the World Open Squash 2011
Day SEVEN, Thu 3rd, Last 16, Part Two
Fram and Steve in Rotterdam
The Great Illusionist
First look at
the Luxor and more
Day of the comeback at the Luxor ...
After a dramatic last day at Victoria which
saw half of the World Open Squash 2011
quarter-finalists decided, it was on to
Rotterdam's New Luxor Theatre today for the
second part of the Last Sixteen rounds.
It turned out to be another long day,
started with a 3/2 victory in the first
women's match for Kasey Brown and concluded
with both Gregory Gaultier and then Ramy
Ashour coming from two-nil down to set up a
quarter-final meeting (not to mention Amr
Shabana coming from two-nil down in the
Live scores and
commentary will be back tomorrow ......
 Kasey Brown
(Aus) bt  Raneem
El Weleily (Egy)
4/11, 11/7, 11/3, 6/11, 11/8 (65m)
 Nicol David
(Mas) bt [Q] Nour El
11/7, 11/6, 11/7 (32m)
Willstrop (Eng) bt
[Q] Marwan El
11/8, 11/3, 11/0 (30m)
(Egy) bt 
8/11, 11/4, 11/9, 11/5
 Wee Wern
Low (Mas) bt
Camille Serme (Fra)
11/4, 12/10, 2/11, 11/7
Natalie Grinham (Ned)
bt  Madeline
11/6, 11/5, 11/8
Gaultier (Fra) bt
 LJ Anjema
(Ned) 8/11, 5/11, 11/5,
11/2, 11/7 (97m)
8/11, 3/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/3 (69m)
Kasey wins the opener, to face
The first winner at the mightily impressive
Luxor Theatre was Australia's Kasey Brown
who won an up and down five-setter
against in-form Egyptian Raneem El
Raneem's shots were firing in
well in the first but too many errors let
her down as Brown came back to lead 2/1.
Raneem levelled, Brown too a good lead in
the fifth and almost saw it disappear as
Raneem worked her way back in a tense
But, after an hour's play Kasey finally put
a ball too wide and deep to advance to the
quarter-finals with a 4/11, 11/7,
11/3, 6/11, 11/8 scoreline.
There she'll play defending champion
Nicol David in a repeat of their meeting
in Philadelphia which the Australian won.
David looked in good form against young
Egyptian Nour El Sherbini who,
although she managed to stay within reach of
her illustrious opponent's score in each of
the three games, never seriously threatened
the five time champion who won 11/7, 11/6,
Willstrop stops Shorbagy as Shabana wins
The opening men's match saw 2002 world
junior champion James Willstrop
assert his authority over the current holder
of that title, Marwan El Shorbagy.
The young Egyptian stayed in touch for the
first game but Willstrop was in total
control for the next two, even an appeal to
the video referee at 0/9 in the third was in
vain as Willstrop closed the match out 11/8,
Willstrop's quarter-final opponent will be
four-time champion Amr Shabana, who
won an all-Egyptian shootout with Hisham
Ashour (let's put it this way, it's not
often the cameramen are better off in the
middle of the front wall, but for this match
it was easily the best spot), coming from
two games down to win 3/11, 8/11, 11/4,
11/9, 11/5 in double quick time.
Low downs Serme, Natalie delights Dutch ...
The first upset came as Malaysia's Low Wee
Wern put in an inspired performance against
France's Camille Serme, the seventh seed who
made the semi-finals last year. Low was
always ahead in the first, and crucially
saved game ball before taking a close
second. Serme hit back to take the third
easily but the Malaysian always had the edge
in the fourth, with Serme throwing in a few
errors at crucial times. Low thus makes the
quarter-finals for the second year in a row,
11/4, 12/10, 2/11, 11/7.
That quarter-final will be between the 16th
and the 12th seeds after Natalie Grinham
delighted the ever-growing Luxor audience
with a straight-game win over Irish fourth
seed Madeline Perry. Irresistible in the
first two games with her flicks, holds,
drops and relentless running, the four-time
runner-up was in charge, although Perry's
frustration wasn't helped by a number of
unforced errors on her part.
