James Willstrop bt Gregory Gaultier
11/6, 6/11, 11/9, 8/11, 11/4 (82m)
Willstrop's winning ways ...
It's another major title for in-form James Willstrop as the
Englishman, newly-elevated to #4 in the world, won a see-saw battle
with Gregory Gaultier in the final at the University of Richmond ...
Willstrop & Gaultier in final
semi-finals with James Willstrop proving too good for a tired Karim
Darwish while Gregory Gaultier won a fast-paced shootout with John
Darwish downs Ramy
A couple of thrillers in the quarters as Karim Darwish wins the
all-Egyptian battle to set up a semi with Willstrop, and Gaultier
comes through a French five-setter to meet that man White ...
27-Feb, Round Two
Olli ousts Palmer
The top seven seeds will be joined in the quarter-finals by Olli
Tuominen, who upset third seed David Palmer ... Lincou survives
against Abbas after saving three match-balls in the third ...
26-Feb, Round One, Day Two
Illingworth's Ashour pair
Another seven seeds through to round
two, but the one upset is the one the home crowd wanted as
Julian Illingworth beats one Ashour to set up a meeting with another
25-Feb, Round One bottom half
All seeds safely through
No upsets in the first day's
play at the University of Richmond, but Renan Lavigne and Olli
Tuominen were both taken to a decider ...
Draw & Results
Photo Gallery & Slideshows
from Patricia Lyons
Willstrop Wins Richmond Title
England's James Willstrop extended his best-ever run on the
international squash circuit by beating French rival Gregory
Gaultier in a dramatic five-game final, to win the third title in
his fourth successive final appearance in a PSA Tour event.
It was a see-saw climax in which Gaultier, the world No3, paid the
price for early errors in two of the games before Willstrop clinched
the last game to claim the title after 83 minutes.
The win marks Willstrop's tenth PSA Tour title - and his third PSA
Super Series trophy. The Virginia triumph caps a sensational twelve
months for the 24-year-old Yorkshireman who failed to reach a single
PSA final in 2006 - then began his winning Tour run in March last
year with success in the ISS Canary Wharf Classic in London. The
England number one followed this with title victories in the Prince
English Grand Prix and the Mamut English Open and a runner-up berth
in the US Open.
After leading England to a successful defence of the World Team
Championship title in India in December, Willstrop continued his
Tour run by reaching the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions climax
in New York in January, before lifting the Case Swedish Open crown
last month - when he also had time to retain his British National
Championship title in Manchester.
for tired Darwish
Karim Darwish’s upset marathon win over wonderboy Ramy Ashour in the
quarterfinals caught up with him when he faced England’s James
Willstrop in the semi-finals.
Willstrop tends to start slowly, but against Darwish he was in to
his stride right away, Darwish was caught unawares and Willstrop
piled up the points with gusto, hitting cannonball volleys and going
for winners at every opportunity.
The March world rankings pushed Willstrop up to number four in the
world and he played like it. Darwish simply had to answer to
Willstrop’s superb length and his ability to take the ball early. It
was almost no contest as Willstrop ran away to win the game 11-4 in
just over ten minutes.
Darwish got into the match in the second game, forced himself to
move up the court and was no longer getting caught with Willstrop’s
drop shots and boasts.
He was no longer being dominated and even took over the dominant
role to take a 5-2 lead, but Willstrop was not fazed and continued
to attack, always on the lookout for winners.
This was now evenly-matched high quality squash which drew the crowd
into the drama of the game. At 7-all it looked as though this could
go to five games. Willstrop got to game ball 10-8 but Darwish did
not give up and hit a backhand winner of his own to save the first
game ball and was given the second when Willstrop’s volley drop hit
the tin to force extra points.
The next really ended when the referees denied Darwish a let – a
questionable decision, but Willstrop snatched at a shot and sent the
ball into the tin to make the score 11-all. Another backhand chop
drop put Willstrop at game ball again and when the ball took a
strange bounce in the back left corner Darwish was cruelly foxed and
hit the ball into the tin to finish an entertaining 20-minute game.
Sadly, when he came back for the third game Darwish quickly showed
that his tank was empty: he was unable to compete at any decent
level, so Willstrop ran through to win 11-1 in a few minutes, to put
him in the final.
Gaultier outshoots White
The second semi was a bit of an anti-climax; John White could not –
or was not allowed to to play the brilliant game he played
yesterday. Gregory Gaultier moved up several gears and everything he
tried at the front of the court came off.
