World Championships 2013

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 Final   Semi Finals   Quarter Finals   2nd Round   1st Round   Qualifying   Preview

England's Nick Matthew Wins World Championship Hat-Trick

England's Nick Matthew survived a dramatic AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship final today at Manchester Central in Manchester, beating French rival Gregory Gaultier to claim the trophy for the third time and become the first player since 1977 to clinch the title after squandering a 2/0 lead.

The 111-minute triumph, fittingly the longest match of the championship, means that the 33-year-old world number four from Sheffield joins a select and distinguished group of players - Australian Geoff Hunt; Pakistanis Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan; and Egyptian Amr Shabana - who have three titles to their name.

Gaultier, the world number two from Aix-en-Provence, also becomes a member of a notable trio of fellow former world number ones - including Pakistan's Qamar Zaman and Australian Chris Dittmar - who have been finalists four times but have never won the title!

Matthew went into the match 2/1 ahead of his opponent in previous meetings in the World Championship, but 10/15 down in career-long Tour clashes. It was their seventh Tour encounter of the year - the most recent being the US Open final just two weeks ago when Gaultier crushed the Englishman in straight games.

Matthew was clearly after revenge - and, before a capacity and partisan crowd at Manchester Central, fought back from 4-7 and 6-9 down in the opening game to take the lead after 26 minutes after being awarded a stroke. Gaultier questioned the decision via the fourth official, using 'Video Review', but the decision was upheld.

The second game followed a remarkably similar pattern, with Gaultier again leading 7-4, then 8-6, before a series of winners from the Yorkshireman's racket took Matthew to game ball - and an almost identical shot to the one at the end of the first game which again led to a stroke for Matthew. Gaultier's appeal to the fourth official again confirmed the decision!

The third game saw a revival of fortunes for the in-form Frenchman. In a sequence of incredible rallies, Gaultier went from 6-7 down to game-ball at 10-7.

Incredibly, Matthew reclaimed the advantage, winning four points in a row - the first of which Gaultier commendably called down - to reach match-ball.

With the audience on the edges of their seats, Gaultier levelled with a winning drop shot, then took the next two to clinch the game.

Gaultier was on fire in the fourth, winning six points in succession from two-all before sending a service return into the nick at 7-10 to level the match.

The decider saw a noticeably focussed Matthew come into the court alongside a weary-looking Frenchman. As the game developed, it became increasingly clear that Gaultier had little more to give - and Matthew, urged on by the excited crowd, scored winner after winner before a tinned response from the Frenchman on championship point gave the Englishman the title 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 11-2 after 111 minutes.

"That fourth game was a bit of a blur," Matthew conceded to MC Andy Kay when asked what happened midway through the match.

"It took a lot of strength to come back from that.

"'t they! I played Greg once in Toulouse - but never thought I'd experience such a fantastic home crowd response like this for me!"

When reminded of his last battle with Gaultier in Philadelphia, Matthew agreed: "He gave me a lesson then.

"Tonight's match was tough - such a mental battle," added Matthew, who had never before lost to Gaultier after leading by two games.

"i could gladly retire now, after three finals and three wins - but I won't do!

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would achieve this!"

Matthew becomes the oldest world champion since 1980, when Australia's Geoff Hunt won the title for the fourth time in a row, aged 33 years and six months.


2012 Tournament Pages

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Main Draw

Matthew Dreaming

1st Round
2nd Round
3rd Round
Quarter Finals
Semi Finals

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Nick Matthew Wins World Championship

Men's World Squash Championship 2013
Round One
28 Oct
Round Two
29 Oct
Round Three
29 Oct
31 Oct &
1 Nov
2 Nov
3 Nov
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
10-12, 13-11, 11-3, 11-4 (65m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Ramy Ashour
11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (23m)
Fares Dessouky
Ramy Ashour
9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 12-10 (62m)
Cameron Pilley
11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (48m)
Saurav Ghosal

6-11, 11-2, 2-0 ret. (24m)
Nick Matthew


Nick Matthew
11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 11-2 (111m)

[Q] Fares Dessouky (EGY)
9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (82m)
Alan Clyne (SCO)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 8-11, 13-11 (79m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Nafiizwan Adnan
11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 11-6 (80m)
Cameron Pilley
[14] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL)
[15] Alister Walker (BOT)
11-8, 11-5, 13-11 (49m)
[Q] Shaun Le Roux (RSA)
Alister Walker
11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 (55m)
5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (66m)
Henrik Mustonen
Saurav Ghosal (IND)
11-5, 12-10, 11-3 (48m)
Joe Lee (ENG)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8 (84m)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
Henrik Mustonen
4-11, 2-11, 11-6 ret. (36m)
Peter Barker
[7] Peter Barker (ENG)
11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 (72m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[8] Amr Shabana (EGY)
11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (38m)
Adrian Grant (ENG)
Amr Shabana
11-8, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6 (55m)
Mathieu Castagnet
Amr Shabana
11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (37m)
Miguel Rodriguez
Amr Shabana
11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (43m)
Nick Matthew
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-3, 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 (78m
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) )
Leo Au (HKG)
11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 (90m)
[Q] Shahier Razik (CAN)
Leo Au
11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (38m)
Miguel Rodriguez
[16] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9 (75m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[11] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (34m)
Chris Gordon (USA)
Omar Mosaad
11-5, 11-4, 13-11 (44m)
Ong Beng Hee
Omar Mosaad
11-4, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4 (71m)
Nick Matthew
Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 10-12, 11-8 (70m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Max Lee (HKG)
11-7, 13-11, 12-10 (39m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
Max Lee
11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (41m)
Nick Matthew
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (39m)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG)
11-4, 11-4, 13-11
[Q] Joel Hinds (ENG)
James Willstrop
11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (39m)
Tom Richards
James Willstrop
11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (48m)
Borja Golan
James Willstrop
12-10, 11-6, 2-11, 11-9 (78m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
Mohamed Elshorbagy
6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10
Gregory Gaultier
Tom Richards (ENG)
11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (53m)
Ben Coleman (ENG)
Cesar Salazar (MEX)
11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 (75m)
[Q] Steve Finitsis (AUS)
Cesar Salazar
11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (30m)
Borja Golan
[9] Borja Golan (ESP)
11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 (110m)
Chris Simpson (ENG)
[12] Simon Rosner (GER)
11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (57m)
[Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
Simon Rosner
15-13, 11-7, 11-5 (59m)
Abdullah Al Mezayen
Simon Rosner
11-1, 11-9, 11-7 (41m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
Abdullah Al Mezayen (KUW)
11-9, 11-8, 12-10 (44m)
[Q] Andrew Wagih (EGY)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (45m)
Julian Illingworth (USA)
Omar Abdel Aziz
11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (29m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
[6] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 (84m)
Adrian Waller (ENG)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY)
11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (28m)
[Q] Nasir Iqbal (PAK)
Karim Darwish
11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (33m)
Olli Tuominen
Karim Darwish
4-11, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 (85m)
Daryl Selby
Daryl Selby
11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (60m)
Gregory Gaultier
Olli Tuominen (FIN)
11-5, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12 (74m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
[Q] Ammar Altamimi (KUW)
Stephen Coppinger
11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3 (75m)
Daryl Selby
[13] Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (35m)
[Q] Charles Sharpes (ENG)
[10] Tarek Momen (EGY)
11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (39m)
[Q] Eddie Charlton (ENG)
Tarek Momen
5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (43m)
Nicolas Mueller
Tarek Momen
11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (45m)
Gregory Gaultier
Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
7-11, 12-10, 11-5, 12-10 (52m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)[Q] Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
Matthew Karwalski
11-9, 11-3, 11-5 (32m)
Gregory Gaultier
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (47m)
[Q] Kristian Frost (DEN)

