Sunday, June 23, 2024

Malaysian Open: Gaultier’s debut win as David makes it seven in a row

Gaultier beats Khan in the final
Nicol David and Jenny Duncalf in the final

Pictures courtesy of our friends at SquashStars (

PSA International 50 CIMB Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 (43m)

Women’s final: (1) Nicol David (MAS) beat Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (42m)

French squash star Gregory Gaultier celebrated his debut appearance in the long-established CIMB Malaysian Open inSelangor by winning the PSA World Tour International 50 event today at the Curve Shopping Mall in sensational style.

The top seed, ranked six in the world, swept through the high-class field to reach the final without dropping a game.

His surprise opponent was unseeded Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan – the 20-year-old world No28 from Peshawar who followed his quarter-final upset over home favourite and title-holder Mohd Azlan Iskandar by dismissing higher-ranked Australian Cameron Pilley in the semis.

But the mighty Gaultier was not to be stopped: Appearing in the 40th PSA Tour final of his career, the 28-year-old from Aix-en-Provence brushed aside Khan 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 in 43 minutes to avenge his defeat by the Pakistani in their last meeting in Qatar in 2009.

It was the French and European champion’s first Tour title triumph of the year – but the 18th of Gaultier’s distinguished career.

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Semi Finals:
[1] N David (MAS) bt [6] O Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-9 12-10 11-4 (45m)
[2] J Duncalf (ENG) bt [8] C Serme (FRA) 14-12 11-5 11-8 (39m)

Men’s: (1) Gregory Gaultier (Fra) beat (Q) Alan Clyne (Sco) 11-5, 11-5, 11-1 (45m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pakistan) beat Cam Pilley (Australia) 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (54m)

David and Duncalf set up blockbuster final in CIMB Malaysian Open

The world number one and two set up the dream final in the CIMB Malaysian Open today.

The second event of the WISPA World Series has already showed some incredibly high levels of squash from the world’s top female players and the semi finals were no exception.

England’s Jenny Duncalf was the first through to the final with a straight game victory over Camille Serme, both sporting Adidas kit. Duncalf owned a 3-1 head to head over Serme, but she would have been aware of the danger that the French girl posed. The first game was close all the way into the tie break, which Duncalf managed to sneak 14-12. From there on Duncalf assumed control and didn’t allow Serme to play her game, always one step ahead. Duncalf closed out the match in straight games after 39 minutes. She would have been relieved to get off court in straight games after her marathon comeback win in the quarter final over Kasey Brown.

Nicol David delighted the home fans by coming through in straight games against Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy. Kawy, who has not been in the best of form this year, found her game again in the previous round to edge out Rachael Grinham. David, who wears Adidas designed by Stella McCartney, fought off a stern test from Kawy who was in full attacking mode throughout. She had her chances in the second game, taking David to a tie break, but the effects of yesterday’s match took its toll and the Duracell bunny closed out the match after 45 minutes.

The final will be an intriguing repeat of last year’s epic final which David won in five. The world’s top two players also contested the final of the first World Series event of the season, the Cayman Islands Open, where David won in four games.

Men’s semi-finals:

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-5, 11-5, 11-1 (41m)

Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (54m)

Unseeded Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan continued his giant-killing run in today’s semi-finals of the CIMB Malaysian Openin Kuala Lumpur to set up a meeting with French favourite Gregory Gaultier in the final of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at the Curve Shopping Mall.

In his most impressive Tour run for almost two years, Khan upset home favourite Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the title-holder and third seed, in the quarter-finals before facing higher-ranked Australian Cameron Pilley in the semis.

And after recovering from the loss of the opening game, the 20-year-old world No28 from Peshawar defeated Pilley 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 in 54 minutes to reach the tenth PSA Tour final of his career.

Meanwhile Gaultier, the world No6 in his maiden appearance in the event, chalked up his third straight straight games win in the tournament when he beat qualifier Alan Clyne.

The Scot had enjoyed one his most impressive recent Tour runs – making his breakthrough in the opening round by ousting fourth seed Hisham Mohd Ashour before overcoming a further Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad.

But Gaultier was too strong for the 24-year-old from Edinburgh, winning 11-5, 11-5, 11-1 in 41 minutes to mark up the 40th Tour final appearance of his career – but his first for almost a year.

Gaultier enters the final as firm favourite for the title – but whilst his career head-to-head Tour record against Atlas Khan is one win apiece, it was the Pakistani underdog, ranked 28 in the world, who emerged triumphant in their last meeting, in the second round of the Qatar Classic in November 2009.

