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World Open 2009

Draw Previews Reports

Kuwait Celebrates "Best Ever" Men's World Open Squash Championship

A spectacular firework display, which lit up the skies over Kuwait City, brought to a climax the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, the richest event ever event in world squash which was hosted by Kuwait for the first time this month.

"I'm really happy about what we have achieved," said Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, Chairperson of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Higher Organising Committee. "I had hopes that it would be good, but it was far beyond this - it was the best ever!"

The premier Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour championship, boasting a record $277.500 prize-fund, was held in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy was presented.

Players representing 28 countries, more than ever before, battled for supremacy in the 31st staging of the world championship which reached its climax on an all-glass court sited at Kuwait's popular Green Island resort.

An all-Egyptian final between the young defending champion Ramy Ashour  and his senior compatriot Amr Shabana - described by one international writer as the 'player of the millennium' - attracted a record crowd of 1,300, more than ever seen before at a squash match in Kuwait.

In a match watched by millions both on TV and via live webcasting, it was Shabana who ultimately prevailed to win his fourth World Open title.

"It's a dream. You don't think about winning four World Open titles - you just dream about it," said the 'Prince of Cairo'. "It will take a month or two for it to sink in."

The official tournament website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com registered 1,728,858 hits over the period of the championship, the highest registered web traffic for any squash website, as squash enthusiasts around monitored the progress of their idols. The event also attracted more than 30 hours of live national TV coverage.

Furthermore, the event kicked off with a dramatic Opening Ceremony, which encapsulated the story of Kuwait and its historical treasures in an entertaining narrative form.

In an innovation held on the eve-of-final rest day, the event hosted an Official Championship Gala Dinner held in the country's renowned Al Hashemi II, the largest wooden dhow ever built.

The dinner incorporated a special International Squash Awards ceremony, staged to honour the achievements of the sport's greatest players and contributors. Four all-time squash greats from the past -  Australians Geoff Hunt and Sarah Fitz-Gerald, New Zealander Susan Devoy, and Pakistan's Jahangir Khan - were inducted as 'Squash Legendsí

For further information, visit the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Official Website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com

Whilst details are to be confirmed, the unrivalled success of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 is predicted to be the catalyst for future squash events in a country with aspirations of being the squash capital of the world.

 
Shabana Celebrates Fourth World Open Title Win In Kuwait

Egypt's Amr Shabana joined the sport's all-time greats when he lifted the Kuwait Menís World Open Squash title at Green Island Resort in Kuwait - becoming only the fourth player in history, after Australia's Geoff Hunt and Pakistanis Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan, to win four World Open crowns.

Both Hunt and Jahangir Khan were among the distinguished guests in the record 1,300 Green Island crowd, witnessing the final of the premier event on the PSA World Tour between world number two Shabana and the defending champion Ramy Ashour.  It was the second all-Egyptian in successive years - and one which undoubtedly attracted the standing-room-only crowd.

Third seed Ashour, the 22-year-old from Cairo whose near magical performances had entranced the Kuwait crowds all week, was unable to reproduce the magic in the long-awaited climax to the richest ever event in world squash which boastedS a $277,500 prize fund.

Controlled squash gave the first game to Shabana in just 12 minutes.  The 30-year-old, who reigned as world number one for 33 unbroken months until the end of last year, again took the second game without ever losing the lead.

There was a resigned look to Ashour throughout the third as Shabana seemed on course to maintain his 'odd' sequence of world successes - having won the titles previously in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

After being denied a let midway through the third game, Ashour - who was becoming increasingly frustrated by the officials' decisions - shouted later 'can I get a let this time?'.

'Yes, you can get a let' responded central referee Nasser Zahran.

Shabana reached match ball at 10-4 after wrong-footing his opponent.  But Ashour took the next point and served for the next rally.

But it lasted one single shot as left-hander Shabana pulled off his trademark return of service straight into the sidewall nick to record his historic 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 victory in 50 minutes.

"I felt nervous before the match, and I'm sure he was feeling the same," conceded the victor - who now boasts 26 PSA World Tour titles, equalling Australian David Palmer's haul, more than any other current player on the Tour.

"The final always feels different.  And playing such a great player like Ramy, you don't know what to expect," added Shabana.

"It was a very mental match - I felt I had to take it point by point.  I was really focussed.

"I think it was just my day - I'm 100% sure he's going to get days when it's all him!"

When asked how he felt, equalling the achievements of Hunt and the Khans, the 'Prince of Cairo' responded:  "It's a dream.  You don't think about it - you just dream about it.

"It will take a month or two for it to sink in," concluded the new World Open champion.

Ashour was almost inconsolable after his defeat.  "I have nothing to say.  He played well - he was just more consistent than I was."


Amr Shabana beats compatriot Ramy Ashour to become World Champion for the 4th time



Amr Shabana avenges British Open defeat by taking out James Willstrop in 4 games


Ramy Ashour celebrates his win over World No 1 Gregory Gaultier


James Willstrop defeats world no 3 Karim Darwish to maintain his impressive run against the Egyptian - he hasn't lost to him since November 2006


World No 1 Gregory Gaultier battles through in 5 games against Nick Matthew


New World no 1 Gregory Gaultier eases through against top US player Julian Illingworth
Men's WORLD OPEN 2009
1st November - 7th November 2009
 



 

Round One
Nov 1/2
Round Two
Nov 3/4
Quarters
Nov 5
Semis
Nov 6
Final
Nov 07
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY)
11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-1 (40m)
[29] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Karim Darwish
11-7, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9 (58m)
 James Willstrop
James Willstrop
11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (49m)
Thierry Lincou
James Willstrop
11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 (80m)
Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana
11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (50m)
Ramy Ashour
[11] James Willstrop (ENG)
11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (33m)
[28] Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
[8] Thierry Lincou (FRA)
7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-1 (45m)
[18] Stewart Boswell (AUS)
Thierry Lincou
11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6 (53m)
Alister Walker
[15] Alister Walker (ENG)
11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9 (69m)
Renan Lavigne (FRA)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY)
1-8, 11-8, 11-6 (37m)
[24] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Amr Shabana
11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (48m)
Daryl Selby
Amr Shabana
v11-1, 11-5, 11-9 (40m)
Wael El Hindi
[12] Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (135m)
[22] Daryl Selby (ENG)
[6] David Palmer (AUS)
14-12, 12-10, 11-7 (45m)
[25] Tarek Momen (EGY)
Tarek Momen
10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (61m)
Wael El Hindi
[9] Wael El Hindi (EGY)
11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (39m)
Amr Swelim (ITA)
[21] Hisham Ashour (EGY)
13-11, 12-10, 11-9 (44m)
[10] Adrian Grant (ENG)
Hisham Ashour
11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9 (57m)
Peter Barker
Hisham Ashour
11-8, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8 (51m)
Ramy Ashour
Ramy Ashour
11-5, 11-9, 12-10 (51m)
Gregory Gaultier
[19] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (31m)
[7] Peter Barker (ENG)
[17] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
11-6, 8-11, 11-2, 11-5 (52m
[14] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Laurens Jan Anjema
11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7 (48m)
 Ramy Ashour
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 (39m)
 [3] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
[20] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
9-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (68m)
[16] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
Cameron Pilley
11-6, 11-3, 11-2 (35m)
Nick Matthew
Nick Matthew
8-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-6, 11-4 (82m)
Gregory Gaultier
[27] Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
11-2, 11-3, 11-6 (30m)
[5] Nick Matthew (ENG)
[31] Tom Richards (ENG)
7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (53m)
[13] Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Ong Beng Hee
11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (42m)
Gregory Gaultier
[32] Julian Illingworth (USA)
 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 (50m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

Qualifying:


 

Reports

Ashour & Shabana To Contest All-Egyptian Kuwait World Open Final

Defending champion Ramy Ashour and former champion Amr Shabana will meet in the second successive all-Egyptian world final after successes in the semi-finals of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 on the all-glass court at Green Island Resort.

