Makes Sixth World Series Finals Semi
5 January 2012
A swift straight games victory over Dutchman
Laurens Jan Anjema in tonight's 2nd pool round of the
ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals in London
has guaranteed Egypt's Amr Shabana a place in the
semi-finals of the flagship PSA World Tour event at
The Queen's Club for the sixth year in a row.
The $110,000 championship features the eight
players who earned the most points from the nine PSA
World Series championships in 2011. Left-hander Shabana,
the four-time world champion from Cairo, despatched the
Dutch champion 11-5, 11-4 in just 24 minutes.
After making his debut in the championship in
2004, Shabana reached the last four for the first time two
years later - and in 2008 finished as runner-up. The
32-year-old - the veteran of the Queen's field -made the
final for the second time last year.
His second win in a row at Queen's ensures
his place in Saturday's semi-finals - but first he will face
Group 2 rival Gregory Gaultier tomorrow to decide the
Frenchman Gaultier notched up his second pool
win after beating Londoner Peter Barker 14-12, 11-6
in 44 minutes.
"It wasn't an easy game but was a crucial win
for me," said the world No3 from Aix-en-Provence later.
"This will give me a boost and confidence going forward."
Gaultier, whose remaining pool match with
Shabana will be a repeat of the 2008 final, boasts a
remarkable World Series Finals record, having reached the
climax in all three previous appearances, with title
successes in 2008 and 2009.
But it was in Group 1 that James Willstrop
kept home hopes alive with an impressive win over
20-year-old World Series Finals debutant Mohamed El
The experienced Yorkshireman, who became
England's second successive world number one at the
beginning of this month, contained the exuberant and often
brilliant play of the young Egyptian in 31 minutes, winning
"It's great to keep this good streak going
and continue where I left off," said Willstrop after
ensuring his place in the semi-finals.
The 28-year-old from Leeds was marking his
17th successive Tour match win in a run which included
successive World Series event title triumphs in Hong Kong,
Kuwait and India.
Does the fact that he is now number one in
the world give him extra confidence, or added pressure,
asked MC Natalie Pinkham, the Sky Sports Formula 1
"There's no added pressure being world No1 -
just excitement, enjoyment and motivation towards the next
game," replied Willstrop.
El Shorbagy and fellow countryman Karim
Darwish will compete for the other semi-final slot from
Group 1 in Friday's final pool round.
In tonight's opening match, Darwish earned
his first win of the event when he beat Malaysian Mohd
Azlan Iskandar 11-4, 8-11, 11-5.
RESULTS: ATCO PSA World Series Finals,
2nd pool round:
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt  Mohd Azlan Iskandar
(MAS) 11-4, 8-11, 11-5 (36m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Mohamed El
Shorbagy (EGY) 11-7, 11-6 (31m)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt  Laurens Jan Anjema
(NED) 11-5, 11-4 (24m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Peter Barker
(ENG) 14-12, 11-6 (44m)