England's Tom Richards caused the first notable upset in the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India when he defeated Egypt's world No13 Hisham Mohamed Ashour in today's first round of the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi.
Currently at 12th place in the 2011 PSA World Series Standings after a disappointing first round exit in last month's Kuwait PSA Cup, Richards pulled out all the stops in his bid to make an appearance in next month's ATCO World Series Finals, the event which will feature the top eight in the final World Series Standings of the year.
Richards battled hard to secure his career-first straight games victory over Ashour, ranked eight places higher, winning 14-12, 12-10, 11-6 in 35 minutes to secure a place in the second round.
The 25-year-old from Surrey will now meet another Egyptian for a place in the quarter-finals. But Karim Darwish is the event's second seed - and the world No5 recorded today's quickest win in despatching Australian Ryan Cuskelly 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 in 32 minutes.
But shortly after the Richards win, there was disappointment in the English camp when former world No9 Adrian Grant crashed out of the event at the first hurdle. It was the latest success in Spaniard Borja Golan's comeback trail after a major knee injury.
Golan, currently ranked 25 in the world, survived a close first game, then maintained the upper hand against London left-hander Grant, ranked six places higher, before closing out the match 12-10, 11-6, 11-4 in 51 minutes.
The Spaniard will face another of the day's successful Egyptians in Wednesday's second round. Mohamed El Shorbagy, the sixth seed from Alexandria, needed exactly an hour to quash South African Stephen Coppinger 11-7, 13-15, 11-6, 11-5.
Laurens Jan Anjema and Mohd Azlan Iskandar are two players with a keen eye on next month's ATCO World Series Finals - and both secured straight games wins at the 2010 Commonwealth Games squash venue to strengthen their chances.
Anjema became the event's No8 seed on last week's withdrawal of defending champion Nick Matthew, the world No1 from England. The Dutchman, currently in ninth place in the standings, dismissed Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 in 45 minutes.
But Iskandar is the player most in Anjema's sights: The Malaysian needs to consolidate his eighth place in the latest list - and made the best start by overcoming fellow countryman Ong Beng Hee 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 in 61 minutes.
Iskandar will now face Gregory Gaultier, the No4 seed from France who beat Indian wild card Siddharth Suchde - while Anjema lines up against lower-ranked Egyptian Omar Mosaad, the world No15 from Cairo who defeated England's Chris Ryder 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9.
RESULTS: PSA World Series Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, New Delhi, India
1st round (top half of draw):
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 (32m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) 14-12, 12-10, 11-6 (35m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 12-10, 11-6, 11-4 (51m)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-7, 13-15, 11-6, 11-5 (60m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (45m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (61m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-4, 11-1, 11-6 (46m)
Remaining 1st round matches
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
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