Devastating Darwish Drives
Home In Motor City Final
Karim Darwish reproduced the form which took him to the top of the
world squash rankings for all but one month of last year when he
despatched Malaysian Azlan Iskandar in straight games in the final
of the Motor City Open to lift the title at the Birmingham Athletic
Club in Detroit.
"If there were any doubts about Karim Darwishís form following a
month off to nurse a sore back, they were quashed in the final,"
said event spokesman AJ Hakim. "The Egyptianís supreme performance
capped an event in which he did not lose a game."
Darwish dazzled a sold-out crowd at Michiganís premier squash venue
en-route to taking home his $6,400 share of the record $40,000 purse
and a Rolex watch from Greenstone Jewellers.
28-year-old from Cairo quickly found his rhythm, building a 9-2 lead
in the first game. Dictating the pace, he forced Iskandar Ė coming
off an exhausting five-game win over second seed Thierry Lincou the
night before - into a quicker game than he could withstand.
"Last time (I was here) was in 2004 and I lost in the semis,"
Darwish said of his upset loss to Olli Tuominen in his last
appearance at the MCO.
"Itís such a great feeling to win this tournament," added the world
number five after his 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 triumph.
I was really focused, and really wanted to finish it as quick as
possible," said Darwish. "I didnít want to go in and play a long
match, so I think I played really well today. I didnít expect that
Iíd be that comfortable, but I know that he is a little but tired
from yesterdayís match.
"I took advantage of it, and I tried to play more offensive, tried
to attack every ball and tried to get him to the back as much as
The win marks the Egyptian's sixth successive Tour victory over the
Iskandar since May 2003 - and brings up the 17th PSA Tour title of
City Open 2010
27-Jan - 01-Feb, Michigan, Usa,
 Karim Darwish (Egy)
11-9, 11-7, 11-4
[Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
 Karim Darwish
11-7, 11-3, 11-2
 Karim Darwish
11-4, 11-5, 11-3
 Omar Abdel Aziz
 Karim Darwish
11-3, 11-7, 11-4
 Azlan Iskandar
 Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
16-18, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8
Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
 Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6
Julian Wellings (Eng)
 Olli Tuominen
11-3, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6
 Omar Abdel Aziz
 Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 20-18, 11-3
[Q] Yarir Butt (Pak)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
11-4, 11-9, 11-7
 Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11-4, 11-5, 11-1
 Azlan Iskandar
 Azlan Iskandar
5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4
 Thierry Lincou
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11-2, 11-5, 11-6
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
12-10, 11-3, 11-2
 Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly
11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6
 Thierry Lincou
[Q] Scott Arnold (Aus)
11-5, 11-3, 11-6
 Thierry Lincou (Fra)
Scott Arnold (AUS) bt
Bernardo Samper (COL) 4-11, 11-7, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-4, 10-12, 14-12,
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-6, 13-11, 11-7
Yasir Butt (PAK) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-5, 11-6,
Qualifying Round One:
Alan Clyne bt Max Lee , 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6
Waller bt Christopher Gordon 11-4, 11-3, 11-8
Arnold bt Fred Reid ( 11-4, 11-6, 11-5
Samper bt Adil Maqbool (w11-8, 13-11, 11-6
Karwalski bt Mick Joint 11-8, 13-11, 11-6
Butt bt Edward Marks 11-8, 11-3, 11-6
Cuskelly bt Wade Johnstone 11-5, 11-8, 11-5
Koukal bt Dick Lau 11-8, 11-2, 11-?
Azlan Topples Thierry
to make Motor City Final
Third-seeded Malaysian Azlan Iskandar scored a notable upset
over Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed, in the semi-finals of
the Motor City Open to reach the final at the Birmingham Athletic
Club in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Lincou, the 2003 runner-up from Marseille making his PSA Tour debut
this year, built up a two-games-to-one lead
"I was feeling really well, started really well," said the
33-year-old Frenchman, ranked nine in the world, afterwards. ďI had
a good game plan. Then he started to pick everything up, limit his
mistakes, so it was much harder for me to make a point. On the day,
I think he was just fitter than me.Ē
Iskandar, ranked eight places lower, used the court to his
advantage, playing at a quick pace and forcing Lincou into long,
The 27-year-old from KL went on to record a 5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-3,
11-4 victory to earn his 21st appearance in a PSA final.
Hi opponent will be top seed Karim Darwish, last year's world
number one from Egypt who needed just 35 minutes to overcome
compatriot Omar Abdel Aziz 11-4, 11-5, 11-3.
"Omar is a very good player," said Darwish, who is trying to regain
his 2009 form as world No1 after a back injury sidelined him in
December. "His fitness is really good, but today he was a little bit
tired from yesterdayís match, so I took advantage of it.
