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15/03/2013
KUWAIT OPEN 2013
 

Ramy Wrests Kuwait Cup From Willstrop

Reports
  Final    Semi Finals    Quarter Finals    3rd Round    2nd Round    1st Round   Preview
 Kuwait PSA Cup 2013
08-14 Mar, Kuwait $190k
Round One
8 Mar
Round Two
9-10 Mar
Round Three
11 Mar
Quarters
12 Mar
Semis
13 Mar
Final
14 Mar
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
 6/11, 11/4, 7/11, 11/7, 11/8 (70m)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-2 (47m)
  Nicolas Mueller
Ramy Ashour
11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 (41m)
Simon Rosner
Ramy Ashour
 9-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (73m)
Amr Shabana
Ramy Ashour
11-8, 11-5, 11-2 (36m)
Gregory Gaultier
Ramy Ashour
6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-3
James Willstrop
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
5/11, 11/7, 16/14, 11/7 n(72m)
Leo Au (Hkg)
[16]  Simon Rosner (Ger)
11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (27m)
  Leo Au
Chris Simpson (Eng)
13/11, 9/11, 11/6, 12/10 (54m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
[9] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (28m)
 Jonathan Kemp  
 Omar Mosaad
11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4 (53m)
Amr Shabana
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
9/11, 11/6, 13/11, 9/11, 11/8 (91m)
Kristian Frost (Den)
[7] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
  Olli Tuominen
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/9, 8/11, 11/7, 6/11, 11/4 (89m)
Joe Lee (Eng)
[8] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/8, 11/3, 11/8 (46m)
  Karim Abdel Gawad
Peter Barker
11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (50m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-3, 11-2 ret. (19m)
Gregory Gaultier
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
 11/6, 11/6, 8/11, 8/11, 11/4 (68m)
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
[15] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11/6, 11/5, 11/1 (36m)
  Karim Ali Fathi
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
13/11, 4/11, 11/4, 11/5 (58m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
[10] Borja Golan (Esp)
6/11, 8/11, 12/10, 11/611/8 (105m)
  Saurav Ghosal
Borja Golan
11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (62m)
Gregory Gaultier
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
9/11, 11/9, 11/9, 5/11, 11/6 (73m)
 Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (36m)
  Abdullah Al Mezayen
Alan Clyne (Sco)
 11/13, 11/8, 11/9, 11/8 (73m)
Grégoire Marche (Fra)
  Grégoire Marche
11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (37m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng)
James Willstrop
11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (31m)
Tarek Momen
James Willstrop
11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 11-3 (49m)
Karim Darwish
James Willstrop
11-5, 12-10, 11-8 (54m)
Mohamed El
Shorbagy
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 11/7, 12/10, 11/13, 5/11, 11/4 (81m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
  Cameron Pilley
11/8, 11/6, 11/9 (43m)
[11] Tarek Momen (Egy)
Adrian Waller (Eng)
 11/8, 14/12, 11/4 (64m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
  Mathieu Castagnet
9/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (68m)
[12] Tom Richards (Eng)
Mathieu Castagnet
12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 (64m)
Karim Darwish
Martin Knight (Nzl)
11/6, 12/10, 11/9 (43m)
Zac Alexander (Aus)
  Zac Alexander
11/4, 11/6, 8/11, 11/3 (39m)
[5] Karim Darwish (Egy)
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
11/2, 11/13, 11/7, 11/8 (54m)
Max Lee (Hkg)
  Ali Anwar Reda
8/11, 11/7, 11/9, 8/11, 13/11 (84m)
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
Mohamed El
Shorbagy

11-7, 11-6, 13-11 (39m)
 Ong Beng Hee
Mohamed El
Shorbagy

11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (35m)
Daryl Selby
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/5, 8/11, 4/11, 13/11, 11/7 (73m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
  Ong Beng Hee
 9/11, 11/5, 11/6, 11/4 (55m)
[14] Alister Walker (Bot)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
12/14, 11/8, 4/11, 11/8, 11/9 (80m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind)
  Ryan Cuskelly
11/5, 11/5, 11/4 (43m)
[13] Daryl Selby (Eng)
Daryl Selby
11-6, 11-6, 12-10 (55m)
Nick Matthew
Adrian Grant (Eng)
11/3, 11/1, 11/7 (34m)
Yousif Nizar Saleh (Kuw)
  Adrian Grant
11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (58m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)
Final


Ramy Wrests Kuwait Cup From Willstrop

The unstoppable world number one Ramy Ashour celebrated his tenth successive PSA World Tour squash final in sensational style today in Kuwait when he beat defending champion James Willstrop in four games to take the Kuwait PSA Cup title.

