2010 World Championship runner-up James Willstrop moved through to round three of this year’s tournament as he claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory over Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim, who was still feeling the effects of an ankle injury sustained in yesterday’s first round fixture.
Ibrahim rolled his ankle at 9-9 in the fifth game of his round one clash with England’s Daryl Selby, but remarkably returned to court to claim a shock victory.
He was able to take to the court against Willstrop today and gave it his all as he slotted some sublime winners, but the former World No.1 settled down and emerged victorious in straight games to ensure he will play 2016 champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the last 16.
What a lob from
james_willstrop</a>!<br><br>Youssef Ibrahim had two attempts at trying to return this one but it was so tight to the side wall that he had no chance!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/squash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#squash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PSAWorldChamps?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PSAWorldChamps</a> <a href="https://t.co/IDOYuBPqfC">pic.twitter.com/IDOYuBPqfC</a></p>— PSA World Championships (PSAWorldChamps) November 9, 2019
“It felt really intense in the head,” Willstrop said.
“He's probably the hardest opponent there is when he does have a slight injury and it makes it almost harder.
“It's obviously hard for him, but I didn't know what level he would be, whether he would be fully recovered, or only half way, so I had to idea what to expect.
“They're cold conditions on court, and he was probably thinking that he would try and take a few shots in because he is such a good shot player. Maybe that could unsettle me, the rallies would be short and if I can't get him moving then I'm in trouble.
“I had to get him moving if he had a problem, and it was hard. I tried to keep the intensity and the pressure on him and tried to challenge his movement as much as I could. If you're not careful you start thinking about all of that and not the match, so it's a dangerous situation, I had to attack it mentally very strongly, and I think that was how I came through it.”
Willstrop is making his first PSA Tour appearance since the beginning of September after taking time out to pursue his acting hobby and the 36-year-old has been treading the boards at the ‘Hangmen’ play in Bingley.
‘The Marksman’ said: “I’ve always said it's a great thing that keeps you fresh mentally. It's what I enjoy very much on the other side of my life and is a different world from professional squash where it gets intense and you're trying to perform as best as you can at the top level.
“I think everyone probably needs something. That's mine, some people study, play golf, whatever it is. I think it's helped me in the past and hopefully it will help me be fresh and play well this week.”
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (24m)