to comment on the battle with his Heliopolis club-mate. "I had so much pressure. All credit to him.

"I felt pressure from the tournament and from myself. I still have a lot to learn.

"Tomorrow? I don't want to think about it!"

Ashour will now play Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in their fourth world championship meeting since 2005. The world No3 from Aix-en-Provence, three times a runner-up in the event, ended Chris Simpson's impressive run, beating the unseeded Englishman 11-7, 11-6, 11-4.

Guernsey-born Simpson told his Twitter followers later: "Gave it my all but he was too good, lots of positives to take, it's been a good tournament to finish the year."

Earlier in the day, 21-year-old Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy beat Australian Cameron Pilley to not only celebrate his third quarter-final appearance since 2008, but also clinch his place in next month's ATCO PSA World Series Finals.

"Very happy with my win - played the best so far in this tournament," tweeted El Shorbagy after his 11-13, 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 victory. "And just can't wait to be on court tomorrow!"

Eighth seed El Shorbagy will meet compatriot Karim Darwish, the No4 seed who defeated England's Daryl Selby 11-9, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9 in 80 minutes.

Underdog Selby, the 11th seed from Essex, summed up his disappointment via Twitter: "Gutted. Gave it everything I had today, came down to a few bits of 'luck' at crucial points. Just wasn't to be. Watch out 2013 - I'm coming for ya!"

Two contrasting third round matches concluded the day's play: Defending champion Nick Matthew, the world number two from England bidding to become the first player since Jansher Khan to win the world title three times in a row, defeated Egypt's Tarek Momen 11-8, 11-9, 13-11 in a hard-fought tussle - whereas Egypt's four-time champion Amr Shabana took just 17 minutes to earn his quarter-final slot when opponent Alister Walker retired injured with the score at 11-4, 9-3.

"Matthew played some exceptionally clinical squash that never allowed Momen to play his big game," recalled tournament MC Robert Edwards. "I was sat next to Amir Wagih, the National coach for Egypt, who whispered to me that he had only counted three unforced errors from Matthew in 65 minutes!"

Matthew himself described the match on FaceBook: "When we get down to the last 16, it's bound to be hard matches, and Tarek beat me here last year, so a 3/0 win - even if it was close to the hour - is better psychologically than a shorter 3/1. Don't ask me, that's the way it is!

"It's a good job we played in 11, because I gave him a 5 points start every game! 5/0, 6/0. Good news is that I got it right after that, but it's something I have to work on for tomorrow! And it didn't feel like long rallies either, seemed very short."


2nd Round (lower half of draw)

Super Simpson Scores Marathon World Upset

Chris Simpson, an Englishman who had never before progressed beyond the opening round, today earned a place in the last 16 of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship after upsetting ninth-seeded Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema in a dramatic five-game second round battle in Doha.

Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund, the second biggest in the sport's history, the Qatar PSA World Championship is being hosted by Qatar for the third time - following previous stagings in 1998 and 2004 - and is being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

The Guernsey-born 25-year-old made a brilliant start to open a first game lead over Anjema, the 30-year-old world No11 to whom he lost in straight games only two months ago. The Dutchman fought back to draw level, and again levelled after dropping the third game.

In the decider, world No34 Simpson opened up a 5-0 lead - but again Anjema caught up, before taking a slender 7-6 lead.

"Simpson levelled at seven-all and then there was a brilliant rally where Anjema was in total control and seemed to win the point - when Simpson retrieved a brilliant drop shot from the back hand back corner to die in the front, and Anjema had no answer to it," explained tournament director Alaaeldeen Allouba.

Simpson moved ahead to 9-7 before earning match-ball at 10-9. The match concluded with a brilliant final rally in which the underdog Englishman gave it everything he had before his opponent came up with an unforced error in the front right hand corner where his drop shot hit the tin.

"I was so nervous in the fourth," admitted Channel Islander Simpson after his sensational 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 win. "Sometimes you wonder whether you will ever get there. But I really wanted this one so much.

"The first game was the best I've ever played.

"The last two tournaments I have come close to beating top 16 players, so I know I can do it!"

Simpson - one of only two unseeded players in the last 16 round - now progresses to meet French star Gregory Gaultier, the No3 seed who last year finished as runner-up for the third time. It took 50 minutes for world No3 Gaultier to extinguish South American interest in the event, beating Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-9, 11-7, 11-9.

A quartet of Egyptians came through the remaining second round clashes today, to join a further two who survived Sunday's action. 2008 champion Ramy Ashour was in dazzling style as he dismissed England's Adrian Grant 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 in 30 minutes.

"Ramy started the first game with an awesome display of movement, shot selection and execution," commented event MC Robert Edwards. "A bewildered Grant found himself chasing shadows as Ramy displayed a set of skills that were from another stratosphere.

