Hope of local interest in the quarter-finals of the Open de Squash Banque Nationale Groupe Financier in Canada were dashed by Tom Richards when the Englishman beat Shawn Delierre in the opening round of the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event at Club Sportif MAA in Montreal.
"The crowd was excited to see local favourite Shawn match up against world #20 Richards," said the club's Director of Squash Yvon Provençal. "The match started with Delierre attacking at seemingly every opportunity, making several winning shots as well as unforced errors, while Richards showed discomfort with the court.
"Richards found his consistent play in the second while Delierre tired, squaring the match at 1-1. Delierre came out strong in the third taking a 6-3 lead, but his fatigue was evident as Richards made eight straight points to win the third and took the fourth with relative ease to finish the match 3/1."
The fourth seed from Surrey was delighted with his 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 victory over the Montreal-based Canadian number two - tweeting overnight: "Happy to get off in 4 vs a unique opponent in mr delierre tonight."
Richards will now face New Zealander Martin Knight, who also recorded a victory over a Canadian when he beat Calgary-born qualifier Andrew Schnell 11-6, 11-8, 11-4.
Defending champion Hisham Mohd Ashour and former world number one Thierry Lincou are on course to meet in the final, as predicted by the seeding. Egyptian favourite Ashour, the world No14, defeated England's Jonathan Kemp 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 and will now meet Australian Steven Finitsis for a place in the last four.
Finitsis, became the only qualifier to survive the first round when he ousted Czech champion Jan Koukal 11-7, 11-8, 11-7.
In a battle between two veterans of the Tour, 35-year-old Frenchman Lincou saw off Mohammed Abbas, a former world No13 from Egypt, 11-5, 11-6, 14-12.
Second seed Lincou, hoping to reach his 43rd PSA Tour final in Montreal, will now line up against Alan Clyne following the Scottish champion's 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6 win over Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar.
Immediately following his win, Clyne told his Twitter followers: "Pleased to get the 3-1 today. Will need to wait and see if I get to play the legendary Frenchman Lincou tomorrow. I hope so."
RESULTS: PSA International 35 Open de Squash Banque Nationale Groupe Financier, Montreal, Canada
 Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3
[Q] Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7
Martin Knight (NZL) bt [Q] Andrew Schnell (CAN) 11-6, 11-8, 11-4
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt [Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-5, 11-6, 14-12
 Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Steven Finitsis (AUS)
 Tom Richards (ENG) v Martin Knight (NZL)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
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