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27/05/2013
BRITISH OPEN (Men) 2013
 

Ramy Ashour Wins Historic British Open Title

Reports
  Final    Semi Finals     Quarter Finals    2nd Round    1st Round    Qualifying    Preview

Men's Draw

 

Round One
20/21 May
Round Two
22/23 May
Quarters
Fri 24 May
Semis
Sat 25 May
Final
Sun 26 May
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (39m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Ramy Ashour
11-2, 11-4, 11-9 (22m)
Chris Simpson
Ramy Ashour
11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (33m)
Borja Golan
Ramy Ashour
11-2, 11-9, 13-11 (37m)
James Willstrop
Ramy Ashour
7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (64m)
Gregory Gaultier
 
Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[LL] Joe Lee (ENG)
12-10, 11-4, 2-11, 11-8 (58m)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Karim Abdel Gawad
9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (55m)
Borja Golan
[8] Borja Golan (ESP)
11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9 (59m)
Adrian Grant (ENG)
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (34m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
13-15, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 (74m)
Cameron Pilley
Cameron Pilley
9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 (107m)
James Willstrop
Cameron Pilley (AUS)
11-1, 11-8, 14-12 (46m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Simon Rosner (GER)
11-4, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (46m)
[WC] Adrian Waller (ENG)
Simon Rosner
11-9, 11-1, 11-6 (41m)
James Willstrop
[3] James Willstrop (ENG)
12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10 (57m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Alister Walker (BOT)
11-6, 11-9, 11-1 (47m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Gregory Gaultier
11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-0 (61m)
Saurav Ghosal
Gregory Gaultier
11-8, 11-7, 15-13 (59m)
Peter Barker
Gregory Gaultier
9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (70m)
Nick Matthew
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (28m)
Tarek Momen (EGY)
Tarek Momen
9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 (43m)
Peter Barker
[Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
12-10, 11-9, 11-4 (47m)
[8] Peter Barker (ENG)
[Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY)
11-9, 11-9, 11-3 (28m)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY)
Karim Darwish
11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (33m)
Daryl Selby
Karim Darwish
11-6, 11-2, 12-10 (40m)
Nick Matthew
Olli Tuominen (FIN)
11-7, 11-9, 13-11 (49m)

Daryl Selby (ENG)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6 (56m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (38m)
Nick Matthew
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (31m)
[2] Nick Matthew

RESULTS: PSA World Series Allam British Open, Pontefract, England

Qualifying finals:
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (56m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (37m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-7, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6 (45m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 8-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 (96m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (32m)
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9 (69m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 (55m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (86m)

Qualifying                
1st qualifying round:
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 17-15, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 (58m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 (45m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (48m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 13-15, 11-2 (53m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Peter Creed (WAL) 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (30m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9 (70m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-7, 4-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 (99m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Joel Hinds (ENG) 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (62m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Declan James (ENG) 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 (34m)
Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-7, 6-11, 14-12, 11-8 (60m)
Mohd Ali Anw! ar Reda (EGY) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 11-1 (50m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 (73m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Bradley Smith (ENG) 11-1, 11-2, 11-4 (25m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Anthony Graham (ENG) 13-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9 (55m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) bt James Earles (ENG) 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (29m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 8-11, 12-14, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (92m)

 

2012 Event Page (Men)       2012 Event Page (Women)

Reports
  Final    Semi Finals     Quarter Finals    2nd Round    1st Round    Qualifying    Preview

Final

Ramy Ashour Wins Historic British Open Title

Today's sensational climax of the 2013 Allam British Open Squash Championships, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year staged on an all-glass court erected on the pitch of soon-to-be English Premier League football club Hull City, saw Ramy Ashour make history by becoming the first Egyptian in 47 years to win the sport's prestigious title.

Despite having produced world champions, world number ones and currently five players in the PSA men's world top ten, Egypt has not boasted a British Open champion since 1966 - when the legendary AA AbouTaleb won the trophy for the third year in a row in London.

Undefeated since losing the 2012 final in London exactly a year ago, Ashour was firm favourite to have his name inscribed on the trophy this year. But the top seed dropped his first game of the tournament as French rival Gregory Gaultier took an early lead in the final of the first staging of the event in Yorkshire since 1974.

