UPDATE:
Sun 13th, Day TWO at St George’s

Sun 13th, Day TWO at St George’s

Day Two of the Allam British Open saw men’s qualifying finals and women’s qualifying first roundl, with a big upset right at the end of a long day  at St George’s Hill.

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Men’s Qualifying Finals:

Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 11/6, 11/5, 11/7 (38m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Zac Alexander (Aus) 11/4, 11/7, 12/10 (56m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Robbie Temple (Eng) 11/8, 11/7, 13/11 (43m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 13/11, 11/4, 9/11, 8/11, 11/9 (59m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)  bt Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 11/13, 11/9, 8/11, 11/8, 12/10 (112m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy) 5/11, 11/8, 11/5, 13/11 (67m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw) 5/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/7 (67m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 12/10, 9/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/8 (100m)

Main draw placements: Walker v Simpson, Shorbagy v Castagnet, Matthew v Lee, Coppinger v Clyne, Anjema v Marche, Barker v Cuskelly, Ghosal v Marwan, Rodriguez v Kemp

Women’s Qualifying Round One:

Line Hansen (Den) bt Birgit Coufal (Aut) 14/16, 13/11, 11/9, 11/4 (61m)
Sam Cornett (Can) bt Julia Lecoq (Fra) 11/4, 11/4, 11/8 (24m)
Lauren Briggs (Eng bt Victoria Temple-Murray (Eng) 11/1, 11/4, 11/4 (24m)
Maud Duplomb (Fra) bt Melody Francis (Aus)  4/11, 11/8, 11/5, 6/11, 11/8 (57m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Cyrielle Peltier (Fra) 11/8, 11/7, 11/7 (33m)
Joshna Chinappa (Ind) bt Olga Ertlova (Cze) 11/8, 4/11, 11/6, 11/7 (53m)
Emily Whitlock (Eng) bt Carrie Ramsey (Eng) 11/4, 11/4, 11/4 (26m)
Maria Toor Pakay (Pak) bt Lucie Fialova (Cze) 11/6, 6/11, 8/11, 11/3, 11/4 (53m)
Siyoli Waters (Rsa) bt Georgie Ingham (Eng) 11/4, 11/6, 11/0 (17m)
Coline Aumard (Fra) bt Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy) 11/8, 8/11, 11/3, 11/7 (48m)
Kylie Lindsay (Nzl) bt Harriet Ingham (Eng)  12/10, 11/3, 9/11, 11/3 (53m)
Latasha Khan (Usa) bt Tesni Evans (Wal) 11/8, 11/5, 8/11, 11/6 (66m)
Laura Pomportes (Fra) bt Lauren Selby (Eng)  11/3, 7/11, 11/8 rtd (35m)
Gaby Huber (Sui) bt Lisa Aitken (Sco) 11/6, 11/5, 8/11, 11/8 (41m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (Mas) 6/11, 11/2, 11/7, 11/3 (39m)
Aisling Blake (Irl) bt Victoria Bell (Eng) 11/7, 11/7, 11/5 (28m)
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Men’s Qualifying Finals

The first players to book their spots in the main draw at the O2 were Scotland’s Alan Clyne and England’s Chris Simpson, with contrasting straight-game wins over Siddarth Suchde and Zac Alexander. Clyne was always in control against Siddarth Suchde, and so generally was Simpson against Zac Alexander, but the Aussie took longer to subdue, falling just short in a third-game comeback from 9/4 down to lose it 12/10.

Two ‘local derbies’ followed as Jonathan Kemp blazed a winning trail past Robbie Temple to add to the English contingent in the main draw, while Marwan El Shorbagy met Mohamed Abouelgar in an all-Egyptian junior clash that went all the way.

El Shorbagy went 2-0 up with Abouelghar making too many errors, but he cut those out, levelled the match and was firing in some lovely winners to go 8/4 up in the decider. Marwan fought back though, and took in 11/9 to survive another day and join his brother in the main draw at the O2.

