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CIMB Malaysian Open 2010
19-24 Jul, Kuala Lumpur, $52k*2

Draws & Results

Finals Gallery

Men's Final:
[4] Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt [7] Tarek Momen (Egy)
               11/5, 11/6, 11/8 (37m)
Women's Final:
[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt  [2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
               11/6, 6/11, 11/7, 10/12, 11/5 (72m)



It's a home double for Malaysia
Will Mather reports from KL

Nicol David and Azlan Iskandar made it a good day for the home fans at the Curve Mall in Kuala Lumpur, with contrasting victories in the finals - Iskandar was always in control against surprise finalist Tarek Momen, while David was pushed all the way by world number two Jenny Duncalf before claiming her sixth successive Malaysian Open title.

Azlan Iskandar earned his biggest victory of the year among his closest friends when he beat Momen for the 2010 CIMB Malaysian Open crown.

"He was just too quick and his shots too precise," said a smiling Momen afterwards. "I knew I would be tired, and when I stepped on court, my legs were heavy... but I didn't play bad. Just not as quick as Azlan today," continued Momen.

Indeed, Iskandar has played with minimal errors en route to the title, giving up only one game along the way. It was an uneventful win in which Momen found himself behind, again, but without the energy to reel Iskandar back in.

Momen's run was great, equalled and bettered this time around by Iskandar, deservedly the champion after such consistent play in front of his neighbours, friends and family.

In a thrilling final for the WISPA Gold event, Nicol David outlasted Jenny Duncalf to earn another title in Malaysia.

Duncalf showed variety in her shot selection and pace to try and throw off the world #1, but it was David demonstrating her athletic prowess and agility, continuing to command the rallies and sending Duncalf all around the court.

The match was filled with excitement, so much so that at the close of long rallies determined by close drops, the enthusiastic crowd shouted for a home decision when Duncalf knew better, and let the crowd know in her charming manner, gesturing 'down' to the hecklers along the side of the court.

It was a fun match indeed among two very professional women, and it was Duncalf's charm and athleticism that earned her an enthusiastic reception from the crowd.

Meanwhile, Nicol David continues her dominance of the WISPA tour and the two will likely see much more of each other in the coming season.

Will Mather

23-Jul, Semis:
Hopes of home double still alive in KL
Will Mather reports

Top seeds Nicol David and Jenny Duncalf will contest the women's final on Saturday, with the Malaysian world number one going for her sixth successive title. Before that Azlan Iskandar will be hoping to claim the men's title against surprise finalist Tarek Momen ...

[4] Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt [Q] Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
           11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (54m)

Farhan Mehboob’s run came to an end today - nearly by collision - with Malaysia's Azlan Iskandar. In his first ever meeting with Iskandar, the two quickly chatted it up on court after repeated let calls.

The Malaysian parked himself on the ‘T’ and with it came the collisions. With it came the accusations and the risks, of which little was done to manage. In all fairness to the referees, these are always difficult to call from the seat. In the end, Mehboob didn’t play his normal, diverse game, seemingly reluctant to take it to the front, which wasn't going to be enough against Iskandar.

The Malaysian moves on to the final after dropping only one game all tournament and continues to play consistent, accurate squash.

[7] Tarek Momen (Egy) bt [1] Mohammed El Shorbagy (Egy)
        8-11, 13-11, 2-11, 11-4, 12-10 (75m)

In a classic match, the patient Momen wore down top seed Shorbagy, earning his second consecutive 5-star PSA final. In his last tournament, the Kolkata Challenger in April, Momen lost the final to Shorbagy in an equally grueling 5-game match.

Today, Momen got the upper hand in the fifth after a steady attacking of the backhand. “And he was getting them all,” commented Momen.

“He was getting everything on the backhand, which is where I like to play… he  was playing so good today,” said an exhausted Momen, staying stationary in his chair long after the match was over.

He continued, “your (Squashsite) prediction was right on, except you got one thing wrong: I’m the one who is tired,” Momen joked.

A well earned victory for sure, and an interesting matchup against Iskandar in the final, as it was also in Kolkata where Momen defeated Iskandar in straight games.

[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [Q] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
         11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10 (54m)

Raneem El Weleily’s dream run has come to an end at the hands of Jenny Duncalf. Weleily has been the story of the tournament, blowing up the draw on her way to her first ever semifinal appearance in a WISPA Gold Event.

