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Bank Alfalah Pakistan Open 2004
06-10 December, Islamabad, Pakistan, $85k  

James Willstrop (Eng) bt Anthony Ricketts (Aus)  6/11, 11/9, 13/11, 11/3 (58m)

What a beautiful
final that was ...
Framboise from Islamabad

I didn't know what to expect when those two boys came on court this afternoon, as they had never played each other before ... no reference.

To start with, let me congratulate Anthony Ricketts, the 'used-to-be-boiling' Australian. His behaviour in this tournament has been exemplary. He didn't lose his temper once, he didn't argue with the referee, he didn't get frustrated with himself or his opponent ... and god knows, he was under pressure a few times ... long and disputed games with Darwish, Gaultier, Power ...

No, Anthony, I told you today, and I'm repeating it here, you have improved so much, and it's good for you, it's good for squash, and it's good for the spectators who can now enjoy the superb quality of your squash without the distractions.

Game One
And Anthony did start very well today. Firmly planted on the T, he was pushing the young James Willstrop to the back, again and again, imposing his game, not giving him any chances to attack, forcing him to attack from insecure positions and to find the tin, the tin, too many times ...

The rally at 2-all lasted for ever, and I mean for ever ...  James was patient but his shots were slightly loose, whereas Anthony was precise, his cross-courts were deep and at a perfect angle, preventing the tall young man from volleying.

At 4-all James quickly found the tin on an attempted volley drop, and it was a sort of liberation for the Australian who started adding point, after point, after point, to finally win the first 11/6, in 16 minutes.

Game Two

The beginning of the second was still Anthony's, but James started to find some exquisite backhand drop-shots instead of the tin. And it was like something clicked in his head. Confidence came back. His shots became heavier, he was now controlling the rallies, pushing the Australian to the back, dropping, then slowing down, pushing Anthony more and more out of his comfort zone, who now had to work harder and harder to pick up the lethal attacks ... up and down the court, again and again.

4-4, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, another great backhand drop-shot from James, 10-10.

That's when James won the heart of the packed audience.
Anthony placed an extraordinary length that James should never have got ... but he did. Anthony sends the ball to the front, and James gets it ... again, and again and again. Eventually, to the great joy of the spectators, James wins the point and he ends up winning a very close game indeed, 11/9 in a long 17 minutes.

The Third
The third was pure magic. When you have two great players, one with length and winning shots, the other with the angles and retrieving magic, the result is squash with a capital S.

And trust me, the spectators in Islamabad know what squash is all about, and they appreciated every minute.

During the whole game, there was never more than two points between the players. A combination of volley-drops and drop-shots from James, retrieving and lobs from hell from Anthony, lengths, drives, cross-courts ... we had it all.

Ricketts had three game balls, at 10-8, 10-9 and 11-10, but James's backhand drops were just shaving the tin, forcing his opponent to dig deep into the physical reserves he didn't have any more ...

17 minutes of pure perfection, and 13-11 for the tall boy ...

The final game lasted only 8 minutes, as Ricketts was now paying for the long matches he had during the tournament.

And with the last 11-3, James Willstrop had become the sixth champion of the Pakistan Open, after Amjad Khan, Peter Marshall, Jonathon Power, and of course, of course, Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan.

The young man's joy was so great ... his smile said it all.

At twenty-one, another player from the Pontefract pool is making history ...

Roundup: Framboise on a great week in Pakistan ...

Framboise on a great
week in Pakistan

Everything you didn't know
you needed to know ...

James in Islamabad
Thoughts of a Champion
Pakistan Reports
Reports from earlier rounds

The Last Day
Framboise's great day in Islamabad
Official Site from Islamabad

En Français

“Think how many points I'm going to lose next year, between the World Open and winning the Pakistan Open!!!!!

“I think I was lucky, well, maybe I also played well enough to get rid of my opponents quickly, like I did against Nick in the semis. And I knew that Anthony had a much harder run, and although he is the spitting image of fitness, he is not superman, and I knew he couldn't go on playing at that level day in day out forever.

“So, I knew that, if I could hang on in there, be patient, he would eventually tire. And he did.

“I want to thank two people back home who have helped me, Damon Brown, who has helped me get fit, and my brother David Campion.
And of course, my coach, my father, the man who has made me the player that I am, Malcolm Willstrop.

 Also big thanks to sport england and the EIS who have given me funding and physio and massage support. And my mum, she is always with me, she inspires me in every match I play.... ”
James Willstrop

“I think he played the right game. He managed to get winners in there I couldn't do anything about. And I felt physically flat, after all that court time (5 games v Darwish, 4 v Gaultier, 5 v Power), and they were all hard games. I had a couple of game points in the third, that normally I would have taken, but today, I was just flat, out of energy...

