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ATCO PSA
World Series Squash Finals
11-15 Jan 11, Queen's Club, London
Sat 15th, Day FIVE, Finals:  POSTPONED

PSA announcement: The World Series Final will not take place on Sunday 16 January 2011. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. The PSA is committed to delivering a fantastic finale to what has been a world-class tournament. Further updates will be provided in due course [the finals were subsequently cancelled].

What happened was that on the morning of the finals there was heavy wind and rain in London and the inflatable arena in which the glass court was situated began to deflate and was declared unsafe.

 
Fri 14th, Day FOUR, semi-finals:

          Jenny
Duncalf bt Camille Serme       11/8, 11/13, 11/7
          Laura Massaro bt Vanessa Atkinson   2/0 ?

         Nick Matthew bt James Willstrop 11/4, 11/6, 11/8 (46m)
         Amr Shabana bt Ramy Ashour    11/4, 11/5, 11/5 (27m)
    

Matthew & Shabana in
World Series Finals final

Fleishman-Hillard report

England's Nick Matthew will play Amr Shabana, Egypt's four-time world champion, in the ATCO PSA World Series Finals on Saturday evening at the Queen’s Club in London.

The world No 1, world and Commonwealth champion beat long-time rival James Willstrop in a one-sided match 11-4, 11-6, 11-8. Shabana wasted little time in ousting Ramy Ashour, his younger compatriot and one of the future stars of the game, in a repeat of the 2008 World Open final.

The Egyptian left-hander, 31, will now attempt to win for the first time on British shores after finishing runner-up here on four occasions his first coming at the British Junior Open in 1993. Ashour, feeling the effects of a hamstring injury, went down 4-11, 5-11, 5-11 in 27 minutes.

"Playing here at Queen's is a proud moment," Shabana admitted afterwards. "I have always enjoyed watching the tennis on TV since I was a kid. Hopefully Nick and I can play another great match in front of this great crowd."

Both Matthew and Shabana will also bid to become World Series champion for the first time, the Egyptian having lost to Gregory Gaultier in the 2008 final.

For Willstrop, the defeats continue to mount against his fellow Englishman. He last beat Matthew in the 2007 English Open final and each match he had lost since, 11 of them now, has clearly played a psychological advantage as Matthew's dominance has increased on the world stage.

Not that Willstrop has gone down without a fight. He lost out in a brutal British Open final, where Willstrop held match balls, and the Canary Wharf Classic semi-finals, which saw the Yorkshireman's bid end with severe cramp after one of the finest contest in recent years.

In the World Series semi-final, Matthew stretched his opponent early, creating a number of winners from Willstrop's loose angles in the opening game.

In the second he raced to a 6-1 lead before Willstrop produced his best squash of the match, using his backhand volley drops to clinical effect to close the gap to 7-5.

At 9-6 down, Matthew sent a forehand winner to the back wall as Willstrop failed to find a way past the 30 year-old. He was denied a let, claiming he clipped Matthew's shoe, and his frustration played into Matthew's hands as he closed out the second 11-6.

Matthew refused to play short in the third as he bid to dig Willstrop into the ground. However the 6' 4" Pontefract player wearing a rare set of cycling shorts, a sign that he was struggling with injury, kept in the match as he crawled two points ahead at 7-5 before Matthew, yet again, surged towards the winning post.

Matthew said: "I tried to keep the pressure on all the way through. You get that bit between your teeth when you see the winning line and you lose a little bit of composure. It's important to will yourself on with those big points like the Egyptians do so well, but I think I achieved that tonight.

A clearly despondent Willstrop said: "I'm really sad I couldn't produce it today. I was really flat. For two years I have been second best to him and all I can do is keep battling away."

He was also hard on himself when asked for his highlight of the week. "Beating Ramy, even though he was on one leg," Willstrop added.

In the women's invitational event, Jenny Duncalf, the top seed, ousted Camille Serme, France's rising star, to reach Saturdays final. Duncalf won 11-8, 11-13, 11-7.

