Category: "players"

Shabana to defend Tournament of Champions title!

Four-time World Champion Amr Shabana (ri) says he is relishing the prospect of returning to New York for the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions to defend his last year’s title at Grand Central Terminal.

The 35-year-old Egyptian, dubbed the ‘Maestro’ by his peers, got past current World No.4 Nick Matthew and World No.2 Gregory Gaultier en-route to the 2014 title and he’s hoping to find his rhythm again in 2015. “Starting the new year at the TOC is very exciting especially because it is the first major of the year and I have had some good memories there over the years there,” said Shabana.

“Winning the TOC title in 2014 was very important for me. I had been putting in a lot of time training leading up to that point, with no real success, and that win was a reminder for me that hard work does pay off,” the Champion added.

Shabana goes into the 2015 edition ranked World No.3 and is scheduled to meet World No1 Mohamed Elshorbagy (le) in the semi-finals.

1st round draw:
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier]
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v [6] Borja Golan (ESP)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [4] Amr Shabana (EGY)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [8] Simon Rösner (GER)
[5] Peter Barker (ENG) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Qualifier]
Alister Walker (BOT) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

Malaysia dethrones Egypt to set up World Championship final with England!

After two dramatic semi-finals in the Women’s World Team Championship in Canada, 2nd seeds England will face 3rd seeds Malaysia in Saturday’s final in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

In the biggest upset of the championship, Malaysia – bronze medallists in the past four events – reached the final for the 1st time after a sensational 2/0 upset over defending champions Egypt, the favourites who boasted a squad of four players in the world’s top ten.

Former champions England claimed a new record 11th successive appearance in the final after surviving 2/1 against Hong Kong China – semi-finalists for the first time ever.

In a battle on the stunning ASB all-glass showcourt described by event MC Vanessa Atkinson, the former world champion, as “the match of the tournament”, underdogs Malaysia took the lead when world number one Nicol David beat Egypt’s world No.3 Raneem El Welily 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 54 minutes.

“She’s so on the ball – I had to work really hard,” said the jubilant David who extended her unbeaten record in the event since 2004 to 32 matches. “I’m just so pleased to get a point for Malaysia.

David then sat back as team-mate Low Wee Wern, a fellow Penangite who is ranked seven in the world, took on Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini, the world No.4 from Alexandria who boasted a 2-1 head-to-head record over the Malaysian.

After the first two games were shared, Wee Wern came out fighting in the third to reclaim the lead after dropping just two points. But former world junior champion El Sherbini refused to buckle and took the fourth, and led 3-0, 5-3 and 7-6 in the decider. Wee Wern pulled back three points for 9-7 to lead for only the second time in the match – but El Sherbini rallied to bring the score to nine-all. At the first match-ball for Wern, it was a stroke which finally signalled the historic win for Malaysia as Wern raised her arms in victory and quickly became engulfed by her ecstatic team-mates.

“It’s amazing to be in the final for the first time,” said an overwhelmed Wee Wern after her 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-9 triumph in 86 minutes. “The Egyptian girls really gave it their all.

Egyptian team coach Omar Elborolossy was not too despondent: “I’m so proud of my girls – they gave their best efforts. Nicol played one of the best matches I have ever seen and Wee Wern definitely played her best match ever.

Semi-finals: (all ties played in team order 1, 2, 3)
[3] MALAYSIA bt [1] EGYPT 2/0
Nicol David bt Raneem El Welily 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 (54m)
Low Wee Wern bt Nour El Sherbini 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-9 (86m)

Laura Massaro bt Annie Au 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 (35m)
Alison Waters lost to Joey Chan 4-11, 11-8, 9-11, 3-11 (43m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Tong Tsz-Wing 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)

Women’s World Team Championship!

Egypt are seeded to retain their title in tomorrow’s SHOP.CA WSF Women’s World Team Championship in Canada. The defending champions will be one of 20 nations represented – with all the world’s top ten players in action – in the 19th staging of the biennial World Squash Federation championship at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, from 1-6 December.

The Egyptian squad is led by world No3 Raneem El Welily and includes three further players from within the world top 11 – including Nour El Sherbini (world No4), Nour El Tayeb (8) and experienced campaigner Omneya Abdel Kawy (11).

The full Pool line-ups (with seeding in brackets) are as follows:
Pool A: [1] EGYPT, [8] IRELAND, [9] NEW ZEALAND, [13/16] COLOMBIA, [17/20] CHINA
Pool B: [2] ENGLAND, [7] AUSTRALIA, [10] WALES, [13/16] GERMANY, [17/20] SPAIN
Pool C: [3] MALAYSIA, [6] USA, [11] CANADA, [13/16] MEXICO, [17/20] GUATEMALA
Pool D: [4] HONG KONG CHINA, [5] FRANCE, [12] SOUTH AFRICA, [13/16] INDIA, [17/20] AUSTRIA

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)

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