White admitted later that he was unable to do anything: “When you
come up against someone playing as well as Gregory, there is really
nothing you can do. It’s very frustrating. Yesterday was great.
Today was c***.”
Well not exactly that bad, because the standard was still very high
and the three games still took 39 minutes.
This makes the for an enticing final; the world number three versus
the world number four. Neither player will be tired and both will be
looking for a prestigious win ...
23-Feb to 01-Mar, Richmond, $80k
Bot 25/Top 26 Feb
 Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/5, 11/7, 11/9 (28m)
[Q] David Phillips (Can)
 Ramy Ashour
11/6, 13/11, 12/10
 Ramy Ashour
11/4, 6/11, 4/11, 11/5, 11/8 (60m)
 Karim Darwish
 Karim Darwish
11/4, 13/11, 11/1 (41m)
 James Willstrop
 James Willstrop
11/6, 6/11, 11/9, 8/11, 11/4 (82m)
 Gregory Gaultier
 Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11/7, 15/13, 4/11, 11/7 (51m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
 Karim Darwish (Egy)
6/11, 11/13, 11/6, 11/6, 11/4 (55m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
 Karim Darwish
11/8, 11/9, 11/5 (39m)
 Alex Gough
 Alex Gough
11/6, 11/9, 12/10 (42m)
[Q] Tom Richards (Eng)
 James Willstrop (Eng)
11/7, 11/8, 11/6 (30m)
[Q] Jethro Binns (Wal)
 James Willstrop
11/5, 11/8, 11/6
 Lee Beachill
 James Willstrop
11/5, 11/0, 11/4 (56m)
 Wael El Hindi
 Lee Beachill (Eng)
11/8, 11/2, 11/5 (25m)
[Q] Yann Perrin (Fra)
 Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11/7, 12/10, 11/3 (39m)
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
 Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11/9, 6/3 rtd
 Shahier Razik
 Shahier Razik (Can)
11/2, 11/6, 12/10
Shawn Delierre (Can)
[Q] Liam Kenny (Irl)
11/6, 8/11, 11/7, 6/11, 13/11 (88m)
 Renan Lavigne (Fra)
 Renan Lavigne
11/8, 11/8, 9/11, 11/5 (45m)
 John White
 John White
11/9, 11/7, 11/6 (31m)
 Olli Tuominen
 John White
11/7, 11/4, 11/8
 Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Wade Johnstone (Sco)
11/8, 11/8, 9/11, 11/7 (38m)
 John White (Sco)
Rafael Alarcon (Bra)
11/8, 11/13, 8/11, 11/6, 11/5 (66m)
 Olli Tuominen (Fin)
 Olli Tuominen
11/6, 11/8, 11/8
 David Palmer
Eric Galvez (Mex)
11/5, 11/3, 9/11, 11/5 (46m)
 David Palmer (Aus)
[Q] Julien Balbo (Fra)
11/7, 11/5, 11/3 (38m)
 Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
 Mohammed Abbas
7/11, 9/11, 12/10, 11/6, 11/5
 Thierry Lincou
 Thierry Lincou
11/5, 11/9, 6/11, 7/11, 11/3 (54m)
 Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Robbie Temple (Eng)
11/6, 11/8, 11/9 (30m)
 Thierry Lincou (Fra)
Patrick Chifunda (Zam)
11/8, 11/5, 12/10 (40m)
 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/5, 11/6, 11/3 (38m)
 Gregory Gaultier
Yasser El Halaby (Egy)
11/8, 11/5, 11/6 (33m)
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
24-Feb, Qualifying Finals:
Liam Kenny bt Arturo Salazar
11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (34m)
Yann Perrin bt
11/6, 11/5, 11/7 (40m)
David Phillips bt Arthur Gaskin
11/9, 11/5, 11/6 (49m)
Tom Richards bt
9/11, 11/8, 11/8, 12/10 (60m)
Wade Johnstone bt James Snell
11/6, 11/8, 8/11, 11/5 (45m)
Robbie Temple bt Ryan Cuskelly
13/11, 1/11, 8/11, 11/9, 11/2 (90m)
Jethro Binns bt Chris Gordon
11/8, 12/10, 4/11, 11/6 (49m)
Julian Balbo bt Josh Greenfield
13/15, 11/8, 11/8, 11/4 (44m)
23-Feb, Qualifying round one:
Arturo Salazar bt Peter Goodings
11/3, 11/6, 11/1 (20m)
Ryan Donegan bt Joe Millman
11/0, 11/4, 11/1 (23m)
$ Yann Perrin bt Lefika Ragonste
11/3, 11/4, 11/6 (24m)
Arthur Gaskin bt Jacques Swanpoel
11/2, 11/1, 11/4 (22m)
Tom Richards bt Ahmed Hamza
11/9, 11/5, 5/11, 11/7 (39m)
Jens Schoor bt Fernando Lopez
11/6, 11/3, 11/7 (28m)
James Snell bt Jonas Laursen
11/6, 11/7, 11/6 (27m)
Wade Johnstone bt John Street
11/2, 11/5, 12/10 (20)
Robbie Temple bt Cesar Salazar
11/8, 11/7, 9/11, 11/6 (49m)
Jethro Binns bt Philip Nightingale
11/8, 11/9, 11/5 (34m)
Josh Greenfield bt David Hetherington
11/5, 11/7, 11/2 (19m)
DARWISH PULLS OFF THE BIG UPSET
It finally happened: Ramy Ashour loses.