The England No 1 will play compatriot Laura Massaro, who outplayed Vanessa Atkinson, the former world champion.


Finals programme starts at 13.30 on Saturday,
with women's final at 16.30, men's final at 17.30 ...

  

  

Thu 13th, Day THREE, final pool matches:
  
  
   Pool B:  Amr Shabana (W3) bt Wael El Hindi (W0)                 11/9, 11/9 (25m)
      Pool A:  Ramy Ashour (W2) bt Alister Walker (W0)              15/13, 11/3 (20m)
      Pool B:  Nick Matthew (W2) bt Peter Barker (W1)        12/14, 11/3, 11/7 (51m)
      Pool A:  James Willstrop (W3) bt Thierry Lincou (W1)           12/10, 11/7 (32m)

So, the semi-finals are:  Amr Shabana v Ramy Ashour and James Willstrop v Nick Matthew
 

It's Egypt v England at Queen's
Fleishman-Hillard report

England and Egypt underlined their dominance at the ATCO PSA World Series Finals when the two rival nations hogged the four semi-final berths for Friday’s matches at Queen’s Club in London.

Yorkshire’s Nick Matthew, the world No 1, will play arch rival James Willstrop while Egyptian duo Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour face off in the other semi-final after the quartet progressed from the group stages in contrasting circumstances.

Matthew, who beat Willstrop in last month’s World Open final to become the first Englishman to lift the title, edged past his gritty compatriot Peter Barker 12-14, 11-3, 11-7 in 51 minutes. It was the second time that Matthew had played beyond 50 minutes in the fast-paced, best-of-three format.

Matthew lost the opening game of his final group match – at 23 minutes, the second longest of the week – but used his physical strength and mid-court dominance to edge out the Londoner. Barker, playing his best squash of the week, matched Matthew in all departments as the world No 8 forced the world champion into a number of uncharacteristic errors to the tin.

With both players realising that defeat would end their World Series bid, Matthew took the initiative in a seven-minute, second game as the 30 year-old racked up seven points in a row to take the match into a decider.

Barker was clearly saving himself but still managed to raise a smile on both sides of the court mid-game. Having been denied a let at 4-3 down, the Londoner, who had only beaten Matthew once in nine meetings, remonstrated with the referee but was told to close the door and continue the ensuing slog-fest. Barker couldn’t resist: “I’m just trying to get a rest in here.”

Matthew, never adventurous, kept plugging away at Barker’s resolve with trademark rallies that had been a feature of the Englishman’s play in 2010. Errors soon creeped in and despite saving two match balls, Matthew finished the game with a stroke.

“If you lose the first game it is pretty hairy and not that enjoyable,” Matthew said afterwards. “You can never let up in this format and it will continue to eat away at my nerves.”

Enjoyment was not an attribute handed out to Ashour, the leading player in the World Series rankings, as the Egyptian moved edgily into the semi-finals following his 15-13, 11-3 win over Alister Walker, the former Leeds-based player who now resides in New York.

The Egyptian admitted afterwards that he was still feeling the effects of a hamstring injury that forced him out of last month’s World Open in Saudi Arabia.

The ‘Cairo King’ stormed into a 4-1 lead as he aimed to quell Walker’s own attacking instincts. But Ashour soon showed his frustration as Walker clawed his way back, saving two game balls at 10-8 down, before the Egyptian, yet to find his rhythm, found enough resolve to clinch the opener 15-13.

The second was in stark contrast as Ashour found renewed belief, rattling off eight points in a row from 3-3 to finish Walker’s campaign.

“I’ve done a lot of physio and there are still a lot of things missing from my body," Ashour, the 2008 world champion, said. "I’ve had to think more this week in how I’ve played my shots, but I’m really glad I’m through.

“It is not enjoyable when you’re not 100 per cent but all I can do is keep pushing myself.”

Ashour will have to be at his best to beat Shabana - a repeat of the 2009 World Open final when the young Egyptian left the court in tears against his older rival.

