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20 Jun 2024

Richards Outlasts Illingworth In Richmond Marathon

24 Feb 2009

Englishman Tom Richards caused the only upset on the opening day of action in the Davenport North American Open when he outlasted US hope Julian Illingworth, the 16th seed, in a 90-minute first round match in the $93,000 PSA Super Series Silver squash championship at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Just two ranking positions separate the pair - and Illingworth, the US champion for the past four years, was looking to exploit 'home advantage' and take domestic interest into the last sixteen of this Richmond event for the second year in a row.

The 25-year-old New Yorker led 2/1 - and, after Richards had drawn level, fought back from 4-8 in the fifth game to send the match into a tie-break.

But the English underdog, ranked 44 in the world, held his nerve to record a brave 11-8, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 victory.

Richards - now in the last sixteen of a Super Series event for the first time in his 13th attempt - will now meet fellow countryman Nick Matthew.

The No8 seed from Sheffield, who beat Irishman Liam Kenny 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 in just 42 minutes, will be facing Richards for the second time this month after beating the 22-year-old from Surrey en-route to winning the British National title.

Second seed Amr Shabana was triumphant in his first ever match in Richmond as he fended off the challenge of Jan Koukal, beating the Czech number one 11-7, 11-8, 12-10. The former world number from Egypt one will be anxious to make amends for his second round exit in the Tournament of Champions in New York in January when he faces England's Daryl Selby for a place in the quarter-finals.

Selby, the 13th seed from Essex, had only been on court for 14 minutes when Pakistan opponent Khawaja Adil Maqbool, a qualifier, retired injured with the score standing at 11-0, 11-6.

1st round (lower half of draw):
[10] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 (72m)
[7] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Scott Arnold (AUS) 11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5 (61m)
[9] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Robin Clarke (CAN) 13-11, 11-6, 11-5 (37m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 11-1, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 (38m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [16] Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-8, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 (90m)
[8] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Liam Kenny (IRL) 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (42m)
[13] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Khawaja Adil Maqbool (PAK) 11-0, 11-6 ret. (14m)
[2] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 (33m)