Gaultier, the first French winner of the title in 2007, tried to continue where he had left off in the second - but was unable to take the ball as early as previously with Ashour become more patient on the attack.

As the Egyptian forced the Frenchman into making more errors, Ashour grew in confidence and finished the second on his first game ball to draw level.

Gaultier started the third with more aggression with 25-year-old Ashour making a few uncharacteristic errors. At 7-5 to Gaultier, it looked as if the match was swinging back in his favour - but a few patient rallies and errors from the world number three got Ashour back on track at 10-7 and again the Egyptian closed out the game at the first opportunity.

Ashour built up a 6-3 lead in the fourth as his opponent began to show signs of fatigue. But a series of unforced errors from the Cairo king saw Gaultier win four points in a row to lead the game for the first time.

Ashour regrouped to reclaim the lead and after both players put the ball out of the court in successive rallies, Ashour clinched his first match-ball with a deft forehand shot into the nick to win 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 in 64 minutes.

After shaking his opponent's hand and seeing Gaultier out of the court, Ashour leapt into the air in celebration before falling to the ground to kiss the floor - where he stayed for several minutes, clearly tearful with emotion.

When asked to express his feelings, several minutes later, the new champion said: "There's a famous quote: the game is just a game - it's what you play for that matters.

"I've been preparing for eight weeks for this tournament - but I've had lots of hard times over the last two weeks, so I'm really proud of myself for what I've achieved.

"Winning this prestigious title is one of the happiest moments of my life, if not the happiest," continued the exuberant Ashour, now winner of his 41st PSA Tour match in a row, and his eighth successive title.

"I've experienced waking up in the morning every day with a heavy heart and a heavy spirit. There have been a lot of distractions. But I've learnt a lot from the last couple of weeks.

"Winning this title is really big for me. It's something I will always remember," the new British Open Champion concluded.

A disconsolate Gaultier said: "I'm very disappointed. I did what I could. I wanted to win so much.

"But Ramy played better today and he thoroughly deserved it.

"Hopefully next time I will come back stronger. I really want to win this title again," concluded the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence.

 

Semi Finals

Ashour & Gaultier Deny Home British Open Finalists In Hull

English duo Nick Matthew and James Willstrop were unable to exploit home advantage today in their county of Yorkshire when they went down in the semi-finals of the Allam British Open Squash Championships, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year in Hull.

The historic event came to life at the KC Stadium as the capacity crowd in the stands of the Hull City football ground enjoyed dramatic semi-final clashes.

Second seed Matthew's hopes of a historic fourth British Open title were dashed by fourth-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in a fiery encounter in the opening semi-final.

Defending champion Matthew went on the attack in the first game, playing hard and fast and trying to dominate his opponent. The 32-year-old from Sheffield quickly took the score to 4-0 and, looking to make light work of the Frenchman, moved the game on to 8-1.

But Gaultier (pictured in Hull action with Matthew) fought back, winning a massive seven points in a row to level the match. Nine-all followed - but home hero Matthew managed to take the last two points to open up a first game lead.

By the second game, however, the Frenchman was setting the pace of the match and had Matthew on the run. The world No3 from Aix-en-Provence dominated from the off, going 4-0 up quickly, before progressing to 7-2. Although Matthew clawed back a couple of points, the inevitable was soon realised with Gaultier drawing level.

Gaultier again dominated early in the third. Matthew fought back with some strong rallies but always missed out on the point. Gaultier reached game ball at 11-2 - and although Matthew pulled one point back, the game belonged to the Frenchman who won 11-3.

With the chance of a place in the final slipping away, Matthew fought tooth and nail to get back into the match. The two players matched each other point-for-point early in the game - but then Gaultier again started to edge away to make it 7-4. Matthew pulled back to 7-6 but from there on the Frenchman dominated.

A controversial video review at match ball looked to offer the Brit a lifeline but a rally later Matthew was sent crashing out of the championship, Gaultier winning 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 in 70 minutes.

"I really wanted to do well at the British Open and was well prepared," said the elated Frenchman later. "I was happy with how I played. I wanted to get back up the rankings and the only way to do that is to win matches."

The win takes Gaultier into his 51st PSA Tour final - and sees the 30-year-old former world number one back in the British Open climax for the first time since becoming France's first winner of the title in 2007.

