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20 Jun 2024

Gaultier Denies Hosts Semi-Final Double At World Open

5 Sep 2006

The giant-killing run of 18-year-old Egyptian Ramy Ashour came to an end on the all-glass court alongside the pyramids of Giza when Frenchman Gregory Gaultier denied hosts representation in both semi-finals of the Al-Ahram World Open in Egypt.

Gaultier, the 23-year-old eighth seed from Aix-en-Provence, is currently enjoying an excellent run of form - after reaching the final of the English Open last month and winning the European Individual Championship crown for the third year in a row in June.

Unseeded Ashour, who recently became the first man in history to win the World Junior Championship title for a second time, took his unexpected place in the last eight after upsetting tenth seed Lee Beachill in a marathon five-game second round match.

Gaultier, who stopped the Egyptian teenager in the first round of the event almost twelve months ago, was too strong for the local hero in the sport's iconic Giza setting, winning 11-10 (3-1), 11-9, 11-2 in 44 minutes.

"I played Ramy in Hong Kong, and that was quite easy, but a year later, he has improved immensely," Gaultier told www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. "But today, I came on court to play and beat him, not to get to the semi-final of the World Open. That's all I saw. My opponent. Nothing else. And I wanted to stay on court as short as possible."

Now in his first World Open semi-final, the Frenchman will face another Egyptian - favourite Amr Shabana, the title-holder. The pair have met three time before - all during last year - with world number one Shabana holding a 2/1 advantage.

In the earlier match on the second day of quarter-final action by the pyramids, David Palmer triumphed in the all-Australian battle with Anthony Ricketts, the second seed from Lithgow in New South Wales - recovering from a game down to beat the No5 seed from Sydney 9-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 in 70 minutes.

Palmer, the 2002 champion now in the semi-finals of the championship for the fourth time, meets 2004 champion Thierry Lincou in a repeat of the Liverpool 08 Open final in May in which the Frenchman fought back from two games down to clinch the title. The Giza semi-final will be the pair's 12th PSA Tour meeting since 1999, with Palmer no doubt setting his sights on levelling the head-to-head tally to six-all.

[8] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Ramy Ashour (EGY) 11-10 (3-1), 11-9, 11-2 (44m)
[2] David Palmer (AUS) bt [5] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) 9-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 (70m)