RESULTS: AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship, Manchester, England

Qualifying finals:
Nasir Iqbal (PAK) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (57m)
Joel Hinds (ENG) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12 (78m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Dane Sharp (CAN) 11-4, 15-13, 11-5 (36m)
Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 (36m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 14-12 (38m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 11-5, 13-11, 11-8 (47m)
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt Geoffrey Demont (FRA) 7-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-8 (51m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) bt Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-5, 9-11, 11-1, 11-8 (41m)
Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY) bt Peter Creed (WAL) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (40m)
Eddie Charlton (ENG) bt Yousif Nizar Saleh (KUW) 11-6, 12-10, 11-3 (43m)
Ammar Altamimi (KUW) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 11-5, 17-15, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8 (76m)
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (86m)
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-5 (73m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (64m)

1st qualifying round:
Nasir Iqbal (PAK) bt Alex Ingham (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (33m)
Jens Schoor (GER) bt Alejandro Garbi Caro (ESP) 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (80m)
Joel Hinds (ENG) bt Johan Bouquet (FRA) 12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8 (60m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Matthew Sidaway (ENG) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (28m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt Bradley Smith (ENG) 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (31m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Reiko Peter (SUI) 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (25m)
Dane Sharp (CAN) bt Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 6-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-2 (34m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Adam Auckland (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (35m)
Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt James Earles (ENG) 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 (47m)
Aqeel Rehman (AUT) bt Lyell Fuller (ENG) 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (43m)
Declan James (ENG) bt Michael Harris (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Ahmed Atef (EGY) 11-9, 11-2, 11-2 (25m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt George Parker (ENG) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (39m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt Kevin Moran (SCO) 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (38m)
Geoffrey Demont (FRA) bt Julian Tomlinson (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (33m)
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 11-4, 11-8, 12-10 (57m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) bt Khawaja Adil Maqbool (PAK) 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (22m)
Arthur Gaskin (IRL) bt Robert Downer (ENG) 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 (45m)
Peter Creed (WAL) bt Steven London (ENG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)
Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY) bt Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-9, 6-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 (91m)
Eddie Charlton (ENG) bt Chris Fuller (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3 (75m)
Yousif Nizar Saleh (KUW) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) w/o
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Admire Magwaza (ZIM) 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (25m)
Ammar Altamimi (KUW) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9 (62m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Kim Are Killingberg (NOR) 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (21m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (23m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Thomas Ford (ENG) 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 (37m)
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) bt Claudio Pinto (POR) 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (37m)
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Ashley Davies (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)
Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Rafael Alarcon (BRA) 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 (91m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 4-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6 (51m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Ahmad Al-Saraj (JOR) 9-11, 11-6, 16-14, 11-3 (65m)


Semi Finals

Matthew & Gaultier To Contest World Final

The outcome of two contrasting semi-finals of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship - played before a sell-out crowd at Manchester Central in Manchester - will see home hero Nick Matthew bid to win his third world title when he takes on French rival Gregory Gaultier, three times previously a runner-up, in Sunday's final of the most prestigious event in world squash.

The first semi-final brought one of the longest winning streaks on the PSA World Tour to an end when Matthew, the fourth seed from Sheffield, beat Egyptian favourite and defending champion Ramy Ashour.

Poised to notch up a 50th successive match win since last losing to Matthew in the British Open final in May 2012, world No1 Ashour went into the match less than 100% having aggravated a hamstring injury earlier in the week.

But the 26-year-old from Cairo played a blistering opening game against the Englishman ranked four in the world - taking the game for the loss of just six points.

Matthew found his form in the second - reeling off seven points in a row before drawing level.

But after just two points of the third, Ashour was unable to continue - and conceded the match, with the score standing at 6-11, 11-2, 2-0 in Matthew's favour.

"I started to feel it on the last two points of my match with Cameron (Pilley), and somehow managed to win against Saurav (Ghosal)," said Ashour. "I had a lot of physio treatment and acupuncture the last two days, and have been taking pills to try and relax the body and the muscles down.

"I've been pushing on the other leg, which is not good either, because the other leg is not supposed to take as much pressure as that. I was keeping on hoping that things would be fine, I was trying to stay positive, but ....

"It's obviously a big disappointment for me," continued the defending champion. "I'm going to go and see what they say in Aspetar, the clinic in Qatar, to see once again what's wrong with my legs. They say I suffer from fatigue in the hamstring, and they are not sure if there is something I can do to prevent this from happening again and again.

"Now, I can't complain, I had a good season - a great season - and I have to take that loss like a man and accept that other people had bad times as well.

"But I have no fitness coach, and I've been stuffing myself with anti-inflammatory pills for months now, hoping that my body would hold. But the body just can't take it anymore.

"For the 25th time, I'll try and find a way to play the game without worrying too much about my body."

Whilst the result was the one Matthew was hoping for, the means of its achievement was not: "I feel a bit flat right now and my thoughts are with him (Ramy) and with the crowd and with everyone else really," said Matthew, now in his third world championship final since 2010 - and the 56th Tour final of his career.

"I need to make sure this doesn't hang over into tomorrow. I have to be a bit selfish: I'm in the final. I need to focus on that.

"When your opponent is injured it can play with your own mind. You have to make sure you don't get distracted.

"The crowd were brilliant today," added the 33-year-old Yorkshireman. "They really lifted me in the first game and hopefully there will be more of the same tomorrow and they can pull me across the line.

"I'm not going to have not being fresh as an excuse am I? I'm probably never going to go into a World Championship final feeling as fresh as this," concluded Matthew.

Gaultier reached his fifth successive final on the PSA Tour - which includes two titles and losses only to Ashour - after beating Egypt's sixth seed Mohamed Elshorbagy.

The in-form world No2 had reached the last four without dropping a game - but immediately went one game down after a superb early performance by his 22-year-old opponent, ranked six in the world.


