Injured stars forced to pull out
Disappointing news emerges from today as Amr Shabana and Peter Barker withdraw from the Hong Kong Open. Both suffered injuries on court yesterday. Egyptian Shabana, a five-times HK champion, injured his ribs while diving for the ball in a tough battle against England’s Tom Richards. Barker strained a hamstring while stretching for the ball in his match against Australian Cam Pilley. Both players are having treatment to be fit for the forthcoming World Championship.
Shabana’s injury gives world champion Nick Matthew a bye into the semi-finals. Shabana said: “I lost my footing going for a deep crosscourt. I dived to my left. I brushed it off during the heat of the match but later, as I cooled down, I struggled to breathe, and today I couldn’t practice because of a bruise to my left ribcage.”
Barker added: “I went for a ball at 9-7 in the third and strained my hamstring. I am struggling today, and with the World Open coming up I don’t want to risk pulling my hamstring. I am really gutted, but I am going to stay here and get some treatment from the ESR physio Jade Elias. I’m sure I’ll be fine for next week.”