Next onto court – after a mid-schedule gap – were Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet and Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan. Just short of two hours later they came off, Castagnet having won a mammoth encounter 12/10 in the fifth. “He seems to have a propensity for long five-setters,” said one observer.

Hong Kong’s Max Lee and Aussie Ryan Cuskelly took the next two main draw spots, both coming from a game down to win in 67 minutes, against Amr Khaled Khalifa and Abdullah Al Mezayen respectively, and both were delighted.

“It was not my best ever performance,” said Lee, “but I’m so happy to win, so happy to score those 6 points in a row to win the match. It’s my first British Open, I hope I can keep the momentum going, keep the body, the performance going.”

The final match of the night was another long five-setter which saw young Frenchman Greg Marche join Castagnet in the main draw after a 100-minute upset victory over Egypt’s qualifying second seed Karim Abdel Gawad.

The final match of the night was another long five-setter which saw young Frenchman Greg Marche join Castagnet in the main draw after a 100-minute upset victory over Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad. ”

At last a five-setter that I win,” said a delighted Marche, who now plays LJ Anjema on Tuesday while Castagnet faces a meeting with Mohamed El Shorbagy on Monday.

Women’s Qualifying Round One

The women’s qualifying first round started with two contrasting wins for Sam Cornett and Line Hansen – Cornett easing through 3/0 against Julia Lecoq while Hansen had to battle back from a game and points down to beat Birgit Coufal 3/1 in just over an hour.

Lauren Briggs made quick work of her win against fellow-Englishwoman Victoria Temple-Murray, while Maud Duplomb opened the French account with an hour-long five-setter against Aussie Melody Francis.

Fresh from helping India to a first-ever Asian team title, Joshna Chinappa continued her winning ways against Olga Ertlova, although it was far from easy for the Indian. She’ll meet Heba El Torky tomorrow after the Egyptian eased past Cyrielle Peltier in straight games.

Emily Whitlock, the reigning European Junior Champion, comfortably beat her predecessor Carrie Ramsey in another all-England matchup, while her next opponent, Maria Toor Pakay, was taking twice as long to come from 2-1 down to beat Lucie Fialova in a hard-fought, often contentious match.

More French success came when Coline Aumard beat Kanzy El Dafrawy 3/1 in a match that was as much a battle of wills as anything, to set up a qualifying final against South African Siyoli Waters who ended the run of pre-qualifier Georgie Ingham in the shortest match of the day.

British Open veteran Latasha Khan took over an hour to see off the challenge of young Welsh wizard Tesni Evans 3/1, and now meets Kiwi Kylie Lindsay who beat the last remaining pre-qualifier Harriet Ingham 3/1.

Laura Pomportes kept the French bandwagon rolling, 2/1 up against Lauren Selby who was forced to retire injured, to set up a meeting with Switzerland’s Gaby Huber, and the qualifying finals were rounded off as Sarah-Jane Perry and second seed Aisling Blake won the final matches of the day.

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Day TWO Photo Gallery (more being added)

Framboise reports …

TOO COMFY…

No offence to Sid, but I don’t think he was able today to put Alan out of his comfort zone. The rallies were very long, and disputed, veryyy long indeed, hard work was being done on there by both, but I couldn’t feel the urgency in the Indian’s game, I couldn’t see where he wanted to take Alan. Making the rallies last longer is maybe not in my humble view the way to destabilise young Clyne. Twist and turn probably more like.

But hey, easy writing from a keyboard, ain’t it. Still, Alan’s game is changing, he is more disciplined, and I would say secure in his game. Only little technical thing, his backhand drop shot maybe could be a bit tighter, a bit less high, but again, it’s only my humble opinion… And there is nothing wrong with his movement, my lord!!!!

“I felt I played well today, I never felt really under pressure, even in the second, when he picked the pace up, I was able to adapt rather well.