The young Egyptian who has won two of the Players Cup Series
tournaments, finally ran out of legs and was beaten in an engrossing
five-game match by fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish.
Ashour has played almost non-stop for the last 22 days – tournaments
and exhibitions - and this match finally sapped his energy, his
accuracy and his will. Darwish played well, slowing the pace down to
take control in the first game, but Ashour forced himself back into
competition mode and the winners started sparking off his racket as
he effortlessly took the next two games. The fourth game was a
disaster when at 4-4 Ashour committed a string of six unforced
errors to put Darwish at game ball and he made no mistake in taking
the game to force a decider.
Darwish led from the beginning of the fifth and it was obvious that
Ashour simply could not summon up the energy to attain his normal
standard. Darwish ran out the surprising winner after 59 suspenseful
WILLSTROP WINS AMID CONTROVERSY
Darwish, a former world junior champion and presently ranked 8 in
the world, will now meet James Willstrop of England, the world
number six, who came through to win a match marked by a drama and
controversy as Wael el Hindi of Egypt became enraged by the
referee’s decision in the third game to penalise him a point for
dangerous play. El Hindi had swing his racket, deliberately missing
the ball, to demonstrate that had he hit it, the ball would have
struck his opponent. It was an inexplicable decision and although El
Hindi had won the first game showing superb style, and lost the
second, he threw the third away 0-11 and despite recovering some
composure, could not get back on track and lost the fourth 11-4.
“I was full of rage, I thought I would burst. I thought the referee
was disrespectful in the way he spoke to me. For the last few months
I have been playing good squash but I was so angry it affected my
movement,” El Hindi said after the match.
WHITE SLAYS THE GIANT KILLER
John White of Scotland, the seventh seed, took on yesterday’s
giant-killer, Olli Tuominen of Finland and gave him a lesson in fast
accurate racket work. White was in sizzling form and effortlessly
slotted in the winners while all Tuominen could do was chase
shadows. It was a short sharp execution taking just 30 minutes, a
performance that White judged later was 9½ on a scale of one-to-ten.
When the 34 year old White was asked what he was thinking during one
very long rally, he replied: “He was doing all the running, I was
just standing there hitting the ball, so I was quite happy. “
THE FRENCH RESOLUTION
After the all-Egyptian match there was the all-French match as
Thierry Lincou tried to get revenge over Gregory Gaultier, who had
beaten him in the British Open last year. It was a ding-dong battle
which kept the spectators in their seats to the last point. Gaultier
seemed to have it all under control as he took the first two games,
but Lincou knew how to subdue the tricky Gaultier, slowing the ball
down and using the lob. It paid off as he took the next two games
forcing a deciding fifth.
Gaultier opened up a lead – but it wasn’t easy; the rallies were
long and there was a real battle in the front corners as they traded
counter drops. Gaultier maintained his supremacy to take the game
11-3 and emerge the victor after 54 minutes.
“I knew Thierry still had yesterday’s hard games in his legs so I
was making him work. He came back very well when he slowed the game,
but I think he finally got tired,” Gaultier said between gasps of
breath after the match. He will now meet White.
PALMER KNOCKED OUT BY TUOMINEN ...
