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World Open 2007


They’re hungry to be called ‘World Champion’.
Their skill and stamina are legendary.
And they love the beauty and hospitality of Bermuda. They’ll be giving their all with the Atlantic Ocean
as their backdrop, and that’s why
people are referring to this event as
Endurance… with a view.


Shabana reborn

Rarely has a racket player played so well – ever. On this night in Bermuda Amr Shabana reached a peak rarely seen and the crowd that stood in a standing ovation at the end of the Endurance World Open final will have seen magic with the racket and ball they will remember for a life-time.

The Town crier in traditional regalia announced the final competition, the Gombey Dancers (left) marched on court to the sound of whistles and drums and performed exciting dances in startling bizarre and

elaborate multi-coloured costumes. Their tall hats, as high as a man topped with feathers swayed and twirled as behind the cubistic masks the men concentrated on their acrobatic tasks. And then on came the players.

The build-up had been fantastic, the number one and two seeds were to do battle with the strutting French cockerel, who had destroyed England’s Nick Matthew with barely an error the marginal favourite – if he could produce anything like that fantastic peak performance.

Gregory Gaultier started assertively. He was straight into his game. There were long rallies straight and deep, high out of  his opponent’s reach, and there was little opportunity for the Arab Magician to conjure his magic. Gaultier’s shots rolled down the wall and were deep into the corners and when Shabana’s shot strayed into the middle he struck with a stunning dead straight nick – an emphatic statement. Gaultier controlled the rallies to go ahead 4-1. A tin and a stroke put Shabana back in touch 3-4 and after the stroke the score stalled with six lets in a row. It was then that Gaultier’s length was lost and his control of the rallies went. More boasts and crosscourt came off his racket and following the stroke at 2-4 Shabana hit nine winners!

This was beauty. A choreographed dance with racket and ball with the fastest most spiky assassin in the sport trying to disrupt the plan. Shabana glided and stung the ball, caressed it, sent it at angles and for journeys that bamboozled the next best player on earth. The first game was won 11-7.

In the second he was almost flawless. Again the magician conjured 9 winners. It was more than admirable, breathtakingly sublime, but it was also a tactical failure for his opponent. Gaultier could not regain his length, he could not regain control of the rallies, he provided the opportunities for Shabana and when he fell behind  became even more anxious to win points and ventured short – caught in a vicious circle. Perhaps we are being over analytical here for this was superb theatre, shots, angles, winner’s brilliant retrieving the ultimate of human capability with a racket and ball.

But Shabana had stuff to hit and went for it. This was the supreme talent of the sport, the Federer of squash, playing the notes as if a musician – the second was won 11-4.

Gaultier won the first point in the third beautifully. He held his straight drop on the right, his haughty head swung to the right and a deceptive flick sent the ball left and wrong footed Shabana. Gaultier went just one point ahead. It was not what he really needed. He needed to get his basic game back. The next deceptive flick went in the tin and Shabana was away again. Gaultier fell behind 4-1 and 7-2, his desperate journeys short ending in error or became gratefully received opportunities for his opponent. The fast reflex volleys beat our eye, raised great excitement but the basics where not there to threaten Shabana now played with a rare confidence. He struck a totally unplayable nick of serve with an assured arrogance, free of tension, a shark in a feeding frenzy, to secure 9-5 and finished it with brilliant winners with ease 11-6. Gaultier mad with grief and humiliation flung his racket at the back wall, distraught, destroyed and his friend Shabana embraced him, held him in commiseration before wet eyed, in a daze, he left  the court of be commiserated by the French camp.

Shabana’s fist went in the air. His coach Amir Wagih smothered him in a bear hug and lifted him skywards to euphoric scenes form the Egyptian camp with bodies jumping and dancing as the crowd stood and applauded

“This is the best I have ever played in my life,” said Shabana to Squash Player immediately after his victory. “You don’t play like this many times.”

“I took risks and 90% of them came off. He let me play to the best of my ability. I want to thank God for the opportunity.”

“This is the perfect end. I am reborn.”


Alex Gough pushes past Wael El Hindi to reach the World Open quarter-finals

Top seed Amr Shabana took his time to get into the second round

Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
beats Kashif Shuja (NZ) 
to  qualify into main draw

Alex Gough beats 8th seed Lee Beachill to book his place in the last 16

Click Pictures
for larger view

Click to Read
our match report on the Ashour v Grant
'head to head'


Semi FInals
Quarter Finals
2nd Round (28th Nov)
2nd Round (27th Nov)
1st Round (26th Nov)
1st Round (25th Nov)
English Dominate Quals
.  Locals Overpowered

Voice of Squash retires

Sponsorship News
. Endurance The Sponsor
BCM McAlpine selected
Regal Tent Partners


Shabana Celebrates World Open Hat-Trick


Click Pictures
for larger view

Gregory Gaultier looks magnificent in his 3-0 semi final win against Nick Matthew

Nick Matthew sweeps past England team mate James Willstrop

James Willstrop recovers from 2-0 down to win a place against English team-mate Nick Matthew in the quarter-finals

Click Pictures
for larger view

The 2007 Bermuda Venue

"Bermuda will provide the perfect backdrop for an intense week of conference meetings and superb squash."

Jahangir Khan, President of the World Squash Federation,
Pakistan's 'Sportsman of the Millennium

25th November - 1st December 2007

Round One
Nov 25/26
Round Two
Nov 27/28
Nov 29
Nov 30
Dec 01
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
 11/9, 11/8, 7/11, 11/9 (54m)
Renan Lavigne (Fra)
Amr Shabana
8-11, 11-4, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 (65 min)
Stewart Boswell
Amr Shabana
10-11 (2-0), 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 (64m)
Thierry Lincou
Amr Shabana
11-6, 3-11,  11-5, 11-5 (67 min)

David Palmer

Amr Shabana
11-7,  11-4,  11-6 (43 min)
Gregory Gaultier

[12] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
 11/5, 11/3, 11/4 (25m)
James Stout (Ber)
[6] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
11/5, 11/3, 5/11, 11/0 (42m)
[Q] Julian Illingworth (Usa)
 Thierry Lincou
11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 11-5 (32 min)
 Jonathan Kemp
[15] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/8, 11/7, 5/11, 11/4 (48m)
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
[3] David Palmer (Aus)
11/4, 11/4, 11/5 (25m)
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
David Palmer
11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-8 (58 min)
Peter Barker
David Palmer
11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (42 min)
Alex Gough
[11] Peter Barker (Eng)
8/11, 11/8, 13/11, 11/5 (76m)
[Q] Bradley Ball (Eng)
[8] Lee Beachill (Eng)
 4/11, 11/8, 5/11, 11/4, 11/5 (74m)
Alex Gough (Wal)
Alex Gough
11/1, 7/11, 11/4, 11/7 (73)
Wael El Hindi
[9] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
9/11, 11/6, 5/11, 12/10, 13/11 (99m)
[Q] Eric Galvez (Mex)
[Q] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4
[14] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Omar Mosaad
11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (46 min)
Nick Matthew
Nick Matthew
11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (60 min)
James Willstrop
Nick Matthew
11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (58m)
Gregory Gaultier
Joey Barrington (Eng)
11-1, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2
[7] Nick Matthew Eng)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11-8, 11-6, 11-8
[12] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Mohammed Abbas
5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (91 min)
James Willstrop
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (93 min)
[4] James Willstrop (Eng)
Shahier Razik (Can)
11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6
[13] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
Azlan Iskandar
7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-6.
John White
John White
11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-5
Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Alister Walker (Eng)
11-8, 11-4, 11-5
[6] John White (Sco)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8
[16] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Hisham Ashour
11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (26 min)
Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Daryl Selby (Eng)
11-4, 11-7, 11-0
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)