Click on Images for larger view


Gregory Gaultier Celebrates As He Goes Through To The Final


Nick Matthew Will Meet Gaultier In The Final

Ramy Ashour Forced To Retire With A
 Hamstring Injury

Click on Images for larger view

Gaultier reclaimed the initiative in the next two games to move 2/1 ahead - and extended the rallies in the fourth as Elshorbagy was noticeably tiring.

After a long energy-sapping rally, the Frenchman moved 8-7 up - and soon afterwards reached match-ball at 10-8. Elshorbagy salvaged one before a loose shot hit the tin - leaving Gaultier to celebrate his 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10 victory - and a place in his fourth final since 2006.

"It was a slow start," conceded Gaultier, now in his 55th Tour final. "He started fast and I didn't really find my length at the beginning and I wasn't really active so he was all over me. Then when I lost the first game I came out and my coach really got it into my head to be more focused and more active.

"You know you work so hard for these kind of matches and you just try to push yourself and you push beyond the limits sometimes. That's what it takes to win matches like this sometimes.

"At the end of the third I knew he was a bit tired because he was asking for the court to be wiped when there was nothing there.

"The game is never over until he wins the last point so I just tried to stay simple at the end. Once I got back to 10-all then my chance was there. I kept pushing, put in intense rhythm and that worked."

On the forthcoming final, Gaultier said: "I played Nick so many times. He's a tough guy and he's tough to break but I know what to do. Who is the best on the day will win. All I need to do is to recover well from today.

"Tomorrow is another day and I will give all I have on that day. You can do your best and lose or you can do your best and win; at least I will have no regrets."


Quarter Finals Lower Half    

Elshorbagy Upsets Willstrop To Set Up Gaultier World Semi

Sixth-seeded Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy upset England's No3 seed James Willstrop in tonight's quarter-finals of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship at Manchester Central in Manchester to set up a semi-final clash with France's No2 seed Gregory Gaultier.

Elshorbagy, the world No6 from Alexandria, was meeting England's James Willstrop in a repeat of last year's semi-final which went the full distance - with the Egyptian underdog prevailing in 112 minutes to reach the final as the No8 seed.

Since then, world No3 Willstrop has claimed two Tour wins over Elshorbagy - and boasts a 9-2 career head-to-head over the 22-year-old.

But Elshorbagy was in dominant form - winning the first game after a run of five points in a row from 2-3, and again jumping from 2-3 down in the second to go 8-4 up before forging a 2/0 lead.

But after Elshorbagy took the opening point of the third following a Willstrop error, the third-seeded Englishman crafted nine winners in succession to claw back the deficit.

At four-all in the fourth, Elshorbagy took a brief timeout for a 'blood injury' - and it was neck-and-neck thereafter, with Willstrop leading 9-7.

"At 9-7 down in the fourth, I just went for it - he was playing more accurately than me at the time," explained Elshorbagy later, describing the sensational four points in a row he won to clinch the match 12-10, 11-6, 2-11, 11-9.

"I had to hit the ball hard. I knew I had to win the game - I didn't want to go into a fifth.

"Playing in the quarter-finals of the world championship is huge - and you could see that we were both a bit nervous at the beginning - before a big crowd and on such a big stage

"The first game was crucial - and winning it gave me huge confidence for the whole match. I knew he'd start the second well - and I wanted to get a big lead. I thought I did that well.

"I felt I was playing his game better than him - then I started to play the game I wanted.

"I think I will be fresh tomorrow. I've got my team with me - my father, mother and my brother - and I'm speaking to Jonah (Barrington) every day. He gives me lots of mental confidence - he understands how my brain works. I believe I can beat any player."

It was a demoralised Willstrop who tried to explain the outcome later: "I lost context, I lost perspective. I don't like losing.

"I was very poor at 9-7 - I thought the rest of the game was fine - but to do that at 9-7, two errors on the trot - you just can't do that at this level. If those errors hadn't happened - who knows?

"I felt happy as I walked onto the court - I was in a great frame of mind. It was a great atmosphere and a fantastic crowd.

"At 9-7 in the fourth, I felt really good and thought I could win the match. I thought I was turning it round."

"It's hugely disappointing - but credit to him, he's a good player."

Later Gaultier became the only player to reach the semi-finals without dropping a game when he beat surprise English opponent Daryl Selby.

The 13th seed from Essex reached the quarter-finals for the first time after upsetting Egypt's No5 seed Karim Darwish, a former runner-up, in the previous round.

World No2 Gaultier is enjoying the best form of his life, with final appearances in his last three Tour events. The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence raced to a 7-2 lead in the opening game before Selby, ranked nine places lower, took three points in a row - but was unable to stop the Frenchman establishing a 1/0 lead.


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Mohamed Elshorbagy Upsets James Willstrop to Reach Semis


Below Gregory Gaultier Celebrates Win Over Daryl Selby to Meet Mohamed Elshorbagy In Semi-Final

Click on Images for larger view

The second followed a similar pattern - but this time Selby was only able to win four points before Gaultier moved 2/0 up.

Spurred on by the near capacity and partisan crowd, Selby found his form in the third, establishing leads of 4-0, 5-2, 6-4 and 8-6 before reaching game ball at 10-9. But, true to form, Gaultier found extra reserves to win the next three points to claim an 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 victory after 60 minutes.

"I'm probably in the best shape of my life," Gaultier told MC Andy Kay afterwards. "I've been playing well over the last few months. Tonight I had a lot of motivation and lots of confidence - and I didn't feel under any pressure."

The French squash star continued by paying tribute to Willstrop, the loser of the earlier semi-final whose partner Vanessa Atkinson is about to give birth to their first child. "As a new father, I think my baby is better than being world champion."

Gaultier later admitted: "I started really well in the match, was really focussed and for two games I was really on fire.

"But he raised his game in the third and made me really work hard for every point."

Selby agreed that his opponent is in the form of his life: "He played a spectacular game against Nick (Matthew) in the final of the US Open last month.

"But I really wish I'd won that third game.

"The crowd was amazing - all squash players dream of having a crowd like that behind them. I hope they do the same for Nick tomorrow, which might help carry him into the final."


Quarter Finals Top Half

Ramy Ashour & Nick Matthew Set Up Sizzling World Semi

Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour and England's world No4 Nick Matthew will meet in an eagerly-anticipated AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship semi-final in Manchester on Saturday after both prevailed in straight games quarter-finals at Manchester Central.

With six world championship titles between them, it was no surprise that the opening quarter-final between fourth seed Matthew, the two-time champion from Sheffield, and eighth seed Amr Shabana, the four-time winner from Egypt, would be a world-class encounter.

And judging from the oohs and aahs surrounding the new all-glass court at Manchester Central, that's how the near capacity crowd felt about the spectacle they enjoyed.

Matthew was in commanding form as he raced to a 4-0 opening lead - but maestro Shabana pegged back the deficit to a single point before the Englishman again moved ahead. The 34-year-old left-hander from Cairo saved two game balls from 10-6 but it was Matthew who went 1/0 up.

