ILEX Construction Charlottesville Open 2014
16-21 Sep, Virginia, Usa, $25k
 Alister Walker
(Bot) 3-1 [Q] Lucas
6/11, 11/3, 16/14,
Walker ends Serme run in Virginia final
seed Alister Walker ended the run of qualifier Lucas Serme in
the final of the PSA $25k event in Virginia, coming from a game down
to take the 10th PSA title of his career after an 82minute
battle, which featured a lengthy stoppage after the Frenchman
suffered a cut to the forehaed in the second game.
While Walker dropped just two games en route to the title, Serme's
shortest match was his 67-minute first round win followed by three
80+ minute matches!
Richard Millman on the final:
a tournament that has been the graveyard of seeded players, the
final of yesterday's ILEX Construction Charlottesville Open at
the McArthur Squash Center at the Boar's Head Hotel, pitted the
player who had been most responsible for the demise of the
seeded players against the one remaining survivor of the main
Lucas Serme from France came through qualifying before putting
paid to the aspirations of Ryan Cuskelly, Chris Simpson and Tom
Richards. Playing with a style reminiscent of the great Jansher
Khan, his mixture of measured pace, quality width and length,
absorbing the fiery attacks of his opponents until he found an
opening to deliver his own biting counter attacks, was delivered
with a panache that belied his youth and inexperience.
His opponent, Alister Walker from Botswana, on the other hand,
is familiar with the dizzy heights of the world's top 20 and had
arrived in the final at the expense of Peter Creed, Declan James
and Karim Ali Fathi. In doing so he had looked neither confident
not particularly dominant as he struggled to get comfortable on
the McArthur Center's impressive grand stand all glass court.
Having said that, in his semi final match against Karim Ali
Fathi, his trusty forehand drop volley started to function well
- although a tendency to try and finish rallies at the first
opportunity was still seeing the Botswanan tinning the ball in
his desire to end points quickly.
the very outset of the warm up in the final however, it was
evident that Walker was up for this match. His tentative body
language of the previous day was gone and a lightness of foot
and ease of movement indicated his determination.
There was no apparent loss of capacity in his young opponent
either, despite his heroic efforts of the previous five days. In
his semi final against Tom Richards there had been just a moment
when Serme had appeared to wobble physically, but as Richards
struggled with his own demons, the Frenchman's brief
vulnerability was quickly forgotten. Still the question remained
could he deliver his patient, debilitating brand of inexorable
Squash once again in the final?
Where observers might have been forgiven that the onus would be
on the young pretender to decipher the dominant game of his more
highly ranked and experienced opponent, in point of fact as the
first game unfolded, it became clear that it was Alister who
found himself struggling with conundrum of how to cope with
Lucas's well executed game plan.
with surgically precise width and length, Lucas built a barrage
on the backhand side, frequently jailing his opponent in the
backhand back corner, before delivering his by now familiar
hornet's sting short attacks. Also in a departure from his game
plan of the day before, he began to employ a back hand working
boast to great effect, pressurizing Alister at the front of the
court and moving up behind the Botswanan to intercept and out
Meanwhile Alister's attempts to rally with Lucas, though
patient, were losing out to the Frenchman's dying length,
causing Alister to throw up lose ball at the back or even to
fail to return it.
The combination of the supreme width and length and the sudden
working boast, seemed to have the number 3 seed non-plussed and
the qualifier progressed steadily to take the first game 11-6.
Was another giant killing episode on the cards?
Immediately the second game became a sharper, punchier affair.
Walker clearly had recognized that allowing Serme to continue
with his metronomic backhand width and length was a quick road
to disaster and accordingly began to intercept with crisp
volley's and half-volleys to stamp some authority on the game.
Lucas continued with the boast to some affect, but perhaps the
frequency began to habituate Alister to it and it gradually
began to gain less traction. However by no means had the young
Frenchman relinquished his control of the match and Walker was
still fighting to gain a foothold.
at 2-0 one of the frequent pop-outs of this tournament led to a
class between Alister's racquet and Lucas's nose.
There then followed a protracted blood break and the question
arose - would the young Frenchman be able to maintain his focus
and continue with his disciplined game plan?
