Madeline Perry (Irl) bt  Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
13/11, 11/7, 11/6
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt [Q] Borja Golan (Esp)
9/11, 13/11, 11/5 (100m)
Fourth Irish title for Madeline
Arthur Curran reports
am finding it a little difficult to find words to describe this
match – superb, excellent, fantastic – even these do not do justice
to what was one of the best ladies matches I have seen for some
Vanessa, #14 in the rankings, but formerly #1 and World Champion,
took an early lead of 3/0, both players showing us already a fine
array of strokes, but Madeline, #6 in the world, and having won this
trophy in 2005, 2006 and 2007, semi finalist in 2008 and losing the
final last year here to Alison Waters, wanting eagerly to regain the
title, stayed in touch, but Vanessa opened the lead to 8/4.
Madeline then went on a burst with some sublime strokes and great
tactics, with Vanessa gaining only one more point, that for a stroke
call, and Madeline was on game ball at 10/9. Vanessa saved that one
and taking the next point had game ball herself, but Madeline was
not finished, with some lovely dainty drop shots levelled then took
the game 13/11.
Vanessa again led early in the second 2/0, then Madeline eased in
front 4/3, Vanessa took the initiative once more to lead 7/6, but
then Madeline started a magnificent run of points to take the game
11/7. The third started in a similar way, Vanessa taking the lead
3/1, but then she seemed to tire quite quickly and Madeline allowed
her only one more point before reaching match fall at 10/4.
Vanessa saved two match balls with two really sweet whort drops,
Madeline was not letting go, taking the next point to win the game
11/6 and the match 3 – 0.
Another great triumph for Madeline in her home country following her
recent success in the Australian Open, her first win over Vanessa
and her fourth Irish Open title.
Azlan survives marathon
#1seed and world ranked 14 Azlan Iskandar from Malaysia trying to
win this event after losing in the final in 2008 to John White, and
qualifier and world ranked 61, on his way back after a career
threatening injury, Borja Golan from Spain, the winner here in
Dublin in 2006, this promised to be a really good battle, and it
proved to be even more worthy of this description – it was a war,
albeit friendly, of attrition.
started much the stronger, easing out to lead 6/3, then taking game
ball at 10/5, and although Borja saved four game balls, Azlan won
out in the end to take the game 11/9. With both players playing
great squash, in a very physical match, neither one wanted the other
to take command, and in the second it was 5/1 to Borja early on,
then 8/5. Azlan pulled level at 8/8 but Borja stayed stronger and
levelled the match with the game at 11/8.
The third game was very even with the scores level up to 8/8, Borja
took the next two for game ball, Azlan saved one but Borja took the
next to win the game 11/9 and lead the match 2 games to 1. At 2/2 in
the second Borja caught Azlan on the hip bone going through to
retrieve a ball and he went down heavily with obvious pain in his
hip, but after a few minutes injury break he was back on court
looking none the worse for wear, and taking the next two points to
lead 4/2. Borja then went on a run of 5, Azlan followed up with 3,
it was 7/7, point for point then to 9/9, Borja taking match ball at
10/9 with a lovely long drop shot but then gave a stroke away, took
the next point for another match ball, however Azlan took the game
13/11 thanks to two tins from Borja at the end.
it was to be a deciding game, who was to win this very physical
match? Borja took an early lead 3/2, but then seeming to be visibly
tiring he managed only two more points whilst Azlan stayed stronger
to take the game 11/5 and the match 3 games to 2.
A fantastic match lasting 100 minutes, and a great win for Azlan,
but on his form this week Borja will not be long before he is back
amongst the top rankings. Well played to both of them.
