27-May to 01-Jun, Hong Kong
Football Club, $25k
Walker takes HKFC title
Dallas Reid reports
After five days of intense competition, a capacity crowd gathered
expectantly at the HKFC's show court for the final between Alistair
Walker and Laurens Jan Anjema.
Keen fans of the event included Heather Deaton, the Vice-President
of the World Squash Federation, and HRH King Tunku of Malaysia
gathered in anticipation.
A warm welcome was given to the arrival of the tall athletic Anjema,
and Walker who as ever was bedecked with his trademark headphones
With only three PSA world ranking points between them (Anjema at 17
and Walker at 14), it was always going to be more of a mental battle
than one of technique. Anjema benefited early on from a series of
uncharacteristic errors from Walker, but both soon settled down into
a solid rhythm hitting deep and waiting for openings.
These were quite rare, but when they came, both players showed
supreme execution in hammering high forehand volleys into the
opposite front nick to the delight of the crowd.
With so little separating the players in ability, unforced errors
were bound to be costly, and in the middle of the first game Anjema
made several and Walker seized the opportunity to pull level, and
then close it out 11-8.
The second game followed a similar pattern with solid depth squash
interspersed with sudden attacks but seemingly no matter how tight
and fast Anjema hit his drops and attacking boasts, Walker would set
off with his trademark expulsion of air from the lungs, and not only
reach it but return a strong attacking shot in reply.
Again Walker managed to retain his form with fewer unforced errors,
and ran out 11-6 up in the second.
If anything Anjema started hitting even more dangerous attacking
shots in the third game, and at times had Walker launching himself
from corner to corner of the court to dig out one apparent dead kill
Inevitably frustration set in with Anjema tinning the ball in search
of a shot that would not come back. Although always under pressure,
Walker kept a stranglehold on the match and concluded the match with
an 11-7 finish in the third game.
As Walker said after the game, the 3-0 score line was very
flattering as at any time Anjema could get back into the game and
turn it around very easily.
To try to avoid that risk he invested huge energy into apparently
"lost-cause" rallies to try to nip in the bud any possible come
back. As he put it, "once you are ahead, every rally you turn about
is another nail in the coffin".
Both players were acknowledged by a standing ovation as they left
the court by a crowd very happy to have been entertained by a great
display of world-class squash.
In his victory speech Walker acknowledged the support of the event
sponsors the Hong Kong Football Club, James Niehorster and the
efforts of the HKFC squash section which after eight visits to Hong
Kong has adopted him as one of their own.
Bill Cox/The Epoch Times
27-May to 01-Jun, HK Football Club,
 Alister Walker (Bot)
11/9, 11/8, 11/5 (43m)
[Q] Rex Hedrick (Aus)
 Alister Walker
6/11, 9/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/2 (85m)
 Alister Walker
11/9, 12/10, 11/6 (37m)
Q] Mohamed Abouelghar
 Alister Walker
11/8, 11/6, 11/7
 Laurens Jan Anjema
Max Lee (Hkg)
11/0, 11/7, 11/1 (35m)
[Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
9/11, 11/9, 11/9, 4/11, 11/7 (61m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar
11/8, 7/11, 11/6, 5/11, 11/5 (60m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad
 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/9, 4/11, 11/6, 12/10 (67m)
[Q] Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
Cheuk Yan Tang (Hkg)
11/2, 11/5, 11/6 (26m)
 Olli Tuominen (Fin)
 Olli Tuominen
11/4, 4/11, 8/11, 11/9, 11/8 (66m)
11/5, 11/8, 11/3 (37m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
11/4, 12/10, 11/13, 11/9 (75m)
Leo Au (Hkg)
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/8, 5/11, 11/8, 11/6 (45m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11/5, 11/3, 11/7 (38m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
11/5, 11/9, 12/10
 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
Nasir Iqbal (Pak) bt Hon Fung Wong (Hkg)
11-3, 11-4, 11-7 (22m)
Rex Hedrick (Aus) bt Elvinn Keo (Mas)
3-11, 11-4, 16-14, 11-5 (67m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) bt James Huang (Tpe)
11-7, 11-7, 1-11, 11-7 (34m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Lewis Walters (Eng) 3-11, 11-4,
9-11, 11-1, 11-6 (55m)
Qualifying Round One:
Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
Hon Fung Wong (Hkg) bt Yuen Tsun-Hei (Hkg)
12-14, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 (40m)
Elvinn Keo (Mas) bt Ahmad Alzabidi (Jor)
7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (45m)
Rex Hedrick (Aus) bt Yip Tsz Fung (Hkg)
12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 (45m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) bt JaeJin Yoo (Kor)
11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (25m)
James Huang (Tpe) bt Wong Chi-Him (Hkg)
11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (28m)
Lewis Walters (Eng) bt Sehyun Lee (Kor)
11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (32m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Ma Tsz Hei (Hkg)
11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 (44m)
Top seeds through to final
Top seeds Alister Walker and Laurens Jan Anjema will contest the
final of the HKFC International at Hong Kong Football Club after
both completed straight-game wins in their semi-finals.