After Lucas had been patched up, he returned to find a
determined Walker and an unforced error followed by an
injudicious decision to go short early, were followed by overuse
of the boast and then a disastrous attempt at a double fake
which resulted in Monsieur Serme completely missing the ball,
suddenly resulted in Lucas finding himself with a 3-8 deficit.
Clearly the focus had gone during the blood break, while Alister
had seized the opportunity to step up and volley.
The game finished with a crazy attempt at a three wall nick from
the young Frenchman as he capitulated with irritation, Alister
taking the game 11-3.
Was this the end of the giant killing run?
third game was a classic. Both players found their form with
Alister continuing with his early volleys and Lucas returning to
his millimeter perfect width and length. The game did become
slightly tinged with focus losing discussions with Mike Riley
the referee and this may have detracted from concentration,
especially in Lucas's case.
Such was the quality of the rally construction by both players
that they were both in much better position when they were
building the point. Each time the players gained an opening,
there enthusiasm to capitalize resulted in them giving counter
attack opportunities to the opponent.
Whoever attacked first lost the rally.
This continued incredibly to 14 all as both players dug deeply
into their personal resources, vying for an edge - with nothing
The drama made for a wonderful spectacle - worthy of the epic
tales of yore.
15-14 to Alister a blistering rally ensued, with Alister ending
a quality rally with a perfect length. The game lasted 28
The fourth game started in even fashion, the players going point
for point up 4-5.
However at this point Walker's sharp, penetrating volleys began
to take their toll and on one pick -up at the front, Lucas
seemed less than superhuman for the first time in the
was followed by a string of great rallies from Alister where he
held his young opponent's feet to the fire with strong
disciplined pressure through his volleys.
At 9-5 Alister stepped away from his game plan and tried a cheap
winner and tinned, thus threatening to bring Lucas back to the
match at 6-9. But unfortunately Lucas immediately lost his focus
on his game plan, once again trying a fancy fake instead of
returning to his Jansher like game plan of his earlier
successes. This loss of concentration led to a loss of balance
and a stroke to Alistair to give him match ball at 10-6.
brief break for the court to be wiped gave an artificial break
to the flow of the match and the final rally was completed with
a backhand attack from the Botswanan that caught the nick and
was beyond the reach of the young Frenchman.
to Alister Walker, who overcame his struggling form earlier in
the competition to turn in a masterful performance of maturity
to win the title in four sets.
But great honor to Lucas Serme, who despite losing a fraction of
his form - unsurprisingly after such mammoth efforts, is clearly
a star to follow.
16-21 Sep, Virginia, Usa, $25k
 Adrian Grant (Eng)
11/8, 13/11, 11/7
Chris Gordon (Usa)
 Adrian Grant
11/5, 6/11, 8/11, 11/7, 11/2 (83m)
[Q] Lucas Serme
[Q] Lucas Serme
5/11, 9/11, 14/12, 11/7, 11/8
 Tom Richards
[Q] Lucas Serme
6/11, 11/3, 16/14, 11/6 (82m)
 Alister Walker
10th PSA title for
 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
6/11, 11/3, 11/6, 11/3 (67m)
[Q] Lucas Serme (Fra)
 Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11/6, 11/6, 16/14 48m
[Q] Todd Harrity (Usa)
 Campbell Grayson
11/8, 10/12, 11/5, 11/5 (65m)
 Tom Richards
 Tom Richards (Eng)
11/5, 11/5, 11/9 (38m)
Joe Chapman (Bvi)
[Q] Peter Creed (Wal)
11/8, 15/13, 10/12, 11/9 (73m)
 Alister Walker (Bot)
 Alister Walker
11/7, 14/12, 11/8 (38m)
[Q] Declan James
 Alister Walker
11/6, 11/5, 11/3 (36m)
 Karim Ali Fathi
[Q] Declan James (Eng)
5/11, 3/11, 11/6, 11/6, 15/13 (60m)
 Mazen Hesham (Egy)
Charles Sharpes (Eng)
11/8, 11/4, 12/10 (45m)
 Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
 Karim Ali Fathi