Third seed David Palmer suffered a shock defeat at the hands of 11th
seed Olli Tuominen of Finland in the second round of the 2008
Davenport Professional Squash Championships at the University of
Richmond Virginia. This was Palmer's second bad result in as many weeks,
Palmer having to bow out of the Canadian Classic two weeks ago
because of lower back problems.
His problem today was not his back, but the sizzling run of form
that Tuominen produced to bamboozle him. The Finn was playing at his
very best, pasting the ball tight to the walls and getting to
everything that Palmer hit. There is no hiding place for the ball
when Tuominen is in this form, which hasn't happened very often
lately. Today he was the Flying Finn and there was very little
Palmer could do about it.
had won the first game but Palmer asserted his authority to lead the
second game 8-3 when some refereeing decisions started to irk the
Tuominen put together a run of eight points to win the game 11-8,
the final decision of the game leaving Palmer fuming. In the
third game Palmer's concentration was broken and although he managed
to pull back from 3-9 to 8-10, Tuominen's drive, determination and
pace was always going to win the day and he took the game 11-8 for
a shock victory.
ABBAS CRASHES AGAIN
Egyptian Mohammed Abbas is now ranked 13 in the world, his highest
ever rankings and may not get higher unless he overcomes the jitters
that visit him when about to beat one of the top ten. It happened
again today when he outplayed fifth seeded Thierry Lincou of France
for three games and stood at match ball 10-7.
Unsettled by a ball called up that Abbas though was down, the
simply could not maintain concentration, lost the game 12-10 and his
nerve and determination diminished in the final two games to allow
Lincou to escape with an unlikely victory.
"I just kept running, running after the ball. In the first two games
he just outplayed me and I couldn't do anything. I was always behind
him on the court. In the third I finally managed to get in front of
him.. I am just relieved to have won," said Lincou.
RAMY ASHOUR AVENGES FAMILY NAME
Top seed Ramy Ashour of Egypt got a little revenge over American
Julian Illingworth who had knocked out Ashour's elder brother in the
first round in one of the shocks of the tournament. Illingworth
gave a very good account of himself and although he went down in
straight games, he forced a tie break in both the second and third
games, to show that he is good enough not be outclassed by the best
player in the world today. It was a well contested match with a high
standard of squash with Illingworth shooting in his share of
winners. But the Ashour speed is startling and eventually overwhelmed
WILLSTROP ON TOP FORM
James Willstrop and Lee Beachill repeated their performance of the
British championships held last week when Willstrop beat his
training partner to remain British champion. Today the two Yorkshireman put on a startling display of speed squash which was
pure entertainment. The ball was cracked with accuracy down the
walls and into the nicks. This was squash of a very high order: the
standard and speed were maintained for 43 minutes before Willstrop
emerged a 3/0 victory. It wasn't that Beachill played badly, it was
that 24 year old Willstrop played so well.
Round One, Top Half:
ILLINGWORTH NEW AMERICAN HERO
In the final second round match of the day Julian Illingworth
brought the 2008 Davenport Professional Squash Championship to life
with a stunning display of creative intelligent squash that
deservedly brought him a 3/1 victory over Hisham Ashour, who is
ranked 17 places above him.
Illingworth, in the view of some observers, played the match of his
life, to earn a place in the second round where he will meet
Hisham’s younger brother Ramy, the world number two.
Illingworth started full of confidence and took the game to the very
talented Ashour. More surprisingly he outplayed , Ashour, a master
shot maker, at the front of the court, which is where most Egyptians
excel. While Illingworth was hitting sublime winners, Ashour, in his
usual impetuous search for winners was making errors – five in all.
This was quality squash and Illingworth looked thoroughly at home.
He won the first game 11-7, and showed great poise in saving two
game balls to force an extended tie-break which he won 15-13 after
It all fell apart for the American in the third game, after some
strange bounces in the back corner made him mis-hit, and he lost the
game 11-4 in under five minutes. The fourth started badly with
Ashour taking a quick 3-0 lead but Illingworth settled down to
regain his form to gradually claw his way back in. There were some
stunning rallies with both players stretched to their fullest. It
was Illingworth’s concentration and cool demeanour that won the day
and he took the game 11-7 to earn a second round match against Ramy
Ashour, the world number two who had little trouble despatching
Canadian qualifier David Phillips in straight games.
