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Sky Open 2010
Sky Petrosport Club, 15-22 May, $150k

22-May, Final:
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [4] Karim Darwish (Egy)
         6/11, 11/7, 12/10, 13/11 (61m)

Matthew makes sure

If there were any doubts that Nick Matthew would be the new world number one in the June rankings - the calculations were quite close - he dismissed all speculation with a four-game victory over defending champion Karim Darwish in the Sky Open final.

The Englishman fought back from a game down, winning the last two games on extra points to secure his second Super Series title in a row, move to the top of the Super Series rankings, make absolutely sure of his position as new world number one, and extend his unbeaten run of matches to 28 ... all in all not a bad day for the Yorkshireman as he heads off for a well-deserved holiday!

"A surreal feeling - it will probably sink in when I get home and in the company of my family, friends and my team. I was inspired tonight by what Karim did in Saudi and that drove me to play as though my life was on it.

"Now I am looking for a break away from the game - a trip to Mexico and then home to work on staying in this position. World No. 1 sounds great."

Updated PSA Super Series Rankings:

1 (1)      Nick Matthew (ENG) 240
2 (3)      Ramy Ashour (EGY) 170
3 (1)      James Willstrop (ENG) 165
4 (5)      Karim Darwish (EGY) 120
5 (4)      Amr Shabana (EGY) 80
6 (6)      Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 75
7 (11)    Thierry Lincou (FRA) 65
7 (7)      Wael El Hindi (EGY) 65
9 (7)      David Palmer (AUS) 55
10 (10)  Alister Walker (ENG) 45
11 (11)  Adrian Grant (ENG) 40
11 (20)  Peter Barker (ENG) 40
13 (9)    Olli Tuominen (FIN) 35
14 (20)  Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 30
14 (15)  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 30
16 (20)  Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 25
16 (20)  Hisham Ashour (EGY) 25
16 (20)  Joey Barrington (ENG) 25
16 (11)  Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 25
16 (11)  Simon Rosner (GER) 25

Sky Open 2010
Sky Petrosport Club, 15-22 May, $150k
Round One
17 May 
Round Two
18/19 May
20 May
21 May
22 May
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (37m)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
[1] Ramy Ashour
 11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (35m)
Saurav Ghosal
[1] Ramy Ashour

11/6, 11/9, 13/11 (39m)

[5] James Willstrop

[1] Ramy Ashour

11/8, 11/5, 11/7 (33m)

[4] Karim Darwish

[4] Karim Darwish

6/11, 11/7, 12/10, 13/11 (61m)

[2] Nick Matthew

[16] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/9, 4/11, 11/8, 11/2 (52m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
[5] James Willstrop (Eng)
12/10, 12/10, 11/3 (34m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
[5] James Willstrop
11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (43m)
Ali Anwar Reda
[9] Daryl Selby (Eng)
5/11, 11/7, 11/2, 9/11, 11/4 (97m)
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
[4] Karim Darwish (Egy)
 11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (35m)
[Q] Dylan Bennett (Ned)
[4] Karim Darwish
11/8, 12/10, 13/11 (57m)
[10] David Palmer
[4] Karim Darwish

11/5, 11/9, 11/4 (33m)

[6] Gregory Gaultier

[10] David Palmer (Aus)
11/7, 11/5, 11/2 (34m)
[Q] Tom Richards (Eng)
[6] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/3, 11/9, 12/10 (54m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
[6] Gregory Gaultier
11/8, 2/11, 11/5, 11/4 (71m)
[15] Cameron Pilley
[15] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
9/11, 11/2, 11/1, 11/6 (32m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (53m)
[14] Alister Walker (Eng)
[14] Alister Walker
8/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/4 (65m)
[7] Thierry Lincou
[7] Thierry Lincou

7/11, 11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (54m)

[12] Wael El Hindi

[7] Thierry Lincou

11/8, 7/11, 11/9, 11/5 (60m)