“He played very well, he took the ball early, he kept the pressure, whereas I hit too many loose balls.

“I think James has the potential to get to number one, like another 6 or 7 players. A few of us that have the potential, but sometimes the draw can make a big difference.

“I'm happy that I managed to control myself much better now. At the moment, I still have to think about it, but I'm sure that in a few months, that will be me...

“I haven't been home since July, I can't wait! But now, I'm on my way to India...
Anthony Ricketts

Pakistan Reports: Reports from earlier rounds

Bank Alfalah Pakistan Open 2004
06-10 December, Islamabad, Pakistan, $85k  
First Round
Mon 06
Last 16
Tue 07
Wed 08
Thu 09
Fri 10
[1] David Palmer (Aus)
11/2, 11/3, 11/2 (14m)
[Q] Khayal Mohammed (Pak)
David Palmer

11/9, 11/8, 3/11, 11/8 (45m)

Mansoor Zaman
David Palmer

11/6, 11/7, 5/11, 11/7 (50m)

Jonathon Power

Jonathon Power


11/9, 13/11, 7/11, 1/11, 11/7 (79m)


Anthony Ricketts
Anthony Ricketts 


6/11, 11/9, 13/11, 11/3 (58m)


James Willstrop

[12] Dan Jenson (Aus)
11/6, 8/11, 11/10(2-0), 4/11, 11/9 (65m)
Mansoor Zaman (Pak)
[5] Jonathon Power (Can)
11/5, 6/11, 11/6, 11/5 (43m)
Peter Barker (Eng)
Jonathon Power

11/7, 11/5, 11/4 (38m)

Mohammed Abbas
[11] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (27m)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (Egy)
[4] Karim Darwish (Egy)
11/4, 11/4, 11/8 (26m)
Shahier Razik (Can)
Karim Darwish

9/11, 11/6, 13/11, 11/13, 11/2 (62m)

Anthony Ricketts
Anthony Ricketts

11/7, 5/11, 11/5, 11/6 (54m)

Gregory Gaultier

[10] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
11/2, 11/8, 11/4 (19m)
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
[7] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11/9, 11/9, 11/4 (46m)
[Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
Gregory Gaultier

11/5, 7/11, 11/4, 8/11, 11/9

Renan Lavigne
[14] Renan Lavigne (Fra)
11/8, 11/7, 11/8 (32m)
Yasir Butt (Pak)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
10/11(1-3), 11/7, 11/3, 9/11, 11/7 (66m)
[13] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Olli Tuominen

11/7, 11/4, 11/1 (19m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop

11/9, 11/7, 1/0 rtd (22m)

Amr Shabana
James Willstrop

11/4, 11/5, 11/5 (30m)



Alex Gough (Wal)
11/9, 9/11, 11/5, 11/3 (41m)
[8] James Willstrop (Eng)
[Q] Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
11/9, 11/5, 11/10(2-0) (31m)
[15] Mark Chaloner (Eng)
Mark Chaloner

11/5, 11/7, 11/6 (25m)

Amr Shabana
[Q] Joey Barrington (Eng)
11/9, 9/11, 11/8, 11/9 (37m)
[3] Amr Shabana (Egy)
[Q] Shahid Zaman (Pak)
6/11, 11/10(3-1), 11/4, 4/11, 11/3 (69m)
[9] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Shahid Zaman

11/9, 11/7, 11/3 (39m)

Joe Kneipp
Shahid Zaman

11/5, 7/11, 11/13, 11/3, 11/6 (62m)

[Q] Amjad Khan (Pak)
11/4, 11/6, 11/4 (18m)
[6] Joe Kneipp (Aus)
[Q] Shamsul Islam Khan (Pak)
11/6, 4/11, 11/7, 8/11, 11/4 (38m)
[16] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
Shamsul Islam Khan

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

Nick Matthew
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
11/8, 11/3, 1/0 rtd
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)
Pakistan Reports: Reports from earlier rounds


Finals, 05-Dec:
Laurens Jan Anjema
(Ned) bt Zubair Ali Khan (Pak)  11/4, 11/6, 9/11, 11/2 (27m)
Khayal Mohammed
(Pak) bt Majid Khan (Pak)  11/2 10/11 (0-2), 11/8 11/7 (48m)
Shamsul Islam Khan
(Pak) bt Cameron Pilley (Aus) 4/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/5, 11/2 (44m)
Farhan Mehboob
(Pak) bt Gavin Jones (Wal) 7/11, 11/9, 8/11, 11/10(2-0), 11/10(3-1) (54m)
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt Arshad Iqbal (Pak) 11/9, 11/5, 11/10(2-0) (43m)
Shahid Zaman (Pak) bt Wakeel Khan (Pak)  11/6, 11/4, 11/6 (18m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) v Saeed Hassan (Pak)  11/9, 11/9, 11/1 (18m)
Amjad Khan (Pak) bt Khawaja Adil Maqbool (Pak)  11/6, 11/9, 11/9 (33m)