WAEL EL HINDI IN THREE BUT FRANKCOMB SHOWS WELL
Egyptian glamour boy Wael El Hindi took on the young Australian
Aaron Frankcomb. Although the score shows a straight games victory
for the 8th ranked El Hindi, it wasn’t that straightforward.
Frankcomb displayed a fine all-round game and, if there had been any
justice, should have taken the second game which he led most of the
way. He showed that he could attack with the best of them and reaped
the dividends of El Hindi’s lackadaisical attitude when he thought
he had the match won. Frankcomb held game ball at 10-9 but El Hindi
hit a perfect length to force a tiebreak and the impetuous Frankcomb
put a drop shot into the tin to give El Hindi game ball. The Egyptian
made no mistake with a fine forehand slam to length to win 12-10.
In the third game El Hindi was a little more circumspect in his
approach to the game while Frankcomb took his foot off the pedal to
allow his opponent to cruise home 11-3 to end the 38 minute
El Hindi said he allowed Frankcomb to slow the pace down which is
why it went to a tie-break. Frankcomb, on the other hand, was none
“I was happy that I was going forward well and with my general play,
but I was disappointed in the way I went down in the third game,”
said Frankcomb who is ranked 48 in the world.
DARWISH HAS TO FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL
Young Saurav Ghosal of India, ranked 49, gave the world number 8
Karim Darwish a real fright by taking the first two games in just 21
minutes. This perilous situation was a very real wake-up call for
the Egyptian who finally got going in the third game and corrected
the situation by taking the next three games fairly easily.
“I was asleep,” admitted Darwish, “ and he started very quickly and
played well. I got up at nine o’clock this morning which is really
not early enough for a one o’clock game,” he said with obvious
relief in his voice. He will not be able to sleep for a game or even
a point in the next round when he meets Alex Gough. The 37 year old
world number 20 took no chances when playing qualifier Tom Richards
of England. He won the first two games but had to fight hard in the
third as Richards, who has just returned to action after 8 months
out due to injury, showed his potential and speed. Qualifier
Richards had climbed to 54 in the world before the injury and is now
ranked 121, but his play suggested he is mended and should soon
start climbing back up.
Gough, fresh from his efforts in the British championships said that
he didn’t take the result for granted.
“I haven’t played for a week, while Richards has been through
qualifying and would be played in, so I had to be careful. I’m just
please to have won in three,” he said.
ALL-CANADIAN AFFAIR NOT EVEN NEAR A CIVIL WAR
Canadian team-mates Shahier Razik and Shawn Delierre were drawn to
play each other, their eighth meeting with Razik ahead 5-2 on the
DeLierre was far from motivated in the first two games but picked
his game up in the third to force a tie break, fighting to save
three match balls before finally going down. Razik will now play El
Hindi in the second round which will be played at a very different
pace with a much higher level of commitment.
BEACHILL ALL BUSINESS
Lee Beachill, former English champion, was all business today
producing one of the most efficient performances of the day in
despatching young Frenchman Yann Perrin in 27 minutes. Beachill had
been operated on for a double hernia in December, but he looked good
as new as he went for the jugular with every shot, at a pace that
the Frenchman could not live with. Beachill now plays fellow
Englishman James Willstrop who took a little longer to beat Welshman
Jethro Binns in straight games.
Round One, Bottom Half:
Lavigne Survives While
Chifunda Cheered In Virginia
first round of the 2008 Davenport Professional Squash
Championship held at the University of Richmond provided a mixed
bag of players and competition. In the most competitive match of the
day Renan Lavigne of France survive a spirited comeback
from Ireland’s Liam Kenny, who pushed the Frenchman to
extra points in the fifth game.
Despite the gap in rankings – Lavigne is world number 26 while Kenny
has slipped to 52 - the players were equal in most things and played
a similar game, matching each other in both defence and attack.
Kenny looked the better armed and often seemed on the brink of
breaking away, but Lavigne always managed to contain Kenny’s
spirited attacking. In the decider, Kenny came back from 0-3 down
to lead 6-4 - but the 30-year-old from Dublin could not stop Lavigne’s constant supply of energy.