Shabana, the four-time world champion, has never won on British shores but looks in good shape here with a convincing 11-9, 11-9 win over compatriot Wael El Hindi.

The formidable Egyptian has looked a real threat this week and took just 25 minutes to seal his semi-final berth as El Hindi lost his third straight group match.

In the final match of the night, Thierry Lincou, of France, knew he had to beat Willstrop 2-0 to take his place in the semi-finals.

At times, 34 year-old Lincou defied his tag as the world tour’s elder statesman. But Willstrop played a tight and controlled match to win his third match of the week, along with Shabana the only player to do so.

Willstrop said: “There was a big contrast from playing Ramy last night. Thierry’s tightness was impeccable and, as always, it’s always good to beat him 2-0.”
  

 


 


 

     Fri, from 17.30:
        Duncalf v Serme
        Massaro v Atkinson
        Men's semi 1
        Men's semi 2

     Sat, from 13.30
        16.00 Women's Final
        17.30 Men's Final

Wed 12th, Day TWO:

       Pool A:  Thierry Lincou  bt Alister Walker                      11/8, 12/10 (29m)  
       Pool B:  Amr Shabana  bt Nick Matthew                5/11, 11/6, 17/15 (63m)  Shabana through
       Pool A:  James Willstrop  bt Ramy Ashour            10/12, 11/6, 11/9 (49m)
       Pool B:  Peter Barker  bt Wael El Hindi                         13/11, 11/9 (41m)    El Hindi out
  


London Time

 

     Fri, from 17.30:
        Duncalf v Serme
        Massaro v Atkinson
        Men's semi 1
        Men's semi 2

     Sat, from 13.30
        16.00 Women's Final
        17.30 Men's Final

Shabana ousts Englishman Matthew in World Series classic
Fleishman-Hillard report

Amr Shabana has produced his fair share of classic tussles with English rivals over the last decade but the great Egyptian, for all his achievements, has yet to win on British shores.

The four-time world champion went a step closer on Wednesday night at the ATCO PSA World Series Finals when he shaded a brutal battle with Nick Matthew, the world No 1, at the Queen’s Club in London.

Playing the best-of-three format that this event stipulates, Shabana edged the 30 year-old world champion 5-11, 11-7, 17-15 in a match lasting just shy of the hour mark. Matthew now needs to win his last match on Thursday night against compatriot Peter Barker if he harbours dreams of progressing to Friday’s semi-finals after missing last year’s event following shoulder surgery.

Shabana said afterwards: “Nick has raised the bar for all of us. It is a fine line and I had to perform my best – but at least it means I am right on track to have what it takes to finally win here [in the UK].”

The match was billed as the first to go the distance after straight-games wins on Tuesday and they duly lived up to the hype. Level at seven career wins apiece stretching back to 2001 – Shabana won the majority of his matches during his domineering years five years ago – a methodical Matthew took early bragging rights with a comfortable opener.

Back came Shabana. Having lost out to Matthew on his way to becoming the first Englishman to win the world title in December, the 31 year-old Cairo right-hander took the second after uncharacteristic errors from the Englishman.

It paved the way for an unforgettable decider. At 7-5 down, Shabana advanced to hold two match balls at 10-8. The pair then traded match balls in a gruelling period involving a number of key lets before Shabana’s denouement.

James Willstrop then produced a vintage performance to recoup pride after the home favourite’s loss. Willstrop, Matthew’s Yorkshire rival since junior days, just pipped Egypt’s world No 2 Ramy Ashour, whom Willstrop last beat on his way to lifting the Tournament of Champions title last January, winning 10-12, 11-6, 11-9.

On a night when the victors paid tribute to their opponents, Willstrop said: “Ramy is so unique and he has the great ability to leave you with little oxygen even when he is being deceptive. It is just a higher pace of squash with him but I’m feeling good.”

Willstrop never let Ashour settle after losing a tight first game. He won a succession of tight drops and managed to hold court even when the pair visibly tired in the third. The former world junior champion’s retrieval play was also exceptional as Ashour’s frustration increased during the 49-minute tussle.

