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Amr Shabana Is US Open Champion
PSA reports...

Amr Shabana Is US Open Champion

7 October 2011

RESULTS: PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

Final:
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [1] Nick Matthew (ENG) 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-4 (51m)

A scintillating performance in the final of the Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia saw Egypt's third seed Amr Shabana upset favourite Nick Matthew to win the PSA World Series squash title for second time in three years at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at Drexel University.

The 32-year-old from Cairo made an excellent start in his first appearance in a World Series final this year, thrilling the Philadelphia crowd with a series of winning shots that left world number one Matthew struggling.

Coming back from 6-1 down was a tall order, but the Englishman almost made it, getting to 8-9. But after a let decision was turned into a no let following a Shabana appeal to the video referee, the Egyptian underdog went on to take the game on another winning volley drop after 19 minutes.

The second was a carbon copy in reverse - Matthew dominant in the early game, cutting off Shabana's shots to race to an 8-1 lead, only to see the world No5 fight his way back.

From 9-4 down, left-hander Shabana rediscovered his touch to climb back to 8-9 before Matthew regained the upper hand to draw level.

But Shabana was totally dominant in the next two games - reeling off winning volley drops and drop shots almost at will.

"Matthew was by now clearly struggling with his movement and simply had no answer, scoring just five more points and three of those were late in the fourth game," explained event spokesman Steve Cubbins.

There was no big celebration as Shabana put in one last drop shot to clinch his 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-4 upset after 51 minutes.

"It was a good match, and it's such a relief to win a major tournament again," Shabana told the official event website www.usopensquash.com after his first Tour title success since winning his fourth World Open crown in November 2009.

"It's been a tough couple of years, at times I thought I might never win again but I've been playing well this week and my body held up which is the important thing."

The win takes Shabana's career PSA Tour title haul to 27 - bringing him level with Australian David Palmer.

"I'm just glad you were all here to witness me winning again and I hope I can carry on playing well and win some more!" Shabana told the packed crowd.

It was a disappointing outcome for Matthew in his fifth successive appearance in a PSA World Series final this year: "I'm disappointed that my body let me down a little tonight, I was struggling to push off on my foot, but I gave it a good go and you have to be good enough to cope with these problems.

"It feels different from coming off court having given everything you have, but that's not taking anything away from Amr, he played really well," added the 31-year-old from Sheffield.

"His shots were firing in from all over tonight, and even at 100% I would have been struggling to cope with him. He was all over me by the end, and could have probably played some of those drop shots with his right hand, they were so good!"

Egypt's world number two Ramy Ashour maintains his place at the top of the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings, just five points ahead of Matthew. But Shabana is now in third place alone, after pushing England's James Willstrop down to fourth place.

Egypt's Karim Darwish, beaten by Mohd Azlan Iskandar in the first round in Philadelphia, slips out of the top eight - while the Malaysian takes his place to secure his first appearance in the top eight this year.

 

Anjema Punishes Palmer In US Open Upset

3 October 2011

RESULTS: PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

2nd round:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (49m)
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-2, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 (53m)
[5] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (40m)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (48m)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (51m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [8] David Palmer (AUS) 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 (76m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 13-11 (69m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (42m)

Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema upset eighth seed David Palmer in the second round of the Delaware Investments US Open to record his career-first Tour victory over the Australian veteran in the fifth PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The 28-year-old from The Hague and fellow non-seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar, of Malaysia, will join Frenchman Thierry Lincou, Egyptian pair Amr Shabana and Mohamed El Shorbagy, together with English trio Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Peter Barker in the quarter-finals of the long-established event which is being staged in Philadelphia for the first time since 1993.

Anjema beat Palmer in a play-off match in the World Team Championship in Germany in August, but the 35-year-old Aussie had always had the edge over the Dutchman in PSA encounters.

Palmer, ranked eight in the world, controlled proceedings to take the opening game, looking set to continue his Tour run. But, from 2-5 down in the second, Anjema began to take the upper hand. After winning the second, the Dutchman romped to a 7-0 lead in the third en-route to moving 2/1 ahead - and built up a 7-2 lead in the fourth.

