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20 Jun 2024

Birthday Boy Kandra Makes World Open Breakthrough

30 Oct 2011

German's Raphael Kandra celebrated his 21st birthday in fine style when he secured an unexpected place in the main draw of the 2011 PSA World Open in Rotterdam after beating Frenchman Julien Balbo. The Essen-based German No3 will not only make his world championship debut, but also becomes the lowest-ranked player in the premier PSA World Tour squash event at Victoria Squash in the Dutch City of Sport.

Players from 12 countries - Canada, Italy, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, France, New Zealand, Egypt, Australia, South Africa and Germany - battled through the qualifying finals to earn places in the first round of the event which will reach its final stages at the New Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam.

Kandra recovered from a game down to overcome Balbo - ranked more than 40 places higher - 6-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-4 in 75 minutes, with the Frenchman struggling with a turned ankle in the latter stages of the encounter. The young German's reward is a first round clash with hard-hitting Australian Cameron Pilley, the No16 seed.

"Yes, my first ever World Open," a delighted Kandra told www.worldopensquash2011.com afterwards. "And as it is my birthday today, it's a good reason for cancelling the party that I had planned at home (I live not too far away from here). You can say that actually, I made my own birthday gift!"

Egypt's world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy beat Germany's Jens Schoor in straight games to join his brother Mohamed in the main draw, where he lines up against Pakistan's Farhan Mehboob.

"Today, I played well, in particular on the volleying, was comfortable on the T," said 18-year-old Marwan - who becomes the event's youngest competitor. "But Jens is a very good player - so dangerous at the front. I had to play my best today to beat him. I think my Mum must be crying at home, as this is my first time qualifying for the Worlds."

Cesar Salazar will also join his brother in the main draw. The 23-year-old Mexican beat Frenchman Yann Perrin 12-14, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 and will line up alongside twin Arturo Salazar after his first successful qualifying bid in his third attempt.

"For about three or four months I have felt good," explained Cesar. "I feel strong, and that my squash is getting better. I want to thank the Mexican government who understand that we need to travel to Europe to play more tournaments, and they help the top four with funding. And yes, it's my first time getting into the Worlds!"

But there was French success for Gregoire Marche after the 21-year-old's 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 win over Australian Matthew Karwalski.

The longest match of the day, at 76 minutes, saw another first time qualifier in South Africa's Clinton Leeuw who came from 2/1 down to deny England's Robbie Temple 11-7, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5.

Two Englishmen made it through to the main draw, as Joe Lee overcame fierce resistance from compatriot Eddie Charlton, and Adrian Waller denied South Africa a second qualifier by beating Shaun le Roux. Waller meets fellow Englishman Daryl Selby while Lee faces Canada's Shahier Razik.

In one of the last matches of the day, Finland's Henrik Mustonen fought back from 2/1 and match-ball down to overcome Malaysian Ivan Yuen 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6. The 20-year-old Finn faces third seed Karim Darwish in a repeat of their meeting in last week's Qatar Classic.

Australia's Steven Finitsis held a substantial lead in the fourth game against Omar Abdel Meguid, but the Egyptian clawed it back to close out the match 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10. Meguid meets compatriot Omar Mosaad.

And when the draw for the qualifiers in the first round was made, it was Italian Stephane Galifi who was lined up with top seed Nick Matthew, the title-holder from England, and New Zealander Campbell Grayson who will face No2 seed Ramy Ashour, the 2008 champion from Egypt.

It will be the third time in the World Open main draw for Galifi, but the France-based 33-year-old was delighted, after his five-game victory over Hong Kong's Dick Lau: "What's at stake is enormous when we try and qualify for such a tournament. You can never be relaxed in the qualifiers, there is so much pressure. People may think it's easy, but it's not. And from the psychological point of view, it's one of the hardest things to do. He played so well, and I'm so proud to win this one."

The men's first round takes place over two days, starting on Sunday and concluding on Monday.

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q] Stephane Galifi (ITA)
Tom Richards (ENG) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER) v [Q] Clinton Leeuw (RSA)
[9] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
[16] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
[7] Peter Barker (ENG) v Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
[8] David Palmer (AUS) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
Joey Barrington (ENG) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[10] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN)
[14] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
[3] Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG)
Shahier Razik (CAN) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
Farhan Mehboob (PAK) v [Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)
[11] Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[15] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Zac Alexander (AUS)
Jan Koukal (CZE) v Martin Knight (NZL)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Eric Galvez (MEX)
[6] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Dylan Bennett (NED)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v [Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
[12] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL)

More information can be found on the official tournament site www.worldopensquash2011.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

Qualifying finals:
Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt Dick Lau (HKG) 12-10, 4-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-2 (69m)
Eric Galvez (MEX) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (56m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Joel Hinds (ENG) 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 (58m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (62m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 14-12, 11-5, 11-6 (52m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (31m)
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt Amr Ramsy Swelim (ITA) 11-8, 11-5, 2-11, 14-12 (62m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (68m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 (56m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (40m)
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-7, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5 (76m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 (62m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 12-14, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (63m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 6-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-4 (75m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 (76m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 (73m)