The second semi-final was a repeat of last year's at the London O2 Arena - with Pontefract's Willstrop taking on Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour.

In a high-quality encounter, Ashour continued his formidable form, treating the crowd to an array of outrageous flicks, drops and nicks that literally made the capacity crowd audience whoop in awe.

It was less than 24 hours earlier that Willstrop had staged the comeback of the tournament to beat Australian Cameron Pilley in a tense five-game 107-minute clash.

With Willstrop clearly needing time to refocus, the first game was all Ashour as the Egyptian raced to a 8-0 lead - with every attacking shot he tried landing perfectly in the nick, much to the dismay of the local hero.

The Yorkshireman even joked with the world number one after an astonishing point saw the Egyptian casually take the ball from almost between his legs and land it in the nick. First game to the favourite after only six minutes.

In the second, the two went point for point to eight-all - the Englishman beginning to move Ashour away from the middle of the court, stretching the game out to his advantage. At crucial stages of the game, however, Ashour was patient to attack - showcasing not only his short game but finding the perfect length to take the second 11-9.

A large contingent from Willstrop's home club, who had made the 40-minute journey down the M62 from Pontefract, did their best to lift the three-time British Open runner up.

But it wasn't to be for the 29-year-old who, despite having three game balls in the third, eventually tinned Ashour's first match-ball to see the Egyptian move into the final for the second year in a row.

The win saw Ashour extend his unbeaten Tour run - since losing last year's final to Matthew - to a remarkable 40 matches!

When asked what it meant to him to be in the British Open final, Ashour said: "It means a lot - but the pressure is still on. Greg is more than on fire. He's almost a rocket! I was watching and he's playing brilliantly.

"I have to keep pushing myself and still remember that the tournament is still on, despite the very good match with James today. It might have taken a lot out of me but I'll still push and I'll still give it my all and I'm very proud to be in it.

"I had a feeling that James might be a little tired from yesterday, so had to get in and play shots before he did," added Ashour, now in the 46th Tour final of his career. "Because if I get caught in his trap, I'm screwed basically! He's a great player and a great character on and off court and it's a great pleasure to play against him.

"The British Open is a prestigious tournament, and we should give thanks to Dr Allam for putting the event back on the map. It's great to have it back because it was greatly missed.

"I'll be more than happy if I can win it - but I have a big mountain to climb first."
 

Quarter Finals

Calmed Willstrop Carves Out British Open Comeback

At two games down and two points away from a major collapse, England's James Willstrop credited the calming influence of his coaches - father Malcolm Willstrop and brother David Campion - for helping him through to the semi-finals of the Allam British Open Squash Championships after beating Australian rival Cameron Pilley in the longest match of the PSA World Series event in Hull in the English county of Yorkshire.

Adverse weather conditions meant a temporary venue change for the 2013 Allam British Open as play was moved from the outdoor all-glass showcourt at KC Stadium to nearby Hull & East Riding Squash Club - a club that title sponsor Dr Allam has also invested in with a brand new 100-seater showcourt opened just a few weeks ago, now centre stage for the quarter final matches.

It was all go for the event organisers who managed to swap everything over in time for a midday start on a day when several sporting events fell foul of the weather - including the Giro d'Italia and the Test match in Leeds.

The event's biggest seeding upset seemed on the cards when world No15 Pilley was on the verge of recording a career-first win over English hope Willstrop, the world No4 from Yorkshire who has three British Open final appearances to his credit.

Willstrop later admitted that he was struggling to 'concentrate mentally' at the beginning of the match.

Unseeded Pilley - who had reached the quarter-finals after a major upset over sixth seed Mohamed Elshorbagy - played tight, accurate squash and his trademark powerful hitting caused the former world No1 all sorts of problems.

At 12-12 in the third game, the match swung in favour of Willstrop after several let balls - and the Yorkshireman finally converted game ball at 13-12, much to the delight of the vocal crowd.

Willstrop (right) suddenly woke up after some firm words from his coaching team - and drew level before crushing the fatigued Pilley, who was starting to suffer from cramp, 11-2 in the fifth.

Struggling to catch his breath, the third seed expressed his gratitude to the team around him for pulling him through the 107-minute match. "At 2-0 down, I needed calm people - so thank you to them. I wanted to win it for them. I can't tell you how hard it was," explained the 29-year-old from Harrogate.

