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Ramy Ashour: 2014 World Champion!

Egyptian Ramy Ashour, the 27-year-old appearing in his 1st competitive tournament since May’s Allam British Open, defied the odds to claim his third world crown, beating compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy in a thrilling final of the Qatar PSA World Championship in Doha.

Ashour, who has been plagued with injuries since retiring during his 2013 World Championship semi-final, completed a miraculous return to action to come through 13-11, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 14-12 in a dramatic 90-minute encounter that saw both players squander match balls before Ashour eventually prevailed in a repeat of his 2012 victory over Elshorbagy, at the same venue.

“I’m speechless,” said Ashour after converting his seventh match ball. “It’s an unbelievable feeling and I just can’t believe it.

In the early stages of the match both players displayed nerves, making uncharacteristic errors, but it wasn’t long before the capacity crowd at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex, which was packed with over 1,200 fans for the all-Egyptian encounter, was treated to some of the most enthralling action ever witnessed in a World Championship final as both players produced squash of the highest standard.

“It was dramatic and it was brutal – it was like a fight. We were both trying to get inside the other’s game but nobody succeeded – we were both producing our best squash,” added Ashour.

“In that last game we both had match balls and it was back and forth between us, we both wanted so badly to be World Champion and winning my third World title means so much to me – this is a very special moment.

“Mohamed is an amazing player and he will win a lot more tournaments but I was very proud of the way both of us represented Egypt in such a great manner today and it makes me proud of my country.”

[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 13-11, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 14-12 (90m)

[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 17-15, 11-7, 11-5 (57m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [3] Nick Matthew (ENG) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (60m)

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (41m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [6] Borja Golan (ESP) 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (75m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [5] Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-3, 12-10, 11-7 (42m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (46m)

Elshorbagy downs Matthew to set up al-Egyptian final!

World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy defeating 2013 title holder Nick Matthew from England in their 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship semi-final show-down in Doha to back up his leading position.

The 23-year-old from Alexandria dominated most of the brutal rallies, with both players testing each other to the max, with the UK-based Egyptian prevailing 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 to set up a final encounter with compatriot Ramy Ashour.

“It feels great to get that win because I came here today and I really wanted it and I gave it everything I had,” said Bristol-based Elshorbagy. “I expect another exciting match in the final against Ramy tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ashour, returning to competitive action in this event for the 1st time since May’s Allam British Open, was in superb form as he withstood everything Frenchman Greg Gaultier threw at him to come through 17-15, 11-7, 11-5 in 56-minutes.

Ashour’s last World Championship triumph came in Doha in 2012 when he beat Elshorbagy in the final and he’ll be hoping for a repeat performance tomorrow. “It feels great to be in the final and I’m going to give it 100 per cent and fight for every shot and every point,” said Ashour.

Coppinger moves into World Championship quarters!

Unseeded Stephen Coppinger, the World No.24 from Cape Town, pulled off what he described as the biggest win of his career when he beat Egyptian World No.9 Tarek Momen to move into the quarter-finals of the 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship in Doha.

The 30-year-old, who knocked out World No.11 Daryl Selby in round 1, put in a great performance to beat Momen in an 85-minute thriller 12-10, 9-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8.

It’s a victory that sees him become the first South African since Roland Watson in 1979 to reach the quarter-finals and he will now take on World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, conqueror of German Simon Rösner, for a place in the semi-finals – which would be a first for a South African.

Australia’s top ranked squash player Cameron Pilley joined Coppinger as the only other unseeded player in the last eight after he defeated Botswana’s Alister Walker 3/0. Pilley, the current World No.20 from Yamba, took out World No.8 Peter Barker in his first round match and followed up that performance with an impressive and dominant display against Walker to set up a last eight encounter against World No.2 Gregory Gaultier.

“I’m absolutely stoked to be in the quarters of the World Championship,” said Pilley.

