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Darwish Injury Gives Shabana Detroit Title

Motor City Open 2012
24-29 Jan, Detroit, $70k
Round One
26 Jan
27 Jan
28 Jan
29 Jan
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-9, 11-6, 11-5
[Q] Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12 (75m)
Ong Beng Hee
Mohamed El Shorbagy
13-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 (65m)
Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana
11-4, 2-6 ret. (25m)
Karim Darwish
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
6-11, 14-12, 11-7, 12-10
[Q[ Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
12-14, 11-0, 11-6, 14-12
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (39m)
Amr Shabana
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11-9, 11-8, 11-7
[4] Amr Shabana (Egy)
[3] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
15-13, 11-3, 11-7
[Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
Omar Mosaad
11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (56m)
Saurav Ghosal
Omar Mosaad
14-12, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 (97m)
Karim Darwish
Alan Clyne (SCO)
6-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-3
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11-3, 11-7, 11-2
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
Steve Coppinger
11-5, 11-4, 6-11, 11-3 (53m)
Karim Darwish
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-3, 11-3, 11-7
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy)

RESULTS: PSA International 70 Motor City Open, Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA

Qualifying finals:
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-2
Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-13, 11-9, 12-10, 11-4

Darwish Injury Gives Shabana Detroit Title

In an anticlimactic end to a thrilling 2013 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection, Egypt's Amr Shabana assured that his name will be engraved on the PSA International 70 event trophy for the first time after fellow countryman Karim Darwish retired midway through the second game of the final at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA.

The win takes the illustrious four-time world champion from Cairo's career PSA World Tour title haul to 31 - stretching his lead as the top 20 player with the most titles.

It was after seeing off defending champion and fellow Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, the world No5, in the semis that Shabana - currently ranked eight in the world - appeared set for his toughest challenge: World No6 and 2010 MCO winner Darwish in a championship match between two former world number ones.

But Shabana, who had dropped only one game in his first three matches in Detroit, jumped out to an early 6-2 lead. After cutting the deficit to 4-6, Darwish tinned three of his next four shots as his opponent closed out the opening game 11-4 in just nine minutes.

Darwish came out firing in game two, nabbing a quick 6-1 lead. But in the ensuing rally, the 31-year-old from Cairo grabbed his calf in apparent discomfort.

"It was very sore before the match," said Darwish later. "I thought when I warmed up it was going to get better, but after lunging a few times in the second game I think I pulled a calf muscle."

After trying to stretch it out, Darwish decided not to risk further injury. The former champion retired 25 minutes into the match, handing left-hander Shabana his first MCO title, 11-4, 2-6 (ret).

"I knew he had a tough, physical game yesterday against Omar Mosaad," said the new champion. "And I knew if I had a good start it would help me a lot.

"More credit to him because he came back and managed to get ahead. I think he pushed himself on a lunge and it's a shame - but it's part of the sport."

Yet, the standing-room-only crowd didn't go home disappointed: "Good-sport Shabana beckoned local BAC pro Julian Wellings, a former world No46, to suit up for a friendly two-out-of-three," explained event spokesman James Hawkins. "Like every match in the tournament, Shabana won the exhibition, too - 12-10, 11-4."

For his week's work, Shabana walked away with a cheque for $13,300 and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer watch worth $6,000 - courtesy of Greenstone's Jewellers.

"I love coming here," 33-year-old Shabana said. "Unfortunately the last two times I came here, I pulled out. But I was just dying to get my name on that championship banner with all those great names."

The title is Shabana's second PSA World Tour victory of the month after successfully defending his ATCO PSA World Series Finals crown three weeks ago in London.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year. After a few years with injuries and motivational problems, to be able to win two out of three tournaments, I'm very happy," added Shabana.

Darwish, who was looking to win his second MCO crown, took home the runners-up cheque of $11,200. "This tournament is one of the best events in the United States and I always enjoy playing here. I wanted to play a good match today but unfortunately couldn't," he said. "Hopefully I can come back next year and win it."

Shabana & Darwish Motor Into Detroit Final

Egyptian PSA World Tour veterans Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish held off the challenges of younger compatriots in the Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection to set up a mouth-watering final of the PSA International 70 squash event at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA, between two former world number ones.

In the first semi, 33-year-old Shabana got off to a quick 7-2 start as Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 22-year-old top seed, struggled to find his shot. But in the blink of an eye, the higher-ranked youngster stormed back to take a 9-7 lead.

"When you think you're cruising, that's when you lose it," world No8 Shabana said afterwards about his blown lead. The number four seed then staved off two game-balls and rescued a 13-11 first game win.

