Frenchman Stephane Galifi continued his giant-killing run in the qualifying finals of the Saudi International, the $250,000 PSA World Tour Super Series Platinum squash championship which will take place for the fifth year in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, from 13-18 December.
The two-day qualifying event was staged at St George’s LT&SC in Surrey, England – with players ranked between 24 and 352 in the world chasing eight places in the main draw of the final PSA Super Series event of the year.
Galifi, the world No49, claimed the day’s biggest scalp when he beat Italian Davide Bianchetti – ranked 20 places higher – in straight games, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 in 47 minutes.
The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence became the sole French qualifier after compatriot Julien Balbo bowed out to India’s Saurav Ghosal. The 11-7, 11-2, 11-1 victory takes the 23-year-old from Calcutta into the Saudi main draw for the first time.
A trio of Englishmen will make the journey to Al-Khobar after contrasting wins in Weybridge. Top qualifying seed Daryl Selby recovered from a game down to overcome fellow countryman Chris Simpson 6-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-3, while Joey Barrington and Jonathan Kemp earned their qualifying slots in straight games.
Australian Aaron Frankcomb was another surprise winner – but the 24-year-old from Hobart was made to battle for 93 minutes before overcoming the highest-ranked US player Julian Illingworth 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 11-9.
Saudi Squash International, Qualifying finals (held at St George’s LT&SC, Weybridge, England):
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 6-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (46m)
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 11-9 (93m)
Stephane Galifi (FRA) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (47m)
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6 (81m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 11-7, 11-2, 11-1
Joey Barrington (ENG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (44m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (26m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Amr Swelim (ITA) 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (47m)