Weleily’s consistent backhand drop gave trouble to Duncalf who played fine, tight squash, trying to keep her opponent in the backcourt.

Moment of the Match: After Duncalf jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth, Weleily reeled off several points and took control 9-5. But a few too many mistakes and Duncalf was able to stave off the young Egyptian.

“I had a great start in the fourth, no pressure at all, then she turned up the pace and it took me by surprise, really,” said Duncalf as she addressed the crowd.

“I was very fortunate to put it away and I look forward to playing in my first final here in Malaysia. Its been a great tournament and a great crowd!”

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [4] Alison Waters (Eng)
        14-12, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7 (64m)

Waters played phenomenally as she forced David into all four corners with pressure squash, but David held her ground in a very close semifinal match, cming from 8-10 down in the first and 7-10 in the second, winning both on extra points.

Waters has a diverse arsenal of shots and used them all today, showing she has recovered from her injury from before. Though the nemesis, the crowd fell in love with the English gal who pushed their local hero to the limit.

When asked about the match being a good warm up to the final, David responded, “I’m just happy to be in the final. Today’s match was great… Alison just kept going ...”


Draws & Results

Photo Gallery


Men's Semis & Final only

Photo Gallery

CIMB Malaysian Open 2010
19-24 Jul, Kuala Lumpur, $55k
Round One
21 Jul
Quarters
22 Jul
Semis
23 Jul
Final
24 Jul
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/7, 11/5, 11/4
[Q] Joelle King (Nzl)
[1] Nicol David
11/4, 11/4, 11/8
Camille Serme
[1] Nicol David

14-12, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7 (64m)

[4] Alison Waters

[1] Nicol David

 11/6, 6/11, 11/7, 10/12, 11/5 (72m)

[2] Jenny Duncalf

[7] Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/2, 5/11, 11/6, 11/5
Camille Serme (Fra)
[4] Alison Waters (Eng)
10/12, 11/5, 12/10, 11/6
[Q] Tania Bailey (Eng)
[4] Alison Waters
11/5, 11/3, 3/11, 11/4
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
8/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/9, 11/3
Kasey Brown (Aus)
[Q] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
9/11, 11/9, 9/11, 11/8, 11/9
[8] Laura Massaro (Eng)
[8] Laura Massaro
11/6, 7/11, 7/11, 11/4, 13/11
[Q] Raneem El Weleily
[Q] Raneem El Weleily

11-8, 11-5, 8-11,
12-10 (54m)

[2] Jenny Duncalf

[Q] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
12/10, 14/16, 11/9, 12/10
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
Low Wee Wern (Mas)
9/11, 11/8, 7/11, 14/12, 11/7
[6] Natalie Grainger (Usa)
Low Wee Wern
11/5, 11/6, 11/3
[2] Jenny Duncalf
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
11/6, 11/3, 11/6
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
Qualifying Finals:

Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Nour El Sherbini (EGY)   4/11, 11/5, 11/8, 8/11, 14/12 (67m)
Joelle King (NZL) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND)             11/7, 11/7, 7/11, 11/9 (45m)
Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS)     9/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/6 (39m)
Tania Bailey (ENG) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS)           11/6, 11/5, 11/5 (32m)

Qualifying Round One:
 
Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Sharon Wee (MAS)       11/8, 13/11, 12/10 (30m)
Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Line Hansen (DEN)           11/5, 6/11, 11/3, 7/11, 11/6 (37m)
Joelle King (NZL) bt Joey Chan (HKG)                     13/11, 11/2, 8/11, 11/6 (40m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Olga Ertlova (CZE)          11/4, 11/8, 11/7 (27m)

Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Aisling Blake (IRL)               7/11, 11/7 6/11, 12/10, 11/4 (65m)
Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS) bt Rebecca Chiu (HKG)     11/3, 11/3, 5/11, 11/6 (41m)
Tania Bailey (ENG) bt Delia Arnold (MAS)                13/11, 11/4, 11/7  (47m)
Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt Pushppa Dev (MAS)         8/11, 11/5, 11/3, 11/5 (29m)
CIMB Malaysian Open 2010
19-24 Jul, Kuala Lumpur, $52k
Round One
21 Jul
Quarters
22 Jul
Semis
23 Jul
Final
24 Jul
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (33 MIN)
[Q] Siddarth Suchde (Ind)
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy
7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10
[5] Ong Beng Hee
[1] Mohamed El Shorbagy

