UPDATE:
KIng dethrones Grinham as the quarter-finalists are completed

KIng dethrones Grinham as the quarter-finalists are completed

Thursday’s play at the O2 saw four men’s and four women’s matches as the quarter-final lineups were completed. There was one significant upset as New Zealand’s Joelle King ousted defending champion Rachael Grinham 15/13 in the fifth …

[note]  WSA $95k Round Two, top half:  WOMEN’S REPORTS
[10] Camille Serme (Fra) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) 11/2, 11/9, 11/5 (23m)
[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) bt [9] Natalie Grinham (Ned) 15/13, 12/10, 11/6 (39m)
[12] Joelle King (Nzl) bt [6] Rachael Grinham (Aus) 3/11, 11/5,11/8, 5/11, 15/13 (60m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [11] Samantha Teran (Mex) 11/7, 11/7, 11/3 (28m)

PSA $150k Round Two, bottom half:  MEN’S REPORTS
[8] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Steve Coppinger (Rsa) 12/10, 9/11, 11/2, 11/3 (58m)
[3] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Tom Richards (Eng) 11/5, 8/11, 11/4, 11/6 (68m)
[6] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 7/11, 11/2, 11/6, 11/6 (57m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt  [Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng) 11/5, 11/8, 11/7 (33m) [/note]

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Men’s Reports

FAST AND LENGTH…

[8] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Steve Coppinger (Rsa) 12/10, 9/11, 11/2, 11/3 (58m)

Last time those two played was about 5 years ago, 2008 in Wolverhampton, I would guess probably not a long time after Cops arrived in the UK. They had a good 5 setter battle, 78m. So LJ didn’t I’m sure expected an easy ride, although I feel that the glass court was more familiar to the Dutch than to the South African.

One thing I’ve noticed with Steve, like I did with the other South Africans I saw playing, Rodney, Clinton, is the true belief that they can win. That they can do it. And their utmost ability to give it all on there, every time, every point, every rally. It’s an immense quality, and we saw it again tonight.

LJ played a very strong game, but Steve, with no pressure and that belief I told you about, run a lot, retrieved even more, found some lovely length, and surprised LJ with some gorgeous volley drop shots and a few kills. Both games could have gone either way really, but LJ takes the first one, and Steve the second.

LJ, with Neil Harvey, his former coach in his corner, speeded up the pace in the third, and Steve’s legs, that had been put to a heck on a use during those first two, just couldn’t follow in the 3rd. And in the 4th, having had a little rest, he tried again to give it a last push, but by that time, LJ was extremely confident, even more accurate, and didn’t allow his opponent to even dream about going into a decider.

“With the point a rally system, you can stay close, but at some point, if you push hard and stick to your game plan, it pays off in the end.

“I’m pretty happy with my season so far, this is the last one, so just want to give it a big push. I’m in the quarters of the British Open. And no, I don’t look at the draw and dream that I’m going to win the tournament. My dream is to be playing the best I can, and being a squash pro, and I’m living my dream right now….”

LJ Anjema

“It’s a bit of a bitter sweet feeling. It’s my first time ever in the second round of any major event, so it’s very big for me. But I’m very happy with the first two games, and not happy with the following two games!

“After the second game, he came out differently, he opened up the court a lot more, whereas I was trying to keep it straight and tight, and I didn’t adjust in time.”

Steve Coppinger

TOUGH, BUT NOT TOUGH ENOUGH

[3] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Tom Richards (Eng) 11/5, 8/11, 11/4, 11/6 (68m)

Not sure that Tom was ready for Nick today, and after the first game, where the young man was a bit overwhelmed by the world number one’s pace and accuracy, it looked like we were heading for an easy 3/0.

Nick kept on making Tom’s life terribly difficult in the second, and what that boy had to do/attack/retrieve to score a point is nobody’s business!!! But Tom did surprise me I have to say in that second game, by leading score wise all the way, by his authority and his “calm”, patience, and accuracy, mixing excellent length with perfect short game.

At 4/4 in the second, we had the “shoe lace gate”, where Tom stopped the rally as he had his shoe and shoe lace damaged by Nick he said. So a let was given, much to Nick’s astonishment. Would be interesting to study the video to see what exactly happened there!

That little interruption seemed to benefit the contender. But I don’t think Nick expected to lose that game, he saved two game balls but lost 11/8, and when the World Champion came back for the third, the body language was clear enough “this game is MINE!!!”

