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PSA: Clyne roars in to Grand Central

Alan Clyne in action

Marathon Qualifier Takes Clyne To Grand Central In New York

20 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA World Series JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York, USA

Qualifying finals:
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-7, 11-13, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10 (108m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 11-1, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8 (50m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 5-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 (62m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 11-3, 11-2, 11-2 (37m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Amr Khaled Khalifa (EGY) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (50m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 (88m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-9, 11-4, 11-1 (45m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (64m)

Scotland’s Alan Clyne survived the longest qualifying battle in the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions to earn a place in the main draw of the first PSA World Series squash event of the year in New York.

The desire to be one of the 32 players competing on the glass court in Grand Central Terminal was intensely evident in several of the final round of qualifying matches, but none more so than in the marathon battle between Clyne and Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet.

In a match that lasted nearly two hours, both players were relentless, playing long rallies marked by balls hit to great length. Castagnet was up 2/1 when beset by cramps in the fourth game which was won by the Scot. Even with recurring cramps in the fifth game, the Frenchman hung in, but it was 25-year-old Clyne, from Edinburgh, who prevailed 11-7, 11-13, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10 after 108 minutes to earn a berth in the main draw against England’s Adrian Grant.

Aussie Zac Alexander and England’s Chris Ryder also found themselves in a five-game marathon match decided by a two point margin in the fifth. It is Alexander who moves onto the Grand Central court where he will face England’s world No1James Willstrop in the first round.

Amr Khaled Khalifa of Egypt was overcome by the speed and agility of Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez. After winning a close first game, the 26-year-old from Bogota continued to apply pressure to win the match 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 and earn a main draw first round match up against another Egyptian player, Hisham Mohamed Ashour.

Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia was unfazed by losing the first game against Gregoire Marche of France. In each successive game, Beng Hee prolonged the rallies to wear down his opponent and win the match in four close games. His first round opponent is sixth seed Peter Barker.

After easily winning the first game 11-5, Ryan Cuskelly of Australia found the tables turned as his Hong Kong opponentMax Lee won the second and third games by the identical score. Frustrated by Lee’s persistent retrieving and increasing control of the match, the Australian became frustrated and received several conduct warnings and one conduct stroke before Lee closed out the match 11-2 in the fourth. Lee plays England’s Tom Richards in the first round.

Unranked American Todd Harrity, playing before a fiercely partisan crowd, was put under constant pressure by veteran player Stephen Coppinger. The South African was too quick and too experienced for the Princeton University junior who will return to the classroom while Coppinger’s straight games victory has him facing Nicolas Mueller of Switzerland in first round play.

The last two main draw spots will be filled by Egyptians – veteran Mohammed Abbas and rising star Marwan El Shorbagy. The 31-year-old Abbas dominated against India’s Siddharth Suchde. With his long reach, quick and agile play and strategic shot-making, Abbas controlled the match, winning each of games with successive ease. Abbas will meet Botswana’s Alister Walker, now resident in New York City, in first round play.

The youngest player, 18-year-old Marwan El Shorbagy, became the ninth Egyptian player in the Tournament of Champions main draw when he defeated New Zealand’s Martin Knight in four games. The reigning world junior champion, whose older brother Mohamed is also in the draw, was very much looking forward to making his debut on the Grand Central court.

“This is one of the best venues in the world,” said the Egyptian teenager after his first practice session in Grand Central Terminal. “Everyone wants to come play here in New York City, so the draw is very tough. The other players have told me that the stands are filled from the very first round at noon on Friday until the finals.”

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Wael El Hindi (EGY)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Borja Golan Santin (ESP)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v Simon Rosner (GER)
Tom Richards (ENG) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG)
[8] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v [Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
Alister Walker (BOT) v [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Zac Alexander (AUS)

Event website:

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Harrity Boosts Home Hopes In New York

19 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA World Series JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York, USA

1st qualifying round:
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 (25m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Olivier Pett (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 15-13 (46m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-8, 6-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-7 (71m)
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-8, 11-9, 11-3
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-4, 11-8, 11-6
Max Lee (HKG) bt Graham Bassett (USA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (29m)
Todd Harrity (USA) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-7, 11-4, 3-11, 12-10 (50m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Yasir Butt (PAK) 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10 (68m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS) 11-8, 14-12, 11-3 (41m)
Amr Khaled Khalifa (EGY) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (44m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Kamran Khan (MAS) 11-9, 12-14, 11-8, 11-2 (81m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Luke Butterworth (ENG) 11-2, 11-1, 11-8 (49m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 12-14, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (64m)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (44m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (27m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 (51m)

Reigning US national collegiate squash champion Todd Harrity posted the only upset in the first round of qualifying play of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions when he defeated world-ranked Mexican Cesar Salazar in four games to reach the qualifying finals of the first PSA World Series event of the year in New York.

Harrity, an unranked 21-year-old from Philadelphia, stunned Salazar, who celebrated a career-high world No50 ranking this month, 11-7, 11-4, 3-11, 12-10 in 50 minutes.

The Princeton University junior will now have to defeat Stephen Coppinger of South Africa to make it into the first round of the main draw and onto the glass court in Grand Central Terminal. Coppinger, the world No30 from Cape Town, eliminated Yasir Butt of Pakistan in a hard-fought four-game battle during which he eked out two tiebreak game wins to keep his hopes alive for a turn on the iconic Tournament of Champions court under the chandelier in Grand Central.

Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez‘s retrieving style of play wore down Aussie Wade Johnstone who was unable to convert a game ball in the second game to tie the match. After pulling out to a 9-0 lead in the third, Rodriguez claimed victory with an 11-3 win.

Rodriguez will next face Amr Khaled Khalifa of Egypt who eliminated India’s Ramit Tandon. Khalifa’s compatriotMohammed Abbas had his hands full fending off England’s Joe Lee, who was able to retrieve enough of his wily opponent’s crafty shots to win the first game 12-10. Abbas’s experience ultimately carried the day as he closed out the next three games 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.

Rounding out the trio of Egyptians who hope to join their seven countrymen in the main draw is Marwan El Shorbagy who was taken to five games by England’s Adrian Waller. The 18-year-old reigning World Junior champion moved one step closer to joining older brother Mohamed in the main draw when he came back after being down 1/2 to win the fourth and fifth games, 11-8, 11-7.

El Shorbagy will face New Zealand’s Martin Knight, who ousted Canada’s Shawn Delierre in three games. Also moving on with straight games victories are Ryan Cuskelly of Australia, Max Lee of Hong Kong, Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, Scotland’s Alan Clyne, Englishman Chris RyderSiddharth Suchde of India, and Frenchmen Gregoire Marche andMathieu Castagnet.

Qualifying finals line-up:
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) v Martin Knight (NZL)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Max Lee (HKG)
Todd Harrity (USA) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Amr Khaled Khalifa (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Chris Ryder (ENG) v Zac Alexander (AUS)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)

Event website:

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