Gregory Gaultier lifted the 2014 METROsquash Windy City
Open title at the University Club of Chicago following a
straight games victory over Egypt's world No3 Ramy Ashour in
the final of the second PSA World Series squash event of the
The world No2 from Aix-en-Provence took just 25 minutes to
ease past a visibly-hampered Ashour, whose recent run of bad
luck with injuries appeared to resurface in his eighth title
match-up with Gaultier, taking the match 11-7, 11-3, 11-4.
The victory gave Gaultier his first win over the
Cairo-native in nine attempts, but he celebrated in reserved
"It is tough to win in this way and it makes it hard to
enjoy the victory in the same way," said a subdued Gaultier
after the match.
"It is not enjoyable when you see your opponent injured and
he has had so many injuries in the past and it is a shame as
he is such an unbelievable player.
"But I am happy with how I played through the whole week. I
had some tough matches and of course I'm happy to win the
trophy as it is these moments that we all work so hard for."
Victory saw Gaultier claim his 26th PSA World Tour title -
but his first since winning 2013 US Open in October.
"I've lost a few finals here and a few in my career and
obviously I always try to change that," he said.
"The level of competition with guys like Ramy, Nick
(Matthew), Mohamed (Elshorbagy) and all the others guys is
so tough that there are only small things that make the
"Without all my team at home and the support of my family
and sponsors I would never be in these finals and these
moments would never happen so I'm really thankful to them."
Speaking after the match, Ashour said: "I'm happy I reached
the final today but I felt a little niggle.
"Sometimes these things get in the way of your dreams but
that takes noting away from Greg's win as he's an incredible
Windy City images courtesy of Marian Kraus Photography
City Open 2014
24 Feb-03 Mar, Chicago, $115k
26 -27 Feb
 Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10,
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
Laurens Jan Anjema
11/2, 11/6, 11/3 (44m)
Nick Matthew 11-9,
10-12, 11-1, 11-4 [63 mins] Ramy Ashour
[Q] Joe Lee (Eng)
11/5, 11/1, 11/0 (27m)  Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Windy City Open,
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 (35m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (24m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (63m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (59m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 (73m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) 7-11, 11-6, 11-4,
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (33m)
Ashour And Gaultier To Contest Windy City Final
Egyptian World No.3 Ramy Ashour and French World No.2
Gregory Gaultier are set to renew their long-standing
rivalry in the final of the 2014 METROsquash Windy City Open
at the University Club of Chicago tomorrow.
The pair will meet for the 24th time on the PSA
World Tour in a head-to-head series that the Cairo-born
player dominates and he’ll be aiming to make it win number
20 in order to take home the Windy City Open title on it’s
return to PSA World Series standings for the first time
Ashour, who has recently returned to fitness following an
injury-plagued four-month period, booked his place in the
final following a 3-1 victory over World Champion Nick
Matthew in a subdued match which saw the Englishman hampered
by a back injury picked up in the third game.
“When your opponent is injured it is a
very frustrating way to win a match,” said
Ashour, who took just over an hour to win 11-9, 10-12, 11-1,
“It’s not easy when
someone is injured and you are trying to keep your focus.
“You try not to think
about it too much, which is hard because even though we all
play tough matches and want to win we also want the best for
each other, but you still have to stay out there and stay
focused until the last point.
“Nick and I always have
tough battles and we bring the best out of each other. He’s
a great player and such an amazing fighter so hopefully his
back gets better soon and I’m sure we will play a lot more
matches in future.”
Gaultier ensured his place in his 57th PSA World
Tour final by defeating rising Egyptian star Mohamed
Elshorbagy, the World No.4, in an impressive 3-1 display,
his ninth consecutive win over the 23-year-old.
“I was very happy to win
the match against Mohamed as it is never easy against him,”
“It was a very tough
battle, especially when he brought it back to one-all, and I
had to stay mentally positive and strong and I think that is
why I won the match.
Having lost to Ashour in three finals during 2013, Gaultier
will be hoping to overturn his recent run against the
“Winning a big event like
the Windy City Open event would mean a lot to me," he said.