11/8, 3/11, 7/11, 11/4, 11/7 (84m))
 Chris Simpson
Shawn Delierre (Can)
11/7, 9/11, 7/11, 11/4, 11/8 i(81m)
 Chris Simpson (Eng)
17-Sep, Qualifying Finals:
Lucas Serme (Fra) 3-0 Chris Hanson (Usa)
11/5, 11/3, 11/5
Todd Harrity (Usa)
3-1 Lewis Walters (Eng)
11/7, 11/13, 11/4, 11/6
Declan James (Eng) 3-1 Arthur Gaskin (Irl)
11/8, 2/11, 11/4, 11/7
Peter Creed (Wal) 3-0 Shahjahan Khan (Pak)
14/12, 11/3, 11/6
16-Sep, Qualifying Round One:
Lucas Serme (Fra) 3-0 Sunil Seth (Guy)
11/4, 11/2, 11/8
Chris Hanson (Usa) 3-1 Sebastiaan Weenink (Ned)
11/1, 11/5, 13/15, 11/4
Lewis Walters (Eng) 3-0 Brian O'Hora (Irl)
11/7, 11/7, 12/10
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-0 Ahmad Alzabidi (Jor)
11/8, 11/6, 11/8
Declan James (Eng) 3-1 Ramit Tandon (Ind)
8/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/6
Arthur Gaskin (Irl) 3-1 Omar Sobhy (Usa)
10/12, 11/3, 13/11, 11/3
Shahjahan Khan (Pak) 3-2 Paul Coll (Nzl)
3/11, 7/11, 11/7, 11/7, 16/14
Peter Creed (Wal) 3-0 Oisin Logan (Irl)
11/4, 11/4, 11/9
French qualifier Lucas Serme continued his tremendous run in
Charlottesville, coming from two games down against fourth-seeded
Englishman Tom Richards to create a third upset in a row.
In the final he'll meet Botswana's third seed Alister Walker, who
beat Karim Ali Fathi in straight games.
Semis: Richard Millman
reports from Charlottesville
Squash TV viewers and the crowd at
the MacArthur Center at the Boar's Head Hotel in Charlottesville VA
were treated to a mercurial display from one of our sport's rapidly
emerging young talents this evening, in the first semi final of the
ILEX Construction Open.
Tom Richards v Lucas
Lucas Serme, the Gallic giant killing machine, once again dug
into his seemingly endless reserves to, at first weather, in the
second instance ride, and finally command the storm that was the
fourth seed, Tom Richards from England.
In the first game Richards came out of the gate like a drill
sergeant, appearing to dominate the young Frenchman with almost
military might. Those of us watching were to be forgiven for
believing that Lucas's remarkable exploits in this event, having
qualified and then dispatched consecutive seeds including the
stalwart Adrian Grant in five hard games, had finally caught up with
him. Indeed as the fourth seed peremptorily finished the first game
11/5, it seemed likely that that was the case, with Lucas slipping
in a couple of unforced errors.
In the second game Richards won the first two points but it was
evident that Serme's resolve had deepened as he extended the
rallies. Richards was still dominant and bouncing around
authoritatively. At 1-2 with Lucas serving Tom hit what was to be
one of many sidewall pop-outs at the end of a patient, searching
rally. The remainder of this game saw both players trying to
implement a game plan but frequently making errors as a result of
frustrations born of their own inability to carry through.
A 6-3 lead for the Frenchman was quickly converted to a 7-6 lead for
the Englishman as Serme made a couple of errors and seemed to be
distracted as he started a conversation with the referee for the
first time in the tournament. He did settle down, but the damage was
done and Tom had received enough encouragement to motivate him to
bear down and push through.
Even so it wasn't plain sailing and a
huge rally at 8-7 to Tom was won by Lucas. A cross court nick return
took the Englishman to 8 but an immediate unforced error took the
Frenchman ahead once more. Then another great point at 9 all ended
first in a let and then in an error from Lucas giving Tom game ball
which the Englishman converted with maturity. Noticeable however,
was the change in demeanor in both players. No longer the drill
sergeant the number four seed was more cautious now and, despite
being 0/2 down, it was clear that the young Frenchman had no
intention of capitulating.
The third game was a classic transition.
Right out of the gate Lucas was all business and stepped up the
court. Playing sharp, deep and early he took two quick points.
