Virginia Pro Championship Provides Super Series Breakthrough For Qualifiers

25 Feb 08

Success in the qualifying finals of the Virginia Pro Championship will enable five players to make their Super Series event debuts in the $77,500 PSA Tour squash event in its fifth year in Richmond in the US state of Virginia.

Welshman Jethro Binns beat US opponent Christopher Gordon - ranked more than 70 places higher in the world - 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 4-11, 11-6 in 49 minutes to earn his first time in a Super Series event. The Bristol-based 23-year-old will face recently-crowned British National champion James Willstrop, the No4 seed, in the main draw.

Another chance of further local interest in the main draw was quashed when France's Yann Perrin beat USA's Ryan Donegan 11-6, 11-5, 11-7. The 22-year-old from Marseille, who was celebrating success in his first attempt at trying to qualify for a Super Series event, will take on Willstrop's Yorkshire club-mate Lee Beachill, the ninth seed who was runner-up in 2007.

Robbie Temple is one of two Englishmen to qualify. The 21-year-old from London battled for 90 minutes to overcome Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-10 (3-1), 1-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2 to set up a first round clash with Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the fifth seed.

The other two Super Series first-timers are David Phillips and Wade Johnstone. Canadian Phillips defeated Irishman Arthur Gaskin 11-9, 11-5, 11-6, while Johnstone, from Australia, downed Englishman James Snell 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5.

Egypt's world No2 Ramy Ashour is seeded to win the Virginia Pro title for the first time. The 20-year-old from Cairo - remarkably, the youngest player in the 32-man field - takes on David Phillips in the first round, and is expected to face France's No2 seed Gregory Gaultier, the world No3, in Saturday's final.

Qualifying finals:
Liam Kenny (IRL) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 11-4, 11-5, 11-3 (34m)
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Ryan Donegan (USA) 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (40m)
David Phillips (CAN) bt Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (49m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-10 (2-0) (60m)
Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt James Snell (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5 (45m)
Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-10 (3-1), 1-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2 (90m)
Jethro Binns (WAL) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 4-11, 11-6 (49m)
Julien Balbo (FRA) bt Joshua Greenfield (NZL) 10-11 (3-5), 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (44m)