8-11, 13-11, 2-11,
11-4, 12-10 (75m)

[7] Tarek Momen

[7] Tarek Momen

11/5, 11/6, 11/8 (37m)

[4] Azlan Iskandar

[5] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (57 MIN)
[Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
[3] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (45 MIN)
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
[3] Stewart Boswell
8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5
[7] Tarek Momen
[7] Tarek Momen (Egy)
6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (55 MIN)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 (65 MIN)
[6] Aamir Atlas Khan (Mas)
[6] Aamir Atlas Khan
11-7, 11-8, 11-2
[4] Azlan Iskandar
[4] Azlan Iskandar

11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (54m)

[Q] Farhan Mehboob

Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11-4, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5 (43 MIN)
[4] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
Martin Knight (Nzl)
11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (40 MIN)
[8] Simon Rosner (Ger)
[8] Simon Rosner
11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 11-7
[Q] Farhan Mehboob
[Q] Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
13-11, 14-12, 11-8 (54 MIN)
[2] Cameron Pilley (Aus)

Qualifying Finals:

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Alan Clyne (Sco)                  7/4 rtd (7m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Kristian Frost (Den)        11/3, 8/11, 11/6, 11/6 (60m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) bt Gilly Lane (Usa)                11/7, 11/9, 6/11, 11/8 (77m)
Farhan Mehboob (Pak) bt Ivan Yuen (Mas)               14/12, 11/9, 11/4 (40m)

Qualifying Round One:

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Choong Kam Hing (Mas)        13/11, 11/7, 11/5 (27m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Kamran Khan (Mas)                   11/7, 11/3, 7/11, 5/11, 11/5 (52m)
Kristian Frost (Den) bt Kashif Shuja (Nzl)                  7/11, 11/8, 11/4, 10/12, 11/9 (77m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Harinderpal Sandhu (Ind) 7/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/4 (70m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) bt Steve Finitsis (Aus)             11/8, 11/4, 8/11, 7/11, 11/8 (67m)
Gilly Lane (Usa) bt Ng Jo Wen (Mas)                          11/4, 11/5, 12/10 (18m)
Ivan Yuen (Mas) bt Muhd Zil Arzi (Mas)                      11/3, 11/5, 12/10 (20m)
Farhan Mehboob (Pak) bt Max Lee (Hkg)                    11/8, 11/8, 11/8 (38m)

23-Jul:
SquashStars live blog

[4] Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt [Q] Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
             11/7, 11/7, 11/7
[7] Tarek Momen (Egy) bt [1] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
             8/11, 13/11, 2/11, 11/4, 12/10

[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [Q] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
             11/8, 11/5, 8/11, 12/10
[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [4] Alison Waters (Eng)
             14/12, 12/10, 6/11, 11/7

SquashStars live blog

22-Jul, Quarters:
El Weleily continues to upset,
Momen & Mehboob excel ...

Will Mather reports from KL

What a fine job Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia has done of setting up this tournament here in Malaysia. We're at our new venue, the Curve mall.

As Simon Rosner put it, "this is a fantastic tournament. Its great for the players because our hotel is attached to the mall, which has a large food court. We spend little time travelling and have lots of options right outside our door. I really enjoy coming to Malaysia."

An excellent job is to be credited to each person in the organizing committee and I'm thankful they have looked after me in my newly acquired handicapped status.

Farhan Mehboob bt Simon Rosner 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 11-7(40m)

Missed opportunities for Rosner led to an early two game hole against an in form Mehboob. "I've played Simon a few times, both in the juniors and in the PSA, and we're good friends off the court," commented Mehboob.

"His game has improved, he has much more experience now. But I've been working with my coaches and we really emphasized dropping," said Mehboob referring to Rosner.

Indeed, the German looked excellent after he put aside early mistakes and maintained aggression in spite of Mehboob constantly bringing the game to the front. But it wasn't enough today as Mehboob moves on as the first semifinalist.

Jenny Duncalf bt Low Wee Wern  11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (35m)

Duncalf pinned Wern back and never gave her any breathing room, eventually exhausted the athletic Wern.

"Its quite difficult digging the ball out of the corners of this court," said Duncalf. The Brit was moving well and controlling the tempo of the game.

