Egypt’s Amr Shabana pulled off a stunning semi-final victory against England’s World No. 1 James Willstrop in today’s ATCO World Series Squash Finals to set up an eagerly anticipated final tomorrow against France’s Gregory Gaultier at the prestigious Queen’s Club, London.
England’s James Willstrop had been hoping to take his first series victory since becoming World No.1 earlier this month; however an inspired performance from Amr Shabana saw the Egyptian take the game 13/11, 11/5 in 44 minutes.
Shabana said: “To reach the final is amazing considering the quality of players in the game at the moment and how well everyone is playing too.
“James has the best hands in English squash and I’m very happy to get this victory.”
Shabana’s opponent in tomorrow’s final will be Gregory Gaultier after the Frenchman defeated Egypt’s Karim Darwish 11/5, 11/5 in 33 minutes to continue his hot run of form in the series.
Reflecting on tomorrow’s final, Gaultier, said: “Amr was the best player in the world a few years ago and now I believe he is back.
“He looked very sharp today and beat the World No. 1, so I’ll have to be at my best.”
Elsewhere, England’s Laura Massaro gave World No. 1 Nicol David her biggest test of the finals so far. Massaro stormed into a one game lead with an 11/8 score, however Malaysia’s David came back strong to take the following games 11/4, 11/3.
Reflecting on her victory today, David said: “Laura came out strong in the first game and played some really good shots.
“I started to find my rhythm in the second game and am really pleased to be in the Final of the World Series, it’s a huge privilege.”
Ireland’s Madeline Perry then put on her best display of the finals so far coming back from a game down to beat England’s World No. 2 Jenny Duncalf 11/13, 11/8, 11/5.
Perry said: “It was a really close match and I started to gain momentum after a couple mistakes from Jenny in the second game”
Speaking ahead of her final match up against Nicol David, she went on to say: “I’ve beaten her before but she’s a fantastic athlete and I’ll have to be on top of my game tomorrow.”
The ATCO World Series Tour finale event runs from 4th – 8th January, with both men’s and women’s competition braced for the grand final on Sunday.
Full coverage: www.squashsite.co.uk/2009/worldseriesfinals2012.htm
Results – Day 4 – Semi-Finals
Nicol David (MAS) bt. Laura Massaro (ENG) 8/11, 11/4, 11/3 (33m)
Madeline Perry (IRL) bt. Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11/13, 11/8, 11/5 (42m)
Amr Shabana (EGY) bt. James Willstrop (ENG) 13/11, 11/5 (44m)
Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt. Karim Darwish (EGY) 11/5, 11/5 (33m)
SCHEDULE OF PLAY – Day 5 (08.01.12) – Finals from 14.00
Nicol David (MAS) vs. Madeline Perry (IRL)
Amr Shabana (EGY) vs. Gregory Gaultier (FRA)