Squash: Shabana becomes first Egyptian to claim World Open crown

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The Independent Online

Amr Shabana, the world No 11 from Cairo, became the lowest ranked player and the first Egyptian to win the World Open squash title when he completed a sequence of startling upsets in the final here yesterday.

The 24-year-old won 15-14, 9-15, 15-11, 15-7 against Thierry Lincou, the fourth-seeded Frenchman, who 24 hours earlier had made certain of becoming the world No 1 for the first time.

But Shabana, who had previously beaten the defending world champion David Palmer, the world No 5 Anthony Ricketts and the world No 7 Karim Darwish, prevented Lincou from achieving his two greatest ambitions in successive days. "I've never played such fantastic squash before," the new champion said.

Lincou, who hails from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, had useful leads in all of the first three games without being able to capitalise on two of them. "I fought back but I used up too much energy," he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan players, who are struggling to revive their squash dynasty, were handed an incentive after the tournament. The country's president, Pervez Musharraf, announced that the government would reward any Pakistani player who won the World Open with 10 million Pakistan rupees (£99,000) and the British Open with five million rupees.