With qualifying complete, it’s time for the PSA main draw to kick off at the KC Stadium today, the first time a squash event has been staged on a football pitch!
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Men’s Round One:
Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 3-0 [Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng) 11/9, 11/6, 11/6 (35m)
Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) 11/9, 11/9, 11/4 (28m)
 Peter Barker (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy) 12/10, 11/9, 11/4 (47m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) 3-1 [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 11/3, 11/6, 10/12, 11/6 (56m)
 Grégory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Alister Walker (Bot) 11/6, 11/9, 11/1 (47m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-0 Olli Tuominen (Fin) 11/7, 11/9, 13/11 (49m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Henrik Mustonen (Fin) 11/8, 11/7, 11/3 (31m)
 Karim Darwish (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Andrew Wagih (Egy) 11/4, 11/9, 11/3 (28m)
Women’s Qualifying Finals:
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-1 Deon Saffery (Wal) 11/13, 11/9, 11/9, 11/5 (47m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng) 3-0 Nada Elkalaawy (Eng) 11/4, 11/5, 11/6 (25m)
Lauren Briggs (Eng) 3-0 Melody Francis (Aus) 11/3, 11/5, 11/7 (30m)
Sam Cornett (Can) 3-0 Olga Ertlova (Cze) 11/6, 11/5, 11/5 (29m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-0 Lucie Fialova (Cze) 11/8, 11/2, 11/9 (30m)
Latasha Khan (Usa) 3-2 Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 11/8, 15/13, 9/11, 7/11, 17/15 (73m)
Delia Arnold (Mas) 3-0 Birgit Coufal (Aut) 11/5, 11/5, 11/6 (15m)
Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-1 Lisa Aitken (Sco) 13/11, 11/4, 5/11 , 11/3 (40m)
First session at the KC Stadium
“I’m just glad to get through in three against someone as talented as Kempy,” said Ghosal. “He doesn’t give you any rhythm to play with, so I just had to keep it as tight as I could and he wasn’t able to do what he sometimes can – last time we played it was 11/9 in the fifth, so I’m pleased to play well today.
“This is the British Open after all, so to be able to put in a good performance here is very encouraging for the next rounds.”
It was aalway Momen though, who held the slight advantage score-wise, with Shorbagy mostly having to play catchup from a couple of points behind.
After Momen had taken the first two, converting leads of 9-8 in both games to take a commanding lead.
The end came quickly as Momen pulled away from the start of the third with Marwan seeming to realise the end was nigh.
“I’d only played Marwan once before,” said Tarek, “but he’s double world junior champion and he’ll be in the top ten soon, so I knew I had to focus and be on top of my game today.
“The beginning is always important, I knew I had to start well and being in the lead gave me a boost of confidence today.
First impressions of the venue? WOW! Putting a squash court on a football pitch is a great idea. It might get a bit cold for the spectators, but the playing conditions for us are perfect!”
England’s Peter Barker, a semi-finalist last year, was the first seed on court and he came through safely enough, but qualifier Ali Anwar Reda made it very tough for the London-based left-hander for two games.
Reda took it point for point in the first game, losing out much to his own frustration on extra points, and Barker doubled his lead as he edged ahead from 7-all in the second.
As in the previous match, the third was over quickly as Barker raced through to claim a place in the last sixteen.
“When I saw who I’d drawn last night I knew it would be a tough one,” said Barker, “he plays more like an Englishman than an Egyptian and doesn’t give you much to work with so I had to try to generate a few angles which isn’t normally my style.
“It was tough all the way, but I felt I improved as the match went on so that bodes well.
“I’ve trained hard for this event, it’s the last one of the season so everyone can give it everything they’ve got …”
It looked as though the big Dutchman would be off court quicker than that as he raced through the first two games, leads of 8/1 in the first and 6/1 in the second were capitalised on, and it looked as though Cusjelly’s qualifiying travails might be having their effect.
There was no quick start in the fourth though, as the Aussie got the better of some short, sharp rallies, and edged ahead from 5-all to lead 7-5. Anjema fought back, levelling at 9-all and earning a match-ball which he lost on a stroke, Cuskelly taking the next two points to pull a game back.