"The intensity of that squash is like brain ache - I have to concentrate so hard - but I'm really pleased to say I'm a semi-finalist," added Willstrop.

Fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew also made it through to the last four. The three-time British Open champion from Sheffield has had a slight dip of form of late - but seems to be recapturing his hunger as he stormed through his quarter final encounter against fifth seed Karim Darwish.

The Egyptian is a class act: the pair have met eleven times previously, with Matthew only one win ahead of his opponent - but, with renewed fight and passion, the second seed was relentless in his attacking. Darwish seemed under constant pressure and the Egyptian lost the first game 11-6.

The second game was much of the same with Darwish seeming to tire from the world number two's energy and precision.

The 31-year-old from Cairo mounted a comeback in the third - but there was no stopping title-holder Matthew who held his nerve to take the match 11-6, 11-2, 12-10.

A pleased Matthew told the crowd he was happy the squash was able to continue despite the weather. "We hear today about so many sport events that have been cancelled all over the country, but at least squash is able to go on. My heart goes to the people that bought tickets today and weren't able to come due to the change of circumstances, but I hope we'll be back on the glass court tomorrow.

"It took a lot of effort from a lot of people to make sure that we would be able to play, thanks very much to all of them for making it happen, and you know, there is always a little hiccup or two when somebody is trying to take the sport to the next level," explained Matthew.

Matthew will be hoping to continue his form into Saturday's semi-finals when he faces Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, (left) who came through in three against the unseeded Egyptian Tarek Momen.

The former British Open champion from Aix-en-Provence was clearly fired up for his quarter final match - coming out the more aggressive of the two to take a 1/0 lead.

An entertaining second game saw both players taking the ball in short at every opportunity, which made for some incredible rallies with unbelievable pick-ups from two of the fastest players on the PSA World Tour.

A few fist pumps and great retrievals with a combination of fast paced hitting saw Gaultier go 2/0 up. Despite a closer third game the fourth seed managed to keep collected and close out the match 14/12.

"He's quick to the front and moves you there so well that I managed to keep my body and mind focused all the way through," said Gaultier - who added that he was looking forward to returning to the glass court and a passionate crowd.

Top seed Ramy Ashour looks to be the man to beat as he eased past Spain's Borja Golan in just over half an hour. The Egyptian world number one was at his typical best - sublime movement mixed with extraordinary racket skills.

The 25-year-old from Cairo is now unbeaten since losing the 2012 British Open final - with 39 successive Tour wins to his credit.

"I can't forget that I am on a winning streak as everybody keeps talking to me about it every three/five minutes," said the event favourite. "So I thank them for the compliment when they are telling me that I did a good job.

"Then I put it out of my mind, and concentrate on what's important - today's match!"
 

2nd Round Top Half

Pilley Pulls Off Great Escape As Rain Stops Play In Hull

In a day beset by weather conditions which finally led to the transfer of the last second round match in the Allam British Open Squash Championships inHull onto a conventional indoor court, Australian Cameron Pilley pulled off the comeback of the tournament to upset sixth-seeded Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy to become the second unseeded player to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA World Series event at the KC Stadium in the English county of Yorkshire.

Elshorbagy, the world No5 and a semi-finalist in last year's event, was the favourite heading into their last 16 round match - and could not have expected what was to come.

A tight opener saw the two exchanging points up until 12-12 when a sudden downpour caused the crowd surrounding the open air court erected on the turf of the soon-to-be Premier League Hull City football club to head to the back of the stand - with a surprised Pilley shouting "where's everyone going?" much to the amusement of the crowd.

Pilley was the first to crack and the Egyptian took the first 15-13 - swiftly followed by a comfortable second 11-4.

"What came next was a truly epic and gritty comeback from the Aussie at 9-3 down, with even members of the crowd leaving for refreshment and overheard saying 'this one's all over'," said event spokesperson Scarlett Smith. "How wrong they turned out to be."

Pilley went on an incredible run winning the next eight points to secure the third 11-9 - then the fourth 11-6 to set up a thrilling decider.

A no let decision on match ball for Elshorbagy at 10-9 gave Pilley the tie-break and some frantic rallying ensued with both looking understandably edgy.