"The Egyptian raced to a two-game lead like a man with a train to catch. A frustrated Englishman finally stopped his charge as he got himself into the match and led 7-5 in the third. Again Ramy unleashed some silky nicks and devastating lobs and drives as he mixed up the pace.

"In just 30 minutes it was all over. As quickly as he had entered the arena, he had gone!" concluded Edwards.

Fifth seed Ashour will now meet fellow countryman Omar Mosaad, the No10 seed who defeated Hong Kong's Max Lee 11-9, 11-5, 11-4.

There was double disappointment for Lees when English qualifier Joe Lee went down 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 to Egyptian maestro Amr Shabana, a four times winner of the trophy.

"Chris Robertson (England national coach) said to me beforehand it would be like playing two opponents on there today: the court and Shabana," explained the London-born 23-year-old who upset Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan in the opening round.

"It was a double learning experience playing the best technical player in the world, the way he moves and strikes the ball," added Lee after his maiden meeting with the former world number one. "There is no better way to learn than witnessing what I did."

The match earned significant praise from spectator Daryl Selby, the No11 seed from England who was enjoying a rest day after winning his second round match 24 hours earlier. "@amrchabana was absolutely awesome just then," tweeted the world No10 later. "I thought Joe played well, I would have been happy with 11 points in the whole match!"

Towards the end of the day, England's defending champion Nick Matthew recovered from a game down to beat Australian Zac Alexander 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5.

Bidding to become the first player since Pakistan legend Jansher Khan to win the world title three times in a row, world number two Yorkshireman Matthew now meets Egypt's Tarek Momen. The 13th seed from Cairo despatched Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-6, 11-8, 11-6.


2nd Round (top half of draw)

Ghosal Gains Indian World Breakthrough

Unseeded Saurav Ghosal beat Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad in today's second round of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship in Doha to become the first Indian in the 36-year history of the PSA World Tour's premier event to reach the last sixteen.

Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund, the second biggest in the sport's history, the Qatar PSA World Championship is being hosted by Qatar for the third time - following previous stagings in 1998 and 2004 - and is being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

World No21 Ghosal was facing Gawad - who revealed a heavily-strapped left calf when he came onto the court - for the first time.

"Saurav raced to a 2/0 lead," reported event MC Robert Edwards. "Gawad showed great skill at the front of the court and occasionally halted Ghosal's steady progress with some typical Egyptian magic with his short game.

"Ghosal is too experienced, however, to permit a player with difficult court movement any success and at 5-1 in the third game Gawad fell heavily and it was clear that whatever the problem is - his match was over! As he was helped to his feet by his opponent, Karim offered his hand and promptly retired."

The 21-year-old from Cairo explained later that he had felt some pain during his previous match against English seed Tom Richards, but thought it was cramp. Following his 3/2 upset, Gawad went to the local clinic - and was told that there was some fibre damage.

"Despite this, he wanted to give himself every chance - because this is the World Championship," added Edwards.

Ghosal was delighted with his historic success: "I'm very proud to be the first Indian to reach the world championship last sixteen," said the 26-year-old from Kolkata. "Of course, I really hope I can go further in the event!

"It is good to see Indian squash doing well - all of us are working extremely hard! The girls did fantastically well in Nimes (at the women's world team championships in November) and all the success can only be good for the sport back home.

"All of us want to take it to the next level - and hopefully we will soon!"

Ghosal, who is based in Leeds in the UK, will now play his Pontefract club-mate James Willstrop for a place in the quarter-finals. "I want to be in the top ten, so I shall look forward to playing James whom I know very well."

Willstrop, the event's top seed, took just 26 minutes to despatch Canadian Shawn Delierre 11-2, 11-0, 11-7 on the Khalifa complex's famous permanently-sited all-glass court.

"I started much better than in the first round," explained Willstrop, the world number one. "I suppose I was always trying to work on that. This time everything worked. It's what you want to do. It sets the tone (for the tournament).

"This can be such a tough court to play on - and he was reeling after playing in the other courts (with plaster walls). It's important to keep your body in shape, and yet you need decent matches. It's about finding balance, but to get two wins like this and to have two rest days - well I will take that."

Two of Willstrop's England team-mates also survived today's second round. Daryl Selby, the 11th seed from Essex, despatched Egyptian qualifier Omar Abdel Meguid 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 - while London-born Peter Barker, the No6 seed, had to fight back from a game down to overcome rising French star Mathieu Castagnet 2-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4 in a match which lasted exactly one hour.

"Mathieu is an improving quality player, so I'm pleased to have won," Barker said later. "I had an injury last week (hamstring) and I've not been on court much. I've just tried to keep my body fit and tried to rest.

"Perhaps my hitting reflected that," added the world number five. "But I am happy with the way I responded after the first game. It was a hard battle."