The 25-year-old Egyptian's triumph, in the third PSA World Series event of the year at the Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait, is his seventh Tour title in a row, the 30th of his career - and extends his winning streak to 36 matches since May last year.

The reigning world champion began strongly against Englishman Willstrop, the world No4 from Leeds who topped the world rankings for all but one month of last year.

But after a sluggish opening few minutes, Willstrop turned the tables and rattled off five points in a row from six-all - including a now almost 'trade-mark' dummy shot at the front of the court that completely fooled Ashour - to take the opening game.

Ashour was clearly trying to calm himself down as he returned to the court for the second game and after the Englishman led 4-1 and 7-5, the top seed turned on his ace game to draw level.

By now the packed and exuberant Kuwait crowd was playing a significant part in the match - chanting for their Egyptian hero.

Errors crept into Willstrop's game in the third as Ashour won six points in a row before the Englishman was able to stop the rot. But two typical crosscourt volley nicks gave Ashour the game - and a 2/1 lead.

Clearly now in the ascendancy, Ashour bounced back on court for the fourth - and after a now tired-looking Willstrop survived an excellent rally to recover to 3-6, the Egyptian took the next five points in a row to claim his magnificent 6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 victory.

The jubilant champion kissed the court floor in celebration as the crowd cheered their appreciation.

"He's a great person, on and off court," said Ashour later of his opponent. "He's a gentleman and I've learnt a lot from him. He's a great player."

Semi Finals
 

Ashour & Willstrop To Contest Kuwait Cup Climax

World number one Ramy Ashour and his world number one predecessor James Willstrop will meet in Thursday's final of the Kuwait PSA Cup after both celebrated straight games wins in today's semi-finals of the third PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.

Top-seeded Egyptian Ashour extended his unbeaten PSA World Tour run to 35 matches when he despatched Gregory Gaultier, the No4 seed from France, 11-8, 11-5, 11-2 in 36 minutes.

World No3 Gaultier was in inspired form for the first few points of the match before Ashour upped his game and the Frenchman became increasingly frustrated. By the latter stages of the third game, Gaultier seemed unable to make much effort and slammed his final serve out of the court to give Ashour the match.

The win lined up some further impressive stats for the 25-year-old from Cairo - who is now in his 45th Tour final and one win away from his 30th title.

Asked about the quarter-final match 24 hours earlier against compatriot Amr Shabana, Ashour admitted: "Yesterday was definitely one of my toughest ever matches - both mentally and physically. He's such a smart player and I'm very proud to have beaten him."

On his semi-final victory, Ashour conceded: "Maybe Greg wasn't 100% - but a win is a win!"

England's world number four Willstrop, the defending champion, boasted a 7-2 head-to-head record over his opponent Mohamed El Shorbagy going into the match - but had lost to the Egyptian in their previous meeting in December's PSA World Championship in Qatar.

The 29-year-old from Leeds was in commanding form in the opening game - but 22-year-old Shorbagy came back in the second and led up to 10-all. But Willstrop increased his lead to 2/0 after winning two standout rallies.

Willstrop maintained the upper hand throughout the third before clinching his 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 in 54 minutes.

"Mohamed has been showing world top four/five form for some time now - his performance in the World Championship was very special," said the Englishman later.

"I had to bring out my A-game to beat him.

"It's quite wonderful to be in another Kuwait final.

"Ramy's as unique as it gets," added Willstrop, now in his 35th Tour final. "But he's won enough tournaments now - it's time he was stopped."

Quarter Finals

 

Ramy Survives 'Toughest Ever' Match In Kuwait

World number one Ramy Ashour fought back from two games down in "the toughest match I've ever played" to overcome Egyptian compatriot Amr Shabana to reach the semi-finals of the Kuwait PSA Cup, the third PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.

