Windy City Open 2007

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Shabana Blows Ricketts Away In Windy City Final 

Egypt's Amr Shabana stormed to victory in the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship, beating Australia 's Anthony Ricketts in final of the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year in Chicago, USA .


The world number one from Cairo made up for the disappointment of losing in the second round of last week's PACE Canadian Classic in Toronto by beating fifth seed Ricketts, from Sydney, 11-8, 11-8, 11-10 (5-3) in 53 minutes.


"I lost in the final against John White two years ago, and I really wanted to win this title," said Shabana.  "Losing early in Toronto was like a wake up call.  I didn't want to lose points for my ranking at the start of the year.  I want to stay on top.  So I really came here to do well."


Ricketts responded:  "I was a bit up and down today, but it's not just me, it was him, the way he was playing.  He is the one who made me make all the errors, he didnít let me impose myself."


Shabana, who collected five PSA Tour titles in 2006, is celebrating the first of the new year - but the 15th of his career.

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Tournament Chairman Carter Kennedy (left) and SSA Global's Graeme Cooksley (center) congratulate David Palmer, the 2006 Windy City Open Champion.
Photo ©2006 by
Debra Tessier

Windy City Open

Jan 18-19
(Thu & Fri)
(seed) Name (country)

Jan 20
Quarter Finals
Jan 21
Semi Finals
Jan 22
Jan 23
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
 13/11, 11/4, 11/6 (32m)
Dan Jenson (Aus)
Amr Shabana
11/5, 11/7, 11/9 (39m)
Olli Tuominen
Amr Shabana
10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (75m)
James Willstrop
Amr Shabana
11-3, 11-6, 11-7 (30m)
 John White
Amr Shabana
11-8, 11-8, 11-10 (5-3) (53m)
Anthony Ricketts
[12] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
12/14, 11/5, 11/1, 13/11 (47m)
 [Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
[7] James Willstrop (Eng)
11/5, 11/8, 11/2 (35m)
 [Q] Scott Handley (Eng)
James Willstrop
9/11, 11/3, 11/7, 9/11, 11/3 (72m)
 Mohammed Abbas
[13] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11/5, 11/1, 11/1 (26m)
[Q] Amr Mansi (Egy)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (40m)
Alex Gough (Wal)
Gregory Gaultier
14/12, 11/9, 11/7 (60m)
Stewart Boswell
Gregory Gaultier
11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-10 (3-1) (75m)
John White
[9] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
11/8, 11/9, 11/3 (32m)
[Q] Tom Richards (Eng)
[8] John White (Sco)
8/11, 11/9, 12/10, 11/4 (51m)
Mark Heather (Eng)
John White
5/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/9 (56m)
 Ong Beng Hee
[14] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/7, 13/11, 11/6 (38m)
[Q] Stacey Ross (Eng)
[Q] Julian Illingworth (Usa)
13/11, 11/9, 13/11 (52m)
[10] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Adrian Grant
11/8, 11/5, 11/3 (42m)
Ramy Ashour
Ramy Ashour
11-8, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) (48m)

Thierry Lincou
Ramy Ashour
11-10 (2-0), 11-3, 8-11, 11-8 (61m)
Anthony Ricketts
[Q] Badr Abdel Aziz (Swe)
11/3, 11/7, 11/9 (30m)
[6] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (37m)
[11] Wael El Hindi ((Egy)
Wael El Hindi
11/7, 11/7, 9/11, 11/4 (61m)
Thierry Lincou
Liam Kenny (Irl)
11/9, 11/5, 11/7 (47m)
[3] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Scott Handley (Eng)
11/3, 11/9, 11/8 (38m)
[16] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Cameron Pilley
11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (37m)
Anthony Ricketts
Anthony Ricketts
11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (53m)
David Palmer
Rafael  Alarcon (Bra)
12/10, 11/1, 11/6 (44m)
[5] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
Shawn Delierre (Can)
 11/4, 3/11, 5/11, 11/6, 11/3 (55m)
[15] Graham Ryding (Can)
Graham Ryding
11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (39m)
David Palmer
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
6/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/9 (64m)
[2] David Palmer (Aus)


Qualifying finals:

Stacey Ross (ENG) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)  8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) (85m) 

Badr Abdel Aziz (SWE) bt Michael Joint (GER)  11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (28m)

Tom Richards (ENG) bt Robin Clarke (CAN)  11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (30m)

Amr Mansi (EGY) bt Ryan Donegan (USA)  11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (29m)

Scott Handley (ENG) bt Laurent Elriani (FRA)  11-8, 9-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-2 (53m)

Mark Krajcsak (HUN) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS)  10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (48m)

Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA)  11-2, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0) (35m)

Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Patrick Bedore (CAN)  11-5, 11-4, 11-0 (29m)

Qualifying Round One, 15-Jan:
Michael Joint (Aus) bt Tony James (Aus) 11/8, 8/11, 17/15, 8/11, 11/8 (54m)
Ryan Donegan (Usa) bt Rob McFadzean (Usa) 11/3, 11/7, 11/7 (31m)
Wade Johnstone (Aus) bt Beau River (Usa) 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (31m)
Patrick Bedore (Can) bt Conor O'Malley (Usa) 11/1, 11/5, 11/3 (22m)


Shabana & Ricketts In Windy City Final 

Australian Anthony Ricketts recorded a stunning four-game semi-final victory over Egyptian teenage star Ramy Ashour to reach the final of the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship in Chicago , where he will meet another Egyptian, top seed Amr Shabana who despatched Scotland 's John White in straight games.