In the final match of the evening, Barker beat Wael El Hindi in straight games to give himself a chance of reaching the semi-finals.

The Londoner, who needed to win after losing to Shabana on Tuesday, was handed a conduct warning during the match but kept his nerve to win 13-11, 11-9.

Earlier Alister Walker lost his second match in succession and failed to qualify for the semi-finals. Walker, 28, lost to Thierry Lincou, of France, 11-8, 12-10 in another high-tempo match.

Having come out of the stalls early against James Willstrop on the opening night, Walker opted for a more sedate opening against the Frenchman but a number of errors counted against the former Leeds-based player as Lincou took the opener 11-8.

The tempo increased in the second as both players jockeyed for mid-court supremacy. It was level-pegging until Walker found himself with two match balls at 10-8. However the dogged Lincou, who has never lost to Walker, won four points in a row to put himself in the driving seat for a semi-final berth.

Backed by Ziad Al-Turki, the charismatic Saudi businessman and Professional Squash Association chairman, the ATCO PSA World Series Finals are the culmination of the 2010 Super Series season.

The eight players will play in two pools of four until Friday’s semi-finals. The finals will take place on Saturday.
 
Tue 11th, Day One:
Fleishman-Hillard report

There were no major upsets in the season-ending World Series Finals with England and Egypt producing a double dose of wins at The Queen's Club in London as the world's top eight players adapted to a fast-paced, best-of-three format on the opening night.

Yorkshire's James Willstrop, the world No 4, opened his account with a hard-fought 13-11, 11-6 win over debutant Alister Walker in 32 minutes. World No 1 and favourite Nick Matthew, bidding to become the first Englishman to win the Finals, then ended the first night with a comfortable win over Wael El Hindi.

In between, Egyptian duo Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour won contrasting Group games as a futuristic bubble and, inside, a purple-coloured squash court' took centre stage at the 125 year-old Queens Club.

Walker led 10-4 but Willstrop one of four Englishmen in the tournament - overturned six game balls to take a lengthy opener in 21 minutes. Walker, the former Leeds-based player who now resides in New York, looked visibly tired in the second and Willstrop wrapped up the game in 11 minutes.

Willstrop, who won Commonwealth silver in Delhi, said: "It was tough for both of us having not played competitively for three weeks. But I didnt want to let it go easily. I think I hurt him a bit in the second as I hoped it would and his pace dropped slightly."

Shabana looked in fine fettle and wasted no time in getting his campaign under way with a comfortable win over Londoner Peter Barker.

Shabana, the four-time world champion, came through 11-8, 11-2 in 28 minutes against Barker, another Englishman making his debut in the end-of-year finals.

The Egyptian said: "This format is more compact and normally I would hit more winners but at least you know you wont lose the point by being safe. I gained confidence in the second and I'm happy to be through".

Ashour, Egpyt's supremely talented world No 2, then repeated Shabana's feat with a straight game win over French stalwart, Thierry Lincou.

However, the Cairo right-hander had to play near to his best. Despite Lincou's left knee being heavily strapped, Ashour had to fight back in both games, and the Egyptian admitted afterwards: "I'm really glad I came back in both games as he was killing everything."

In the final match of the evening, a highly-consistent Matthew took on El Hindi, who first played this event back in 2000, as the Yorkshireman bids to add the World Series to his world and Commonwealth titles after a stellar year on the world tour.

Matthew, 30, missed last year's tournament after recovering from shoulder surgery but now looks in good shape to qualify for the semi-finals after coming through 11-5, 11-7. "The venue is fantastic here and it will only get more interesting as the week goes on. I was a little bit headless to begin with but I tried to play my normal game and it worked."

Backed by Ziad Al-Turki, the charismatic Saudi businessman and Professional Squash Association chairman, the World Series Finals are the culmination of the 2010 Super Series season.

