No seven-up for Selby as Abdullah Al Mezayen upsets the odds in Kuwait
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter
DARYL SELBY’S bid to stretch his six-year record of winning at least one PSA Tour title per calendar year ended in Kuwait, when he was ousted from the first-round of the Alwatan & Asnan International.
The 31-year-old from Essex was seeded second behind world number seven Borja Golan, but bowed out of the final PSA International event of the year to home favourite Abdullah Al Mezayen in five games.
The 25-year-old Al Mezayen, who has won three PSA Tour titles this year, was the perennial underdog heading into the match but sent the Kuwait International Squash Centre into raptures with a sensational 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-5 victory.
Selby, who returned to the top 10 in December’s PSA World Rankings, seemed in pole position to scrape through to the last eight after winning two successive games to level the scores at two-a-piece.
However, a reinvigorated Mezayen halted the Englishman’s momentum in the decider and as the dust settled, the left-hander was left celebrating ‘the best win’ of his career.
Lost a tough 3-2 against @almezayen12 on his home court tonight. I felt like I played quite well but he was just too good today.
— Daryl Selby (@DarylSelby) December 19, 2013
Al Mezayen, who is ranked 39th in the world rankings, will now face Hong Kong number one Max Lee for a place in the last four, after the 25-year-old extinguished qualifier Ahmed Al-Saraj’s hopes with a 3-0 win in just 20 minutes.
But while Al Mezayen deservedly grabbed the headlines, Tarek Momen almost joined Selby (pictured right) as another big name casualty after barely making it past world number 36 Joe Lee.
However, the 25-year-old world number 12 fought back valiantly from a 2-0 deficit to secure a 8-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 success in 63 minutes.
The Egyptian will now vie for a semi-final berth with Dutch number one Laurens Jan Anjema, after the 31-year-old had little trouble in defeating qualifier Omar Abdel Aziz in straight games.
Elsewhere, world number 17 Alister Walker survived another big scare, before eventually scraping past the persistent Egyptian Mazen Hesham 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
Walker, who was surprisingly knocked out in the first-round at the Coronation London Open earlier this month, nearly repeated the unwanted feat as he lost the opening two games to his lower-ranked opponent.
However, the Botswana number one eventually asserted control of the proceedings, before edging the decider by the narrowest of margins.
Walker’s reward is a quarter-final meeting with German number one Simon Rosner, after the 26-year-old overcame Alan Clyne 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 in 50 minutes.
At the top of the draw, Hong Kong Open finalist Borja Golan continued his impressive run of form with a 3-1 success over qualifier Fares Dessouky.
The Spanish number one will now face Australian Ryan Cuskelly in the next-round, after he battled past Malaysian qualifier Muhd Asyraf Azan in three tight games.
Happy to be thru to the second round of the alwatan&asnan international tournament. Won 3:0 against Clyne#kuwait pic.twitter.com/xfvc46aIbY
— Simon Rösner (@simonroesner) December 19, 2013
Keep checking our website regularly for more updates from Kuwait.
 Borja Golan (Esp) v [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) – 16:45pm
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) v  Tarek Momen (Egy) – 17:30pm
 Simon Rosner (Ger) v Alister Walker (Bot) – 18:15pm
Max Lee (Hkg) v Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw) – 19:00pm
 Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 [Q] Fares Dessouky (Egy) 11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 11-3 (36m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-0 [Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) 13-11, 11-9, 11-8 (50m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) 3-0 [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (42m)
 Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-2 Joe Lee (Eng) 8-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 (63m)
 Simon Rosner (Ger) 3-0 Alan Clyne (Sco) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (50m)
Alister Walker (Bot) 3-0 Mazen Hesham (Egy) 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)
Max Lee (Hkg) 3-0 [Q] Ahmad Al-Saraj (Jor) 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (20m)
Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw) 3-2  Daryl Selby (Eng) 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-5 (60m)
Pictures by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite) and Michael Catling