And to be honest, Tom just didn’t see much of a ball in that third. Nick outplayed him completely, and did so up to 5/1 in the 4th! There we had a few interruptions, video reviews (two in the same point), and again, Tom seemed to benefit from that stop!

Coming up to 4/5 then 6/7, he really started believing in his chances again, and it took Nick’s extreme hard work and a last biiiig push to shrug off that hungry young man….

“Tom is at a stage of his career, he just got into the top 16, had his first selection for the English Team at the Europeans, he is very hungry for the scalp of a top player.

There were a couple of stoppages I think that suited him more than me, the shoe lace incident for example – mind you, he was running pretty well with it, so at the end of the second, I told him I wanted it back. It’s the most ridiculous call, to give a let because he broke his shoe lace!!!

I had to stand firm in the third, got that one, and in the fourth, we had a few reviews, that broke my rhythm a bit, and it was tough all the way through.

I had a good preparation for this event, but nothing can replace court intensity, and like everybody, I’m getting better every day. LJ will be hungry for scalp too, and there is no rest day nonsense now, it’s back to business tomorrow….”

Nick Matthew

“I think I lacked a bit of maturity in the third, I got a bit excited after taking the second game, being at 1/1, and speeded up the pace and volleyed too much. Which is my natural game, but suits Nick too much, and that gave him the advantage, I was not patient enough. So, disappointed.

For the shoe incident, he trod on my feet, maybe he didn’t feel it, but he broke my shoe, and when it was re-laced, we had to drop three holes that were broken. So it was a let any day of the week.

If I had that maturity, I think I could have asked him questions. I pushed him, but not hard enough. I have beaten players around 9, 10 in the world, and I believe that I can now beat the top 8 guys. For the past 5, 6 months, I feel that my game has improved, but this summer, I need to work very hard with Chris Robertson to improve my game.

We are working in particular on subtleties of the game, like the way I’m striking the ball, using the face of the racquet, to try and get a better quality of my shots, and then being able to use my physicality to a better end. Once I’ve done that, I’ll be ready for next season, and things should be fine.

Getting my first selection for the England team gave me a lot of confidence, to come and see the way the players like Nick, James, Peter prepare, to have some insight was such an incentive. Hopefully, there will be many more selections.

Today was a test for me, Nick and James are the best players in the world, so this was the ultimate test, and the fact I was able to push four hard games is a good sign.”

Tom Richards

Barker ready to give everything

Another Englishman went through to the quarters as Peter Barker came from a game down to beat Speedy Indian Saurav Ghosal, the sixth seed imposing his game for a 7/11, 11/2, 11/6, 11/6 win in just short of an hour’s play.

[6] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 7/11, 11/2, 11/6, 11/6 (57m)

“He played very well in the first, and past it by me very well. He adepted to the court better than I did, and I probably gave him too much in the middle and at the front. You are tempted to go shovt on this court because it’s cold, but you have to put the length first! You have to hit your spots, the back corners. So I went back to my boring self, and it seemed to work

The venue is amazing. I remember coming here about 12 years ago when it was built, and then, when the tennis came here, I remember thinking, I hope that one day, there will be a squash event here, while I’m still playing, so, I can’t say it’s a dream come true, but certainly, an ambition come true.”

He moves very fast, but then again, I would too if I was 50kg! Only joking. Not only he moves very fast, but he is strong as well, in, out, in, out. Really solid. He hit a few tin, we like when the opponent hits the tin.. I did my best to frustrate him I have to say….

Peter Barker

“A very good first game. Like he said, I was getting it by him well, but after that, I couldn’t do it as consistently as I did in the first. Plus, I made a few errors, but only just, I just clipped the tin, it was the right shot, if it had been a good shot, I would have won the point…. So frustrating.

He was getting ahead of me more than I was, and he played very well, he didn’t have any weak moments. I really enjoyed the match, it was a clean match, fair, just very disappointing in the end.

I’m playing very well at the moment, I’m going to have a good summer training, and come back stronger, and hopefully beat those top 10 guys…”

Saurav Ghosal

Greg fills the last spot

Second seed Gregory Gaultier raced through a quickfire match against qualifier Jonathan Kemp to claim the last remaining quarter-final spot, the 2007 champion taking on his shotmaking opponent and bettering him at it.

[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt  [Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng) 11/5, 11/8, 11/7 (33m)

Happy with the way I played, I was aggressive on the ball, without giving him too much in the centre, because he’s got some unbelievable racquets skills, so anything you play “that much” away from the wall, he kills it.

