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PSA: Max in Motor City Open shock

Max Lee in action. Picture by KIM ROBERTS

Lee Lays On Lone Upset In Motor City Open

28 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Motor City Open, Detroit, USA

1st round:
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-4, 11-9, 11-9
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8
[4] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-6, 11-3, 11-9
[3] Alister Walker (BOT) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-5, 11-13, 13-11, 11-5
[Q] Max Lee (HKG) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-7, 12-10, 11-5
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-6, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5

Qualifier Max Lee shook up the 2012 Motor City Open with the only upset in the first round of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, near Detroit, in the USA.

The 24-year-old from Hong Kong beat world No32 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan – ranked seven places higher – 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 in his first career victory over the Malaysian.

“Same court, same time,” Lee said jokingly about his lucky Court No2 where he has won all his matches this week.

“This is just a really great start for me. The first time getting to the Tournament of Champions last week and now this tournament, getting into the second round.”

Lee, who trains with Adnan in London, said his friend wasn’t playing at his usual level. “He made too many unforced errors. I just keep it simple, and when the space came, I take it in.”

Defending champion and top seed Mohamed El Shorbagy cruised through as expected – to be joined in the quarter-finals by Hisham Mohamed AshourCameron PilleyMiguel Angel RodriguezStephen CoppingerAlister Walkerand Ong Beng Hee.

Walker, the third seed from Botswana, and Beng Hee, the Malaysian who made his first Motor City appearance in 2000, both survived gruelling five-game matches.

Former world No7 Beng Hee jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the final game against Gregoire Marche before narrowly escaping defeat by beating the French qualifier 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8.

Walker, the world No15 making his Detroit debut, was given a tough ride by unseeded Aamir Atlas Khan. The New York-based dreadlock-sporting star eked out an 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8 win over the Pakistani.

“The depth in squash at the moment is really, really something special,” Walker said afterwards. “I don’t think there’s ever been as much quality and depth as there is now. Aamir is ranked between 20 and 30, but he’s beaten everyone. I didn’t play that well in New York last week, so this is a bit of a relief.”

“I just had to be consistent in trying to keep the ball straight because he’s very good with the angles,” continued the 29-year-old. “When you sort of think he’s getting a bit dejected, suddenly he goes for a few shots and rolls a few, gets some winners and suddenly he’s back in it. It’s just about mentally being steady, but I managed in the end.”

World No6 El Shorbagy appeared in top form against feisty qualifier Mathieu Castagnet of France. The Egyptian brushed aside the world No46 in a tight, often testy match. A determined ball hound, Castagnet lunged and dived at every possible return, even after suffering a hamstring injury midway through game two.

“I’m really happy I won today,” said Shorbagy after his 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 victory. “I wanted to win 3/0 and I did. Normally, it’s 3/1, 3/2. I mean, you saw the way he was in the second and third games – he was almost killing himself.”

Despite the injury, Castagnet acknowledged, Shorbagy’s skills were too much. “I’m disappointed in my hamstring,” he said. “It was difficult for me to push off on my forehand. But if I was in good shape, it still would’ve been difficult for me. He was better than me today.”

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
[4] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[3] Alister Walker (BOT) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG)

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