Perry steadied in the third, established a
decent lead, but couldn't stop Grinham's
comeback as she picked up where she left off
in the first two, eventually winning on a
stroke at the end of a scrambling rally.
Greg spoils Dutch party, Ramy
does it again
By the time Laurens Jan Anjema went two
games up on two-time world finalist Gregory
Gaultier, the crowd had worked itself up
into an even greater frenzy. Determined and
solid play from LJ earned him the first, and
a succession of Gaultier errors at the end
of the second saw that advantage doubled.
But the Dutchman had had to work very hard
thus far, and it was Gaultier who assumed
control of the next two games to level. A
good lead in the decider held the Frenchman
in good stead as Anjema mounted a comeback,
urged on by the crowd, but it was too late,
and Gaultier prevailed 8/11,
5/11, 11/5, 11/2, 11/7.
unlikely as it sounds, not only did Gregory
Gaultier come from two-nil down to win, so
too, in the last match of the day, did
second seed Ramy Ashour. For the
Egyptian of course it was the second time in
a row he had escaped, having done the same
to Nicolas Mueller as he did to Alister
The Botswanan looked in charge for two games
against a subdued Egyptian, but Ramy was
increasing the tempo, making the rallies
faster and more frantic, and although Walker
was still holding his own, the third and
fourth went to Ashour as the exchanges
became more and more frenetic with both at
times hurling themselves around court.
At the end of one particularly manic
exchange Walker tinned, and Ramy continued
running halfway up the front wall in
The fifth was calmer, Ramy took an early
lead and soon enough the danger was averted
as he won 8/11, 3/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/3.
Whether he can keep doing this remains to be
seen, but it certainly brings a bit of
excitement to proceedings ...
And the bonus is that it was even just
Brown (Aus) bt
 Raneem El Weleily
(Egy) 4/11, 11/7, 11/3,
former World Junior Champion, is as most
Egyptian, extremely gifted with her racquet,
and can find some pretty good length too.
Kasey, well, is the fitness incarnated, and
can run for Australia and NZ put together,
and has added recently a nice short game
that made her able to upset Nicol in the US
But it’s the Egyptian that was the most
accurate and patient of the two and it’s
Raneem that dominates and control that
Only to lose both length and width along
with her patience for the next two games.
Mental? Physical? I would put my money on
mental, but maybe a little mixture of the
Along crept unforced errors, ball that end
up in the middle. Plus a few no lets that
well, maybe a bit harsh, I guess the line of
the refs was, not showing enough effort,
which the Egyptian corrected later on by
making much stronger statements while trying
to go pass her opponent.
In the 4th, Kasey’s wheel’s came off
completely, and she made 7 unforced errors,
the only game where she made any bless her!
And if the Australian dominated the
beginning of the 5th, 9/2, Raneem regrouped,
dug in, lengthen the rallies and had Kasey
really tired it seemed, clawing her way all
the way to 8/9, only to see her efforts
destroyed in a few quick shots. Raneem will
be extremely disappointed with the end
result, and she should. I thought she had
Kasey there at the end…
you give her any angles, she’ll chop you
out, which she did in the first game! I was
a bit nervous, being the World Open and all,
and didn’t want to play badly in that
In the second, I relaxed a bit, and then
really played well in the 3rd, but in the
4th, got a bit tentative. In the 5th, she
kept creeping in, and creeping in. I just
kept thinking that I had to win that let,
not wait for her to lose it. But then, the
nerves are there, especially at 8/9… But I
I had a good run at the US Open, I’m also
enjoying my time in NY where I work very
hard with Rodney Martin. And no, I haven’t
done anything particular to lose the weight,
just hard work and good diet.
I had a look around, the court, the venue is
absolutely amazing, all credit to Tommy
Berden and his organisation! Well done,
guys, you’ve done a fantastic job.
David (Mas) bt
[Q] Nour El Sherbini
11/7, 11/6, 11/7
Plenty of Skill on
young stars in both the men’s and women’s
game are making a major impact at the
moment, which is good for the sport and
another, Nour El Sherbini ,World Junior
Champion in 2009,was set to test herself
against the undisputed best woman player in
the world, Nicol David.
