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20 Jun 2024

Top Two Seeds Suffer Second Round Struggles In Virginia

26 Feb 2009

The top two seeds were stretched in the second round of the Davenport North American Open before anticipated finalists Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana took their places in the quarter-finals of the $93,000 PSA Super Series Silver squash event at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Second seed Shabana, the Egyptian who held the world number one ranking for 33 months before compatriot Darwish wrested it from him in January, found himself 1/2 down in his first ever match against Englishman Daryl Selby, the 13th seed.

But Selby, the rapidly-improving 26-year-old from Essex who was ranked outside the top 40 when his opponent first became world number one, was unable to maintain his dominance. Shabana found his stride in the last two games and, after 71 minutes, clinched his 11-9, 6-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory.

The 29-year-old from Giza will now face another English opponent Nick Matthew, the in-form eighth seed. Matthew, the former world No5 returning to the top flight after shoulder surgery last year, despatched fast-improving compatriot Tom Richards 11-8, 11-4, 11-5.

Darwish will now face fifth seed David Palmer, the reigning British Open champion and a two-time World Open champion. The veteran Aussie found his groove after a testing opening game against Saurav Ghosal, the 15th seed from India - but was kept on court for 54 minutes before claiming his 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 win.

Palmer is the only Australian left in the tournament after fellow New South Welshman Cameron Pilley failed to upset fourth-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier. Pilley pushed Gaultier all the way but was unable to win the crucial points as the Frenchman emerged an 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 victor.

Gaultier, a finalist in his last three PSA Tour events and winner of the Tournament of Champions in New York in January, will be hoping to prevent an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up when he takes on No7 seed Wael El Hindi in the next round.

2nd round:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [14] Renan Lavigne (FRA) 6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 14-12 (52m)
[5] David Palmer (AUS) bt [15] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (54m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [12] Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (39m)
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [11] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (36m)
[7] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [10] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-0, 11-5, 11-4 (37m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [9] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (63m)
[8] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (38m)
[2] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [13] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-9, 6-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-5 (71m)