Qualifying at BSRA:

Finals 24-Nov
Alister Walker
(Eng) bt Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 11/5, 11/9, 11/9 (45m)
Eric Galvez (Mex) bt Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 11/9, 11/8, 11/8 (56m)
Bradley Ball (Eng) bt Yasser El Halaby (Egy) 11/3, 11/3, 11/3 (25m)
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt Scott Arnold (Aus) 12/10, 11/5, 5/11, 7/11, 11/5 (77m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Omar Elborolossy (Egy) 11/8, 11/5, 11/7 (48m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Kashif Shuja (Nzl) 7/11, 11/4, 11/2, 5/11, 11/4 (43m)
Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11/5, 9/11, 9/11, 11/4, 11/6 (67m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) 11/4, 11/7, 13/11 (56m)

Round one 23-Nov
lister Walker (Eng) bye
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) bt Nick Kyme (Ber)  11/5, 11/8, 11/3 (24m)
Eric Galvez (Mex) bt Melrindo Caines (Ber) 11/0, 11/2, 11/5 (15m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Matthew Giuffre (Can) 12/10, 11/9, 11/5 (48m)
Bradley Ball (Eng) bt Chris Gordon (Usa) 11/5, 11/4, 11/5 (28m)
Yasser El Halaby (Egy) bt Morten Sorensen (Den) 11/9, 11/5, 7/11, 11/9 (42m)
Scott Arnold (Aus) bt  Liam Kenny (Irl) 11/9, 11/5, 7/11, 11/9 (42m)
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt Jesse Engelbrecht (Rsa) 11/8, 11/8, 10/12, 7/11, 11/9 (69m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Patrick Foster (Irl) 11/6, 11/4, 11/8 (35m)
Omar Elborolossy (Egy) bt Julien Balbo (Fra) 11/6, 11/5, 8/11, 11/7 (62m)
Kashif Shuja (Nzl) bt Chase Toogood (Ber) 11/6, 11/6, 11/3 (24m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bye
Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Dick Lau (Hkg) 11/4, 11/3, 11/5 (24m)
Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt Joe Chapman (Bvi) 11/2, 11/5, 11/7 (18m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Bernardo Samper (Col) 11/4, 11/9, 11/9 (31m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) bye

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Shabana & Gaultier To Contest Bermuda World Open Final

Amr Shabana, moved convincingly into the final of the Endurance World Open in Bermuda with an 11-6, 3-11, 11-5, 11-5 win over the titleholder David Palmer. In essence Shabana was too sharp and there was little that Palmer could come up with that could consistently trouble his opponent.

Palmer was just ahead in the first game at 6-5, partly kept in it by five mistakes from his opponent, but then tried to force the play made three mistakes himself and didn’t get another point that game. The omens for him did not look good when Shabana went 2-0 in the second but strangely the Egyptian lapsed into error, a grand total of eight for the game from the world no.1 who got just one more point and suddenly everything was level 11-3. Shabana had been in a great position and thrown it away.

“I was trying too hard to go for it. I got carried away with playing shots. Sometimes you think you can hit anything from anywhere. I had to get back to basics,” he said later.

Winners flowed from Shabana’s racket again in the third. He went to 3-0 then 9-2 and the end was in sight for Palmer. The Australian made uncharacteristic mistakes and although he smashed the ball around Shabana kept it straight and varied the pace so that his opponent could not apply any consistent pressure. It was gone quickly 11-5 and was a tragedy for Palmer. Gifted the last game he would have wanted to make a bit more of it than this.

“I kept it straight,” said Shabana. “You have to play like that against the top guys – if you give them an angle they can put it away. You have to put it as close to the wall as possible.”

In the fourth Palmer fell behind, tried to raise himself, struck with his famous and now rarely used forehand crosscourt volley nick at great speed, called a Joy Turner, that rolled only for the left-handed Shabana to immediately strike with one of his own on the other side. Really that was Palmer’s problem. Shabana generally had it covered, could mount more threat and Palmer could not apply any consistent pressure. Shabana won the last four points in a hand 11-5.

He is through in good condition but he will need to lift his game again if he is going to regain the world title.

And on his final opponent he added, “I want them to have a long match. They need to have one,” he said with a smile pointing out that whoever won – Nick Matthew was the US Open champion and Gregory Gaultier the British Open champion –  it would be tough.

Gregory Gaultier stamped his claim for the world title in the second semi-final with an  impressive demolition of the English hope Nick Matthew. After a point for point tussle at the start Gaultier moved from 5-all to 10-5 in a hand of his opponent’s errors as Matthew tried in vain to force the pace. The game was won by the Frenchman 11-6 and confidence boosted he played impeccably to dominate the match.

The variation of pace from lobs and high floating clinging balls, way above Matthew’s probing volley, to stinging shots from a taunt short backswing that unwinds like a catapult and smashes in drives and kills, to the deftest of touches set up the opportunity for Gaultier to score winner after winner. Matthew drove hard and deep, this was good length, deep, far superior to that displayed by Palmer and Shabana but Gaultier found breathtaking finish with ease.

In the second Gaultier went 9-0 up in one hand. Seven winners in a row – drives, volley drops, drops and stinging crosscourts, forced two errors and Matthew’s world title hopes were in tatters. Matthew got his first point with an exceptionally good volley, but Gaultier was there only thwarted by its clinging line. That game was won 11-4. Gaultier was two games up and had made just two mistakes.

In the third Gaultier slipped on the glass floor and Matthew took the opportunity to play a fine winning forehand straight drop only to find Gaultier striding to the front to attempt a recovery. Recover it he did and raced up and down the court to retrieve Matthew’s best shots and only conceded the rally when he fell again heavily. That’s how hard it was for Matthew to get points, to make any headway.

Gaultier struck with superb winners, volleyed behind his back to the ohhs of the crowd and established a 6-2 lead. Matthew never gave up fighting as Gaultier, the winning post in site, loosened up his play and just a hint of speculation came into a few of his shots. Matthew closed the lead down, hit a superb winning volley, to get to 7 but his opponent already had matchball. Matthew bitterly contested the final points, bent double in exasperation as the referees refused him replays on the pick-ups he thought questionable.

Gaultier won the fifth 11-8. It was a peek performance. Perhaps the best squash he has played. There was nothing Matthew could have done. He did not play badly and should not feel too disappointed. Gaultier did waste a few points at the end and the nightmares that keep reminding him he was sloppy when he had the world title in  his grasp in Cairo  in 2006 will only disappear when he wins this title. Shabana will have to lift his game considerably if Gaultier can reproduce this performance.

“It is a great feeling to be in the world final two years in a row. Last time I missed it. I don’t think I will tomorrow,” he said.

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“I am ready,” said Amr Shabana after a very good quarter-final match against Thierry Lincou. “I was ready before, but I was not there. Now I am there.”

If he is to regain the world title this will be the match where he stated his intention. The first game was a little error prone with Lincou recovering from an early 3-0 deficit to surge back with five points in a hand and keep ahead for the game 12-10.

“The intensity of the play in the first caught me by surprise,” said Shabana. “It was hit and run. I was tense in the beginning because of the importance of the match and what was at stake.”

“He usually plays show and long but he took me by surprise going low and hard. I was using the wrong strategy. I had to be patient.”

Shabana recovered from the loss of the first to go 5-2 ahead calling on his superb range of winners and mixing the rallies well. This time it was Lincou who had been forcing the play, who made the mistakes, as Shabana leveled 11-6 and went ahead 5-2 in the third. Lincou however kept pushing to save game ball and leveled but let his opponent into the front to finish off with two superb winners and take the vital game 12-10.