Immediately it was clear that rather than being the underdog
struggling for survival, the Frenchman was taking the game to the
Englishman, his uncanny ability to absorb pressure drawing Tom into
trying to force the game to a point where he was beginning to over
extend himself and leave himself exposed.
But Richards was still very aware that he was in a great position
and at this point was still urgently looking to close the match out.
As Tom chanced his arm to attack, the game became more open and as a
consequence both winners and unforced errors increased from both
Tom then started suffering from his own internal demons as he became
frustrated with his own inability to execute the plan that he
clearly felt was his opportunity. As a result when he created
openings, instead of building pressure he attempted to finish -
thereby stacking pressure on himself and tinned balls when he had
Lucas meanwhile was looking fatigued for the first time and it
became a question of whether Lucas could hang on and Tom self
destruct or Lucas fold and Tom drive home for victory.
It was a close run thing.
Lucas hung on, Tom took the ball in short perhaps a tad too early
and Lucas produced a couple of first class disguise shots to get to
game ball. With ice in the veins Tom hit the return in the nick.
Another of his now regular forehand pop-outs and Richards gave the
game ball back to Serme.
At 12 all Richards feathered a drop into the top of the tin. Then
Lucas hit his serve into the nick.
Indicative of things to come - Tom Richard's responded to the nick
by tomahawking his racket into the nick where the Frenchman's ball
In the fourth the pop-outs became a regular feature. The front court
exchanges started going in Lucas's favor. At 8-5 to Serme, Richard's
came off the court to complain about his opponent's hand appeals
during the rally. Increasingly Tom's body language seemed to
indicate his dissatisfaction with himself and his discipline.
In the end Tom capitulated with a backhand cross court volley nick
attempt from an impossible position which seemed like a resignation
Lucas was now firmly in the driving seat. His apparent need to 'hang
on' in the third, a distant memory.
The fifth game was a triumph for the young Frenchman, his remarkable
resolve and his game plan.
Tom started the fifth well with a return to his martial body
language and command - taking the first two points. But as soon as
he seemed to have a chance to establish himself he seemed unable to
resist trying to force the issue and crucially made errors when he
had the opening.
It was back and forth for the first half dozen points.
Richard's started taking the ball into the front from the back,
resulting in extra work for himself as Lucas moved him to the back.
But Lucas himself hit a couple of unexpected errors and suddenly Tom
had a three point opening at 5-2. However once again, with the game
at his mercy, Richard's tried to force it and gave a point back. He
gathered himself again however and re-established a three point gap
Suddenly there was an uncomfortable atmosphere in the court as both
players nervously tested each other. Then in very short order and
with three unforced errors from Tom in quick succession, Lucas found
himself at 8-6 up. An error from Lucas took it to 7-8 with Tom
But yet again Tom took it in early, got an opening - and tinned it,
his exasperation plain for all to see.
Match ball came for Lucas as a result of another unforced tin as Tom
tried a floated, three-wall-nick boast from the back of the court.
Yet another tin was followed by another tomahawk throw of the racket
from Richards - this time the full length of the court. Despite this
bad display Richard's courteously put his arms round his opponent in
The racket slinging incident took nothing from the victory of this
brilliant young Frenchman whose brand of steady absorption and
deceptive counter attacking, reminiscent of the great Jansher Khan
himself, is likely to become a regular feature of Squash TV and the
PSA World tour. Allez!
Monsieur Serme, the giant killer, is on his way to becoming a giant
Alister Walker v Karim Ali Fathi
Our second semi final had a similar foundation to the first.
In an epic confrontation with England's number two seed Chris
Simpson, relative newcomer Karim Ali Fathi had acquitted
himself with aplomb in the quarter finals, coming out the victor in
a match of quality, where his tactical persistence and his technical
excellence shone through.
His opponent, third seed Alister Walker from Botswana,
conversely had done anything but shine in his quarter final against
another of this tournament's seeming indomitable giant killers,
Declan James from England. Alister had won 3-0, 'tis true, but had
never looked comfortable in doing so and owed as much to his
opponent's spent body as to his own form, for the victory.
Were we about to see yet another upset in this tournament that has
rapidly become 'The graveyard of the seeds?' Certainly Karim Ali
Fathi had shown that he has the where-with-all to successfully
execute such a mission. However right from the off, it was clear
that this evening's Ali Walker was a different specimen to the
edition that was on display in the previous match.
