Razik exits early

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

For Toronto's Shahier Razik the Pace Canadian Squash Classic was over the minute he saw his name come out of the hat to face Egypt's Amr Shabana -- the world's top-ranked player -- in last night's first-round match.

Razik is ranked 27th in the world and 18th for this week's tournament.

He said yesterday that he has played Shabana "tons of times" and has only one win to show for it.

"And that was real early in his career," Razik said.

But last night's match at the Toronto Athletic Club, Razik put a real scare into Shabana, forcing a fourth set before falling 11-8, 11-7, 10-11(4-6), 11-6 in 63 gruelling minutes.

The win advances Shabana to today's second round of the $75,000 tournament at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Convention Centre.

"I was disappointed to draw Amr right out of the hat," Razik said. "You look forward to this tournament all year and you try your best."

Razik said that his luck of the draws so far this season have been all bad.

"This is the second or third time this season I have drawn the top or second seed," he said. "I have struggled in the big tournaments as a result. It's frustrating."

It's not as if Razik doesn't belong among the world's top squash players.

The 29-year-old, who was born in Cairo, Egypt, but moved to Toronto as a boy, has won the North American Open, the Swiss Open, the Losone Open and the Baltimore Cup.

But he said his game has not progressed recently the way he thinks it should be.

"As long as I'm not going down (in the rankings) it's not too bad but at the same time I'm just seem to be hanging where I am," Razik said.

He made a decision recently to stop playing in major tournaments after this week's Canadian Classic, until he feels his game has improved.


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