2 records would be celebrated these days. The Pioneer Cup, 1 of the biggest junior tournaments world-wide, takes place in Cologne (1st to 4th). More than 550 juniors would like to find their champions in 8 age-groups. The biggest group (154 entries) comes from the USA. Together with the entry records in Cologne, the I love squash community took the 18.000 fan barrier. Just 2.000 fans more to get to the next level. Get going and invite your friends to become a fan too.
Samantha Teran (pic) won her 13th title, which is the biggest of her career, when she took the Veracruz International in Mexico. Teran, the 30-years-old from Mexico City, delighted the home fans when she staged a magnificent comeback to outlast top seed Dutch Natalie Grinham in the final. Before the final Grinham and Teran met twice and Grinham won both times. It looked the same this time, when Grinham took the 1st two games 11-7 and 11-8. Teran managed to get back into the match, when she won game 3 and 4 (11-7 and 11-7) to level the match. In the decider, after 69 minutes Teran had the better end (11-7) to take the Veracruz crown.
Australia’s David Palmer (pic le) will have to get past world No5 Amr Shabana (pic ri) of Egypt in the 1st round of the Australian Open if he is to have any chance of adding a 2nd title to the one he claimed in 2008. The 2011 Australian Open will be played in Canberra from 8-14 August. Palmer and Shabana, both one-time world number ones with 6 World Open titles between them, have already faced each other 20 times on the PSA World Tour since 2000 – with the Egyptian boasting a 12-8 advantage. 1st round draw:  Nick Matthew (ENG) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA), Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Qualifier, Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Julian Illingworth (USA),  Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED),  Amr Shabana (EGY) v David Palmer (AUS), Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Tom Richards (ENG), Qualifier v Qualifier,  Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier,  James Willstrop (ENG) v Chris Ryder (ENG), Qualifier v Qualifier, Adrian Grant (ENG) v Simon Rosner (GER),  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Cameron Pilley (AUS),  Peter Barker (ENG) v Aaron Frankcomb (AUS), Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Qualifier, Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Saurav Ghosal (IND),  Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier.
Eric Galvez (pic) made a powerful bid to reclaim the title as Mexico’s number one squash player after beating his country’s top two players on home soil to win the Veracruz International. The unseeded world No 103 (former No33 and highest-ranked Mexican of all-time) made his breakthrough in the semi-finals when he beat 2nd seeded compatriot Arturo Salazar, the Mexican No1 ranked 36 in the world. Galvez faced Cesar Salazar, also unseeded, who has battled for 100 minutes in the other semi-final to upset Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the top seed from Colombia, to reach the 5th Tour final of his career. Galvez, celebrating his 21st Tour final, was unstoppable – and continued his run by despatching Salazar, the Mexican No, 2 11-4, 12-10, 11-5 in 40 minutes. The success marked Galvez’s 9th PSA Tour title – but his first since November 2008, and the biggest of his career.
Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy (pic le) survived the longest match of his career to win the Internationaux de la Reunion in Saint Pierre – and deny Reunion-born Thierry Lincou (pic ri) the successful defence of his title on Reunion Island. Top-seeded Frenchman Lincou, the 35-year-old world No8, took the opening game. But 2nd seed El Shorbagy, who beat his illustrious opponent in their first meeting in the 2008 World Open, battled back to take the next 2 games. Lincou dug deep to survive a 4th game tie-break to draw level. In the thrilling decider favourite Lincou reached match-ball on 4 occasions. But it was the younger player who ultimately prevailed as El Shorbagy closed out the match 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 15-13 after 112 minutes to win the 3rd PSA Tour title of his career.
Top seeds Thierry Lincou and Mohamed El Shorbagy will contest the final of the Internationaux de la Reunion after surviving contrasting semi-finals in Saint Pierre Lincou, the Frenchman who returned to the island of his birth to win the inaugural event in Reunion in 2009, recovered from a game down to overcome compatriot Julien Balbo 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 in just under an hour. The distinguished former world No1 and world champion, now aged 35, is celebrating the 41st Tour final of his career. El Shorbagy (pic), the 2nd seed from Egypt, is back on the Tour after completing end-of-year exams at University in Bristol, in the UK. The 20-year-old world No9 clinched his 3rd successive straight games win in the event to beat Hungarian No1 Mark Krajcsak 11-5, 11-9, 13-11 in 36 minutes.
There will be home interest in all of the quarter-finals in the inaugural Veracruz International after victories by 4 Mexicans in the opening round in Veracruz. 2nd seed Arturo Salazar (pic le) led the home charge with an 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 victory over wild card opponent and fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Toriz-Caddo (pic ri). Arturo’s twin brother Cesar Salazar triumphed in the top half of the draw, beating Frenchman Fabien Verseille 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 to earn a clash with 3rd seed Italian Stephane Galifi. Top seed Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) survived two tie-break games against Reiko Peter before beating the Swiss qualifier 14-12, 12-10, 11-6. Further results: Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira (MEX) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-7 ret.;  Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt [Q] Joan Lezaud (FRA) 11-2, 11-7, 15-13 (55m);  Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (33m); Eric Galvez (MEX) bt [Q] Gerardo de Paul Garcia (MEX) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (28m); Karim AGA Samy (EGY) bt [Q] Jonathan Uriel Ramos Islas (MEX) 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11 (72m).
Top seed Thierry Lincou (pic) continued his progress towards a home final when he beat English qualifier Olivier Pett in 4 games (11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-1) to reach the semi-finals in Saint Pierre. A French finalist is guaranteed, as Lincou will meet now Julien Balbo for a place in the final of the Internationaux de la Reunion after Balbo beat another qualifier, Denmark’s Rasmus Nielsen, also in 4 games (11-8, 11-6, 3-11, 11-6). 3rd Frenchman Yann Perrin failed to get past Hungarian Mark Krajcsak when he got down in straight games (13-11, 11-8, 11-7). Krajcsak now meets the 2nd-seeded Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, who overcame Malaysia’s Kamran Khan also in straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-5).