LJ was fired up from the start of the fourth though, quickly moving intop an 8/1 lead and although Cuskelly clawed a few points back it was too much of an ask as Anjema went through, hitting a return of serve into the nick to finish.
“In the first two games the ball was quite lively which worked to my advantage, but then he started finding his Aussie-style crosscourt volley nicks and got on a bit of a roll,” said Anjema.”I was finding it hard but I managed to get it back at the start of the fourth.
“Playing squash on a football pitch – it makes no sense but it looks great! It’s quite cold on there which encourages attacking squash which should be good for the spectators.”
Asked about his aims for the week, LJ answered: “I’m aiming to win the British Open, if I don’t do it this year I probably never will!”
The evening session started with former champion Gregory Gaultier, the fourth seed, taking on Botswana’s Alister Walker. The Frenchman took the first two games, but both were as keenly contested as any so far today. – Gaultier held a slight edge throughout the first, then recovered from a slight deficit at the end of a second game which was, at times, a little physical and acrimonious.
Walker was clearly annoyed to lose the second, and Gaultier raced away with the third as his opponent’s challenge faded.
“It was a really tough first two games,” said Gaultier, “neither of us were playing too accurately, but we were playing at a good pace which suited me.
“Once I took the second he went down a little, but I’m happy to get through one of the toughest first round matches in three games.”
Selby pulled away from 5-all in the first, just about edged the second game which was delicatley poised at 8-all, and then recovered from 0-5 , 8-10 and 10-11 in the third to gratefully clinch a place in the last sixteen.
“All the games were very close,” admitted Selby, but I managed to play some good rallies at the end of them when it counted. Olli will keep going forever, so I really didn’t want to lose any of them, particularly the third – anyone would take 3/0 against him every day of the week so I’m pleased with that.”
Mustonen was on the attack from the start, not allowing Matthew the chance to settle into the type of controlling game he likes. A 0-5 start in the first let Matthew know he wasn’t going to be in for an easy ride, but he pulled his way back, finally overhauling Mustonen’s 8-7 lead to take the game.
The second was close too, with several madcap rallies as they both played at a ferocious pace, but again Matthew played the better endgame after being 6-7 down. The third was more comfortable for the world number two as he eased through to an 11/3 win.
“All credit to him,” said Matthew, “it’s not easy coming from qualifying on traditional courts to a venue and conditions like this, but he came here to win and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in, he played really well.
“My last few PSA events haven’t gone as well as I’d have liked, but my training had been going well and I feel ready for it. It’s so nice to be playing so close to home, and hopefully some local support will help too!”
Last on court was an all-Egyptian pairing, and fifth seed Karim Darwish and qualifier Andrew Wagih served up a fast-paced entertaining finale to the day’s proceedings, with Darwish displaying his usual early round efficiency in completing a straight-games win in just under half an hour.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though, as Darwish had to recover from deficits of 0-4 and 2-6 in the middle game, but from 9-all Wagih made a couple of costly, if forced, errors.
“Andrew’s a really good up and coming player, we play and train together so we know each other’s games, and I really had to dig in in the second.
“It’s cold here tonight, but this is such a great venue, and such a great tournament, it’s one that everyone wants to win and I really hope I can win it, or if not then another Egyptian will, it’s been a long time.”
Women’s Main Draw completed at Pontefract
Women’s qualifying concluded at Pontefract with just two home players progressing to the main draw, Emma Beddoes and Lauren Briggs both enjoying straight-game victories.
India’s Joshana Chinappa denied local hopes as she came from a game down to beat Ponte’s own Deon Saffery, and Guyana’s in-form Nicolette Fernandes overcame Lucia Fialova in straight games. Chinappa now meets defending champion Nicol David while Fernandes also meets a four-time winner in Rachael Grinham.
Quickest match of the day was Delia Arnold’s 15-minute demolition of Birgit Coufal, while the longest saw USA veteran Latasha Khan prevail 17/15 in the fifth over young Japanese Misaki Kobayashi after a 73-minute tussle.
Amanda Sobhy was the last winner of the day, her 3/1 win over Lisa Aitken earning her a match against fellow former world junior champion Nour El Sherbini.
Full women’s reports, quotes, photos on the British Open Blog.
Tomorrow – Tuesday – sees eight more men’s first round matches at the KC stadium and sixteen women’s round one encounters at Pontefract.