England reclaims Women’s World Team Championship title!

In a dramatic climax to the 2014 SHOP.CA Women’s World Team Championship in Canada, 2nd seeds England defeated 1st-time finalists Malaysia 2/1 to win the championship for the 7th time.

England began their latest campaign in convincing style when squad number 3 Sarah-Jane Perry beat Malaysian Delia Arnold 11-8, 11-9, 11-7. Next on the ASB all-glass showcourt were the two teams’ top-strings – World No1 Nicol David facing England’s World No1 Laura Massaro for the 30th time since 2005. The Malaysian was in dominant form – extending her ten-year unbeaten record in the event to beat Massaro 11-8, 11-9 11-3 and force a decider. “I’m so pleased with my performance today,” David said later.

England looked set to claim the title in straightforward style when Londoner Alison Waters took the first 2 games and led 8-6 in the 3rd. But plucky Low Wee Wern – the world No.7 from Penang who had clinched Malaysia’s historic place in the final the day before by winning the decider – reeled off 5 points in a row to reduce world No.5 Waters’ lead. But, from 2-3 down, the England No2 picked up 7 successive points before Wee Wern again took serve – then grabbed the next two points to close out the match 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4 after 69 minutes and give the title to England.

England team coach David Campion said: “It’s been a great week for us, despite the ups and downs, and our success is down to the professionalism of the players and the spirit in the camp. It was a superb final.

The triumph marks England’s seventh title since 1985 – but the first since winning it in Edmonton, Canada, in 2006.

Final: (all ties played in team order 3, 1, 2)
[2] ENGLAND bt [3] MALAYSIA 2/1
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Delia Arnold 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
Laura Massaro lost to Nicol David 8-11, 9-11, 3-11 (44m)
Alison Waters bt Low Wee Wern 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4 (69m)

3rd place play-off:
[1] EGYPT bt [4] HONG KONG CHINA 2/0
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Liu Tsz-Ling 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (23m)
Raneem El Welily bt Annie Au 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)

5th place play-off:
[6] USA bt [5] FRANCE 2/0
Natalie Grainger bt Laura Pomportes 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (25m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Camille Serme 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)

7th place play-off:
[7] AUSTRALIA bt [8] IRELAND 2/0
Sarah Cardwell bt Breanne Flynn 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (21m)
Rachael Grinham bt Aisling Blake 9-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8 (49m)

9th place play-off:
[10] WALES bt [9] NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Jennifer Haley lost to Kylie Lindsay 12-14, 11-6, 4-11, 7-11 (33m)
Tesni Evans bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (25m)
Deon Saffery bt Megan Craig 11-3, 5-11, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)

11th place play-off:
[11] CANADA bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 2/0
Nikki Todd bt Alexandra Fuller 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (40m)
Samantha Cornett bt Siyoli Waters 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (24m)

13th place play-off:
[13/16] MEXICO bt [13/16] INDIA 2/0
Karla Urrutia bt Sachika Ingale 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7 (27m)
Samantha Teran bt Joshana Chinappa 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9 (48m)

15th place play-off:
[13/16] GERMANY bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 2/0
Nicole Fries bt Karol Gonzalez 12-10, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)
Franziska Hennes bt Catalina Pelaez 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11 (52m)

17th – 20th place play-offs:
[17/20] CHINA bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 2/1
Duan Siyu lost to Lisa Kaserer 8-11, 6-11, 11-13 (23m)
Li Dongjin bt Birgit Coufal 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 2-11, 11-8 (38m)
Gu Jinyue bt Jacqueline Peychar 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (35m)

[17/20] SPAIN bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Margaux Pitarch Moros bt Nicole Anckermann 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (17m)
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Winifer Bonilla 11-1, 11-5, 11-1 (18m)
Marina de Juan Gallach bt Pamela Anckermann 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (20m)

Final positions: 17 Spain, 18 China, 19 Austria, 20 Guatemala

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

AJ Bell British Grand Prix live on BT Sport!

Mohamed Elshorbagy, Gregory Gaultier and England’s Nick Matthew, the world’s three highest ranked players, will be playing to a brand new audience at the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix after it has been confirmed today that it will be broadcasted live in the UK by BT Sport.

The pioneering agreement will deliver a comprehensive live and highlights package from the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, and is a further endorsement of the sport’s growing appeal following the unprecedented success of the AJ Bell World Squash Championship staged in Manchester last year.

“Having BT Sport on board is a major boost for the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix and the sport in general,” said Paul Walters of event promoters internationalSPORTgroup. “Alongside title sponsor AJ Bell and Manchester City Council we have invested considerable resource and time over the past year in pulling together the right package of domestic TV which will help enhance the status of the event. We are grateful for the help and support of recently formed FozMuz agency for their considerable help in finalising this agreement.

Billy Mackay, Marketing Director for investment platform provider AJ Bell, added: “Squash continues to grow in popularity on the back of a successful 2013 World Championship and the recent Commonwealth Games.”

Tickets can now be booked online at www.isportstore.com or by telephone on 0844 8797 949.

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)