Third seed Ashour upset France's world number one Gregory Gaultier in the second semi-final of the premier event on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour.

For the second time in the evening, the packed crowd were able to get firmly behind an Egyptian player - in this case cheering every single winning shot from the 22-year-old from Cairo.

Ashour, the world number five, raced to a first game win - but second seed Gaultier, only five days into his new reign as world number one, fought back in the second to take a 9-4 lead. 

But the gifted young Egyptian battled back, producing a succession of winners to get back to 8-9 - when Gaultier lunged to retrieve a shot and slipped to the floor with his legs stretched apart, screaming in pain.

After a short break for treatment, the 26-year-old was back on court, seemingly fully recovered.  Ashour soon wrapped up the game to move 2/0 ahead.

Gaultier led 5-2 and 9-8 in the third - but Ashour's wizardry took him to match-ball at 10-9.  A Gaultier shot near the back of the court struck his opponent full on - giving the Frenchman a stroke.

But Ashour's response was to return Gaultier's serve straight into the nick - and then win a sensational final rally to close out the match 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 in 51 minutes.

"I was on my form from the start," said an exuberant Ashour afterwards.  "I really wanted to win this - I was really keen to reach the final.

"I try to enjoy every shot I play," added the Egyptian star.

Gaultier put the reason for his defeat firmly in the lap of the match officials:  "It was unbelievable, such a one-sided referee.  There was not one 'no let' for me.  It was so unfair," declared the defeated second seed.

"I'm really disappointed.

"I was feeling slow in the first game - which was not the best start."

Gaultier shrugged off any concerns about his slip near the end of the second game:  "I don't think I've damaged anything, I just slipped.

"I don't want to think about this tournament anymore - I want to focus on the next tournament," concluded the Frenchman.

Earlier Amr Shabana celebrated his fourth appearance in a World Open final after beating Englishman James Willstrop in four games.

Spurred on by a packed Kuwaiti crowd in the unique outdoor venue, third seed Shabana had to be at his utmost best to topple the tall 11th seed who had earlier removed both top seed Karim Darwish, also from Egypt, and former champion Thierry Lincou to reach the last four against expectation.

At 2/1 down, Willstrop was 7-8 down in the fourth when denied a crucial let.  This took his opponent to 9-7 - but two rallies later the Yorkshireman had pulled back to nine-all.

A stroke against the Englishman gave Shabana match ball - and, after a punishing rally, the 30-year-old converted it to claim a mighty 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 victory in 80 minutes.

"It was an unbelievable match - it was a privilege to have played James today," Shabana told the jubilant Green Island crowd.  "It's a dream to be in the World Open final - the best 64 players in the world are in this event - it's an amazing feeling."

Later, the world champion in 2003, 2005 and 2007, continued the tribute to his opponent:  "I have tremendous respect for James - he has to be up there amongst the top three Englishmen of all-time.  He's a very talented player.

"It's hard to play James - he covers the court well for a big guy, and gives you access to the ball."

When asked how crucial it was to win the fourth game - in which Willstrop twice led, at 5-4 and 7-6 - world number two Shabana replied:  "I was tremendously keen for it not to go to five games.  I could see he was not giving up.  It took all my patience."

The focus for tomorrow will be a Gala Dinner, followed by the World Open final on Saturday.

"It's good to have a rest day now - so that I can be fresh for the final."

Asked about how different this might feel from his previous three finals, the former world number from Giza said:  "I can't think about the history - I just want to be world champion."

A deflated Willstrop confirmed that the no-let decision towards the end of the fourth game had been a bitter blow:  "That was a crucial stage of the match - which took him to 9-7.  In fact, it was massively crucial - his game picked up, he could see the finishing line. 

"But all credit to him.  This is when he performs - at the World Open.

"It was brilliant squash - a really good game.  I can't give any more than that," the world number six from Leeds continued.

"From two down, I'm quite confident in myself.

"He had a little weak spell in the third - but he responded so well in the fourth.

"Overall I performed well.  And that's what I wanted to do.  I've got to look at it as a success.  Hopefully it can be a bit of a step up.

"I did NOT want to lose this match - I'm desperately disappointed," Willstrop concluded.

Gaultier Mounts Kuwait Fight Back To Reach World Open Semis

France's world number one Gregory Gaultier mounted a courageous fight back in the quarter-finals of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 - beating England's fifth seed Nick Matthew in five games to reach the semi-finals of the premier PSA World Tour squash event on the all-glass court at the Green Island Resort in Kuwait.

It was a match of contrasting fortunes for the players, with second seed Gaultier taking the first and the Englishman taking control in the second - then emphatically in the third - before the Frenchman fought to regain supremacy and eventually clinch an 8-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-6, 11-4 victory after 82 minutes.

"The third game was rubbish - I lost my focus," said Gaultier.  "I decided to put that third game in the garbage and start again.  I knew it was possible - everything is possible.  I just had to keep my focus.

"Once I got the lead in the fifth, I kept my head down.  I knew I could beat him - and in the end I could see that Nick was getting slower.  So I pushed myself

"Squash is such a mental game - it's always such a mental battle between us," added the 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence.  "But today I was stronger."

Matthew felt that the early stages of the fourth game were crucial:  "It was make or break at the start of the fourth game.  I was 3-1 up, and if he'd made a couple of errors I could have built on that. 

"But he quickly got the game back and went 5-3 up - and never let me get back into it.  All credit to him.

"And then I played a really lousy fifth game," conceded the 29-year-old from Sheffield who celebrated a career-high world No4 ranking this month.  "I could have done a lot better in that game.

"It was very difficult at the end - I found it very hard to adapt. 

"It definitely wasn't a physical issue.  It was more mental - very tactical, very chess-like," concluded the disappointed Yorkshireman.

Gaultier will now face Ramy Ashour, the defending champion from Egypt.  The No3 seed recovered from losing the third game in an earlier quarter-final to beat England's No7 seed Peter Barker 11-8, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8 in 51 minutes.

For most of the match, the gifted young Egyptian was in a world of his own as he pulled off spectacular shots which entranced the partisan crowd which was willing the Cairo man to win.

"I was in the zone for the first two games, but then let things slip in the third," admitted the 22-year-old.  "But I was really glad with the way I played in the fourth - I really kept it tight to the wall.

"I think I did my job today," added the Egyptian star who won the title against the odds last year for the first time.

Ramy continues to heap credit on his older brother Hisham Ashour, the fellow touring pro who was giving him advice between games.

"He was in the zone and he was floating," explained Ashour senior.  "But I told him after the third game that he can't keep playing like this - he was playing some amazing shots but couldn't rely on those at critical times.