Elsewhere defending champion Nick Matthew survived a tough test against Saurav Ghosal of India to set up a last eight battle with four-time champion Amr Shabana while two-time winner Ramy Ashour will meet Spanish champion Borja Golan after winning a thrilling match with Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

3rd round:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [9] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (52m)
[6] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Fares Dessouki (EGY) 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5 (60m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [12] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (47m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [14] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-4, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9 (52m)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (29m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [10] Tarek Momen (EGY) 12-10, 9-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8 (85m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [11] Simon Rösner (GER) 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9 (64m)

Pilley powers past Barker in Qatar!

Australian Cameron Pilley, the world No20, powered his way past England’s world No8 Peter Barker in a epic 86-minute encounter to book is place into the 3rd round of the 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship in Doha.

Pilley looked in control after racing out to a 2-game lead but Barker fought back to level the match and force a decider. But it was the Australian who prevailed in a tough physical match-up, winning 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5. “In the fifth game I just wanted to get off to a good start and not mess it up and I played as well as I could ever have hoped to”, Pilley concluded.

Earlier in the day Gregory Gaultier, the French number 1 seed, responded to his critics with a resounding victory (11-4, 11-7, 11-3 in just 31 minutes) over Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, as Gaultier almost crashed out of the tournament in the 1st round.

Elsewhere Egyptians Omar Mosaad and Fares Dessouki successfully moved into the 3rd round, getting past compatriots Karim Ali Fathi and Marwan Elshorbagy, respectively, while Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Alister Walker and Borja Golan rounded out the top half of the second round with impressive wins.

2nd round top half:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (31m)
[9] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 (29m)
Alister Walker (BOT) bt [16] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4 (75m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [7] Peter Barker (ENG) 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5 (85m)
[6] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (53m)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt [13] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 11-9, 11-2, 11-9 (40m)
[12] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 11-2, 12-10, 11-7 (40m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (30m)

Matthew marches on as Coppinger stuns Selby!

Reigning champion Nick Matthew got off to a successful start, as he overcame German opponent Raphael Kandra 11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-1 in his opening match of the 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship in Doha.

Matthew, who won his third World Championship crown in four years on home soil in Manchester last November, is bidding to become just the 5th man to win the title four times.

“It’s not always a bad thing to have a tough first match”, said Matthew. “I’ve put the training in and it’s a case of hopefully going deep into the competition and seeing things come together throughout the week.”

While Matthew progressed, his compatriot and number 8 seed Daryl Selby suffered a shock first round exit at the hands of South African Stephen Coppinger, as the physical powerhouse from Cape Town came through an epic 3/2 encounter.

Coppinger watched Selby claw back a two-game deficit but managed to hold out in the 5th and deciding game to earn an impressive victory.

“It’s a massively satisfying result and I’m really pleased to get that win,” said Coppinger, who has twice previously lost to Selby in the event over the past six years. I’ve been struggling to get big wins like that for a while so I’m really chuffed to get a big win today in the World Championship.”

Elsewhere there was an historic moment for Indian squash as duo Saurav Ghosal and Mahesh Mangaonkar emerged victorious in their encounters with Australian Steven Finitsis and New Zealand’s Lance Beddoes, respectively, to ensure their country has two representatives in the second round for the first time.

1st round bottom half:
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-1 (47m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 15-13, 5-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5 (99m)
Nasir Iqbal (PAK) bt [Q] Charles Sharpes (ENG) 13-11, 11-5, 11-8 (42m)
[14] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (36m)
[15] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) 11-5, 11-9, 11-3 (24m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 11-7, 10-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-3 (63m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (35m)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-2 (49m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [8] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 3-11, 11-4 (73m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [Q] Peter Creed (WAL) 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (41m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 (36m)
[10] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)
[11] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Danish Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (38m)
[Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 (50m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt [Q] Lance Beddoes (NZL) 11-9, 11-3, 11-13, 11-9 (54m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (24m)

Top Seed Gaultier survives World Championship opener!

French World No.2 and number one seed Greg Gaultier avoided an early out of the 2014 Qatar PSA World Championships, coming back from 2 games down to get past his opponent, Egyptian qualifier Andrew Wagih Shoukry.

Gaultier, who is competing in his 150th PSA World Tour event (60 finals), looked to be absent in the opening 2 games as Shoukry stormed into an early lead. Gaultier rallied to turn the match to an 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 victory.

