9:27 am
23 Feb 2019

Egyptians Take Centre Stage In Kuwait

30 Oct 2010

After a day dominated by Englishmen, it was Egyptians who took centre stage on the second day of first round action in the $172,500 HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah Trophy, The Patriarch Amir, Kuwait Open as Cairo-based world number one Ramy Ashour led four compatriots through to the last 16 of the eighth PSA Super Series squash event of the year at Green Island in Kuwait.

Showing no signs of the injury which caused his withdrawal midway through last week's final of the El Gouna International Open in Egypt, Ashour despatched fellow countryman Omar Mosaad 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 in 33 minutes.

"Thank God I'm still playing well, and I'm still winning," exclaimed the exuberant 23-year-old to www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. "But you know one thing? I'm more desperate to win than anybody at the moment. Before, I wanted to win - but not that much. But now, I really, really, want to win!"

Ashour now faces top Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, who also ousted an Egyptian, qualifier Omar Abdel Aziz, to reserve his place in the second round. With Dutch national coach Lucas Buit in his corner, 11th seed Anjema cruised to an 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 victory over the 27-year-old from Cairo.

"I think I hardly did anything wrong today. Last week, I lost in the first round, and some things I've been working with Lucas didn't work too well. It was an upset really, but I learned a lot from it," explained the world No11 from The Hague.

"Today was a good example of how I can play, of how I should play all the time. And, sorry for the cliché, but it's really great to win your first round match - and to do it 3/0. It will give me the confidence for the rest of the year."

Karim Darwish, the world No5 from Egypt who won the El Gouna Super Series event, also survived his first round match - but was the only player to require more than three games to earn his second round slot.

The fourth seed from Cairo recovered from dropping the second game to beat Hungarian qualifier Mark Krajcsak 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6.

"Mark played really well tonight, he had nothing to lose," said the former world number one. "He normally runs a lot and takes the ball to the back - but tonight, he went for shots, and in the warm conditions tonight on there, it put me under a lot of pressure."

Krajcsak revealed the secret of his new form: "I've been training this summer for the first time ever away from home, and I worked for a month with Greg Gaultier, down in Aix en Provence. And that made all the difference really," explained the 26-year-old from Budapest, his country's most successful player of all time.

"I'm also much more organised with my training now. You know, I'm 26, and I've got to make it soon!

"Greg is a role model for me, and a good friend too. I hope I will keep training with him, his game is so good for me to train with. That made the difference tonight I think."

2nd round line-up:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [9] Daryl Selby (ENG)
[5] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [14] Adrian Grant (ENG)
[3] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [16] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[8] Peter Barker (ENG) v [15] Alister Walker (ENG)
[6] James Willstrop (ENG) v [12] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) v [10] Wael El Hindi (EGY)
[7] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v [13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [11] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)

1st round (lower half of draw):
[12] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-9, 13-11, 11-2 (35m)
[6] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
[10] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (47m)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (42m)
[13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (43m)
[7] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (33m)
[11] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (33m)