"It’s always an amazing feeling to play in a final so I’m
very happy to be playing tomorrow.
“We train so hard every
day just for that two minutes when you get to lift a trophy.
It’s such a big adrenaline rush and an unbelievable feeling
and that is what we all work for.
“I’m looking forward to
it and I’m going to try and be as fresh as possible for the
final and we will see what happens.”
no.1 Nick Matthew (left) lined up another potential classic with mercurial
Egyptian Ramy Ashour after both reached the semi-finals of the Windy City Open
in Chicago last night.
Whereas Matthew cruised to a 3/0 win over England team-mate Peter Barker in 44
minutes, Ashour was involved in an enthralling encounter with another
Englishman, James Willstrop, before overcoming the fifth seed 3/1 in 76 minutes.
Egypt’s two-time world champion was forced to display his entire arsenal of
world-class ability to get past the Yorkshireman before eventually prevailing
8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8.
“Playing James is never easy,” said Ashour. “When you play such an accurate and
sharp player, you have to be 100 per cent at your best and today James was
playing some immaculate squash.
“He really came out firing and took the first game and I had to really dig in. I
felt like I started to find my rhythm in the second game and I’m very proud that
I was able to dig in and do what it took to win the match.”
The Cairo-based player, who has been plagued by injury in recent months, will
now face WIllstrop’s long-time domestic rival in a repeat of the recent Swedish
Open final which Matthew won 3/2.
“Playing Nick in the semi-final will be very tough,” Ashour said. “He’s an
incredibly tough player and you have to push yourself beyond your limits to beat
him. I have a lot of respect for his professionalism and he motivates me a lot.
It’s always great to play him, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Matthew made it three PSA Tour wins in a row over Barker with an 11-2, 11-6,
Supreme Willstrop Dispatches Shabana In Windy City #PSAWorldTour
World No.5 James Willstrop (right) put in one of his most impressive displays in recent
months to defeat four-time World Champion Amr Shabana in straight games in the
second round of the 2014 METROsquash Windy City Open today.
The 30-year-old Pontefract-based player, who’s previous three encounters with
the Egyptian legend resulted in defeat, showed the skill and desire that saw him
reach World No.1 status in 2012 to record an 11-4, 11-8, 11-1 victory.
Willstrop will now face maverick Egyptian Ramy Ashour, the current World No.4,
in the quarter-finals with the winner set to meet either England’s World No.1
Nick Matthew or World No.7 Peter Barker for a place in the final.
“I knew I
would have to play very clever against Amr and put the ball into good areas to
be in with a chance of winning,” said Willstrop.
accurately I played I knew that he would be do just the same so I had to play
well and I think I did that.
wasn’t flashy squash, and the scoreline maybe doesn’t truly reflect the match as
I had to put in a lot of effort, but I hit the right places and remained
mentally positive throughout which I was pleased with.”
In a battle of European powerhouses, eight-time German national champion and
World No.11 Simon Rosner impressed with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over 11-time
Spanish national champion and World No.6 Borja Golan.
That win was Rosner’s second victory over top 10 ranked players in consecutive
PSA World Series events, after he beat World No.8 Karim Darwish in the
Tournament of Champions, and the Padderborn-based player was pleased with his
I played good, concentrated squash today with very few mistakes but I think it
also wasn’t his day as he can play much better,” said Rosner.
pleased with how I played though and that’s more important than how my opponent
plays and I’m very glad to be in another quarter-final, especially in the USA as
I’ve enjoyed playing here recently.
started to get more regular wins over higher ranked players such as Darwish and
Borja and these are the wins you need to progress in the rankings but I’m just
focusing on playing well and whatever happens in the rankings is secondary.”
Elsewhere there were wins for French No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier, Egyptian World
No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy and Indian champion Saurav Ghosal.
English Duo Exit Windy City Open
English qualifiers Chris Simpson and Joe Lee bowed out of the Windy City Open
first round in contrasting fashion in Chicago last night.