But the vastly-experienced Palmer dug deep, and slowly brought the score back to seven-all. The Aussie saved one match-ball at 10-9 before Anjema chanced his arm to hit the nick with the second to raise both arms in celebration of his long-awaited 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 victory after 76 minutes.

"I just tried to play my own game and not panic after losing the first," Anjema told event website www.usopensquash.com afterwards. "I was pleased to have recovered so well, but it was nerve-wracking at the end, getting those last five points.

"He was one of my idols when I was growing up, so to beat him for the first time in PSA is pretty special," added the world No12. "It was a mental victory tonight, I decided to take a risk at the end and thankfully it came off. I hope I can be a bit steadier for the whole match next round."

Anjema will now face fourth seed Amr Shabana. The 2009 champion from Egypt repeated his victory over fellow left-hander Adrian Grant in a rerun of his encounter with the Englishman at the quarter-final stage of the British Grand Prix a week ago. The Egyptian won that one in three close games, Grant threatening to take each one - but this time the Londoner did more than threaten, as he took the lead 11-6.

Thereafter, however, Shabana showed why he is a four-time world champion. Controlling the play without looking overly troubled or hurried, Shabana took the next three games to claim his fourth successive quarter-final berth in the event following his 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 win.

"I just played him a few days ago, and he upped his pace right from the start which took me a little by surprise," said 32-year-old Shabana. "He has good touch too, so it's tricky to hold him off, so it was good to be able to take those three games.

"I'm just trying to stay healthy and listen to my body. I'll take the rest day tomorrow and hopefully be ready for the rest of the tournament."

Younger compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy also booked his place in the last eight with an 11-2, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 win over rising English star Tom Richards.

The 20-year-old No7 seed will now face top seed Nick Matthew, the world number one from England who eased to an 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 victory over tall Egyptian Omar Mosaad.

The unseeded 23-year-old from Cairo fully tested the favourite in the opening game, holding a few points' lead before Matthew finally closed it out with some typically solid play in the final few points.

"The first game was long and drawn out - he came with a strategy and stuck to it well," said Matthew. "It wasn't physically demanding as such, more a mental battle with lots of slow rallies. I was a bit sluggish at the start and left too many things hanging out on his forehand. I managed to claw back the few points lead he had and was more comfortable after that."

National team-mates and career-long rivals Peter Barker and James Willstrop will line up in a clash which will guarantee an English semi-finalist. Fifth seed Barker despatched Egyptian Hisham Mohamed Ashour 11-9, 11-6, 11-4, while Willstrop, the No3 seed, brushed aside fellow countryman Daryl Selby, the reigning British national champion, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6.

Clearly hampered by an injury midway through the second game, Ashour saw out the match. Barker later paid tribute to his opponent in carrying on where many would have stopped.

Veteran Frenchman Thierry Lincou earned his first appearance in the last eight of a PSA World Series event this year following his 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 13-11 victory over Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

The 25-year-old from Bogota had earned the nickname 'The Cat' after his spectacular upset over higher-ranked Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in the previous round.

But after dropping the first game, sixth seed Lincou restricted the Colombian's opportunities by pinning him to the back corners, and opened up a 2/1 lead.

Rodriguez managed to eke out an advantage in the fourth though, and Lincou had to save five game balls before finally taking the match on his own first opportunity, putting in a clinging drop-shot that Rodriguez's racket could only brush into the floor.

"He's a very unusual opponent," said a relieved Frenchman. "So fast and such an exciting style of play. You think you've hit a winner and it comes back, you have to start all over again, and you have to be alert all the time, on every shot. I really had to use my experience to counter him."

Lincou will take on Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 winner over Swiss qualifier Nicolas Mueller.

"Hats off to him, he's improved a lot in the last year and is beginning to really push the top guys," Iskandar said of his opponent. "But I went in with a game plan and stuck to it."

