Wern and David secured Malaysian home interest!

Low Wee Wern and Nicol David moved closer to ensuring an all-Malaysian final after both secured their semi-final spots in the CIMB Malaysian Squash Open in Selangor.

Wee Wern, the 22-year-old 11th seed continued her remarkable run as she downed world No.4 Jenny Duncalf in straight games 11-7, 11-5, 11-8. The Malaysian will go on to play No.2 seed Raneem El Weleily who recorded her first career win over Alison Waters of England 12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3.

Malaysian world No1 Nicol David booked her semi place after beating Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-5, 15-13, 11-5. David will face England’s Laura Massaro, who overcame Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3.

[1] Nicol David (MAS) vs [4] Laura Massaro (ENG)
[11] Low Wee Wern (MAS) vs [2] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [6] Annie Au (HKG) 6-11, 11-5, 15-13, 11-5 (46m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 (35m)
[11] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [3] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (32m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt [15] Alison Waters (ENG) 12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3 (45m)

2nd round:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [16] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (50m)
[6] Annie Au (HKG) bt [10] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (37m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [14] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-5, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7 (52m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 (40m)
[11] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [5] Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-3, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 (62m)
[3] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [12] Camille Serme (FRA) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (37m)
[15] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [8] Natalie Grinham (NED) 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5 (45m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2 (39m)

1st round:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-3, 12-10, 11-9 (30m)
[16] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (32m)
[6] Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Milou van der Heijden (NED) 11-2, 11-0, 11-4 (14m)
[10] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (53m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 (28m)
[14] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [Q] Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 (30m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Gaby Huber (SUI) 11-7, 11-1, 11-4 (15m)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [13] Samantha Teran (MEX) 11-3, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10 (50)
[11] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [Q] Salma Hany (EGY) 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 (22m)
[5] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-2, 11-5, 11-4 (26m)
[12] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (27m)
[3] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (35m)
[15] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-2 (17m)
[8] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [Q] Lisa Aitken (SCO) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (23m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [9] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-7, 11-7, 10-12 (34m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt [Q] Vanessa Raj (MAS) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (25m)

Rodriguez stops Avila in Cartagena Final!

Colombian squash star Miguel Angel Rodriguez brought Alfredo Avila’s giant-killing run in the Cartagena Open to an end when he beat the Mexican qualifier in straight games in the final in Colombia’s coastal city of Cartagena.

Avila, a 21-year-old from Mexico City ranked outside the world top 100, had reached the biggest PSA Tour final of his career after a succession of upsets – none more notable than his 4-game victory over top-seeded South African Stephen Coppinger.

Colombian No1 Rodriguez’s 11-8, 11-2, 11-2 in 37 minutes marks his 2nd Tour title in his 3rd successive final on home soil in 2 weeks and the 20th Tour title of his career.

[2] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-8, 11-2, 11-2 (37m)

[Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 8-11, 11-6, 11-13, 13-11, 1-0 ret. (104m)
[2] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [4] Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-7 ret.

[Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt [1] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (75m)
Arturo Salazar (MEX) bt Dane Sharp (CAN) 7-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6
[4] Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7
[2] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (55m)

1st round:
[1] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Eric Galvez (MEX) 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (44m)
[Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt David Letourneau (CAN) 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (34m)
Dane Sharp (CAN) bt [Q] Gonzalo Miranda (ARG) 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 (55m)
Arturo Salazar (MEX) bt [3] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8 (48m)
[4] Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [Q] Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (48m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Omar Garcia (COL) 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (18m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) bt [Q] Johan Bouquet (FRA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (43m)
[2] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Peter Creed (WAL) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (26m)

Qualifying finals:
Gonzalo Miranda (ARG) bt Josh Cardwell (AUS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4 (50m)
Johan Bouquet (FRA) bt Thomas Brinkman (CAN) 11-3, 5-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-2 (57m)
Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) bt Anderson Cardona (COL) 11-3, 12-10, 11-3 (38m)

1st qualifying round:
Gonzalo Miranda (ARG) bye
Josh Cardwell (AUS) bt Santiago Torres (COL) 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)
Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) bt Andres Gonzalez (COL) w/o
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Carlos Congote (COL) 11-3, 11-2, 11-2 (11m)
Thomas Brinkman (CAN) bt Deison Ramirez (COL) 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (14m)
Johan Bouquet (FRA) bt Armando Olguin (MEX) 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (29m)
Anderson Cardona (COL) bt Fernando Lopez (MEX) 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (46m)
Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) bye

Worms won European Club Championships in Prague!