A similar pattern emerged in the second, with Yorkshireman Matthew taking a 3-0 lead without reply. Shabana was unable to stem his opponent's lead as Matthew stormed on to take a 2/0 lead.

World No4 Matthew took the first point in the third, but for the first time in the match Shabana overtook his opponent to lead 4-1. It was short-lived, however, as errors crept into the Egyptian's game while Matthew dug deeper.

Shabana saved a single match-ball, but Matthew ended the next rally by smashing the ball well beyond the Egyptian's reach to record an 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 victory after 43 minutes.

"I can't get too carried away by that win," Matthew told MC Andy Kay afterwards. "I've got to keep my feet on the floor - there are two rounds to go yet.

"He's such a great player. I was really nervous today as he's coming back from injury - so I felt the pressure was on me.

"I feel I'm in the best shape of my life. I've changed one or two things in my training - I'm now doing yoga, for instance.

"I've been inspired by a quote I saw recently on the wall in my gym at the EIS: 'If you're not nervous, you're not ready'.

"'That means you're ready' my wife (Esme) said to me!"

When asked about the influence of Rugby League star Ellery Hanley, who watched the match from the front row, Matthew said: "Ellery has been great to me. We speak quite often. He doesn't say a lot, but what he does say is worth hearing.

"Having a rest day tomorrow will give me the chance to do my homework on my semi-final opponent. Though if it's Ramy, I'd need 182 hours!"

Shabana admitted he was slightly off the pace, but was pleased with his performance in his first event after an eight-month layoff with a liver complaint - which resulted in him being confined to bed for a total of 28 days.

"I'm pleased to have reached the quarter-finals of the world championship after what I went through," said the former world number one. "I went half way, so you have to be optimistic.

"Nick was very sharp tonight - he did everything right and I was a bit off the pace. You can't play somebody like Nick unless you're 100% and I would say I was about 60% tonight.

"I know I can improve - I just need more match practice. I only led for the first time in the third game. I was always playing catch-up - and usually it's my opponents who are playing catch-up!

"Usually when you lose, you are unhappy," continued Shabana. "But I don't feel like that - and I want to get back home to continue training.

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Nick Matthew Through To Semi Finals


Below Rami Ashour's win over Saurav Ghosal

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"I still believe that on my day I can beat everybody today - including Ramy, Greg, Nick and James. I want to prove that, at 34, I can still be world number one or world champion - or even at 35 or 36."

In the day's other quarter-final, favourite Ashour faced unseeded Saurav Ghosal, the world No17 from Kolkata who has made history by becoming the first Indian ever to reach the world championship quarter-finals.

By contrast, it was the Egyptian's fourth successive last eight berth in the championship - which he won both last year and in 2008.

Ghosal, who went into the match without having previously beaten Ashour in four meetings, made an impressive start - leading 8-4 and 9-6 in the first game.

But the 26-year-old from Cairo - later described by Ghosal as "the most original squash player I have ever seen" - pulled out a succession scintillating shots to recover the deficit and take the game.

Ashour quickly built up a 9-1 lead before taking game two. It was nip and tuck throughout the third until nine-all. After a long rally, Ashour played a deft backhand volley into the nick, then clinched the match after a further lengthy exchange which concluded when Ghosal put the ball into the tin.

Ashour admitted later that he'd had hospital treatment that morning for "a niggle in my leg".

"I was very happy with the win tonight," Ashour told the crowd after his 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 victory. "But it's not just the win, it's the story behind the win!" He continued by thanking a host of people who had enabled him to achieve his victory - adding "and the venue here is amazing".

"For the last three days, I haven't been enjoying my squash," conceded Ashour later to the event's media. "I've been like a machine. It's been too hard - all my problems over the past few years have come back, including my groin and my hamstring.

"It's only been for the last three years or so that I've been looking after myself properly - yet I've been playing for about 20 years and wasn't doing the right things and had nobody to help me."

Ashour shrugged off any suggestion that he was motivated by his current winning streak: "I'm not thinking about it at all - I just go on court and do what I have to do!"

When talking about his opponent later, Ghosal said: "Ramy can produce performances right now that nobody can top. I feel privileged to have played in his era - what we have in Ramy is something very special.

"I think I played pretty well tonight in the first and third games - I think I handled myself OK. If I'd won the first game, it could have made a big difference.

"I'm happy with my progress," responded Ghosal when asked how he felt about his Indian breakthrough in the event. "But what I really want to do is win matches like that today!"


3rd Round 

Selby Sends English Trio Into World Championship Quarter-Finals

A dazzling performance by 13th seed Daryl Selby in today's third round of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship in Manchester will see an unexpected trio of Englishmen contest the quarter-finals of the sport's premier event of the year which moves to Manchester Central from tomorrow through to the final on Sunday.

Selby, the world No14 from Chelmsford in Essex who has never progressed beyond the last 16 in six previous appearances since 2007, dropped the opening game to Karim Darwish as the No5 seed from Egypt looked set to extend his 6/1 career head-to-head lead over the Englishman.

But Selby fought back to take the next two games and move into the lead at the National Squash Centre. However, the world No5 from Cairo - runner-up in the event the last time it was staged in Manchester, in 2008 - regained control of the game to draw level.

It was nip and tuck through the decider, with Selby reaching 9-6 before Darwish cut back the deficit to 8-9. But two points later and it was underdog Selby who raised his hands in delight after his 4-11, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 victory in 85 minutes - the longest match of the day.

"Wow, it's my first quarter-final of a world championship and what better place to do it than in front of a home crowd - thanks to the crowd for getting behind me tonight," said the jubilant 30-year-old Selby. "I think when it got close in the fifth the support really made a difference - I really felt the energy and it pushed me through because I didn't have much left there at the end.

"He beat me in a tight 3/1 last year so I guess that's a little bit of revenge. But he's a class player - he showed that last week at the US Open - and I'm ecstatic to win.

"I like being the underdog, I fight every point," continued the Essex hero. "I fight every time I'm on court even if it's not going my way and I don't feel like I'm hitting it where I want to. He played well the first game, I really struggled. I've had two matches on the back courts, he's had two matches on here - I think that was the difference.

"I just wanted to try and get a game. After the first game, I thought this could be quick - but I just dug in and I got there in the end. I'm proud to do it."

Selby's win ensures surprise domestic interest in three of the four quarter-finals. In the first match of the day, fourth seed Nick Matthew survived a hard-fought contest with 11th seed Omar Mosaad, needing 71 minutes to get past the tall Egyptian 11-4, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4.

"When it got tight in the third, he became very hard to beat," said the two-time champion from Sheffield. "I'm lucky I got to a good start in the fourth.

"We play the Nationals here - it's easier to win that as there are no Egyptians! I love the court, I'm used to it, I'm used to the bounces - it feels home to me and I'm used to the crowd!

"I had lost a bit of motivation at the end of last season, but I don't have the skill of James (Willstrop) or Ramy (Ashour) so I work on my tenacity," Matthew confided to the event MC.

"A new tournament starts tomorrow (at Manchester Central), it's so exciting, I'm sure we'll all love it, and the crowd as well, especially with the BBC being there and all."

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Daron Selby first quarter final of a world championship

Ramy Ashour struggles Against Cameron Pilley

Saurav Ghosal the only unseeded player in the last eight

Gregory Gaultier, the No2 seed, beat Egypt's Tarek Momen

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In one of the pick of the last eight clashes, Matthew will take on distinguished Egyptian Amr Shabana, the four-time winner of the prestigious title.

Eighth seed Shabana denied Miguel Angel Rodriguez his first time in the quarter-finals when he beat the talented Colombian, the 16th seed, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 in 37 minutes.

"I'm very happy to be in the quarters for the 11th time," admitted the 34-year-old former world number one from Cairo. "This is a very high quality tournament, and I'm very proud to be in it.

"Miguel is one of those dangerous players - I've played him four times now and every time I can feel the sting of his squash, his intensity is getting better, the quality of his shots is getting better, and he is very difficult to beat.

"You don't appreciate something until it's taken away from you. And when I was off sick for all those weeks (suffering with a liver complaint), not sure if I'll be able to step on another every again, I came to regret each time I got on court and didn't give my all."

On his next match with Matthew, Shabana added: "We've played each other so many times, he is an unbelievable athlete, I can't surprise him anymore, so I'll think about that one about one hour before the match!"

Third seed James Willstrop is England's other quarter-finalist. The world No3 from Harrogate despatched ninth-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 and will now face Egypt's No6 Mohamed Elshorbagy in a repeat of last year's semi-final, which the Egyptian underdog won in a 112-minute marathon.

"Borja is in form at the moment, and when you play the top 16 in the world, it's bound to be tough," said world No3 Willstrop later.

"I'm really happy to play here - it's one of the best experiences you can have, to play in your home country. Manchester is almost all the English guys' second home because we all train here and we've played countless tournaments here. Manchester has always been a great supporter of squash so it's good to have people around you, to support, to come and watch - it's always good to have the crowd on your side."

Elshorbagy was on fire as he beat top-ranked German Simon Rosner, the No12 seed, 11-1, 11-9, 11-7.

Egypt's defending champion Ramy Ashour, the world number one from Cairo, secured his expected place in the last eight for the third year in a row when he beat Australian Cameron Pilley. But the 14th seed from New South Wales played one of his best ever matches against the dominant Egyptian and soon opened up a one-game lead.

Ashour found his form in the second and third and reclaimed the advantage. But world No13 Pilley, who had never before beaten his illustrious opponent in eight meetings over the past five years, was not about to lie down - and was a point away from levelling the match at 10-7 in the fourth.

But Ashour clawed back the deficit and clinched his first match ball to win 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 12-10 in 62 minutes - thereby extending his unbeaten Tour run to 48 matches since May last year.

"Cameron played so well, he was finding nicks from everywhere - I was under so much pressure, my shots weren't going in at all today," said 26-year-old Ashour. "I had to rely on my fitness to win, and I'm so glad it worked! That win against Cameron gives me a lot of confidence.

"I have so much pressure, so many factors - plus that extra enemy up there in my head!

"Everybody wants to win this, and every match you play is a match for the World Champs title," added Ashour. "So I'll just keep on playing, I will keep on doing my best and keep playing."

Pilley commented: "Apart from a few periods, I played nice lines and lengths, killing the ball at the front as soon as I had the opportunity, keeping the pace up. And against Ramy, you've got to vary the pace as well.

"I did that in patches, but I feel that I had the wrong choice selection at the end of the fourth: I was playing like I was playing at 3-3 in that game, instead of 10-8. I should have taken the initiative I guess - but then again, I just kept on doing what I did to get me there!"

Ashour will line up against India's Saurav Ghosal - the only unseeded player in the last eight - after the 27-year-old from Kolkata put his name in the squash record books by becoming the first Indian to reach the quarter-finals in the event's 37-year history.

But world No17 Ghosal, widely regarded as one of the fastest players in the Tour, had to fight back from two games down to beat outsider Henrik Mustonen, the world No40 from Finland, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 in 66 minutes.

"Henrik played unbelievable squash in the first two games," said a delighted Ghosal later. "Actually he was match ball down in his first round match and came back to win it - that shows how strong he is mentally. He really caught me off guard with the quality of his shots. I had to dig in super super super deep to grind out of that one.

"Personally for me it's a massive achievement. It's the first time I've made it to the quarter-finals of the World Championship and it's huge to be in there in the last eight with the world's best players. I've made it one step further than I have before so I'm going to enjoy it - but I will be coming back tomorrow and hopefully I can play another good game and give myself a chance of progressing even further.

The World Championship is a massive competition and a very prestigious title. It's a title every squash player dreams of winning and I'm delighted to go one step closer towards that dream."

In the final match of the day, in-form Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No2 seed, beat Egypt's Tarek Momen 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to set up a quarter-final clash with Selby.


2nd Round

Ghosal Upsets Walker In Worlds Win 'For India'

After scoring a significant upset in today's second round of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship in Manchester, unseeded Kolkata-based Saurav Ghosal described the win as one "I'm not only doing for me, but also for India".

Ghosal, who made history last year by becoming the first Indian ever to make the last 16 of the world championship, faced 15th seed Alister Walker, the world No15 from Botswana whom he had never beaten before.

The 27-year-old defied the world rankings at the National Squash Centre - and denied his opponent a place in the last 16 for the first time in six years - by beating Walker 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 in 55 minutes.

"I'm happy to win today - I played well in the first two games, I was controlling the pace and trying to make him play in my strength, and was taking as much as I could the ball to the back to go pass him and take the volley away from him - he is so good on the T," explained Ghosal later.

"In the fourth, he had the confidence from winning the third. But I got it back and went 7-2 up - but it was a hard battle to try and close it off."

When asked if he felt he could push through and make the last eight for the first time, Ghosal responded: "If I was able to do so, yes, it would be huge for India. Dipika (Pallikal) was the first ever to reach the quarters, but never has a male player reached that stage.

"And in my view, I'm not only doing it for me, but it's also for India - for all those players that are coming after me. If my results can help and popularise the sport, then the impetus will carry on, and maybe one day, we'll have 15 Indian players in the main draw of the World Champs."

Ghosal, the world No17, will line up against fellow non-seed Henrik Mustonen, the 22-year-old Finn who celebrated his first ever appearance in the second round with a shock victory over England's No7 seed and former semi-finalist Peter Barker.

Londoner Barker slipped midway through the third game after leading 2/0 - and, after losing the game, conceded the match as the result of a calf injury.

The 4-11, 2-11, 11-6 (ret.) win leads world No40 Mustonen to become the only Finnish representative in the last 16 after the country's number one player Olli Tuominen - making his 13th successive appearance in the championship - went down 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 to Egypt's No5 seed Karim Darwish.

