Gaultier Marks Half Century Success In Sweden


RESULTS:  Case Swedish Open, Linköping, Sweden

[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [8] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 (46m)
[6] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [4] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (48m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [7] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 (44m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [5] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (30m)

Gaultier Marks Half Century Success In Sweden

SH2467Frenchman Gregory Gaultier celebrated his 50th successive quarter-final appearance on the PSA World Tour in perfect style in Sweden – despatching English rival Peter Barker in just 30 minutes to secure a semi-final slot in the Case Swedish Open, the PSA International 70squash event celebrating its 11th successive year at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping.

The 31-year-old defending champion from Aix-en-Provence – who last failed to make an event’s quarter-finals when he was beaten in the first round of the PSA Masters in India in December 2009 – was in devastating form as he crushed Londoner Barker, the World No.7, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4.

By the third game, it was clear that fifth seed Barker – who was laid low by a calf injury for the last two months of 2013 and was taken to five games in his first round match – was struggling with his movement.

“I am satisfied with my performance in the game,” commented joint World No.1 Gaultier after the match.

“I think his body was hurting – but that’s the way it goes.  Perhaps it was a bit of luck for me – but I was ready to compete.

“With eight players here in the top 11, this must be the strongest Swedish Open field there has ever been.”

SH2468A dream semi-final is now in store when Gaultier takes on his fellow World No.1 Nick Matthew, the 33-year-old Englishman, in a repeat of last year’s final.  In an error-free display, No.3 seed Matthew beat England team-mate Daryl Selby, the seventh seed, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 in 44 minutes.

“I was pleased with that – but I’ll need to sharpen up for my next game with Greg,” said the three-time World Champion from Sheffield.

“I saw that Greg didn’t spend much time on court in his earlier match.  I admire the way he plays – he seems to only take about 40 minutes with all his matches.  He’s so clinical!”

SH2469There was an upset in a later quarter-final when sixth seed Amr Shabana beat fourth-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 in 48 minutes.

But Shabana, the 34-year-old World No.9 from Egypt, is enjoying a sensational run of form this year after winning the PSA World Series Tournament of Champions in New York in January against the odds.

SH2470“I’m still trying to find the right feeling after having been injured for a long period,” said the ‘Cairo Maestro’ later.

Shabana will now face fellow countryman Ramy Ashour, the top seed from Cairo who recovered from  losing the first game to beat eighth-seeded compatriot Omar Mosaad 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5.

Ashour, the World No.1 throughout 2013, is making his first Tour appearance of the year after a hamstring injury layoff.