WORLD NUMBER ONE WILLSTROP BREEZES TO THE SECOND ROUND
Top seed James Willstrop powered past Germany’s Simon Rosner to secure his place in the second round of the Allam British Open at the London Piazza, O2 Arena on Monday evening.
The world number one produced a mixture of precision squash with outstanding court coverage for a comfortable 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 win in just 49 minutes,
Rosner is an renowned as an attacking player but he struggled to get the ball past the 6ft 4in Willstrop, who produced a succession of sublime winners at the front of the court, much to the delight of the crowd.
Leeds based Willstrop commented: “It’s fairly cool in the arena and it makes the glass court rather dead to play one, so the ball stays short and doesn’t bounce as much as usual,
It suited my game though because those conditions mean a player has to cover a lot of ground, so I was well prepared for it and I was really pleased with my movement.”
Willstrop’s father, Malcolm, was back in his corner after a well-publicised disagreement which the player recently aired in his book, Shot And A Ghost.
The 28-year-old added: “I seem to have spent the last few months telling the world all my secrets, which is fairly unusual for a shy person like myself, but it feels good to have the old team back together again.”
In the second round Willstrop meets his old sparring partner Alister Walker, who is now based in New York and recently switched his national allegiance to Botswana.
Walker removed qualifier Chris Simpson and Willstrop added: “We used to see a lot of each other in Yorkshire and have played each other a million times.”
Willstrop’s England team-mate and local hope Daryl Selby suffered a narrow defeat to former world champion Ramy Ashour earlier in the day, with the Egyptian squeezing home 16-14 in the fourth game tiebreak in a 55 minute thriller.
Selby took his game to the Egyptian, attacking short balls and putting Ashour under extreme pressure, taking the opening game 11/8 in 10 minutes. But Ashour knuckled down to turn the game around and went in to the fourth game with a 2-1 advantage.
In the fourth, Selby found himself 2 game balls to lead at 10/8 before Ashour got four match balls to take the advantage back. The suspense among the big crowd at the O2 was tangible, with the English crowd pushing for their man, but all to no avail as the the Egyptian took the match 16-14.
Ashour commented; “The first time I came and saw the venue, I thought whoaaaa, it’s just huge. It is different and I’m so happy to be back, I haven’t played in the tournament for a while, and it’s nice to be back. England sets up the model for the rest of the world, and all the players are so happy to come and playing in the prestigious British Open.”
Amr Shabana, a four-time world champion, overcame fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen and Mohamed El Shorbagy, the Bristol-based world No.8, saw off French qualifier Mathieu Castagnet.
Spaniard Borja Golan produced the surprise result of the day, removing hard-hitting Australian Cameron Pilley in straight games. Finland’s Olli Tuominen looked in solid form as he outplayed Ali Anwar Reda to set up a second-round clash with Shabana.
In an a clash between two London-based left-handers, 31-year-old Adrian Grant beat Adrian Waller in straight games.
In today’s first round matches, Sheffield’s World Champion Nick Matthew commences his quest for a record breaking third consecutive British Open Title against Hong Kong qualifier Max Lee at 15.00.
Londoner Peter Barker, seeded 6 kicks off his challenge in this evenings session at 6pm against Australian qualifier Ryan Cuskelly, whilst second seed Gregory Gaultier from France brings tonight’s session to a close a little after 9pm against Switzerland’s Nicola Mueller.
RESULTS: Allam British Open, O2 Arena, London. Men’s Round One:
(5) Amr Shabana (Egypt) bt Tarek Momen (Egypt) 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-6 (55m)
Olli Tuominen (Finland) bt Ali Anware Reda (Egypt) 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 (40m)
Borja Golan (Spain) bt Cameron Pilley (Australia) 12-10, 12-10, 11-4 (63m)
(4) Ramy Ashour (Egypt) bt Daryl Selby (England) 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 16-14 (55m)
(7) Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egypt) bt (Q) Mathieu Castagnet (France) 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10 (61m)
Adrian Grant (England) bt Adrian Waller (England) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)
Alister Walker (Botswana) bt Chris Simpson (England) 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (43m)
(1) James Willstrop (England) bt Simon Rosner (Germany) 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (49m)
Photograph attached, courtesy of Squashpics.com: Top seed James Willstrop (Eng) beats Simon Rosner (Ger).