Kenny saved two match balls, then got to match ball himself at
11-10, but it was Lavigne who persevered that little bit more to win
took Patrick Chifunda, a wild card local entry, to get the
crowd roaring - even before he’d struck a ball. Born in Zambia,
educated in South Africa, Chifunda now coaches at the Country Club
of Richmond. His popularity had the packed galleries roaring him on
as he tried to bamboozle world number 26 Cameron Pilley,
lanky Australian. Chifunda’s speed and acrobatics almost paid off
in the third game as he led 7-4 and then was tied at 9-9 with a real
chance at taking the game. But an error put Pilley at match ball
and he took the final point with a backhand drop. The players left
the court to more roars of approval.
just play my best squash and don’t worry about the rankings,” said
the smiling 32-year-old Zambian. “I just like to hassle these
players as much as I can and try enjoy myself.”
English qualifier Robbie Temple managed to give Thierry
Lincou a bit of a fright in their first round match. Temple had
knocked out the up and coming Ryan Cuskelly of Australia in
the qualifying round - a good win for a player who has just entered
the top 100. Left-handed Temple plays his backhand with two hands,
a la Peter Marshall - and like Marshall, can keep his
opponents guessing as to which way the ball is going.
Lincou, now ranked seven in the world, had it all his own way in the
first two games - but suddenly found himself 6-1 down in the third.
The Frenchman managed to climb back into the game only because
Temple made four unforced errors which allowed Lincou to draw level
and then go on to take the game to close out the match.
“Concentration,” responded Lincou when asked what happened in the
third game. “I just lost my concentration and when he got five quick
points, I panicked.”
Australia's David Palmer, who now lives in Boston, cruised to
a two game lead over Mexican Eric Galvez, ranked 36 in the
world. But the world number four and former world champion suddenly
lost his flowing game in the third to allow his opponent to hustle
and bustle his way to win it 11-9. One of the most experienced men
on the circuit, Palmer firmly shut the door on the Mexican in the
fourth to assure his second round
Qualifying at the County Club of Virginia
Reports from Pete Goodings, Gus Cook
and Hunt Richardson
Liam Kenny bt
11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (34 mins)
in very dominate mood and maintained this throughout the whole
match. He never let Salazar get into a rhythm and Kenny’s
anticipation was key to the match.
Eventually the very quick and athletic Mexican succumbed to the
control and accuracy and had no answer for the tactical assault he
sustained as Kenny eased in to the main draw.
bt Ryan Donegan
11/6, 11/5, 11/7 (40 mins)
story for the next game. Perrin started strongly and was only ever
behind twice in the whole match. His speed and control around the
court was the telling story, with better shot selection and a calmer
approach on the ball when under pressure.
Donegan’s strength and consistency has improved over the past 12
months and he held Perrin well in some good exchanges but he didn’t
quite have the finishing touches when any openings appeared. At this
level you have to be able to take your chances when they are
bt Arthur Gaskin
11/9, 11/5, 11/6 (49 mins)
This game started well and looked
like it could have been a contender for match of the round, with
Gaskin putting some nice rallies together and eventually was the
first one to look like taking the first game. However the
experienced Canadian put a few nice shots away into the nick at very
telling times and secured the opening game at the first time of
After this Phillips never looked back and even though Gaskin chased
well and remained competitive he never quite got back in touch with
Phillips who looked more in control as the match progressed. Gaskin
should be proud of this maturing performance though as has game has
shown considerable improvement in the past 12 months
Tom Richards bt
9/11, 11/8, 11/8, 12/10 (60 mins)
This match had
five sets written all over it – however Richards had other ideas and
after narrowly losing the first, he started to take the ball a
little earlier and use his attacking boasts to full effect often
catching the German off guard in the second.
There were moments in the third where Richards looked a little
rattled having apparently worn Schoor down with some great variety,
moving the German around the court very well.
Schoor’s shot play however was still very much alive & Richards took
nothing for granted and had to fight tooth and nail to the end for
bt James Snell
11/6, 11/8, 8/11, 11/5 (45 mins)
It was fairly
one-way traffic in the first two and a half games with Johnstone
dictating the play and pushing the ball around the court well. Snell
is a determined character though and never gives in and just kept
hanging in on the rallies to see what would happen.
Snell did take a few opportunities when Johnstone seemed to switch
off and make a few simple mistakes & there was a great example of
this mid-way through the third. At two games & 6-2 down a lot of
players would be close to throwing in the towel but Snell dug deep
and took the opportunity with both hands and stepped up to take the
However in the fourth Johnstone got the bit back between his teeth
and closed out the match with some very tactically sound squash,
eventually coming out on top. Snell acquitted himself well here in
Virginia and he should be pleased with his maiden Davenport
bt Ryan Cuskelly
13/11, 1/11, 8/11, 11/9, 11/2 (90 mins)
first few points this was obviously going to be a humdinger of a
battle - both left-handers who love cracking the ball to the back
with the odd boast thrown in for fun (oh and one or two drops shots
in the fourth and fifth!).
