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PSA: Shabana victorious in Vancouver

Amr Shabana in action. Picture by JORDAN MANSFIELD

16 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Comfort Inn Open, Vancouver, Canada

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 (50m)

Amr Shabana continued his spectacular start to 2012 when he picked up his second PSA World Tour title of the year at the Comfort Inn Open in Canada. The Egyptian maestro defeated fellow countryman Hisham Mohamed Ashour in a 50-minute final of the PSA International 50 event at the Evergreen Squash Club in Vancouver.

It was the Cairo pair’s eighth Tour meeting in exactly ten years – and not only Shabana’s eighth success but also Ashour’s second successive defeat in the Vancouver event’s final.

But Shabana’s path to victory was not easy.

In the opening game, the 32-year-old former world number one built up a 4-1 lead only to see Ashour draw even at 4-4. Shabana retook the lead but, with unforced errors from both players, it was second seed Ashour who went on to win the game.

Favourite Shabana again built a substantial lead in the second. Ashour closed the gap but Shabana maintained the lead before drawing level one-all.

After Shabana took the third relatively easily, the fourth – much against the will of the gallery, who were desperately hoping for a fifth – saw only one unforced error difference between the two Egyptians.

Shabana held his nerve and ultimately closed out the match 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 to notch up the 29th PSA Tour title of his career.

“It was a hard fought, much deserved win for Shabana,” said tournament organiser Paul Marley. “As documented earlier, he started the tournament on shaky grounds as he almost lost a first round match to the 2010 champion Martin Knight and suffered a bagel along the way.

“Maybe that provided much needed motivation, but as the tournament progressed he seemed to gain momentum and confidence in his game and emerged a winner for the second consecutive week.”

Top Seeds To Contest Comfort Inn Final

15 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Comfort Inn Open, Vancouver, Canada

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9 (44m)
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) bt [3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-9, 11-9, 13-11 (49m)

The top two seeds Amr Shabana and Hisham Mohamed Ashour will contest an all-Egyptian final of the Comfort Inn Open in Canada after prevailing against fellow countrymen in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50event at the Evergreen Squash Club in Vancouver.

Second seed Ashour, the 29-year-old older brother of world No4 Ramy Ashour, reached the final for the second successive year after beating younger opponent Omar Mosaad, the 23-year-old third seed, 11-9, 11-9, 13-11 in 49 minutes.

“Ashour impressed the galleries as he made his way to the Comfort Inn finals last year and in his matches in this year’s event thus far, with his stunning array of deceptive shots that are made with such speed & precision his opponents and his galleries are often left staring in disbelief,” said tournament organiser Paul Marley.

The second semi-final featured top seed Shabana, the winner of last week’s ATCO PSA World Series Finals who is making his maiden appearance in the event – and much younger Tarek Momen, the 2009 runner-up who is making his fifth appearance at the Evergreen Squash Club.

“The stage was set for a classic battle between the young lion, rising in the ranks, competing against the mature lion who has demonstrated that he still has the skills and motivation to continue to play at the highest level and has no intention of abandoning his territory any time soon,” explained Marley.

“The match started out a little slowly, with Shabana winning the first game fairly easily. But Momen seemed to gain confidence, maybe realising that he could compete with his legendary countryman, and the next three games were very competitive and very entertaining.”

Shabana recovered from losing the third game to close out the match 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9 after 44 minutes to notch up the 43rd Tour final appearance of his lengthy career.

Shabana and Ashour, who is celebrating his 11th Tour final appearance, have met seven times on the PSA Tour over the last ten years – with 32-year-old Shabana boasting a 100% success record.

Shabana Back To His Best In Vancouver

14 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Comfort Inn Open, Vancouver, Canada

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 11-9, 11-13, 11-4, 12-10 (50m)
[3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 (30m)
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (38m)

After suffering the first whitewash game loss in his career in the previous round, Egypt’s former world number one Amr Shabana was back to his spectacular best in the quarter-finals of the Comfort Inn Open in Canada when he despatched Australian Cameron Pilley in straight games to reach the last four of the PSA World Tour International 50 event at the Evergreen Squash Club in Vancouver.

The top seed will be joined by three fellow countrymen in an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up – the first in the event’s eight-year history.

Winner of last week’s ATCO PSA World Series Finals title in London, Shabana took some time to settle into his opening match when he had to fight back from 2/1 down against New Zealand wildcard Martin Knight after losing the third game 11-0!

The 32-year-old from Cairo has not lost to Pilley, the world No16, since their first meeting seven years ago. And Shabana maintained his unbeaten record to defeat the tall Australian 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 in 45 minutes.

“The Shabana magic was on full display tonight and it will be interesting to see if any of his countrymen are up to knocking him off the top of the pyramid,” said tournament organiser Paul Marley.

Shabana will face Tarek Momen, the only unseeded player to make the last four.

The 23-year-old from Cairo needed 50 minutes to see off 18-year-old compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar, a qualifier, 11-9, 11-13, 11-4, 12-10.

Last year’s runner-up Hisham Mohamed Ashour moved one step closer to his second successive final after beating Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-9, 11-8, 11-9.

The 29-year-old No2 seed will face Omar Mosaad after the third seed defeated Finland’s Olli Tuominen – one of only two non-Egyptians in the last eight – 11-9, 11-3, 11-1.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v [3] Omar Mosaad (EGY)

Egyptians Progress In Comfort

13 January 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Comfort Inn Open, Vancouver, Canada

1st round:
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 5-11, 12-10, 0-11, 11-5, 11-3 (53m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 11-6 (62m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 10-12, 11-3, 11-9 ret. (29m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [4] Daryl Selby (ENG) 6-11, 13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 (105m)
[3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 9-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 (95m)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-4, 11-13, 11-4, 11-7 (49m)
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt [Q] Amr Khaled Khalifa (EGY) 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10 (65m)
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 7-11, 11-7, 11-7 ret. (40m)

Egyptians will contest all four quarter-finals of the Comfort Inn Open in Canada after a day of upsets and marathons in the PSA World Tour International 50 event at the Evergreen Squash Club in Vancouver.

England’s defending champion Daryl Selby was the biggest casualty, falling at the first hurdle in one of the longest matches of his career.

Winner of the title both in 2009 and 2011, the 29-year-old world No11 tasted defeat at the Vancouver club for the first time as unseeded Egyptian Tarek Momen recovered from a game down to beat the fourth seed 6-11, 13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 in 105 minutes – gaining revenge for his defeat in the 2009 final.

Momen, the 23-year-old world No18 from Cairo, will now play fellow countryman Mohamed Abouelghar, who became the only qualifier to make the quarter-finals when his US opponent Julian Illingworth retired injured after the third game, with the score standing at 10-12, 11-3, 11-9.

In another marathon encounter which went the full distance, third-seeded Egyptian Omar Mosaad twice had to come from behind to overcome Botswana’s Alister Walker 9-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 in 95 minutes.

But the most extraordinary clash came at the top of the draw where Egyptian favourite Amr Shabana took on New Zealander Martin Knight. Shabana, the illustrious four-time world champion, arrived in Vancouver fresh from winning theATCO PSA World Series Finals crown after one of the sport’s most talked about matches last week in London.

But the world No8 dropped the first game, then struggled to win the second before losing the third 11-0 – suffering the first ever whitewash game loss in his entire career!

Knight, ranked 30 places lower, was unable to exploit his unexpected advantage however as Shabana regrouped to close out the match 5-11, 12-10, 0-11, 11-5, 11-3 after 53 minutes to take his anticipated place in the last eight.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[2] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)

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