Bill Cox reports
With seeds 3 and 4 Olli
Tuominen (FIN) and Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) knocked out in last
night’s Quarter Finals the way seemed open for Laurens Jan Anjema
and Alister Walker to have relatively easy semi-finals passages to
the final. Opponents, Mahd Nafizwan Adnan (MAS) and qualifier
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) had both had hard five game matches in the
Quarter Finals and it was expected the top seeds to win in style.
Up to this stage in the tournament Qualifier Abouelghar had produced
a breathtaking display of excellent tight squash mixed in with the
usual Egyptian shot making flair to win four matches in four days.
His run to the Semi-final culminating in the close 60 minute, 5-game
match against fellow countryman and number 3 seed Gamal in the
Walker on the other hand had only played two matches and although
last night’s match against Hong Kong number 1, Max Lee is shown as
an 85 minute game it was split with a lengthy injury break in the
second game. With Walker losing the first two games he had to dig
deep to bring the match back onto level terms, but once that was
achieved he took the last game 11-2.
Bill Cox/The Epoch Times
There were two upsets, and nearly a
third, in the quarter-finals of the HKFC International. Qualifier
Mohamed Abouelghar won his all-Egyptian match with fourth seedc
Karim Abdel Gawad, and now meets top seed Alister Walker, who
had to come from two games down to see off the challenge of Hong
Kong's own Max Lee after 85 minutes.
Second seed LJ Anjema despatched Julian Illingworth in
straight games, and he also meets an undeeded opponent in the semis
after Malaysia's Nafiizwan Adnan came through a five-setter
to topple Finnish third seed Olli Tuominen.
Paul Errington reports
Julian Illingworth (USA) v
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
If the first game gives an indication of what is to follow then the
first point is even more reflective of what is to come. So the first
point was a let and Illingworth was told to make more of an effort!
This resulted in the first of many court door openings to dispute
calls of questionable nature. The first game Anjema was ahead 7 -2
but two corkscrew serves brought Illingworth up to 5 – 7. But they
were the last points he won in this game with 11-5 the final score.
The vocal Illingworth was down 8 -3 in the second when he was warned
for racket abuse and then lost a point for ball abuse, which ended
with another loss at 11-3.
Anjema was playing consistently well and kept up the pressure and
even though Illingsworth frustrations became more focused on the
third game which was 7 -6 at one point, he still could not raise his
game sufficiently with a loss in the third of 11 – 7.
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Egypt v Egypt will always ensure a good match and with Karim, ranked
20th and Mohamed 76th, expectations were obvious. But what an upset!
Mohamed was 6-2 down in the first but came back to 8-6 and finally
won 11- 8. The younger players definitely showed more energy and
amazing flexibility that stunned us older players. It was a match of
attrition with subsequent games swinging both ways, Karim wining the
second 11-7, Mohamed the third 11-6,Karim the fourth 11-5. Two all
and Mohamed battled to win the fifth 11-5 to go through to the
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Naflizwan Adnan (MAS)
A powerful game from the start, both Tuominen and Adnan had a style
and sportsmanship that makes the game reputable and enjoyable to
watch. The first game was close at 11-8 but the game was close and
went to Adnan. Tuominen came back in the second and third quite
convincingly with 11-4 then 11-8. Adnan came back with excellent
play to take the fourth 11 – 9. Down to the fifth and Adnan forced
the game into a very close and long game of 11- 8 win. Tuominen as
third seed is now out of the tournament with Adnan as at 7th seed
coming up. Their PSA rankings are 24th and 40th respectively..
Ali Walker (BOT) v Max Lee (HK)
This game was more equivalent to a final rather than a quarter
final. With the crowd well behind the local player, Lee, but still
supporting a good friend to the HKFC, Walker. The first game was an
excellent win to Lee with convincing shots that had Walker on his
back foot. Lee then continued his winning streak into the second
game but this was interrupted with a clash that required medical
assistance to a cut above Lee’s eye.
