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Proud Matthew Makes World No1 Ranking His Own

CASE Swedish Open 2014
04-09 Feb
Linkoping, $70k
Round One
06 Feb
Round One
07 Feb
Round One
08 Feb
Round One
09 Feb
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
 11/5, 6/11, 11/9, 14/12 (57m)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
Ramy Ashour
7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 (46m)
Omar Mosaad
Ramy Ashour
9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (72m)
Amr Shabana
Ramy Ashour
11-13, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (91m)
Nick Matthew
[8] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
13/11, 11/9, 11/9 (39m)
Rasmus Hult (Swe)
[6] Amr Shabana (Egy)
9/11, 11/4, 11/3, 11/4 (37m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (Eng)
Amr Shabana
11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (48m)
Borja Golan
[4] Borja Golan (Esp)
11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (44m)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
Tom Richards (Eng)
11/7, 11/3, 12/10 (45m)
[3] Nick Matthew (Eng)
 Nick Matthew
11-3, 11-3, 11-6 (44m)
Daryl Selby
Nick Matthew
12-10, 11-8, 11-1 (61m)
Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Grégoire Marche (Fra)
10/12, 11/6, 9/11, 11/6, 11/1 (75m)
[7] Daryl Selby (Eng)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/7, 3/11, 11/7, 8/11, 11/5 (71m)
[5] Peter Barker (Eng)
Peter Barker
11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (30m)
Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Adrian Waller (Eng)
11/6, 11/7, 11/4 (38m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)

RESULTS: Case Swedish Open, Linköping, Sweden

Linköping Sporthall

Qualifying finals:
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-4, 11-9, 12-10
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Max Lee (HKG) 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 15-13
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-5, 11-8, 11-3

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Proud Matthew Makes World No1
Ranking His Own

Nick Matthew regained exclusive rights to next month's World No.1 Squash Ranking after securing a dramatic five-game victory over Ramy Ashour in today's final of the Case Swedish Open, the PSA World Tour International 70 event celebrating its 11th successive year at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping.
The three-time World Champion from Sheffield uniquely shared the top world ranking this month with
Gregory Gaultier – but despatched the event's defending champion in straight games in the semi-finals to move ahead of his French rival.
And in his sixth appearance in the Swedish Open final since 2004, Matthew today recovered from a game down to upset the top seed from Egypt 11-13, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 in 91 minutes to claim his first complete match win over Ashour, the World No.1 throughout 2013, since May 2012.
"I'm proud to be Swedish Open Champion," said 33-year-old Matthew later.  "It was one of the toughest matches I ever played – it tested everything; Physical, Mental, Technical & Tactical."
PSA SquashTV commentator Joey Barrington succinctly summed up the performance which guaranteed Matthew's sole status as World No.1 in March:  "The way he played was absolutely exemplary."
Ashour made his PSA Tour debut in Sweden after an injury layoff since December.  But, while disappointed with the loss, the 26-year-old from Cairo was delighted to survive the tournament unscathed.
"I was really pleased with my performance," Ashour told the crowd after the trophy presentations.  "I am just glad to get to the final and give it 100%.  I was happy to finish the tournament without coming out disappointed.
"Nick was very consistent.  He's in top form right now."
Ashour summed up his feelings later to his Twitter followers:  "Not happy to lose, but happy to come out of the court in one piece 'injury free', and Nick was the better player today."
Matthew's triumph marks his fourth Swedish Open title – and takes his career Tour title haul to 29.