I’m really pleased with the way I’m playing, I had a good 3 4 weeks of hard training, after a long period where I was suffering from hay fever and couldn’t play at all. So I spent some time training with Azlan, I’m feeling good now.

And now that the trees are grown finally, that the flowers are gone, I can breathe easily! Now, I’m going to look back at my performance tonight, analyze what I did well and not so well for my match tomorrow.

Gregory Gaultier 

Women’s Reports

CONFIDENT CAMILLE

[10] Camille Serme (Fra) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) 11/2, 11/9, 11/5 (23m)

As far as I know, those two players only played once, it was during the World Teams event, and Camille won apparently comfortably. So confidence was high when she got on court, while Jacklyn looked a bit nervous and not completely in the match to start with.

Now, the New Zealander didn’t reach the top 20 by accident, so that quick first game, 5m, was not going to be a reflection of the whole match, I was sure of that. And in the second game, as expected, she came out blasting, moving much better, and forcing Camille to attack from a less perfect position than in the first game.

That second game was really close, and the rallies very disputed. Camille got the upperhand, 10/7, game ball, and went for too much too early. I could hear her coach saying quietly for himself, “you’ve got the time, no hurry”. Jacklyn scored twice to come back and threaten the French girl, 9/10. But with a lovely backhand crosscourt nick, Camille closed the game, 11/9, and in fact the match, as in the 3rd, Jacklyn made a few errors, and never threatened again her opponent.

“This cold court suits my game really, and I think that the length is the key to this court. Today, I was able to find my length and would really use it to win the point at my first or second drop shot attempt.

I really don’t mind the open venues like that, as I find it easy to focus, I like the court very much, only thing, you’ve got to concentrate a bit more to see the ball on this one, but I really enjoy the venue.

Everybody is playing the British, so it’s got a World Open feel to it! And as I didn’t have the great World in Rotterdam – lost in the second round against Wee Wern – and that my draw was not as tough as others or that it could have been, I’m just going to try and play my best and see where it gets me. Whoever Natalie or Laura tomorrow, it’s going to be a massive battle…”

Camille Serme

Massaro marches on

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) bt [9] Natalie Grinham (Ned) 15/13, 12/10, 11/6 (39m)

British national champion Laura Massaro had two tough opening games, and had to save game balls in both as she took the lead against Natalie Grinham 15/13, 12/10, much to Grinham’s disappointment as decisions went against her at the business end of both games.

Massara came out strongly in the third, neutralising Grinham’s pace and retrieving with a series of controlled rallies where she put the ball away nicely. A 9/2 lead all but sealed her passage into the quarters despite a late fightback from the Dutch former world number two, and she finished it off 11/6 with a dropshot to the front that even Grinham couldn’t reach.

“It’s tough on here than it looks, it’s quite dead and if you get it to the back corners it’s difficult to dig it out.

“I stayed pretty solid, countered when I got the opportunity but it’s tough, she’s very fast$and goes short such a lot, you have to be on your toes all the time.

“This court is brutal, if you play the vight game you can get someone off quickly, but it can work against you if they manage to get on top first.”

Laura Massaro

JOELLE KEPT THE BEST FOR LAST…

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) bt [9] Natalie Grinham (Ned) 15/13, 12/10, 11/6 (39m)

If Joelle was a bit nervous to start the match, and kept making a few errors too many (an average of 4 per game), she never panicked, stayed head strong, and never stopped trying/believing.

First and third game were all about Rachael hitting some stunning volley drop shots, from the centre, from the back, from outside the bleeping court, and lobbing to perfection to get out of trouble.

The second and fourth, well, Rachael dropped a bit her length, made a few wrong shot selections, and found the tin more than the wining shot.

The fifth was a classic! Joelle started well, 5/2, Rachael coming back at 6/6. 7/7. 8/8. 9/9. 10/10. 11/11. 12/12. 13/13. That’s to give you an idea how close they were!

Rachael had two match balls (1/0/9, 13/12), Joelle three (11/10, 12/11, 14/13). And Joelle got her length, her movement, and her counterattack perfect finally, no more errors, nerves gone. Rachael kept having chances, and honestly, it was a flip of a coin in the end, and determined Joelle got bingo tonight…

“I was a bit nervous, such a stage as this one, plus Rachael is such a tough competitor…. I really didn’t comfortable on there to start with, the occasion got the better of me, and after the end of the 1st I was really annoyed with myself. But I hang in there, dug in, and tried to keep the ball off the tin.

In the past, I probably wouldn’t have hang in there and flagged it in, so it’s a very positive side for me that I could stay in there.

