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Favourite Willstrop Makes Rapid Start In Richmond

Top seed James Willstrop made a lightning start in the Davenport North American Open, beating rising Swiss starNicolas Mueller in straight games in the first round of the second PSA World Series event of the year at theWestwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.

Mueller is a hugely talented prospect, but the Englishman imposed his own style on the game to win 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 in 38 minutes.

“Nic is already a very dangerous and although it’s nice to get off court quickly in the early rounds I am just happy with the win,” said Willstrop, the world No2 from Leeds. “He is already giving top ten players a difficult time, so winning quickly against him was simply a bonus.”

Willstrop now meets French veteran Thierry Lincou in the second round. Lincou played the fall guy as he met wild cardPatrick Chifunda, the club-based Zambian coach who attracted a full-house gallery to the Westwood Club.

The crowd cheered their local hero to the rafters as he dived around the court and every winner earned a raucous standing ovation.

Lincou sportingly engineered an entertaining straight games victory, allowing Chifunda to go tantalisingly close in the third game before he clinched victory 11-3, 11-3, 11-8.

Seeds Gregory GaultierAmr Shabana and Mohd Azlan Iskandar all marched forward with straight games victories – but there was a major shock when world No11 Hisham Mohamed Ashour collapsed to England’s Adrian Grant.

The left-handed Londoner played fast, direct squash and moved superbly to work his Egyptian opponent out of position to win 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 in 30 minutes.

Grant now meets fellow left-hander Shabana and he admitted: “My target for this year is to get back up to the world top ten. My body is still holding up well and I felt good on court tonight.”

Cairo qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad made up for the Egyptian disappointment by claiming an unexpected second round place after upsetting Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.

Gawad, the 20-year-old world No42, now lines up against eighth seed Iskandar, ranked 32 places higher.

RESULTS: PSA World Series Davenport North American Open, Richmond, Virginia, USA

1st round (top half of draw):
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (38m)
Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 11-3, 11-3, 11-8 (30m)
Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (30m)
[6] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
[8] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (45m)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (55m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 13-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 (72m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Olivier Pett (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (32m)

Remaining 1st round matches:
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v [Q] Zac Alexander (AUS)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[7] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)

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