The victory extends Ashour's remarkable PSA World Tour record to 34 unbeaten matches in a row - an undefeated run unparalleled since the days of Pakistan legends Jansher Khan and Jahangir Khan.

It was a lacklustre performance in the first two games as 25-year-old Ashour, the reigning world champion, seemed out-of-sorts - while Shabana, the 33-year-old four-time world champion, looked to be heading to the first victory over his younger compatriot for more than two years.

Shabana led 5-3 in the third, but Ashour - who had stayed on court after the second to continue practising - slowly began to rediscover the form which had seen him reach the finals in his last nine Tour events and win six titles in a row!

As Shabana became more distracted by refereeing decisions which went against him, so Ashour took command - and after 73 minutes celebrated an unlikely 9-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 victory and a place in the last four.

"He is an amazing player - I don't think I'll be able to play like that when I am 33," said Ashour of his opponent afterwards. "I'm glad I kept up with him.

"This should have been the final - a double final in fact.

"It's the toughest and best match I've ever played," added the world No1. "And I'm glad I didn't have any injuries.

"I need a very good recovery for my match tomorrow."

For a place in his tenth final in a row, Ashour will face French rival Gregory Gaultier, the No4 seed who spent almost a quarter of the length of Ashour's match to earn his place in the last four.

It was clear that all was not well with opponent Peter Barker, the No8 seed from England. Struggling with his movement, Barker lasted two games before offering his hand to Gaultier after 19 minutes, with the score standing at 11-3, 11-2.

"I could see from my first boast that he was struggling," Gaultier told the event website www.kuwaitpsacup.com later. "I asked him if he was OK to carry on, which he did for two games but he was right to stop - any more time on court and he could have done some lasting damage."

There will also be Egyptian interest in the other semi-final where Mohamed El Shorbagy, the sixth seed from Alexandria, will face third seed James Willstrop, the defending champion from England.

Shorbagy comfortably took the first two games against surprise opponent Daryl Selby, the 13th seed who stunned second seed and fellow Englishman Nick Matthew in the previous round.

But Selby stretched the Egyptian to eight-all in the third before Shorbagy pulled away to close out the match 11-4, 11-4, 11-9.

"It's just like last year here, when I saved a match-ball in the first round and did really well," said El Shorbagy, the UK-based world No5. "This time I saved four in my first match and now I'm in the semi-finals again, I can't believe it!

"Of course I'm very happy with the way I played, it's my best performance of the event," he added. "I'm happy I won the third because I could feel I was starting to fall into his rhythm."

Willstrop renewed his rivalry with fifth seed Karim Darwish, the Egyptian whom he first met on the Tour in February 2003 and has since played a total of 22 times, winning on 17 occasions.

In a repeat of the 2011 Kuwait PSA Cup final, Willstrop won a close first game then stretched the lead to two before fellow former world number one Darwish struck back to take the third to reduce the deficit.

But the 29-year-old from Leeds was in commanding form in the fourth, taking the match 11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 11-3 after 49 minutes.

"The intensity was up there tonight, one of the top matches, with truly severe intensity," said Willstrop later. "I think I did well to take the first, but Karim played at his best today.

"Whatever his problem was, it's now sorted because he was moving very well, hitting the ball very well, and you could see he was really up for it."

3rd Round
 

Selby Sinks Matthew In Kuwait Shock

More than two years after beating his England team-mate for the first time on the PSA World Tour, world No15 Daryl Selby produced his second upset over world number two Nick Matthew in the same country when he powered to a straight games win in the third round of the Kuwait PSA Cup, the third PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.

The stunning 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 victory denied two-time world champion Matthew a Tour quarter-final berth for the first time since the 2011 Qatar Classic - 18 events ago!

It was a confident performance by 30-year-old Selby against an uncharacteristically error-prone Matthew - who later admitted he felt 'flat' throughout the match. After taking the first two games comfortably, Selby finally clinched victory on his second match-ball at the end of a tense third game.

"I'm usually tense when I play Nick, but today I wanted to go on court and be relaxed and just enjoy the game - and it worked," said a delighted Selby, now in his first World Series quarter-final for more than a year.