El Sherbini’s right leg was strapped below
the knee, ominous against someone who moves
as well as David does. Unfazed, playing very
skilfully, she led 4-3 and 6-5 before David
led 9-7,then served for the game winning it
on a stroke.
Oddly enough it was El Sherbini who had
played most of the squash, but it was
inevitable that David’s athleticism would
count for more and so it did. The young
Egyptian continued to use the racket
dextrously, but David’s court coverage
builds pressure and soon it was 6-1,David
looking increasingly confident, not that she
had ever looked uncomfortable.
El Sherbini, however, recovered to 5-8,using
her considerable racket skills, then to 6-9
before a fine rally took David to 10-6.One
game ball was enough, The pattern hardly
changed as El Sherbini continued to play
skilfully, as David resisted with her
A lovely forehand volley took El Sherbini to
6-7,then 7 all. A similar backhand drop from
deep saw David to 8-7,then 9-7,an error to
10-7;a harsh no let and 11-7 it was.
think she is feeling something with her leg,
and I noted she couldn’t move to the front
quite well. But still, if she can get the
ball on her racquet, she just kills you!
So I had to make sure that I was putting her
under enough pressure to prevent her from
having any time to prepare her shots.
It’s always like that with the juniors, no
fear, they are loving it all, nothing to
lose, and I’m really happy to get through in
I actually fell an injured my knee while I
was warming up for the match! It wa sore but
it didn't really affect me, I played as well
as I could ..."
Wee Wern Low (Mas) bt
 Camille Serme (Fra)
11/4, 12/10, 2/11, 11/7
WW, NOT JUST A FLUKE
you thought that maybe Laura Massaro had an
off day in Qatar, well after seeing that
performance of Low Wee Wern today against
Camille, you had to change your mind.
Ok, Cam is maybe a bit under the weather,
not at her top physically, lost a bit of
confidence as well, but gosh, she did try
everything she could to shake 21 year old WW
out of her skirt and just couldn’t.
The Malaysian just counter dropped
beautifully, lobbed and retrieved whatever
Camille was throwing at her. And a French
lady a bit lost at times tried her best,
still found a few great shots, but didn’t
find the correct answers today.
is the higher ranked played, so I went on
there, no pressure, whereas she had quite a
lot on her shoulders, and that can take a
lot of energy.
At the start of the year, I had a lot of
pressure myself, as last year, I was top 30,
and free, I played and beat a few good
players, so my ranking shoot at 13, so this
year was a different story. I had 2 bad
losses in a few days, Emma and Dipika, so I
thought, come on, I had 7 8 months of bad
time, so I decided to take everything from
scratch, went back to my coach in Malaysia,
and worked from the basics, solos, etc. Then
I had a good tournament in China – that I
won – and enjoyed a good Qatar where I beat
Laura and I’m enjoying my squash again.
After Qatar I rather not to go home to avoid
the change of temperature between home and
here, so I went to England, similar weather
to here to get acclimatised, and I went and
worked a bit with David Pearson.
Low Wee Wern
Natalie Grinham (Ned)
bt  Madeline
11/6, 11/5, 11/8 (35m)
Grinham looking good
another match to savour: two highly
successful players, representing the more
experienced players on the tour, Madeline
Perry, enjoying much recent success,
Natalie Grinham, on home territory
making her way back after the birth of her
Grinham has always been noted for her pace
and that looked as good as ever as she led
7/3, much to the delight of the crowd. A
stroke took Grinham to 8/5, a short backhand
angle to 9/5, and at 10/6 she served for the
first game, taking it at the first attempt.
A delightful crosscourt drop on the forehand
deep in the court gave Grinham the first
point of the second game, and she soon led
3/0, looking as good as she ever was. Mixing
up her game skillfully, Grinham went 8/1 up,
Perry looking a bit bewildered by it all. A
heavy rally went Perry's way for 4/8, but
Grinham went to 10/5 with an impressive
forehand volley and then took the game 11/5.