"I told him he needed to get the ball to the back of the court more.

"I haven't seen him floating like this for a long time - those two back hand flick shots made the match."

Tall Englishman James Willstrop continued his giant-killing run in Kuwait by beating eighth-seeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou in the opening quarter-final match of the night.

It was only 24 hours earlier that Willstrop made his first appearance on the Green Island court - where the 11th seed pulled off the event's biggest upset when he despatched Karim Darwish, the top seed from Egypt, in four games.

The 26-year-old was in dominant form throughout tonight's match against the 2004 champion, winning 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 in 49 minutes.

"That was a good solid game," said Willstrop, now a semi-finalist for the first time since 2005.

"He's one of the toughest opponents mentally - but I just managed to keep on top of him.  If I'd come off the pace, it could have let him in," added the Yorkshireman from Leeds.

When asked by tournament presenter Robert Edwards what he thought of the outdoor Green Island arena, Willstrop replied:  "Who can argue with this as a venue?  It's an amazing place to play squash.

"We've been asking for squash to look like this for as long time."

In the next round, Willstrop will meet Amr Shabana, the Egyptian who is adored by the Kuwait crowd.  Would that be of concern for the Englishman?

"They're not going to be shouting for me - but I'd rather it was one-way than no-way!"

Thierry Lincou acknowledged that his opponent had restricted his chances:  "He really prevented me from attacking - playing my own game," said the former world number one from Marseille.

"He was really sharp and tight - I couldn't move him like I wanted to.  I just couldn't relax and play my own game.

"I thought he was in impressive form."

Much to the delight of the packed crowd, Amr Shabana beat fellow Egyptian Wael El Hindi in straight games to reach the World Open semi-finals for the fifth time in a row.

Fourth seed Shabana, three-times a winner of the title, romped to a first game win - but El Hindi, the ninth seed, came back with more opposition in the next two games. 

But it was the left-hander Shabana who ultimately maintained the upper hand, wrapping up his 11-1, 11-5, 11-9 win in 40 minutes.

"You have to play perfect squash against Wael," said Shabana later.  "And I had a bit of an advantage as I have played on the court all week and this was his first time.

"We know each well - he's almost like family," explained the world number two when asked if it was difficult playing a fellow countryman.  "In fact we are rooming together here in Kuwait.

"It's sometimes tough to beat the other guy when it's like this."
 

Willstrop Ousts Top Seed Darwish In Kuwait Shock

 

Top-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish crashed out of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 after losing to England's 11th seed James Willstrop in a tight four-game third round match on an all-glass squash court in the open-air at the Green Island Resort in Kuwait.

 

It was a double blow for the 28-year-old from Cairo on the day his ten-month reign as world number one officially came to an end - and further celebration for the Englishman who rose to six in the new world rankings.

 

On paper, the last sixteen clash in the premier event on the PSA World Tour was an upset - but Willstrop had not lost to the Egyptian since November 2006, and went into the match 8-6 up on a career head-to-head count.

 

There was further confusion before the match - the first of the evening at the spectacular seaside setting - when forecast rain and thunder threatened to move the session back to the conventional indoor Salmiya Club courts.

 

Darwish led in all four games, but Willstrop maintained his focus to take the first two before the new world number three battled back to reduce the deficit.

 

Again the favourite took leads in the fourth game - going up 5-2, 8-6 and 9-8 - but again the tall Yorkshireman refused to be overawed.  The 26-year-old from Leeds ultimately claimed his 11-7, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9 victory after 58 minutes - and a place in the last eight for the fifth time in six years.

 

"He was quite dominant in the third and fourth games and put me under a lot of pressure," said Willstrop.  "He didn't give me a lot of chances - he's one of the best players in the world at getting the ball into the back corners."

 

Willstrop shrugged off suggestions that the hour delay in the start of the match - and the uncertainty about whether it would be played on the indoor court or on the glass court - affected him:  "I think I coped with it pretty well - though I'm not sure other sportsmen would have done so.  The issue was dealt with as well as it could be by all concerned."

 

Out of action for three months following ankle surgery in April, Willstrop now feels he is fully recovered:  "It was an unbelievable experience - I'd never had an operation before. 

 

"I almost lost the first match I played afterwards, at the World Games in Taiwan, then managed to get to the final.  Looking back, that was a vital experience.  I then got to the semis of the US Open and the final of the British Open - which was fantastic.

 

"I think I'm now back to where I was if I can beat the best player in the world," concluded Willstrop.

 

The second match was also an Anglo-Egyptian clash - in which three-time former champion Amr Shabana, the fourth seed, avenged his country's defeat in the opening match by beating Englishman Daryl Selby, seeded 22, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 in 48 minutes.

 

Selby was not only celebrating his 27th birthday but his first appearance in the world's top 20 at a career-best ranking of 17.  But only 24 hours earlier, the Essex player had upset higher-ranked Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar - surviving a 135-minute marathon!

 

"I played well - the best I possibly could," said Selby after his second successive third round match in the World Open.  "I could have done with that first game, but he played two good rallies from nine-all.

 

"It was such a huge game for me.  But I thoroughly enjoyed it - the crowd were very appreciative, for both sides, and it's a brilliant arena for squash.

 

"I believed I had a chance to win - but he was just too good," concluded the birthday boy.

 

There was further English success when both Nick Matthew and Peter Barker made the last eight.  Fifth seed Matthew maintained his unbeaten game record in the event earlier at the Salmiya Club with a clinical third round display against Cameron Pilley, the last remaining Australian in the championship.

 

On the day that he was confirmed as the new world number four - his career-best ranking - Matthew crushed the tall 20th seed from New South Wales 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 in just 35 minutes.

 

The 29-year-old from Sheffield has enjoyed a topsy-turvy ride with the Australian - beating him on the way to winning his second British Open title in September, then losing later in the month in Cairo in a 90-minute four-game marathon.

 

"You're always pleased when you beat someone - especially when he beat you the last time," said a delighted Matthew after his swift win. 

 

"I've been slightly fortunate with the draw - playing two people who have survived tough five-game wins the match before.

 

"Cam is a confident player - so I was determined to get a good start.  But, as my coach David reminded me between games, when you've got the lead, you've got to keep pushing - so I kept attacking him."

 

After three rounds at the Salmiya Club, Matthew will now move into the new environment of the all-glass court at Green Island.  "I'm looking at this as two separate tournaments - three matches here and hopefully another three on the glass court.

 

"I've got the first tournament out of the way, so now I can look forward to the next," explained the new world number four.

 

It was a relieved Englishman Peter Barker that ended Egyptian outsider Hisham Mohd Ashour's run to claim his first appearance in the quarter-finals.

 

Hisham, the 21st seed and older brother of the reigning champion Ramy Ashour, earned his surprise place in the last sixteen after upsetting 10th seed Adrian Grant, also from England, in the previous round.

 

Barker was in control for the first two games - but the 27-year-old from Cairo battled back to take the third game and led in a closely-contested fourth. 

 

But the seventh seed from London maintained his composure and after 57 minutes secured his 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9 victory - and a place in the last eight for the first time at his fifth attempt.

 

"I feel relieved most of all - happy, yes, but more relieved," explained the left-hander afterwards.  "Somehow, I just couldn't relax - I played well in the first two games but then let him get back in the third.