Light on his feet, the first few rallies saw beautifully measured,
medium paced balls from Walker, primarily allowing him to maintain
position but also severely limiting Fathi's options. Fathi on the
other hand appeared a little non-plussed, unsure of what to do with
Walker's disciplined play.
Karim was able to stay with the game while the ball stayed straight,
but, in his desperation to find a way of unlocking the prison cell
that Alister was keeping in him, he started trying to play
He got short shrift there as Alister's forehand drop-volley punished
him with mechanical precision.
This was repeated a number of times - with the same conclusion.
Karim had some success with attacking flair, but at no stage did
this fluster Alister who looked ominously composed and sharp.
Unhurried and playing within his comfort zone, Walker calmly
asphyxiated his opponent to take the first game 11/6 in 13 minutes.
In the second game Karim began with the same sort of crisp timing
and penetrative depth that he used to such affect against Chris
Simpson. However, where Chris was unable to turn and so Karim found
openings, Alister returned these balls with unrelenting control.
Karim rallied briefly to get back to 5-7, but a labored movement to
the front betrayed that he was perhaps not as able to compete as he
had been the day before. Alister was absolutely solid and this
persuaded Karim to risky attempts to force the game. Alister briskly
took the last few points to take the game 11/5 in 12 minutes.
It was beginning to look as though the writing was on the wall.
In the third game the Egyptian allowed his frustration at the
Botswanan's refusal to give him anything to turn inward on himself
and with echoes of Tom Richards in the earlier match, started making
unforced errors from his own openings as he desperately sought to
get something from nothing.
A wave of attempted shot making flair from Karim resulted in a quick
passage for Alister to an 8-2 lead. Karim's resolve finally
evaporated and the newly re-energized Alister Walker took the final
Many congratulations to Karim on a first class tournament. His
attacking style - sharp penetrating twisting turning length, with
sudden devastating lobs and wonderful touch at the front are very
attractive - as are his good manners and sportsmanship.
Alister Walker meanwhile moves on to face giant killer Lucas Serme
in tomorrow's final.
One can't help be drawn toward the Frenchman, not only as the
underdog who has fought his way through against the odds, but also
for the wonderful brand of Squash he has brought with him. Shades of
the best days of Jansher: soaking up pressure and then unleashing
the hornet's sting. However it was a powerful Alister Walker we saw
this evening, at ease with himself and his game.
Has Lucas got one more giant killing surprise? Or are we seeing the
return of a dominant, controlled Alister Walker?
Don't miss it!
Serme and Fathi take out top seeds in Virginia
was an evening of upsets in Charlottesville as the top two seeds
were both beaten in the quarter-finals.
Fourth seed Tom Richards survived an hour-plus battle with
Campbell Grayson, but the predicted all-English semi-final was
scuppered by France's Lucas Serme as the the qualifier came
from 2-1 down to topple top seed Adrian Grant in 83 minutes for one
of his best-ever wins.
Karim Ali Fathi then took one minute longer to overcome
second seed Chris Simpson, setting up a semi-final with Alister
Walker, the third seed who ended the run of qualifier Declan
James in three close games.
Draw & Results
Richard Millman In Charlottesville
Chris Simpson versus
Karim Ali Fathi
Second seed Chris Simpson faced precocious talent and
qualifier Karim Ali Fathi in the penultimate match of last
night's quarterfinals at the ILEX Construction Charlottesville Open
in Charlottesville Virginia at the prestigious Boar's Head Hotel
Simpson had survived a brutal encounter with Canadian Sean Delierre
the previous day while Ali Fathi had won 3-0 in some style against
Charles Sharpes from England.
Simpson is a seasoned professional and at the beginning of the first
game, controlled his pace and accuracy with a calmness that allowed
him to gain a forward position on the court, despite some fireworks
from his young Egyptian opponent. However as the game progressed,
Karim found some explosive and penetrating accuracy that penalized
the Englishman's movement and, following one or two less accurate
returns from those attacks, Ali Fathi took the first game.
In the second, Simpson once again developed a controlled medium pace
game plan, taking Karim into the back corners and frustrating the
Egyptian. As the frustration grew Simpson absorbed Fathi's attempts
to force the pace and thus stymied, Karim seemed confused and
proceeded to self destruct, Simpson winning the game 11/3.