After saving a further match ball, Pilley reached his first match ball 12-11 - which he duly converted after a long rally when the Egyptian's shot hit the tin.

"You've got to have faith in yourself - I had it under control the whole time," joked Pilley minutes after the 13-15, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 victory which takes him into the quarter-finals of the historic championship for the first time in his fifth attempt.

"There was no purpose in my game early on - it was awful," admitted the tall 30-year-old from New South Wales. "I relaxed a little bit and tried to straighten up a bit and try and volley more than him.

"He's beaten me the last few times, so I'm pleased to get through."

Pilley will now face English hope James Willstrop, the world No4 from Yorkshire who has reached the event's final on three occasions, each time finishing as runner-up.

In the last match of the day against world No12 Simon Rosner, the German was leading 6-5 when rain stopped play and it was decided that the match should be moved to an indoor court at Hull and East Riding Squash Club.

The third-seeded Yorkshireman was clearly fired up and adjusted to the warmer and drier conditions much more quickly than his opponent, taking just 41 playing minutes to close out the match 11-9, 11-1, 11-6.

The win moves the former world number one a step closer to a repeat of last year's epic semi-final against Ramy Ashour, the reigning world number one from Egypt who despatched English qualifier Chris Simpson 11-2, 11-4, 11-9 in just 22 minutes.

Ashour will now face eighth seed Borja Golan after the top-ranked Spaniard recovered from a game down to beat Egyptian qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 in 55 minutes.

"We only play two or three tournaments outside a year so it does take a bit of getting used to," commented the Spaniard after reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since making his British Open debut in 2004.

2nd Round Lower Half

Momen Motors Into British Open Quarters

English hope Peter Barker became the biggest seeding casualty in the Allam British Open Squash Championships after unseeded Egyptian Tarek Momen claimed a shock four-game victory over last year's semi-finalist, the No7 seed, in today's second round of the PSA World Series event at t

he KC Stadium in Hull in the English county of Yorkshire.

On the cold open-air court sited on the turf of the soon-to-be Premier League football club, the pair (pictured in action below) were facing each other for the first time. Underdog Momen raced into a 6-1 lead to take the London-born left-hander by surprise.

World No7 Barker managed to get back into the game, attempting to extend the rallies and keep the ball away from Momen's dangerous volley.

Barker clinched the opening game, but the 25-year-old from Cairo - who had never previously progressed beyond the event's first round - started to be more adventurous with his shot choice, and it paid off.

"I'm over the moon," said the beaming Momen after his 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 upset in 43 minutes.

"At crucial times I played well - my shots that usually go into the tin worked!" exclaimed the first-time quarter-finalist.

Momen will now face former champion Gregory Gaultier after the fourth seed from France recorded a four-game victory over Indian number one Saurav Ghosal.

It was far from straightforward for the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence who was up against the renowned speed and agility of the Kolkata-born, but Yorkshire-based, Ghosal. There were some entertaining rallies for the lively crowd with plenty of retrieval and both players looking to take the ball in short.

"Playing Saurav in those conditions, with his touch, is a real nightmare," said a relieved Gaultier after his 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-0 win in 61 minutes. "He keeps retrieving everything, and made it difficult for me to get to the front corners."

Reigning champion Nick Matthew, the world No2 from Yorkshire, stormed through his second round match. England's top-seeded player beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 in a masterful display of squash that lasted just 38 minutes.

The victory takes the 32-year-old from Sheffield one step closer to winning his third consecutive British Open title and fourth in total.

Matthew dominated from the start, never allowing his opponent to settle into his game. His aggressive approach forced Anjema into making a series of errors from which the world No17 could not recover.

Speaking later, Matthew said the win had bolstered his confidence as he hadn't been playing too well recently.

"There's not been too much pressure on me this week - people have been talking about the other players who have been in better form than me.

"But as long as I can keep performing like that then hopefully I won't be far off again this year."

Matthew will face Karim Darwish in the quarter-finals after the Egyptian beat England's Daryl Selby 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 in the evening's final match.

 

1st Round Top Half

Ramy Ashour Extends Unbeaten Run in Hull

Ramy Ashour, the world number one from Egypt who last lost a match in the final of the 2012 Allam British Open Squash Championships in London, extended his unbeaten run into a second year when he beat compatriot Omar Mosaad in tonight's first round of the 2013 championship, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year at the KC Stadium in Hull in the English county of Yorkshire.