 

"But it's great to be in the quarter-finals of the worlds for the first time - after all, that's where it all happens.

 

"There are eight players remaining so one of us has got to win it - so let's hope it's me!

 

"The pressure's off, but I'm not going to relax.  I played my best squash in the first two games so I hope I can replicate that tomorrow," added the world number nine.

 

Egypt will also boast three players in the quarter-finals as former champion Amr Shabana will be joined by title-holder Ramy Ashour and ninth seed Wael El Hindi.

 

The experienced Wael El Hindi, making his eight appearance in the event, faced 21-year-old compatriot Tarek Momen, the 25th seed who pulled off the shock of the tournament by ousting Australian David Palmer, a two-time former champion, in the previous round.

 

The underdog took the first game - but 29-year-old El Hindi fought back to win 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 in 61 minutes to earn his first quarter-final appearance since 2006.

 

Ramy Ashour, the third seed, recovered from a mid-match crisis to beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema.  The 14th seed from The Hague was looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time and got on top of his higher-ranked opponent to draw level after the second game.

 

But the 22-year-old from Cairo, who kept urging himself to calm down during the match, reclaimed control of the encounter to close out an 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7 victory.

 

Eighth seed Thierry Lincou became the first Frenchman to reserve a place in the quarters.  The World Open champion in 2004 survived a hard-fought 53-minute clash with Alister Walker, beating the 15th seed in four games.

 

Walker dropped the first game, but failed to convert 6-1 and 7-4 leads in the second.  However, the underdog Englishman grabbed the third and fought back from 1-6 down to draw level in the fourth.

 

But the experienced Frenchman lifted his game to clinch an impressive 11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6 win - to earn his seventh quarter-final in ten appearances since 1998.

 

"I had a bit of a loss of concentration, especially in the third - I didn't push mentally to keep the pace up," explained the former world number one from Marseille.  "And when you let the pace go, he's dangerous player.

 

"I've heard him referred to as the English Egyptian - and it's true, he plays like an Egyptian.  Ali beat Shabana a few weeks ago - he's capable of beating anyone."

 

Lincou was joined by compatriot Gregory Gaultier after the last match of the night at Green Island.  The new world number one from Aix-en-Provence was in commanding form as he despatched Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, the 13th seed, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in 42 minutes.

Tarek Takes Out Palmer In Historic World Open Upset

The last sixteen of the premier event on the PSA World Tour will not include veteran Australian squash star David Palmer for the first time since 1998 after the two-time world champion crashed out of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 at the Salmiya Club in Kuwait City.

"I didn't believe I could win today - I didn't expect this performance," said jubilant 21-year-old Egyptian Tarek Momen after his stunning 14-12, 12-10, 11-7 second round upset in 45 minutes over the Tour veteran who boasts 26 PSA titles, more than any other current player.

Palmer was unable to convert game balls in the first two games and failed to exploit an early lead in the third before going down in a rare straight games defeat.

"It's a huge win for me," acknowledged Momen as he was surrounded by well-wishing Egyptian players and fans.  "But it's my second best - as I beat Gregory Gaultier last year in Egypt!  But it has the same taste.

Compatriot Hisham Mohd Ashour, who had himself pulled off a notable upset earlier, added to the praise being heaped on the Electronic Engineering student at the American University in Cairo:  "He did nothing wrong - he was on fire!"

Palmer was distraught at his defeat:  "I'm really disappointed - I've struggled with my form for the last couple of tournaments.  I'm struggling to play at the standard I'm used to.

"I'm just not getting enough match practice - and I need to try and rectify this if I am going to carry on," added the 33-year-old from New South Wales who relocated to Boston, USA, last year.  "I don't get the chance to work with my long-time coach Shaun (Moxom) and I need to make a decision about this.

"I didn't hit the ball well this morning - and normally I can deal with that.  I can't get myself out of trouble like I used to be able to do.

"There are still three big tournaments left this year, so we shall see how I do.  I want to keep going until next year's Commonwealth Games and the 2010 World Open in Saudi," concluded the departing Aussie.

Momen will now play fellow countryman Wael El Hindi, the No9 seed who defeated Cairo-based Italian Amr Swelim.  "He's won both times we've played on the PSA Tour before - but I feel I can do anything after beating Palmer," concluded Momen 

Hisham Mohd Ashour grabbed the headlines normally given to his younger brother Ramy Ashour, the defending champion, when he upset 10th seed Adrian Grant in straight games.

The 27-year-old from Cairo - who was close to exiting the event yesterday when he fought back from 0/2 down to beat English outsider Chris Simpson - was in devastating form today as he despatched the world No10 from London 13-11, 12-10, 11-9 in 44 minutes, saving game balls in the first two games.

"If I hadn't had that five-game match yesterday, I wouldn't have won today," said the exuberant 21st seed after his shock win.  "Before I came here, I hadn't had a good win for three or four months - yet I feel I'm playing well.

"But the way I played today is my game - my problem is that I don't play like that all the time.  If I played like that, I'd be top five!"

Hisham has been largely overshadowed by his 22-year-old brother - who leapt to two in the world shortly after becoming the first player to win the world junior championship twice.  Then last year Ramy became the World Open champion.

"I used to be the one motivating him - now he's motivating me," acknowledged Hisham.  "We always have five-setters when we train - and he's world champion!

"I need to move up - these are my last three years in the game.  I know I have it!"

England's Daryl Selby survived the longest match of the tournament so far when he upset Malaysia's 12th seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 in a 135-minute marathon.

"I always knew it was going to be close as we're both pushing players in the top ten - and he's had some fantastic results recently," said Selby, the 22nd seed from Essex.

"We're good friends and, while I really wanted to win, I feel for Azlan now.  But I'm ecstatic to get through."

Was it his longest ever match?  "Yes, by three minutes!"

England team-mates and fellow Yorkshiremen James Willstrop and Nick Matthew reserved places in the last sixteen for the third successive years with straight games wins - 11th seed Willstrop beating compatriot Jonathan Kemp 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 and Matthew, the fifth seed, overcoming Italian Davide Bianchetti 11-2, 11-3, 11-6.

"I've never felt comfortable playing Davide - we've had a few 3/1s and 3/2s, so it's good to get him in three today," said Matthew, the reigning British Open champion.

Bianchetti survived an 85-minute match yesterday which also featured two-hour 'blood injury' break while he was taken to hospital to have three stitches put in a cut on his chin.

"It must have been hard for him after yesterday, a rollercoaster day for sure" added Matthew.  "Mentally you have to tune in twice for the game - then he was first on today. 

"I tried to get on top from the start - I didn't let him get into his rhythm.  I wanted to get on top before he settled."

Cameron Pilley ensured Australian interest in the last 16 when he beat 16th seed Mohamed El Shorbagy in a significant second round upset.

It was only a year ago that El Shorbagy, then the world junior champion, romped through to the quarter-finals of the World Open as a qualifier in his maiden appearance in the event.

The 18-year-old from Alexandria, the brightest young prospect in the game today, took a two game lead against Pilley before the tall Aussie began his fightback, eventually winning 9-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 in 68 minutes.

"He was too good in the first two games, but dropped off thereafter," conceded the 20th seed from New South Wales.  "I'd opened up the court too much for him in those early games, but managed to straighten up both sides later.