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Pilley plays perfectly to shunt Shorbagy

Australian number two Cameron Pilley played almost perfect squash to send second seeded Egyptian Mohammed El Shorbagy tumbling out of the Malaysian Open quarter-finals in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday night.

In a night of otherwise near misses for the Australian contingent, Pilley kept his perfect record against the Egyptian intact with an impressive 11-6, 11-6, 14-12 victory.

He now goes on to face Aamir Atlas Khan in the semi-finals after the Pakistani upset third seeded Malaysian Azlan Iskandar 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to win my quarter-final match,” Pilley said later.

“It’s great to keep my 100 per cent record against Shorbagy intact as he is a very talented player.

“The first two games were quite similar. I played controlled, solid squash. I didn’t give him too many openings to put the ball away and it worked a treat.

“I took a commanding lead in the third and opened up a six point lead but I kind of switched off for a minute, he played some good squash and then all of a sudden it was 10-all.

“But I managed to keep my composure and closed out the match after three match balls.”

Rachael Grinham and Kasey Brown both bowed out after tough five game matches.

Third seeded Grinham came up against an inspired Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt, who always kept her nose just in front to win 11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9.

Brown looked headed for an upset when she took the first two games against second seed Jenny Duncalf, before the Englishwoman launched a stirring comeback to win 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-4.


Quarter-final results – prefix denotes seeding:




1-Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 12-10, 11-2, 11-7

Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 11-6, 11-6, 11-4

Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt 3-Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6

Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt 2-Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-6, 11-6, 14-12




1-Nicol David (MAS) bt 6-Laura Massaro (ENG) 11-7, 9-11, 11-1, 11-6

7-Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt 3-Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9

8-Camille Serme (FRA) bt Joelle King (NZL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8

2-Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt 5-Kasey Brown (AUS) 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-4


1st round:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (27m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (31m)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 9-11, 11-6, 18-16, 9-11, 11-9 (100m)
[Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt [4] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-7, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 15-13 (64m)
[3] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt Kamran Khan (MAS) 11-5, 12-10, 11-7 (47m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7 (60m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (65m)
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (39m)



1-Nicol David (MAS) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4

6-Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-9, 12-10, 11-7

3-Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Annie Au (HKG) 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9

7-Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 10-12, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-3

8-Camille Serme (FRA) bt Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9

Joelle King (NZL) bt 4-Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-9, 11-2, 11-6
5-Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 6-11, 11-4, 13-11, 7-11, 11-3

2-Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-5, 11-9, 12-10

Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne claimed the biggest upset in today’s first round of the CIMB Malaysian Open when he beat fourth seed Hisham Mohd Ashour to earn a surprise place in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.

After fighting back from 2/1 down, the 24-year-old from Edinburgh survived a lengthy tie-break decider to overcome the world No13 from Egypt 11-7, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 15-13 in 64 minutes.

World No49 Clyne, the lowest-ranked player to qualify, will now face fellow qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the last four. The 19-year-old from Egypt, the youngest player in the draw, battled for 100 minutes to see off Pakistan’sFarhan Mehboob 9-11, 11-6, 18-16, 9-11, 11-9.

There was better fortune for fellow Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan, however, when the 20-year-old from Peshawar survived a see-saw game with Chris Ryder, beating the Englishman 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7.

Leading Malaysian pair Mohd Azlan Iskandar and Ong Beng Hee delighted the home crowd by securing places in the last eight. Defending champion Iskandar, looking for his fourth title since 2004, defeated wild card compatriot Kamran Khan11-5, 12-10, 11-7, while Beng Hee – also a three-time winner of the crown – beat Australian qualifier Ryan Cuskelly 11-6, 11-9, 11-5.

Yamba’s Cameron Pilley beat Egypt’s Tarek Momen in straight games 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 in the men’s draw and will play another Egyptian, second seed Mohammed El Shorbagy.

El Shorbagy downed Hobart’s Aaron Frankcomb in straight games 11-6, 11-5, 11-9, but was made to fight all the way in a sometimes ill-tempered match.


World number three Rachael Grinham overcame dangerous Hong Kong player Annie Au in four games to move into the women’s quarter-finals.

Grinham, who has recently moved back to Brisbane from the Netherlands to rejoin the Australian Institute of Sport, downed 2008 Australian Open champion Au 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 to set up a quarter-final clash against Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy.

Kasey Brown joined Grinham in the final eight with a rugged five game win over India’s Dipika Pallikal.

Brown  had to hold off a determined fight back from the Indian number one before winning 6-11, 11-4, 13-11, 7-11,11-3 and booking a quarter-final against second seed and world number two Jenny Duncalf.

Men’s Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v [3] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)

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