“I didn’t feel good at all today. You have to deal with these things I need to get on the practice court tomorrow and try and find my rhythm and tomorrow is another day”, said Gaultier afterwards.

Gaultier’s likely semi-final opponent, Egyptian World No.5 Ramy Ashour, made is highly anticipated return to PSA World Tour action with a convincing 3-0 victory over Malaysian Ivan Yuen.

The two-time World Champion from Cairo has missed the better part of the past 12 months following an horrendous run of injuries but his title rivals will have been paying attention as he came through in emphatic fashion, taking the match 11-5, 14-12, 11-5.

1st round top half:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (57m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 13-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5 (51m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 11-8, 1-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 (55m)
[9] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5 (53m)
[16] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-3, 11-2, 11-8 (48m)
Alister Walker (BOT) bt [Q] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (44m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9 (76m)
[7] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 (67m)
[6] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (51m)
[Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (32m)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 11-8, 11-0, 6-11, 11-9 (46m)
[13] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-7 ret.
[12] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt [Q] Ben Coleman (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (49m)
Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [Q] Piedro Schweertman (NED) 9-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 (42m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-5, 14-12, 11-5 (32m)

World Champion Nick Matthew confirms for AJ Bell British Grand Prix!

England’s reigning and 3 time World Champion Nick Matthew will compete in the AJ Bell British Grand Prix to be staged from the 5th to 8th December in Manchester, England.

Matthew who claimed his 3rd world crown in front of a partisan home crowd in Manchester last November is delighted to be returning to the National Squash Centre, the scene of some of his most memorable triumphs. “It’s my favourite venue and I’m really looking forward to playing there again,” said Matthew.

“With Mohamed Elshorbagy and Gregory Gaultier already confirmed, the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix promises to be a great event and I can’t wait to be back in Manchester playing in front of a home crowd,” added the Englishman who won the British Grand Prix title on the spectacular all-glass show court in 2006, as well as claiming his second British Open success in 2009 and a record sixth British National title in February earlier this year.

“The National Squash Centre is acknowledged as one of the finest purpose-built squash facilities and we again look forward to welcoming the world’s very best players back to Manchester,” said internationalSPORTgroup Chief Executive Officer Paul Walters.

After his U.S. Open victory Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt will be the new World No.1 player in the November PSA World Rankings. He becomes the 4th youngest player ever to be crowned on the top position.

Tickets for the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix – Manchester 2014 can now be booked online

Karim Darwish Retires!

Former World No.1 Karim Darwish has announced his retirement from professional squash. The 33-year-old Egyptian from Cairo first joined the PSA in March 1999 and enjoyed a meteoric rise through the standings, taking just two years to break into the World’s Top 20. He reached the top ten for the 1st time in 2003, where he would remain for a combined 118-months, with the crowning moment of his career coming in January 2009 when, after winning the PSA World Series Saudi International in December, upsetting Amr Shabana, Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier en-route to the title, he topped the world rankings for the first time. He held on to the World No.1 ranking for 11-months during 2009, a year which also saw him crowned PSA Player of the Year.

Darwish reached 42 tournament finals and won 23 PSA Word Tour titles and compete in 500 world tour matches. “After a successful 16 year career and achieving most of my goals, starting with winning the World Junior Championship to reaching the top of the World Rankings, I decided to call it a day. Finally I’d like to thank my team mates from Egypt – I have enjoyed the success we shared together – and to all other squash players on the PSA World Tour”, said Darwish.

PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “On behalf of the PSA and everyone involved with the professional game I would like to congratulate Karim on a fantastic career and wish him all the best for the future.”

Darwish also represented Egypt in seven successive Word Team Championships since 2001, winning the title twice including in 2011 when he upset the odds to defeat James Willstrop in the deciding match to take the title away from top seeds England.

“I’m now the Sports Director at Wadi Degla Club (one of the biggest sporting clubs in the world), who are hosting the Women’s World Championship next December and my new goal is to help squash reach the place it deserves,” he added.

Darwish will compete for his last tournament at the World Championships in Qatar.

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