Lincou forced it again in the fourth fell immediately into error, went 5-0 behind and his chances of a world title were drifting away. He fought back to 3-5 but Shabana’s range of winners gave him no chance the Egyptian was through to the semi-final 11-5.

“In my first two matches I was physically strong but my shots where not there. Now my movement and my shots are there,” said Shabana.

Perhaps more importantly so was his thinking. He improved in this match from being error-prone to getting his squash thinking going – not just shooting but also thinking in combinations and of controlling the rallies – he will have to improve on this if he is going to win the world title but he is well on the way.

“It was a confidence booster,” he said.


Shabana goes through to face David  Palmer who dismissed Alex Gough impressively 11-5, 11-4, 11-4. This was a fine outing for Gough and he applauded the crowd as he left. There was much positive sentiment for the oldest player in the tournament. He kept Palmer at it for 42 minutes, he hit length, he ran, he tried his improvised short shots but all the reward he got was a handful of points. Palmer was masterful, forceful, tight and incisive t on his shots. He is ready. The only question then is does he have the speed to impose his game on Shabana or Gaultier. We can only wait.


A lot was at stake in the quarter-final battle of the Englishmen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop. A crack at the world title for one, perhaps the top spot in the home countries peeking order for another.

One fact overshadowed this match, Willstrop had struggled through to the quarters – he had recovered from two down, twice, in an hour and a half apiece and that had drained him. As David Palmer said, maybe he could beat Nick Matthew but he had already lost his chance of a world title – the physical resources where just not there.

To have any chance Willstrop needed a good start this time. Within a couple of minutes he was 3-0 down, within a few more he was 6-1 down and from there it was always going to be hard work. He fought back, ran, worked hard at chasing Matthew’s persistent volleys, volleys that tortured him and moved him up and down the court, volleys that made him chase and gave him no time on the ball.

Later Matthew was to say: “My sports psychologist in Sheffield said to me ‘What are you the best in the world at? and he explained that to be the best in the world you need to work on your strengths not just at improving your weaknesses. My volleying is my main strength and I’m trying to build on it.”

Matthew won the first 11-8. The second was very tight. Willstrop tried everything and there were some big rallies. He varied the pace, threw up high crosscourt lobs from the back, drives, volleys, attacked and counter attacked into the front corners but Matthew was up for it all.

“There were some big rallies. I just seemed to win them,” said Matthew.

That assessment was fair. There was no way through for Willstrop. Everything had been tried. Every time he got on the wrong end of a rally Matthew pushed back to the T to run the next one down. He pushed into the front corners, worked up and down the court. His first move on every shot seemed to be toward the ball looking for the volley and if it was out of reach he moved back to take it off the bounce but he was always look for it.

The second was won 11-6.

“I made a big push for that. I knew he was not going to come back from two down,” said Matthew. “He is a great friend of mine. What he did in the first two rounds was a bit special.”

No one, not even Willstrop could see a way back in the third but he kept on until the end going down 11-4 on the hour.

Matthew will face the no.2 seed, and British Open champion Gregory Gaultier. He has played him recently in both Qatar and Hong Kong. In Qatar he lost 11-9 in the fifth and in Hong Kong he had matchball in the fifth but lost 12-10. Perhaps it is his turn?


Gregory Gaultier beat John White convincingly in the end. By the third when White was crouched in agony in the front corner and the referees where trying to get him to continue it was obvious that this was the inevitable result– unless Gautlier played very badly and there was not much chance of that.

White’s big-hitting firepower had the chance to seize the first game at 10-8. Perhaps he through it already won for he was careless and a stroke and a series of mistakes cost him his chance 12-10.  In the second White was in the zone at 6-4 having struck with several unplayable shots but he encroached into Gaultier’s hitting line to the front wall and was struck by his opponents shot. White tried to claim it was a sidewall shot (this is often a convention between players when this instance occurs) but the referees where having none of it and a stroke was awarded. This seemed to unhing White’s mental equilibrium to some extent. The brilliant focus of a few moments before was now gone and White slumped into error to lose the game 11-6. The third was really a formality from 5-all when Gaultier went through to the match in one hand imposing a long rally on White at 8-5 that drained the last vestiges of resistance out of him.

Gaultier was not pleased with his performance. “I won and that’s the main thing. Whitey was not at his best but that doesn’t matter. I am through. Tomorrow is going to be very important.

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The Nick of Time
Matthew did his job in seeing off Omar Mossad in straight games 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 but it was not a totally convincing performance. Young Omar is an impressive character. If you have not heard of him you will. He is of course Egyptian, just 19 years old and already ranked 33 in the world. He was the only qualifier, along with England’s Jonathan Kemp, to reach the second round and those valuable points will move him up the rankings.

He is a tall man, powerful in build and gave nothing away to Matthew in power of the strike, shots or presence on court. So you have the idea, he may not be quite there yet but Nick Matthew was not taking him lightly, nor should me.

“He can hit winners from anywhere,” said Matthew.

It must be said the conditions were difficult. It is clear that this glass floor for all it promotional benefits, and its normally solid grip, is a problem in humid conditions. The floor whippers were on regularly, smart industrious youngsters in red uniforms buzzing about the court, but it was a distraction.

“The difficult conditions were a factor in the performance,” said Matthew,  “but the fact that I couldn’t stretch my lead beyond a point or two each time is cause for concern.”

“I was trying to step up the pace a bit and play fast. It was just about enough but against the next player I play, maybe Shabana, that will not be enough.”

That summed it up. Matthew is through but will need to play better to challenge for this title.

Deja Vue for Willstrop
James Willstrop managed to produce a repeat of his first round performance when he went two games down to Mohammed Abbas. It must be said Willstrop’s basics were a little indifferent – he likes doing everything else but hitting the ball down the wall for length and Abbas with plenty of opportunities seized then with glee. From the beginning he was in control, had the extra pace and incision and Willstrop was just reacting. Abbas struck with hard fast drops and Willstrop had trouble seeing them to go 5-11, 9-11 down.

Willstrop had gone down 2/0 in the first round and survived. Could he do it again? The start of the third would be crucial. If he fell behind he was out of it.

Willstrop worked at his length, up and down the backhand. Abbas went 1-0 up but floundered. Two strokes penalized him he tinned a volley whereas in the first two games he had been focused but relaxed. Willstrop went to 4-1 and 7-3 and suddenly the match had turned around 11-7.

Deja Vue! and they slipped on the floor. Willstrop was onto his game and had just bamboozled his opponent with double swings on two shots and a reflex shot between his legs to go 4-0 up when his feet went from under him. He came off court and informed the referee that the court was unplayable. Much discuss followed, the wipers were on and they carried on. Willstrop took the initiative 10-5 and with nothing to loss Abbas struck with three clean aggressive winners at pace and surged back. In a fantastic rally Willstrop took his turn to smash it forcing his opponent to retrieve brilliantly flicking off the back and side to survive the pressure and race down the court for a retrievable ball when suddenly his feet went from under him and he ended up flat on his back, lifted his arm, fired his racket into the side wall as Willstrop walked off having leveled the games 11-8.

Willstrop got the early lead in the fifth as Abbas’s uninhibited shots of the first two games were not working and managed to hang onto that lead to see out the match 11-5 after 91 minutes.

“I’m thrilled to get through again. I’ve been under the kosh for such long periods but come through,” he said.

White Skates Through
John White, the sixth seed, should have gone out when he was 2/1 and 10-8 down to Mohd Azlan Iskandar. White however survived, leveled the points, and as Iskandar slipped twice and lay spread-eagled on the T in total frustration, leveled the games as the crowd applauded White’s Houdini act.