While Simpson, the world no.22 from Guernsey (right), stretched German Simon Rosner to four games, Londoner Lee won only six points against second-seeded
Frenchman Greg Gaultier.
Harrogate-based Simpson claimed his first game against Rosner 11-8, but the
world no.11 hit back to take the next three 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 to triumph in 69
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Lee, ranked 34th in the world, found the extra
experience and class of the 31-year-old joint world no.1 too much as he went
down 11-5, 11-1, 11-0 in 27 minutes.
1st Round Top Half
Resurgent Ramy Progresses In Windy City Open
Egyptian World No.4 Ramy Ashour fought from 1-0 down to record a 3-1 win against
Australian Cameron Pilley during the opening round of the 2014 METROsquash Windy
City Open in Chicago today.
The former World No.1 was returning to World Series action for the first time
since the 2013 Hong Kong Open in December, when injury ended his tournament
prematurely, and quickly found himself down against Pilley before showing his
class to come through 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3.
The maverick from Cairo displayed some magical touches on court while showing no
signs of ill effects from his recent injury-plagued run.
“Cameron is a
great player who really pushes you to be at your best and he’s a very big hitter
“He came out
firing today and won the first game and I had to work hard to try and contain
him and I’m glad I managed to do that and come through the match.
“I have a day
off now and I need to make sure I look after my body. My recovery has been going
steady so far and for me it’s now a matter of working on my mental organisation.
“I need to
work on organising my routine, what I’m eating and how I am on court and
hopefully it will continue steadily.”
After winning the opening PSA World Series event of 2014, January’s J.P Morgan
Tournament of Champions in New York, Egyptian Amr Shabana began his Windy City
Open title bid in impressive fashion.
The World No.9 dispatched English qualifier Adrian Waller 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 in
just 35 minutes to book his place in the second round where he will face
compatriot Marwan Elshorbagy.
you win a match you are happy,”
first round you never really know what will happen so I was just pleased to come
“I had a
good run in New York to win the TOC but you try not to think about things like
that. I’m just happy to be injury free at the moment and hopefully I can take
the momentum forward and I’ll just take the rest of the tournament match by
and Adrian Waller
will make their debuts in the METROsquash Windy City Open
after surviving the qualifying finals of the second PSA World Series
squash event of the year at the University Club of Chicago
Simpson became the highest-ranked player to qualify after beating Mexican No.1
11-8, 11-3, 11-3 in 35 minutes.
“I'm pleased to qualify for the main draw, especially with a relatively
comfortable 3/0 against speedy Cesar Salazar,” said the World No.22 from
Guernsey, who was later drawn to face the top-ranked German Simon Rosner,
the World No.11.
“I play Simon in the main draw, who I have grown up playing against throughout
the junior ranks, so I'm looking forward to renewing the rivalry!!”
Later, Enfield’s Adrian
Hong Kong No.2 Leo Au
11-6, 11-5, 11-3 – and, in the first Tour battle between the sport’s
highest-ranked Lees, London-born Joe Lee
dismissed Hong Kong No.1 Max Lee
11-7, 11-8, 11-9.
Englishman Lee, who arrived in Chicago after winning his biggest Tour title at
the Oregon Open
in Portland, will now face No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier,
the joint World No.1 from France, in the main draw.
Home hopes were dashed when Julian Illingworth
and Christopher Gordon
– both from New York – went down in the qualifying finals. US No.1 Illingworth
lost 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 in just 24 minutes to Australian Ryan Cuskelly,
while US champion Gordon fell in four games to rising Finn Henrik Mustonen
10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10.
North American interest was boosted, however, by a surprise win by Canadian
The 31-year-old from Montreal became the lowest-ranked player to qualify after
upsetting Scotland’s World No.38 Alan Clyne
11-9, 11-9, 11-5 in 59 minutes. Delierre, ranked 69 in the world, will now meet
Egypt’s World No.13
Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi
and Malaysian Mohd
completed the list of successful qualifiers. Fathi foiled higher-ranked
11-4, 11-9, 11-9, while Adnan saw off Egyptian Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry
7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10.