Not easy to see a way back for Perry now,
with Grinham flying. She doesn't give way
easily though, and led 5/1 and 6/2 as
Grinham ballooned a lob out. Grinham began a
fightback which took her to 8-all, urged on
by a vociferous and large crowd after an
exceptional piece of retrieving.
Gathering impetus, looking determined,
Grinham went to 9/8, 10/8 match ball, a
stroke was enough and the home player was
through to the quarter-finals after a
mightily impressive performance. Playing as
she did tonight she is a threat to anyone.
think that Madeline didn’t play at her best,
maybe she was a bit nervous, she was not
moving as well as she can. But no complains
from me. Plus, I think the court was suiting
me better, I could use my movement on there
Now I’m the underdog, I’m more relaxed on
court, for a few years, I was number 2, so I
would go on court with all the pressure
whereas now, I can get on there, nothing to
lose, it’s a bit more relaxing.
Well, after having my baby, I take my energy
from all the people that think I can’t come
back at the top….
I love the setting, there is a great
atmosphere behind in the crowd, but no
distraction of the side… I hope all the
people come back tomorrow!!!!
bt [Q] Marwan
El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/8, 11/3, 11/0
Marwan for the future
El Shorbagy, world junior champion, is
another of squash’s rising stars and his win
over Daryl Selby announced him as a threat
to his seniors.
He began well enough, led 5-2 in the first,
but it was not long before Willstrop caught
up with him at 5 all and then with a series
of winning drop shots drew clear to win the
From then on El Shorbagy struggled to stay
in touch with Willstrop, whose drop shots
were high quality throughout. Willstrop led
9-1 in the second, won the game 11-3 and won
the third without the Egyptian scoring.
Willstrop has been in good form of late, was
impressive here and will clearly take some
El Shorbagy did enough in the early stages
to confirm his promise for the future.
is such a great player, I still enjoyed
playing him today. This match shows that I’m
not there yet with the top ten, even if I
can challenge the 10 to 20.
I played well in the first game, I even had
a lead, the only one of the match, but from
the middle of the second, I just couldn’t
push anymore, I had four matches already,
four very hard matches, including one
against top player Daryl that was nearly
I’m very satisfied with my first ever World
Open, reaching the top 16, and I’ll come out
of it with huge confidence. Now, I’m going
to go back to Bristol and work even harder
than before, and hopefully, I’ll be there
soon with the top players.
Marwan El Shorbagy
gladly take a 3/0, the start of the season
has been very busy already, and Qatar was
only days away, so I’m grateful to stay as
little as possible on the court – I was
already lucky with my previous match,
Shahier had to retire and couldn’t finish
I definitely prefer the glass court, because
I don’t like working too hard! The
glasscourt seems to favour the shot makers,
whereas you can see the times of the matches
on the traditional court, 90m, 100m.
here, the ball diesd better at the front and
at the back, and you will see the matches
being much shorter.
I’m happy to have close people around, it
gives me a chance to switch off when I hear
my manager Mick arguing with my dad Malcolm…
Tomorrow, I’ll have to play a gifted
Egyptian, whether Shabana I played him a
lot, or Hisham, a bit less, and will have to
be ready to run for some shots at the front…
Shabana (Egy) bt
 Hisham Ashour
3/11, 8/11, 11/4, 11/9,
SHOOT OUT AT OK
Blimey. First game 4m. 36m for 4 games. When
you think that the second game between Peter
Barker and Cameron Pilley lasted 51m, you
are left wondering… Needless to say the ball
touched the backwall probably less than 10
times during the whole match. Fast? You can
say that again. Furious? Pace from hell? Yes
Now, I’m not sure that trying to match
Hisham speedwise and shot wise was such a
great game plan, and to be honest, initially
I thought that the Prince of Egypt was
trying to push his compatriot fitness wise,
trying to get him tired quickly. But in the
second game, I realise that nope, that
wasn’t the plan, that there wasn’t any plan
in fact, apart from the one “let’s try and
stay alive one more rally”!!!!