Iskandar was not getting on with the court well, he slipped and screamed on several ocassions in the fifth. On one at 9-6 he fell brilliantly recovered and then took White out as he raced for the drop and they both sprawled on the floor. As the wipers came on White came outside the court and eyeballed the referee fearing a let. A let was given to Iskandar but it only delayed the inevitable as the Malaysian slipped chasing whites last winning drop and was helped to his feet by a triumphant White.

Speedy Greg
Gaultier didn’t waste time in the last match of the second round beating Hisham Ashour 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 in just 26 minutes.

“If I want to be fresh for the later round I want to be off court quickly. I don’t want to waste time late at night here. I come to the quarters fresh,” he said.

There were a few mistakes, not many, most of what his opponent Hisham Ashour dished up was handled with ease and even the exceptional shots were run down. Gaultier is in superb condition, hitting and moving brilliantly. Someone is going to have to play well to beat him.

Ashour was very disappointed with his match and says he never adjusted to the court conditions.

“It felt like my first game on glass. I couldn’t see the ball and I couldn’t get into the match. Yes he is good, quick and accurate but I just didn’t get into the game.”

Who will win the world title?

“I think it is between Greg and Shabana,” added Hisham.

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The Beach for Shabana

Top seed Amr Shabana took his time to get into the second round of the Endurance World Open and by then his opponent Stewart Boswell was a game up winning a close first 8-11 but he won the second and third convincingly 11-4, 11-2. You have to say then he was extremely careless to find himself 10-6 down in the fourth without having established good length or tightness. He just about closed that gap saving three game points but tinned on a backhand drop with no margin at a good opening to dangerously be pushed into a fifth game.

How after being so dominant for so long, how had the top seed arrived in this position? He has had four tournaments in a row and was smooth in his movement and crisp in his hitting. 

“I’m not mentally fresh,” he said later.

In the fifth Shabana, a little more sharpish, got away to a 4-1 lead, was a little careless to let his opponent to 3-4 but then took control against a somber Boswell to see it out 11-4.

Earlier it was too easy for Shabana and he did not close the match down as he should have – he is vulnerable but he has a day off on Wednesday in the split second round.

“I let my guard down a little. I was casual and he went for it and got a lead. I felt OK in the fifth. When you play a lot of matches you can focus. To win you must stay calm and I was calm.”

“I will play five times better in the quarter-final.”

Shabana has had too much squash, he is not fresh but it is all there if he can get it together mentally.

What’s he up to on his day off? “I’ll be going to the beach,” he said. Which seems the best preparation he can make for the world title bid at this time.

Jonathan Kemp made a good start against the slow starting Frenchman Thierry Lincou, had a good chance at game ball 10-8 but was a bit anxious to finish it as penalty strokes and mistakes cost him his chance. Thereafter he only rarely got back a semblance of control as he tried to match Lincou’s pace. The balls kicked out and Lincou put them away. So the Frenchman, a former champion is through to the quarter-finals comfortably.

“When I won this title it was the highlight of my career but I’m in good shape still and enjoying playing,” he said. He goes through to face the vulnerable Shabana.

David Palmer, the two-time world champion, and titleholder moved into the quarter-finals but it was not a convincing performance. His opponent Peter Barker had a 9-6 lead in the first game and he will still be kicking himself that he was not able to take advantage of it. He also should have had a stroke at 10-9 when Palmer encroached into his hitting area the ball kicked out and when a boast would have won the game but was given a let and was then stroked himself at 11-10 in a marginal situation to loose  the first game 12-10.

From then on Barker was always a step behind, struggling to close the gap. His difficulties were compounded by several visits to the floor in slippery conditions as Palmer saw out the match 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-9.

“I was a bit flat, I didn’t feel as well as I did in the first round,” said Palmer and added. “I’m looking to get my name on this trophy, if it is the world open even better.”

On Barker’s performance he was complementary. “Peter Barker is a future top 10 player that is for sure,” said Palmer.

Upset of the day was caused when Alex Gough overcame the ninth seed Wael El Hindi in four games over 74 minutes. There were many stoppages, endless replays but Gough stuck to his task well drove deep to keep his tricky opponent out of the front court and came through in the fourth 11-1, 11-7,  4-11, 11-7.

El Hindi’s play fluctuated and he may had been carrying a strained hamstring. He was superb in the second, indifferent in the third and had the early lead in the fourth but Gough kept chasing to go ahead 6-4 before El Hindi upped the tempo to level 7-all. Then he was KO’ed by a ‘no let’ refereeing decision on a loose mid-court ball he was hoping to get a stroke for.

“You must be more aware of where your opponent,” is said the referee (explaining the three man refereeing panel decision). It came, if it was a guideline decision, at the worst time for El Hindi. Gough went on the offensive immediately with a fast front corner angle, and clenched his fist to maintain momentum and put a little psychological pressure on his opponent. Another tin, a close one, put him out of it before Gough killed of the game to make at 36-years-old the World Open quarter-finals.

“It’s awesome. It’s probably one of the biggest feelings I’ve had in my career,” he said.

“I’m on my third generation of players. I’m probably a bit more professional, I have to do things properly now.”

And on how long he will keep playing he says. “I can’t give it up. It’s like a drug.”

He too will have a day off and a chance to rest his aging body.

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Willstrop Survives - Just

The afternoon’s play on the second day of the Endurance World Open saw two upsets. In the opening match the tall and powerful Omar Mosaad,
just 19-years-old, upset the experienced no.14 seed Olli Tuominen. Mosaad, may not yet have come to notice amongst squash watches but he is a powerful hitter, talented shotmaker and focused performer. It was always on the cards that he would take out the no.14 seed especially on the warm club courts.

Also to fall was England’s Adrian Grant who went out in an acrimonious match to Egypt’s Hisham Ashour (right) noteworthy for the bizarre tantrum that Ashour threw at the end of the match. It was a patchy affair, sprinkled with brilliance from the Egyptian.

Elsewhere Mohammed Abbas saw off the Australian Cameron Pilley in three. He can be expected to be called up for the Egyptian team for Chennai in India if Ramy Ashour and Karim Darwish are unavailable and is not a player to be underestimated.

The Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the thirteen seed made up for the departure of his compatriot Ong Beng Hee on the first day with a win over the Canadian Shahier Razik in four.

IN THE EVENING SESSION on the glass court Nick Matthew, won the first game so easily, 11-1, against Joey Barrington that his opponent could only play better and strangely Matthew lapsed into negative play. He lost the second, his confidence faltering as Barrington imposed his physical presence on the game, driving hard and deep. Matthew volleyed frantically to apply pressure, lacked the confidence to go short and the grinding rallies reached something of a stalemate. Gradually Matthew edged ahead in the fourth and regained his confidence as Barrington ran out of ideas to go through 11-1, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2.

“It’s a funny old game,” said Matthew afterwards. He will have to play much better than this to provide any threat for the title, and he will do so.

Story of the day however was the comeback of fourth seed James Willstrop against Laurens Jan Anjema.

“I wasn’t stupid enough to to think that Laurens couldn’t beat me,” said James afterwards. This was a match on. Interestingly James’s father and coach Malcolm Willstrop was to fly out for the second round. It would have been bizarre if he arrived in Bermuda to find his son, a real prospect for the title, had gone out and that was almost the case.

In fast and erratic play Willstrop fell behind 2/0 and 6-1. Anjema was winning the speed battle, he was so fast into the front to counter or smash the ball away and the left-hander was winning the battle down his forehand.

“I gave him too many chances on his forehand. He is a real threat there,” said Willstrop.