“We’ve been playing a lot recently, Europeans and all, and before that, I had a very hard few weeks of training with Roger Flynn in Edinburgh, the best place in Scotland!!! We’ve been working on my accuracy, playing tighter and straighter. And it worked, especially yesterday, playing straight has been improving my game.”

Alan Clyne 

DAD WAS A BIT SHAKY….

Bless parents little heart, I think they are more nervous than the kid playing on court! It was the case for Chris Simpson’s dad, whose hand was still shaking a few minutes after his son would get to the main draw of the British Open for the first time.

Well, it’s just that Chris has a few – to say it lightly – trouble with his health and body – and that this qualification for the BO is such a big relief/overdue the Simpsons’ feel probably.

I felt that Zac was never allowed to feel at ease on there today. That he never was allowed to play his attacking game, and just couldn’t impose his fast pace, as Chris’ accuracy and composure was in place today.

A few too many errors for the Australian, seven for the third only. And yet, it is in that last game that he was the most threatening, as he pushed back from 8/4 down to 8/8, a bit of frustration with his opponent movement, a few lets (very few indeed up to there), and it could have gone either way really, 8/8, 9/9, 10/10.

A no let and a backhand drop shot later – the shot that really got Chris most of his points during this match – Chris was clinching his fist….

Yes, I’m happy, you can always be happier, that third game should have been easier, but that’s being a perfectionist.

It’s funny, today was “hit ball” against “soft ball”, he wanted to play past and hit hard, and I wanted to keep is slow. The only way I was able to prevent him from severe hitting was to keep it very accurate and tight to the wall.

So this season, it’s 1/1, he beat me 3/2 in Virginia back in March…

Yes, I was “unlucky” with injuries for a few years. You know, I’ve come to realise that there are two main things, fitness and health. And people talk about being “unlucky with injuries”. But I now realise that luck has not much to do with it that people may think. You think you are being a professional, but really. For the past nine months, I’ve been feeling really good. And that’s the time I really got very careful with the way I eat, the way I think about my health. Look at James, look at Thierry. Is it luck that Thierry is still playing at 36? It’s not.

There are too many people I want to thank today, I don’t want to single one out. So many people to thank…

Chris Simpson 

NOT A WALK IN ST GEORGE’S PARK

On paper, this match seemed straightforward. Marwan beat his best mate Abouelgar in the last two finals they played, the BJO and the World Juniors. And he has also more experience on the tour recently. But the exams factor was rather important, fitness wise obviously.

First two games were all about Marwan, in control, imposing a mid pace that he felt rather comfy with. All went according to plan up to 5/3 in the third, where at last, Abouelgar stopped the numerous unforced errors, 5 in each game, to speed up the rhythm, forcing his opponent to run out of steam and make a few unforced errors himself.

Abouelgar came back, 2 games to 1. Then 2/2 all. And honestly, Marwan looked very tired indeed. And in the decider, Abouelgar looked completely flying out there, winners flying around, fast pace, Marwan twisted and turned all over the place.

But experience came into it. At 8/4 down, Marwan kept his calm, slowed it down, became more assertive and stepped up the court. Two errors from Abouelgar, a few long rallies that Marwan wins only just, giving him a bit of confidence back, and making Abouelgar doubt just enough.

Stunning rallies after stunning rallies, we arrive at match ball, 10/9 Marwan. Another stupendous rally, and a ball that seems not up two shots before the end I’m told (I was actually writing a comment!!!!!). Marwan says it’s good, the refs say it’s good. But a lot of people in the crowd saw it double bounce.

When I ask Marwan about it right after the match, mentioning the fact that a lot of people saw it double, he simply said “people didn’t play that shot, I did, and it was good”. That will do for me then.

“Frankly, I have no idea how I won that match. In the 5th, he was so much in control, he was firing nicks from everywhere. And although I knew where the shots were going to go, no chance I could pick them up.