"If I would've lost that game, it would've been devastating mentally," Shabana (pictured below in Motor City action with El Shorbagy) continued.

El Shorbagy, the world No5, made several unforced errors to drop the second game 11-5 - but reduced the deficit by taking game three as his shots finally began to find their mark.

Shabana reclaimed the upper hand in the fourth, racing to a 6-1 lead and holding the advantage before closing out the match 13-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 after 65 minutes.

"Every time we play, regardless of the score, it's always a tip-toe game," said Shabana, who extended his career head-to-head over El Shorbagy to 9/0. "Right now, I might have a slight advantage but Mohamed is still young and he's going to catch up sooner or later."

El Shorbagy later told his followers on Twitter: "Shabana was too good. A lot to learn from this match. Now I got a good break which I really need before playing Kuwait in March."

Making his first return to the Motor City Open after mowing down the competition in 2010, 31-year-old Darwish advanced to his second MCO final after ousting 24-year-old Omar Mosaad in a physical encounter.

Second seed Darwish benefited after a pair of crucial mistakes by his larger opponent in the first game. With game-ball at 12-11, third seed Mosaad hit back-to-back shots into the bottom of the tin before Darwish hit a forehand nick shot winner to seal it.

Underdog Mosaad, ranked nine in the world, bounced back in the next two games to take a 2/1 lead. Darwish stuck to his game plan, however, relentlessly pounding balls into the back corners and softly flicking balls into the front corners to draw level.

Darwish, the world No6, cruised in the decider as fatigue became a factor and his opponent made five unforced errors to hand the match to Darwish 14-12, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 after 97 minutes.

"It's always a physical match against Omar," said Darwish afterwards. "He's a big guy and it's hard to pass him because he takes the ball early. But I tried to pass as much as I can and I think the last two games he lost a little bit of energy."

Shabana is celebrating his 45th PSA Tour final appearance, and Darwish his 40th - with six previous finals shared. The Detroit encounter will mark the pair's 21st Tour clash over the past 12 years, with Shabana boasting a 12-8 career lead.

The duo most recently met in the final of the 2010 Qatar Classic with Darwish prevailing 8-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6.

"Shabana is a great player. I think people will enjoy tomorrow," Darwish added.

Egyptians Dominate In Detroit

The semi-finals of the Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection will be an all-Egyptian affair after the top four seeds prevailed in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA.

For the first time in the MCO's 14-year history, there will be a one-nationality semi-final round as Mohamed El Shorbagy, Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish, and Omar Mosaad all advanced.

Favourite El Shorbagy survived the longest match of the day as he avenged his loss last year to Ong Beng Hee, the Malaysian number one who went on to win the 2012 title.

The 22-year-old world No5 teetered on the brink of falling two games behind as he trailed 9-6 in the second - but was able to rattle off five-straight points and even the match at one-all.

"It's so hard to play Beng Hee in that bouncy court because he keeps slowing down the pace," explained El Shorbagy after his 5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12 victory in 75 minutes. "I found myself down, but I just had to keep digging in 'til he lost focus. That's what happened in the second game and the match completely went my way after that."

El Shorbagy, the 2011 champion, has now reached the MCO semi-finals all three years he has competed in the event. The top seed will face illustrious compatriot Amr Shabana, and added that he's excited for the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with 33-year-old squash legend.

"It's good to be able to play Shabana one more time. He's a player I won't be playing that often since he only has a few years left in his career. But every time I play him I learn something new," said El Shorbagy.

"To have four Egyptians in the semis, you never know who's going to win," continued El Shorbagy. "When you play someone from the same country as yours, you have to completely forget about rankings because these matches are always different. We all know each other really well and we're all good friends."

Shabana, the four-time world champion from Cairo, was the first to take a semis spot as he wasted no time upending Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 in 39 minutes.

"Rodriguez is one of the best athletes around," said world No8 Shabana of his opponent ranked 17 places below. "He moves very quickly and smoothly so I had to play smartly. If he gets you moving around it makes the court feel very big and when you try to finish a ball off he comes so fast it makes the court very small. I just had to choose my moments and pace myself."

In a David versus Goliath quarter-final, world No9 and third seed Omar Mosaad (6'4" and 200 pounds) played a tight game to contain speedy Saurav Ghosal (5'6", 145 pounds), the world No22 from India, and win in straight games 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.

Mosaad will face second seed Karim Darwish, the world No6 who disposed of South African Stephen Coppinger, ranked 23 in the world, in the duo's first career match-up: 11-5, 11-4, 6-11, 11-3.

"It's good and tough at the same time," Mosaad said of having to play Darwish in the semi-final. "We train all the time together so we know the other player's game. I'll try to play well and hope I can win."