Well that brings to an end a great week of squash here in Dublin,
and I have enjoyed myself here tremendously, apart from the squash
the hospitality at the Fitzwilliam Club has been most enjoyable, and
I am already looking forward to returning next year, health
Kirk Homes Irish Open 2010
30 Aug - 04 Sep, Dublin, $25k
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/5, 11/8, 11/3 (28 m
John Rooney (Irl)
 Azlan Iskandar
11/5, 11/9, 11/4 (36m)
 Chris Simpson
 Azlan Iskandar
11/8, 11/4, 11/2 (38m)
 Chris Ryder
 Azlan Iskandar
11/9, 8/11, 9/11, 13/11, 11/5
[Q] Borja Golan
 Chris Simpson (Eng)
[Q] Kristian Frost (Den)
 Joey Barrington (Eng)
11/8, 3/11, 11/7, 11/5 (59m)
Yann Perrin (Fra)
 Joey Barrington
11/8, 11/7, 9/11, 11/8 (77m)
 Chris Ryder
 Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/6, 11/7, 11/5 (43m)
Julien Balbo (Fra)
[Q] Greg Marche (Fra)
13/11, 11/3, 11/7. 40m
 Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
[Q] Greg Marche
11/7, 11/8, 12/10
[Q] Bradley Hindle
[Q] Greg Marche
8/11, 11/0, 9/11, 11/1, 11/4 (67m)
[Q] Borja Golan
[Q] Bradley Hindle (Mlt)
12/10, 12/10, 3/11, 4/11, 11/5.
 Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
[Q] Borja Golan (Esp)
11/7, 11/8, 11/5. 44m
 Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
[Q] Borja Golan
11/7, 11/9, 11/7 (46m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
9/11, 4/11, 11/4, 11/4, 11/5.
 Stewart Boswell (Aus)
Qualifying - Finals
Borja Golan (ESP) bt
Joel Hinds (ENG)
12/10, 11/1, 11/2 (42 mins)
Brandley Hindle (MLT) bt Shaun Le Roux (ENG)
11/6, 11/7, 5/11, 8/11, 11/8 (93 mins)
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11/4,
10/12, 11/2, 11/7 (48 m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
11/9, 11/5, 11/6 (33 mins)
Qualifying - 1st round
(1) Borja Golan (ESP)
beat Ben Ford (ENG) 11/4, 11/4, 11/2. (30 mins)
(5/8) Joel Hinds (ENG) beat Jens Schoor (GER) 12/10, 8/11,
11/5, 11/5. (50 mins)
(3/4) Shaun Le Roux (ENG) beat Derek Ryan (IRE) 11/7, 11/7,
11/7. (31 mins)
(5/8) Bradley Hindle (MLT) beat Arthur Gaskin (IRE) 11/9,
11/7, 11/4. (40 mins.)
(5/8) Kristian Frost (DEN) beat Neil Hitchens (ENG) 11/6,
11/7, 5/11, 12/10. (59mins)
(3/4) Matt Karwalski (AUS) beat Keith Moran (IRE) 11/8,
11/2, 11/2. (21 mins)
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) beat (5/8) Pedro Schweetman (NED)
14/16, 11/4, 11/3, 8/11, 11/9. (69mins)
(2) Gregoire Marche (FRA) beat Niall Rooney (IRE) 11/7,
11/9, 11/7 (29 mins)
Cannon Kirk Homes Irish
30 Aug - 04 Sep,
 Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/9, 11/4, 11/4 (25 mins)
[Q] Sina Wall (Ger)
 Madeline Perry
11/7, 11/5, 11/2 (25m)
[Q] Victoria Lust
 Madeline Perry
8/11, 11/9, 13/11, 11/9 (66m)
 Laura Massaro
 Madeline Perry
13/11, 11/7, 11/6 (44m)
 Vanessa Atkinson
 Alana Miller (Can)
11/8, 11/6, 11/8. (37m)
[Q] Victoria Lust (Eng)
 Laura Massaro (Eng)
11/5, 11/2, 11/4 (25m)
Alexandra Norman (Can)
 Laura Massaro
7/11, 11/2, 8/11, 11/3, 11/8. (60m)
 Sarah Kippax
 Sarah Kippax (Eng)
10/12,11/8, 11/7, 11/3, 44 m
[Q] Laura Hill (Eng)
[Q] Leonie Holt (Eng)
11/7, 11/6, 9/11, 11/6.