Top seed Ashour (pictured in first round action) dominated from the off against world No10 Mosaad with some extremely precise hitting and deft foot work. Looking relaxed, the favourite was soon 3-0 up. Mosaad fought back but soon found himself one game down.

In the second, Mosaad opened up a 6-1 lead. But 25-year-old Ashour refocused to take five points on the trot to draw level before moving on to stretch his lead to two games.

Underdog Mosaad again showed his mettle in the third game, attacking strongly and taking the score to 6-3. But Ashour again fought back, this time displaying some moments of brilliance, to win eight points consecutively to close out the match 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 in 39 minutes.

Speaking after extending his unbeaten Tour run to 37 matches, Ashour described the present season as his 'hardest, but most successful'.

He said: "There is a lot of tough players (in the Allam British Open). Of course I want to win, but if I don't it will be because of a better player than me."

Ashour will now face surprise opponent Chris Simpson, an English qualifier who pulled off the event's first upset when he defeated Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 in 50 minutes.

Mueller, the world No20, had the better of the opening exchanges but Simpson stepped it up in the second, hitting better length and width which secured the second game to draw level.

The Guernsey-born 26-year-old fell behind in the third but came back strongly from 6-1 down to celebrate with a fist pump and win the game 11-9 to take a crucial 2/1 lead.

There was no stopping the English underdog in the fourth as he confidently stormed through to take the match - and, for the first time in his career, book a place in the event's second round.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic," said Simpson afterwards. "I was really up for it today as it's the last tournament of the season for me.

"I don't normally give a fist-pump at the end of a game, but I came from 1-6 down to win the third - that was a big game for me. I think I played some of my best squash today."

Local hero James Willstrop kept his hopes of securing a first British Open title alive after defeating South African Stephen Coppinger in a nail-biting first round match.

The world number four from Harrogate in Yorkshire took 57 minutes to stop Coppinger 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10 as the two players traded points in the most exciting match of the tournament so far.

Willstrop now joins fellow Yorkshireman and world number two Nick Matthew in the event's second round.

A delighted Willstrop described winning his first round match as a 'very positive' thing. "I came through it when he was making some very serious challenges - and that is positive.

"I try not to worry, I try to focus on what I am doing, try to keep relaxed."

Willstrop is seeded to meet Ashour in the semi-final on Saturday in a repeat of last year's epic encounter at the London O2 Arena.

In rare twist of fate, Karim Abdel Gawad and Joe Lee ended up playing each other for the second time in the tournament after Englishman Lee was awarded a lucky loser spot after the qualifying finals.

Unfortunately for the London-born 23-year-old, Lee could not avenge his earlier qualifying defeat to the Egyptian and went down by the same 3/1 scoreline.

"It was a very close game and I was lucky to win today," Gawad, the world No24 from Cairo, reflected afterwards.

Australian Cameron Pilley was clearly fired up for his first round match against Ong Beng Hee - and proved to be too strong for the Malaysian with an 11-1, 11-8, 14-12 win.

"I tried to stamp my authority on the match and focussed on getting a good length on the court," said the top-ranked Australian.


The Court at Hull F.C.

Gregory Gaultier

Referees John Masarella and Roy Gingel warm up after a session outside 

1st round (lower half of draw):

Matthew's British Open Title Defence Underway In Hull

England's world number two Nick Matthew crafted a convincing victory over Henrik Mustonen in the first round of the Allam British Open Squash Championships in his quest to secure a record fourth title in the PSA World Series event at the KC Stadium in Hull in the English county of Yorkshire.

The Yorkshireman (pictured in action with Mustonen) will now face Laurens Jan Anjema from the Netherlands in the second round after beating the Finnish qualifier 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 in 31 minutes.

Mustonen came out fighting in the early games, forcing the defending champion to make a series of basic errors.

But the omnipresent Brit began to own the court as the match progressed and by the third game had begun a clinical assault on his valiant Finnish challenger.

Matthew first triumphed at the historic tournament in 2006 and went on to reclaim the title in 2009. Last year he took top prize for a third time in an action-packed final against current world number one Ramy Ashour at the London 02 Arena, at the inaugural staging of the Allam British Open.