Ricketts, the fifth seed from Sydney , is enjoying a notable return to form in the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year in the USA .  The 27-year-old made his breakthrough by defeating fellow countryman David Palmer, the second seed and defending champion, in the previous round.


Ashour, however, arrived in the Windy City having just collected the first Super Series crown of his career in the PACE Canadian Classic in Toronto - where he beat Ricketts for the third time in two months!


After surviving a tie-break in the first game, UK-based Ricketts went on to beat Ashour 11-10 (2-0), 11-3, 8-11, 11-8 in 61 minutes.


"It was a fantastic game of squash," Ricketts said.  "I've lost the last three times I've played him, and he has been a fantastic winner.  Today, he has proven that he knows how to lose too, and I have a lot of respect for him - he knows how to take it.


"With Ramy, you've got to stick with it with every point.  Last week in Toronto , I had the lead, but I let it slip away, like I did with Peter Nicol in Kuwait two years ago," added Ricketts, now in his 15th PSA Tour final.


Amr Shabana notched up his 21st PSA Tour final appearance after beating John White 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 in 30 minutes.  The hard-hitting Scot, now based in the US , was clearly feeling the effects of his impressive five-game upset over Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the world No3, 24 hours earlier.


Seeds Sink As Windy City Storm Follows Chicago Calm

After three days of action in which all the favoured players prevailed, three of the four top seeds failed to make the semi-finals of the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship in the first day of shocks in the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year in Chicago, USA.


The biggest casualty was second seed David Palmer, the defending champion from Australia who crashed out 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 in 53 minutes to compatriot Anthony Ricketts.


The win marked the 27-year-old from Sydney's first PSA Tour victory over Australian team-mate Palmer in nine career meetings since June 2001.


"Iíd never beaten David on the PSA circuit, so I'm very happy, obviously," said Ricketts.  "I had had such a bad run of injuries during the past months, I really wanted to prove something last week (in Toronto) and put so much pressure on myself to try and make the semis or the final - whereas this week, I was much more relaxed and just decided to enjoy my time here in Chicago."


Third seed Thierry Lincou, the former world number one from France, also fell - beaten for the second time in three months by rising Egyptian star Ramy Ashour.  The 19-year-old sixth seed secured the shortest win of the day, beating Lincou 11-8, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) in 48 minutes.


But perhaps the most notable upset was achieved by John White, the US-based Scot who took out fourth seed Gregory Gaultier, the French star who is now ranked three in the world.  Sporting a brand new racquet from sponsors Prince, White avenged his straight games defeat by the 24-year-old in last year's World Open to beat Gaultier 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-10 (3-1) in a 75-minute marathon.


"I could see from the start that he was not as relaxed as he normally is," said White.  "Iím glad that my game plan came off.  Itís fantastic to beat the world number three and, at 33, still be able to beat those young spring chickens."

Willstrop Battles Into Windy City Quarters

England's James Willstrop battled for 72 minutes to overcome Egypt 's Mohammed Abbas in the second round of the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship - the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year, in Chicago , USA .


The 23-year-old seventh seed from Yorkshire came back from a game down to beat Abbas, the 13th seed, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 to earn a clash with another Egyptian, top seed Amr Shabana.


The world number one from Cairo , a surprise second round casualty in last week's PACE Canadian Classic in Toronto , was in fine second round form, beating Finland 's Olli Tuominen 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 in 39 minutes.


"Olli and I have been playing against each other since we're like 11, so I cannot surprise him," Shabana said  "I can only play my shots.  And today, it happened for me"

A second Egyptian made it into the last eight when sixth seed Ramy Ashour beat England 's No10 seed Adrian Grant 11-8, 11-5, 11-3.  Ashour, the teenager who claimed his first PSA Super Series crown in Toronto last week, now faces France's former world No1 Thierry Lincou, an 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4 winner over Egyptian Wael El Hindi.


Ryding Weathers The Storm In Windy City 

A five-game battle between two fellow countrymen was one of the highlights of the second day of first round action in the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship - the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year, in Chicago , USA .


It took Graham Ryding, the Canadian number one ranked 23 in the world, five games to overhaul Shawn Delierre, ranked more than 20 places lower, in the Coastal Contacts Jericho Open in Vancouver last November.


And again, the unseeded 24-year-old from Montreal fully stretched his senior compatriot in Chicago - leading 2/1 before 15th seed Ryding fought back to win 11-4, 3-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3 in 55 minutes.