[2] Nick Matthew

Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/3, 11/7, 9/11, 11/4 (59m)
[7] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/8, 11/9, 11/9 (59m)
[12] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
[12] Wael El Hindi
[3] Amr Shabana
Karim AGA Samy (Egy)
 11/9, 11/7, 7/11, 11/7 (31m)
[3] Amr Shabana (Egy)
[Q] Ali Farag (Egy)
6/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (55m)
[13] Adrian Grant (Eng)
[13] Adrian Grant
14/12, 11/9, 11/5 (89m)
[8] Peter Barker
[8] Peter Barker

12/10, 11/4, 11/6 (44m)

[2] Nick Matthew

[Q] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/6, 11/6, 11/7 (43m)
[8] Peter Barker (Eng)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
11/8, 6/11, 11/5, 11/3 (54m)
[11] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
[11] Laurens Jan Anjema
11/4, 11/2, 11/5 (30m)
[2] Nick Matthew
[Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
 11/5, 11/6, 11/9 (47m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)

21-May, Semis:

[4] Karim Darwish bt [1] Ramy Ashour 11/8,11/5,11/7 (33m)
[2] Nick Matthew bt [7] Thierry Lincou 11/8,7/11,11/9,11/5 (60m)

Darwish ousts Ashour as
Matthew takes pole ...

Defending champion Karim Darwish beat world number one and top seed Ramy Ashour in the Sky Open semi-finals to move into a final against Nick Matthew, who will be the new world number one at the end of the month.

Darwish made it three Sky finals in a row with a straight-games win over compatriot Ashour, while Matthew overcame experienced Frenchman Thierry Lincou in four games.

The victory means that the Englishman will not only be top of the Super Series rankings at the end of this third event of the year, but also that he will overtake Ashour in the PSA world rankings to become the first English world number one since fellow Yorkshireman Lee Beachill held the spot at the end of 2004.

The pre-event calculations told us that whoever did better of the world's top two here would assume the number one ranking, so when Ashour lost to Darwish in the first match, Matthew went on knowing that 'all' he needed to do was win to assume pole position ...

"That was the hardest squash match I've ever played - I now know what it feels like to play with a glass arm! Tomorrow I can relax and enjoy the squash.

"How strange a feeling to be number one in the world and still have a job to do tomorrow. One more push then celebration time!"

"It's a weird feeling right now because I still have a final to play tomorrow. Hopefully I can take a leaf out of Karim's book when he won Saudi after becoming the world number one a few days earlier.

"It obviously hasn't sunk in yet, writing it down feels weird, but I'm very emotional for the people back home, the people who I couldn't have done it without.

"I go on holiday to Mexico next week and it's going to be a fantastic holiday now!!!"

Final head to head

21-May, Semis:

[4] Karim Darwish bt [1] Ramy Ashour 11/8,11/5,11/7 (33m)
[2] Nick Matthew bt [7] Thierry Lincou 11/8,7/11,11/9,11/5 (60m)

20-May, Quarters:
Quarters in Cairo

Seven of the top eight seeds contested the quarter-finals of the third Super Series event of the year, in the third edition of the Sky Open.

The problematical glass court floor was sanded this morning, was cleaned and hoovered, and was declared fit for play tonight, and the higher-seeded players all won through on the night. 

Lincou Battles Through To Sky Open Semis

Veteran Frenchman Thierry Lincou claimed his first semi-final berth in a Super Series event since November 2008 when he beat Wael El Hindi in the quarter-finals. The seventh seed went into the match boasting a 4/1 career head-to-head lead over No12 seed El Hindi - but the Egyptian's one win was achieved at last year's Sky Open after a bruising 110-minute second round encounter.

Former world champion Lincou - at 34, the oldest competitor in the tournament - dropped the opening game against his Cairo-born opponent, but battled back to take the next three to earn an impressive 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 victory after 54 minutes.

In an all-European semi-final at the bottom of the draw, the Marseille man will take on England's Nick Matthew, the second seed.