"He came out to win, full credit to him for that," said Matthew, who acknowledged that it was "amazing" to be playing in his home county. "I'm so pleased to be here and hopefully have a lot of local support."

Elsewhere fellow Englishman and number seven seed Peter Barker sailed to victory over Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in a match lasting 47 minutes.

Reda reached game ball first, but Barker saw him off 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 with some tight and accurate hitting that allowed the Brit to dominate the latter stages of the match.

The delighted Londoner said afterwards: "I felt that I started a little slowly but improved as the match went on."

Anjema started at high tempo against Ryan Cuskelly - which seemed to catch the Australian by surprise as the Dutchman raced into a two-game lead. Cuskelly slowed down the pace effectively in the third to pull one back but Anjema steadied himself and regained the momentum to take the match 3/1.

Anjema was also complimentary about the event: "It's beautiful venue, really cool to be playing in a football stadium."

India's Saurav Ghosal proved too strong for English qualifier Jonathan Kemp in the opening match at the KC Stadium.

The game was played at a frantic pace with 32-year-old Kemp going for some spectacular shots but finding it difficult to outmanoeuvre his quick opponent.

Commenting after the match, the Yorkshire-based Indian number one said: "Happy to win 3/0 after a close match against a very talented and dangerous opponent today - definitely some fast and furious points on there!"

The all-Egyptian affair between Tarek Momen and Marwan Elshorbagy was a typically attacking match with both players exchanging daring shots in the opening stages. The pair went shot for shot with Momen just edging the first two games 11-9 before running away with the third 11-4 in a match that lasted just short of half an hour.

Commenting on the set-up, Momen enthused: "I really like the court in the middle of a football stadium!"

Former British Open champion Gregory Gaultier (Left in Blue) started his 2013 campaign with an excellent win against Alister Walker.

The Frenchman looked in sharp form as he despatched Walker, from Botswana, in straight games 11-6, 11-9, 11-1. Gaultier attacked throughout and dominated the middle, much to his opponent's frustration.

Afterwards Gaultier commented: "It was a really tough first few games played at a good pace. I'm happy to get the win and would really like to win the tournament again although it is so tough at the moment with so many quality players."

England's Daryl Selby made his way through to the second round in a tough game against Finland's Olli Tuominen. The two were neck and neck in the first at 5-5 before a surge of attacking play by Selby took him to a 10-5 lead before he closed the game out 11-6.

The second was closer with both players attacking to take the game to eight-all. Selby upped the pace and played a superb back hand drop to reach game-ball before taking the second 11-9.

Tuominen took a quick 5-0 lead in the third before Selby refocused to level at 5-5. The Finn moved on to game-ball, but Selby sneaked a 13-11 win to take the match in three.

In the last game of the day Karim Darwish, who missed last year's event through injury, looked in good form as he sailed past compatriot and qualifier Andrew Wagih Shoukry in just under half an hour.

 

Qualifying

Egyptians Dominate British Open Qualifiers

Egyptians claimed four of the eight qualifying slots in the Allam British Open Squash Championships to boost to nine the nation's count in the main draw of the fourth PSA World Series event of the year which gets underway today at the KC Stadium in Hull in the English county of Yorkshire.

Andrew Wagih Shoukry became the lowest-ranked player to qualify after pulling off one of the biggest qualifying finals upsets. The 22-year-old from Cairo beat Scotland's world No31 Alan Clyne 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 in 86 minutes to make his British Open debut.

"When I was down 2/0, I guess I still I had that hunger," said Wagih. "I knew it was going to be so hard to try and beat one of the fittest player on the circuit, but I just kept fighting and now the tournament is not finished, let's see what it brings!"

Alexandria-born Marwan Elshorbagy became the youngest qualifier when he beat fellow Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.

"I'm happy with the way I played today," said the UK-based 19-year-old who made his British Open debut last year. "It's nice finally get through again, especially without having too heavy matches."

Home interest in the 2013 British Open is also boosted by three - with London-born Joe Lee suffering an 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 defeat to Karim Abdel Gawad only to then receive the 'Lucky Loser' slot in the draw (created by the withdrawal of No7 seed Amr Shabana), where he will again face the Egyptian qualifier in a re-match!