Masterful Matthew Powers To Historic Win
A masterful performance by England's Nick Matthew (right) in the historic first ever match between two joint world number ones saw the three-time World Champion defeat Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in straight games in the semi-finals of the Case Swedish Open, the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event celebrating its 11th successive year at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping.
"I played really well today against Greg," said the 33-year-old from Sheffield who won the title three years in a row from 2009 – but lost to Gaultier in the 2013 final.
"The first two games could have gone either way and I had the momentum in the third," said Matthew of his impressive 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 victory in 61 minutes over the 31-year-old from Aix-en-Provence who had looked supreme in the earlier rounds.
"It's always a big mental and physical battle.
"I think the rally we had at 7-8 in the first game might have been the hardest I have ever had in my life," continued the Yorkshireman, now in the 59th Tour final of his career – and his sixth Swedish Open final in ten years.  "My lungs felt like they were going to explode.
"I looked at him and he looked like he felt the same - and it made me feel a bit better!"
Matthew will now face top seed Ramy Ashour (left) for the title.  It was the Egyptian that Matthew replaced at the top of the PSA World Rankings in January after Ashour had headed the list throughout 2013 after winning nine Tour titles in a row.
Ashour, returning to PSA Tour action after a hamstring injury layoff, was facing his illustrious national rival
Amr Shabana, the 34-year-old former World No.1 enjoying a rich vein of form in 2014 after winning the PSA World Series Tournament of Champions in New York in January against expectations.
The match went the full distance, with sixth seed Shabana taking the early honours before Ashour ultimately wrapped his 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 after 72 minutes.
The exuberant 26-year-old from Cairo told the crowd afterwards:  "The man (Shabana) is 54 years old, he is playing as good as like he was 11 years old!  But it’s amazing everything he does; he is flexible, fast and explosive, he has good skills and he is smart.
"It's good to be in Sweden and play in front of this amazing crowd," added Ashour, who is making his debut in the country.
Ashour later reported to his Facebook friends:  "I believe that myself and the legend Amr Shabana represented our country in the best manner today."
The win takes Ashour into the 48th Tour final of his career – and his 12th clash with Matthew in a PSA final since the pair faced each other in the
North American Open climax exactly five years ago.
The final will mark the pair's 24th Tour meeting – with Ashour currently leading the head-to-head tally 15-8.

Gaultier Marks Half Century Success In Sweden

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier celebrated his 50th successive quarter-final appearance on the PSA World Tour in perfect style in Sweden – despatching English rival Peter Barker in just 30 minutes to secure a semi-final slot in the Case Swedish Open, the PSA International 70 squash event celebrating its 11th successive year at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping.
The 31-year-old defending champion from Aix-en-Provence –
who last failed to make an event's quarter-finals when he was beaten in the first round of the PSA Masters in India in December 2009 – was in devastating form as he crushed Londoner Barker, the World No.7, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4.
By the third game, it was clear that fifth seed Barker – who was laid low by a calf injury for the last two months of 2013 and was taken to five games in his first round match - was struggling with his movement.
"I am satisfied with my performance in the game," commented joint World No.1 Gaultier after the match. 
"I think his body was hurting – but that's the way it goes.  Perhaps it was a bit of luck for me – but I was ready to compete.
"With eight players here in the top 11, this must be the strongest Swedish Open field there has ever been."
A dream semi-final is now in store when Gaultier takes on his fellow World No.1 Nick Matthew (right), the 33-year-old Englishman, in a repeat of last year's final.  In an error-free display, No.3 seed Matthew beat England team-mate Daryl Selby, the seventh seed, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 in 44 minutes.
"I was pleased with that – but I'll need to sharpen up for my next game with Greg," said the three-time World Champion from Sheffield.
"I saw that Greg didn't spend much time on court in his earlier match.  I admire the way he plays – he seems to only take about 40 minutes with all his matches.  He's so clinical!"
There was an upset in a later quarter-final when sixth seed
Amr Shabana beat fourth-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 in 48 minutes.
But Shabana (left), the 34-year-old World No.9 from Egypt, is enjoying a sensational run of form this year after winning the
PSA World Series Tournament of Champions in New York in January against the odds.
"I'm still trying to find the right feeling after having been injured for a long period," said the 'Cairo Maestro' later.
Shabana will now face fellow countryman
Ramy Ashour (below),  the top seed from Cairo who recovered from  losing the first game to beat eighth-seeded compatriot Omar Mosaad 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5.
Ashour (right), the World No.1 throughout 2013, is making his first Tour appearance of the year after a hamstring injury layoff.



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Returning Ramy Excels In Swedish Debut