“This was such a difficult time for me, I’ve been doing my exams for about a month now, but I spoke with my brother earlier, and he told me to be positive, and not think that I couldn’t play five games, because I would be tired thinking that I was tired!! And I did play five games, like he said I could.

“I’m so happy to survive another day. My aim for this event was to reach the main draw, it’s my first ever British Open senior, I have no pressure now, I hope I can play a few matches more, but not against my brother obviously….”

Marwan El Shorbagy

MATHIEU, A TWO HOURS MATCH MAN??? NAAAA….

“And I don’t want people to say that I’m a two hours man, that’s all lies”… smiled Mathieu Castagnet as he rested in his seat after the match.

That was so far the best match of the tournament. And I’m not sure how Mathieu survived the 4th, I thought he’d lost that one and the match. This is from far Wan’s best performance I came to see. What an player he has become. What accuracy, variation of pace, angle, shots.. Beng Hee must have taught him the “BengyLob”, as he now masters that underrated shot to perfection. I guess that like Maud a bit earlier, Mathieu run, run, run, and then he won. But of course, there is so much more than that.

A few too many errors for the Malaysian, I counted 26, for 9 to Mathieu. That makes a big difference in the end. A few calls as well, that went the Frenchman’s way, normally, you lose some and you win some, but I feel that Wan got the short straw on that one.

Then again, you can’t reproach Wan his errors, as he has now become a true attacker, and you’ve got to take the bad with the good. And good, there was plenty, people. Plenty. And it’s true that this match was a bit on the long side (thank GOD we were on the glass court!), but it was ridiculous squash so often, long disputed, hard rallies, so intense, so fair. Wan looked tired from the end of the first game. But he did alright really.

You only have to look at the score line to realise the battle those two had tonight. Shame a winner was required. Luck on Mathieu’s side in the end….

“First thing first. I cannot stress enough how extraordinary Wan is. I don’t think I ever played somebody as nice, respectful and fair as he is. That’s the kind of matches one wants to play, win or lose, and that is good for squash image.

And he was so nice, so fair, I’m disappointed in myself to have lost my calm toward the ref at the end of the 3rd, it was just frustration, but still, it was such a great match, I wish I hadn’t. And although the match was pretty long (8 m short of 2h!!!), there was not that many decision I feel.

Honestly, I would say that he deserves the victory more than I did. He is so powerful, he attacks so well with some remarkable short volley or drop shots, and if you put it in front , he is so fast on it, he can attack from there too. I personally don’t have the talent to play that kind of short attacking game….

At 10/8 in the 5th, I suddenly was taken back to my match against Tom Richards, that I lost from the same position. And when I tinned that simple volley drop shot, I thought, no, not again. Please not again. And I kept thinking, two points, only two points.

But then, he went for the same kind of shot on the other side, and tinned it as well, just clipped it. Then he does a simple boast, and makes the error again, that was such a gift, a bit like if I had been given a child…

Again, I can only stress how great player he is, that he is now threatening the top 20, and I could see why tonight.

“On s’en est mis une bonne”…

Mathieu Castagnet

MAX PLEASED …

“I didn’t play my best squash today, especially on the forehand front corner, my wrist just wouldn’t steady, and I didn’t feel that comfortable, always had the impression I was going to hit the tin.

And his accuracy was so good, he kept it tight, pinned me to the back wall….

In the fourth, when I find myself 10/5 game ball down, I told myself, win or lose, just keep pushing, because I could see he was tired. And every point, I really gave it my 100%. I was lucky to get 6 points in a row, 11/10.

It was not my best ever performance, but I’m so happy to win, so happy to score those 6 points in a row… It’s my first British Open, I hope I can keep the momentum going, keep the body, the performance going…

Max Lee 

BLEEPING FRENCH!!!!!

Mathieu, 112. Acrobat Greg, 100. We just finished and it’s 11.30pm. I vote for the French to be excluded from the PSA events… Anybody seconding me????