"He's improved out of sight since I last played him - he had nothing to lose a year ago, but now the pressure's on him as a top seed," explained the 26-year-old winner.

"It'll be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure.  He can't afford to keep on playing like that."

It was a distraught El Shorbagy that left the building immediately after the game:  "I'm really disappointed," said the teenager who is now studying at University in Bristol in the UK.  "I was fine in the first two games - then I don't know what happened.  I was so nervous and couldn't shake off that feeling."

In the evening matches on the all-glass court at Green Island, the top two seeds remained on course to meet in Saturday's final - but both dropped games before prevailing in four.  Egyptian favourite Karim Darwish dashed Indian hopes by beating 29th seed Saurav Ghosal 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-1.

Second seed Gregory Gaultier, the new world number one, battled for 50 minutes to overcome the USA's highest-ranked player ever Julian Illingworth 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3. 

But another pair of Egyptians also looked in ominous form as former champion Amr Shabana and reigning champion Ramy Ashour despatched fellow countrymen in straight games - third seed Ashour defeating unseeded Omar Abdel Aziz 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 and fourth seed Shabana overcoming 24th seed Omar Mosaad 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.


Ramy Ashour & Amr Shabana In Third Final Bid In Kuwait

Leading Egyptians Ramy Ashour and Amr Shabana will be hoping to contest their third successive final in Kuwait in next month's Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, after sharing honours in the 2007 and 2008 Kuwait Open finals 

The pair are seeded three and four, respectively, in the premier event on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour which will be staged at the Salmiya Club and Green Island Resort from 1-7 November.

After winning the World Open title for the first time last year in England, 22-year-old Ramy Ashour will be bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the title since the legendary Jansher Khan in 1996.

Meanwhile Amr Shabana is also seeking to emulate an achievement of the great Pakistani player of the 80s and 90s.  World Open champion in 2003, 2005 and 2007, Shabana is hoping to become the first player since Jansher to win the title four times - a feat only otherwise achieved by Australian Geoff Hunt and Pakistani Jahangir Khan.

Currently ranked four in the world, Ashour made history in July 2006 when he became the first man to win the world junior title for a second time.  Less than a year later, the formidable youngster had leapt to a career-high No2 in the world rankings.

Ashour faces unseeded Mexican Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira in the first round and is expected to meet Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema in the last sixteen before a predicted clash with England's seventh seed Peter Barker in the quarter-finals. 

In the lower half of the draw, the reigning World Champion is expected to line up against the sport's new French World Number One Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals.

Amr Shabana will be celebrating his tenth successive appearance in the World Open in Kuwait - and has reached at least the quarter-finals in every event since 2003.  Despite ending a remarkable 33-month reign as world number one in January, the 30-year-old left-hander from Giza has continued to dazzle on the PSA World Tour - picking up the Malaysian Open and US Open titles in the summer before clinching his fourth successive Hong Kong Open crown earlier this month.

Shabana takes on English qualifier Shaun le Roux in the opening round, before a likely confrontation with Malaysia's 12th seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar in the last sixteen round.  The draw predicts a clash with Australian rival David Palmer, a two-time World Open champion, in the quarter-finals before a meeting with top-seeded compatriot Karim Darwish in the semi-finals.

However, should Ashour and Shabana confound the seedings to contest the 2009 World Open final, it will be the pair's 13th PSA Tour meeting.  And it is the senior of the two who leads the current head-to-head standings, at 7-5.

The Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 is being held in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy shall be presented, and will include a spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremony as well as hosting an Official Championship Gala Dinner

Illingworth Celebrates US World Open Breakthrough

Julian Illingworth, the world No33 who claimed an unexpected slot as the last of the 32 seeds in the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 after the withdrawal of top-ranked Spaniard Borja Golan, took full advantage of his opportunity in the first round match at the Salmiya Club in Kuwait City by becoming the first US player to reach the second round of the premier event on the PSA World Tour in its 33-year history.

The New York-based 25-year-old beat experienced New Zealander Kashif Shuja 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 in 46 minutes to set up a second round meeting with second seed Gregory Gaultier, the new world number one from France.

"I was lucky to get in after Borja's withdrawal," explained Illingworth.  "I came to fulfil my seeding - that was my goal.  Anything else is a bonus."

Since graduating from Yale University in 2006, Illingworth has become the highest-ranked US player of all-time.  "I shot up the rankings pretty quickly to around 50, and have been climbing steadily since then.

"I still feel I'm improving - and am now looking forward to playing Greg tomorrow on the all-glass court at Green Island.  I've got nothing to lose - I'm just going to enjoy it."

Cheered on by a packed partisan crowd at the Salmiya Club, local wildcard player Abdullah Almezayen played the game of his life - and was three points away from a stunning upset against Egypt's 24th seed Omar Mosaad.

Twice the experienced 21-year-old from Cairo led in his first appearance in the event - and twice Almezayen, ranked 99 in the world, fought back to draw level as his exuberant fans revelled in the prospect of a historic breakthrough.

And in the decider, the local hero came back in a single hand from 0-5 down to 8-5 up.  But Mosaad was in no mood to pander to the crowd:  the world No25 raised his game and grabbed the next six points in succession to claim a notable 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 victory after 62 minutes.

"He's a good player - much more experienced than me," said the popular Kuwaiti left-hander.  "And that was clear in the last few points - perhaps in the future I will be able to deal with those situations better.

"But overall I am very happy with today.  This event has been great for squash in Kuwait - and it has also helped me get more personal sponsorship which will allow me to travel to more events on the world tour."

Whilst Omar Mosaad must have felt a million miles from home with the crowd willing his opponent to win, on an adjacent court fellow Cairo compatriot Omar Abdel Aziz was revelling in the support the locals gave him in his 11-5, 11-6, 15-13 upset over Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the 23rd seed from Colombia.

"For me, playing here provided the same atmosphere as in Egypt - people supporting me just like at home," said Aziz, the 26-year-old world No44.  "I lost to Miguel in five games two weeks ago in Hong Kong - I started more consistently this time, going for my shots more.  I am so happy to win."

Frenchman Renan Lavigne was delighted to provide the second upset of the day - on his 35th birthday!  The world No38 from Marseille reproduced the same skills that took him to a career-high No17 five years ago to beat Canada's 30th seed Shahier Razik 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 in 71 minutes.

"I lost the last two times we played - so I had double reason to celebrate," said the birthday boy afterwards.  "I was pretty up for it - moving well and in good form - and it all worked out well."

2004 champion Thierry Lincou eased into the second round after a convincing 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 victory in 32 minutes over Pakistan qualifier Yasir Butt.

"I was not expecting an easy match," said the No8 seed from Franceł who made his debut in the 1998 championship after attempting to qualify for the first time the year before.  "But you never know - the first round is often tricky.

"I felt pretty good coming into this tournament - I was up for it," said the 33-year-old former world number one.  "He really surprised me at the beginning of each game - but I was able to react quickly and he then began to lose patience.  And I was getting better - you do when you're in front."

English team-mates Peter Barker and James Willstrop also survived testing first round encounters.  Barker, the No7 seed from London, faced qualifier Nicolas Mueller a rising squash star from Switzerland.