This is such an opportunity to participate to the quarters of the British Open, and whoever I play, bother Nicol or Sam, they’ll be above me ranking wise, so no pressure, and I’ll give everything I have.”

Joelle King 

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [11] Samantha Teran (Mex) 11/7, 11/7, 11/3 (28m)

David in Control

It’s always difficult playing a friend, especially a room-mate,” said Nicol David after her 11/7, 11/7, 11/3 win over Samantha Teran. The Mexican battled, as she does, but the world number one was always in charge and by the third game was looking very comfortable as she tested out some of her repertoire of shots.

“I had a good practice on the court this morning to get used to it early, and I watched the other matches and saw that the ball wasn’t moving very well so I knew I had to get my eye in early. It’s difficult playing a friedn, she’s been sharing my house in Amsterdam and we’ve been rooming and training together over here, but I really wanted to get it done today. She wanted to win of course, but I got into the match quicker, and I wanted it more than she did!

My movement was solid, and I by the third game I was feeling really comfortable and it was flowing well, the ball was just there and you just take it!”

Nicol David 

 

Quick reports match by match as the happened …

Serme streaks into quarters

The first match of the day saw France’s Camille Serme consolidate on a flying start as she beat Kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes in a quickfire three games. Dominant in the first game, Serme got the better of a close second game before racing through the third to secure a quarter-final spot.

“This cold court suits my game really,” sais the winner, “and I think that the length is the key to this court. Today, I was able to find my length and tried to use it to win the point at my first or second drop shot attempt.”

LJ powers through

After two tough opening games were shared, Laurens Jan Anjema powered through the next two as Steve Coppinger’s wheels fell off, the Dutchman winning 12/10, 9/11, 11/2, 11/3 in just under an hour.

“It was tough at the start, but he was having to work a bit harder than I was,” said Anjema, “and it started to pay off at the beginning of the third.”

Massaro marches on

British national champion Laura Massaro also had two tough opening games, and had to save game balls in both as she took the lead against Natalie Grinham 15/13, 12/10. A 9/2 lead in the third all but sealed her passage into he quarters despite a late fightback from the Dutch former world number two.

“It’s brutal on there,” commented Massaro on the court conditions, “if you play the right game you can get people off quickly, but it can work the other way too and against someone as quick as Natalie you have to be constantly on your toes.

Matthew asserts his authority

Defending champion Nick Matthewwas made to work hard by compatriot Tom Richards, who recovered from losing the first game 11/5 to take a 25-minute second game 11/8. Matthew, six year senior, exerted his authority from 4-all in the third and 5-4 in the fourth to complete the win in 68 minutes.

“Tom is hungry for the scalp of a top player,” said Matthew, “I had to stand firm in the third and fourth, it was tough all the way through. LJ will be looking for a scalp too …”

King dethrones Grinham

Defending champion Rachael Grinham (although it was back in 2009) exited the British Open at the hands of Joelle King in the first upset of the day. The first four games were shared with the girls taking it in turns to paly well, setting up a nailbiting decider which saw the Kiwi take it on her third match ball, having previously saved two.

“It was disappointing to lose the first so quickly,” said a delighted winner, “I just told myself that this was a great opportunity in a fantastic venue and I just had to hang in there and try to grind it out.”

Barker ready to give everything

Another Englishman went through to the quarters as Peter Barker came from a game down to beat Speedy Indian Saurav Ghosal, the sixth seed imposing his game for a 7/11, 11/2, 11/6, 11/6 win in just short of an hour’s play.

“He played well in the first and adapted to the conditions quicker than me,” admitted Barker, “but fortunately I got a good start in the second and found my length which made all the difference. I’m in the quarters now, and whoever I play I’ll be giving it everything.”

David wants it more

It’s always difficult playing a friend, especially a room-mate,” said Nicol David after her 11/7, 11/7, 11/3 win over Samantha Teran. The Mexican battled, as she does, but the world number one was always in charge and by the third game was looking very comfortable as she tested out some of her repertoire of shots.

“I had a good practice and watched some of the earlier matches so that I could get a feel for the conditions,” she explained, “so I was into it quicker than she was and I wanted it more.”

Greg fills the last spot

Second seed Gregory Gaultier raced through a quickfire match against qualifier Jonathan Kemp to claim the last remaining quarter-final spot, the 2007 champion taking on his shotmaking opponent and bettering him at it.

“I tried to be aggressive, but he has so many shots I had to keep the ball tight as well. I’d love to win this title again, tonight we’ll analyse what I did well and what I did badly to make improvements for the next match.”

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