• Men's World Team Championships 2009  • Odense •  

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Fri 2nd Oct, Day SIX, SEMI-FINALS:

[1] Egypt 3-0 [4] Australia
Ramy Ashour 3-1 Cameron Pilley     13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 (60m)
Karim Darwish 3-2 David Palmer 11-6,4-11,14-16,11-8,11-5 (86m)
Amr Shabana 2-0 Stewart Boswell                    12-10, 11-7 (20m)

Egypt into the final

World Champion Ramy Ashour puts the top seeds ahead, but it was far from an easy victory over Cameron Pilley ... World number one Karim Darwish comes from behind to put the top seeds into the final.

[2] England 1-2 [3] France
Adrian Grant 3-1 Renan Lavigne          9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (52m)
James Willstrop 1-3 Gregory Gaultier 10-12, 11-6, 6-11, 10-12 (55m)
Peter Barker 1-3 Thierry Lincou           6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11 (60m)

France dethrone England

They've met so many times, and so many times England have emerged the victors, but today in Odense France got the better of their old enemies, just as they did in the 2003 semis in Vienna, as they came from behind to deny the holders the chance of a third successive title. And boy, were they happy about it ...

Streaming and Videos

5/8:     RSA 2-1 ITA
9/12:   GER 0-3 MAS
13/16:  SCO 2-1 IRL
13/16:  NED 2-1 KUW
21/22:  WAL 2-1 SWE
9/12:    USA 1-2 NZL
17/18:  HKG 2-1 IND
23/24:  ESP 2-1 AUT
25/28:  SRB 1-2 JPN
5/8:     CAN 0-3 PAK
19/20:  FIN 2-1 DEN
25/28:  KEN 2-1 VEN

Detailed Results

Photo Galleries

Framboise reports

I’m writing this report late at night. It took me that long to digest what happened. To realise first, then enjoy, then move on. And now, I’m ready to write about what happened.

What happened is France getting freaking lucky my friends. One, Nick getting injured, because although the French camp wants to believe that it didn’t change much, as the quality of the English players is such that playing one or the other wouldn’t have changed history.

Two, LJ made an enormous match against David the day before they were meant to play France, and just couldn’t move. “I have the impression I was hit by a truck”, he laughed. “Don’t believe you haven’t”, I replied. So, that was one less enormous match for either Greg or Thierry. Everything counts…

And three, the order of play today. Renan playing first. Greg second, and Thierry, whose mental strength is recognised by all.

Entered Renan.

Renan is like those motorbikes Solex we used to have in France a few years back. You put a bit of diesel in it, and it just runs, and runs, and dies on the job… And that set the tone for France, sending the message that the boys were going to give everything they had, although Adrian did win the last three rather comfortably, the French Team Spirit was rolling.

As I said already, Greg is often paralysed in Team events, that fear to disappoint that sticks to him and make him lose his marks too often. But sandwiched between his team mates, he felt comfortable…

Tonight, against a stunning James, yet again, who played out of his skin, like he always ALWAYS does, Greg was a rock. At the end of the second, he turned to his team mates for the first time of the match, and in my memory, for the first time ever, and dedicated to them a tough rally he just clinched.

And that's when I knew he was going to win that match, whatever James would throw at him, because suddenly, being part of a team wasn’t an obstacle or a barrier, but it was a support, like a magic carpet almost, that made him play one of the best matches he ever played. He would have, I truly believe, beaten anybody tonight.

And in came Thierry.

If the former World Champion was ever ready for battle, tonight was the night. Bouncing the ball extremely slowly as he was about to serve– something he does only when 200% focus – he played out of his skin for the first two games. “I had the impression to see the Thierry of 5 years ago”, told be both an Egyptian and a Pakistani later tonight. And that’s a perfect observation.

“Thierry makes you believe he owns the court”, commented Ramy. Yes, tonight, for those two games, Thierry couldn’t do anything wrong. His width was astonishing, Peter could not volley once. His length was such the English had to attack from so far back that he had to play a very high percentage game, leading to a stunning winner, or to an unforced error. And too many unforced errors started to play on his mind. The Frenchman’s tight drive, perfect height, didn’t allow Peter to settle his nerves until the start of the third.

Cleverly, the Englishman started to twist and turn Thierry more and more, and for the first time of the match, was able to prevent him to adjust his shots. A few tins, a few tactical errors from the French, a Peter that starts to play extremely well, and 2/1 for England.

But Peter made an error in my mind there. He won points in that fourth, but too quickly, letting the Frenchman recover his breath, and at the start of the fourth, Thierry had found his second wind, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed. It was not the same comfortable game than in the start of the game. It was guts and years of losing to those stunning English Champions that made him soar and bulldozer point after point.