"Even though it was 3/0, it was a hard match. Now I've given myself a chance."

Selby, the 13th seed, will take his chance against sixth seed Mohamed El Shorbagy in a repeat of their third round meeting in the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup in 2011. The 22-year-old world No5 from Egypt despatched veteran Malaysian Ong Beng Hee 11-7, 11-6, 13-11 in the final match of the day.

"Today I was more relaxed on court, more focused on the squash, on the job to do, and on nothing else," Shorbagy told the event website www.kuwaitpsacup.com later. "He had a good lead in the third, I lost a bit of focus, but I really gave it a big push - I really didn't want to play another game tonight."

Defending champion James Willstrop ensured another Anglo/Egyptian quarter-final clash when he fought off young Egyptian Tarek Momen 11-7, 11-5, 11-4. The third seed will now face career-long rival and fellow former world number one Karim Darwish, the fifth seed from Cairo who held off a determined challenge from fast-rising Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, winning 12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 in 64 minutes.

"We played in New York a few weeks ago, and I just managed to get through," recalled Willstrop of his previous clash with Momen, now ranked 11 in the world. "It was a tough battle, so beating somebody of his calibre 3/0, I couldn't be more pleased."

Darwish, looking for his first Tour win over Willstrop since November 2006, has much admiration for the 29-year-old from Leeds. "What can you say about James - he is one of the most talented players there is. I will have to have my basic game well in place tomorrow before thinking of going for shots."

A sparkling all-Egyptian clash stands out in the quarter-final line-up where reigning world champion Ramy Ashour will take on the four-time world champion Amr Shabana.

Shabana, the 33-year-old seventh seed, faced ninth-seeded compatriot Omar Mosaad. After the first two games were shared, Shabana edged a close third game and carried that momentum into the fourth, winning 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4 in 53 minutes.

"I rarely enjoy being on court at the moment, but today, I really did," said Shabana. "Omar has improved immensely, and that's why he is in the top 10 now. I really enjoyed this match with him."

Top seed Ashour dropped a game for the second day in a row against 16th seed Simon Rosner - but the 25-year-old from Cairo's athleticism and shot-making shone through as he overcame the German number one 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4.

"We've played three times now, and every time we just battle it out, because we know that the one that is giving 100% is going to be rewarded," said Ashour. "He is a fair player, and it's always good to play him, he is a great character that belongs in the top ten."

Non-Egyptian or English hopes in the event rest with Gregory Gaultier after the fourth seed from France beat top-ranked Spaniard Borja Golan 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 in 62 minutes.

"I was trying to stay accurate, not doing too much at the front," said the victorious 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence. "I would have liked a bit more rhythm probably, less stop start, but happy to get through in three before my match against Peter tomorrow."

Gaultier's next opponent is Peter Barker, the eighth seed from England who also survived a tough straight-game battle, winning 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 in 50 minutes against fellow left-hander Laurens Jan Anjema, the Dutch number one.

"I knew that it wasn't going to work trying to compete with LJ in a power contest," said Barker, the world No8 from London. "I just wanted to be thorough and make it as tough as I could for him, moving him to the four corners. I did that pretty well for the first two games but he came out and played well in the third, which could have gone either way."

2nd Round (bottom half of draw)

 

Rehman Rallies To Historic Austrian Open Success

Austrian Open tournament organiser and publicist Aqeel Rehman added the extra title 'tournament champion' to his credits when he upset top-seeded Englishman Chris Ryder in the final of the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 squash event at the Squash & Tennis Centre Gneis in Salzburg.

In his seventh successive appearance in the event at his home club, Rehman becomes the first ever home winner of the prestigious title which has PSA links back to the 1980s.

The Salzburg-born 27-year-old joins a distinguished championship 'Roll of Honour' which includes such eminent names as Peter Nicol (1998), Jansher Khan (1990, 1994 and 1997) and Chris Dittmar (1989).

Unseeded Rehman had a great run in the tournament, despatching South Africa's second seed Clinton Leeuw in the quarter-finals, and then beating Frenchman Lucas Serme in the semis to reach the tournament final for the first time.