Anjema is now working with Palmer’s coach Shawn Moxham and training with Palmer. It shows. He wasn’t on there to do well against Willstrop, he was on there to beat him.

At 6-1 down Willstrop slowed his game, finally he got it over to Anjema’s backhand, floated the ball, pushed it past his opponent and then used his reach to volley short. He persisted with length, stuck with the boring stuff a bit – he usually hates that and likes to do something with every ball. Slowly the points came back his way but he was continually disrupted – partly by his own habits, the instinct to go short, to do something interesting with the ball, and partly by the conditions.

This event, for the first time in a World Open uses a new glass floor. It has the advantage of allowing interesting signage under the floor and its dimpled texture gives an excellent grip – unless it is wet. Moisture falls on the floor from the players, especially that running off synthetic clothing and stays there providing a slippery film. The players fell at times and the young and prompt floor wipers were on dozens of times. It all disrupted the flow a little and Willstrop’s mental commitment to a consistent pattern.

“I had to dig in, and dig in,” said Willstrop afterwards.

The third game was a rollercoaster ride. Perhaps the fast deceptive drop that would have stopped Willstrop’s momentum and put his opponent 8-5 up was crucial but it was tinned and he survived 11-8. The fourth came with just as much difficulty. He edged ahead at 9-7 before Amjema struck with an dead nick off serve and leveled at 9-all when Willstrop tinned unnecessarily on a forehand drop, but he just got home 11-9.

Willstrop got away to 4-0 in the fifth. Anjema’s sprinting slowed marginally to give Willstrop a little more time and crucial errors hurt his opponent. He was home 11-3 at 93 minutes and bent over in relief for several moments and raised his hands in thanks – almost prayer.

“It was in a mess,” he said afterwards. “He had control. It was a complete dig. I’m pleased. I’m proud of myself.”

It was not ideal preparation for an assault on the World Open title but the good news is that Willstrop has a day off before his second round match.

“I need it,” he said. “My brain is hurting as much as my body.

Willstrop goes through to face Mohammed Abbas on Wednesday.

One player not need the day off is John White. He had not appeared at recent events in Saudi, Qatar and Hong Kong so there was some interest in his form and fitness. He provided the answer emphatically, although his fitness was not extensively tested, by demolishing qualifying hopeful Alister White 11-8, 11-4, 11-5. White faces Iskandar in the second round the winner to go through to play Gergory Gautlier if he makes his seeded position. Gaultier was untroubled by Daryl Selby, although there was some nice stuff, winning 3/0.

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Controversy Over Ashour Tantrum

Hisham Ashour (right) launched into an abusive torrent against his opponent and the referee after upsetting the seedings in the World Open.

The world number 24 from Cairo reduced the applauding crowd to silence with his unexpected tirade after bringing down the 16th seeded Englishman Adrian Grant (left) in four increasingly heated games.

Ashour appeared to be claiming that Grant was swearing during their first round encounter, and blocked the loser’s path from the court by eyeballing him from close range, shaking with rage as he did it.

Ashour then disappeared from the arena only to return, shrieking at referee Wes Barlow: “Fuck, fuck, fuck – is this boxing or what? Didn’t you hear anything?”

The Canadian admitted that he didn’t, and just when it seemed that the incident might worsen, the victor disappeared down the tunnel, still shrieking as he did so. 

“I don’t want to say anything, except to his fat friend who was pushing me when I came off the court,” said Grant later.

Ashour’s fury was not helped by two or three contentious decisions in the fourth game of his 11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8 win, one at 8-6 to Ashour when he was refused a let, and another in the following rally when the Egyptian was awarded a let after Grant had not appeared to obstruct.

A couple of minutes earlier Grant had left the court to complain about the noise. “He’s screaming so much, it’s off-putting,” he said. This infuriated Ashour, who yelled: “you blocked me.”

And on the penultimate rally Grant was angry that a penalty point awarded against him, for accidentally failing to give Ashour a clear view of the ball, and said: “If there weren’t kids here…..” apparently suggesting he would like to say something strong.

Ashour won because he had spells of remarkable brilliance, which was one of three good performances which helped atone for Egypt’s dented chances of winning the world team title for the first time in a fortnight’s time.

Earlier Omar Mosaad beat the 14th seeded Olli Tuominen of Finland 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 to join Ashour and their 12th seeded compatriot Mohammed Abbas in the second round. Abbas beat Australia’s Cameron Pilley in straight games

But the news on Ramy Ashour, the Super Series champion who is Hisham’s brother, and Karim Darwish, the world number eight, both of whom are injured is worrying.

Ramy has a bad foot and Darwish an injured calf. “It doesn’t look good,” said Egypt’s coach Amir Wagih. “It doesn’t look as though they will be fit in time.”

Shabana Cruises Through
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Amr Shabana, the top seed, cruised comfortably into the second round of the Endurance World Open in Bermuda with a four set win, 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 over Frenchman Renan Lavigne. It is all there – the fast action, smooth movement and deadly hitting – but perhaps he was a little lacking in urgency. He is the favourite for the world title but there is along way to go yet and he is relaxed about it.

“I was lucky enough to win it twice, if I win it three time it well be amazing but if I don’t it will be OK,” he said of his title bid.

You can’t really imagine the titleholder David Palmer saying that, or indeed Gregory Gaultier, who was reminded of his loss of the final in 2006 by compare Robert Edwards in the glittering opening ceremony.

“It was a terrible feeling,” said Gaultier.

The Town Crier announced the tournament, held in a vast marquee next to the luxurious Fairmont Southampton resort high on the hill overlooking the beautiful Horseshoe bay. This is a country in Technicolor and Shabana, in what is an obligatory chore for world no.1s (in whatever sport, wherever they go), said how much he loved it. The first and second rounds are split giving time for relaxation, so Shabana will be out to lunch around the island, viewing the beaches and is relaxed about his preparation.

The undemanding schedule, is however of more importance than in assisting with Shabana’s lunch and sightseeing schedule, it will allow players to recover and put them in the best shape for the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Shabana knows what will be required to win it he says. “These days all the players are strong, and it’s difficult to play back to back event.”

He has had a demanding schedule with wins, and daily play in the last three events – the Saudi, Qatar and Hong Kong tournaments as will as the Arab Championships immediately thereafter. At the British Open he slipped against Nick Matthew and hurt his ankle, is playing in a brace here but says it is OK.

He has matured as a player, matured mentally – this and his relaxed attitude will help him here. The traumas of his loss of the world title in Giza in 2006, in front of the Pyramids with the whole Egyptian nation willing him on, expecting him to do it for them and himself are behind him now.

“I know what you have to do, I am ready to work to win, before I was rushed,” he said.

Shabana was through safely, but fifteen seed Ong Beng Hee fell to a sound performance from qualifier Jonathan Kemp. Kemp, in the tough and humid conditions at the squash club (ten miles away in Hamilton) got away at the end of both the first and second games to go two up, dropped the third with nervous errors but was back on course in the fourth. A ball smashed into his body was parried instinctively with the deftest of touches for an unplayable volley drop in the fourth and it was then that Beng Hee might have realised that it was not his day. On a roll Kemp felled the first seed to go out 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-5.

Kemp who had beaten Nick Matthew in the National League earlier this month, has improved since his move to Halifax and made the most of his opportunity.

“All the qualifiers have seeds,” he said on this first round draw. “I have had a cold but I had one match [he had one bye in the qualifying then beat New Zealand’s Kasha Shuja in five games] and that was all I needed. Now I’m playing well.”