 Aisling Blake (Irl)
 Aisling Blake
11/4, 11/4, 9/11, 11/3 (42m)
 Natalie Grinham
 Aisling Blake
11/8, 11/6, 12/10 (37m)
 Vanessa Atkinson
Annelize Naudé (Ned)
11/8, 3/11, 11/5, 8/11,
 Natalie Grinham (Ned)
Lauren Siddall (Eng)
11/3, 11/3, 117. (23m)
 Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
 Vanessa Atkinson
11/7, 11/6, 11/7 (23m)
 Natalie Grainger
Sharon Wee (Mas)
11/4, 11/6, 11/6. (20m)
 Natalie Grainger (Usa)
Sina Wall (GER) bt Maud
7/11, 12/10, 11/5, 11/6 (49 mins)
Leonie Holt (ENG) bt Laura Pomportes (FRA)
11/9, 11/2, 11/7 (27 mins)
Laura Hill (ENG) bt Samantha Cornett (CAN)
11/8, 11/9, 11/7 (28 mins)
Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Lotte Eriksen (NOR)
11/4, 11/4, 11/5 (29 mins
Maud Duplomb (FRA) beat Sandra Polak (AUT) 11/7, 11/3, 11/8.
Sina Wall (GER) beat Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11/5, 11/7, 11/7.
Laura Pomportes (FRA) beat Carrie Ramsay (ENG) 11/8, 11/8,
11/8. (31 mins)
Leonie Holt (ENG) beat Celia Allamargot (FRA) 7/11, 6/11,
11/7, 12/10, 11/6. (43mins)
Samantha Cornett (CAN) beat Zephanie Curgenven (ENG) 13/11,
11/5, 8/11, 9/11, 11/5. (37mins)
Laura Hill (ENG) beat Coline Aumard (FRA) 11/4, 11/8, 11/2
Lotte Erikson (NOR) beat Olga Ertlova (CZE) 11/4, 11/9, 11/9
Victoria Lust (ENG) Bye.
Top seed to face qualifier in final
Arthur Curran reports (first match by Daniel Flower)
match for the semi finals of the men was Azlan Iskandar vs Chris
Ryder. From the beginning you could see Iskandar was the
dominant player, forcing himself onto the T and not letting any
balls get past him. Chris was forced to put in a lot of work in the
first game and eventually losing out 11/8.
The next 2 games proved to difficult for Chris with Iskandar
striking the ball with accuracy and finesse. Chris looked to tired
after his marathon of a game yesterday. Iskandar took the next two
games with ease and eventually won the match 11/8, 11/4, 11/2 in 38
second semi final in the men’s competition was between the two
qualifiers, #61 in the world rankings, but once as high as 10,
Borja Golan from Spain, still on his come back from a career
threatening injury, against # 80 in the world, the rapidly rising 20
year old Gregoire Marche from France.
This match really did pit the up and coming youngster against the
more mature and experienced Spaniard, and what a pleasure it was to
watch such a good match. The first game started off very evenly,
Marche covering every square inch of the court and Golan showing his
majestic strokes whilst holding the T. 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6 – it could
not have been any closer, with both players giving nothing away. But
then the younger player found a little extra energy to squeeze in
front, and finally took the game 11/8.
second game was completely different, and the score of 11/0 to Golan
says enough – Marche seemed to have run out of steam. He came back
strongly in the next, keeping slightly in front up to9/6, Golan
pulled one back, Marche had game ball at 10/7, Golan saved one but
lost out on the next point, game to Marche 11/9. So, the young
Frenchman was ahead 2 – 0, and deservedly so with the great squash
he was playing, recovering some wonderful shots from all over the
court, but could he sustain this form? Certainly not in the fourth
game, as Golan raced away again to take this game 11/1.