But his opponent Chris Ryder seemed to be in good shape himself, after only dropping a single game on his way to the final.

But the Austrian underdog was boosted by a big crowd and was able to push himself for another great performance. Rehman had the better start and took the first game 11-6. Ryder, the world No71 from Leamington Spa, responded to the challenge and drew level.

The third game was the turning point of the match. After trading points till six-all, Ryder raced to a 9-6 lead. But again the partisan crowd played its part, and enabled Rehman to reclaim the advantage and retake the lead.

The fourth game was all Aqeel - and after racing to an 8-3 lead, it looked as if there could be only one winner. The Salzburg ace held his nerve to close out the match 11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 11-5 and claim his historic win.

"It's amazing to win this tournament," said Rehman later. "It has been the ninth year in a row that we staged this tournament in my home club and four times I made it to the semis. So after I finally got through to the final it's even more unreal to win it straight away against such a strong opponent, and not even being seeded at all!

"The crowd has been so great and really supporting and I am so proud to reach this and show them good squash. I am so happy to share this success with everyone here around me, but also my coach David Pearson back in England and my training partner Ong Beng Hee.

"It feels a bit strange being the organiser, host, player, all together," added the Austrian. "But I don't think anyone made me presents here!"

(top half of draw)

Shabana Leads Egyptian Trio Through In Kuwait

Amr Shabana, the 33-year-old from Cairo who won his fourth world championship title in Kuwait four years ago, led a trio of fellow Egyptians through to the last 16 of the Kuwait PSA Cup, the third PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.

The seventh seed faced fellow 33-year-old Olli Tuominen - the Finnish number one who he first came up against in the British Junior U14 Open semi-finals in January 1993!

After winning 11-8, 11-8, 11-5, Shabana recalled those early days. "It's always difficult to play Olli - we started playing like 20, 21 years ago. I thought I was in control more or less, but he started to come back, and when he gets a sniff at it, he becomes very dangerous. Now, I'm in the next round, and we'll see how it goes."

Shabana will now meet fellow countryman Omar Mosaad - the No9 seed from Cairo who grabbed one of the day's quickest wins, seeing off England's Jonathan Kemp 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 in just 28 minutes.

And top seed Ramy Ashour started where he left off in Virginia, USA, less than a week ago by recording his 32nd straight win on the PSA World Tour. With sights on his seventh successive Tour title, the world number one beat Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-2.

The 25-year-old from Cairo will next face 16th seed Simon Rosner, the top-ranked German who defeated Hong Kong's Leo Au 11-5, 11-5, 11-3.

"It's fun to play both Nicki and Simon," said Ashour later. "Finally I get to play players from my generation, instead of playing people 10 years older than me, and I'm enjoying it!

"You're always aware that you can lose, and the first round is as dangerous/difficult as the quarters or the final. There is no easy match. Never."

After thrilling the local crowds by upsetting higher-ranked South African Stephen Coppinger to earn a surprise place in the second round, Kuwaiti number one Abdullah Al Muzayen went down 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 to Gregory Gaultier, the fourth seed from France.

"Tonight it was far away from easy," said Gaultier, the new world No3. "Abdullah gave it his best, but he had a massive win yesterday, and it took a lot out of him. I could see him struggling to move in the second, but he still came back strong in the third."

Gaultier will now meet tenth seed Borja Golan - but the top-ranked Spaniard had the narrowest escape in his earlier second round clash. India's Saurav Ghosal took a two-game lead and looked to be in a strong position to record his first win in his fourth meeting with Golan.

But the Spaniard battled back, and took seven points in a row from 8-4 down in the fifth to record his 6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8 victory after 105 minutes.

"I so wanted to win that," admitted Golan, the world No10. "It was more a mental thing in the end, at 8-4 down I just pushed and he seemed to drop a little and I took advantage."
 

1st Round
 

Home Hero Al Muzayen Marks Kuwait Cup Upset

Kuwaiti squash star Abdullah Al Muzayen delighted the home crowd by pulling off a stunning upset in the first round of the Kuwait PSA Cup, the third PSA World Series event of the year at the Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.

The fast-improving world No38 recovered from a game down to topple in-form South African Stephen Coppinger - ranked a career-high 20 in the world - 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 in 73 minutes.

