Gregory Gaultier Retains ATCO Super
Series Finals Trophy
Gregory Gaultier successfully defended his ATCO Super Series
Finals squash title when he beat compatriot Thierry Lincou
in the final of the flagship $110,000 PSA Tour event being
staged for the first time at The Queen's Club in London.
The world No3
from Aix-en-Provence - who became the first player for eight years
to retain the prestigious crown - maintained his stunning form of
the past four days to clinch an 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 victory in
the first final in the 16-year history of the event to feature two
63-minute encounter constantly had the capacity crowd on the edge of
their seats as the two players played out a series of lengthy
rallies which included some of the most explosive shot-making of the
Among the spectators was The Queen’s Club Patron, the Duchess of
Gloucester, who presented Gaultier with the champion’s trophy.
"I can't think
about whether I am the best in the world right now," said
26-year-old Gaultier when asked if he felt he could make the top
spot. "I just want to win as many tournaments as I can and then I
can get to the number one.
"But it is
totally true that I did feel as if I was flying this week. And today
I won because I wanted it more," added the Frenchman who now boasts
16 PSA Tour titles.
and often good-humoured final provided a fitting finale to a week
which has seen the event give Squash a dynamic makeover and provide
a platform for the sport to outline why it believes the
International Olympic Committee should give it Olympic status for
the 2016 Games.
Vice-Chairman of sponsors the ATCO Group and Chairman of the
Professional Squash Association, said: "It has been great to
introduce the squash family to these outstanding players. They are
incredible athletes who deserve nothing but the best, which is why
we are pushing to get squash into the Olympics, so they can get the
recognition they deserve."
praised Al-Turki's efforts in revolutionising the sport in this
country and abroad, saying: "Ziad has been a huge boost to the sport
and us as players. Let’s hope squash continues to grow as fast as it
In the earlier
play-off for third place, world number one Karim Darwish beat
his top-ranked predecessor and fellow Egyptian Amr Shabana
11-8, 11-9, 11-5.
Gaultier & Lincou Set Up All-French Super Series Finals Final
champion Gregory Gaultier will face former champion
Thierry Lincou in an all-French final of the ATCO Super
Series Finals after contrasting successes in the third and final
round of pool matches in the flagship $110,000 PSA Tour
squash event being staged for the first time at The Queen's Club
It will be the
first final between two fellow countrymen in the 16-year history of
the event - and Gaultier, the world No3 from Aix-en-Provence, will
be bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the
prestigious title since England's Peter Nicol eight years
Egypt's world No1 Karim Darwish in the decider in the ATCO
Group - both players hitherto unbeaten. But the title-holding
Frenchman maintained his breathtaking form on the all-glass court at
Queen's Club, recovering from a game down to beat the top seed
10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 in 59 minutes.
"I gave my
best you know," said Gaultier, now in his 33rd PSA Tour final. "Karim
is world number one and it was so close. It was tough to lose the
first game, and I just had to refocus."
It was the
last match of the night between England's James Willstrop and
2004 champion Thierry Lincou which produced the identity of
Gaultier's final opponent. With Lincou unbeaten in the Prince
group, Willstrop needed a straight games win to ensure his place in
the climax, whereas the Frenchman simply required a single game.
Yorkshireman's hopes of his first appearance in the event's final
looked likely when he took a two-game lead against the world No8.
playing close to his best, despite having taken a heavy knock on the
nose after only two points - an injury which necessitated a
15-minute break and left him knowing that more blood would cause the
match to be awarded to his opponent.
back with a vengeance in the third - leading 3-0 and 7-1 before
clinching his all-important game to reduce the deficit. The
32-year-old from Marseille also took the fourth before Willstrop
came back to win the match 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 3-11, 11-6 in 63
minutes of playing time.
In the earlier
match in the Prince group, Egypt's former world number one Amr
Shabana had brushed aside compatriot Ramy Ashour 11-9, 11-4,
11-2 in just 24 minutes - and this win gave the 29-year-old from
Giza a superior games advantage over Willstrop, thus a place in the
play-off for third place against fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish.
the first match of the evening, veteran Australian star David
Palmer avoided the wooden spoon in defeating another Egyptian
Wael El Hindi 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9.
Shabana Back In Stunning Style In Super Series Finals At Queen's
lacklustre performance in the opening round, Egypt's former world
number one Amr Shabana returned to stunning form in the
second pool match in the ATCO Super Series Finals to beat
England hope James Willstrop in the flagship $110,000 PSA
Tour squash event being staged for the first time at The
Queen's Club in London.