Barker will face Spaniard Borja Golan in Tuesday's third round, while Selby will take on Egypt's Karim Darwish. Fourth seed Darwish extended his career-long unbeaten run over Simon Rosner with an 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 win over the German, while 15th seed Golan saw off top-ranked Scot Alan Clyne 11-7, 11-7, 11-7.

Australia's world championship campaign is being led by Cameron Pilley. The 16th seed from New South Wales beat Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 and will now line up against Egypt's No8 seed Mohamed El Shorbagy, an 11-3, 11-9, 12-10 winner over Frenchman Gregoire Marche.

1st Round (bottom half of draw)

Matthew's World Title Defence Successfully Underway

England's world number two Nick Matthew defeated Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller in straight games in today's first round of the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship to successfully get his campaign to win a third successive world title underway in the Qatar capital Doha.

Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund - the second biggest in the sport's history - the Qatar PSA World Championship is being hosted by Qatar for the third time, following previous stagings in 1998 and 2004, and is being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

Bidding to become the first player since the legendary Pakistani Jansher Khan to win the world title three times in a row, Matthew despatched Mueller 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 in 36 minutes to notch up his 13th consecutive win in the event since losing in the 2009 quarter-finals in Kuwait.

It took almost three times as long for the Yorkshireman's next opponent to earn his place in the second round. In one of the most dramatic matches seen on the Doha courts, Australian Zac Alexander finally emerged victorious 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 13-11, 14-12 in 97 minutes over Welsh qualifier Peter Creed.

In his fourth successive attempt to win a first round match in the championship, English qualifier Joe Lee progressed to the second round for the first time after upsetting Pakistan's higher-ranked Aamir Atlas Khan 11-6, 24-22, 11-6 in 66 minutes - the second game being one of the highest-scoring games since the PAR-to-11 scoring system was introduced on the PSA World Tour in September 2004.

"The second game was a real crowd pleaser with the advantage swinging back and fore," said tournament MC Robert Edwards.

Lee agreed that winning the middle game was essential: "I knew that the second would be crucial, as it was nearly as long as playing three games instead of two," explained the London-born 23-year-old "And one-all would have make a massive difference."

The world No48 from Surrey now faces No7 seed Amr Shabana, the illustrious Egyptian who boasts four world championship titles. "Now, Shabana," added Lee. "I'm so happy - that was one more incentive to get to the next round, just to have a chance to try and have a shot at him!"

Shabana, the 32-year-old from Cairo who is marking his 13th successive appearance in the event since making his debut in 1998 - also in Qatar - brushed aside Malaysian qualifier Ivan Yuen 11-6, 11-4, 11-9.

Dutch master Laurens Jan Anjema was the first seed through today after overcoming experienced fellow left-hander Jonathan Kemp of England.

"It was a pairing that seemed to promise a tough match - and it started as expected, with the score reaching seven-all," explained Edwards. "From that moment on, a very relaxed Anjema steamrolled his opponent to run out an 11-7, 11-2, 11-4 winner in just 22 minutes. Certainly Kemp seemed to be out of sorts and never got his big game into play."

Anjema himself told his Twitter followers later: "My 22-minute match was twice as short as my warm-up today! A lot more intense, however. Happy to get through to the second round."

Third seed Gregory Gaultier claimed another lightning-fast passage through to the second round, dismissing Egypt's Mohammed Abbas 11-5, 11-5, 11-1 in just 26 minutes. Runner-up for the third time last year, the world number three from France is enjoying a fine run of form currently - and moves on to meet Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez for a place in the last 16.

Rodriguez, the world No25 from Bogota, defeated Kuwaiti qualifier Abdullah Al Muzayen 11-3, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6.

"I'm so happy, it's the first time a South American player has reached the second round of the worlds - so I'm feeling I have to play well for my continent!" said Rodriguez.

1st Round (top half of draw)

Gawad Grabs First World Scalp In Doha

Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad (right) recorded the first seeding upset in the Qatar PSA World Squash Championship when he despatched England's 14th seed Tom Richards in today's first round of the premier championship on the PSA World Tour in the Qatar capital Doha.

World No12 Richards, a top 16 seed for the first time in the prestigious championship, twice led in the match against the lower-ranked Egyptian. But the 21-year-old from Cairo kept fighting back - and, after drawing level, maintained the upper hand in the decider to close out the match 9-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7 in 68 minutes to claim one of the biggest scalps of his career.

"Tough loss earlier, I train hard to win those matches," Richards told his Twitter followers later. "Time to escape squash for a while!"

Gawad, who celebrated a career-high world No26 ranking last month, will now face Indian number one Saurav Ghosal, who needed just 30 minutes to see off 17-year-old Qatari wildcard Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 11-5, 11-4, 11-9.

Omar Abdel Meguid became the first qualifier to claim a place in the second round when he outplayed world No29 Julian Illingworth to extinguish US interest in the event. Ranked almost 40 places lower, the 24-year-old from Egypt overcame a first game deficit to beat record eight-time US champion Illingworth 8-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-4 in 75 minutes.