Winner of the previous Super Series event, the North American Open in Virginia in February, world number two Matthew has his sights on the world number one ranking - and knows that a better finish in Cairo than Egyptian rival Ramy Ashour, his opponent in the US final, could achieve this.

The 29-year-old from Sheffield despatched England team-mate Peter Barker, the No8 seed, 12-10, 11-4, 11-6 in 44 minutes - extending his straight-games-match-winning-run in the event.

The other semi-final will be an all-Egyptian affair - and a repeat of last month's Egyptian National Championship final - between top seed Ramy Ashour and fourth seed Karim Darwish, both from Cairo.

Ashour, the world number one, beat his quarter-final opponent James Willstrop at the same stage in the event last year - since when the Englishman gained his revenge in the final of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York to win the first Super Series event of the year.

But Ashour was on top on the all-glass court in front of his home crowd, beating fifth seed Willstrop 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 in 39 minutes - a defeat which sees the Englishman lose his position at the top of the Super Series Rankings.

Defending champion Darwish's battle against sixth seed Gregory Gaultier was a repeat of last year's Sky Open final. And again the Egyptian had the measure of the Frenchman - but this time was able to progress in straight games, winning 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 in 33 minutes.


Semis head to heads

19-May, Round Two, Part Two:
Down to last eight as Shabana pulls out

The tournament was due to get back onto the glass court tonight, after the floor was sanded, repainted, and tested by the players, but soon after the first match started it was clear the court was unplayable and the matches were moved back onto the inside courts.

There were only three matches, after third seed Amr Shabana pulled out with injury. "I felt something go in my lower back on the first point of the knock up on Monday. I managed to finish the match but when I returned home and stretched I felt a lot of pain and my movement was restricted.

"I'm very sorry to withdraw, for the tournament and the spectators," added the four-time and reigning world champion, who has yet to win the Sky Open in his hometown. The withdrawal puts the 2008 champion Wael El Hindi through to the quarters.

Thierry Lincou
recovered from losing the first game to overcome Alister Walker in four games, Peter Barker took well over an hour to win the first two games against fellow left-handed Englishman Adrian Grant before completing a straight-games win in 89 minutes.

Nick Matthew
wrapped up the second round with a 3/0 win over Laurens Jan Anjema to make it three Englishmen, three Egyptians and two Frenchmen in the quarter-finals.

18-May, Round Two,  part one:
Seeds safely through inside in Sky

The first part of the Sky Open second round, played on the inside courts at Cairo's Sky complex due to floor problems on the glass court, saw the seeded players safely progress to the quarter-finals.

World number one Ramy Ashour despatched Saurav Ghosal safely enough, and he will meet James Willstrop for a place in the semi-finals after the Englishman also won in straight games against Ali Anwar Reda.

Fourth and sixth seeds Karim Darwish and Gregory Gaultier were both tested in their matches, defending champion Darwish winning three close games against David Palmer, Gaultier taking well over an hour to see off Cameron Pilley in four games.


17-May, Round One:
Ghosal and Reda in round one upsets

The opening day of main draw action in the Sky Open in Cairo saw twelve first round matches on the complex courts, with the top four seeds scheduled to play on the glass court in the evening.

Two of the seeded players failed to progress as India's Saurav Ghosal beat Malaysia's 16th seed Azlan Iskandar in four games while Egypt's Ali Anwar Reda outlasted ninth seed Daryl Selby in a 97-minute marathon.

Action started on the glass court, but due to problems with the court floor the matches had to be moved to the indoor courts.

"The court floor was very slippery despite a day of cleaning," explained tournament director Robert Edwards. "The first match between Amr Shabana and Karim Samy saw them slipping, but they decided to finish their match.

"The floor was cleaned again at the end of their match, but we agreed that if the next two players complained about the floor and requested a move, we would move them to the glass backs to finish. They did request a move during the first game and were promptly moved to the other court."