Black & White Worms claimed the titles in the 2012 European Club Championships in the Czech Republic capital Prague.

A dramatic men’s final saw Black & White Worms, the 5th seeds, disappoint home hopes by defeating Buldoci Praha, the No4 seeds from Prague, 3/1 to win the European Squash Federation title for the 1st time.

Buldoci pulled off the shock of the tournament in the quarter-finals by ousting defending champions Paderborn, the German club which won the title for a record 7th time last year – beating Worms in the final.

The men’s final went down to the last match as David Palmer put Worms 1-0 ahead, Gregory Gaultier leveled for host Praha. Marcus Berrett put Worms back in front with a 3-0 win and Andre Haschker took the game Worms needed to become European Clubs champions.

[5] Black & White Worms bt [4] Buldoci Praha 3/1
David Palmer bt Jan Koukal 10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4
Nick Matthew lost to Gregory Gaultier 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-13
Marcus Berrett bt Petr Martin 11-8, 11-6, 11-4
Andre Haschker bt Tim Vail 11-4 ret.

Malaysian star Azlan Iskandar to retire!

Just a few days after French former World Champion Thierry Lincou announced his retirement, the squash fans have been shocked by the next retirement. Malaysian squash star Mohd Azlan Iskandar has announced his decision to retire from the PSA World Tour with immediate effect.

Azlan entered the PSA in 2000 and the Sarawak-born 30-year-old has enjoyed a distinguished career in the sport, reaching 24 PSA World Tour finals and winning 14 Tour titles – including 3 Malaysian Open crowns between 2004 and 2010. The Asian Games gold medallist in 2010 and twice winner of the Asian Championship celebrated a career-high world No10 ranking in March 2011.

“It is, of course, a sad moment for me, Malaysian Squash and the Malaysian government. But everyone has taken it in a positive angle as I will be contributing back to the game”, Iskandar said.

PSA CEO Alex Gough said: “It is always a shame when a long-standing player retires from any sport. Azlan has always been one of the hardest trainers on Tour and his fitness levels have been extraordinary over the years. Having reached the top 20 over seven years ago and reaching one of his goals of the top ten in the world last year, he can proud of having scalps such as beating the great Amr Shabana on more than one occasion, not least of all in reaching last year’s Hong Kong Open semi-final, his best result in a World Series event.”

“It was a decision that has been going through my mind for a good six months after I got injured a few times earlier this year. I also set huge, huge, targets when I was 12 and I achieved them all last year and the year before. I found it hard, or have been finding it hard, to find new goals in the heights of squash achievements, per se. Everyone is built differently and throughout my life things are always mapped out in my head and I have targets to set and found it hard to play and just go through the motions and float from tournament to tournament, especially in my position in Malaysia with government funding, knowing that it is tax payers’ money that is supporting part of my career – so I feel it’s not right to do something if I cannot give it 120%!”

Regarding his future plans Iskandar said: “I have tried and just can’t find inspiration apart from setting my next goals that I am passionate about – which are, of course, to give back to my sport SQUASH. I will be working on making sure that the number of courts built in my country doubles; the number of squash events grows; and the popularity and the game’s reach will penetrate the masses and make the sport more accessible in my country as I believe that there is so much to do to help develop the sport.”

Of course there were my most memorable wins – beating a few of the top 10 guys who I don’t need to mention! But, genuinely, it’s been in the last couple of year on the tour that the sport, PSA, WSA and World Squash has grown leaps and bounds, and will continue to make the sport more ‘relevant’ around the world – so I believe that squash has a great chance of making the Olympics in 2020.”

Bye bye Azlan …

Tarek Takes Colombian Crown!

The run of home hero Miguel Angel Rodriguez (le) came to an end in the final of the Colombian Open when Egypt’s Tarek Momen (ri) claimed the 3-11, 11-4, 11-3, 12-10 victory in the Colombian capital Bogota.

Unseeded Rodriguez, the Colombian No1, reached his 4th national open final – and the 27th Tour final of his career – after a sensational run which included upsets over the top seed and defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy and 4th-seeded South African Stephen Coppinger.

But 3rd seed Momen was hungry for success in his maiden appearance in the long-established Tour event in South America to take his 2nd PSA Tour title of his career.