"He was probably one of the toughest first round opponents, so I was pleased to get it in three," said the 26-year-old left-hander after his confidence boosting 11-7, 11-2, 12-10 victory in 37 minutes. 

"It's been a tough month - I haven't been enjoying my squash too much recently.  I got bogged down with some disappointing results, rather than concentrating on just enjoying playing.

"So I'm trying to play with a smile on my face again - and it seems to be paying off!"

Willstrop, a former world number two who is fighting back to the top of his game after ankle surgery earlier in the year, beat English qualifier Robbie Temple 13-11, 11-7, 11-0.

"He's improved a lot since I last played him," said the Yorkshireman of his left-handed opponent from Gloucestershire.  "He played at a good pace and I had to move quickly and be sharp.

"I've got a hard draw and it's such a long tournament - I'm really keen to take each game as it comes.  But it's such an exciting event, so you want to produce."

Indian number one Saurav Ghosal suffered the indignity of losing the first game without scoring a point - but refocused and battled back to beat French qualifier Mathieu Castagnet 0-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 after 56 minutes.

"It was just weird," explained the 29th seed, from Chennai, afterwards.  "He played really well - but I was in the rallies, but everything was wrong, even my body language.

"Malcolm (Willstrop) told me to try and at least look the part when he spoke to me after the first game," added the 23-year-old, now in the second round for the first time.

"It was hard - but I'm really pleased to win.  It can only get better.  It surely can't be worse than 11-0!"

A match which took 85 minutes of playing time - yet also featured a two-hour 'blood injury' break while Davide Bianchetti was taken to a local hospital - saw the Italian ultimately prevail 15-13, 11-6, 6-11, 11-2 over French qualifier Yann Perrin in the final match of the day at the Salmiya Club.

"Yann's racket caught me on the chin, and I had three stitches to stop the bleeding," explained the 32-year-old from Brescia on his return from hospital.  "That wasn't as painful as the anti-tetanus injection in my backside - which seems to be restricting my movement."

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier celebrated his first day as world number one with a convincing straight games victory over Scot Alan Clyne on an all-glass squash court at the Green Island Resort.

The final four matches of the day were played in the spectacular open-air Green Island setting after all earlier matches were played at the Salmiya Club.

Gaultier, seeded to reach the final for the third time in four years, was in commanding form as he despatched Clyne 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 in just 27 minutes.

"It was a good first round match - I was really focussed and well-prepared," said the 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence afterwards.  "I knew it was his first time in the World Open and I was confident I would get through.

"But he gave me a good run, so I'm really pleased to have won 3/0."

 


Previews
Nick Matthew Plans Tour Comeback At Kuwait Menís World Open 2009

Recently crowned British Open Champion Nick Matthew is capitalising on his enforced layoff from the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour by focussing on next month's Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, which will be staged at the Salmiya Club and Green Island Resort in Kuwait from 1-7 November.

It was an ankle injury sustained in this month's Men's World Team Championship in Denmark that forced the world No5 to pull out of this weekís Hong Kong Open. The 29-year-old had been enjoying the best form of his career, winning the Gold Medal in the World Games in July and then winning the prestigious British Open crown for the second time in September.

Since twisting his ankle midway through an England qualifying tie against Germany, which resulted in him being unable to take any further part in his countryís title defence, the English No1 and British National Champion has been focussing on fitness work in the gym and will be back on court next week.

"It was a disappointment to pull out of Hong Kong Ė but I have been using the time to my advantage. In many ways, it's been a blessing," said the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 fifth seed.

Matthew is looking forward to his eighth appearance in the World Open since making his debut in the 2002 championship in Belgium. It was two years ago that he celebrated his best run in the event in Bermuda, where he reached the semi-finals 

"I'm looking forward to competing in the Kuwait World Open Ė I'm as confident as I can be," concluded the Englishman.

The Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, which will be held in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy shall be presented, will include a spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremony as well as hosting an Official Championship Gala Dinner

Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Hails New French World No1 Gregory Gaultier

Next month's Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, the premier event on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour which will be staged in Kuwait from 1-7 November, will herald the first appearance of a new world number one in Squash.

According to the Fťdťration FranÁaise de Squash, the achievement of reaching the Hong Kong Open final last week will lead to Gregory Gaultier being named as the new world number one when the PSA issues its next ranking list on the 1st November, which coincides with the opening of the World Open.

Twice a runner-up in the World Open, Gaultier will become the second Frenchman to top the world rankings - after Thierry Lincou.  The success also makes France only the fifth country (after Pakistan, Australia, England and Egypt) to boast two world number ones.

"We are delighted that Gregory Gaultier will make his first appearance as world number one at the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009," said Robert Edwards, Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Technical Director and Presenter.

"The championship already features the very best players in the world - and we will now have five players who have been world number one!"

Second seed Gaultier will meet Scot Alan Clyne in the first round and is expected to face Egypt's defending champion Ramy Ashour in the semi-finals.  The 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence is scheduled to line up against current world number one Karim Darwish, who is also from Egypt, in the final on Saturday 7 November.

The Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, which will be held in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy shall be presented, will include a spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremony as well as hosting an Official Championship Gala Dinner

The event also boasts a prize-fund of US$277,500 - the largest ever offered by any World Open or World Tour event.
 


Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Appoints World Squash Media Director Howard Harding

With less than three weeks to go before the staging of the richest ever event in world squash, organisers of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 have announced the appointment of World Squash Media Director Howard Harding as the championshipís Press Officer.

The Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Ė the premier event on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour - will be staged at the Salmiya Club and Green Island Resort in Kuwait from 1-7 November in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy shall be presented.

In his position as on-site Press Officer, Howard Harding will post daily reports from the event onto the event's Official Website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com  - which will be the focus for all event media activity, showing not only the colour and excitement of the worldís leading squash championship but also providing international viewers a second by second account of all of the action as well as an inside view of Kuwait as the host country.
 
With the worldís leading players from 24 nations due to arrive in Kuwait before the end of the month, interest in the championship is starting to build.  The dynamic and informative bespoke website, which has been created by award-winning design company MDB Consulting in England, is packed full of fascinating information and is a must visit site for all squash fans.
 
As well as details on the worldís most important squash championship, the official website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com also features articles on the history of the sport and the Menís World Open Championships, as well as profiles on the worldís top players who will be battling it out in Kuwait next month.
 
Harding, the World Media Director for the Professional Squash Association (PSA), the World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Women's International Squash Players' Association (WISPA) since 1996, has attended numerous world championships - and will work closely with the championshipís Press & Media Manager Peter Schmidl.
 
The Kuwait Men's World Open 2009 will include a spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremony as well as hosting an Official Championship Gala Dinner.  The event also boasts a prize-fund of US$277,500 - the largest ever offered by any World Open or World Tour event.
 
For further information, visit the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Official Website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com 

 

Nick Matthew Out Of Hong Kong Open

An ankle injury sustained in last week's Men's World Team Championship in Denmark has led England number one Nick Mathew to pull out of next week's Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open, the fifth PSA World Tour Super Series squash event of the year.

Ranked five in the world and the top European in the PSA world list, Matthew had been enjoying the best form of his career.  In July, the 29-year-old from Sheffield won the gold medal in the World Games for the first time, then last month claimed the prestigious British Open crown for the second time.

