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Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia

 Day 5

Power Storms To Saudi Success

Canada's Jonathon Power created a further record in his illustrious squash career when he beat Australian Anthony Ricketts in the final of the Saudi Squash International to ensure starting next year as world number one – returning to the position he last held more than four years ago!


It is difficult to imagine a more dramatic climax to the end of the Professional Squash Association's record year of 2005 than the one provided by the Saudi International, new PSA Super Series Platinum event staged in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar.


Once the quarter-finals of the second richest PSA Tour event of the year had been resolved, it became clear that three of the four semi-finalists would take over the world No1 ranking on 1st January 2006 should they win the $127,500 title - with a fourth player, Egypt's world champion Amr Shabana, earning the title should England's surprise semi-finalist Nick Matthew, the 11th seed, succeed!


Both Matthew and Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the world number one throughout 2005, bowed out at the last four stage – leaving second seed Power and third seed Ricketts, 26, from Sydney, to fight for the double reward.


After the 31-year-old from Montreal took the opening two games, Ricketts fought back to take the third for the loss of just four points.  But Power turned on his greater experience and, after 65 tense minutes, threw his racket in the air to celebrate his historic 11-4 11-9 4-11 11-5 triumph.


"This was my goal this year, to give it a big push and go back to the top," Power said afterwards.  "I always knew I had it in me, I just had to stop finding excuses and actually do it!"


The Saudi triumph marks Power's fifth PSA title success of the year in his fifth final – and the 37th trophy of his career since July 1992, when he won the Chicago Open.


. Draw:
. Preview:
. Day 1:
. Day 2:
. Day 3:
. Day 4:
. Day 5:

Johnathan Power wins Saudi Int beating Anthony Ricketts (below) in the Final

16 - 20 Dec  2005
First Round
 Fri 16 Wed 30 Nov
Second Round
Sat 17 Dec
Sun 18 Dec
Mon 19 Dec
Tue 20 Dec
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA)
11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (28m)
Joseph Kneipp (AUS)
Thierry Lincou
11-7, 6-0 ret. (23m)
Gregory Gaultier
Thierry Lincou
11-8, 11-6, 10-11 (1-3), 11-3 (69m)
James Willstrop
Thierry Lincou
11-10 (4-2), 11-8, 11-3 (58m)
Anthony Ricketts
Anthony Ricketts
11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 11-5 (65m)
Jonathon Power
[12] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (46m)
[Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG)
11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (28m)
[Q] Renan Lavigne (FRA)
James Willstrop
11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (21m)
Shahid Zaman

[16] Shahid Zaman (PAK)


[Q] Rodney Durbach (RSA)

[3] Anthony Ricketts (AUS)

v11-6, 11-10, 11-6 (43m)

 [Q] Ramy Ashour (EGY)

Anthony Ricketts
11-5, 11-8, 10-11 (1-3), 11-6 (55m)
Graham Ryding
Anthony Ricketts
1-10 (2-0), 11-5, 11-1 (26m)
Peter Nicol

[13] Graham Ryding (CAN)
11-4, 11-2, 11-9 (38m)
[Q] Joey Barrington (ENG)

[7] Peter Nicol (ENG)

11-9, 11-8, 11-6 (43m)

Adrian Grant (ENG)

Peter Nicol
11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (60m)
John White

[9] John White (SCO)


Peter Barker (ENG)

[14] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
11-7, 11-6, 11-1 (19m)
Mansoor Zaman (PAK)

Mohd Azlan Iskandar
11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 7-11, 11-4 (58m)
Lee Beachill
Lee Beachill
9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (85m)
Nick Matthew
Nick Matthew
11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 11-9 (48m)
Jonathon Power

[5] Lee Beachill (ENG)

11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 (51m)

[Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)

[11] Nick Matthew (ENG)

 11-5, 10-11 (1-3), 11-7, 11-1

 Wael El Hindi (EGY)

Nick Matthew
11-8, 11-2, 6-11, 11-2 (41m)
Amr Shabana

[4] Amr Shabana (EGY)

11-10 (3-1), 11-5, 11-10 (3-1) (41m)

[Q] Alex Gough (WAL)

[10] Karim Darwish (EGY)
4-11, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7 (47m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS)

 Karim Darwish
11-3, 11-10 (2-0), 7-11, 11-5 (56m)
David Palmer
Karim Darwish
7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 11-4 (67m)
Jonathon Power