Hisham played his game to perfection, a game
based on skills and instinct, no building
rallies, no tactic, just pure instinct. And
it took all the experience of the Old Wolf
to overcome that fireworks of nicks, helped
with a few unforced errors that had to creep
in at the end (I counted 6 in the 5th game).
I should know
better than try and match up Ramy’s brother
at the front. Hisham’s probably the one
player that’s has really mastered the art of
squash and to be honest, I just didn’t know
what to do with his shots in the first two
games, didn’t manage to see much of them.
Then I got a bit used to the pace…
What did I tell myself at 2/0 down? Is there
a flight tonight or not????
James, amazing player, he had some pretty
awesome battles. We’ll both have to raise
our games tomorrow, and spectators are on
for a treat.
Gaultier (Fra) bt
 Laurens Jan Anjema
(Ned) 8/11, 5/11, 11/5,
Gaultier comeback denies Dutch
number one Laurens Jan Anjema came on court
to a rousing reception from an almost full
house, which means a crowd of over a
thousand. His task against Gregory Gaultier,
recent winner of the Qatar Classic, was
considerable but no way would he be lacking
Early exchanges were long and cagey, neither
player chancing his arm, Gaultier tactically
maybe, Anjema, having few chances. Gaultier
led 4/2, but the crowd were not giving the
Frenchman any peace and Anjema levelled at
4-all. He led 6/4 on two Gaultier errors,
and another surprising error from Gaultier
saw Anjema 7/5 ahead then 8/6 on another. It
was tense stuff, Gaultier not looking
entirely at ease with the crowd.
A brilliant backhand volley crosscourt into
the nick saw Anjema 9/7 ahead. An error by
Gaultier game Anjema game ball at 10/8, and
an exquisite forehand half-volley drop gave
the Dutchman a deserved one-nil lead.
match was beginning to open up, Gaultier
attacking more. A bad error gave Anjema a
3/2 lead. The Frenchman was also battling
not to say much for fear of antagonising the
crowd. Keeping calmer certainly helped him
and he led 5/3 when Anjema was awarded a
disputed stroke. An error and Anjema was
level at 5-all, a heavy rally produced
another Gaultier error, much to the delight
of the one-eyed crowd and Anjema led 6/5.
Two more Gaultier errors and it was 8/5, yet
another for 9/5.
A winner by Anjema made it 10/5, another tin
from the dispirited Gaultier and Anjema was
two-nil up and it was do or die for Gaultier
A stroke took him to 3/1, a forehand kill
into the nick to 4/2, and another stroke to
5/2. The Frenchman was attacking freely now
and reached 8/3 and 9/4, then 10/5 and at
11/5 he was back in the match.
Gaultier had responded, now it was Anjema's
turn. His first response was a straight
backhand into the nick for 1-0. Soon an
argument with the referee, which did him no
good and was an unnecessary distraction.
Gaultier, attacking readily, went to 7/1
after a hard rally, and was now seeming to
be in control. He closed the game out 11/2
and if impetus means anything he now seemed
the probable winner.
An error from Gaultier, the first for a long
time, 1-0 Anjema in the decider. Gaultier
continued in attacking vein, leading 6/1 as
Anjema was losing his way. Gaultier led 7/3
on an Anjema mistake, but a stroke made it
4/7 and a Gaultier tin 5/7.
A forehand volley into the nick from
Gaultier made it 8/5, then 9/5, a slip by
Gaultier 6/9, stroke 7/9. A no let took
Gaultier to match ball, which he took at the
Some atmosphere, some match.
I was a bit too
passive at the start, I was not seeing the
ball that well, and I was just playing
mindless length, length, and he took the
ascendant, he shined… So at 2/0, Mathieu
told me, two choice, or you don’t do
anything and you go home, or you hurt, dig
in, and no matter the result, you try and
leave everything you can on there. And
that’s what I did. I dug in, went through
the pain barrier, I was more aggressive, and
it help me to relax and let go… The momentum
There were a lot of conditions to handle,
the crowd, etc, he played and took his
chances, that’s the best he played against
me I feel.
