Womens results from
Amr Shabana, the enigmatic 25-year-old from Cairo who twelve months ago
became Egypt's first world champion, survived a tough challenge in his
defence of the title on the opening day of action in the Qatar Men's World
Open Squash Championship in the Qatar capital Doha. He credited a racquet
change, in which he shifted to the racquet he calls his "black ghost,"
for the win.
Pair From Willstrop & Grant.....
Willstrop and Adrian Grant turned in a matched pair of first round wins
England in today’s opening session of the Qatar Men’s Open
Squash Championship in
Doha, wearing identical red and white shirts on adjacent courts, breaking
identical point of their respective matches for a 12 minute lighting failure,
finishing in straight games with just a couple of minutes between them.
Willstrop, the 6ft 5in 12th seeded former world junior
champion from Pontefract
in Yorkshire, defeated the experienced South African champion Rodney Durbach
11-4 115 in 44 minutes, despite trailing 7-8 in their second game when
lights gave in to a demand from the opening ceremony stage setters for
than the system could provide. He will face Karim Darwish in the second
the young Egyptian’s 56 minute 8-11 11-9 11-8 11-7 win over 32-year-old
Simon Parke in a tough battle of former world junior champions at opposite
ends of their careers.
Parke is a
replenished commodity these days and he gave last year’s world junior
champion a fair run for his money on a side court that most of the knowledgable
players were gathered behind while bigger names were performing on the
But Parke won
his junior title at Paderborn at the start the 1990s and, despite
willing court coverage and sometimes inspirational shotplay, the difference
showing as the match approached the hour mark.
Grant, the 13th
seeded South Londoner who this year became the first black player
to represent England at squash, was also trailing 7-8 at the moment he
into the unexpectedly darkened court but returned to defeat Renan Lavigne
11-7 11-9 11-9 in 44 minutes. He goes on to face fourth seeded David Palmer
of Australia, who defeated Holland’s Tommy Berden in straight games
in the last match of the day.
Willstrop’s top seeded Pontefract training partner,
World No1 Lee Beachill,
the first English player to achieve top seeding for the World Open title,
as favourites should against Davide Bianchetti until the top Italian attracted
rush of conduct warnings and even a conduct penalty stroke at 4-8 in the
and suddenly began to play very well. Beachill got out 11-4 11-5 11-10
51 minutes but admitted he had lost his thought-line for a time under
He faces Australia’s Joe Kneipp in the second round.
Kneipp dismissed Malaysia’s Mohd Azlan Iskander
11-9 11-7 11-6 from a 36 minute
first round encounter . In an all-Egyptian encounter earlier 16th seeded
Abbas defeated Wael El Hindi 11-5 11-4 11-2 in 27 minutes to earn yet
tie, this time against defending champion Amr Shabana.
Shabana, complaining of cold symptoms, came close tonight
to relinquishing his
World Open title in the first round of his defence when England’s
launched a sharp and positive third game attack to take a 2-1 games lead
have led to an extraordinary upset but for a noticeable upgrade of commitment
Shabana after a racket change at 8-4 in the fourth game.
Chaloner was fresh in from experiments with the hardball
doubles circuit in
North America and we were left with the feeling he might have benefited
mixture of games earlier in his career. Often drawn into dour rallying
the former England stalwart has shown in the past that when he forced
attack the ball in the front court, he can become a real threat. Peter
probably never forget the night in Manchester when Chaloner advanced into
court against him in the first round of the British National Championship
very day that the then Scotsman was first promoted to World No1 and blasted
off the court.
There looked to be every possibility tonight that Shabana
might suffer a similar
fate, becoming the first World Open Champion to lose in the first round
of his defence since New Zealand’s Ross Norman was overturned by
Neil Harvey in Bormingham, England, in 1987.
Shabana said he woke up today with cold from the air-conditioning
in the tournament
hotel and feeling chesty. “I couldn’t breath very well and
I could not get my head
working properly for a long time. Then I put two shirts on to warm up
and, as I
started to sweat things out a bit, I began to play better.
the change of rackets helped. I call that one the ‘Black Ghost’.”
was an element of over-confidence in the performance also. Shabana virtually
away the second game rather in the fashion that developed in the 15 point
game when players decided against the hard work of fighting back from
a bad game start.
Then he found
the normally conservative Chaloner, perhaps sensing an upset opportunity,
firing at the front nicks and advancing into the front court to grab the
could have kept that up I might have made it. I could definitely feel
the double game still in my racket. But after the racket change he was
a different player, more like the guy who played so well at the British
Open last month. I couldn’t hold that player in the fifth game.”
Unseeded Mark Chaloner, a former
England captain, led the left-hander by two games to one before sixth
seed Shabana eventually asserted his authority on the match to win 11-4
8-11 3-11 11-7 11-5 in 51 minutes.
The Egyptian's next hurdle is compatriot
Mohammed Abbas, the 16th seed who triumphed 11-5 11-4 11-2 in an all-Egyptian
clash against qualifier Wael El Hindi in 27 minutes.
Favourite Lee Beachill, seeded to
become the first Englishman to win the title in the 28-year-old history
of the event, was stretched for 51 minutes by unseeded Davide Bianchetti
before prevailing 11-4 11-5 11-10. It was a year ago that the Italian
pulled off one of the tournament's biggest shocks when he beat Beachill's
compatriot Peter Nicol, a former champion, in the second round in Pakistan.
Beachill next faces Australian Joseph
Kneipp after the tenth seed despatched Malaysian qualifier Mohd Azlan
Iskandar 11-9 11-7 11-6 in 36 minutes.
RESULTS: Qatar Men's World Open Squash
Championship, Doha, Qatar
 Lee Beachill (ENG) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-4, 11-5, 11-10 (5-3)
 Joseph Kneipp (AUS) bt [Q] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 11-9, 11-7,
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Simon Parke (ENG) 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (56m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Rodney Durbach (RSA) 11-9, 11-4, 11-5
 David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Tommy Berden (NED) 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (37m)
 Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Renan Lavigne (FRA) 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Mark Chaloner (ENG) 11-4, 8-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5
(51m)  Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt [Q] Wael El Hindi (EGY) 11-5, 11-4,
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