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Ramy Ashour 3-1 Gregory Gaultier
 Ramy secures

Super Series Title
hDebut Appearance

Ramy Ashour Wins Historic Super Series Finals Title

Teenager Ramy Ashour continued his rapid run towards absolute supremacy in world squash when he beat France's Gregory Gaultier in the final of the ATCO Super Series Finals Manchester 2007 to become not only the first Egyptian, but also the first event debutant since 1996, to win the flagship PSA Tour title.


The 19-year-old seventh seed from Cairo, the only player in the eight-man event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester to reach the play-offs unbeaten, had never before beaten Gaultier - the world No4 from Aix-en-Provence who was also making his first appearance in the Super Series Finals.


The battle lasted 62 minutes, but it was Ashour who emerged triumphant, beating the Frenchman 11-10 (2-0), 11-8, 4-11, 11-4 in a dramatic climax to the 2007 event.


"I never expected to win this, I didn't really expect to be here when I had an injury a few days ago, so to win it - playing four matches in a row against the top guys in the world - is just amazing," said the modest youngster .


"Greg and I haven't played much, but it's always been tough. We both pushed really hard today and it was a really tight game. I was just trying to keep the ball deep and wait for the opportunity to attack. We were both doing that, and it was the first one to put the ball loose who lost the point.


"I had a little problem with my ankle in the third, so I tried to change my game, to slow the ball down. I knew that if that didn't go well I could speed it up again in the fourth.


"I'm really glad I did well and won today. It feels good," exclaimed Ashour, the world number two who now has four PSA Super Series event titles to his name this year.


Gaultier expressed mixed emotions afterwards:  "It's pleasing to be in the final, especially for my first time in the event - but I just wanted to win!


"I had a tough match yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, so I knew I had to start well and I really had to win the first.  I lost my concentration a little after that, and towards the end I started feeling the effect of those games.


"I enjoyed it all though, I love playing in front of this crowd and I'm looking forward to coming back to try to win the British Open I won the British Junior Open, but that's not the same!"


Karim Darwish, also making his debut in the event, beat Egyptian compatriot Amr Shabana 11-4, 8-11, 11-4 in the best-of-three play-off for third place.




Ashour & Gaultier To Contest Super Series Finals Climax

Egypt's world number two Ramy Ashour and France's Gregory Gaultier, the world No4, will contest the final of the ATCO Super Series Finals Manchester 2007 after highly-contrasting victories in the third and final pool round of the flagship PSA Tour squash event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, England.


Seventh seed Ashour extended his status as the only unbeaten player in the eight-man event after two days' play by romping to an 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 win in just 28 minutes over France's former champion Thierry Lincou, the No4 seed.


It was a stunning win by the 19-year-old from Cairo in his debut in the event - and perfectly complemented the victory hours earlier by his compatriots on the other side of the globe in Hong Kong where Egypt clinched the Women's World Junior Team title.  It was Ashour's own record second-time win in the Men's World Junior Championship in 2006 which means that Egypt are now celebrating holding all four world junior squash crowns!


Third seed Gaultier was made to battle for 87 minutes - and twice had to come from behind - before overcoming England's  No6 seed Nick Matthew 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0) in the most dramatic clash of the day.


"This tournament is so hard, I'm not used to playing four days in a row against the top players," commented Gaultier.  "That was a really hard match big pain now!


"It was patchy, some games went for me, some for him, and I felt good in patches and sometimes lost my concentration.


"It's just good to be here and play the games, get my fitness back and test out my shots against the top guys. I came to win of course, but the most important for me is to get the games in and get my movement and shots back," added the 24-year-old from Aix-en-Provence in his debut in the event.


In the other match in the ATCO Group, Egypt's world No1 Amr Shabana made sure of a place in the play-off for third place with an 11-7, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4 win in 53 minutes over England's James Willstrop.  It was a strange match for Willstrop who, after beating Gaultier in the opening round, would have earned a place in the final had he beaten Shabana - but, instead, will contest the seventh-place play-off!


Shabana's opponent in the 'bronze medal' clash will be fellow countryman Karim Darwish, the 25-year-old from Cairo who beat Australia's former champion David Palmer 10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 in the other match in the Manchester Group.

Shocks Shatter Second Super Series Finals Session In Manchester

In a dramatic second day's play in the ATCO Super Series Finals Manchester 2007, all four matches in the flagship PSA Tour event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester went against the seedings - with Egypt's Ramy Ashour emerging as the only unbeaten player!


Ashour, the teenager from Cairo who has taken the squash world by storm with his rapid rise to No2 in the world rankings, faced Australia's David Palmer, the reigning World Open champion and one of only two players in the draw to have won this prestigious title before.


But Ashour, the seventh seed, battled to an 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 victory in 55 minutes over the second seed from New South Wales to become the clear leader in the Manchester Group with two wins out of two matches.


"He played well in the second, but apart from that I played a perfect game," the confident 19-year-old said.  "I tried to make it a high-paced match, but you can't play at that pace all the time on this court, but I couldn't afford to get into the hard-hitting rallies David likes."