Back in
PSA World Tour action for the first time in 2014, top-seeded Egyptian Ramy Ashour (left) thrilled the crowd at Linköping Sporthall when he defeated German No.1 Simon Rosner in the opening round of the Case Swedish Open, the PSA International 70 squash event celebrating its 11th successive year in Linköping.
The day's final match was the one most eagerly-anticipated - with Ashour, who topped the rankings throughout 2013, making his first appearance since sidelined by a hamstring injury aggravated in the
Hong Kong Open in December.
And the 26-year-old from Cairo did not disappoint.  Ashour took the opening game – but Rosner, clearly inspired by the occasion, drew level after game two.  There was little to choose between the two PSA stars as Ashour, now ranked four in the world, edged ahead to take the third before ultimately surviving a lengthy fourth game to win 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 14-12 after 57 minutes.
"It's great to be competing again," said the Egyptian later.  "I've been struggling for a while and I'm glad I'm back.
"It was a really fun match against Simon – 'the Beast' – who I know very well.
"It's fun to be in Sweden for the first time," added the British Open champion.  "I have only heard good things about the Case Swedish Open - and Freddie (Johnson) does a fantastic job with the tournament."
Rosner was not unhappy with his performance:  "Unfortunately lost out 1:3 to an incredible player @RamyAshour tonight!" the World No.11 from Paderborn told his Twitter followers later.  "Thought it was a great match from both of us! Even tho I lost.
"I enjoyed every minute of it. Great to see Ramy back after his injury. Good luck for the tournament."
England's Nick Matthew (right) and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier – the two players who have replaced Ashour as the sport's first ever joint world number ones – were also in action in Linköping.
Matthew, the No.3 seed from Sheffield, survived an all-English clash with
Tom Richards, beating the World No.26 11-7, 11-3, 12-10 in 46 minutes.
Three-time champion Matthew now faces another England team-mate
Daryl Selby.  The No.7 seed from Essex twice had to come from behind to overcome French qualifier Gregoire Marche 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-1 in 75 minutes.
"Happy to sneak through tonight against @GregMarche who played a great match," tweeted the World No.10 later.  "He will get his big breakthrough soon. Quarters tomorrow v Nick"
Marche responded:  "Just lost 3/2 against @DarylSelby! One of my best matches but he is such a great player! I hope I will be like him one day!"
Defending champion Gaultier was at his awesome best as he despatched English qualifier
Adrian Waller 11-6, 11-7, 11-4.  Bidding for a third title in a row, the 31-year-old from Aix-en-Provence now meets England's Peter Barker for a place in the semi-finals.
The fifth seed from London finally came out on top in a five-game battle with
Cameron Pilley, beating the Australian No.1 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 in 71 minutes.
Amr Shabana, the former World No.1 from Egypt who won the first major title of the year at the PSA World Series Tournament of Champions in New York last month, made it through to the quarter-finals after seeing off English qualifier Chris Simpson 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-3.
The 34-year-old sixth seed from Cairo will now face top-ranked Spaniard
Borja Golan after the No.4 seed defeated French qualifier Mathieu Castagnet 11-8, 11-6, 11-3.

Local favourite Rasmus Hult
fails to keep up with
Omar Mosaad


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French & English Qualifiers Boost Swedish Open Draw

A pair of qualifiers from both France and England will boost the draw of the
Case Swedish Open after successes by Mathieu Castagnet, Gregoire Marche, Adrian Waller and Chris Simpson in the qualifying finals of the 11th staging of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping, Sweden.
Castagnet celebrated his career-high World No.21 ranking this month with an 11-4, 11-9, 12-10 victory over South African
Shaun le Roux to earn his first appearance in the championship main draw since 2011.
The 27-year-old from Aix-en-Provence will line up against fourth seed
Borja Golan, the World No.6 from Spain who is making his Swedish Open debut.
Fellow Frenchman
Gregoire Marche will also make his Linköping debut.  The 23-year-old World No.31 needed four games to overcome Hong Kong's Max Lee, ranked just a single position lower, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 15-13.
Simpson became a Swedish Open qualifier for the fourth year in a row after defeating the top-ranked Scot
Alan Clyne 11-5, 11-8, 11-3.
But bidding to progress beyond the first round for the first time will be a tough task for the Guernsey-born World No.22 who faces in-form Egyptian
Amr Shabana, the World No.9 who won the PSA World Series Tournament of Champions title in New York last month.
An 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5 victory over Finnish hope
Henrik Mustonen gave Englishman Adrian Waller a first round clash with defending champion Gregory Gaultier, the second-seeded Frenchman who became the sport's first ever joint World No.1 this month alongside England's Nick Matthew.
Gaultier is aiming for his third successive Swedish Open title - while No.3 seed Matthew, champion three times in a row from 2009, has his sights on a sixth appearance in the final since 2004.
The two world number ones are scheduled to face-off in the semi-finals.
But the eyes of the squash world will be on No.1 seed
Ramy Ashour, the 26-year-old from Egypt who topped the world rankings throughout 2013.
Ashour, who will play his first ever match on Swedish soil this week, is making his first PSA Tour appearance this year after recovering from a hamstring injury aggravated during December's
Hong Kong Open.
Ashour lines up against top-ranked German
Simon Rosner, the World No.11, in the first round.