Marche started well in the decider, taking an early 3/1 lead, but
then Golan showed his experience and maturity, slowed the play down
and went on to take the game 11/4, and the match 3 – 2 after an
amazing 67 minutes of squash. So all credit to Golan for a fine win
as he continues his comeback, but also great credit to young Marche
for playing so well throughout this tournament, and I certainly look
forward to seeing this young man again in the near future.
No all-Irish final
The obvious hope for the tournament and the club tonight was that
both the Irish girls could get through to the final, but two other
players were there to try and ensure that did not happen.
up was No 1 seed, WR 6, favourite Irish player Madeline Perry,
fresh from a fantastic victory in the Australian Open, playing No 4
seed WR 8 Laura Massaro from England, just coming back from a
short lay off with an ankle injury, and the figures showed that this
was going to be a very close match.
In the first, from 1/1, Madeline raced away to 6/1, Laura then went
on a burst of her own to lead 7/6, only a tin from herself stopping
that run, then despite Madeline levelling at 8/8 Laura seemed the
stronger to take the game 11/8. Madeline eased into a 5/1 lead in
the second then with Laura scoring points in pairs and Madeline
singles, she just managed to hold out to win the game 11/9.
In the next it was Laura who went into an early lead 5/2, Madeline
pulled back to 6/5, Laura then came in strong to lead 10/7, Madeline
saved 3 game balls to level at 10/10, Laura had a fourth match point
at 11/10, but then Madeline levelled and went on to win the game
13/11. This time Madeline took an early lead 5/1 and despite a great
fight back by Laura to stay in the game Madeline led 10/6 match
Laura saved 3 but could do no more as Madeline took the next point
to win the game 11/9 and the match 3 – 1, to the satisfaction of the
large crowd who showed their appreciation for a good win for the
The crowd was now hoping for a second Irish victory, with local
player and No7 seed Aisling Blake playing No 5 seed and
former No 1 ranked player Vanessa Atkinson.
Slowly Aisling moved ahead to lead 7/5, with both ladies playing
excellent squash, but Vanessa finished much the stronger and won the
game 11/8. This time Vanessa pulled out a 5/0 lead , Aisling fought
back bravely to 6/8, but could not stop Vanessa taking the game
third game went backwards and forwards, with Aisling taking the
first 3 points, Vanessa taking 2, Aisling taking another 2, Vanessa
3 and Aisling 2 to leave Aisling in the lead at 8/5, but Vanessa
then took 5 points straight to lead 10/6 match ball, Aisling held on
to level at 10/10, but Vanessa showed her strength to finish it off
at 12/10 and take the match 3 – 2.
Another great game of squash with the crowd completely in favour of
local girl Aisling, but Vanessa showing some of the old sparkle she
had when she was No 1 in the World.
So now we are set for a great final between Madeline Perry and
Vanessa Atkinson at 2.00 pm.
A qualifier in the final, for sure ...
up for the men today was #1seed Azlan Iskandar from Malaysia,
against #8 seed Chris Simpson from England. With Iskandar ranked at
14 and Simpson at 52, the difference was quite clear in the play,
and although Simpson fought very bravely to stay in the match,
particularly in the second game, Iskandar won the match 11/5, 11/9,
11/4 in 36 minutes.
second men’s match on court turned out to be a marathon, as most
people here expected it to be, between two Englishmen, #3 seed Joey
Barrington and #5 seed Chris Ryder. The first game was one of
attrition, with long rallies along the walls, and the score kept
fairly level but with Ryder slightly ahead all the time, until he
finished the game at 11/8. In the second, Barrington got off to a
good start leading 3/0 then 6/3, but Ryder with two good hands in
took the game 11/7. Again Barrington got off to an early lead, Ryder
got back in slowly and levelled at 6/6, then 8/8, but remained the
stronger this time and won 11/9. Fourth game started in the same
way, level up to 6/6, Barrington took two points but then Ryder
finished very strongly to take the game 11/8 and the match 3 – 0 in
a long 77 minutes.
