2:49 pm
20 Jun 2024

Coppinger Tests Ashour In North American Opener

25 Feb 2009

World champion Ramy Ashour was severely tested in the Davenport North American Open as unseeded South African Stephen Coppinger came within points of taking a two-game lead over the third-seeded Egyptian in the first round of the $93,000 PSA Super Series Silver squash event at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

The 21-year-old world No4 from Cairo found his form late in the second game and went on to beat Coppinger, a two-time South African national champion, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6 in 46 minutes.

Ashour will be joined in the second round by compatriot Karim Darwish after the top seed cruised to an 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 win in 23 minutes over Pakistan qualifier Arshad Iqbal Burki.

World number one Darwish, who showed no signs of the ankle injury which caused him to concede this month's Swedish Open final, will now face 14th seed Renan Lavigne. The experienced 34-year-old survived an all-French battle with Yann Perrin, beating the 23-year-old qualifier 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.

Australian David Palmer shrugged off a chest infection to down Brazilian qualifier Rafael F Alarcon 11-5, 11-0, 11-6 to claim his anticipated place in the last sixteen. The fifth seed picked up the illness at the Bluenose Classic earlier in the month in Canada and has been struggling ever since.

"I'm still a little bit sick at the moment," said the world number six, who has been on antibiotics for the past week and was still feeling the effects during matches. "I've had a bronchial infection and I just can't seem to shake it - I'm having real trouble breathing on court."

Palmer will now face Saurav Ghosal after the 15th seed from India beat Egypt's Yasser El Halaby 11-6, 11-5, 11-2.

"He's very small - I will tower over him," said Palmer of his next opponent. "But he's very fast around the court. He spends a lot of time in Manchester training, so he's got an English type of game, with a bit more flair."

1st round (top half of draw):
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 (23m)
[14] Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt [Q] Yann Perrin (FRA) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (42m)
[5] David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Rafael F Alarcon (BRA) 11-5, 11-0, 11-6 (31m)
[15] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Yasser El Halaby (EGY) 11-6, 11-5, 11-2 (37m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6 (46m)
[12] Joey Barrington (ENG) bt [Q] David Phillips (CAN) 13-11, 11-5, 12-10 (54m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (42m)
[11] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (33m)