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-11, 11-4, 11-3, 12-10 (58m)

Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [4] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-0 (66m)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (20m)

Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 6-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8 (73m)
[4] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (37m)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (27m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-9 (62m)

1st round:
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Arturo Salazar (MEX) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Eric Galvez (MEX) 12-10, 11-6, 11-8 (42m)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5 (42m)
[4] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-4, 11-1, 3-11, 11-5 (47m)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5 (39m)
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Andres Felipe de Frutos (COL) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (21m)
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 (72m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt [2] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-4, 11-6, 15-13 (28m)

French Legend Thierry Lincou retires!

French legend Thierry Lincou, the first continental European to top the men’s world squash rankings, has announced his retirement from the PSA World Tour.

Winner of the world title in 2004, twice a European champion and a record 11-time French national champion, Lincou has enjoyed a remarkable career. In his 44th Tour final appearance in April this year, ‘Titi’ won the last of his 23 Tour titles at the Bluenose Classic in Canada – on the eve of his 36th birthday!

1st topping the PSA world rankings in January 2004, Lincou went on to reign supreme throughout 2005. In April 2011, he celebrated 10 unbroken years in the world top 10 – one of only a handful of players in the sport’s history to achieve this incredible feat.

Originally from La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, Lincou has been based in Marseille for several years – but this week arrived in Boston, USA, where he is about to start a new career, while still coaching promising American junior players.

“I was seeing players of my generation retiring one after the other, David Palmer, Stewart Boswell. And I had been thinking very seriously about my reconversion,” Lincou told Framboise Gommendy of www.sitesquash.com

“I received a few interesting offers recently, and I felt that maybe, I was starting to lose a bit of motivation. A year more could have been the year too many, as my recent physical niggles made me realise I was not getting any younger, and that it was harder and harder to maintain myself at the highest level.”

“I’m leaving a whole chunk of my life in Marseille. The “Marseille Set Club” was my second home. I’m leaving behind my sparring partners, my squash mates and all the friends we’ve made here, and that goes for the four of us.”

Does he have a few regrets about his career? Yes. Like not winning the British Open – despite reaching two finals (against Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier), or just missing out on the World Team title in Odense, in 2009.

“I can still see myself in Denmark, in that decider against (Amr) Shabana, I had seven game balls in the third and fourth that I just couldn’t transform. It was a very high quality match, but I lost against a Shabana as imperial as ever in the crucial moments.”

Among his most memorable moments, of course, is his World Open title which he grabbed against England’s Lee Beachill in December 2004, saving a match ball in the fourth.

“Yes, that was a highly enjoyable match. I saved that famous match ball in a very aggressive way that surprised even myself. I went for every shot, no holds barred, I took my chances, a succession of drop shots and volleying. And it worked.”

“Squash also allowed me to discover so many countries, and to be a better man through the diversity of the extraordinary people I have met over the years. And thanks to Squash, I even discovered France, through so many clubs scattered all over!

Good bye to one of the greatest …

Willstrop and Matthew lead home charge at British Grand Prix

England’s World No.1 James Willstrop and World Champion Nick Matthew head a star studded player line-up which features seven of the world’s top 10 players including former World No.1’s Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish and Greg Gaultier.
1st round line up:
Amr Shabana (EGY) vs. Qualifier
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) vs. Qualifier
Adrian Grant (ENG) vs. Qualifier
Alister Walker (BOT) vs. Qualifier
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) vs. [WC] Jens Schoor (GER)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) vs. Peter Barker (ENG)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) vs. Tom Richards (ENG)
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) vs. Daryl Selby (ENG)

Al fans can get the exclusive 50% (NOW: £10.00) discount off all 1st Round tickets for the British Grand Prix Squash Championship at isquashstore.

World Champion Nick Matthew confirms British Grand Prix entry!

England’s 2 time World Champion Nick Matthew (le) has confirmed his entry to September’s British Grand Prix to be staged in Manchester from 21-24 September.

31-year-old Matthew who in May won his third British Open title and 2nd PSA World Series title of the year is trying to win the title this year, as he got defeated by Ramy Ashour, the winner of the last to Grand Prix.

“I was disappointed to have lost in last year’s final, particularly in front of a fantastic home crowd which all sporting events in Manchester attract. Hopefully I can go one better this year.”

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council Executive Member for Culture and Leisure said: “Manchester is once again delighted to welcome the cream of the world’s squash talent to the city and as the home of England Squash and Racketball we’re extremely proud to be hosting this event.”

“The competition will not only give the local residents the chance to see world class competitors in action but hopefully will inspire them to take advantage of the fantastic facilities at the National Squash Centre.

“The British Grand Prix Squash Championship is a very welcome addition to our packed sporting programme and goes to show that Manchester is city that truly values and loves sport.”

For further information visit the British Grand Prix Website

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