10:18 pm
17 Apr 2024

Egypt Rules In Toronto

15 Feb 2008

Despite a lapse in the third game, Wael El Hindi of Egypt took charge of his quarter-final match against Australian Cameron Pilley to book the final place in the last four of the PACE Canadian Classic to complete an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up in the 5-star PSA Tour squash event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto.

Fifth seed El Hindi cruised through the opening exchanges, controlling the first game and putting unseeded Pilley, the world No23 who earlier upset third-seeded compatriot David Palmer, under constant pressure. Pilley fared a little better in the second game, but was still making mistakes at crucial points.

When the 27-year-old from Giza won that game, it appeared it was all over - but the third game saw Pilley take control. The 25-year-old from New South Wales won the long game, looking as though he could turn the match around.

But El Hindi upped the pace in the fourth, taking control and winning it easily to record an 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 victory in 75 minutes.

"I don't know why I changed the pace in the third game," El Hindi chided himself later. "I suppose I relaxed and let the pace slow down. We were in each others way with a lot of lets. In the fourth game I picked the pace up and did what I should have done all along."

He will now meet world No1 Amr Shabana in the semi-finals. Shabana had a shortened evening when his opponent, compatriot Mohammed Abbas, had to retire in the fourth game due a foot problem that occurred two days ago.

"I was in pain the whole time and finally could not continue with my foot in the shoe," said a despondent Abbas after his 11-10 (5-3), 11-5, 9-11, 5-0 (ret.) defeat.

Meanwhile Shabana joked that it will be like playing in the Egyptian Nationals - all the semi-final players are Egyptian. "Next year we should hold the PACE Canadian Squash Classic in Cairo," quipped the world champion.

Canada's top player Shahier Razik experienced the full force of Egypt's boy wonder Ramy Ashour as he bowed in straight games in an earlier quarter final.

After the match, Razik was asked if he will do anything different next time he meets the mighty Ashour.

"Yeah - I'll take a cup of coffee before the match so I don't fall asleep in the first game," he replied, referring to his 11-1 drubbing in the four-minute opener.

Razik, who moved from Cairo to Canada at the age of 12, got up to speed in the second game and needed all his considerable experience to stay in touch with the 20-year-old world No2. Although Razik played well, Ashour's accuracy and speed was too much for the Canadian who ultimately went down 11-1, 11-8, 11-7 in 35 minutes.

Ashour will now meet fellow countryman Karim Darwish after the fourth seed cruised to an 11-6, 11-7, 11-0 over sixth-seeded Australian Stewart Boswell.

"Yesterday and today, my opponents were not as competitive as Shabana or Darwish, so I don't know if I am back to top form," explained Ashour, who returned to match play recently after two months off with a heel injury.

"I had pain yesterday, but not today. Shahier let me get the first game, but then he played really well - much more than I expected. Fortunately there was no pain in my foot."

Quarter-finals:
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [7] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-10 (5-3), 11-5, 9-11, 5-0 ret. (48m)
[5] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 (75m)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [6] Stewart Boswell (AUS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-0 (37m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [8] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-1, 11-8, 11-7 (35m)