"I'm feeling good and well rested as we start the season...I'm looking forward to the semis."

Azlan Iskandar bt Aamir Atlas Khan 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (41m)

A one sided affair, Iskandar played near flawless squash, committing only a few errors early on before quickly dismissing Khan in front of a supportive Curve audience.

Next up: Farhan Mehboob and the two have never played.

Raneem El Weleily bt Laura Massaro
         11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 11-4, 13-11 (62m)

It all came down to the fifth and final game, where after jumping out to a 5-2 lead, Massaro couldn't connect and Weleily turned it up, scoring 7 unanswered points.

"I was telling myself, 'No tins. Be patient. Don't take it to the front too early.' I think patience was the key to winning that last game." said Weleily with a smile from ear to ear. Massaro answered, reeling off three points before the players forced extra points.

Massaro's deep boasts regularly put Weleily under pressue, "I just couldn't see it, but told myself to get it when I could," shared Weleily.

An incredible run for the young Egyptian, this is her first time making it to the semifinals of WISPA gold event.

Tarek Momen bt Stewart Boswell
        8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (65m)

Don't make Momen angry! "The end of the second finished with another bad call and I got angry. For some reason, its working that way this tournament," shared an excited Momen after the match.

You could sense the momentum shift as Momen found his rhythm with ridiculously tight drops, of which Boswell countered creatively.

"I sensed he was getting tired and when he couldn't shut me out of the third, I knew we would go to a fifth...he (Boswell) was hitting drops on me I just couldn't get," said Momen.

The two battled it out with drops and counter drops, misdirection and flicks that had the crowd gasping and clapping at the completion of every rally.

A truly impressive match that likely created new squash fans while shopping at the Curve! Simply a world class match!

Alison Waters bt Omney Abdel Kawy
         11-5, 11-3, 3-11, 11-4 (36m)

A visibly struggling Kawy was able to play courageously in the third, but otherwise was flat against an in-form Waters.

"I've been off for the last two months due to injury, but now I'm feeling well and am ready to go." Waters played with vigor, putting muscle into every shot, but not looking labored as she kept Kawy back.

"Yeah, she (Kawy) is so good up front, so I just wanted to keep her away from her strengths." said Waters. "The ball dies in back, so if you are hitting good length, you'll get rewarded, and in that way, I was able to keep the pressure on her."

Mohammed El Shorbagy bt Ong Beng Hee
        7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 (81m*) *Injury Time

Beng Hee took it to Shorbagy but it wasn't enough. Shorbagy smelled blood in the fourth (or third if you want to be literal, the Malaysian needing two blood injury timeouts) and decided not to let it go to a fifth.

"All I was thinking is that I don't want to play another fifth against Beng Hee." said Shorbagy. "I lost to him in the fifth when we last played here in Kuala Lumpur at the KL Open."

Shorbagy stepped up after being down a game ball in the fourth, putting it away with a relentless attack to the front.

Shorbagy looked confident throughout, especially being down in the fourth as he was playing his top spin shots, risky as they are, despite the deficit. In the end, he was too good on the evening and moves on to face Tarek Momen.

Nicol David bt Camille Serme [11-4, 11-4, 11-8] (28)

David was in control, taking it early and often to Serme's back hand. Serme is already a top 10 player, so to say she has a bright future is redundant, but the lady can play.

The two demonstrated some fantastic footwork en route to complex rallies. David stuck to a vanilla game, hitting it hard and keeping Serme back, slowly working it to the front when the opportunity came.


    

Draws & Results

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Semis & Finals now


Semis & Finals now

 
21-Jul, Round One:
El Weleily Wipes Out Ex-World Champion Grinham In KL
Will Mather reports from KL

Forgive me for not covering all the courts and providing you the match reviews for the first round of WISPA. I am bound to crutches and the frequent trip up/down stairs and across the viewing gallery is just too much for me in this condition. I want to thank Dr. Aston Ngai Seng Huey of Dr. Aston Sports Clinic, the onsite Doctor here at the Malaysian Open, for his kind professionalism in treating me and my painful leg. From here on out, we'll be playing at a new venue, the Curve mall, with its lone glass court which will make it easier to bring you the stories behind the matches. With that said, here's what happened:

The women were extremely competitive today with many matches going the distance. Nicol David cruised in her match, as did Jenny Duncalf. Alison Waters was pressed by by Tania Bailey, taking the win in just under an hour. Omneya Abdel Kawy came from 2-1 down to beat Kasey Brown of Australia. Laura Massaro survived a close encounter with Dipika Pallikal to avoid being another upset seed. It was third seed Rachael Grinham who was dropped in a closely fought battle with Raneem El Weleily of Egypt. Sixth seed Natalie Grainger of the US was upended by local Low Wee Wern in a massive match and seventh seed Madeline Perry couldn't get things going as she was taken out by Camille Serme.