Yorkshireman Willstrop looked in good shape after clinching the
first game, but the 29-year-old second seed from Giza stormed back
to clinch the next three games and with it victory 7-11, 11-6, 11-8,
11-8 in 54 minutes
had been hoping to continue his winning ways after defeating
Shabana’s Egyptian team-mate Ramy Ashour, the 2007 champion,
in his first match on Saturday night.
put his own disappointing first day defeat at the hands of France’s
Thierry Lincou behind him.
wizard was clearly happy with his performance: "I surprised myself
today. I haven't played that well since last year," Shabana
admitted after the match.
means with both Willstrop and Shabana having one victory each,
Monday’s final group matches will be make or break in deciding who
goes through to Tuesday night’s prestigious final stages.
In the other
match of the day in the Prince Group, Thierry Lincou defeated Ramy
Ashour in convincing manner 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 in 44 minutes to
maintain his unbeaten record in the group.
Earlier in the
other group, France’s defending champion Gregory Gaultier,
the fourth seed, maintained his imperious form in defeating his
great friend and training partner Wael El Hindi, the eighth
seed from Egypt making his Super Series Finals debut, 11-3, 11-5,
11-6 in just 38 minutes.
world number one Karim Darwish came through against
Australian veteran David Palmer 11-3, 15-13, 11-9. The
second game – the game of the championship so far - contained a
series of fast-paced rallies with both players close to clinching it
before Darwish sneaked home.
Willstrop Celebrates Maiden Ashour Win In Super Series Finals Opener
number one squash player James Willstrop wowed the capacity
crowd at The Queen’s Club in London in the final match
of the opening day of the ATCO Super Series Finals by
defeating his Egyptian nemesis Ramy Ashour, the reigning
world champion, for the first time.
25-year-old Yorkshireman Willstrop and Ashour, 21, played at a near
suicidal pace as two of the sport’s most entertaining stars battled
for glory in the flagship $110,000 PSA Tour event.
deep after losing the first game to claim victory 7-11, 11-6, 11-8,
11-8 in a duel lasting 53 minutes. The sole Briton competing in the
event clinched victory with a series of pulsating winners in the
fourth game to which Ashour had no answer.
Willstrop, who has struggled for form recently, paid tribute to
fellow English and world top 10 player Nick Matthew for
providing the inspiration to get back to winning ways: "Tonight’s
win is down to the many hours and days working with those closest to
me. I’ve learnt so much from Nick Matthew who kept the faith coming
back from injury."
hails from Cairo, had won all of the pair’s previous three
encounters on the Professional Squash Association Tour.
Series Finals involves the top eight players who have qualified from
last year's Super Series events - split into two groups of four with
the top player from each group playing in Tuesday’s prestigious
French duo Thierry Lincou and Gregory Gaultier got
their own bids for glory off to a flying start.
destroyed an out of sorts Amr Shabana 11-3, 11-9, 11-5 in
just 37 minutes, while defending champion Gaultier defeated reigning
British Open champion David Palmer 11-7, 3-11, 11-6,
had far too much court craft and speed for Egyptian Shabana, who is
on the road back from a knee injury.
In the event's
opening match, 26-year-old Gaultier had too much pace and quickness
of reaction for his Australian opponent in a match interrupted by a
number of disputes over refereeing decisions.
In the day’s
other encounter, a titanic struggle between fellow Egyptians
Karim Darwish and Wael El Hindi saw Darwish, the world
number one, narrowly sneak home 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-5.
Super Series Finals is being played in front of sell-out crowds at
The Queen’s Club in London – better known for hosting the Artois
Tennis Championships – for the first time.
The choice of
venue, together with a powerful visual setting and intimate
lighting, mark a spectacular attempt by Squash to present a stunning
new image for the 21st century.
makeover for the game coincides with a bid by squash to be included
in the 2016 Olympics.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) meets in June to consider the
bids of seven sports, including squash, vying for up to two places
on the roster of events for the Games. A final decision is due to be
made in October at the same session which will decide whether Rio de
Janeiro, Tokyo, Chicago or Madrid should host the 2016 Olympics.
clinching victory against Shabana, Thierry Lincou said: "It is
fantastic to see so much innovation coming into squash at these
championships. The next step is to get our sport into the