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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The win saw Ashour extend his unbeaten
Tour run - since losing last year's final to Matthew - to a remarkable 40
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
"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."
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,"
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
"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
"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!"
In a day beset by weather conditions which
finally led to the transfer of the last second round match in theAllam
British Open Squash ChampionshipsinHullonto
a conventional indoor court, AustralianCameron
Pilleypulled off the comeback
of the tournament to upset sixth-seeded EgyptianMohamed
Elshorbagyto become the
second unseeded player to reach the quarter-finals of thePSA
World Seriesevent at theKC
Stadiumin the English county
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.
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.
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 spokespersonScarlett
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."
will now face English hopeJames
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
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 atHull
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,
The win moves the former world number one a
step closer to a repeat of last year's epic semi-final againstRamy
Ashour, the reigning world number one from Egypt who despatched English
Simpson11-2, 11-4, 11-9 in
just 22 minutes.
Ashour will now face eighth seedBorja
Golanafter the top-ranked
Spaniard recovered from a game down to beat Egyptian qualifierKarim
Abdel Gawad9-11, 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
Into British Open Quarters
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
Barker managed to get back into the game, attempting to extend the rallies and
keep the ball away from Momen's dangerous volley.
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
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.
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
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
takes the 32-year-old from Sheffield one step closer to winning his third
consecutive British Open title and fourth in total.
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.
later, Matthew said the win had bolstered his confidence as he hadn't been
playing too well recently.
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
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.
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
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
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.
extending his unbeaten Tour run to 37 matches, Ashour described the present
season as his 'hardest, but most successful'.
"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."
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.
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
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
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.
absolutely ecstatic," said Simpson afterwards. "I was really up for it today as
it's the last tournament of the season for me.
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
James Willstrop kept his hopes of securing a first British Open title alive
after defeating South African Stephen Coppinger in a nail-biting first
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.
joins fellow Yorkshireman and world number two Nick Matthew in the
event's second round.
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
"I try not to
worry, I try to focus on what I am doing, try to keep relaxed."
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.
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,
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,
"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.
Referees John Masarella and Roy Gingel warm up after a
(lower half of draw):
British Open Title Defence Underway In Hull
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.
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.
out fighting in the early games, forcing the defending champion to make a series
of basic errors.
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.
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."
fellow Englishman and number seven seed Peter Barker sailed to victory
over Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in a match lasting 47 minutes.
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
Londoner said afterwards: "I felt that I started a little slowly but improved as
the match went on."
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.
also complimentary about the event: "It's beautiful venue, really cool to be
playing in a football stadium."
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.
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!"
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.
the set-up, Momen enthused: "I really like the court in the middle of a football
Open champion Gregory Gaultier (Left in Blue) started his 2013 campaign with an
excellent win against Alister Walker.
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
"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
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
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.