third quarter final in the men’s event was between two qualifiers,
Frenchman Gregoire Marche and Bradley Hindle from Malta. Some great
squash from these two who I personally had never watched before, and
each game was very tight score-wise, particularly in the third, with
Marche just keeping slightly ahead throughout to take the match
11/8, 11/8, 12/10 in 47 minutes.
meet fellow qualifier Borja Golan for a place in the final after the
Spaniard beat Mathieu Castagnet is straight games, 11/7, 11/9, 11/7.
All-Irish finals a possibility ...
up in the women's event were No 1 seed and Irish favourite Madeline
Perry against the young English player Victoria Lust, the only
qualifier to make her way through to the quarter finals. Victoria is
not yet used to playing against top ranked players, but she is
certainly learning very quickly, and seems to improve every time I
see her play. Madeline showed her experience and skill to take a
10/4 lead in the first with Victoria, although fighting hard,
seeming to find the pace a little too quick, but she did save 3 game
balls before Madeline took the game 11/7. In the second Victoria
picked up the odd single point in between some short breaks from
Madeline, and Madeline served out to take the game 11/5. With
Victoria visibly tiring, Madeline worked hard into a 9/1 lead,
Victoria managed to take two points at this stage but Madeline then
served out to take the game 11/3 and the match 3 games to nil in 25
ladies match up was between two England team mates, #4 seed Laura
Massaro and #6 seed Sarah Kippax, so this was expected to be quite a
close encounter, which it proved to be. Laura seemed a little out of
sorts in the first game and Sarah, 16 places below her in the
rankings, took advantage of this, playing some great squash, and won
the game 11/7. Laura came out much more determined in the second,
and flew into a 7/0 lead, Sarah stopped the flow slightly with 2
points, but then Laura carried on to win the game 11/2. Laura moved
out to an early 5/3 lead but Sarah slowly pulled back to 6/5, then
9/7, and finally took the game 11/8 to lead 2 – 1. In the fourth,
from 3/3 Laura put in a great run of points to take the game 11/3
and level the match. Laura scored the first point of the deciding
game, before Sarah galloped in to a 6/1 lead, but with a beautiful
cross court drop Laura stopped that gallop and went on a good run of
her own to move into the lead 7/6. Although Sarah fought back to
lead 8/7, with both players playing some lovely shots, Laura came
back at the end with a run of 4 points to win the game 11/8 and the
match 3 – 2 after just on an hour of very enjoyable squash.
quarter final saw local favourite and #7 seed Aisling Blake take on
new mum #3 seed Natalie Grinham from Holland. The gallery was quite
full for this one with plenty of support for their local player
Aisling, and as the match progressed it got fuller and fuller.
Natalie did appear to be a little out of sorts but Aisling was in
scintillating form and played probably the best squash of her
career. To the delight of the crowd she took the first two games
11/4, 11/4 and club members seemed to be appearing from everywhere.
Natalie was determined not to let her have all her own way however,
starting to show some of her natural skills, taking a 6/2 lead, but
Aisling pulled back to level at 6/6, then they stayed level to 9/9,
and Natalie showed her strength to take the game 11/9. But that was
to be the end of any possible comeback, Aisling with some beautiful
stroke play went into a 7/0 lead, slowed only by giving Natalie two
points with mistakes, one tin and one out of court, then at 10/2
match ball, with the crowd really buzzing, Natalie saved one match
ball with a lovely cross court drop, but Aisling took the next point
to win 11/7 and the match 3 – 0. The crowd went wild with applause,
and deservedly so. How about that then?? And it was not the luck of
the Irish, Aisling played brilliantly and really deserved this win,
which she describes as the best win of her career.