[6] David Palmer (AUS)
8-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 (80m)  
Mohammed Abbas (EGY)

[15] Olli Tuominen (FIN)

 11-3, 11-1, 11-3 (18m)
 Bandare Alotaibi (KSA)

Olli Tuominen

11-2, 11-4, 11-1 (28m)
Jonathon Power

[2] Jonathon Power (CAN)

11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (39m)
[Q] Cameron Pilley (AUS)

Qualifying finals:
Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-1, 11-2, 11-5 (23m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Simon Parke (ENG)  11-5, 11-6, 11-10 (5-3) (42m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Liam Kenny (IRL)  11-8, 5-11, 11-2, 11-10 (7-5) (84m)
Rodney Durbach(RSA) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 9-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-7, 11-7, 11-7(62m)
Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-2, 11-2 (54m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Ben Garner (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-10 (2-0) (52m)
Joey Barrington (ENG) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-8 (60m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt Alister Walker (ENG) (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5 (69m)

Day 4 
Ricketts & Power In World Number One Decider


Australia's Anthony Ricketts and Canada's Jonathon Power will meet in the final of the Saudi Squash International in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar to decide not only the winner of the second richest PSA Tour event of the year, but also which of the pair will head the Dunlop PSA World Rankings on New Year's day.


Ricketts, the 26-year-old third seed from Sydney who celebrated a career-high world No3 ranking last month, reversed the result of their last two meetings when he beat top seed Thierry Lincou, the world No1 from France, 11-10 11-8 11-3 in 58 minutes.  Lincou, who topped the ranking throughout 2005, is certain now to slip out of the world's top four.


The Saudi success marks the fifth PSA final appearance for Ricketts this year – which included victory in the Tournament of Champions in New York in February, then his maiden British Open title in Manchester in October.


Surprise semi-finalist Nick Matthew, the 11th seed from England, battled for 48 minutes against second seed Power in the other match.  But the Canadian also came through in straight games, beating the 25-year-old from Sheffield 11-10 11-1 11-9 to mark the 59th PSA final appearance in his illustrious career since July 1992.


Power already boasts a 100% success rate in his four PSA final appearances in 2005 – the Apawamis Open in New York in January, the PSA Masters in Bermuda in April, the Super Series Finals in London in May, and the Motor City Open in Detroit in October.  The 31-year-old from Montreal first became world number one in May 1999, since when he slumped to a nine-year low of nine in the final months of last year.

Day 3
England's Nick Matthew Marches Into Saudi Semis
England’s Nick Matthew recovered from a two-game deficit to upset compatriot Lee Beachill and earn the only unexpected place in the semi-finals of the Saudi Squash International, the second richest PSA Tour event of the year, in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar.


The new PSA event takes on added significance for the other three semi-finalists – for whom victory would also mean becoming world number one in the first rankings of the New Year.


Matthew, the 11th seed, battled for 85 minutes to beat England team-mate Beachill, the fifth seed, 9-11 4-11 11-5 11-9 11-5.  It was the 25-year-old from Sheffield’s second PSA victory over former world number one Beachill – the first, in his home town in August’s English Open, also a marathon in which Matthew fought back from 2/0 down to win in 93 minutes.


The Yorkshireman now goes on to face Canada’s No2 seed Jonathon Power, who also survived a five-game marathon against Egypt’s tenth seed Karim Darwish.  The 7-11 11-7 11-3 9-11 11-4 win in 67 minutes takes Power into his first PSA Tour semi-final since winning the Motor City Open in October.


The other semi-final will feature France’s world No1 Thierry Lincou and third-seeded Australian Anthony Ricketts.  The top-seeded Frenchman beat eighth seed James Willstrop 11-8 11-6 10-11 11-3 in 69 minutes to deny the Englishman the chance of topping next year’s world rankings after reaching world number two this month.


Meanwhile British Open champion Ricketts defeated England’s Peter Nicol 11-10 11-5 11-1 in just 26 minutes.

Day 2
Shabana & Palmer Out As England Quartet Advance In Saudi


The battle for New Year’s honours as the first world number one of 2006 took an unexpected turn in the second round of the Saudi Squash International when both David Palmer and Amr Shabana failed to make their seeded positions in the second richest PSA Tour event of the year in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar.


