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Australian Open: Ramy rocks Bozza

Awesome image of Adrian Grant diving across court to get the ball back against Gregory Gaultier. Picture by BOB GIVENS
James Willstrop demonstrates perfect technique as he lines up a backhand against Alan Clyne. Picture by BOB GIVENS
Gregory Gaultier stretches for a forehand against Adrian Grant. Picture by BOB GIVENS
Ramy Ashour in action against Stewart Boswell. Picture by BOB GIVENS
Peter Barker volleys

From ANDREW DENT in Canberra (August 11, 2011)

Pictures by BOB GIVENS

11 August 2011

RESULTS: PSA World Series Viridian Australian Open, Canberra, Australia

2nd round (lower half of draw):
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 (29m)
[5] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (58m)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 (41m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Stewart Boswell (AUS) 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (50m)

Egyptian superstar Ramy Ashour came back from losing the first game to local hero Stewart Boswell to power his way into the quarter-finals of the Viridian Australian Open Squash Championships in Canberra on Thursday.

Boswell had home supporters cheering when he claimed the opening game, but he couldn’t maintain the momentum as Ashour stormed home to win 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11- 7.

The Australian was brilliant at times but was undone by the shot-making wizardry of the world number two, who was able to hit winners from seemingly impossible positions.

However, he was pushed all the way by Boswell, currently ranked 21 in the world.

“He should be ranked better than he is the way he played,” Ashour said. “He played like a top 10 player.

“I think we played a very good quality match tonight.”

Ashour now takes on Englishman Peter Barker, who was also in great touch as he disposed of Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan with a minimum of fuss 11-4, 11-2, 11-7.

Barker has faced players ranked in the 40s in his first two rounds but said he wasn’t too concerned that he hadn’t been really tested yet.

“I’ve been quite lucky I’ve had two players ranked where they are, but at the same time someone like Greg (Gaultier) has had two tough matches and he’s managed to win them both three-love,” he said.

‘I’m very happy with the way I’m hitting the ball, I’m very pleased with the way I’m moving in my first tournament back.”

Earlier, Gregory Gaultier set up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with England’s fourth seeded James Willstrop after the Frenchman beat Adrian Walker 11-7, 11-5, 11-8, showing glimpses of the form that took him to world number one in 2009.

The Frenchman was in complete control throughout, never allowing Grant to settle into any sort of rhythm.

His clash with Willstrop, an 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 winner over Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne is sure to be the highlight of the quarter-finals.

Gaultier said he believed he had an advantage heading into the match against Willstrop because he had played two high quality players, whereas Willstrop’s opponents had been ranked much lower.

“He’s in great form but he didn’t have tough matches – he hasn’t played top players yet,” Gaultier said.

“It’s easy to be in good form when you don’t play top players, but he’s a great player and he’s really good to watch so I think it’s going to be a really good match.”

Willstrop was in superb touch as he demolished Clyne.

Clyne won through qualifying to make the main draw then outplayed Malaysian Asyraf Azan in the first round but he was no match for the towering Yorkshireman, who dominated all aspects of the match.

“He’s come through qualifying, he’s winning his matches, he’s played a few games and that can mean a lot at this early point of the season,” a delighted Willstrop said.

“He’s the type of player who will get balls back all day long so for me to get in a position where I win three games comfortably is a great thing for me.

“When you finish and it’s three-love in the bag, that’s a good feeling.”

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
[3] Karim Darwish (EGY) v David Palmer (AUS)
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) v [5] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [6] Peter Barker (ENG)

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