She was so happy afterwards, with her parents there to congratulate
her, and the whole club (her local club here at Fitzwilliam) was and
still is buzzing. A great result not just for Aisling but for the
tournament itself, with her being a local girl. Natalie had no
complaints and certainly no excuses, although not back to full
fitness since having baby Kieran, she told me “ I was beaten by a
better player on the day".
the last quarter final match there was another albeit minor shock to
the seedings when #5 seed Vanessa Atkinson from Holland played #2
seed Natalie Grainger of the USA. With Natalie sparkling only in
patches, and not looking really back to full fitness after her 12
month long lay off with a foot injury, Vanessa took advantage
playing some really good squash, and won the match 11/7, 11/6, 11/7
in just 23 minutes.
So here in Dublin, with an Irish player in each semi final there is
the possibility of an all Irish Final. How good would that be for
this tournament and for Irish Squash? But we will have to wait and
see, because Laura and Vanessa will definitely have some say in the
Round One in Dublin
Arthur Curran reports
Seeds tumble in the Men's
up in the men’s competition caused a little upset in the seedings,
with a Franco/Italian match up. 20 year old Frenchman Gregoire
Marche was up against Italian veteran Davide Bianchetti,
a player 40 places higher in the world rankings. Bianchetti started
off strongly taking an early 8/2 lead, Marche pulled back to 6/8,
but Bianchetti pulled out to 10/7 game ball. However, the younger
man proved stronger, taking four straight points for game ball at
11/10, but Bianchetti took the next to level up. On the next point
Bianchetti got very upset over a no-let call, and while he was angry
with the referee Marche serve out to take the game 13/11. Bianchetti
continued to vent his anger at the referee throughout the game
break, and on resumption was still showing his upset, allowing
Marche to take a 5/3 lead, and then carry on to serve out the game
11/3. Although Bianchetti took the lead 7/4 in the third, he then
suddenly seemed to give up on the game, and Marche served out to
take the game 11/7 and the match 3 – 0. A good result for the
second match saw another qualifier, Bradley Hindle from Malta
playing the 21 year old No 4 seed Nicolas Mueller from
Switzerland. Both players looked fresh and strong from the start and
the first two games were very level right through up to a tie
breaker in each, with Hindle taking them both 12/10. In the third
Hindle took an early 5/1 lead, but then the younger player Mueller
took over, allowing his opponent only one more point, and won the
game 11/6. Again Mueller proved the stronger and took an early lead
4/0, and although Hindle pulled back to 4/5 Mueller took six
straight points to win the game, and take the match to a decider.
After taking an early lead 3/1, Mueller then seemed to run out of
steam and the older player rolled out the points to take the game
11/5, and the match 3 games to 2. Another match against the seedings.
Third match saw another qualifier, Borja Golan from Spain,
against No 7 seed Mark Krajscak from Hungary, ranked 14
places above him in the rankings. The general feeling here is that
Golan is getting back near his best after a long injury lay off, and
this proved correct in this match, which he won in 3 games 11/7,
11/8, 11/5, although it took a very tough 44 minutes to do so.
Fourth match turned out to be quite an upset to the seedings,
despite No 2 seed and WR 18 Stewart Boswell taking a 2 – 0
lead over WR 53 Mathieu Castagnet from France, then in 9 and
14 minutes respectively Castagnet came back and took the next two
games 11/4 each. Was this to be an upset? It certainly was, because
although he was down 4/5, Castagnet found a fresh wind and took the
next 7 points straight to win the game 11/5 and the match 3 – 2, in
a tremendous match lasting 72 minutes.
Next up was Englishman Joey Barrington, No 3 seed, WR 29,
against unseeded Frenchman Yann Perrin, WR 58. Early points
see- sawed up to 4/4, but then Barrington took a run of 4 points,
Perrin took a run of 4 with Barrington taking 1, then Barrington
served out to take the game 11/8. Perrin really came strongly into
the match in the second, with some good short bursts of points to
take the game 11/3. The third was a decider, Perrin leading at 4/2,
Barrington fighting back to 5/4, and then slowly, two points at a
time he moved ahead to take the game 11/7. Barrington then took
control and although Perrin put up a brave fight Barrington took the
game 11/5 finally, and the match 3 – 1.