After some considerable time, the game resumed. Walker then two
games down came back (as the PSA number 10 there were expectations)
Walker, with his amazing agility of being able to dive on the floor,
get back up and still win the point was stunning. Walker came back
to win the third game 11- 8 and then 11- 8 in the fourth.
Down to the final game, which like all the games was not easy for
either player but Walkers experience and determination came through
with a win of the fifth game 11- 2. This was squash at its best with
good sportsmanship and amazing skill by both players.
29-May, round One:
Julian Harniess reports
A busy, busy night of squash in the first round of the main draw,
when the Cinderellas from the qualifying rounds finally won through
to go the Ball. A packed audience witnessed some top-class squash,
with the big guns finally putting in an appearance, but although
most results favoured the draw, there were some upsets.
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) played Henrik Mustonen (Fin) who, I am
reliably informed, is a rising star, but his star did not shine
quite so brightly tonight as he went down 3-2. The young Egyptian,
played some outstanding squash and was the first of the young
qualifying guns to win through to the second round of the main
The other qualifiers did not fare quite so well, with Nasir Iqbal
(Pak) losing to Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 0-3, while Muhd
Asyraf Azan (Mas)
tamely went out to Max Lee (Hkg) 0-3.
Rex Hedrick (Aus) put up a very good fight against top seed
(Bot) but succumbed in 3. However, he can certainly walk tall,
playing with aplomb against the number one seed.
In the other games, Julian Illingworth (USA) beat Marwan El Shorbagy
(Egy), which was a bit of an upset, given the difference in ranking
to Shorbagy’s favour, but the American stuck to his game plan and
won 11-6 in the fourth. A contentious match at times, but there was
no doubt as to the better player on the night.
Olli Tuominen (Fin) romped home against a wild card, Cheuk Yan
Tang (Hkg) although, again, the young player did not disgrace
himself at all and enjoyed the experience of playing against such a
renowned player as Tuominen.
“Playing against someone of his calibre gave me the opportunity
to raise my game,” said Tang, “which it certainly did.”
Other results went as expected: LJ Anjema (Ned) resisted the
late charge of Karim Ali Fathi (Egy) to win 3-0, while
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
recorded the same 3-0 score against the local player Leo Au (Hkg).
All in all, a night of fine squash play which enthralled the
spectators who relished the skills of these players whose ability
they can only dream of acquiring. But this is the beauty of squash,
when the ordinary club player can learn much from seeing the best
practitioners of the game.
Tomorrow augurs well and many of those who watched tonight will be
back again to enjoy this top-quality squash.
Qualifying Finals at HKFC
Julian Harniess reports
The second round of the Hong Kong Football Club Open 2013 got
underway tonight with the winners of last night’s first-round
qualifying tussles fighting it out tonight for a place in the main
event which starts on Wednesday 29th May.
Four matches were billed and four matches were played, with very
On first were Elvinn Keo (Mas) against Rex Hedrick (Aus) and Lewis
Walters (Eng) against Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) and what a contrast in
matches they were.
Keo and Hedrick fought a war of attrition. Keo, the better stroke
player, won the first relatively easily: 11-3, but it was as if
Hedrick needed this game to get into his stride; he tirelessly
retrieved in the second to win 11-4.
Keo came out fighting in the third and looked to have clinched it at
10-7, but he reckoned without Hedrick’s superhuman retrievals which
evened the game at 10 all and Hedrick eventually took the game
16-14. By this time Hedrick was in his stride and wore Keo down in
the fourth to win it 11-5.
The highlight of the play tonight was between Walters and Azan, but
much for the wrong reasons. Azan has those playing qualities that
are reminiscent of Remy Ashour’s, but he certainly does not share
that player’s undoubted sense of fair play and humour.
finally won 3-2 in a match not enjoyed by the writer, report
The other two matches were rather predictable. Nasir Iqbal, fresh
from his problems with visas which almost saw him returned to
Pakistan before he had set foot in Hong Kong and only prevented by
the intercession of the Pakistani High Commission, dispatched a very
plucky Hon Fun Wong (HKG) in 22 minutes 3-0, while Mohamed
Abouelghar (Egy), after racing to a 2-0 lead 11-7, 11-7, went
walkabout in the third losing 1-11, but going on to close the match
in the fourth 11-5.
Tomorrow, the main event begins with the qualifiers now having to
really sing for their suppers ...