Ipswich veteran Jonathan Kemp earned his sixth appearance in the main draw since 2004 after defeating Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-7, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6, while Guernsey-born Chris Simpson saw off Egyptian teenager Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 to secure a fourth appearance in the first round.

English Trio Progress In British Open Qualifiers

English trio Joe Lee, Chris Simpson and Jonathan Kemp progressed through to the qualifying finals of the Allam British Open Squash Championships at the expense of fellow Britons in the first qualifying round at Pontefract Squash Club in Yorkshire.

The main draw of the 2013 Allam British Open, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year, will take place for the first time at the KC Stadium in the nearby city of Hull from 20-26 May.

Lee, a London-born 23-year-old looking to secure his first appearance in the main draw of the historic championship, beat England's Ben Coleman 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 - and will now face the top-ranked player in the qualifiers for a place in the main draw.

Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, the 21-year-old world No24 from Cairo, defeated experienced Englishman Chris Ryder 17-15, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7.

Guernsey-born Simpson, fresh from his Tour title triumph in last week's Jersey Classic, despatched Englishman Declan James 11-5, 11-5, 11-2. The Harrogate-based world No26 now also lines up against an Egyptian, Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry.

The delighted 19-year-old from Cairo upset Hong Kong's Leo Au, ranked 13 places higher, 11-7, 6-11, 14-12, 11-8 in 60 minutes.

"It means so much to me," said teenager Ga Sabry. "This is only my second big tournament ever, and getting to play in the British Open is one of my dreams!"

Veteran Jonathan Kemp became the third English success on the day after beating Welshman Peter Creed 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 in just 30 minutes.

Buoyed by two PSA Tour title wins already this month, the 32-year-old from Ipswich now faces Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan in a bid to secure his sixth appearance in the main draw of the British Open since 2004.

Adnan carries Malaysian hopes through to the qualifying finals single-handedly after surviving a 70-minute battle against US champion Christopher Gordon 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9.

 

Preview

Ramy Ashour Seeded To Win First British Open

The drw for the  British Open Squash Championship revealed that Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour is seeded to win the most prestigious squash title in the world for the first time - in a predicted repeat of the 2012 final against England's defending champion Nick Matthew.

The 2013 Allam British Open, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year, will take place for the first time at the KC Stadium in Hull, in East Yorkshire, England, from 20-26 May.

In a historic first for the event which can trace its history back to the 1920s, the draw was conducted live on PSA SquashTV - and watched by squash enthusiasts all over the world.

The in-form Ashour, who has won all three World Series events so far this year and is unbeaten on the PSA World Tour since losing to Matthew in last year's British Open final, will face compatriot Omar Mosaad, the world No11, in the opening round.

But second-seeded Yorkshireman Matthew will lead home hopes in his seventh appearance in the main draw of the British Open since 2002 - but his first in the county in which he has lived since birth, 32 years ago.

The three-time British Open champion will be looking to perform as he did last year, when he swept aside all competition at London's O2 Arena to become the first Englishman to win the title for a third time.

"I watched the draw tonight on Squash TV, it looked a great event and great for the publicity of the British Open," said Matthew from his home in Sheffield. "More tournaments should be allowed to do the draw this way to add profile to an event.

"I would love to have been there, not only as defending champion but also to support the fine initiatives of Dr Allam and everyone in Hull who are contributing to squash and the sport in general in our region - but unfortunately I had a prior commitment on the other side of the M62 in Manchester.

"The draw itself looks tough throughout and is an incredibly strong field," added the world number two. "There aren't many surprises any more as most of the guys in the main draw are all seasoned pros and we have played or seen each other play many times before.

"Every last player in the field will believe they can win, and I am excited at the prospect, and challenge, of defending my title on home soil."

Fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop will also be relishing the opportunity to play in his home county. The 29-year-old third seed from Leeds came so close to winning the tournament in 2005, 2008 and 2009 - finishing as runner-up on all three occasions.

Previous British Open winner Gregory Gaultier is the fourth seed. The 30-year-old Frenchman will be looking to reclaim the title that he won in 2007.

All of the world's top 23 male players will be present in Hull to compete on the spectacular all-glass show court at the KC Stadium.

This year's event also has extra significance as the sport bids to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games, with the IOC making their decision later this year.