Elsewhere in the afternoon session former champion Thierry Lincou saw off up and coming American Julian Illingworth in four; Bradley Ball gave Peter Barker a fright and the referee and good workout in going down 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-5 (76 min); El Hindi too had a fright and a fall against the tough young Mexican Eric Galvez saving two match points to finally win 15-13 in the fifth.

The evening session saw Shabana and Palmer go through, so, with Lincou through in the afternoon, all former champions where into the second round. Palmer did not find much resistance against the prancing Shawn Delierre while his Australian teammate Stewart Boswell saw off the local wildcard James Stout – whose every point was wildly cheered – in three.

Lee Beachill, has been seemingly the banker for England at no.3 in the team for the World Team Championships in Chennai, immediately after this event. At 1 / 2 down Beachill went ahead 4-1 in the fourth but after a long rallies he failed to score again in that game. Although he lifted himself for a fight in the fifth, errors counted against him, and he was down in five. He was out of the world title race and England’s chances seemed diminished.

“I didn’t play well and I’m not confident in my fitness to play matches like that,” he said. I’ve got a niggle – I’ll get it sorted out over Christmas – and it hasn’t allowed me to prepare and train properly.

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English Players Dominate
World Open Qualifiers

English players claimed half of the qualifying places on offer in the Endurance World Open Squash Championship in Bermuda as Alister Walker, Bradley Ball,
Jonathan Kemp
and Daryl Selby (right) powered past their opponents in the qualifying finals of the $175,000 flagship PSA Tour event in the island's capital


Walker was the first to make it to the main draw when he beat Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 in 45 minutes.  The 25-year-old from Leeds, in his second successive World Open as qualifier, is drawn to face sixth seed John White, the hard-hitting US-based Scotsman making his first PSA Tour appearance outside the USA since April.


Bradley Ball bounced to the swiftest win of the day, beating Egypt's Yasser El Halaby 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 in just 25 minutes.  The 31-year-old from Ipswich - winner of more PSA Tour titles than any other Englishman on the current Tour - now faces compatriot Peter Barker, the 11th seed from Essex.


Jonathan Kemp survived a five-game tussle with Kashif Shuja before beating the New Zealander 7-11, 11-4, 11-2, 5-11, 11-4 in 43 minutes.  The 26-year-old from Telford takes on Malaysia's 15th seed Ong Beng Hee - while Daryl Selby, an 11-4, 11-7, 11-10 (3-1) victor over Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz, will meet France's No2 seed Gregory Gaultier.


Julian Illingworth produced an impressive 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 win over Egypt's experienced former world No14 Omar Elborolossy to become the first USA player to claim a place in the main draw of a World Open.  The 23-year-old Yale graduate - at 50, the lowest ranked player to qualify - will face fifth seed Thierry Lincou, the 2004 World Open champion from France.


Eric Galvez also becomes the first Mexican to qualify for the World Open.  The 24-year-old from Puebla beat Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 and is rewarded by a first round clash with Egypt's No9 seed Wael El Hindi.



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Locals Overpowered
In World Open Qualifying

Chase Toogood Local Support But goes out in 1st Qualifying roundDay one of qualifying for the Endurance World Open Squash Championship in Bermuda was a tough one for the four local players representing the host country.  All were beaten by their opponents at the Bermuda Squash Racquets (BSRA) venue, which means that Bermuda’s only representative will be James Stout, who has the wildcard entry to the main draw.


The four locals - Nicholas Kyme, Chase Toogood, Melrindo Caines and Patrick Foster - all played valiantly, backed up by a partisan crowd at the Devonshire Club, but were ultimately despatched by better opponents.


Two of the Bermuda representatives, Kyme and Foster, are previous Tour professionals, but the speed and accuracy of Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez and US champion Julian Illingworth, respectively, were just too much for them.


The major upsets of the day went to Australia, with Ryan Cuskelly and Scott Arnold both claiming notable wins and progressing to the qualifying finals.  Cuskelly, the world No76 from New South Wales, overcame Canadian Matthew Giuffre, ranked 24 places higher, 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 11-5 in 48 minutes - while Sydney's 21-year-old Scott Arnold, defeated experienced Irishman Liam Kenny, ranked 37 in the world, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 in 41 minutes.


A marathon encounter saw South African Jesse Engelbrecht fight back from two games down to draw level against Canadian Shawn Delierre.  But the world No46 from Montreal - a further 46 places separating him from Engelbrecht - regained his focus to win 11-8, 11-8, 10-11 (0-2), 7-11, 11-9 in 69 minutes.


Teenager Joseph Chapman, whose only previous experience at this level was playing world top ten Australian Joseph Kneipp in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, made his PSA Tour debut at the Devonshire Club.  The 17-year-old from the British Virgin Islands put up a courageous fight against Egypt's Omar Mosaad but went down to the world No33 from Cairo 11-2, 11-5, 11-7.


The action for the qualifying finals will produce the eight players who will earn the right to progress to the main draw of the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007, and have the chance to play on the spectacular glass court overlooking the beautiful South Shore of Bermuda.

Injury Woes Strike Bermuda World Open

Injury problems have caused three seeds to withdraw from the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championship, the $175,000 PSA Tour event which gets underway on the island on Sunday (25 November).


Ramy Ashour, the world No2 from Egypt, is the highest-ranked casualty.  The 20-year-old from Cairo injured his left foot in the Qatar Classic earlier this month.  A calf injury has also led to the withdrawal of compatriot Karim Darwish, the world No8. 


Spain's Borja Golan will also miss the PSA Tour calendar's most important event after sustaining an injury in last week's Santiago Open at his home club.  Furthermore Englishman Stacey Ross, the world No41, has also pulled out of the 2007 World Open.


“It is a terrible shame that Ramy, Karim, Borja and Stacey have been forced to withdraw under these circumstances," said Tournament Director Ross Triffitt.  "Our sympathies go out to them, as it is never good news to hear of a player suffering an injury and I’m sure they will be disappointed to be missing the World Open Championship.”


A revised draw has elevated France's world No3 Gregory Gaultier, winner of this year’s British Open, to No2 seed.  English players also benefit - with James Willstrop promoted to fourth seed, and Nick Matthew and Lee Beachill acquiring seedings within the top eight - at 7th and 8th, respectively.  Furthermore, Londoner Adrian Grant becomes the 16th seed.


These changes have the effect of bringing Canada's world No27 Shahier Razik, France's world No28 Renan Lavigne and England's Joey Barrington, the world No29, into the main draw. 


It also means a change of opponent for Bermuda’s wild card entry James Stout, who is now drawn against 10th seed Stewart Boswell, the former world No4 from Australia.  They will play the second match on Opening Night, Sunday 25th November.


"It is not unusual for several players to have to drop out major championships due to injury because squash is an exceptionally physical game demanding tremendous fitness," added Triffitt.  "In order to compete in the World Open, these players really have to be at the peak of fitness.


"Players have started arriving on the Island, and current World Open champion - David Palmer of Australia, who makes his second home in Bermuda - has already visited the venue and declared it to be spectacular.  The 1400-seat specially-built temporary see-through stadium sits on the magnificent Fairmont Southampton hotel property overlooking Horseshoe Bay and the Island’s picturesque South Shore.


For more information about the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championship, check the official website at www.squashworldopen.com

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Endurance World Open
Draw Revealed in

Squash fans around the globe will be focused on Bermuda in November when the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association hosts the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championship, proudly sponsored by Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd.   This is the final phase of the biggest contract in the history of squash, which has seen Bermuda hosting the PSA Masters for the past two years.


The Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Championship is the ultimate tournament for the world’s greatest squash players who will assemble in Bermuda from 25 November to 1 December to compete for $175,000 in prize money, and the title “Endurance World Open Champion”.