The top four seeds each progressed to the third round after straight games wins. Favourite Ramy Ashour, the world number one and defending champion from Egypt, despatched 19-year-old Egyptian qualifier Fares Mohamed Dessouki 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 in just 23 minutes - the speediest win of the day.

"It was an incredible match, he's playing incredible squash," gushed the teenager who ousted experienced Scot Alan Clyne to make the second round. "He's very talented and I played pretty good, not bad it was a very tough game. Actually it was very difficult to win six points in two games.

"I was coming to this tournament hoping to play with Ramy, to know how he's going to play, how he's acting inside the court. He's playing pretty good and he deserves to be world number one. I think he'll defend his title."

England rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop, who contested the 2010 final, had comfortable victories on the all-glass court on which they train regularly as England team-mates. Fourth seed Matthew defeated Hong Kong number one Max Lee 11-7, 11-6, 11-6, while No3 seed Willstrop fought off compatriot Tom Richards 11-8, 11-3, 11-5.


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Amr Shabana (white shirt) - 34 times former world champion

Peter Barker (white shirt) who had to retire with an injury after going 2-0 up

Peter Barker retires In Second Round

Saurav Ghosal (blue shirt) who knocked out 15th seed Alister Walker

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"Early rounds are not always easy, sometimes you feel that you're not fully there and that was one of those today," said two-time champion Matthew. "If I want to win I'll have to play a bit better especially when the calibre gets a bit better but that's the way you want it really."

Second seed Gregory Gaultier faced one of the two qualifiers who reached the second round. The Frenchman took 32 minutes to overcome Australian Matthew Karwalski 11-9, 11-3, 11-5.

"Matthew played really well today, especially the first game, he was really sharp, playing fast and going for his shots - really impressive - so I was very happy to sneak that first game," said the world No2 from Aix-en-Provence

"I'm happy with the way I'm playing, there are a few little things I need to improve on my game but I played a lot of tournaments and I tried to recover from last week and I'm confident that you need to improve your game every match."

Egyptian maestro Amr Shabana, the No8 seed who is a four-time winner of the trophy, recorded a second impressive win in his first PSA World Tour event since March.

The 34-year-old from Cairo beat rising French star Mathieu Castagnet 11-8, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6 in 55 minutes - and will now face Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez for a place in the quarter-finals for the 11th year in a row.

Rodriguez continued the form which saw him become the highest ranked South American of all-time earlier this year when he beat Hong Kong's Leo Au 11-8, 11-5, 11-8.

"This is THE tournament that stands out, it's very different from any other, and it's the one we all want to get to our peak for," said the 27-year-old from Bogota who is now the first South American to make the world championship's last 16.

"My season has been very long since the World Games - I had a fantastic week last week winning in Halifax, and I think I raised my game and I'm playing really well at the moment.

"Yesterday I played against Greg Marche - he is such a good player, we had a good match - and today, really happy to win in three.

"It's the first time ever for me to get to the third round of the Worlds! My time is now. And I'm looking forward to playing Shabana tomorrow."


1st Round

Marathon Exchanges Get World Championship Underway

Over 30 hours of wall-to-wall squash brought the 64-man field of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship down to 32 players after the completion of today's action-packed first round of the sport's biggest event of the year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

16 nations will be represented in the second round - led by eight Egyptians and five Englishmen.

Home hero Nick Matthew recorded one of the earliest wins. The No4 seed from Sheffield, bidding to become England's first three-time winner of the title, despatched event debutant Zahed Mohamed, a 21-year-old qualifier from Egypt, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4.

The former world number one, now ranked four in the world, admitted later that he knew nothing of his opponent - and spent last night searching the internet for some background. But he later confided: "I feel in the best shape of my career."

Fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the third seed, also had a convincing opening win over a qualifier - beating compatriot Joel Hinds 11-4, 11-4, 13-11. England team-mates Matthew and Willstrop, who contested the 2010 final, are drawn in opposing halves of the draw.

All eyes were on top seed Ramy Ashour, the world number one from Egypt who is looking to win the title for a second time in Manchester. In a tough first round clash, Ashour faced Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the world No18.

The assured left-hander from The Hague took the opening game and had game-balls for a surprise 2/0 lead.

But the irrepressible Ashour stepped up his game to win 10-12, 13-11, 11-3, 11-4 after 65 minutes - and extend his unbeaten Tour run to 46 matches since May 2012!

"In my opinion, the turning point of the match was at 10-8 in the second, when I played two stupid shots, I was too inaccurate," explained Anjema later. "But then again, even if I had managed to get to 2/0 up, I wouldn't have had the match won - it can be very difficult to win from that position.

"I'm happy with the way I played - I've been enjoying my squash recently, I've changed a few things in my game during training, but I don't think about that when I play matches. Actually, tactics are overrated: I just try and go on there empty-headed (which is not as easy as it looks). I try and meditate before the match, to get into that 'stay in the moment' feel."

Ashour will now face a fellow countryman after event first-timer Fares Mohamed Dessouki continued his giant-killing run in the event by fighting back from two games down to upset world No32 Alan Clyne.

It was after two shock victories over higher-ranked opponents in the qualifiers that 19-year-old Dessouki  become not only the youngest qualifier - but also the lowest-ranked.

But the determined world No 111 from Alexandria rose to the occasion by defeating top-ranked Scot Clyne 9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 in 82 minutes to reach the second round.

"I'm really happy to have won the game coming from two games down," said the delighted Dessouki afterwards. "I'm having a great time here and looking forward to playing Ramy tomorrow."

16 years after making his first appearance in the event's qualifying competition for the first time - ahead of any other player in the 2013 draw - Malaysia's 33-year-old Ong Beng Hee rolled back the years by beating higher-ranked Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, 11 years his junior, 11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 10-12, 11-8 in 70 minutes.

"I think I played well in the first two, then went into my usual hibernation mode for two games - well, one and a half games," said former world No7 from Penang. "I woke up at 7-1 in the fourth, thinking 'you're going to lose that one if you don't do something fast'.


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Players Safely
Through to Round Two

Ramy Ashour (green shirt)

Nick Matthew (red shirt)

Mohd Adnan (blue shirt)

Borja Golan (white/red shirt) 

Players Safely Through to Round Two

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"It was nice to play somebody my ranking, at least I have a 50/50 chance," added the Malaysian number one, now in the second round for the first time in four years. "But it's still a strong quarters with Mosaad and Matthew. But with the baby due in April, I'd better win a few more!"

Two all-left-handed clashes produced mixed results for the hosts: Early in the day, in-form Londoner Adrian Grant took on Egyptian maestro Amr Shabana, the No8 seed who is a four-time winner of the trophy.

The 34-year-old from Cairo is making his first PSA Tour appearance since March - and showed his class with an 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 win over Grant to extend his career head-to-head record over the Englishman to 11-1.