Despite the meltdown Karim came back with determination in the third
and with addition of a beautifully controlled counter attacking lob
in response to Chris Simpson's drop volleys he started to develop a
game plan that mixed sharp deep cross courts, the lob from the front
and more selective and reasoned short straight attacks.
This was very effective and Simpson's movement twisting to the back
corner on both sides started to look shaky resulting in a number of
attempted straight lengths catching the sidewalls and giving Karim
Still it was neck and neck and Chris continued to get in front at
this point and was himself able to play tight short attacks that
Karim found difficult to retrieve.
Simpson survived this particular storm and took the game 11/7.
However those twisting movements were taking their toll and the
collapse of the second game was now a distant memory. Ali Fathi
pursued his plan of sharp sudden cross court attacks and the width
of these, that had previously sometimes strayed and given Simpson
his drop volley chance, was now much more precise.
Chris's movement was more and more labored and in a game of inches,
being moments late is enough to swing the balance of play toward the
sharper man. Chris did throw up a few good lobs himself and tried to
go back to his successful absorption tactics of the second and
third, but this only served to temporarily stave off Karim, who
sensed his opportunity and was relentless now. He took the game
The fifth was well contested as one might expect with a seasoned pro
not wanting to relinquish his hold and a young pretender almost not
believing his chance has come. The first few rallies were nip and
tuck with Simpson re-establishing his length and a few nervous
unforced errors from Al Fathi. But as time passed, Karim remembered
the success that his tactics had brought him - and Chris's body
simply couldn't deliver what his mind told he needed to do.
Comfortably the best match of the evening, a wonderful win for Karim
Ali Fathi 11/7 in the fifth. He now moves on, with two big scalps
under his belt, to a semi final encounter with third seed Alister
versus Declan James
In the final quarter final match of the evening, Declan James
from England, another qualifier fresh from giant killing the night
before, met third seed Alister Walker from Botswana who had
progressed at the expense of Welshman Peter Creed in a four setter
the night before.
This one never managed to fully engage in all out war.
From the outset Declan seemed to be suffering the effects of his
strenuous outing the day before. Having said that, he managed to
stay in touch and Alister seemed to find it hard to deliver the
coupe de grace that seemingly would have finished Declan, in his
diminished state. As a result we were treated to a strange parody of
a match where few rallies extended to a duration of any consequence
and unforced errors and winners abounded.
a building that was almost empty by this stage, it was always
going to be difficult to light a fire and it seemed that the
competition became a question of Declan not being physically able to
do what needed to be done and Alister not being able to motivate
himself to the work that he knew would finish Declan off.
After the Walker took the first 11/7, the second went the full
distance as James, realizing that Walker wasn't going for the
jugular, decide to see if he could get himself off of life support
and make a bit of a comeback. There were a few moments of cut and
thrust with a lot of jousting at the front of the court, before
Alister did enough to clinch the game 14/12.
The third began in similar fashion, before it became clear that this
was a bridge too far for Declan and Alister finally managed to
muster enough resolve to put the match to bed 11/8.
Walker will need to dig deeper in the semi final if he is to
progress. His opponent Karim Al Fathi is a man on a mission and is
increasingly finding his form. However Alister Walker is a seasoned
pro and with the other top seeds out, perhaps he will be propelled
to greater efforts by this opportunity.
18-Sep, Round One:
Serme and James surprise
as locals bow out in Charlottesville
first round of the PSA $25k event at the Boar's Head sports complex
in Charlottesville saw two qualifiers progress as both USA players
France's Lucas Serme came from a game down to beat Ryan
Cuskelly, while Declan James was two down before starting his
comeback against Mazen Hesham.
Serme now meets top seed Arian Grant, who ended the hopes of
USA #1 Chris Gordon, while James faces third seed Alister Walker.
In the other quarter-finals Tom Richards meets Campbell
Grayson - who beat USA's Todd Harrity - and second seed Chris
Simpson, who survived a long five-setter against Shawn Delierre,
faces Karim Ali Fathi.
