Completes Semi-Finals Line-Up At Queen's
6 January 2012
RESULTS: ATCO PSA World Series Squash
Finals, London, England
3rd & final pool round:
 Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt  James
Willstrop (ENG) 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 (41m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt  Mohamed El Shorbagy
(EGY) 11-9, 11-9 (40m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt  Laurens Jan Anjema
(NED) 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 (51m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Amr Shabana
(EGY) 11-7, 11-4 (20m)
Determined former world number one Karim
Darwish saw off 20-year-old fellow Egyptian Mohamed
El Shorbagy in tonight's final pool round of the ATCO
PSA World Series Squash Finals in London to
clinch the last semi-final slot in the flagship PSA World
Tour event at The Queen's Club.
The $110,000 championship features the eight
players who earned the most points from the nine PSA
World Series championships in 2011.
Darwish, who boasted a 4/1 Tour head-to-head
record over his young Egyptian team-mate, was also after
revenge as El Shorbagy won their last clash, in December's
PSA Masters in India.
The young pretender, ranked a career-high six
in the world, led in both games - but experienced campaigner
Darwish, the world No5, rose to the challenge and clinched
an 11-9, 11-9 victory after 40 minutes.
The win puts the 30-year-old from Cairo into
second place in Group 1, and a third appearance in the
event's semi-finals since 2007.
"Mohamed beat me last time so it was good
beat him this time round," said Darwish afterwards. "I had
to play 100% to get my revenge. He's a great player, only 20
years old - I think he'll be at the top one day.
"I'm just happy to be in the semi-final of
such a prestigious event."
With two victories already behind him,
England's James Willstrop had already secured a place
in the last four - and top place in Group 1.
But the newly-crowned world number one
suffered a minor set-back with a shock defeat to Malaysia's
Mohd Azlan Iskandar.
With title victories in three successive PSA
World Series events at the end of last year, Willstrop was
expected to extend his career-best 17 match unbeaten run.
But Iskandar threw everything he had at the
match and finally emerged the 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 victor after
"I don't think James was on top of his game,
possibly thinking about tomorrow's semi-finals," suggested
the world No10 from Kuala Lumpur. "It gives me some
redemption and I'm happy to get the win."
Later, Frenchman Gregory Gaultier
became the only player to register three wins out of three
when he defeated Egypt's four-time world champion Amr
Shabana 11-7, 11-4 in just 20 minutes.
"It wasn't easy," said the 29-year-old from
Aix-en-Provence afterwards. "I've had to give a big push as
this game is always unpredictable."
The Group 2 winner will now face Darwish for
a place in the final. "Tomorrow's game against Karim will be
a tough battle. We know each other well so I am looking
forward to it and will be doing my best to stay focussed,"
added Gaultier, the 2008 and 2009 champion.
Shabana finished as runner-up in the Group
and takes on Willstrop in the other semi.
The other final pool match in the group saw
England's Peter Barker record his first win in the
event, stemming a fightback by Laurens Jan Anjema to
beat the Dutchman 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 in 51 minutes.
 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Karim Darwish