3:52 am
15 Apr 2024

Gough Battles On In Bermuda

28 Nov 2007

Unseeded Welshman Alex Gough continued his 'giant-killing' run in the Endurance World Open in Bermuda when he despatched Egypt's No9 seed Wael El Hindi to reach the quarter-finals of the flagship $175,000 PSA Tour squash event in the island's capital Hamilton.

Less than two weeks short of his 37th birthday, Gough ousted England's eighth seed Lee Beachill in the first round - and now, in his tenth appearance in the championships since 1996, is celebrating his first time in the last eight since 1998.

"That's awesome - it has to be one of the best results of my career," Gough told www.squashsite.co.uk after his 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 upset in 73 minutes.

"I'm loving it at the moment. If anything, I'm more professional than in my early career. I have to do everything a bit more properly," continued the 2006 British Open O35 champion.

"I just can't give it up at the moment - it's like a drug, and I get so much support from the other guys. I'm on about my third generation of them - and this is the best!"

Gough will face title-holder David Palmer on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals. The third-seeded Australian was stretched for almost an hour by England's Peter Barker before beating the No11 seed 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-9.

"I expected a tough one tonight," conceded the 31-year-old former world number one from New South Wales. "Peter is one of our future stars for sure. He's physically good and has lots of attacking ability. I felt a little bit flat at first; he put me under pressure, but after the first game I was pretty much on top. I tried to nullify his strengths and keep him in the back of the court. Point by point I kept it together and he made mistakes."

Earlier, Egyptian favourite Amr Shabana, the world number one, recovered from a game down to beat Australia's tenth seed Stewart Boswell 8-11, 11-4, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 in 65 minutes.

Shabana is looking for his fourth successive PSA Tour title success after winning the Saudi International, Qatar Classic and Hong Kong Open in the space of two weeks!

"My body's fine but it's not easy," admitted the 28-year-old from Cairo. "These days there are no easy matches. He (Boswell) is a top player for sure. I think he's a champion after two years off. He has a big reach and I kept playing to his strengths in the first - not playing deep enough.

"I let my guard down a little in the fourth; started to play casual and he got the lead. I felt okay in the fifth. When you play lots of matches you stay cool, you don't panic. I'm not as mentally fit as I need. When you get tight matches you play better later. I'll come back better and stronger for the quarter-final."

Shabana, winner of the world title in 2003 and 2005, will face 2004 champion Thierry Lincou in the quarter-finals after the fifth-seeded Frenchman beat English qualifier Jonathan Kemp 11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 11-5.

"This tournament proves there are no easy games," said the 31-year-old from Marseille after beating the Englishman who ousted 15th seed Ong Beng Hee in the first round. "I felt pretty strong and confident and played at a high pace.

"I knew I really had to focus at the end of the first game. That would have given him a real boost. I'm happy with my game and I'm really enjoying being here in Bermuda," added Lincou.

2nd round (top half of draw):
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [10] Stewart Boswell (AUS) 8-11, 11-4, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 (65m)
[5] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [11] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-9 (59m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt [9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 (73m)