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Cam Zaps Zac In Canberra Shoot-Out

16 August 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 70 Hi-Tec Australian Open, Canberra, Australia

2nd round (top half of draw):
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Olivier Pett (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (26m)
[6] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Leo Au (HKG) 4-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 (34m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt [8] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 (63m)
[4] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3 (62m)

Big-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley booked a place in the Hi-Tec Australian Open quarter-finals when he beat compatriot Zac Alexander in a thrilling second round match today in Canberra.

The Australian number one was forced to call on all his experience to see off Alexander, who attacked at every chance he got in the second round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event to take the game right up to his older rival.

Despite having his nose in front for much of the contest, world No20 Pilley was never able to relax as he battled to an 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3 victory - and a quarter-final against Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz.

The two Australians thrilled the crowd with their brilliant attacking play, with the match at times turning into a virtual shoot-out as the pair blazed away hitting winners from all over the court.

However, Pilley's greater experience told in the fifth as he took advantage of some errors from Alexander - ranked 18 places below - to skip away with the match.

"I put on a few points at the end and ran away with it, but it wasn't as easy as that," Pilley said. "I started well and played really well with good length to the back of the court, but as soon as I dropped short after that, because he had nothing to lose he just went for it.

"In the fifth game I got back to doing what I did in the first, and it was only in the fifth game that he started making errors when I put a bit more pressure on him," continued the Netherlands-based 29-year-old. "But it was a bit of a shoot-out."

Unseeded Aziz reached the quarter-finals after a tough 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 upset win over eighth-seeded Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan.

The two players were evenly matched throughout with Aziz managing to win the points at crucial times.

He said coming from a long way down to win the second game was a key moment in the match. "When I was down 9-5, I told myself that if I could stay in there and win the game then I was 75 per cent on the way to winning the match," said the 28-year-old from Cairo. "So I pushed really hard at that point."

Egypt's defending champion Ramy Ashour, also from Cairo, stayed on track for a possible semi-final with Pilley when he cruised past Englishman Olivier Pett 11-7, 11-5, 11-7.

Pett tried hard but couldn't cope with the skills of the Egyptian maestro, who took just 26 minutes to reach the final eight.

Ashour said he was pleased with his form this early in the tournament. "Sometimes you are a bit shaky at the start of the week, but I am getting more confident as I go along."

The world No4 will take on Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller for a place in the semis after the sixth seed recovered from a poor start to beat Hong Kong's Leo Au 4-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [6] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[4] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
[3] Tom Richards (ENG) v [7] Alan Clyne (SCO)
[2] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [5] Ong Beng Hee (MAS)