But fellow London left-hander Peter Barker took his anticipated place in the second round after beating Ryan Cuskelly. But the seventh seed was taken to four games before taking out the Australian 11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 in 72 minutes.

"I started pretty well, to be honest - I knew it was going to be a tough match, he's had a few good results and he's knocking on the door of top 20 so he's fresh, said Barker, a semi-finalist three years ago. "You just can't take anyone for granted. I'm good mates with him as well, we shared at the last tournament, the US Open so I was well aware of him. He played really well in the second, I nearly got it back but then the third and fourth were good from my point of view.

"I had a really up and down year last year but I managed to stay in the top eight which was the bare minimum but hopefully I can push on this year. I've had a couple of decent tournament wins but physically I feel good and just enjoying being able to run."

Spain's ninth seed Borja Golan survived one of the longest matches in the history of the championship when he outlasted England's Chris Simpson 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 in 110 minutes.

It was a courageous performance by Guernsey-born Simpson, the world No21, who had never before taken a game from the Spanish world No9 in two previous encounters.

"I played well, had my chances in the fourth and the first," explained underdog Simpson later. "Think it came down to the fourth really - I was quite tired in the fifth, bit disappointed with how I faded physically. So obviously very disappointed at the moment, hopefully I can take some positives out of it.

"I played him about three weeks ago and lost in three so it's encouraging to do a bit better - but, like any athlete, it's hard to see that right now."

There was another brave performance from an up-and-coming Englishman later when Londoner Adrian Waller established a 2/1 lead over sixth-seeded Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy, last year's runner-up.

But world No6 Elshorbagy showed his class when he upped his game to close out the match 11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 in 84 minutes.

"I am reading a book at the moment, called Winning Ugly - written by a tennis coach that never was a top player but knew how tactically to switch from losing to winning," said the UK-based Egyptian. "And the first page of his book says 'do you prefer to win ugly or to lose pretty???'

"Today, I know I didn't win pretty. I won ugly, but I'm not taking a plane home tomorrow. And that's what counts. I'm pretty proud of what I did, happy to get myself out of this situation.

"I had seen him play at the US Open, I knew so what to expect. I really put myself under tremendous pressure for this event. I was very nervous, and he was very clever, he slowed down the pace. And the more he slowed down the pace, the more I was nervous.

"So in the fourth, I just tried to make myself angry. Not against him. But I used all the opportunities I could to try and fire myself up. That's what the book told me really!"

Waller, a tall 23-year-old from Enfield, added: "Played quite well tonight. It's always difficult to play someone highly-ranked in the world, top 10 in the world. Got to a winning positions which was good to feel but just disappointed not to convert. Feel like I can complete with the top guys in the world - but it's just having the opportunity to do that on a regular basis."

A second qualifier later made it through to the second round when Australia's Matthew Karwalski upset Egypt's world No43 Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-2, 11-5, 11-5.

The world No54 from New South Wales now faces in-form Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No2 seed who defeated Danish qualifier Kristian Frost Olesen 11-7, 11-8, 11-6.



Qualifiers Complete World Championship Line-Up

Players from nine countries - including a quartet from host nation England and a further four from Egypt - came through today's qualifying finals of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship in Manchester to join the main draw of the sport's biggest event of the year which gets underway at the National Squash Centre tomorrow (Monday).

Derbyshire's Birmingham-based Joel Hinds began the home success with an 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12 victory in 78 minutes over fellow countryman Chris Ryder.

"I don't know what happened in the third," admitted the 26-year-old world No82 on the eve of his world championship debut on his third attempt to qualify. "I don't think I played badly in that game or the fourth - maybe I got a bit edgy, because I thought I could win, and he relaxed a bit. He slowed down the pace, started to lob, and it made it hard for me.

"It''m so happy to reach my first worlds, but drained, completely drained emotionally!"

Ryder, the 33-year-old world No72 who was hoping to make the main draw for the sixth time since 2008, added: "We train together with the same coach, Rob Owen, in Birmingham - so he knows my strengths and weaknesses, and he played very well to my weaknesses in the first two games! Then I think I got the physical edge over him in the third, I felt my shots were better rewarded.

"I had my chances, had a couple of match balls, but I'm happy that Joel is through to the main draw, he is actually a good mate!"

Later Hinds was joined by fellow Englishmen Charles Sharpes, Eddie Charlton and Jaymie Haycocks. Sharpes, the world No62, will make his second successive appearance in the championship after beating New Zealand's Paul Coll 11-5, 13-11, 11-8.

"A bit like yesterday," said the London-born 21-year-old. "A tough game, but I'm so happy to get by in three! So proud coming through those games 3/0, really happy. I think recently, and at this tournament as well, I've been mentally strong, with a good fighting attitude. What can I say, I'm an English Bulldog!"

Leeds-based Charlton, from Nottingham, will make his first world championship appearance after seeing off Kuwaiti Yousif Nizar Saleh 11-6, 12-10, 11-3.

Haycocks, a 29-year-old from Birmingham, defeated 18-year-old Londoner Richie Fallows 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-5 in 73 minutes.

Egypt's Fares Mohamed Dessouki became the lowest-ranked player to qualify when he denied Welsh interest in the event by beating Peter Creed 11-4, 11-6, 11-6.

The 19-year-old from Alexandria, ranked 111 in the world, was celebrating his second successive upset in the qualifiers - and will now make his debut in the main draw.

Compatriots Andrew Wagih Shoukry and Zahed Mohamed have also qualified for the first time. 23-year-old Shoukry, from Cairo, stopped Irishman Arthur Gaskin 11-5, 9-11, 11-1, 11-8, while Mohamed, a 21-year-old from Alexandria, survived a nail-biting clash with fellow countryman Karim Ali Fathi - the world No39 and highest-ranked player in the qualifiers - before prevailing 11-5, 17-15, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8 after 76 minutes.

The Egyptian foursome was completed by 20-year-old Cairo-born Mohamed Abouelghar who denied further English interest in the event by defeating Nottingham's Declan James 11-5, 11-8, 14-12.

"Declan is such an honest player, you don't have to worry about blocking or double bounces," said world No66 Abouelghar later. "Really we had a good game - I expected a hard match, he is such a good player, and that's why I gave it all I could in the third, because I was afraid it would go to a five-setter, and that he would turn things round and win it!

"He is so talented, I know we'll be playing many more times together, hopefully not in the early rounds. It's my second worlds, I qualified last year, and lost against Greg Marche. This is the biggest tournament of my year, I'm just going to enjoy my squash, I've got nothing to lose."

Kristian Frost Olesen will become the sole Dane in the main draw after beating France's Lucas Serme 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 in 86 minutes - the longest match of the day. The 24-year-old from Odense will be making his third appearance since 2010.