Simon Rosner defeated Martin Knight in straight games. The match started patiently, but the following two games were very quick. "In the beginning I was very nervous and was unwilling to bring it to the front. I was very fortunate to get that first game. I became more comfortable as the match progressed and am very happy to make the quarters of my first 5 star event! I've been working with my coach and since I have been steadily climbing the rankings."

Farhan Mehboob defeated Cameron Pilley in a high quality match. Both players made each other earn almost every point, exchanging shots at exceptional length and width while playing at a high pace. In the end, Mehboob was just a little better at closing out the crucial points. Moment of the match: Pilley's game ball in the second. With the loss of that point and eventually the game, Pilley was deflated. "He's [Pilley] is such a great player and I've played him a few times now. I'm very happy with todays match as it was great squash and a good win. I received some great advice from my coach Jamshed Khan, whom has so much experience. It really helped today and I came out with a 3-0 win and look forward to playing more. I expect to do well in this tournament, as will Aamir [Atlas Khan]. I hope to at least make the semis."

Aamir Atlas Khan defeated Ryan Cuskelly in an interesting match. Khan can appear to play with leisure, but when he put his foot down, he kept Cuskelly at bay. Moment of the match: After being down 5-9 in the fourth, Khan reeled in Cuskelly with an array of shots that kept Cuskelly grounded, eventually closing out any hopes of a fifth. Cuskelly's racket is excellent, the kid has got game and he'll only climb the rankings in the time to come. He was fun to watch.

Azlan Iskandar defeated Campbell Grayson in a good match. I was impressed with Grayson whom was in trouble early with Iskandar's volleys, but with each effort he made Iskandar take just one more shot. "I wish I played better," said Iskandar after the match, but all credit to Grayson whose 'never say die' game kept him in it all the way.

Stewart Boswell defeated Aaron Frankcomb in the performance of the day. Frankcomb is an excellent player and a personable lad on the tour, but today, Boswell was all business. His delicate drops from the back court were so shallow and low, forcing repeated movements to the backhand side of Frankcomb. It paid off with a straight games victory. "Those first two games were touch and go, so I'm happy to have gotten those games. I'm feeling good as we start the new season, there is a lot coming up, so I want to do well," said Boswell after the match.

Tarek Momen defeated Muhd. Nafizwan Adnan in an immensely entertaining and brutal match. Volley happy Momen kept Adnan in a static lunge throughout the match, eventually wearing down the athletic local. The moment of the match came in the third came, as Momen himself described afterwards, "I was down 5-10 in the third when I got angry over a bad call. I think it helped me focus because after that, it just felt as if my vision, clarity, was much better." Momen went on win that game, converting a pontential one game deficit into a one game advantage. Adnan's performance was praiseworthy and he is only getting better with each match!

Ong Beng Hee outpointed Muhd. Asyraf Azan in a lengthy, but scrappy match. Azan exhausted all possible mental games and finally conceded the match to Ong, who seemed in control throughout. The moment of the match came late in the fifth though, when Ong picked himself up off the floor from a vicious looking collision. Ong, who just recovered from a back injury, went immediately to physio afterwards.

Mohamed El Shorbagy drove the Siddarth Suchde in straight games, but was put under pressure early and often. Suchde put in a commendable effort, unfortunately making too many mistakes along the way. Shorbagy's high 'T' position created some incredible angles, but Suchde adjusted with many volleys of his own. "Shorbagy was just better than me," said a humble Suchde. Shorbagy was impressed with Suchde both off and on court, "Sidd went to Harvard while also playing squash at the highest level. Here he is, climbing the ranking and playing really well." This was Shorbagy's first event as the top seed, but he took it in stride. "It was the same with the Juniors, but everyone is coming after you, so there is pressure. Its the pressure I'm used to. I have been training in Alexandria and ready to go for the new season, so I hope to play well."