"Steve's a great player, but I've always played well in Kuwait and I really wanted to win it for the fans, and to give something back to the coaches and the KSF who have supported me so much," the left-hander said later.

"I hope everyone comes to support me when I play Gregory Gaultier," added the Kuwaiti number one as he contemplated his next match with the fourth seed from France. "I'll give it everything I have but they have to remember that he's the world number three!"

Hopes of further Kuwaiti interest in the second round were dashed later when England's world No17 Adrian Grant - the highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw - despatched 18-year-old wild card Yousif Nizar Saleh 11-3, 11-1, 11-7.

It was otherwise a day full of surprises - and marathon encounters. Cameron Pilley, the world No18 from Australia and the second highest-ranked player in action in the first round, squandered a match-ball in the third game against Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan before finally clinching victory over the Malaysian after 81 minutes and five games - 11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 5-11, 11-4.

Semi-retired Englishman Jonathan Kemp showed that he still has what it takes when he upset fellow countryman Chris Simpson, boasting a career-high world No26 ranking, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 in 54 minutes.

"Lost to Jon Kemp today in a 4set battle," Simpson told his Twitter followers later. "Had my chances in 1st and 4th, but the better player won today."

Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi became the youngest player through to the second round when he overcame experienced and higher-ranked Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4 in 68 minutes.

The 19-year-old from Cairo's first ever World Series win takes him through to a clash with Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the 15th seed.

Zac Alexander became the lowest-ranked player through to the last 32 round when he upset Martin Knight, the world No42 from New Zealand, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9. The Australian, ranked 62 in the world, progresses to face fifth-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish.
 

Preview

Ramy Ashour Seeded To Win PSA Cup In Kuwait

Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour is expected to notch up the 30th PSA World Tour title of his career at this week's Kuwait PSA Cup, the third PSA World Series squash event of the year at Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.

The unique event, originally scheduled for November last year but postponed due to local government elections, is open to the top 48 players in the world. The championship gets underway today and reaches its final on Thursday 14 March.

Squash legend Jahangir Khan, the record ten-time British Open champion from Pakistan who is Vice Chairman of the event's organising committee, said: "This is the latest event in our three-year deal with the PSA and we are delighted to welcome so many of the world's top players to Kuwait.

"We are indebted to the support of Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, the daughter of the Patriarch Amir HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah, who is Chairman of the organising committee. The Sheikha has played a huge role in supporting and developing squash in Kuwait for more than ten years - and this year this has led to additional backing from the government of Kuwait.

"Kuwait squash has advanced considerably in recent years," Khan continued. "The country's top player Abdullah Al Muzayen is now 38 in the world - and qualifies for the Kuwait PSA Cup by right! So we can have a second Kuwaiti in the draw as a wild card - and this will enable 18-year-old Yousif Nizar Saleh to compete in his first World Series championship."

With the first two World Series title of the year already under his belt, Ramy Ashour is enjoying a formidable run of form. The 25-year-old from Cairo has reached the final of the last nine Tour events in which he has participated - and claimed title triumphs in the most recent six in a row!

With the top 16 seeds receiving a bye in the first round, favourite Ashour faces the winner of the match between Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller and New Zealand champion Campbell Grayson to begin his Kuwait campaign for success.

England's James Willstrop is the event's defending champion. It was his surprise victory in Kuwait in November 2011 which led the 29-year-old from Leeds to top the world rankings for the first time in January 2012.

Third seed Willstrop is placed in the lower half of the draw - and will play his opening match against either Alan Clyne of Scotland or Frenchman Gregoire Marche.

England's Nick Matthew is the event's No2 seed. Winner of a record fifth British national title last month, world number two Matthew is looking to claim his first PSA Tour title of the year - and takes on the winner of the first round match featuring his Commonwealth Games gold-medal-winning doubles partner Adrian Grant and Kuwaiti wild card Yousif Nizar Saleh.

France's new world No3 Gregory Gaultier is the event's fourth seed. The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence - runner-up in the first World Series event of the year, the Tournament of Champions in New York - is in Ashour's half of the draw and lines up against either South African Stephen Coppinger or local hero Abdullah Al Muzayen in his opening match.