Sunday, April 21, 2024

PSA: Willstrop third in World Series table

RESULTS: PSA World Series Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, Hong Kong

[3] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [2] Karim Darwish (EGY) 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (53m)

James Willstrop ended the five-year Egyptian stranglehold on the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open title when he beat Karim Darwish in straight games in today’s final of the seventh PSA World Series squash event of the year to become the first English winner of the prestigious trophy since Peter Nicol in 2002.

The 28-year-old third seed from Leeds was in awesome form this week – reaching the final without dropping a game, then despatching second seed Darwish 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 in 53 minutes on an all-glass court at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre to clinch his first PSA Tour title since January 2010 and end a run of five successive runner-up finishes over the period.

“Every player who wins a World Series event knows how difficult it is,” said the jubilant champion minutes after his success in his maiden appearance in the event’s final at his sixth attempt.

“It takes a lot of time to put it together in a week like this. If I was going to win one World Series event, the World Open would be nice – but this comes a close second.

“This is as special as it gets,” added the Yorkshireman.

Willstrop acknowledged that he and Darwish had played each other “thousands of times” since their earliest meeting as juniors in 1991. Their PSA Tour head-to-head record on the eve of the final showed the Englishman 11-5 ahead – with a string of seven successive wins over the past five years.

But it was Darwish who triumphed in their most recent clash – in August’s World Team Championship final decider in Germany, where Egypt pipped England to the title.

“We know each other’s games so well now – but people change their games over the years and you can’t expect the same player every time,” explained Willstrop.

The triumph marks the 13th – but biggest – Tour title of Willstrop’s career, and his fifth World Series crown.

Willstrop’s success also takes him up to third place in the latest 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings. Compatriot Nick Matthew, a quarter-final casualty in Hong Kong, heads the list, with Egypt’s Ramy Ashour, unable to compete in the event due to injury, in second place. Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, who reached the semi-finals unseeded, moves into the top eight for the first time.

Updated 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings:

Position (Prev) Total
1 1= Nick Matthew (ENG) 400
2 1= Ramy Ashour (EGY) 375
3 4 James Willstrop (ENG) 325
4 3 Amr Shabana (EGY) 255
5 5 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 230
6 8 Karim Darwish (EGY) 180
7 6 Peter Barker (ENG) 175
8 9= Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 140
9 9= Stewart Boswell (AUS) 125
10 7 David Palmer (AUS) 120
11 11= Tom Richards (ENG) 100
12 11= Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 95
13 13 Thierry Lincou (FRA) 90
14= 14 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 85
14= 15 Cameron Pilley (AUS) 85
16= 18= Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 75
16= 18= Tarek Momen (EGY) 75

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