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Gaultier Grabs Windy City Glory

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

Gaultier Grabs Windy City Glory

Frenchman 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 year.

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 fashion.

"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 difference now.

"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 athlete."

Windy City images courtesy of Marian Kraus Photography

  Windy City Open 2014
Men's Draw
24 Feb-03 Mar, Chicago, $115k
Round One
26 -27 Feb 
Round Two
28 Feb
01 Mar
02 Mar
03 Mar
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng)
3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-9  
[56 mins]

[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
Nick Matthew
11/7, 11/7, 11/9 (58m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
Nick Matthew
11/2, 11/6, 11/3 (44m)
Peter Barker
Nick Matthew
11-9, 10-12, 11-1, 11-4 [63 mins]
Ramy Ashour
Ramy Ashour
11/7, 11-9, 11-4 (25m)
Gregory Gaultier
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
3-0: 11-4,11-6,11-4 [31 mins]
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
3-0: 12-10,11-6,11-9 [57 mins]
Alister Walker (Bot)
Mathieu Castagnet 11/3, 3/11, 11/6, 11/3 (54m)
Peter Barker
[8] Peter Barker (Eng)
3-0: 11-9,11-5,11-6 [47 mins]
Adrian Grant (Eng)
[5] James Willstrop (Eng)
3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 [41 mins]
[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
James Willstrop 11/4, 11/8, 11/1 (37m)
Amr Shabana
 James Willstrop
8/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/8 (76m)
Ramy Ashour
Amr Shabana (Egy)
3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 [35 mins]
[Q] Adrian Waller (Eng)
Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
3-1: 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 [48 mins]
Tom Richards (Egy)
Marwan Elshorbagy
 13/11, 11/7, 11/4 (36m)
Ramy Ashour
[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 [43 mins]
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
8/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/6 (50m)
[4] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy
11/4, 11/6, 11/3 (45m)
Omar Mosaad
Mohamed Elshorbagy
11/6, 13/11, 11/7 (52m)
Saurav Ghosal 
Mohamed Elshorbagy
11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 [76 mins]
Gregory Gaultier
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
 11/6, 11/4, 11/3 (34m)
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11/6, 12/10, 11/7 (52m)
[WC] Peter Creed (Wal)
Saurav Ghosal 
11/9, 3/11, 11/4, 11/7 (50m)
Tarek Momen
Tarek Momen (Egy)
6/11, 11/3, 9/11, 11/8, 11/7 (67m)
[6] Karim Darwish (Egy)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
11/5, 13/11, 11/13, 11/6 (86m)
[7] Borja Golan (Esp)
 Borja Golan
11/6, 11/5, 11/6 (45m)
Simon Rosner
Simon Rosner
6/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (75m)
 Gregory Gaultier
Simon Rosner (Ger)
8/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (69m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (Eng)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
  11/5, 11/5, 14/12 (37m)
[Q] Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
Karim Abdel Gawad
11/1, 11/6, 11/7 (39m)
 Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Joe Lee (Eng)
11/5, 11/1, 11/0 (27m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
RESULTS:         METROsquash Windy City Open, Chicago, USA

Qualifying finals:
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, 12-10 (65m)
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)


Semi Finals

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 since 2007.  

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, 11-4.

“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,” said Gaultier.

“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 Egyptian.

“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.”


Quarter Finals

Matthew Beats Barker to Setup Ashour Clash

Nick MatthewWorld 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, 11-3 victory.

2nd Round

Supreme Willstrop Dispatches Shabana In Windy City


Esr_willstrop13qc14751English 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.

“However 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.

“It 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 performance.

“I think 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.

“I’m 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.

“I’ve 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.


1st Round Bottom Half

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 minutes.

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 as well,” said Ashour.
“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.
“Any time you win a match you are happy,” said Shabana.
“In the first round you never really know what will happen so I was just pleased to come through.
“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 match.”


English Trio Boosts Windy City Draw

English trio
Chris Simpson, Joe Lee 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 in Chicago, USA.
Simpson became the highest-ranked player to qualify after beating Mexican No.1
Cesar Salazar 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 Waller beat 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
Shawn Delierre.  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 Omar Mosaad.
Karim Ali Fathi and Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan completed the list of successful qualifiers.  Fathi foiled higher-ranked Frenchman Gregoire Marche 4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9, while Adnan saw off Egyptian Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10.