Now, off for some ice and rest. Happy squashing!


    

Draws & Results

Live on Facebook

 

20-Jul, Qualifying Finals:
Azan Boosts Local Interest
Will Mather reports

PSA
The four qualifiers earned their stripes today at the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur. This place is large, nicely appointed and has lots of stairs: perfectly inconvenient for my torn achilles tendon I just suffered the day before departing for Kuala Lumpur....

While thunder roared with heavy tropical rains outside the large complex originally built for the Commonwealth Games, I joined a few hundred squash enthusiasts eager to see great matches to secure the vacant qualifier spots. A surprise among them is local Muhd. Asyraf Azan who had beaten both Harinder Pal Sandhu and Kristen Frost Olesen to grab a spot. Unfortunately, Azan's on court antics were childish an unprofessional in his match with Olesen, whom I thought was more than gracious in defeat.

Farhan Mehboob, with victories over talented youths Max Lee and Ivan Yuen, moves into the main draw. Both Lee and Yuen are excellent players, but Mehboob kept the pressure up, forcing loose shots from the difficult retrieval efforts his opponents did. There were flashes of brilliance in Yuen's game where he returned the pressure via volley and the ball didn't make it past the service line for points at a time! You gotta love squash! These guys make it look easy, but to the keen eye, you know it's painful and arduous to play at such a pace. Mehboob moves on to face Cameron Pilley of Australia in a first round showdown.

Siddarth Suchde is the lone Indian male to make the main draw. With victories over Steve Finitsis and Gilly Lane, he has justified his billing. Suchde maintained consistency throughout his match with Lane, whom gave away points - crucial points - whenever he assumed control of the rally. This is unfortunate because Lane played fine, tight squash in an excellent match! Suchde earns an opportunity to take out top seed Mohammed El Shorbagy in tomorrow's first round.

Ryan Cuskelly was victorious over Choong Kam Hing and Alan Clyne to earn his bid into the main draw. The capable shot maker in Cuskelly versus the incredibly athletic Clyne was a match I was eager to see and just as quickly as I turned my camera on, the match was over. Unfortunately, just 7 minutes in, a very stoic Clyne pulled out with an ankle injury. "I arrived a few days back and injured it while playing. Then, yesterday, I had a difficult match which worsened it. Its best I get some physio now in preparation for the upcoming tournaments, but its really unfortunate." said Clyne. Cuskelly moves on to face Aamir Atlas Khan in a first round battle.

WISPA
This was as good as one could have hoped for with such a talented field. That much can be said for the tournament overall - depth. The fields are deep in quality, and on the WISPA side, I'm impressed at the diversity of the field. Our sport truly is played by all and we are only beginning to see the possibilities...

For certain there was going to be a second Egyptian in the main draw and the top seeded qualifer, Raneem El Weleily, earned it with a victories over talents Sharon Wee and Nour El Sherbini. The young Sherbini just ran out of steam and couldn't take advantage of the opportunities when she had them, of which Weleily minimized. The two played with a sense of familiarity with one another and it made for entertaining squash.

Joelle King moves into the main draw with quality victories over Joey Chan and Joshna Chinappa. King now has the opportunity to take out top seed, local legend and the player whom Center Court of this National Squash Complex is named after, Nicol David.

Dipika Pallikal continues to impress with victories over Aisling Blake and Siti Munirah Jusoh to set up her clash with Laura Massaro of England. With WISPA junior players Amanda Sobhy, Nour El Tayeb, Nour El Sherbini and Pallikal all stepping into the mix with success, the resulting confidence and experience has laid a firm foundation for WISPA in the years to come and is nothing but the greatest thing for squash!

Tania Bailey turned things upside down with victories over Delia Arnold and Donna Urquhart - without dropping a game! Bailey is set to play Alison Waters and you can be sure that Bailey's confidence will help spurn an upset.

Cheers to more squash!


  

Draws & Results

KL here we come
Men's preview from Will Mather

We are days away from the 2010 edition of the CIMB Malaysian Open! Lets get the conversation started with a look at the mens side with potential matchups and predictions to make for at least good banter.