Palmer, a former world number one with 20 PSA Tour titles to his credit, had no excuses:  "He was just too good.  It would be easy to make excuses, but I was just too flat tonight."


There was Egyptian success in the other match in the group when eighth seed Karim Darwish beat former champion Thierry Lincou, the No4 seed, 11-3, 11-10 (4-2), 11-8.  The win opened up chances in the group for the 25-year-old from Cairo, but ended Frenchman Lincou's hopes of a further Super Series crown.


Frenchman Gregory Gaultier pulled off a significant upset in the ATCO Group by beating Egypt's world No1 Amr Shabana 8-11, 11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-7, 11-5 in 63 minutes.  The earlier win by sixth seed Nick Matthew in the all-English clash with fifth seed James Willstrop leaves the chances of success in the group completely open - with all four players sharing the same statistic of 'played one; won one'.


Gaultier was delighted to have made amends for his defeat by Willstrop the night before:  "I was out injured for two or three months, so I'm happy to be back.  I can't expect to reach my peak straight away, but I'm happy with how it's going and I'm glad to have won today.


"Amr was probably a bit tired from his five-setter last night which is probably why I won!"


The longest clash of the night saw Sheffield's British Open champion Nick Matthew recover from a game down to beat Yorkshire rival James Willstrop 7-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-8, 11-8 in 79 minutes.


"I had a few words with myself last night about not being despondent about losing from 2/0 up, but tonight I knew that it was important not to go 2/0 down, so I really fought hard for that second," said Matthew.


"It's always hard when we play - we play so often, but as much as you know James' game you can never know it enough, he's got so many little flicks, shots that can catch you out."




.  Thursday 9th
     .  Friday 10th
     .  Saturday 11th

     .  Sunday 12th 


      .  Ramy & Gregory to
         Contest Final

     .  Shocks Shatter Second
        Super Series Finals

 Willstrop Wins Opener

    .  Ashour Makes  Debut

     .  End of Broadgate Run

       The Players

Amr Shabana

David Palmer

Gregory Gaultier

Thierry Lincou

James Willstrop

Ramy Ashour

Nick Matthew

Karim Darwish

1st pool round:
The ATCO Super Series Finals
Manchester 2007
Brings together the top eight qualifiers from the annual
PSA Super Series World Tour


Amr Shabana

Gregory Gaultier

James Willstrop

Nick Matthew


Manchester Group

David Palmer

Thierry Lincou

Ramy Ashour

Karim Darwish


Thursday 9th August Friday 10th August

Gregory Gaultier

11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4 (51m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop
7-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-8, 11-8 (79m)
Nick Matthew

Ramy Ashour

11-4, 11-10 (4-2), 7-11, 11-4 (50m)  
Karim Darwish
Thierry Lincou
1-3, 11-10 (4-2), 11-8 (43m)
 Karim Darwish

Amr Shabana

8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (77m)  
Nick Matthew
Amr Shabana
8-11, 11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-7, 11-5 (63m)
Gregory Gaultier

David Palmer

11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 (57m)

Thierry Lincou
David Palmer
11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 (55m)
Ramy Ashour
Saturday 11th August Sunday 12th August

Gregory Gaultier

8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0) (87m)
Nick Matthew
2pm 7/8 Play-off

[4] Thierry Lincou (FRA)

10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-6 (35m)
[5] James Willstrop (ENG)

David Palmer
10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 (69m)
Karim Darwish
3pm 5/6 Play-off

[2] David Palmer (AUS)
11-10 (2-0), 11-8 (36m)
[6] Nick Matthew (ENG)

Amr Shabana

11-7, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4 (53m)
James Willstrop
 3/4 Play-off

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY)
11-4, 8-11, 11-4 (29m)  
[8] Karim Darwish (EGY)

Thierry Lincou
11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (28m)
Ramy Ashour
PSA Super Series Final

PSA Super Series Final

Ramy Ashour 
11-10 (2-0), 11-8, 4-11, 11-4 (62m)  
[3] Gregory Gaultier

England's Willstrop Wins Opener In Super Series Finals In Manchester

James Willstrop, the Yorkshireman who leads English interest in the ATCO Super Series Finals Manchester 2007, stormed to a sensational opening victory in the flagship PSA Tour event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester when he upset third-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the first Pool round in the ATCO Group.


Willstrop, the 23-year-old world No7 from Leeds, and Gaultier, the 24-year-old world No4 from Aix-en-Provence, met countless times on the world junior circuit - with the Frenchman coming out on top on all occasions. 


But in what - remarkably - was the pair's first encounter on the PSA Tour, it was England's former world junior champion Willstrop that prevailed, winning 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4 in 51 minutes.


"I really enjoy coming here, it's great to play in front of an English crowd, especially a Northern one," Willstrop said afterwards.


Willstrop is a regular at the NSC - the England squad's training base - and won his first British National title on the same court earlier in the year.


"I've always been on the wrong end of things with Greg.  I've had a few thoughts about it and taken a bit of stick over it, so it's good to get a win over someone you struggle with.


