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Darwish Drives Home In Motor City

Karim Darwish reproduced the form which took him to the top of the world squash rankings for all but one month of last year when he despatched Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar in straight games in the final of the Motor City Open to lift the $40,000 PSA Tour title at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

“If there were any doubts about Karim Darwish’s form following a month off to nurse a sore back, they were quashed in the final,” said event spokesman AJ Hakim. “The Egyptian’s supreme performance capped an event in which he did not lose a game.”

Darwish dazzled a sold-out crowd at Michigan’s premier squash venue en-route to taking home his $6,400 share of the record $40,000 purse and a Rolex watch from Greenstone Jewellers.

The 28-year-old from Cairo quickly found his rhythm, building a 9-2 lead in the first game. Dictating the pace, he forced Iskandar – coming off an exhausting five-game win over second seed Thierry Lincou the night before – into a quicker game than he could withstand.

“Last time (I was here) was in 2004 and I lost in the semis,” Darwish said of his upset loss to Olli Tuominen in his last appearance at the MCO.

“It’s such a great feeling to win this tournament,” added the world number five after his 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 triumph.

“Today I was really focused, and really wanted to finish it as quick as possible,” said Darwish. “I didn’t want to go in and play a long match, so I think I played really well today. I didn’t expect that I’d be that comfortable, but I know that he is a little but tired from yesterday’s match.

“I took advantage of it, and I tried to play more offensive, tried to attack every ball and tried to get him to the back as much as possible.”

The win marks the Egyptian’s sixth successive Tour victory over the Iskandar since May 2003 – and brings up the 17th PSA Tour title of Darwish’s career.

Final:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [3] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)     11-3, 11-7, 11-4

Semi-finals:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [7] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)     11-4, 11-5, 11-3 (35m)
[3] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [2] Thierry Lincou (FRA)     5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4

Quarter-finals:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN)     11-7, 11-3, 11-2
[7] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt [4] Olli Tuominen (FIN)     11-3, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6
[3] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt Chris Ryder (ENG)     11-4, 11-5, 11-1
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)     11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6

1st round:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)     11-9, 11-7, 11-4
Mark Krajcsak (HUN) bt [6] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)     16-18, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8
[4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Julian Wellings (ENG)     11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6
[7] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt [Q] Yasir Butt (PAK)     10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 20-18, 11-3
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt [5] Julian Illingworth (USA)     11-4, 11-9, 11-7
[3] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL)     11-2, 11-5, 11-6
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [8] Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)     12-10, 11-3, 11-2
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Scott Arnold (AUS)     11-5, 11-3, 11-6

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