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG) v [5] Peter Barker (ENG)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v [6] Thierry Lincou (FRA)

More details on the Official Website: www.usopensquash.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

 

Rodriguez Races To Remove Reda

2 October 2011

RESULTS: PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

1st round (lower half of draw):
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Wael El Hindi (EGY) 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 (58m)
Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 (37m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [Q] Chris Ryder (ENG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
[8] David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (51m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (32m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-9, 11-13, 3-11, 11-5, 11-5 (82m)
[Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Jonathan Kemp (ENG) w/o
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [2] Karim Darwish (EGY) 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 7-2 ret. (38m)

 

Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez celebrated his first Tour meeting with Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in the first round of the Delaware Investments US Open by beating the higher-ranked Egyptian in a dazzling performance in the fifth PSA World Series squash event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Displaying some extraordinary running, retrieving, leaping, diving and unorthodox shot-making, the world No30 from Bogota got the better of Reda, ranked six places higher, in a magical five-game match.

It seemed that the 22-year-old from Cairo had weathered the storm as he edged the second to level the match and eased through the third.

But there was no stopping Rodriguez: "I particularly loved his 360-degree spins, and the drop shot he plays while running backwards, having dashed to the front after his opponent's high boast before engaging reverse gear," said event spokesman Steve Cubbins.

The Colombian went on to win 11-9, 11-13, 3-11, 11-5, 11-5 in 82 minutes to earn his first appearance in the last 16 of a PSA World Series event this year.

Event MC Bryan Ramona was also clearly impressed by Rodriguez: "We'll have to call you 'the Cat' after that display."

Rodriguez will now face Thierry Lincou after the sixth-seeded Frenchman dashed home hopes by beating New York-born wildcard Christopher Gordon 11-9, 11-5, 11-6.

But there was disappointment for Egypt's Karim Darwish when the second seed was forced to retire against Mohd Azlan Iskandar with an ankle injury. The Malaysian went into the match 8/0 down in a career head-to-head record since 2003 - but after leading 2/1 and 7-2 in the fourth, the Sarawak-born 29-year-old celebrated his maiden success when Darwish conceded the match.

Iskandar will now meet Nicolas Mueller after the Swiss number one became the only qualifier to claim a place in the second round when England's Jonathan Kemp was forced to pull out with a back injury.

US-based Australian number one David Palmer made sure of his last 16 place with a straight games win over fellow countryman Ryan Cuskelly. But despite coming through two tough qualifying matches, the world No42 put up a good show against experienced eighth seed Palmer, three times a finalist and winner of the US Open title in 2002.

"I knew he'd keep fighting," said Palmer after his 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 victory in 51 minutes. "I was a couple of points behind in the second but managed to his some winners at the end, which was crucial, and I probably relaxed a little after getting a good lead in the third, but I thought I played pretty well to get to that point.

"If he keeps on playing with an attitude like that, it will go well for him in the future.

"I can't afford long matches," added the former world number one. "At 35, I need to win 3/0 when I can, so it was good in the end and I'm looking forward to coming back tomorrow."

Palmer will now take on last year's runner-up Laurens Jan Anjema, the Dutch number one who defeated English qualifier Chris Ryder 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.

"Chris is very clever tactically," said Anjema. "So I had to try to get the upper hand early and try to put him under pressure physically.

"It was a bit too chaotic for my liking at times, but I'm happy with how I played and pleased to get off with a three-nil win."

Left-handers Amr Shabana and Adrian Grant will meet for the second time in 10 days when they line up in the second round. Fourth seed Shabana, the 2009 champion, came through against fellow Egyptian Wael El Hindi 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, while Englishman Grant overcame Canadian qualifier Shawn Delierre 12-10, 11-5, 11-4.

"He's very unorthodox and hard to read - it took me a game and a half to work him out," admitted Londoner Grant after ending Delierre's run in his first World Series appearance since 2008.

"Once I found my feet I managed to present my game to him and I felt more and more confident," added Grant.

Shabana was meeting El Hindi for the 15th time on the Tour since 2001: "It's always difficult playing someone you know so well," said the 32-year-old four-time world champion. "Wael hasn't played a lot of squash in the last six months, and is just coming back, but he still made it pretty difficult for me at times."

2nd round line-up:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
[5] Peter Barker (ENG) v Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
[8] David Palmer (AUS) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)

More details on the Official Website: www.usopensquash.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

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