Match ball 10/6. The French camp is about to explode. Peter plays out of his skin, gives everything he has, and saves one point. Two points. But a last volley drive. No let. Match to France..

While the French are jumping up and down, Thierry is still on the court, goes to the front wall, and shouts a guttural sound I’ve never heard him shout. “I know, we said that by respect for our opponents that were without their number 1, we wouldn’t celebrate, but I just couldn’t help it”, apologised Thierry minutes later….

But the most important part of the evening for me is that, as the French were congratulating each other, I walked to David Pearson, as I always do, win or lose (ok, lose a lot). And I apologised to him.

“I’m sorry, DP, but I’m really happy, I’m so sorry”, I said”. And DP had that lovely smile and said, “Fram, it’s normal that you are happy, you should be, you are French. We didn’t have our number 1, but we had great wins over the years, it’s your turn tonight, there will be other matches, other victories. Go and celebrate tonight”.

And that my friend, is true sportsmanship. That is dignity. That is truly and spendidly English.


He was always ultra favourite in this first encounter, but the Englishman was too strong today for the Frenchman. He did start a bit edgy, Renan had nothing to lose, and went for shots that found the nick to give him a 5/0 lead in the first.

That was an excellent start for the French camp, and Renan, playing a bit too fast maybe for his own good, was able to keep a good lead, 7/3, 8/4. Adrian relaxed a bit, and started to come back mentally, but couldn’t prevent the Frenchman from taking the first, 11/9. But then again, Adrian has got us used us to his slow starts …

I can’t help feeling that the Frenchman did lose a lot of energy in this first game, maybe he didn’t pace himself, not sure. What is sure, is that he was flat in the second, and started to find a second wind in the middle of the third. But by then, Adrian was very confident, he was attacking from way back, findind superb drop shots, and counter attacked whatever Renan was able to throw at him…

The fourth was a bit of a formality, and not really a surprise to me, as Renan plays a superb counter attacking game, and for that reason, is particularly dangerous to a player with an open game, which Adrian is far away from being, especially today, where his length and volleying was stunningly accurate…


Guys, I have so little time to make a report it’s unreal… So, in a few words, Greg was on fire tonight, and attacked from the first point to the last. James did what he does best, he attacked, he retrieved, and he dug in.

But I guess the desperation that comes from always losing to the English Team gave the French number one a strength he probably didn’t realise he had. And looking constantly at his camp, we could see the Frenchman pulling energy out of them to fill himself with the belief that this one, he was winning. For France.

May France win or lose, he’s done his duty.

[1] Egypt 3-0 [4] Australia
Ramy Ashour 3-1 Cameron Pilley     13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 (60m)
Karim Darwish 3-2 David Palmer 11-6,4-11,14-16,11-8,11-5 (86m)
Amr Shabana 2-0 Stewart Boswell                     12-10, 11-7 (20m)

Ramy puts Egypt ahead ...

World Champion Ramy Ashour duly gave top seeds Egypt the lead over Australia in the second semi-final, but it was far from easy for the Egyptian superstar.

Pilley matched him throughout the first, had a game ball, and would have been aggrieved to go two games down had he not won an equally well contested second.

But Ramy opened up in the third, and although Cameron clawed a few points back towards the end, 9-1 was always going to be a winning lead.

To his credit Cameron dug in to make the fourth tough, led it 7-5, but a volley into the tin at 9-all gave Ramy match ball and he only needed one chance to put Egypt into the lead.

Darwish clinches final place

Having lost his first ever match for Australia earlier in the week, David Palmer was never going to lie down against the world number one - as if he would, anyway.

And, after losing the first, the gritty Australian took the game to Karim Darwish, easing through the second and taking the third on extra points.

But Darwish struck back, levelling from 8-all in the fourth, then moving clear from 5-all in the decider to put the top seeds into the final.

South Africa score another dramatic win - Rodney Durbach winning
the decider 3-2 against Marcus Berrett to beat Italy 2-1

Serbia 1-2 Japan
Ivan Djordjevic 0-3 Takanori Shimizu          8-11, 6-11, 7-11 (23m)
Dennis Drenjovski 3-1 Yuta Fukui    13-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-4 (34m)
Daniel Zilic 0-3 Shinnosuke Tsukue          3-11, 11-13, 10-12 (26m)

End of the road for Serbia
Dan Zilic reports

We Serbians had our last match of the tournament against the favourites for 25th place Japan. We knew it would be tough to get anything out of that match but nonetheless we were pretty committed to doing as well as we could.

Unfortunately things did not get off to a good start. Ivan played against Shimizu and could not find the fine form he displayed in other matches. I think the tournament is taking its toll on many players and Ivan was not the freshest against a bouncy Japanese, who won 3:0.