Neither player looked like they were going to tire until Cuskelly
right at the last few points in the fifth. The rallies were fast,
hard and long but temple looked to have the freshness in his legs at
the end to make the telling difference.
Temple had a blank in the second and just seemed to forget what he
could do with his racket only getting one point, but soon found his
rhythm in the third and even though he narrowly dropped the game it
seemed to light a fire in his belly and this took him through the
fourth and into a strong position in the fifth – and he never looked
back, taking the final game 11-2.
Jethro Binns bt
11/8, 12/10, 4/11, 11/6 (49 mins)
aggressive battle with Jethro the more stylish, orthodox of the two
taking the first two games after some very hard fought rallies.
Gordon is a very fit and strong athlete though and dug deep
finishing off some well constructed rallies to take the third.
Gordon has the reputation of being a very physical player and he
always plays the ball whenever possible. This sometimes this can be
the undoing of the young American, as he often would play a ball
that would be a clear point/stroke – but he is nothing if not fair
and this cannot be held against him.
Binns took his chances in the fourth and put away some great
opportunities when they were presented – good job really as
everyone's money was on Gordon if had gone to five – as Binns’ legs
looked very tired towards the end of the match.
This was a great scalp for the young Welshman and he now looks
forward to the main draw with eager anticipation.
bt Josh Greenfield
13/15, 11/8, 11/8, 11/4 (44 mins)
started like a whirlwind with Balbo covering a huge amount of court
in the first and Greenfield flashing winning shots from everywhere.
The New Zealander seemed to know no fear in where to attempt winners
from and it paid off taking the game 15-13.
This was the format for the whole match with Balbo playing some very
consistent tight squash and covering the court with incredible speed
but often falling prey to Greenfield’s audacious shot play.
The pace of the match stayed at such a high tempo however, that
eventually Greenfield started to try for one too many winners and
made far too many mistakes off the back of some very physically
Eventually Balbo ran out the deserved winner in four but the crowd
were entertained to some exhibition style squash.
23-Feb, Qualifying Round One
Qualifying in Richmond
Gus Cook and Hunt Richardson report ...
27 players showed up for the draw today therefore resulting in five
Salazar beat Peter Goodings ( local )
3-0 , 11/3, 11/6, 11/1 in 20 mins.
A very jet-lagged
Goodings was not up nor ready for the pace of the speedy and younger
player and the first of the Mexican twins makes it through
comfortably. Now players Kenny
Donegan beat Joe Millman
3-0, 11/0, 11/4, 11/1 in 23 mins.
Donegan looked sharp,
focused and strong in this match and did not give Millman a chance
to get comfortable by forcing a fast past with hard and low hitting.
Now plays Perrin.
Perrin beat Lefika Ragonste
3-0, 11/3, 11/4, 11/6 in 24 mins.
The Frenchman has been
in Richmond training hard and preparing for the past 3 days whilst
Ragonste made the drive down from Baltimore just the night before
the match. Although there were some very entertaining and well
fought rallies throughout, there was only likely to be one winner
today and that ended up to be the case.
Gaskin beat Jacques Swanepoel
3-0, 11/2, 11/1, 11/4 in 22 mins.
In the middle of an
evenly played first game, Swanepoel twisted his ankle, fell behind,
lost it in 6 minutes and didn’t recover until the beginning of the
third game. By then it was too difficult for him to extend the
rallies or keep up with some of Gaskin’s basic tactical patterns
beyond a few shots. Now plays Phillips.
Richards beat Ahmed Hamza
3-1, 11/9, 11/5, 5/11, 11/7 in 39
Creative shots streamed
from both players’ racquets, Richards demonstrating the meaning of
putting “English” on the ball with a topspin floating drop to the
left nick from just inside the right quarter-court at 9-4 in Game 2.
The next game went to Hamza thanks to an inspired assault on the
Englishman’s forehand peppered with drops to the left nick and
deceptive cross court flicks. Richards’ experience in English League
and tournament play was all too evident in the end. Now plays
Schoor beat Fernando Lopez
3-0, 11/6, 11/3, 11/7 in 28 mins.