Ryding, 31, from Toronto, now goes on to face defending champion David Palmer, the second seed from Australia, for a place in the quarter-finals.


Egyptian teenager Ramy Ashour began his bid for a second successive PSA Super Series title in North America with a swift straight games win over Swedish qualifier Badr Abdel Aziz.  The PACE Canadian Classic champion took just 30 minutes to overcome Aziz 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 to set up a second round clash with England 's Adrian Grant.


"We are very good friends, I always wanted to play him, it was a great experience for me,"  said Aziz.  "Both my parents are Egyptians, but I was born in Sweden .  I think that the 'Egyptian style' comes naturally to us.  I always admire the way those guys play, itís the way squash should be played for me."

Seeds Sail Through In Chicago

The seeds were untroubled on the first day of action in the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship - though Australia 's defending champion David Palmer had to fight back from a game down before reserving his place in the last sixteen of the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year, in Chicago , USA .


Second seed Palmer, the world No2 from New South Wales , needed 64 minutes to overcome Italy 's Davide Bianchetti, ranked 26 places lower, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9.


"I was playing far too slow at the start of the match, I knew I had to pick up the pace because itís not my game at all," said the World Open champion, "It was not my best game, I had to keep my head down, but at the end of the day, itís still a win, even if it was one of those days."


Event favourite Amr Shabana, the world No1 from Cairo , despatched unseeded Australian Dan Jenson 11-10 (3-1), 11-4, 11-6 (32m) - to join fellow Egyptian Wael El Hindi in the second round.  The No11 seed removed compatriot Hisham Mohd Ashour 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.


John White, the hard-hitting Scot who is based in the US, overcame a first game deficit to beat fellow US-based Briton Mark Heather 8-11, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0), 11-4.  The former world No1 will next take on Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee, the 14th seed who caused one of three English qualifier casualties of the day when he beat Stacey Ross 11-7, 11-10 (3-1), 11-6.

English Quartet Blow Into Windy City Open

A quartet of Englishmen secured places in the main draw of the Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship after surviving the qualifying finals of the second PSA Super Series Silver event of the year, in Chicago, USA.

In the longest match of the day, Stacey Ross came from a game down to defeat Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) in 85 minutes.  Surrey county team-mate Tom Richards also prevailed, beating Canada 's Robin Clarke 11-6, 11-9, 11-6. 


Essex's Daryl Selby and Oxfordshire's Scott Handley came through after wins over Canada 's Patrick Bedore and Frenchman Laurent Elriani, respectively.


Perhaps the most notable match of the day, however, was the all-American clash between Julian Illingworth, the US National champion from Yale, and Christopher Gordon, the highest-ranked USA player from New York .  Illingworth prevailed 11-2, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0) in 35 minutes - a win which is likely to reverse their positions in the PSA world list.


Egypt's world number one Amr Shabana leads the high quality field at the PSA event at the city's University Club.  The top seed faces Australian Dan Jenson in the first round and is expected to meet another Australian, second seed David Palmer, in the final.  Palmer, the defending champion, meets Italy 's Davide Bianchetti in the opening round.


All eyes will be on Egypt 's Ramy Ashour, the 19-year-old from Cairo who romped to his maiden PSA Super Series title success at the PACE Canadian Classic in Toronto last month.  Seeded six, Ashour takes on Swedish qualifier Badr Abdel Aziz in the opening round - and is expected to face France 's former world number one Thierry Lincou for a place in the semi-finals.



Matthew Out Of Windy City Open

England's world No5 Nick Matthew has been forced to withdraw from next week's Infor Windy City Open Squash Championship.  The second PSA Super Series event of the year, in which the British Open champion was the fifth seed, gets underway in Chicago, USA, on Tuesday (18 January).


England's highest-ranked player sustained an ankle ligament tear this week in the PACE Canadian Classic in Toronto.  The 26-year-old from Sheffield is currently undergoing intensive physiotherapy treatment back on home soil.


The revised draw elevates Australia's Cameron Pilley to 16th seed and promotes Canada's Shawn Delierre into the main draw.  Pilley, from New South Wales, now takes on a qualifier in the first round, while Delierre will meet fellow Canadian Graham Ryding, the 15th seed.


The star-studded line-up for $80,000 event is led by Amr Shabana, the world number one from Egypt who is expected to meet world No2 David Palmer, the defending champion from Australia, in the final.


Revised 1st round draw:

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Dan Jenson (AUS)

[12] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Qualifier

[7] James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier

[13] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) v Qualifier

[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Alex Gough (WAL)

[9] Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Qualifier

[8] John White (SCO) v Mark Heather (ENG)

[14] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Qualifier

[10] Adrian Grant (ENG) v Qualifier

[6] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier

[11] Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)

[3] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Liam Kenny (IRL)

[16] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Qualifier

[5] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v Rafael F Alarcon (BRA)

[15] Graham Ryding (CAN) v Shawn Delierre (CAN)

[2] David Palmer (AUS) v Davide Bianchetti (ITA)