Qualifying

Qualifying will heat up early and there is a real threat to the main draw. Such an event attracts the highest caliber of players and to see this group as qualifiers is scary. Talented and athletic, the players are coming from all over, with Australian lefty Ryan Cuskelly topping the list. All qualifiers are noteworthy, not the least of which are a couple of top ranked Indian players in Siddarth Suchde and speedster Harinder "Harry" Pal Sandhu. However, keep an eye on another lefty, Pakistan's Farhan Mehboob as you can expect him to advance to the main draw. The former world # 16 is lurking as a qualifier only because of limited play this year on the world tour and could upset seeds in the first round, too.

First Round

Expect to see Farhan Mehboob into the main draw, but should he draw Malaysian and local favorite Ong Beng Hee, while a treat, will be a steep charge for any of the qualifiers - home court advantage is an element sure to affect the deeper rounds as the tournament progresses. Aside from Ong, the fifth seed, qualifiers will be paired against the top seed Mohammed El Shorbagy, second seed Cameron Pilley and sixth seed Aamir Atlas Khan.

While unfortunate to see fellow countrymen Stewart Boswell and Aaron Frankcomb facing off in the first round, lets hope the seedings diversify and we don't see further domestic disputes.

A first round must-see match will be the drop savvy Tarek Momen of Egypt facing the athletic Malaysian Muhd. Nafizwan Adnan, the world #58 and Wild Card recipient for this event. "Wan" as he is known on the tour, is a strong, gifted athlete and is capable of covering the front, but can he counter and control with consistent retrieving? Or will Momen have him visiting all four corners? This match, played in Wan's backyard, has upset potential and will be fun to see should each player play to his strength. Momen, if he can get past Adnan, could rip open the tournament in his pursuit for his first PSA title.

Prediction: 3-2 to Momen.


Quarter Finals

The upper half of the draw is brutal and could go a variety of ways, including a potential all Egypt semi. Here's a look at how things could sort out in the quarters.

Shorbagy vs Ong - Could be the match of the tournament. Shorbagy leads the head to head 3-2. Fact: four of the five matches have gone the distance. Fact: Ong will have generous support from the crowd. Fact: Shorbagy is riding a wave of confidence, stemming from his first PSA title in India where he beat Ong in the process.

Prediction: The local hero is fueled by the crowd and the top seed falls in a worthy match, 3-2 to Ong.

Boswell vs Momen/Adnan - Boswell, a former world #4, has - putting it simply - a sound game and will likely have more rest, further posing problems for the survivor of the Momen/Adnan match. However, a Boswell-Momen match will be very interesting style wise and could present a problem for the higher ranked Australian.

Prediction: Momen surprises many with the upset.

Khan vs Iskandar - Consider this the rubber match after the Asian Championships where Iskandar beat Khan for the individual title, then lost days later for the team title. This match depends largely on which Khan shows up, as his shot making capabilities are enough to keep the best players apprehensive.

Prediction: home court advantage and a 3-1 victory to Iskandar.

Rosner vs Pilley - according to the PSA records, these two have never met on the world tour. Expect a variety of shots from Pilley to make the talented German, Rosner, run. Rosner may try and counter by setting up a tempo with good length. Rosner will make Pilley work for it in a match that will make the court look small.

Prediction: 3-1 to Pilley.

Semi Finals
The last men standing...


Ong vs Momen - I can't imagine the winner of the Shorbagy/Ong match having enough in the tank, but against Momen it won't be any easier.

Prediction: Momen

Iskandar vs Pilley - could get messy at the T, but Pilley, in spite of his size, creates space on the court by moving the ball all around. Iskandar will hold his ground, and both will look to volley and up the pace. Has the recipe for risky, entertaining squash!

Prediction: don't underestimate the homeboy, 3-2 to Iskandar in a scrapper.

Final
There is no underestimating the stamina of the players who make it to the final, especially the finalist from the upper half of the draw.

Momen vs Iskandar - To be played on center court, located in the middle of "The Curve" mall in front of a few thousand eager locals, Iskandar will have the advantage. However, I would expect this final to surprise many and Momen is able to focus, notching his first PSA title.

Prediction: 3-2, to Momen.

A long shot, but the young Egyptian has what it takes to bring home the hardware. Let the debating begin...  have your say on the forum


Make your own predictions and win a Prince EX03 Rebel Racket

KL here we come part II
Women's preview from Will Mather

Earlier I took a brief look at the PSA draw for the CIMB Malaysian Open. Now for a look at the WISPA side of the same event.

