Ong Beng Hee (left) lost to Stephen Coppinger of South Africa in the first round of the El Gouna International Open in Egypt on Monday. - SquashSite.uk
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Ong Beng Hee’s fine run at the El Gouna International Open in Egypt came to a halt in the first round.
The 34-year-old Beng Hee, who earned a place in the main draw after two impressive wins in the qualifying tournament, went down 8-11, 6-11, 9-11 to South African Stephen Coppinger in 53 minutes on Sunday.
The lanky South African, who also defeated Beng Hee in the first round of the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in New York in January, will meet world No.1 Gregory Gaultier of France in the second round. Gaultier was made to work hard before squeezing past Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8 in 102 minutes.
“We played once in the TOC this year, so I knew what to expect against Beng Hee,” said the 29-year-old Coppinger on www.squashsite.co.uk.
“But he is still very hard to play because he doesn’t generate much pace and I like it fast. But overall, I’m happy to get through.”
There were two other upsets in the opening round with world No. 21 Marwan El Shorbagy of Egypt leading the way with an 11-9, 14-12, 11-9 win over world No.17 Cameron Pilley of Australia.
World No. 35 Mazen Hesham, also of Egypt, then downed world No. 22 Mathieu Castagnet of France 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 in 52 minutes.
Meanwhile at the Paris Open, world No. 53 Shaun Le Roux of South Africa grabbed his 11th Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour title after beating England’s Ben Coleman 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 in the final.