Once inside there were no problems for the other top seeds as Ramy Ashour, Nick Matthew, and Karim Darwish all claimed their places in the second round.
16-May, Qualifying Finals:
Ramy In 'Third Time Lucky' Hometown Bid

Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour will be hoping that it will be 'third time lucky' this year when the third and biggest PSA Super Series 2010 event of the year to date, the Sky Open, gets underway in his home town Cairo on Monday.

Runner-up in the year's two previous Super Series events in the USA, 22-year-old Ashour is top seed for the $150k Sky Open which is in its third year at the Sky Petrosport Club.

The event has attracted a world-class field, including 18 of the top 20 players in the world and led by Cairo King Ashour, but it is Englishmen James Willstrop and Nick Matthew - winners of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York and North American Open, respectively - who arrive in Egypt jointly leading the 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings, ahead of Ashour, in third place.

World number two Nick Matthew is the event's second seed - and the only non-Egyptian amongst the top four seeds. Indeed, following the conclusion of today's final qualifying round, a total of 11 Egyptians will compete in the main draw - all of whom are from Cairo.

Ashour is expected meet former world number one Karim Darwish, the fourth seed, in the semi-final in the top half of the draw - while Matthew is predicted to line up against legendary left-hander Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion who is the third seed.

Cairo teenagers Ali Farag and Karim Abdel Gawad were the youngest players to qualify - in both cases earning their first appearances in a Super Series event. Farag, ranked 174 in the world, pulled off his second successive upset by beating USA's Gilly Lane while Gawad, also 18, defeated Englishman Joe Lee.

Qualifying Draw & Results:

16 May, Qualifying Finals:

Tom Richards (Eng) bt Kamran Khan (Mas)              11/4, 11/5, 12/10 (42m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Yann Perrin (Fra)                 11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (62m)
Ali Farag (Egy) bt Gilly Lane (Usa)                           11/9, 11/6, 9/11, 11/6 (61m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Wael Farag (Egy)           11/9, 11/9, 11/9 (47m)
Steve Coppinger (Rsa) bt Mohammed Abbas (Egy)  11/9, 11/7, 7/3 rtd (37m)
Dylan Bennett (Ned) bt Robbie Temple (Eng)           11/7, 6/11, 11/5, 11/5 (62m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Joe Lee (Eng)              7/11, 111/7, 11/7, 11/7 (65m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Adrian Waller (Eng)          11/9, 11/4, 9/11, 7/11, 11/6 (82m)

15 May, Qualifying Round One:

Tom Richards (Eng) bt Basem Makram (Egy)     11/4, 11/9, 11/5 (28m)
Kamran Khan (Mas) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)   11/8, 5/11, 15/13, 4/11, 12/10 (91m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Islam El Fiky (Egy)        11/8, 11/8, 11/4 (60m)
Yann Perrin (Fra) bt Mostafa Bayoumi (Egy)      11/2, 11/6, 11/7 (28m)

Ali Farag (Egy) bt Nicolas Mueller (Sui)             12/10, 15/13, 3/11, 11/9 (48m)
Gilly Lane (Usa) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)     11/7, 11/4, 11/9 (27m)
Wael Farag (Egy) bt Mark Krajcsak (Hun)          11/8, 11/3, 4/11, 11/8 (38m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Amr Khalifa (Egy)     12/14 , 11/5 , 11/9 , 11/6 (56m)

Mohammed Abbas (Egy) bt Amr Mansi (Egy)      11/7, 11/7, 6/11, 12/10 (43m)
Steve Coppinger (Rsa) bt Andrew Wagih (Egy)   12/10, 12/10, 11/9, 11/9 (60m)
Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Ahmed Hawas (Egy)      11/8, 11/7, 11/9 (32m)
Dylan Bennett (Ned) bt Julian Illingworth (Usa)   9/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/1, 11/8 (71m)

Joe Lee (Eng) bt Chris Simpson (Eng)                11/9, 9/11, 6/11, 11/9, 11/6 (92m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Amr Swelim (Ita)    11/4, 10/12, 11/8, 11/9 (78m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)  11/1, 9/11, 11/5, 11/8 (46m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Mazen Gamal (Egy)      11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (25m)

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