Joke apart, this was another cracker of a match, and if I’m honest, I think that Karim was probably the better player squash wise tonight. His talent is immense, he is able not only to play perfect length, but his short game is Shabana like, and like him, he reads the game so well, unabling him to take the ball extremely early and keeping his opponent under pressure at all times.

Little Greg, well, was not as accurate tonight. He was fast, he was hitting hard, and retrieving a heck of a lot, but he won I feel on his mental and physical strength. He weathered the Karim storm beautifully, thanked him for the few unforced errors he did at the right time. I’m not sure many players would have been able to beat Karim tonight, as his squash was really out of this world.

The match was a classic really, we had it alllast match, late night, , the bleeding in the 4th when it’s past 11pm and you think, no, please no, not the bleeding… And the fifth, nothing between the players, first Greg that gets a drop in energy at 3/3, Karim going up 6/3. Then Karim’s turn, 6/6. 7/7. 8/8.. And the Frenchman that find the right shots at the perfect time, with an Egyptian that finally cannot run anymore, but still tries.

This was such a beautiful game, such a shame we were about 10 to see it.

At last a 5th that I win… Of course, the physical side helped me, I was there, but I feel it was all about the mental tonight. He is such a talented played, his touch at the front is just incredible…

I had to be accurate at the back to control him, but I just couldn’t stand and do nothing at the front, but I didn’t have that confidence enough, and kept making length and width approximation.

The most difficult was each end of game, there were all so close. And at 8/8 in the 5th, I told myself well, that’s moments like that you will go to the next step, that I had to be as solid as possible, and believe it or not, I told myself that I had to enjoy my game, to enjoy the moment, and it worked, it relaxed me a little bit, just enough…

Greg Marche

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Phillipe on the French

French national women’s coach Phillipe Signoret had a busy morning, with ‘his’ girls featuring in each of the first three pairs of matches, with more to come …

Sam defended well against Julia, she put her game well in place. Julia didn’t really control the ball, she was attacking too soon and made too many errors in the first game. The second showed a more patient French girl, rallies got longer, but it’s still her that made the error.

“I knew I was going to have to be moving a lot, because that’s the way I’ve got to play and feel comfortable. When I try and finish the points too quickly, it normally backfires on me. And I had to be really accurate, as she would kill anything loose.

“We just finished the Canadian Nationals, I finished second, Miranda chopped me in the final 3/0, she played amazing. I had a good three weeks training with Neil Harvey, in Halifax, where my parents live, and normally, I train in Toronto with Jaymie Haycocks. I’ve been working on two things mainly, my fitness for sure, and also my concentration. And I saw the result today, I’m normally a bit of a roller coaster, so it was pretty big for me to keep my concentration all the way through.”

Sam Cornett 

Maud run, run, run and run again, and at the end, she won, as usual!

Cyrielle played two good “half games”, kept with the pace and rhythm, but every time, run out of steam at the end of the games…. Not sure if it’s a question of physical endurance and mental one.

The first game was the best one for both Coline and Kanzy, but after that, they both got a bit more tense, a few more errors, a bit more stop and start. But it’s Coline who kept her calm the best today.

In the 4th and last, I’m down 7/2, and managed to win it 11/7. So happy that I kept my calm, despite the stops during the game, the lets. I know Kanzy’s game rather well, and I’m really happy to get a win, it’s probably my best ever performance ranking wise, even if it was not my best match…

I’ve worked terribly hard on my technique with Philippe which then allowed me to put in place a tactical plan, and to know clearly in my head what I was supposed to do. Then with Fred, my physical coach, we worked a lot on my fitness, but maybe the most important, I’ve been working for years with my mental coach…

As he says “ Coline is a work in progress, it may be a bit long, but she’ll get there”. And I did. And because I sorted my personal demons, it then allowed me to put my game in place, because I have sorted the mental side of things, I now control my emotions better, even if there are still a few hiccups along the way….

Coline Aumard