First Round, 04-Dec:
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Aaqib Hanif (Pak) 11/6, 10/11(0-2), 11/7, 11/6 (43m)
Zubair Ali Khan (Pak) bt Safeerullah (Pak) 8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 6/11, 11/10(5-3) (41m)
Majid Khan (Pak) bt Asghar Khan (Pak) 11/6, 11/7, 11/10(2-0) (23m)
Khayal Mohd (Pak) bt Waseem Shad (Pak) 11/10(2-0), 11/9, 11/9 (44m)
Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Khalid Atlas (Pak) 11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (22m)
Shamsul Islam Khan (Pak) bt Mubashir Gul (Pak) 3/11, 11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (33m)
Gavin Jones (Wal) bt Jehanzeb Masood (Pak) 11/2, 11/6, 11/4 (18m)
Farhan Mehboob (Pak) bt Farhan Moeen (Pak) 11/3, 11/4, 11/3 (15m)

Arshad Iqbal (Pak) bt Mohd Ateeq (Pak) 11/8, 11/3, 11/2 (17m)
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt Bilal Zaman (Pak) 11/1, 9/11, 11/2, 11/6 (32m)
Wakeel Khan (Pak) bt Naveed Atlas (Pak) 11/4, 11/6, 11/8 (31m)
Shahid Zaman (Pak) bt Waqar Mehboob (Pak) 11/8, 11/3, 11/4 (17m)
Saeed Hassan (Pak) bt Aman Gul (Pak) 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (16m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Basit Ashfaq (Pak) rtd
Amjad Khan (Pak) bt Farrukh Zaman (Pak) 11/10(2-0), 7/11, 11/7, 11/8 (37m)
Khawaja Adil Maqbool (Pak) bt Bradley Ball (Eng) rtd

Pre-qualifying Finals, 03-Dec:
Khalid Atlas Khan bt Adnan Khan 11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (18m)
Jehanzeb Masood bt Adil Atlas Khan 7/11, 11/10, (4-2), 11/5, 11/8 (38m)
Amajd Khan bt Alamzeb Jnr 11/7, 11/9, 11/4 (18m)
Asghar Khan bt Shoaib Hassan 4/11, 8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/7 (31m)
Mubashir Gul bt Maqbali Khan 11/6, 11/7, 11/3 (21m)
Aqib Hanif bt Kashif Khan 11/9, 11/3, 11/5 (20m)
Waqar Mehboob bt Jehangir Khan Jnr 11/5, 11/1, 11/7 (15m)
Aman Gul Walk over

Pre-Qualifying First Round, 02-Dec:
Khalid Atlas Khan bt Naveed Alam  11/5, 11/6, 11/5 (17m)
Adnan Khan bt Muhammad Waseem  11/2, 11/8, 11/6 (17m)
Jehanzeb Masood bt Alamgir Rehman  11/3, 11/7, 11/7 (15m)
Adil Atlas bt Adnan Gul  11/6, 6/11, 11/3, 11/2 (15m)
Amajd Khan bt Fahim Gul  11/8, 11/2, 11/8 (20m)
Alamzeb Jnr bt Fahad Zaman  11/7, 11/5, 7/11, 11/8 (27m)
Asghar Khan bt Muhammad Ilyas  11/4, 11/4, 11/5 (11m)
Shoaib Hassan bt Sheikh Saqib  11/2, 11/3, 11/6 (14m)
Maqbali Khan bt Muhammad Naveed  11/8, 11/7, 11/10 (3-1) (20m)
Mubashir Gul bt Ikramullah  11/2, 11/7, 11/2 (14m)
Kashif Khan bt Faizan Nawaz  7/11, 11/4, 11/3, 11/3 (16m)
Aqib Hanif bt Asghar Ali  11/3, 11/5, 11/3 (13m)
Jehangir Khan Jnr bt Naveed Nasir  11/8, 10/11(5-7), 7/11, 11/7, 11/0 (32m)
Waqar Mehboob bt Bilal Khan  11/3, 11/1, 11/1 (7m)
Aman Gul bt Khalid Khan  11/3, 11/3, 11/0 (10m)
Wakeel Khan bt Asif Khan  11/7, 11/2, 11/7 (23m)

Pakistan Reports: Reports from earlier rounds

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