The eight players will play in two pools of four until Friday's semi-finals. The final will take place on Saturday.
  

  Schedule & Results:

Tue, Day One:
Willstrop bt Walker   13/11, 11/6
Shabana bt Barker   11/8, 11/2
Ashour bt Lincou      11/7, 13/11
Matthew bt El Hindi   11/5, 11/7

Wed, Day Two:
Lincou bt Walker      11/8, 12/10
Shabana bt Matthew 5/11,11/6,17/15
Willstrop bt Ashour 10/12, 11/6, 11/9
Barker bt El Hindi     13/11, 11/9

  

07-Jan-11:
Darwish makes way for Walker
in World Series Finals

A hamstring injury sustained in last year's Saudi PSA World Open has caused Egypt's world No3 Karim Darwish to pull out of next week's ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals in London.

The event, which will be staged at The Queen's Club from 11-15 January, is the culmination of the 2010 PSA Super Series tour.

Formerly known as the Super Series Finals, the Queen's Club event will see the world's eight top male players competing for the Tour championship title and the highest first prize ever played for in the UK and Europe.

Darwish ended the year in fourth place in the 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings after reaching three event finals and claiming the titles in the El Gouna International and the Qatar Classic.

Darwish will be replaced in the eight-man field by Alister Walker, the world No20 from England who has recently relocated to New York. The Botswana-born 28-year-old will be making his debut in the event.

The draw has been revised, with the players now lining up in two pools as follows:

   Pool A:
   [1] Ramy Ashour (Egy), [3] James Willstrop (Eng)
   [5] Thierry Lincou (Fra), [8] Alister Walker (Eng)

   Pool B:
   [2] Nick Matthew (Eng), [4] Amr Shabana (Egy)
   [6] Peter Barker (Eng), [7] Wael El Hindi (Egy)

The eight players will play best-of-three-game matches in two pools of four from Tuesday to Thursday (11-13 January) before best-of-five game semi-finals on Friday 14 January, followed by the Grand Final on Saturday 15 January.

The World Series Finals will take place in an iconic inflatable structure, specifically created for the show-piece event. Inside the structure, the 'Z-Court' will contain the very latest in squash viewing, enabling uninterrupted 360° views of the action.

The purple glass court features innovative lighting and natural flooring - and has been specifically developed to capture the speed of the game on camera and produce the best quality viewing experience.
  

Super Series
Events 2010


2009 Super Series Finals
 

World No1 & World Champion to lead World Series Finals draw

Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour and England's new World Open champion Nick Matthew will lead the eight-man field for next year's ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals in London.

The ATCO PSA World Series Finals, which will be staged at The Queen's Club from 11-15 January, is the culmination of the 2010 PSA Super Series tour - the tenth and last event of which, the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, reached its climax on Sunday in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Formerly known as the Super Series Finals, the Queen's Club event will see the world's eight top male players competing for the Tour championship title and the highest first prize ever played for in the UK and Europe.

Matthew and Ashour, the 2007 champion, will be joined by Egyptians Karim Darwish, Amr Shabana and Wael El Hindi; Frenchman Thierry Lincou; and Englishmen James Willstrop and event debutant Peter Barker.

France's defending champion Gregory Gaultier also qualified for the event, but has been forced to withdraw after injuring his hamstring in this month's Saudi PSA World Open. The 2008 & 2009 champion will be out of action until February.

Ashour had an unassailable lead at the top of the Super Series Rankings before the PSA Masters, after triumphs in the Hong Kong Open, the British Grand Prix and the Kuwait Open.

Matthew, the 30-year-old from Sheffield who followed his double gold medal success in the Commonwealth Games in October by becoming England's first ever world champion in Saudi Arabia last week, claimed Super Series titles this year at the North American and Australian Opens, at the Sky Open in Egypt, and finally at the PSA Masters in India.

Format

The eight players will play best-of-three-game matches in two pools of four from Tuesday to Thursday (11-13 January) before best-of-five game semi-finals on Friday 14 January, followed by the Grand Final on Saturday 15 January.