Qualifying

Whoever thought the qualifying rounds could be so much fun? With the exceptional juniors Nour El Sherbini and Dipika Pallikal attempting to qualify for a major WISPA event, its an opportunity to see the future of squash for many, many years to come. These two young ladies are incredibly capable and will warrant a watching out of sheer curiosity. A motivated Pallikal is as good as any on tour. Another player to keep track of, Delia Arnold of Malaysia, will have the support of the crowd and will try and ride that into the main draw, which will be equally fun to capture. An underdog local playing in front of the home crowd against some of the best in the world? Qualifying will be fun!

First Round

There are a few pairings that have upset potential in this round, otherwise, expect the majority of the matches to go according to seeding.

Nicol David of Malaysia will take the stage against a qualifier. David is truly a professional and will not underestimate her opponent, but she will confidently put away whomever qualifies to step onto the court with her. Anytime an opportunity arises to watch her play, you must grab it!
Prediction: David

An excellent matchup pits Ireland's Madeline Perry against France's Camille Serme. Perry is seeded in the tournament, but Serme will contend with quality as she continues to make progress accelerated by her continued matches with the highest profile players. In a word, Serme is becoming consistent and this event will giver her an opportunity to improve upon her record against top 10 players of which she is company.

Prediction: Serme earns her best result against Perry and scores the upset.

Alison Waters vs Qualifier. Waters may get tested depending upon the outcome of the qualifiers. At this level of play, sometimes a stylistic mismatch can present itself and there are some possibilities here. Expect Waters to ease past almost any of the qualifiers.

Omneya Abdel Kawy vs Kasey Brown should produce an entertaining match. Kawy has too many shots though and should press through to the quarters.

Laura Massaro vs Qualifier. As with Waters, just because you're seeded doesn't guarantee much, especially with the roster of qualifiers looking to seize their opportunity. With a lack of preparation for a known opponent in advance, upsets can happen. This is one of those matches that, if certain qualifiers make it, could pose problems for Massaro.

Rachel Grinham vs Qualifier. This one holds very little surprise as Grinham is well rounded and will thwart any effort for the major upset in the first round.

A great match worth checking out is Low Wee Wern of Malaysia against Natalie Grainger of the USA. On any given day, Grainger wins this matchup. However, the local, ambitious and opportunistic Wern will be ready to earn her wild card in front of a supportive crowd and Grainger will need to find a way to put aside all the distraction. Interestingly, the wild cards in both the PSA (Adnan) and WISPA (Wern) really do hold a great significance in this tournament which could reshape the draw entirely.

Prediction: Grainger survives a great match.

Jaclyn Hawkes vs Jenny Duncalf ought to give us high quality entertaining squash and insight into Duncalf's condition for the tournament. Hawkes, the Kiwi who has surged the past year, looks for the upset and really is capable of giving us one, but not at this venue.

Prediction: Duncalf.

Quarter Finals

Expect the seeds to be spot on through this round.

Nicol David vs Camille Serme - has the making of a great match, but expect David to pull through.
Prediction: David

Alison Waters vs Omney Abdel Kawy - I'm eager to see these two play again, where Waters maintains a 3-0 advantage. Can Kawy turn the tide? I think Waters pulls through in a very tight match that goes the distance.
Prediction: Waters

Laura Massaro vs Rachel Grinham - An all English matchup that leans heavily towards Grinham.
Prediction: Grinham moves on and is in good shape for the semifinal.

Natalie Grainger vs Jenny Duncalf - Duncalf continues to roll and earns the final qualifying spot.
Prediction: Duncalf

Semi Finals

The tournament goes according to seed and we see England, Australia and the lone Malaysian standing.

Nicol David vs Alison Waters - David is pressed but should pull through yet another talented player in Waters. The two have met 9 times on the tour and David has racked up a game record of 27-3 against Waters.

Rachel Grinham vs Jenny Duncalf - The match of the tournament! These two meet for the 11th time on tour, with the head to head even at the moment. A relatively unpressed Grinham notches the upset of the higher seed Duncalf.

Final

Nicol David vs Rachael Grinham - Grinham is 1-11 against David and David romps for yet another title!



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