Ong Beng Hee On Course In Detroit

Defending champion Ong Beng Hee successfully overcame his first hurdle in the Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection when he beat Australia's Ryan Cuskelly to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA.

But the Malaysian's title defence looked to be in jeopardy as qualifier Cuskelly took the first game and was on the verge of a commanding 2/0 lead. But world No20 Beng Hee fought off four game-balls and evened the match at one-all.

After winning the third game, the former world No7 then fended off three more game balls in the fourth to take the match 6-11, 14-12, 11-7, 12-10.

"Winning the second game changed the whole match," Beng Hee said later. "I'm a little bit tense because it's the first match of a very big tournament and I won it last year so the pressure is on. Ryan actually played really well and didn't make many mistakes. It was just maybe my day today."

The 32-year-old Malaysian, now in his 19th year as a world-ranked player, now faces his sternest test - against top seed Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 22-year-old Egyptian who was four years old when Beng Hee joined the PSA!

El Shorbagy was one of four seeded Egyptians who won convincingly in straight games. The 2011 MCO winner, now ranked five in the world, needed just 30 minutes to defeat qualifier and world No41 Abdullah Al Muzayen of Kuwait, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5.

Then in a battle of former MCO champions, 2010 winner and former world number one Karim Darwish looked in top form as he dominated 2007 winner Olli Tuominen of Finland, 11-2, 11-3, 11-7.

Qualifier Marwan El Shorbagy - Mohamed's younger brother - lost to fellow Egyptian and third-seed Omar Mosaad 15-13, 11-3, 11-7. And former world No1 and fourth-seeded Amr Shabana buried drop shot after drop shot against Switzerland's world No21 Nicolas Mueller en-route to an 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 win.

"Karim, Omar, and Amr are all great players and I've learned a lot from them," said El Shorbagy senior after his match. "They're like big brothers for me and they've helped me all through my career.

"To be able to compete with them and try to beat them is an honour for me. Hopefully we all reach the semi-finals together and it'll be like an all-Egyptian tournament."

In the last match of the day, South African Stephen Coppinger produced the day's only upset when he beat world No19 Hisham Mohd Ashour of Egypt in a highly-anticipated rematch of last year's four-game semi-final match - won by Ashour.

This time Ashour struggled with his consistency and Coppinger nailed an 11-3, 11-7, 11-2 victory.

"The score line is convincing but I never felt comfortable," Coppinger said afterwards. "Hisham's always got something different to hit you with, but I felt like it was all up to him whether he'd hit a winner or give me a free point."

Shorbagys Share Motor City Line-Up In Detroit

Egyptian teenager Marwan El Shorbagy joined his top-seeded brother Mohamed El Shorbagy in the main draw of the Motor City Open after coming through the qualifying finals of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event in its 13th year at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA.

Now part of the new US Pro Squash Series, the 2013 Motor City Open has attracted seven players from the world's top 20, led by El Shorbagy senior, the world No5 from Alexandria.

Marwan, the 2012 PSA Young Player of the Year and two-time world junior champion, recovered from a game down to beat Frenchman Gregoire Marche 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1.

"In the first game I didn't find my game," said the 19-year-old world No27. "The court is very bouncy, which suits his game more than mine. I was just waiting for the opportunity to come so I could slow down the game and play at my pace.

"I thought it was working well in the second and third game. I think I played the right game for this court against Marche."

Ryan Cuskelly produced the most dramatic win on the eve of the event's first round. After dropping the first two games to veteran Canadian Shahier Razik, the 25-year-old Australian mounted an extraordinary comeback taking the next three games and prevailing 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2 in a draining, two-hour, eight minute match!

"Playing a player like Razik, he just gets so many balls back that you have to hit four or five winners just to win a rally," said the New York-based world No32. "That's his goal. Just to make the game as long as possible and frustrate you. I got sucked into his game the first two games instead of playing my game of attacking and getting to the ball faster."

Cuskelly switched tactics and began picking up the pace in game three. Things took a turn for the worse early in the decider when Razik dropped to the floor in agonizing pain.

"I had a bruised toe and Ryan had a good step on it," said the 35-year-old from Toronto. "It irritated and started swelling on me. I was struggling to get my shoe on. After game two, it just turned into a physical match. We both got a little tired and we weren't clearing as smoothly."

For Cuskelly, the marathon win is one of his greatest memories in his many years at the MCO.

"It was the longest match of my career by far and it's one of my best wins here, especially coming from down 2/0 against a player like Razik," he said. "He's pretty hard to beat on a traditional court."