In a fine opening day for Egyptians, Gawad and Meguid were joined in the second round by compatriots Mohamed El Shorbagy and Karim Darwish. Fourth seed Darwish raced to the quickest first round win of the day, defeating Hungarian qualifier Mark Krajcsak 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 in just 26 minutes.

El Shorbagy, the No8 seed, survived an all-Egyptian encounter, beating Cairo-based Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5 in 56 minutes.

James Willstrop made a slow start in his bid to claim the title he is seeded to win. The world number one from England lost the first game to fellow countryman Chris Ryder - and only midway through the second game did he assume control before going on to brush aside his lower-ranked opponent 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2 after 52 minutes.

Willstrop's two England team-mates in action on the opening day of first round action also secured their anticipated places in the last 32 round. Londoner Barker, the sixth seed, beat New Zealander Martin Knight 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 in 27 minutes.

Later in the day, 11th seed Daryl Selby chalked up his third successive World Championship win over Olli Tuominen when he beat the Finn 12-10, 11-4, 11-9 in 55 minutes.

There was a notable upset in the all-Malaysian clash between former world No7 Ong Beng Hee and young pretender Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan. Beng Hee, the current world No22 who first began his world championship campaign in the 1997 qualifiers, took the opening game.

But Adnan, who had never before beaten his higher-ranked national rival on the PSA Tour, struck back to record a breakthrough 6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 victory in 58 minutes.



Doha Delivers Dramatic
World Championship Year End

This week's Qatar PSA World Squash Championship will provide one of the most dramatic climaxes to the end of a PSA World Tour year ever - with four players in reach of the first world number one ranking of the New Year 2013.

Furthermore, four different players will be out to consolidate their positions in the top eight of the Dunlop PSA World Series Standings in order to confirm their places in January's flagship ATCO PSA World Series Finals in London.

Meanwhile, a further four will be looking to stage late bids to join the World Series Finals field by battling through to at least the World Championship semi-finals.


Squash Player Magazine
Preview (PDF)

And, finally, England's Nick Matthew will be looking to defend the sport's premier title he won for the second time in Rotterdam in 2011 - and become the first player since Pakistan's legendary Jansher Khan to claim the trophy three times in a row.

The Qatar PSA World Championship gets underway at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha on Friday (7 December). Boasting a $325,000 prize-fund - the second biggest in the sport's history - the premier event on the PSA World Tour reaches its climax on Friday 14 December.

Title-holder Nick Matthew, who topped the world rankings throughout 2011 but saw English rival James Willstrop succeed him for most of this year, currently leads a quartet in line for January's top slot. Current incumbent Willstrop could retain his position - while Egyptian Ramy Ashour and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier both also have the potential to regain the world number one ranking they each once held.

All four have already booked their places in the ATCO PSA World Series Finals at The Queen's Club in London from2-6 January.

Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion from Egypt; compatriots Karim Darwish and Mohamed El Shorbagy; plus Englishman Peter Barker currently occupy places five to eight in the WS standings - but need to consolidate those positions in Doha.

The chasing pack is led by England's Adrian Grant and Germany's Simon Rosner - neither of whom has yet to compete in the World Series Finals. But England's Daryl Selby and Australian number one Cameron Pilley are also in possible contention.

Willstrop is seeded to win the world title for the first time - and is expected to face fellow Yorkshireman Matthew, the No2 seed, in the final.

Matthew, who dropped out of last week's Hong Kong Open at the semi-final stage, has had his eye on a third world title for some time: "It's been my main focus the whole year really," said the 32-year-old from Sheffield. "Obviously I have been chasing hard to be consistent enough to get back the world number one ranking, but if I had a straight choice between the two, I would choose this every day.

"I am looking forward to it but aware that the hard work has been done and trying to get in as much downtime as possible between now and when it starts.

"Winning the title three times in a row would be career-defining - but I also think it's important not to get too far ahead of yourself. I have a tough first round match with Nicky Mueller and that's all I'm looking at for now."

With two world titles, a historic three British Open trophies and a pair of Commonwealth Games gold medals, are there any goals still left for the English squash star?

"One step at a time!" responded Matthew candidly. "But obviously the World Championship in Manchester next year is big, and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as well as the British Open which is being held in Yorkshire for the next two years."

Matthew begins his title defence against the Switzerland number one Nicolas Mueller, the highest-ranked Swiss player of all-time, while Willstrop opens his world campaign against fellow countryman Chris Ryder.

Players from 21 countries will contest the 64-man main draw in Doha, with a further 11 nations represented in the qualifying competition.

Formerly known as the 'World Open', the world championship will be hosted by Qatar for the third time, following stagings in 1998 and 2004.