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Darwish Conquers Gaultier To Win Sky Open

Karim Darwish endorsed his status as the world’s top squash player when he edged out second-ranked Gregory Gaultier in a dramatic Sky Open final in Egypt to win the $147,500 PSA Tour Super Series Platinum event title at Sky Petrosport Club in Cairo.

The pair’s career head-to-head record before the final stood at six wins apiece – but Frenchman Gaultier was in the ascendancy, after winning the three most recent meetings since December.

And it was the 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence who stormed into the lead after the first three games – suggesting that this Egyptian opponent might suffer a repeat home final defeat for the second year.

But Darwish is made of sterner stuff and, despite carrying the ankle injury that caused him to withdraw from last week’s British Open mid-match, the Cairo-based 28-year-old battled back.

And after 72 minutes, it was the Cairo king who raised his arms in pure delight after recording his 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3 victory – the 16th PSA Tour title of his career and his third Super Series crown.

“This is the first big tournament I’ve won in Egypt,” Darwish told www.squashsite.co.uk later. “I was not 100%, so I had no pressure for this tournament – I took it match by match. But then, when I came to the final, I had full confidence in myself, and really wanted to win.

“I think Greg and I played a good game, but the difference came probably from my motivation to win,” added the world number one. “I lost last year, and I really DIDN’T want to lose this year. And winning a tournament is such a great feeling!”

Gaultier was inevitably downcast: “I’m really disappointed with myself, but I guess that I had to beat so many top guys to get to the final – Karim had an easier draw, and was fresher than I was tonight.

“Still, we played a good game – fast paced and really tight.”

Full coverage: www.squashsite.co.uk/sky

Final:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)     11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3 (72m)

Semi-finals:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [12] Alister Walker (ENG)     11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (40m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [3] Ramy Ashour (EGY)     11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9 (70m)

Quarter-finals:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [16] Cameron Pilley (AUS)     8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (54m)
[12] Alister Walker (ENG) bt [4] Amr Shabana (EGY)     11-3, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8 (42m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [10] James Willstrop (ENG)     8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 (60m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [9] Wael El Hindi (EGY)     11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (52m)

2nd round:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)     11-3, 11-4, 11-7 (29m)
[16] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [5] Nick Matthew (ENG)     12-10, 11-6, 10-12, 13-11 (90m)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [11] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)     11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (45m)
[12] Alister Walker (ENG) bt [8] Adrian Grant (ENG)     9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10 (121m)
[10] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [6] Peter Barker (ENG)     8-11, 12-10, 7-1 ret. (45m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [14] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)     13-11, 11-3, 4-11, 11-6 (38m)
[9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [7] Thierry Lincou (FRA)     11-5, 13-11, 13-15, 13-11 (110m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [15] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)     11-9, 12-10, 11-5 (49m)

1st round:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY)     11-4, 11-5, 11-3 (38m)
[Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt [13] Stewart Boswell (AUS)     11-8, 2-11, 11-9, 11-9 (69m)
[5] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Karim AGA Samy (EGY)     11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (29m)
[16] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS)     11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-2 (63m)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Renan Lavigne (FRA)     9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (60m)
[11] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)     11-6, 5-11, 11-3, 11-4 (54m)
[8] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL)     11-7, 11-5, 3-11, 11-4 (77m)
[12] Alister Walker (ENG) bt [Q] Tom Richards (ENG)     10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (60m)
[10] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Farhan Mehboob (PAK)     9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (71m)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)     11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9 (78m)
[14] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [Q] Mark Krajcsak (HUN)     11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (34m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG)     7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (30m)
[9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)     11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7
[7] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)     11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (45m)
[15] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN)     11-3, 11-8, 15-13 (41m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Tarek Momen (EGY)     11-5, 8-11, 11-1, 11-8 (59m)

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