"I've had a good summer's training, but once you start playing tournaments again it's always a bit of an unknown.  There were patches where we both show a bit of rustiness, but it will probably be like that for everyone over the next few days as it's the first tournament of the season."


The match also marked Wiilstrop's first since signing a new contract with racquet brand Prince:  "Overall I felt really good out there, and I love the new racquet.  It's a good start but I'll be taking it one game at a time," added the jubilant victor.


In the other ATCO group clash, Willstrop's England team-mate Nick Matthew, also a Yorkshireman, delighted the enthusiastic crowd when he surged to a 2/0 and 5-1 lead against the Egyptian world number one Amr Shabana.


Matthew, the 27-year-old from Sheffield who became the first Englishman to win the British Open crown for 67 years last September, admitted later that he had played well in the opening two games - but "needed to get to six or seven first in that third game".


It was the two-times world champion from Cairo, however, who ultimately took control in the third and went on to win 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 in 77 minutes.


Arguably, the most eagerly-anticipated match of the evening was the all-Egyptian clash between world No12 Karim Darwish and Ramy Ashour, the teenager who was making his first appearance on English soil since rocketing to No2 in the world list after picking up four Tour titles this year.


The youngster did not disappoint - beating his senior national team-mate 11-4, 11-10 (4-2), 7-11, 11-4 in his maiden Super Series Finals appearance.


"It's been a great year for me - I never expected to do this, so to get into this tournament I've heard about for so long, the best eight players in the world," said the exuberant 19-year-old from Cairo.  "And what a big crowd, I didn't expect that either, they were great."


The late evening finished with a battle between two of the sport's, and the event's, biggest names - David Palmer, the 2002 champion from Australia, and Thierry Lincou, the 2004 champion - and three-times a finalist - from France.


With 16 previous major encounters between them since 1999 - and the head-to-head tally poised at 8-8 - the pair were certain to provide an appropriate finale for the opening day. 


The battle lasted just three minutes short of an hour - and it was second seed Palmer who edged ahead in the career tally, beating the fourth-seeded Frenchman 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5.



Ashour Makes Super Series Finals Debut In Manchester
gyptian teen squash sensation Ramy Ashour will be making his first appearance in the UK since bursting into the world's top five this year when he makes his debut in the ATCO Super Series Finals Manchester 2007 this week at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity.


The annual showcase event, which brings together the top eight qualifiers from the previous year's Professional Squash Association Super Series tournaments around the globe, will be staged in the English city of Manchester for the first time, from 9-12 August.


Egypt's two-times World Open champion Amr Shabana heads the star-studded cast.  The 28-year-old left-hander from Cairo has dominated the sport since beginning his 17-month reign as world number one in April last year. 


Shabana, who is making his fourth appearance in the event, will be joined in the ATCO Group by Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the third seed and four-times European champion who is making his debut in the event; and Englishmen James Willstrop and British Open champion Nick Matthew, the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively, from Yorkshire.


Ramy Ashour joins fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish in the Manchester Group - both players making their debuts in the event.  19-year-old Ashour followed a distinguished junior career - which saw him become the first man to win the World Junior title twice - by racing up the senior rankings to reach world number two in June!


To qualify for this year's Finals, Ashour claimed two semi-final berths in 2006 Super Series events as well as reaching the final of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open in his maiden appearance in the event.  This year, the remarkable youngster has already claimed three Super Series crowns!


But the two Egyptians will face stiff opposition in the Manchester Group from experienced Super Series Finals campaigners David Palmer, the reigning World Open champion from Australia, and Frenchman Thierry Lincou, a two-times winner of the title who is making his sixth successive appearance in the championship.


The four-day championships on the all-glass showcourt in Sportcity will feature three qualifying rounds in each of the pools, leading to finals which will produce a 1-8 finish.


End of Broadgate Run
The annual Super Series Finals Squash Championship has ended its long run at the Broadgate Arena in London following the unsuccessful conclusion of 'exhaustive efforts' by its promoters to secure a new sponsor for the Professional Squash Association event.

The Super Series Finals brought together the top eight qualifiers from the annual PSA Super Series Tour to compete in a week-long, grand final. First staged in Switzerland in 1992, the event moved to the unique location of Broadgate Arena in the heart of London's Square Mile in 1999 under the direction of promoter Satinder Bajwa.

The championship attracted financial support from British Land plc, owners of the Broadgate Arena - and, when Equitable Life bowed out in 2002, Brit Insurance stepped in to take on the title sponsorship.

The US-based promoter, through his company Complete Squash Solutions (CSS), concluded a new agreement with the PSA last year to retain exclusive rights to the Super Series Finals for a further five years. The 2007 event was due to take place at Broadgate Arena, for the ninth successive year, in May.

"Today's news from Satinder Bajwa is very disappointing," said PSA Chief Executive Gawain Briars. "We are grateful for his sterling efforts over the past 11 years in building up one of the most prestigious events on the PSA World Tour.

"Whilst the likelihood of staging the 2007 event now is very slim, we will now do everything in our power to find a new promoter for the event in the nearest future."


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