Tournament Director Ross Triffitt formally announced the draw for the flagship Professional Squash Association (PSA) championship, along with the name of the Bermudian wild card entry.  In addition, Triffitt revealed the four local players who will have an opportunity to compete in the qualifying tournament, along with the remaining qualifiers, and four World Squash Federation (WSF) Invitees, who will also compete in the qualifying tournament.


"We are delighted to announce that literally all of the world’s top players are competing in the World Open, with the exception of just one player who has had to withdraw because of an injury," said Director of Squash Ross Triffitt.  "Our seedings are based on the players’ rankings as of 1st October, and the top 23 players as of that date are included in the main draw.


“The only other player to gain automatic entry into the main draw of 24 is our own wild card entry.  I am pleased to announce that after careful consideration we have chosen James Stout to represent Bermuda.  James is presently working as an Assistant Professional at the New York Racquet and Tennis Club, one of the most prestigious squash clubs in the world.  He has been drawn against Mohammed Abbas of Egypt, ranked 15 in the world, and they will be playing in one of the first matches on the first evening of the Championships on 25th November."


A qualifying tournament will be held just prior to the main event, and Triffitt explained who will be competing:  "Joining those 24 players in the main draw will be eight players from the qualifying tournament.  A total of 32 players will be battling it out for these eight qualifying spots.  This will be an exceptionally tough field, consisting of the next 24 players in the world rankings - ranging from the world No27 to world No55 - together with four of our top local players, and four players invited by the WSF.


"This is a truly World Open Championship, with over 50 players from 25 countries spread across six continents coming to Bermuda to compete in the Endurance World Open," added Triffitt.


Heading the line-up is Amr Shabana of Egypt, who made history in Bermuda when he took over the world number one ranking last April after winning the Virtual Spectator PSA Masters 2006.  The 28-year-old from Cairo has topped the world rankings since his victory in Bermuda.  Shabana will be certainly be challenged by the current World Open champion, David Palmer of Australia, who also resides in Bermuda when he’s not on the circuit.


Other strong contenders for the title will include world No3 Gregory Gaultier and world No6 Thierry Lincou - both of whom are from France, and both just reached the final of the British Open.  In addition, there will be a strong English contingent led by world No5 James Willstrop; a popular local favourite John White, the world No7 of Scotland; and the new wonderboy of squash, 20-year-old world No2 Ramy Ashour of Egypt - the youngest player in the world top 25 who has won five of the eight PSA Tour events in which he has competed so far this year.


The venue for the Endurance World Open will be the Fairmont Southampton, where an all-glass court will be erected in a state-of-the-art see-through tent, complete with comfortable theatre-style seating.   Located on Turtle Hill, overlooking Horseshoe Bay and the magnificent South Shore, the location will ensure uninterrupted play and clear views, whatever the weather. 


The Championship will draw extensive global coverage, including presence from Reuters, BBC World Service, NBC News, Fox Australia and Orbit ESPN.  TV coverage will be provided to potential viewers totalling up to 2.1 billion worldwide who will be provided with unique opportunity to see Bermuda at its best while watching the world’s greatest squash players in action.


For more information about the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championships, check the website at www.squashworldopen.com

The Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 is the culmination of one of the largest contracts in the history of squash, signed between the PSA and Bermuda. Indeed, Bermuda has already hosted the immensely successful PSA Masters Tournaments in 2006 and 2005, and the Bermuda Open in 2004. But the men’s World Open Bermuda is the first event to feature the famous glass court with ocean views.

With a draw of 32, a prize sum of $175,000 (equaling the highest ever purse for the World Open), and most importantly, the coveted title of World Champion to fight for - you are guaranteed to see all the stars of the men’s game at this event: the princely Amr Shabana, goliath David Palmer, the powerful James Willstrop, and feisty Gregory Gaultier, to name just a few. The striking glass court, surrounded with comfortable theatre-style seating, giant screens, music and lights, will be set at the Fairmont Southampton hotel, providing stunning views over Horseshoe Bay beach and the ocean. Add to this live, mid-match entertainment and the presence of charismatic MC Robert Edwards - “the Voice of Squash”, and the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 is set to thrill.

If you love squash, Bermuda will be the place to be. The prestigious men’s event and the World Squash Federation Conference and AGM will be combined, and alongside the established celebrities of the game, watch the future stars of squash compete in the Bank of Bermuda Foundation Junior Open, or the top amateurs in the Bermuda Open Graded Championships. The small island in the middle of the Atlantic will truly be the capital of the squash world for a week.

PSA & Bermuda Celebrate Record Three-Year Agreement
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Posted by Tom Quinn on 22-Sep-2004
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the Bermuda Squash Rackets Association (BSRA) are celebrating a record $350,000 agreement which will bring two flagship PSA Tour events to the tiny semi-tropical island paradise.

Bermuda, “the jewel of the Atlantic Ocean”, will host the PSA Masters in 2005 and 2006, with the climax of the historic agreement being the staging of the World Open in 2007.

The PSA’s biggest-ever single deal follows the success of the inaugural Bermuda Open in March. The five-star event was staged in the island’s city of Hamilton and attracted a star-studded field led by eight of the world’s top ten players.

The 2004 PSA Qatar Masters, the final of which took place in the Qatar capital Doha on Sunday (25 April), brought to an end the event’s three-year association with the Middle East country.

A formal “hand-over” of the PSA Masters to the promoters representing the BSRA - Tournament Director Ross Triffitt and Tournament Chairman Kim Carter - was staged at the closing ceremony in Doha.

“Following three years of wonderful success in Qatar, the PSA Masters is moving to Bermuda as part of a major agreement commencing in 2005,” said PSA Chief Executive Gawain Briars.

“PSA owes a huge debt of thanks to the Qatar Olympic Committee, Nabil Ali Bin Ali, Hisham Algosaibi, and the Qatar Squash Federation, for their unstinting support of the prestigious PSA Masters over these last three years and now, whilst it will prove a hard act to follow, the time has come for the event to move on.

“Multi-year agreements are a backbone to the circuit, and this wonderful new opportunity has come to fruition following negotiations with the BSRA over this last period,” Briars added.

“I am delighted to confirm that the contract sees the PSA Masters 2005 and 2006 go to Bermuda as $100,000.00 prize money Platinum Super Series 32-man draw events. The icing on the cake, however, is that in 2007 Bermuda have agreed to complete the deal by hosting the PSA World Open as a $150,000.00 prize money 64-man main draw and 32-man qualifier event,” enthused the PSA CEO.

“Having seen their professional staging of an inaugural major PSA event this year in Bermuda, I have no doubt that the BSRA will deliver with commitment and style when the PSA Masters arrives in Bermuda next year. This is a landmark moment for the professional circuit at a time when men’s squash gets more and more exciting,” Briars concluded.

Ross Triffitt, the BSRA’s Director of Squash, responded: “To say we are delighted to announce this landmark three-year agreement is an understatement. The Bermuda Open 2004 was a great success that was only possible from the support of the Bermuda government, international business sector, local business community and the people of Bermuda. The general public and international visitors were treated to a feast of squash that has left them hungry for more.

“We have made no secret of our goal to host the PSA World Open in 2007, and to have secured the pinnacle event in squash so early in our campaign is a testament to the hard work of the 2004 Bermuda Open Management Committee and the army of volunteers that made the event possible,” Triffitt explained.

BSRA President Stephen Young added: “To have the PSA Masters for 2005 and 2006 as part of the deal is a great coup for Bermuda Squash. We now have the best possible build up to the PSA World Open 2007 by securing the next most prestigious tournament on the PSA calendar, the PSA Masters. Bermuda is renowned for its hospitality, wonderful pink beaches, crystal clear water and picturesque settings, and we are positive this will provide the perfect backdrop to showcase the PSA’s two most important tournaments.”