"Overall, Iím happy with my performance so far," added Darwish, now
in his 28th Tour final. "My confidence is coming back again. To be
in the semis in New York, and to be in the final here, itís a great
achievement and Iím looking forward to my match tomorrow."
Omar Ousts Olli In Motor City Upset
Egypt's Omar Abdel Aziz claimed an unexpected place in the
semi-finals of the Motor City Open after upsetting fourth seed Olli
Tuominen in the quarter-finals at the Birmingham Athletic Club in
The 26-year-old seventh seed from Cairo defeated Tuominen, runner-up
in the championship in 2004, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6 - and will now
face fellow countryman Karim Darwish for a place in the final.
Darwish, the event favourite and former world number one who is
making his first appearance in the Detroit event since 2004, beat
top-ranked Hungarian Mark Krajcsak 11-7, 11-3, 11-2.
Aziz considers Darwish an older brother. The duo train together
while also maintaining a close relationship outside squash. "Iím
going to play my big brother, Karim," Aziz said of his semi-final
match. "And I want to play a good match."
That brotherhood paid dividends in Azizís quarter-final bout against
Tuominen. Darwish warned Aziz of the Finn's volleying skills and
advised him to work his backhand.
"I had to bring it to the back because Olli likes to volley it.
Karim told me: ĎYou have to push the ball to the back of the court,
and his mistakes will start to appear',Ē said Aziz of his strategy
"So, I put the ball a lot to the back corner Ė one time, two times,
three times. After that I started to volley."
The other semi-final will see France's No2 seed Thierry Lincou take
on Azlan Iskandar, the third seed from Malaysia. Iskandar despatched
unseeded Englishman Chris Ryder 11-4, 11-5, 11-1, while former world
champion Lincou needed four games to see off Australian qualifier
Ryan Cuskelly 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6.
"Heís a strong player - heís really improved a lot," said Lincou of
Cuskelly. "He gave me a hard time on the court, and itís good I won
in four. Itís pretty tough to play on these courts because itís
really bouncy. So itís hard to be offensive too much, and you have
to mix between patience and offence.
"You need to be precise, very accurate and save your energy as much
as you can," added the 33-year-old from Marseille.
Ryder Leads Motor City Crashes
Hopes of the first
domestic success in the 12-year history of the Motor City Open were
dashed when unseeded Englishman Chris Ryder upset five times US
national champion Julian Illingworth in the opening round at
the Birmingham Athletic Club in Detroit, Michigan.
Ryder, the 29-year-old world No39 from Leamington Spa, defeated the
fifth seed from New York - ranked nine places higher - 11-4, 11-9,
11-7 in one of three upsets on the opening day of the established
Rising Egyptian star Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, who arrived in Detroit
after winning the Pyramid International title in New York state at
the beginning of the month, also suffered at the hands of a
An in-form Mark Krajcsak, the unseeded world No44 from Hungary,
survived a match featuring four tie-break games to beat the
20-year-old sixth seed from Cairo 16-18, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8.
But Ryan Cuskelly became the only qualifier to claim a place in the
last eight when he triumphed 12-10, 11-3, 11-2 in an all-Australian
clash with eighth seed Aaron Frankcomb.
Meanwhile the top two seeds progressed to the quarter-finals without
incident - Egyptian favourite Karim Darwish beating Scottish
qualifier Alan Clyne 11-9, 11-7, 11-4, and Frenchman Thierry Lincou,
the No2 seed making his first Tour appearance of the New Year,
despatching Australian qualifier Scott Arnold 11-5, 11-3, 11-6.
Four Qualifiers advance to
Motor City main draw
Friday First Round will feature two former world Number Ones:
by A. J. Hakim
Birmingham, Mich. Ė The main draw is set for the 2010 Motor City
Open, presented by Suburban Volvo, as qualifying concluded Thursday
night with four players advancing into Fridayís opening round.
With an upset and epic five-setter, the four matches provided a
glimpse of the excitement, skill and speed that will be on display
this weekend at the Birmingham Athletic Club. Michiganís premier
squash venue, the BAC is hosting the MCO for the 11th year,
featuring a record $40,000 purse plus Rolex watch from Greenstone
Aussie Ryan Cuskelly, Pakistanís Yasir Butt, Scott Arnold of
Australia, and Scot Alan Clyne all posted victories.
The eveningís best bout featured Arnold (world #64) against
Colombiaís Bernardo Samper (world #65). The pair occasionally train
together in New York, and they seemed to anticipate one anotherís
every move in a match that became a five-game marathon. Arnold
survived 4-11, 11-7, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6. . . .