Schoor looked very
impressive with this win giving his opponent no opportunity to get
into his game and will prove difficult in his match against Richards
tomorrow - certainly one to watch.
Snell beat Jonas Laursen
3-0, 11/6, 11/7, 11/6 in 27 mins.
Laursen had flown in
from the UK one week early to help the tournament organizer and had
become very popular amongst the members of The CCV who had been
giving lessons to and getting to know well.
They will be sad to see him leave early but the Englishman had a
more consistent game on the day and the error count for the man from
Denmark proved costly. He will be hoping for better results in his
National Champs next week. Now plays Johnstone.
Johnstone beat John Street ( local )
3-0, 11/2, 11/5, 12/10 in 20 mins.
This was a highly
entertaining match to watch with Johnstone moving the slightly older
Street around all four corners of the court time after time. In the
end youth and experience prevailed although the former UVA star
lacrosse player will have something to tell his children about one
Temple beat Cesar Salazar
3-1, 11/8, 11/7, 9/11, 11/6 in 49 mins
A great match to watch
between two extremely fleet players, with Temple showing the
disciplines of English squash training, holding the middle and
forcing Salazar to run extra yards on most of the rallies. Temple
looked comfortable with a high-tempo game. Salazar never tired but
his extraordinary speed and agility were outmatched by Temple’s
length and width.
Salazar pulled a muscle in his quadriceps in Game 4 and hobbled
through the last few points which was a disappointing end to a very
fast-paced and entertaining match. Now plays Cuskelly.
Binns beat Philip Nightingale
3-0, 11/8, 11/9, 11/5 in 34 mins.
Binns looked very solid
and won a lot of points by making Nightingale stretch from the front
left to the back right, which tired him out. If Nightingale can keep
his opponents from exploiting this tactic then he will be a very
handy PSA tour player but sometimes having to get down from his
great height can take a while and so prove costly. Now plays Gordon.
Greenfield beat David Hetherington ( local )
3-0, 11/5, 11/7, 11/2 in 19 mins.
Hetherington, The CCV
and Virginia State Champion took a while to get used to the pace and
accuracy from the Kiwi player now based in Philadelphia and the
first game was over in a blink.
However in the second he became more comfortable and some very good
rallie followed, perhaps harking back to his days when on the
Trinity team. In the third Greenfield stepped it up a notch and
started slapping consistent backhand short drives to the front which
the American could not return and that was the end of the first days
action. Now plays Balbo.
Preview on Richmond.com
Tickets are available for Monday,
February 25th to Wednesday, February 27th.
Matches for Thursday, February 28, 2008 to Saturday, March 1st are
There will be free parking for spectators in the Special Events Lot
at the University of Richmond.
Davenport Pro Squash Champs Draw World’s Top Pros ...
Richmond, VA – Squash professionals from around the world are
converging on Richmond for the 2008 Davenport Professional Squash
Championship which will be held in a high visibility glass-walled
court at the University of Richmond’s Millhiser Gym February
25th to March 1st.
“This draw is will be the strongest draw anywhere in the U.S. this
year and probably one of the top six strongest draws anywhere in the
world in 2008,” says tournament director Gus Cook, who is
also the head squash pro at the Country Club of Virginia.
“With $80,000 in prize money, we have achieved super series status,”
adds fundraising chairman David Hetherington. “It’s a strong
statement to the global squash community that Richmond is on the map
with London, Hong Kong and New York City.”
“When I talk to the international pros they all remark about how
much they enjoy coming to Richmond because it’s so friendly here,”
says Cook. “They like the city and they like the welcoming
atmosphere at the University of Richmond campus. As this tournament
has grown, the enthusiasm of the host families, volunteers,
spectators and sponsors has made a big impression on them. It’s one
of their favourite stops.”
The top 12 world ranked players that have committed to play are:
Ramy Ashour, Egypt, world #2; Greg Gaultier, France,
world # 3; David Palmer, Australia, world #4; James
Willstrop, England, world #6; Thierry Lincou, France,
world #7; Karim Darwish, Egypt, world #8; John White,
Scotland, world #9; Wael El Hindi, Egypt, world #10 and
In total, eight of the world’s top 10 and 16 of the top 25 players
will compete. Richmond’s standout squash player, Patrick Chifunda,
who is ranked 112th in the world will be the local favourite to
Preview on Richmond.com