Dennis Drenjovski promised one major upset in the tournament and to the surprise of everyone he delivered it today against the Japanese number one Yuta Fukui. Dennis knew his opponent was 10 years younger almost and very fit, but he combined some patient play with incredible shot-making and pulled off the best win of the tournament for Serbia. Fukui may have been a bit tired but nothing should be taken away from Dennis, who really played some fantastic squash and won 3:1.

I was last on court against the cool-looking Tsukue. I was the under-dog but thought I might be able to do something by slowing it down and using my chances like Dennis. In game one it definitely did not pay off and I lost 11:3, but then things started to work out and I went 8:2 up.

Unfortunately I don't seem able to win a tie-break these days and I wasted my lead and lost in the tie-break 13:11. I contested game three well and defended two match-balls but lost another tie-break 12:10 and therewith the match. I really put in my best effort but the young Japanese pro deserved to win in the end.

Serbia's tournament is therewith over - it has been a great experience for us and we are reasonably happy with our performance. We have made a lot of friends and will take these memories with us for years to come and hope to become regular attendees for the World Champs!

Day Six Morning Report
from Dan Zilic

So this morning, or better said, this midday was probably one of the most intense so far. And that is without even have visited the main centre court.

I really enjoy these matches played on traditional courts (with lower tins though). The teams are really close together, you get to see the action from really close and regular players can probably relate more to these matches than to the ones being played on glass.

Apart from Germany v Malaysia all other three ties being played over here are currently poised at 1:1.

Stuart Crawford is fighting it out with Arthur Gaskin to determine the winner between Ireland and Scotland.

Wales, who are the favourite vs. Sweden, are having a hard time convincing the Nordics about this. Nic Birt claimed the first scalp for Wales winning 3:1 with a performance he will be happy with. Rob Sutherland played against Rasmus Holt, who so far has been one of the surprise packages of the tournament.

The young Swede with the double-handed backhand surprised many with a win over Steve Coppinger in the early rounds, and now followed up his impressive win with an equally superb five-set victory over Rob Sutherland of Wales. I just about watched the fifth game, which was great.

Rasmus is a hell of a fighter and his disguised double-handed backhand is causing trouble for many players. He went 10:8 matchball ahead, at which point Rob played an incredible cork-screw winner to defend the first. He managed another point and forced a tie-break, which he lost though to the jubilations of a fairly large Swedish contingent which has found its way over the sea.

Court three saw the Netherlands face the Kuwaitis. On paper the Dutch may bet he favourites, but try telling the Kuwaitis. Bader Alhusaini, who has impressed me no end in the tournament so far, outfought Rene Mijs 3:1. Bader, who has played every single match and only lost two (against El-Hindi and a tough 1:3 against Martin Knight) put in a gutsy performance to put he Kuwaitis 1:0 up.

Then LJ went on court with Almezayen, another star of the tournament so far. LJ is a hell of a player but found himself 2:1 down and was in danger of losing the match. One may think that this was due to LJ playing badly or having an off day, but on the contrary it was all down to Almezayen.

The speedy Kuwaiti was playing virtually 60% of his balls to the front court – if he wasn’t hitting irretrievable nicks he was playing shots so tight that gave LJ little to work with. If LJ did find an opening Almezayen was using his absolutely phenomenal speed to dig out those shots and even play a wonderful counter-drop from where ever. It made for a fascinating match, that several pros stopped by to watch only to utter their amazement at Almezayen’s display.

In the end LJ won 3:2. It was 5:5 in the fifth when Almezayen’s risky shot-making begun to fade and LJ consistency to pay off. I think LJ will be relieved to get this match over and done with. A good win for him, since no matter how big the differenge in raking (Almezayen should be at least top 50 I would think though), it is never easy to play the deciding match and being 2:1 down against an opponent who is playing the match of his life and has nothing to lose.

"I am very tired, I have played every single match of the tournament so far. We have played in our best formation every day because we had so many decisive matches.

"This was the first time I played against Rene. I was able to go 2:0 up and then he took the third game 11:3. The fourth was very close and he made a few more mistakes so I was able to close the match.

"Currently, I am just playing a few PSA tournaments. I have been playing professional since 2004 and my best ranking was 84 back in 2006. At the moment I have a job and I am also playing Squash at the same time.

"I play once a day – with the other national team players and we have a lot of Pakistani coaches for training. I don’t usually play in the same club as the others, the only two that are from the same club are Al-Mezayen and Mohammad.

"Next up for us is either Ireland or Scotland. Unfortunately we have not had a single day of rest and we have not been able to see anything of Denmark, but it seems like a very nice country.

"My best match of the tournament so far: definitely my match against Adrian Grant!"


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