Palmer, the sixth seed from Australia who currently heads the provisional January list, lost out 11-3 11-10 7-11 11-5 in 56 minutes to an inspired display by Egypt’s Karim Darwish, the 10th seed.


“I think this victory is the best performance of my career,” the 24-year-old from Cairo said afterwards.


Shabana, the fourth seed playing in his first PSA Tour event since lifting the World Open title for the second time earlier in the month, was unable to master England’s Nick Matthew and went down 11-8 11-2 6-11 11-2 to the 11th seed in 41 minutes.


Shabana later admitted that he had twisted his left ankle in the previous round against Welshman Alex Gough.  “Today it was very sore – and when you play against a player such as Nick, you’ve got to be 100% to beat him,” said the deflated world champion.


While Matthew will now take on England team-mate Lee Beachill for a place in the semi-finals, Darwish will face second-seeded Canadian Jonathon Power - against whom he surprisingly boasts three wins out of their last four meetings on the PSA Tour.  Power took just 28 minutes to despatch Finland’s Olli Tuominen 11-2 11-4 11-1.


The fastest finish of the day was claimed by James Willstrop, the Englishman who leapt to a career-high world No2 this month.  The eighth seed crushed Pakistan’s 16th seed Shahid Zaman 11-6 11-4 11-4 in 21 minutes and now meets top seed Thierry Lincou.  The world No1 beat Gregory Gaultier after his compatriot retired injured midway through the second game, with the score standing at 11-7 6-0.

Day 1
Palmer Battles Through To Second Round In Saudi


David Palmer survived the toughest battle of all the first round matches in the Saudi International, the second richest PSA Tour event of the year which is being held for the first time in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar.


The only seed not to have taken part in last week’s World Team Championships in Pakistan, Palmer was expected to flourish at the $127,500 PSA Super Series Platinum event which rounds off a busy end-of-year schedule for the world’s top men. 


However, the sixth-seeded Australian dropped the first game, and was taken to a tie-break in the second, before finally emerging victorious 8-11 11-10 11-7 7-11 11-8 in 80 minutes over unseeded Egyptian Mohammed Abbas.  It was Abbas who was in action in the final match of the World Championships, extending England’s Peter Nicol in a 44-minute title-decider.


Palmer, the world No4 who could begin next year at the top of the world rankings if successful in Saudi, now meets anther Egyptian for a place in the last eight.  Karim Darwish, the tenth seed, recovered from a game down to beat Malaysia’s Ong Beng Hee 4-11 11-6 11-10 11-7 in 47 minutes.


England’s world team championships-winning heroes all claimed places in the second round without incident.  Squad No1 James Willstrop, the eighth seed, dismissed French qualifier Renan Lavigne 11-5 11-4 11-7, while seventh seed Peter Nicol beat compatriot Adrian Grant 11-9 11-8 11-6.  Fifth seed Lee Beachill needed four games to overcome Dutch qualifier Laurens Jan Anjema 11-7 9-11 11-5 11-4, while 11th seed Nick Matthew defeated Egyptian Wael El Hindi 11-5 10-11 11-7 11-1.


England's World Champions In Final Push For Further Glory In Saudi Arabia

England's victorious World Team Championships-winning squad will be hoping to add further glory in the final major squash event of the year, which gets underway in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar.


The $127,500 Saudi International, the second richest PSA Tour event of the year, rounds off a punishing schedule for the world's top men which kicked off with the Qatar Classic in the last week of November, followed by the Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Privilege World Open in Hong Kong, then this week's World Team Championships in Pakistan.


All four members of the squad which reclaimed the world title for England in Islamabad are seeded in the new PSA Super Series Platinum event – fifth seed Lee Beachill due to face Dutch qualifier Laurens Jan Anjema, while squad No1 James Willstrop, the eighth seed who won last month's Qatar Classic, is scheduled to face French qualifier Renan Lavigne.


Peter Nicol, the seventh seed who clinched England's victory over Egypt, is drawn to meet fellow English left-hander Adrian Grant in the opening round, while 11th seed Nick Matthew will take on Egypt's Wael El Hindi.


Top seed in Saudi is world No1 Thierry Lincou, the Frenchman who lost his World Open crown earlier this month to Egypt's Amr Shabana.  Lincou faces Australia's Joseph Kneipp, while fourth seed Shabana takes on Welsh qualifier Alex Gough.


Lincou is expected to meet Canada's No2 seed Jonathon Power in the final on Tuesday.