The Men’s World Championship is taking place in the USA for the first time, in Bellevue, Washington …
Ashour begins World Championship Title Defence with easy win
Defending PSA Men’s World Squash Champion Ramy Ashour began his bid to win back-to-back titles by easily dispatching fellow maverick Egyptian Mazen Hesham in straight-games at the Maydenbauer Centre in Bellevue, Washington .
After stunning the squash world to lift the 2014 crown in what was his first tournament following a six-month injury lay-off the 28-year-old, who has been absent on the PSA World Tour since retiring during his second round match at the Delaware investments U.S. Open in October, gave his fans reason to believe that lightening could strike twice as he got off to the perfect start.
The three-time World Champion took just 26 minutes to get past Hesham, one of the most dangerous attacking talents on tour, and showed no signs of suffering any issues with his notoriously troublesome hamstring as he set up a second round encounter with compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar.
“I’m happy with the way I played today I just need to try and play like that for the rest of the week,” said Ashour.
“I enjoyed the match today. I think he’s a very good player and I think he is going to be one of the best one day. We’re very similar, he does a lot of quick stuff and it’s refreshing to see someone like that.
“I didn’t feel any pain in the hamstring today so it’s a blessing for me to be moving and lunging freely.”
Elsewhere on the second day of first round action in the most prestigious tournament in squash there were impressive victories for former World Junior Champions Diego Elias and Karim El Hammamy in their maiden bouts at the senior tournament.
El Hammamy showed impressive hunger and desire to come through a 108-minute battle with Englishman Declan James while 18-year-old Peruvian Elias, one of only four men including Ashour to win the World Junior title twice, put in one of the most impressive performances of the round to dispatch seasoned campaigner Adrian Grant.
“It my first time in the World Championship and I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said Elias.
“It was a good match and to win 3-0 gives me a lot of confidence going into the next round. I’m very happy to be in the last 32 and I’m very excited.
“I played some of my best squash today and I’ve been training for this for a long time. I’m happy with how I played. He’s very experienced and I knew he would be tough. I had some nerves and I knew he would have experience and he made it very tough but I’m very, very happy to win.”
Number two seed Nick Matthew, the three-time World Champion from England, also made a successful start to his campaign by downing Australian number one Cameron Pilley 3-1.
2015 Men’s World Championship, First Round (Bottom Half):
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (26m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-6, 5-11, 11-3, 11-7 (36m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8 (72m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Andrew Wagih (EGY) 11-6, 11-4, 16-14 (35m)
 Borja Golan (ESP) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (61m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt Shaun Le Roux (RSA) 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-1 (59m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [Q] Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 11-8, 7-11, 11-1, 11-2 (42m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (87m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (33m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)
 Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (54m)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 (69m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8 (65m)
[Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 12-10, 15-13, 3-11, 5-11, 11-4 (108m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (67m)
Top Seeds sail through opening challenge at 2015 World Championship
World No.1 and number one seed Mohamed Elshorbagy began his bid to win a maiden World Championship crown with a comfortable victory over Mexican challenger Alfredo Avila during the opening day of action at the 2015 Men’s World Championship in Bellevue, Washington.
2012 and 2014 runner-up Elshorbagy was in impressive form as he saw off a doggedly determined Avila 3-0 after just 31 minutes to send an early message out to his main title-rivals during an opening day of first round action that saw the seeds in control of proceedings throughout.
“I’ve only got this one [the World Championship] left to win,” said Elshorbagy, who held match-ball to win the title twelve months ago in Doha.
“I’m only 24-years-old so it’s not too bad. If I don’t get it this year I still have so many years to come but of course I really want to win this one.
“It’s the first time ever that the World Championship is here in the United States. It’s great, the tournament has been set up perfectly for the players and I’m really looking forward to playing well here this week.
“Losing last year was tough but everything has made me the player I am today. I struggled a little bit after last year but I was able to come back and win the Tournament of Champions and the British Open. It was a test of character and to get back here the year after is tough, there are bad memories, but I’m trying to put that behind me now and hopefully I will be able to play well this week.”
One of Elshorbagy’s main challengers from the title, French World No.3 Gregory Gaultier, produced an equally impressive first round performance against compatriot Lucas Serme to get his campaign off to a positive start as he aims to end his heartbreak at the sport’s most prestigious tournament – having fallen at the final hurdle on four separate occasions.
With the all-French battle coming in the wake of the recent atrocities that occurred in Paris Gaultier was keen to reference the impact the events had on his preparations and the extra motivation it has given him.
“I was really thinking that I needed to give all my heart and produce a good performance for my country today,” said Gaultier.
“What happened in France has been really hurting everybody. You think about it every day and you see the news. I will do all I can to win the title this year.”
Harrity scraped through 3-2 after 63-minutes to book his second round berth, improving on the performances of top ranked US player Christopher Gordon, who bowed out of the competition during the final round of qualification, and the most successful US player of recent times, Julian Illingworth, who fell to a straight-games defeat to Miguel Angel Rodriguez of Colombia in round one.
2015 Men’s World Championship, First Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (31m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 12-10, 3-11, 11-8, 12-10 (62m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Ben Coleman (ENG) 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (62m)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Peter Creed (WAL) 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (32m)
[Q] Todd Harrity (USA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-8, 2-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 (63m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [Q] Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (39m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [WC] Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (29m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND) 11-5, 2-11, 11-4, 11-9 (55m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (34m)
 Max Lee (HKG) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (50m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt  Peter Barker (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (52m)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (27m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 (29m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (41m)
Round Two Draw:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v James Willstrop (ENG)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Q] Todd Harrity (USA)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
 Max Lee (HKG) v Ali Farag (EGY)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v Fares Dessouki (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
 Borja Golan (ESP) v Paul Coll (NZL)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER)
 Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY)