POSTED: Thursday February 24th 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ramy's Relief As Richards Rocks Richmond
RESULTS: PSA World Series North American Open, Richmond, Virginia, USA
2nd round (lower half of draw):
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Martin Knight (NZL) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (30m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt [Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (28m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-6, 11-6, 11-1 (36m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 (45m)
Rising England squash star Tom Richards came desperately close to a shock win over No2 seed Ramy Ashour in the second round of the North American Open in Richmond, Virginia.
Richards won the opening game but squandered game ball in the second and let slip a 9-4 lead in the fourth before the Egyptian maestro clinched victory 6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 to earn a place in the quarter-finals of the second PSA World Series event of the year at the Westwood Club.
Richards dominated the opening game and held game ball in the second at 10-9 but was unable to close it out. Ashour squeezed home 12-10 and from 5-4 down he won the third 11-6.
However, the 24-year-old world No31 roared back in the fourth and looked set to take the match the full distance as he led 9-4, but world No2 Ashour put together an astonishing run of seven points without reply to clinch victory.
"Tom played a great game and was ahead in all of the games," said Ashour afterwards. "I am a little bit disappointed with the way I played but all credit to Tom. He played very well. But I will need to play a lot better in the next round."
Richards said: "I am very disappointed to have lost because I was in some very good positions in the second and fourth games and should have finished them off. But in a couple of days I might feel a bit differently."
James Willstrop meets England team-mate Peter Barker in the quarter-finals after both players crushed qualifiers.
Sixth seed Barker took just 28 minutes to beat Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Willstrop, the third seed, took two minutes longer to beat New Zealander Martin Knight in straight games.
With world champion Nick Matthew already through, the quarter-final schedule features three Englishmen.
The draw features four outstanding contests, with Ashour facing Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, who outclassed Finnish No1 Olli Tuominen 11-6, 11-6, 11-1.
Matthew meets Australia's David Palmer, and four times world champion Amr Shabana tackles Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, who has looked impressive this week at the Westwood Club.
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v David Palmer (AUS)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
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# # #
Name: Howard Harding
Organization: Professional Squash Association
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