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18 May 2024

Abbas Ends US Interest In North American Open

23 Feb 2010

Abbas (right) in action against Illingworth

Egyptian qualifier Mohammed Abbas produced the only upset on the second day of first round action in the $93,750 North American Open in Richmond when he beat 16th seed Julian Illingworth to end US interest in the second PSA Super Series 2010 squash event of the year at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

The 29-year-old from Cairo is fighting back to top form after spending most of last year sidelined by injury. Illingworth, the five-time US champion from Portland ranked 32 in the world, took the opening game - but Abbas, a former world No13 bounced back to claim his 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 upset after 45 minutes.

Abbas will now face second seed Nick Matthew, the in-form Englishman who arrived in Richmond following successive title successes in the Swedish Open and the British National Championships.

The 29-year-old world No2 from Sheffield despatched Paraguayan wild card opponent Esteban Casarino 11-3, 11-3, 11-8.

Matthew led a group of five Englishmen through to the second round. Indeed, James Willstrop and Alister Walker will meet in an all-English last 16 battle after successes in the opening round. Willstrop, the seventh seed who lifted the trophy in the year's first PSA Super Series 2010 event at the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York, defeated Australian Aaron Frankcomb 11-4, 11-4, 11-8.

Alister Walker was after revenge when he faced qualifier Nicolas Mueller, a rising star from Switzerland to whom he lost in last year's Irish Open.

"Mueller came out of the blocks like a bullet from a gun and went 8-2 up in a matter of minutes, firing in some excellent winners to the front," said a tournament spokesman. "Walker finally found his composure and started to gain his range and rhythm and clawed his way back to 8-9. From here he was matching Mueller's aggressive volleying and continued through to take the game 11-9."

The 27-year-old 12th seed from Leeds continued his assault to claim a well-deserved 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 victory - and a second round clash with Willstrop, who is also from the same Yorkshire city.

Picture by Patricia Lyons Photography

1st round (lower half of draw):
[12] Alister Walker (ENG) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (34m)
[7] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (36m)
[15] Joey Barrington (ENG) bt Rafael F Alarcon (BRA) 10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 (85m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Yasir Butt (PAK) 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (38m)
[10] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 10-12, 11-6 (70m)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Amr Swelim (ITA) 11-6, 11-5, 11-2 (27m)
[Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt [16] Julian Illingworth (USA) 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (45m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Esteban Casarino (PAR) 11-3, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)