I’m sorry for the crowd, I wish I could have
play somebody who would not have put my body
through so much damage! I don’t mind that
the crowd cheer for the other one, we are
used to it, but what’s important is that the
crowd comes, and cheers for squash! And I
hope they’ll come back tomorrow and cheer
What’s important is the win, now, a good
recovery time, resting, and tomorrow, I’ll
We’ve been working on a few things with LJ
on the tactical side of things, including a
whole array of shots and tonight, it worked
for him. That change puzzled Greg, and it
shows that LJ can respect other players but
he has to understand that he can beat these
guys, that he can show his emotions on
there, and tonight, he could have well won,
it was very close, and he did his best….
Greg played really well, he kept his head
when he was 2/0 down, and this was one of
the best matches from an emotional point of
view I ever saw – mind you, I’m bound to say
that, I’m coaching LJ!
I’m so proud of him, for me he is the
winner, although he lost I know, it’s sounds
strange, but that’s the way I feel.
SUPERB LJ .... the French view from
known LJ for a few years now and always had
the greatest respect for his determination,
will to learn and work, and his enormous
physical potential. For years now, he’s been
trying to add the short game to his solid
And tonight, it just all came together.
The Dutch was superb tonight, and I’m pretty
sure Greg didn’t expect to have to retrieve
as many winners at the front as that, and
that could explain the slow start – to say
the least – from the Frenchman.
Hat to you LJ.
Now, from the French point of view, I was
very proud of my compatriot tonight, first
for coming back from 2/0 against Top LJ, in
front of a vociferous crowd booing him at
times – hard to not let it get to you – but
most of all, for not to let himself get into
discussions with the refs in the 5th.
Whether he was right or not – one of his
shots was called not up and it was confirmed
later on with the replay that it was good
for example – Greg just got on with it. And
he had to, because LJ needed just that
little opening in the door, and he would
have rushed through it.
And for the record, I thought that LJ had
8/11, 3/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/3 (69m)
you believe me if I told you – sorry Ali –
that I knew that Ramy was not going down
tonight, even after he was 2/0 down? I just
saw the way Ramy was moving, the way he was
talking to himself, the way he was refusing
certain movements at times, to do them the
next rally, and not again.
The problem was, as ever, in Ramy’s head
bless him. All about finding his confidence,
in his body, in his movement, and when that
was in place, I felt that the real Ramy
would reappear and put Alister through Hell.
And he did exactly that.
Alister has as the same time an enormous
respect for Ramy, but also knew if there was
one underdog that could scalp the Egyptian,
he was the one.
He already put him under a lot of pressure
in Liverpool a few years back, then in HK a
few months later [and he beat him in the
Cayman Caribbean Challenge final in May].
Their matches are always the same, close,
fiery, ridiculous squash, and tonight was no
Ridiculous rallies, to the dozens, we
thought that Shabana/Hisham was fast and
furious, it was slow compared to this one I
promise you, with a game of three halves if
you pardon me the expression, Ali stepping
in front and shooting at will, then Ramy
taking more and more confidence, putting Ali
under that mammoth pressure that grinding
his strength and confidence back, to finish
with the 5th game, where Ali was running on
fumes and although he gave it a big push,
the writing was on the wall.
Don’t hesitate to watch the replay of this
match. It was an epic show, in Ramy’s words.
Ali will be crushed, but he cannot have any
regret. He had a chance, grabbed it, but it
was just one game too far for him today.
was the toughest I played for three or four
years…. Alister is so fit, playing well at
the moment, and you’ve got to be on your
toes – literally I was, you’ve seen me! This
was an epic match, he came out from the
starting block firing..
In the beginning, I had two thoughts. One, I
knew that Ali was playing so well, and that
I had to stop him and push, but the other
thought was the painful recent memory of the
injury, and I just was wary of getting
Ali’s pace was so high, I just couldn’t not
push, so after the first two games where he
played so well, I started to come back, and
kept pushing and pushing, hoping that
nothing bad would happen. And thank God
As Winston Churchill once said “a riddle
wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.