Shabana Marks Victorious 40th In Hong Kong

28 Nov 12

Five-time champion Amr Shabana began his quest for a sixth Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open today at the Hong Kong Squash Centre by beating French qualifier Mathieu Castagnet in straight games to provide the perfect celebration of his 40th match in the event since his debut in 1996.

The former world number one from Egypt created a record as soon as he stepped onto the court for his first round match in the sixth PSA World Series event of the year - by making his 16th successive appearance in the popular and long-established Tour event.

The seventh seed - winner of the title five years in a row from 2005 - despatched Castagnet 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 in 35 minutes and will now line up against England's Tom Richards in a bid to reach the quarter-finals for the ninth year in a row.

"Yes, I've been coming here for 16 years," the 33-year-old from Cairo admitted to www.squashsite.com "That was the easiest record to establish ever!"

Unseeded Richards defeated experienced Finn Olli Tuominen 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2 - and will be meeting Shabana for the first time, eager to make his first ever appearance in the event's last eight!

Top-ranked Indian Saurav Ghosal ended home interest in the event after overcoming Hong Kong qualifier Max Lee 11-3, 11-5, 11-4. The UK-based world No22 will now face Egyptian star Ramy Ashour, ranked four in the world.

Making his first appearance in the championship since injury prevented him from defending his 2010 title, 25-year-old fifth seed Ashour ousted fellow countryman Tarek Momen 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 in just 29 minutes, the quickest match of the day.

The only upset came when South African Stephen Coppinger, given a last-minute place in the main draw after the withdrawal of Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, battled back from a game down to beat Egypt's world No11 Omar Mosaad 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9 in 69 minutes.

The Cape Town-based world No24 will now take on England's world No2 Nick Matthew. The second seed from Sheffield began his bid to reach the final for the first time since 2004 by beating German number one Simon Rosner 12-10, 12-10, 11-6 in 49 minutes.

2nd round line-up:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[7] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)

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1st round (lower half of draw):
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (50m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Max Lee (HKG) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (42m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (29m)
[7] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (35m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2 (47m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9 (69m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 12-10, 12-10, 11-6 (49m)