"It's always very tough against Lucas - it's always been in four, and so far, always went my way," said world No59 Olesen later. "But it was really tough. This is the third time I have qualified out of four attempts. There is so much at stake, it's such a big win for me, it means everything."

Kuwait will be represented by two players in the main draw for the first time in the championship's 37-year history after world No 106 Ammar Altamimi continued his giant-killing run with an 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 victory over experienced Frenchman Yann Perrin.





Click on Images for larger view

Altamimi (green shirt) beats Perrin

Joel Hinds (blue shirt) beats Chris Ryder

Dessouki (white shirt) beats Creed

Ammar Altamimi (above) and Qatari teenager Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (below) tore up the form book

Fares Mohamed Dessouki became one of the youngest players to make it through

Click on Images for larger view

Altamimi, the 25-year-old world No 106 from Kuwait City, will be making his maiden appearance in the event - alongside Kuwaiti number one Abdullah Al Muzayen, ranked 44 in the world.

Germany's Raphael Kandra battled to an 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 upset over higher-ranked Malaysian Muhd Asyraf Azan to earn his second successive appearance in the event as a qualifier - and was then drawn to face his fellow countryman Simon Rosner, the 12th seed, in the main draw!

Matthew Karwalski became the lone Australian qualifier when he ousted Canadian Dane Sharp 11-4, 15-13, 11-5 to gain his second appearance in the event.

"The first was over pretty fast, he might have been nervous probably," commented the 27-year-old from New South Wales. "And in the second, I played about the same, but he slowed down the pace, and he had warmed up by then, and playing short was not the right tactic. Still, from 7-4 down, I managed to win the game.

"And taking the second really gave me confidence, took a comfortable 7/0, and it was a matter of closing it out," added the world No54.

"It's the second time I've managed to qualify, last year in Qatar, but it was easier, only one round, whereas this time, it was two. Hoping to get a good slot in the main draw and a good chance to do well."

For the second year in a row, there will be only one Pakistani in the draw - but this time it is as a qualifier that Nasir Iqbal will make his maiden appearance in the event. The 19-year-old from Bannu defeated Germany's Jens Schoor 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in 57 minutes - and will now line up against Egypt's No5 seed Karim Darwish in the first round.

In one of the final matches of the day, veteran Canadian Shahier Razik secured his 10th appearance in the championship since 2002 when he defeated Qatari teenager Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 in 64 minutes. The 35-year-old from Toronto, the oldest player to qualify, will line up against Hong Kong's Leo Au in the first round.

First Qualifying Round

Tamimis Tear Up Form Book in Manchester Worlds

Kuwaiti Ammar Altamimi and Qatari teenager Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi tore up the form book in today's first qualifying round of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship in England after major upsets in the sport's biggest event of the year at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Altamimi, a 25-year-old from Kuwait ranked outside the top 100, defeated Mexican Alfredo Avila - ranked more than 50 places higher - 11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9 in 62 minutes.

"This is my best win on the PSA - Alfredo is 55 in the world, I have never beaten somebody that high," said the delighted Kuwaiti afterwards. "Plus, I had a lot of tournaments in my country and only arrived yesterday in Manchester, so I was only trying to do well, but never thought I would win really.

"It's only after taking the first game I started to think hey, I can do that. In the third, I managed to be patient, I was more accurate, and pushed him to do a few unforced errors. And I realised that I had a big opportunity there.

"But it was close, really close. All the games I won, were 11/9 ... It could have gone either way!"

Unrelated Al Tamimi, an 18-year-old from Doha, also prevailed in a dramatic five-game encounter, beating Scotland's world No86 Greg Lobban 4-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6 in 51 minutes.

But Fares Mohamed Dessouki became one of the youngest players to make it through to the qualifying finals when he fought back from 2/1 down to upset Rex Hedrick, the world No68 from Australia, 11-9, 6-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 in 91 minutes.

The Egyptian, who has just turned 19, was so overjoyed he forgot his age: "I'm so happy to get to the finals of my first ever World Champs - I am still a junior ... no, I just turned senior, oops!

"In the third, I got tired, plus I felt my concentration a bit shaky in that game," continued the world No 111 from Alexandria. "But in the fourth and fifth, I somehow found my game again, and I'm glad as I was patient, found nice length in the back corners, so really happy.

"A big thank you to my fitness coach Walid and my squash coach Kaaey...."

The final match of the day provided another success for the home nation - but huge disappointment for a Brazilian veteran who was hoping to celebrate his 100th - and final - event on the PSA World Tour on a high.

But despite leading 2/1, 36-year-old Sao Paulo-born Rafael Alarcon was unable to stop England's 18-year-old Richie Fallows storming through to an 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 victory in 91 minutes.

The upset makes Londoner Fallows, the world No 168, the lowest-ranked player through to the qualifying finals.

There will be players from 16 nations fighting for the 16 qualifying slots in the main draw - with seven from England, from which two are already guaranteed places in the first round.



Ian McKenzie picks his top six contenders for the World Championship in Manchester and give his reasons why one of them will lift squash's greatest individual men's prize

Nick Matthew talks to Rod Gilmour about his hectic summer off court and his preparations for a tilt at a third world title in Manchester

Ramy Ashour looks back at his British Open victory and forward to the defence of his world crown in a fascinating interview with Rod Gilmour

Yawar 'Yarv' Abbas, the man overseeing the biggest squash event ever to take place in the UK, tells Richard Eaton about how he is preparing for it

Omar S. Khodeir explains to Rod Gilmour why he decided to make Wallbangers, a riveting documentary about Egyptian squash  

Matthew dreaming of
Third World title

Two-time squash World Champion Nick Matthew is hoping he can complete his hat-trick of titles on home-soil when the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship gets underway in Manchester next week.

Matthew, whose previous triumphs came in 2010 and 2011 in Saudi Arabia and Netherlands, respectively, goes into this years tournament seeded fourth and on a high following an appearance in the US Open final last week.

The World Championship is a magnificent occasion and the goal for every player during the season, said Sheffield-based Matthew.

I had a great week at the US Open and played some very good squash to get all the way through to the final and thats been a huge boost for me.

I got beat in the final by a player on the very top of his game (Gregory Gaultier) and sometimes you just have to take those results on the chin and roll with it but the challenge for me is to learn from that and come back stronger during the World Championship.

Matthew took an extended break from the game at the end of last season during a period when he admits his enthusiasm for the sport waned, but having re-found his passion for the court hes now relishing taking center-stage on home soil.

I had a long break when I struggled a bit at the back of last season for passion and motivation and Im delighted to be back and enjoying playing again, he said.

If I had to retire tomorrow Id be happy to hang up my racquet being able to say Im a two-time World Champion, but I want to be greedy and I want to get another title and to win in Manchester would be very special.

Theres a long way to go before that can happen however and you have to make sure you go into every round in these types of competitions fully focused as you can't take anything for granted.

I had a good week at the US Open and now I just need to re-group and concentrate on playing my game and hopefully the results will follow.

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