Triffitt concluded: “The motto of the Bermuda Open team has been ‘Onward and Upward’ and our extremely dedicated team is already working on making the PSA Masters 2005 a very special event. After seeing the wonderful job Qatar has done in hosting the event we know it is a hard act to follow, but with Bermuda being a premiere tourist destination, the dedication of our team and the support of our community, we are confident we can improve on an already magnificent event.

Voice of Squash” Robert Edwards chooses Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 to announce his retirement
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Charismatic PSA World Tour Technical Director and colourful compere of many squash spectaculars over the past two decades, Robert S. Edwards, has picked the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007, for his final career appearance.  At the news that the most prestigious event on the squash calendar would take place in Bermuda, overlooking the ocean and beautiful beaches, he announced:

“I am thrilled to be a part of the team again and have chosen this wonderful setting to announce my retirement after 22 years and more than 220 major tournaments world-wide.”

Sponsored by Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 is the culminating event of one of the largest contracts in the history of the sport signed between the PSA and Bermuda, which hosted the Bermuda Open in 2004, and the PSA Masters tournaments in 2005 and 2006.  Reflecting on the success of these events and of the choice of Bermuda as a premier sporting venue, Robert Edwards commented:

“Rarely can there have been a sporting journey to match the squash trail taking place in Bermuda - a small but beautiful island with the courage and the ability to produce a series of squash events that challenge the best in the history of the game. It is fitting that the culmination of this wonderful sporting endeavour should be to host the ultimate professional squash tournament - The World Open under the title “Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championships’’.“

The iconic glass court, comfortable theatre-style seating, giant screens, music and lights, will be set at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, providing stunning views over Horseshoe Bay beach and the Atlantic Ocean.  State-of-the-art, Clear Span tents from Regal Tent Productions will be erected over the site, ensuring uninterrupted play and clear views whatever the weather.  The event will draw extensive media coverage, including presence from Reuters, CNN, BBC World, NBC News, Fox Australia, and Orbit ESPN, and TV coverage is expected to reach up to 2.6 billion spectators worldwide.

For more information, please contact:

Ross Triffitt,
Tournament Director.

BCM McAlpine selected for site construction of Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007
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Bermuda will be hosting the most prestigious men’s squash championship on the international circuit, and BCM McAlpine Limited has been selected to plan and manage the construction of the site.

Ross Triffit, Tournament Director, gave the following endorsement:

“The Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 will be the biggest squash event ever held on the Island, and the venue will be spectacular.  We’re delighted to partner up with BCM McAlpine once again for the fourth consecutive year, and we’re confident that the construction of the most ambitious site yet will be in expert hands.”

BCM McAlpine Limited Project Manager, Marc de Verteuil, expressed his delight at the announcement of the partnership.

“BCM McAlpine Limited is proud to be involved with such a prestigious sporting event.  We are confident that our experience as construction managers on many of Bermuda’s largest construction projects will lend well to the challenge of preparing the infrastructure for the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007.  We were pleased to be involved with the first international tournament back in 2004 and we look forward to working with the Management Team as we continue our association with squash in Bermuda.”

For more information about the Endurance World Open 2007 Bermuda, please contact:

Ross Triffitt,
Tournament Director.

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Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., a Bermuda-based specialty provider of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance is pleased to announce today their title sponsorship of the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championships.    The Men’s World Open, held from November 23 through December 1, 2007, is the pinnacle event on the World Squash Federations’ annual calendar.   The 2007 tournament also marks the third year in a historic run as Bermuda hosted the PSA Masters in 2005 and 2006. 

“Endurance is proud to take the lead in sponsoring and supporting the World Open which promotes cultural diversity, volunteerism and youth involvement through the game of squash.  The globally-followed tournament also provides international awareness of Bermuda as a destination for business and tourism,” according to Daniel Izard, President of Endurance Specialty Insurance, Ltd.   Endurance has supported the sport as a proud host sponsor of this event for the past three years.

The nine-day event will take place in two venues – preliminary rounds will be hosted at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association and the main and final rounds at the Fairmont Southampton Princess in a state of the art glass court facility with spectacular views overlooking Horseshoe Bay.  Global television coverage will be provided by more than two dozen media outlets, including Reuters, CNN, BBC World, NBC News, Fox Australia, and Orbit ESPN, as well as live coverage by local stations and video-streaming on the worldwide web.   The event is expected to draw 3,000 guests, including 1,000 international visitors, providing a boost to the island’s economy.

This year marks the first time the Men’s World Open tournament will be held in Bermuda.   In addition, it is the first year for local participation as two former professionals will compete for the wildcard position:  Nick Kyme (former World #63) and James Stout (former World #116).  Both are graduates of the BSRA Junior Programme here in Bermuda.

Ken LeStrange, CEO of Endurance, proclaimed his company’s enthusiastic sponsorship, indicating that “Endurance is pleased to continue our support of the sport and to be part of this landmark event heralding Bermuda’s visibility on the world squash circuit.”

About Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd.:

Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: ENH), through its operating subsidiaries, is a global specialty insurance and reinsurance provider with almost 500 employees in Bermuda, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., the company’s Bermuda operating subsidiary, is the firm’s original operating platform and currently writes property catastrophe reinsurance, casualty treaty reinsurance, excess casualty and professional liability insurance as well as other specialty business lines such as aerospace and healthcare.  Formed in 2001, Endurance is publicly traded on the NYSE and has grown to approximately $7 billion in assets and over $2 billion in shareholders’ equity.  


For more information, visit www.endurance.bm

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Regal Tent Productions and Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 partner up to create spectacular event experience

Regal Tent Productions is proud to be partnering with the Endurance World Open 2007 Bermuda Squash Championships this coming November to showcase stunning ocean views while protecting the event’s glass squash court. Regal will be in Bermuda for the event to unveil a proprietary new structure that recently won “Best Industry Innovation” from the internationally-recognized organization ISES (International Special Events Society). The structure will consist of see-through panels, will soar to 42 feet at its peak and will be an impressive 16,000 square feet in size.

Regal Tent Productions has been providing award-winning tents and event experiences to some of the most prestigious names across North America and the Caribbean since 1987, including: Chanel, The White House, Boeing, Maybach, Turks & Caicos International Film Festival, Arnold Palmer, Marc Jacobs, Mercedes-Benz, Ralph Lauren, Columbia Business School, and Lexus, to name a few. Regal is pleased to add the World Squash Championships in Bermuda to this list.

Regal has been the recipient of many industry awards. Some of the most recent include:

  • BizBash.TO Best Use of Tenting 2007 (Princess Margaret Hospital Fundraiser)

  • IFAI Award of Excellence 2007 (Private Rod Stewart Concert)

  • IFAI Outstanding Achievement Award 2007 (Edmonton Grand Prix)

  • ISES Esprit Awards Best Industry Innovation 2006 (25 ft side legs)

  • ISES Esprit Awards Best Team Effort > $100,000 2006 (Encana One Corporate Event)

  • BizBash.NY Event Style Award Best Use of Tenting 2006 (H&M Fashion Show)

  • IAA Outstanding Achievement Award 2006 (H&M Fashion Show)

For more information about Regal Tent Productions, please contact:

Lara McCulloch, Director of Marketing, Regal Tent Productions Ltd, t. +1 800-364-4430 x22, f. +1 905-664-4820, www.regaltent.com

For more information about the Endurance World Open 2007 Bermuda, please contact:

Ross Triffitt,
Tournament Director.
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