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20 Jun 2024

Pakistanis Power Into North American Open Draw

23 Feb 2009

Pakistanis boasted 100% success in the qualifying finals of the Davenport North American Open when both Arshad Iqbal Burki and Khawaja Adil Maqbool secured places in the main draw of the $93,000 PSA Super Series Silver squash championship - the second Super Series event of the year in the USA - in Richmond, Virginia.

Burki, 24, from Peshawar, took just eight minutes to earn his place in a Super Series event for the first time in more than two years when his higher-ranked opponent Wade Johnstone, from Australia, retired injured with the score standing at 11-4, 7-2.

The lowest-ranked qualifier in the event is unlikely to find the next round as straightforward: Burki now faces top seed Karim Darwish, the world number one from Egypt!

Dubai-based Khawaja Adil Maqbool defeated Joshua Greenfield - one of three New Zealanders to exit at the qualifying finals stage - 11-6, 11-8, 11-3. The 20-year-old takes on England's Daryl Selby, the 13th seed, in the first round.

North American interest in the event will also be boosted by two Canadians who prevailed in the final qualifying round - both in 72 minutes! Robin Clarke recovered from a game down to beat US opponent Christopher Gordon 5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-6, while David Phillips came from two games down to overcome Australian Bradley Hindle 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5.

The second Super Series event of the year has attracted a world-class field led by the top four players in the world rankings - though England's world No5 James Willstrop, winner of the Virginia Pro Championship in Richmond a year ago, was forced to withdraw with a virus illness.

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the world No3 who won the first Super Series event of the year at the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York in January, heads the Dunlop PSA Super Series Rankings and will be keen to build on his lead in Richmond. The third seed faces Zambian Patrick Chifunda in the first round and is expected to meet second seed Amr Shabana, the former world number one from Egypt, in the semi-finals.

Nick Matthew, the Tournament of Champions runner-up who heads the English assault in Virginia, will also be keen to make up for missing out on qualification for this year's ATCO Super Series Finals after spending most of last year recovering from shoulder surgery. The world No9 from Sheffield, currently in second place in the SS rankings, faces Irishman Liam Kenny in the opening round.

Qualifying finals:
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt John Rooney (IRL) 13-11, 11-2, 11-9 (54m)
Robin Clarke (CAN) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 (72m)
Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS) 11-4, 7-2 ret. (8m)
Yann Perrin (FRA) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (60m)
Rafael F Alarcon (BRA) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-2, 6-11, 11-6, 12-10 (51m)
Khawaja Adil Maqbool (PAK) bt Joshua Greenfield (NZL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (24m)
David Phillips (CAN) bt Bradley Hindle (AUS) 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (72m)
Arthur Gaskin (IRL) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-7, 15-13, 11-3 (58m)

Dunlop PSA Super Series Rankings (after the first event of 2009):

1 - Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 1750.00
2 - Nick Matthew (ENG) 1150.00
3 - Karim Darwish (EGY) 700.00
3 - Ramy Ashour (EGY) 700.00
5 - David Palmer (AUS) 425.00
5 - Thierry Lincou (FRA) 425.00
5 - James Willstrop (ENG) 425.00
5 - Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 425.00
9 - Amr Shabana (EGY) 250.00
9 - Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 250.00
9 - Adrian Grant (ENG) 250.00
9 - Wael El Hindi (EGY) 250.00
9 - Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 250.00
9 - Yasser El Halaby (EGY) 250.00
9 - Peter Barker (ENG) 250.00
9 - Alister Walker (ENG) 250.00