"After consultation with players, the promoters and the venue, we have decided to make all the pool stage matches over the first three days 'best of three games' - to add a new element of excitement and competitiveness, as our top eight players battle for places in the semi-finals," said PSA COO Lee Beachill.

The World Series Finals will take place in an iconic inflatable structure, specifically created for the show-piece event. Inside the structure, the 'Z-Court' will contain the very latest in squash-viewing - enabling uninterrupted 360° views of the action.

The purple glass court features innovative lighting and natural flooring, and combined with the new coloured ball has been specifically developed to capture the speed of the game on camera and produce the best quality viewing experience.

Final 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings

1   Ramy Ashour (Egy)          600
2   Nick Matthew (Eng)          530
3   James Willstrop (Eng)      450
4   Karim Darwish (Egy)        410
5   Amr Shabana (Egy)          350
6   Gregory Gaultier (Fra)          340
7   Thierry Lincou (Fra)         255
8   Peter Barker (Eng)           185
9= Wael El Hindi (Egy)          145

9=  Daryl Selby (Eng)                145
11   David Palmer (Aus)             140
12= Alister Walker (Eng)       125
12= Cameron Pilley (Aus)           125
14= Adrian Grant (Eng)              110
14= Hisham Ashour (Egy)           110
16= Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)    100
16= Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)  100
  

23-Oct-2010:
PSA World Series Finals
hails 'New Era' for Squash


Saudi businessman Ziad Al-Turki promises a "new era for the popularity of Squash" with the launch of the ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals at The Queen's Club in London in January next year.

The enigmatic entrepreneur, who was linked with the purchasing of Manchester City in 2009, has been a fanatical squash fan and player for many years and has pledged his financial and personal commitment to re-invigorate the sport by broadening its appeal to a wider, younger audience, in order to encourage a new generation of players and to increase its appeal as an exciting spectator sport.

"Squash for me is a sport which is incredibly fast-paced, exciting and a test of both physical and mental strength."

"I believe that given the right investment and support, squash can become one of the most exciting and loved sports.

"I am investing my time and money into something I am passionate about and with the finals in January 2011 we hope to announce a new era for the popularity of the sport. It will definitely help to put squash back on to the sporting map."

One of the first major investments made is the ATCO PSA World Series Finals, from January 11-15, which is the culmination of the 2010 PSA Super Series tour. The event, formerly known as the Super Series Finals, will see the world's eight top male players competing for the Tour championship title and the highest first prize ever played for in the UK and Europe.

The final line-up for the event is not yet decided, but is likely to include Egypt's reigning world number one Ramy Ashour, and England's Nick Matthew, winner of two Commonwealth Games gold medals in Delhi last week. The pair head the current 2010 PSA Super Series rankings.

The seventh Super Series event of the year, the El Gouna International , is currently underway in Egypt - and this will be followed by the Kuwait Open and Qatar Classic in November, and the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi in December.

The Finals will take place in an iconic inflatable structure, specifically created for this showpiece event. The 'Z-Court' will contain the very latest in squash viewing, featuring an all-glass court with glass supports, enabling uninterrupted 360 degree views of the action.

The five-day event will be hosted by sports presenters Jake Humphreys and Chris Hollins.

The ATCO PSA World Series is a statement of intent from the combined forces of the PSA, Ziad Al-Turki, and brand agency Greenspace, to reinvigorate and regenerate the sport of squash. They all share the same desire; to take the exciting and high energy sport to the masses, making it a favourite with sports fans, through both viewing and participation.

PSA CEO Alex Gough added:

"Ziad has added an incredible amount of passion, commitment and financial support to the sport. This, combined with his astute business knowledge, superb contacts and his unfailing passion to take squash to the next level can only be good news for the sport.

"The ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals will be a fantastic event and a culmination of a hard year for all the players, with those at the very top of their game being rewarded with the ultimate prize. 2010 has been a year of growth for squash and we're looking forward to an exciting future."

 

 

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