The 1st four matches of round 3 of the Saudi World Open came out as top seed wins. English No1 seed Nick Matthew overcame Egypt Hisham Asour in style. But “it was not easy“ as Matthew commented after the match. Next player to take his quarter-finals ticket was French veteran Thierry Lincou, who beat his close friend Alister Walker (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9. After being two games ahead of Malaysian Azlan Iskandar Egyptian Amr Shabana had to take Iskandar’s leveling of games before the 4 times World Champions raised to a 11-5 win in the final game. The last match of today was the longest of the tournament so far as Frenchman Greg Gaultier (pic le) managed to bear all attacks of Australian 2 times World Champion David Palmer (pic ri) to win 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 after 93 minutes of play.
In the last eight matches of the Saudi World Open’s day two, six round two matches gone the way the seedings predicted it and two ended with surprises. Australian Stewart Boswell (pic le) and Pakistan’s Aamir Atlas Khan did benefit from their opponents retirement. English world No14 Adrian Grant (pic ri) and world No1 Ramy Ashour from Egypt had to resign their matches. All results:  Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt  Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-9, 8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 6-0 ret. (88m),  Peter Barker (ENG) bt  Simon Rosner (GER) 12-10, 11-5, 11-5 (42m),  Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (58m),  Karim Darwish (EGY) bt  Tom Richards (ENG) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (40m),  Daryl Selby (ENG) bt  Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (40m),  James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (37m),  Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 (58m),  Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt  Ramy Ashour (EGY) 11-2 ret. (6m).
In the 1st half of the 2nd round only Hisham Ashour (pic) was able to produce an upset, when he outs Dutch world No10 Laurens Jan Anjema 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 in 47 minutes. Further results:  Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-5, 11-1, 11-7 (33m),  Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v  Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (47m),  Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (38m),  Alister Walker (ENG) bt  Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (33m),  Amr Shabana (EGY) bt  Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-7, 11-1, 11-7 (29m),  Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 13-11, 11-5, 11-7 (44m),  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (42m),  David Palmer (AUS) bt  Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-4, 3-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4 (57m).
After last winning the title in 2004 – and finishing in 10th place two years later – Australia re-established their authority in women’s world squash by beating England in the final of the Women’s World Team Championship in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The second seeds’ 2/1 win over favourites England extends Australia’s record to nine titles in the 17 World championships since 1979. Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the five times world champion who came out of retirement to play this event, gave the Aussies again a perfect start with an 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 demolition of Sarah Kippax in the opening match. However, England’s world number two Jenny Duncalf hauled her team back into the tie with an 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 win over Australian No1 Rachael Grinham to send the final into a decider between Laura Massaro, the world No9, and Kasey Brown, the world No7. Brown raced to a 2/0 lead, Massaro fought back one game but it was Brown who closed out an 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 victory.
Apart from Borja Golan (pic) from Spain and Mathieu Castagnet from France, there have been no unseeded players able to produce an upset at the 1st round of the Men’s World Open in Saudi Arabia. Qualifier Golan, a former world No10 who is on his way back after almost one year of injury break, downed 25th seed Indian Saurav Ghosal 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 in 53 minutes. French qualifier Mathieu Castagnet took out one of the top-20, when he overcame 17th seed Australian Cameron Pilley in 4 games 11-3, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 after 65 minutes of play. The 2nd round starts tomorrow and will be played as split rounds again.
The fairytale continues for home favourites New Zealand. The fifth seeded kiwis beat France 2/1 to set up a semi-final with top seeds England. Once again Joelle King who gave the hosts a positive start. The world No17 raced to a 11-9, 11-3, 11-4 win over Isabelle Stoehr in just 27 minutes. Afterwards Jaclyn Hawkes couldn’t close out the tie, going down to Camille Serme, the tenth-ranked French top string, in straight games. That left birthday girl Shelley Kitchen (pic), who turned 31, to claim victory for New Zealand. The former world No6 produced another superb performance to down Coline Aumard 11-5, 11-5, 11-4. In the semis New Zealand will meet top seed England who earned their place in the semis with a straightforward 3/0 win over Ireland. Semi-finals line-up:  ENGLAND v  NEW ZEALAND,  AUSTRALIA v  MALAYSIA.
Defending champions Egypt crashed out of the Women’s World Team Squash Championship after losing 1/2 to Malaysia in today’s quarter-finals in New Zealand. Raneem El Weleily had given Egypt the perfect start, with a straight games win over Low Wee Wern. However, world number one Nicol David (pic ri) squared the ledger with an 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 11-4 victory over Omneya Abdel Kawy (pic le). World No21 Delia Arnold then completed the Malaysian fight back, with an epic 11-9, 3-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 victory over Engy Kheirallah, the Egyptian third string ranked six places higher. Malaysia will now play Australia in the semis after the second seeds edged to a 2/1 win over USA.
Hosts New Zealand (pic) pulled off their third successive win in the pool stages of the Women’s World Team Squash Championship by upsetting Malaysia to finish in top place in Pool D in Palmerston North. The fifth-seeded Kiwis beat fourth seeds Malaysia 2/1 – a crucial win which ensures that the home team have avoided playing one of the top three seeds in the quarter-finals. Joelle King was first on court and beat Malaysia’s world No16 Low Wee Wern 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9. It was all on Shelley Kitchen to seal the tie with a victory over world No21 Delia Arnold. Kitchen, who turns 31 tomorrow – and is competing in her first international event since the birth of her daughter Amalia in February – started the celebrations early with a stunning 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 victory. David then completed the expected victory over Hawkes, winning 11-3, 11-5, 11-5. Quarter-final line-up:  ENGLAND v  IRELAND,  NEW ZEALAND v  FRANCE,  EGYPT v  MALAYSIA,  AUSTRALIA v  USA.