Grayson 3-0 Harrity
Round One Reports
Tom Richards 3-0 Joe
11/5, 11/5, 11/9
Some long opening rallies, but Richards always looking in control
playing from in front of his opponent throughout the first two
The third saw Chapman's length improve and as a result he obtained a
better share of the middle - creating some nice volley drop
opportunities. It wasn't quite enough to take the game though as
Richards came through 11-9.
Karim Ali Fathi 3-1 Charles Sharpes
11/8, 11/4, 12/10
Fathi came out flying and Sharpes struggled to cope with the shots
going in short and early, often from the back of the court. The
third was different though with Sharpes picking up a lot more and as
a result Fathi started to make a few attacking errors. Sharpes took
a 10-7 lead and the match definitely looked to be turning in the
But a couple of well played rallies from Fathi, and a borderline 'no
let' call against Sharpes allowed Fathi to come back to 10 all, and
then another tight 'no let' for Sharpes, followed by a conduct
stroke meant the match came to a controversial end, 12-10 in Fathi's
Chris Simpson 3-2 Shawn Delierre
11/7, 9/11, 7/11,
11/4, 11/8 (81m)
In a nail-biting first-round match, number 2 seed Chris Simpson
squared off against Shawn Delierre. Simpson took the first
comfortably, finding his length from the beginning. Delierre found
himself 6-2 down in the second but managed to reel off a series of
excellent shots to take the second game 11-9.
Delierre's winning streak continued through the third frame, which
he took 11-7. Not to be outdone, Simpson rallied to force a fifth
game by an 11-4 margin, with Delierre beginning to look fatigued. In
the fifth and final game Simpson jumped out to a commanding 7-2 lead
before Delierre battled back to knot the score at 8-8.
Following two no-let decisions, Simpson found himself with match
ball and took full advantage, delivering the knock-out shot to take
the match 11-8.
Alister Walker 3-1 Peter Creed
15/13, 10/12, 11/9 (73m)
tight match from start to finish with really nothing to choose
between the two players other than composure in the closing rallies.
The Botswanan was able to use his greater experience to end well and
win the last three points in a row in the 1st, 2nd and 4th games,
and take the match overall 3-1.
It was a good performance from Creed though, with a lot of positives
for him to take on to the Nash Cup next week in London, Canada.
Walker advances to play the winner of James and Hesham tomorrow at
Adrian Grant 3-0 Chris Gordon
11/8, 13/11, 11/7
commanding performance from tournament #1 seed Adrian Grant. Gordon
defended well, but Grant was in firm control and had the American
moving into the four corners of the court from start to finish.
Gordon's best stretch came in the second game when 10-7 down he
reeled off a 3 rally winning streak to level at 10-10, but Grant
came through 13-11 and with a 2-0 lead he never looked like losing.
Lucas Serme 3-1 Ryan Cuskelly
6/11, 11/3, 11/6, 11/3
Lucas Serme came though in our penultimate match of the evening,
causing our first upset of the tournament. Cuskelly started the
better of the two racing to a 6-1 lead in the 1st game, and taking
it 11-6. But from then on it was fairly one way traffic with Serme
controlling the 'T', fading the ball better than his opponent into
the front and winning almost all of the short court exchanges.
Frustration got the better of Cuskelly several times during the
match and Serme took full advantage winning 7 points running in the
3rd, and another 7 in a row in the 4th. Serme looked good for his
win and will be looking forward to his match against #1 seed Adrian
Declan James 3-2 Mazen Hesham
5/11, 3/11, 11/6,
11/6, 15/13 (60m)
The last match of the evening proved to be the most entertaining
with the shot selection and theatrics of Hesham providing plenty of
entertainment for those that stayed late to watch. For the first two
games Hesham was simply unplayable reeling off winner after winner,
to take them 11/5, 11/3 in no time at all.
All credit to James for remaining unfazed by the onslaught, and when
Hesham opened up with 3 errors at the start of the third, the tide
changed completely. The third and fourth were equally one sided but
with James taking them both, by capitalizing on short length and
loose width from his opponent to hit plenty of top quality winners
of his own.
The 5th was a real see-saw battle with some tough calls for the ref
Mike Riley coming into play as the tension dialed up several
notches. Both players had chances to take the match in the closing
tie break, but James came through 15-13 to set up a well deserved
second round encounter with Alister Walker.