Leading defending champions England in a qualifying tie against Germany in Odense, Matthew twisted his ankle midway through the match - and was unable to take further part in the championship.

"I knew it wasn't as bad as when I injured my right ankle over two years ago Ė but it was still pretty nasty," said the Yorkshireman after announcing his decision to withdraw from the $145,000 Super Series Platinum event in its 23rd year in Hong Kong

"It was incredibly frustrating having to sit out the rest of the world teams.  I now know how the coaches feel, but at least they're expecting not to play!"

Runner-up in 2004, Matthew would have been making his sixth appearance in the popular Hong Kong event.

"I've never been one to dwell on these things Ė I must try and use it to my advantage.  It might be a blessing.  As long as I can get back on court on the next two weeks, I should be OK for the World Open in Kuwait.

"We've got a busy schedule coming up, so at least there are plenty of opportunities to make up for not playing in Hong Kong. 

"I'm as confident as I can be for the worlds," concluded the Englishman.

Matthew's withdrawal moves fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop into the event's top eight seeds - and he now meets Malaysian Ong Beng Hee - and elevates Finland's Olli Tuominen to 16th seed.  The revised schedule also brings Englishman Joey Barrington into the main draw - where he faces ninth-seeded compatriot Adrian Grant.

Karim Darwish Seeded To Win Maiden World Open Title In Kuwait

Egypt's world number one Karim Darwish is seeded to win his maiden World Open squash title, according to the draw for the Kuwait Men's World Open 2009 which is announced by the Professional Squash Association (PSA).

The $277,500 PSA World Tour championship - the richest in the history of the men's professional game - features players from 24 nations, and will take place at the Salmiya Club and Green Island Resort in Kuwait from 1-7 November.

Darwish, who has held the world's top ranking throughout 2009, is drawn to face Pakistan left-hander Mansoor Zaman, the world number 49 from Peshawar, in the first round. 

The 28-year-old from Cairo, who was runner-up last year, will be boosted by his home town title triumph last week in the Sky Open, the first PSA Super Series Platinum event of the year.

The likely last sixteen clash which awaits the favourite is against England's former world number two James Willstrop, the 12th seed from Leeds who opens his 2009 campaign against fellow countryman Robbie Temple.

Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the 2004 champion who is the No8 seed, is Darwish's predicted quarter-final opponent - before the Cairo king takes on fellow countryman Amr Shabana in a possible semi-final.  Shabana is a three-time win of the title - in 2003, 2005 and 2007.  The 30-year-old left-hander from Giza will no doubt be hoping to maintain his 'odd-year' success in the championship in 2009.

France's Gregory Gaultier, runner-up in 2006 and 2007, is the event's second seed and the candidate expected to face Darwish in the final.  The 26-year-old world number two from Aix-en-Provence, who stretched Darwish to five games in last week's Sky Open final, opens his Kuwait campaign against Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne - and is expected to line up against Englishman Nick Matthew, the British Open champion who is ranked five in the world, in the quarter-finals.

The other semi-final predicted by the draw sees Gaultier take on Egypt's world No4 Ramy Ashour, the defending champion from Cairo.  The pair staged a mighty last four clash last week in Cairo, with the Frenchman ultimately emerging successful in five games, after 70 minutes.

Australia's David Palmer is another former champion who represents a formidable threat.  Winner of the title in 2002 and 2006, the US-based world No6 is in Shabana's quarter of the draw - and faces French qualifier Julien Balbo in the opening round.

Wildcard Abdullah Almezayen, the Kuwaiti number one, has been drawn to face Omar Mosaad of Egypt, the 25th seed.

The championships will also include a glittering Opening and Closing Ceremony as well as hosting an Official Championship Gala Dinner.

Kuwait World Open 1st round draw:

[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
[29] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[11] James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Robbie Temple (ENG)
[28] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)[8] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v [Q] Yasir Butt (PAK)
[18] Stewart Boswell (AUS) v [Q] Scott Arnold (AUS)
[15] Alister Walker (ENG) v Mark Krajcsak (HUN)
[30] Shahier Razik (CAN) v Renan Lavigne (FRA)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Shaun le Roux (ENG)
[24] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Abdullah Almezayen (KUW)
[12] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
[22] Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[6] David Palmer (AUS) v [Q] Julien Balbo (FRA)
[25] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Ben Ford (ENG)
[9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Stephane Galifi (ITA)
[26] Joey Barrington (ENG) v Amr Swelim (ITA)
[21] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
[10] Adrian Grant (ENG) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
[19] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [Q] Martin Knight (NZL)
[7] Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[17] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Simon Rosner (GER)
[14] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v [Q] Rasmus Nielsen (DEN)
[23] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira (MEX)
[20] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
[16] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[27] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) v [Q] Yann Perrin (FRA)
[5] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q] John Rooney (IRL)
[31] Tom Richards (ENG) v [Q] Arthur Gaskin (IRL)
[13] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
[32] Julian Illingworth (USA) v Kashif Shuja (NZL)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)

For further information, visit the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 official website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com

 

 

Egypt Seeded To Reclaim World Team Title In Denmark

 

Defending champions England are seeded to reach the final of the 2009 Men's World Team Squash Championship in Denmark next month - but Egypt are expected to win the title for the first time for ten years, according to the seedings announced today (Wednesday) by the World Squash Federation.

 

The championship, in its 22nd edition since the inaugural event in 1967, will be held in Denmark for the first time, from 27 September to 3 October.  The venue will be the Squash Center Denmark in the city of Odense, the birth city of Hans Christian Andersen.

 

Led by world number one Karim Darwish, Egypt will be keen to make amends for a shock fourth place finish in the previous championship (in 2007) as they bid to repeat their 1999 success at this year's event.

 

England, bidding to become the first country since Pakistan in 1987 to win the biennial title three times in a row, will be led by the new British Open champion Nick Matthew.  The world No5 clinched the title for the second time this week in the event's first all-English final for 70 years.

 

France and Australia are seeded three and four, respectively.  France, runners-up in 2003, have yet to win the title Ė whilst Australia, beaten finalists in 2007, boast eight title triumphs between 1967 and 2003.

 

Six-time champions Pakistan are seeded six - behind Malaysia - and thus expected to record their best finish since 1997.

 

Italy, who will be making their first appearance in the event since 2003, are named as eighth seeds.  Led by Davide Bianchetti, the Italian squad will include former Englishman Marcus Berrett and ex-Egyptian Amr Swelim Ė both of whom will be making their debuts for their new country.

 

Serbia will be making their debut in the championship which was launched 42 years ago. 

 

Pools line-up:

 

POOL A:  [1] EGYPT; [16] HONG KONG; KUWAIT; SERBIA

POOL B:  [2] ENGLAND; [15] GERMANY; AUSTRIA; JAPAN

POOL C:  [3] FRANCE; [14] IRELAND; DENMARK;

POOL D:  [4] AUSTRALIA; [13] NETHERLANDS; WALES;

POOL E:  [5] MALAYSIA; [12] USA; FINLAND

POOL F:  [6] PAKISTAN; [11] SOUTH AFRICA; SWEDEN; KENYA

POOL G:  [7] CANADA; [10] NEW ZEALAND; SPAIN

POOL H:  [8] ITALY; [9] INDIA; SCOTLAND; VENEZUELA

 

 

 

Forty-Eight Direct Entries Confirmed For Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) have confirmed the forty-eight direct entries to compete in the Kuwait Menís World Open Squash Championships 2009 which will be staged from the 1st to 7th November.

The Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 will boast prize money of US$277,500, the largest ever offered by any World Open or World Tour event, and will be the first official sporting World Open Championship to be hosted in Kuwait.

World No.1 Karim Darwish heads a star-studded list comprising players from twenty countries from around the world:

 

  • 1.     Karim Darwish (Egypt)

  • 2.    Gregory Gaultier (France)

  • 3.    Ramy Ashour (Egypt)

  • 4.    Amr Shabana (Egypt)

  • 5.    Nick Matthew (England)

  • 6.    David Palmer (Australia)

  • 7.    Peter Barker (England)

  • 8.    Thierry Lincou (France)

  • 9.    Wael El Hindi (Egypt)

  • 10.  Adrian Grant (England)

  • 11.  Borja Golan (Spain)

  • 12.  James Willstrop (England)

  • 13.  Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Malaysia)

  • 14.  Ong Beng Hee (Malaysia)

  • 15.  Laurens Jan Anjema (Netherlands)

  • 16.  Alister Walker (England)

  • 17.  Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egypt)

  • 18.  Aamir Atlas Khan (Pakistan)

  • 19.  Stewart Boswell (Australia)

  • 20.  Olli Tuominen (Finland)

  • 21.  Cameron Pilley (Australia)

  • 22.  Hisham Mohd Ashour(Egypt)

  • 23.  Daryl Selby (England)

  • 24.  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Columbia)

  • 25.  Omar Mosaad (Egypt)

  • 26.  Tarek Momen (Egypt)

  • 27.  Joey Barrington (England)

  • 28.  Davide Bianchetti (Italy)

  • 29.  Jonathan Kemp (England)

  • 30.  Saurav Ghosal (India)

  • 31.  Shahier Razik (Canada)

  • 32.  Tom Richards (England)

  • 33.  Julian Illingworth (USA)

  • 34.  Chris Ryder (England)

  • 35.  Mohd. Ali Anwar Reda (Egypt)

  • 36.  Renan Lavigne (France)

  • 37.  Arturo Salazar (Mexico)

  • 38.  Kashif Shuja (New Zealand)

  • 39.  Chris Simpson (England)

  • 40.  Aaron Frankcomb (Australia)

  • 41.  Mansoor Zaman (Pakistan)

  • 42.  Omar Abdel Aziz (Egypt)

  • 43.  Simon Rosner (Germany)

  • 44.  Amr Swelim (Italy)

  • 45.  Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira (Mex)

  • 46.  Mark Krajcsak (Hungary)

  • 47.  Stephane Galifi (France)

  • 48.  Abdullah Almezayen (Kuwait)Wildcard

 


Qualification
for the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 will be held in London, England on the 28th August 2009 at St Georgeís Hill Squash & Tennis Club. Thirty-two players will compete for the remaining sixteen main draw places. The thirty-two qualifiers will comprise of the twenty-four highest ranked PSA players and eight World Squash Federation (WSF) nominations.

Wildcard, Abdullah Al-Meyzeyan, the Kuwaiti No.1, will have the honour of playing the first match of the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 following the Opening Ceremony on the 1st November.

Event Director Paul Walters said from Kuwait: "We are delighted that at least twenty different countries will be represented at the forthcoming championship which is a just reward to Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah who has been the events driving force and inspiration in her role as President of the Higher Management Committee. Having the best players in the world competing in the championship will inspire Kuwaitís local players and will leave a lasting legacy.Ē

ďThe Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 promises to be the biggest and best championships in the sports history and will be a fitting climax to the long-term contribution of Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah whose vision and generosity has provided a massive opportunity to the world of squash,Ē added Walters.

For further information, visit the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 Official Website,  www.KuwaitWorldOpen2009.com

 

 

Kuwait Menís World Squash Open 2009 Website Goes Live

Promoters of the Kuwait Menís World Open Squash Championships 2009, which will be staged from 1-7 November in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir and in whose name the trophy shall be presented, have launched the event's official website www.KuwaitWorldOpen2009.com

The Kuwait Menís World Open 2009 will boast a prize fund of US$277,500, the largest ever offered by any World Open or Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour event, and will be the first official sporting World Open Championship to be hosted in Kuwait - an amazing achievement for Kuwait and a landmark in the countryís sporting history.

Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, the President of the Higher Organising Committee, has personally directed this innovative vision of the greatest squash event ever.  Together with her advisers Jahangir Khan, Robert Edwards and Paul Walters, Sheikha Fadyah has seen the new site come to fruition after months of meticulous planning which will undoubtedly prove to be another success story for the Higher Organising Committee. The new website will show not only the colour and excitement of the worldís leading squash championship but give international viewers a second by second account of the action as well as an inside view of Kuwait as the host country.

Although there are still more than three months to go before the worldís leading players arrive in Kuwait, interest in the championships is starting to build and the dynamic and informative bespoke website - which has been created by award-winning design company MDB Consulting in England - is packed full of fascinating information, and is a must visit for all squash fans.

As well as details on the worldís most important squash championship, the site also features articles on the history of the sport and the Menís World Open Championships, as well as profiles on the worldís top players who will be battling it out in Kuwait from the 1st to 7th November.

Sheikha Fadyah and her Higher Organising Committee are now pleased to launch the site in readiness for the event, which continues to build towards a glittering Opening Ceremony planned for the 1st November.

Paul Walters, Event Director for the Kuwait Menís World Open 2009, said: "Itís fantastic that we have been able to launch the website in advance of what promises to be the biggest and best Menís World Open Championship ever staged.

"The site has been designed to provide interesting content for all levels of squash fan, as well as important event information.  The site will be the definitive source of information for all matters relating to the championships and through strong and consistent event branding will redefine and present the championships in a way that differs from other squash events."

 

Richest World Open has London Start in August

Qualification for the championships will be held in London, England on the 28th August 2009 at St Georgeís Hill Squash & Tennis Club. Thirty-two players will compete for sixteen main draw places in the main draw that will be played in Kuwait. The thirty-two Qualifiers will comprise the twenty highest ranked PSA players, eight WSF selected players and four Kuwaiti nominated players. The Main Draw of six-four participants will consist of the forty-seven top ranked PSA players, sixteen successful Qualifiers and one Kuwaiti Wildcard, Abdullah Al-Meyzeyan, the Kuwaiti No.1 who will have the honour of playing the first match of the event following the Opening Ceremony.

The prize fund of US$275,000 is the largest ever offered by any World Open or World Tour event. The Championship will be held in Kuwait between the 1-7 November.

The Tournament will stage a glittering Opening and Closing Ceremony as well as hosting an Official Championship Gala Dinner.

Professional Squash Association Chief Operating Officer Lee Beachill said: "The PSA were delighted to award the 2009 Menís World Open to Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah. Over the past few years Kuwait has produced some of the most spectacular events on the PSA World Tour and we have no doubt, as the prize money suggests, this will the biggest and the best PSA Menís World Open we have ever seen. Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah and her event management team have a wealth of experience in producing high class squash events and together with the top sixty-four players in the world this is certainly a World Open not to be missed."

 
 

 

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