And so we come to another English/French contest, this time between
No 6 seed, WR 39, Englishman Chris Ryder and Frenchman
Julien Balbo, WR 56. Expecting a close contest, it was
surprising to see Ryder take an early lead 10/2, and although Balbo
saved 4 game points, Ryder took the game 11/6. Although the next was
much closer, the players sharing the points evenly up to 6/6, Ryder
eased away to win the game 11/7. In the third, Ryder took an early
3/0 lead, Balbo pulled back to 4/3, Ryder again took the lead at
6/4, and although Balbo took the next point, Ryder took 5 straight
to win 11/5 and the match 3 – 0 in 43 minutes.
up was the last Irish hope in the men’s competition, John Rooney,
against the No 1 seed and favourite for the tournament Azlan
Iskandar from Malaysia. In the first Iskandar was much too
strong for Rooney, taking the game 11/5. The second game started
much better for Rooney, cheered on by the small but vociferous
crowd, he took a 5/1 lead but then Iskandar eased himself back in to
the game to 6/8, then eased away with 5 straight points to win the
game 11/8. The third was much easier for Iskandar, with Rooney very
visibly tiring in his last match before moving to the USA to start a
coaching career (more of which later) and he eased comfortably
through to win the game 11/3 and the match 3 – 0 in 28 minutes.
last match on the men’s court pitched No 8 seed Englishman Chris
Simpson from Guernsey against qualifier Kristian Frost Olesen
from Denmark. In a very hard fought close first game lasting 15
minutes Simpson managed to hold out for a win, despite Olesen saving
3 game balls, at 11/9. In the next two Simpson eased away gradually
to take them 11/3 and 11/5 and the match 3 – 0 in 46 minutes.
So that was the men’s first round completed, with a few surprises
against the seedings in the bottom half of the draw, but the top
half going in favour of the seeds. Some good matches to look forward
to tomorrow (or later today).
Dutch doing well, seeds strong ...
first two matches in the women’s draw were over rather quickly, with
first former World No 1 Vanessa Atkinson of Holland defeating
her friend and Pontefract club mate Lauren Siddall quite
comfortably 11/3, 11/3, 11/7 in 28 minutes.
another former World No1 Natalie Grainger defeating Sharon
Wee of Malaysia 11/4, 11/6, 11/6 in the even shorter time of 20
third match between No 8 seed Alana Miller, just named in
Canada’s squad for the Commonwealth games, and qualifier Vicky
Lust of England turned out to be much more of a battle. The
first game was really a battle, both ladies playing very strongly,
the score moved up slowly and evenly up to 8/8, then Lust eased away
to serve out 11/8. The second started a little slower up to 3/3, but
then Lust put in a charge to go to 8/3. Despite Miller taking two
points back at this stage, and saving one match ball at 10/5, Lust
hung on to win 11/6. In the third the lead changed hands several
times with both players doing their best to take control, which Lust
did in the end to win 11/8 and the match 3 – 0. A really good win
for young Victoria against a player ranked 24 places higher in the
fourth match up was between the two Dutch compatriots Annelize
Naude and Natalie Grinham, in her first match since
having baby Kieran (he is already the star of the tournament here,
more about that later). Natalie looked very fit and took a good
early lead 8/2, playing her usual lovely squash, but Annelize stayed
in the game and pulled it back to 8/9, then Natalie took he next two
points and the game 11/8. Annelize led 4/1 in the second, Natalie
pulled back to level, Annelize took the next point but that was to
be her last in this game, Natalie taking 7 straight points to win
the game 11/5.
In the fourth, Natalie looked not quite back to full match fitness
and Annelize took advantage of this with some great squash and after
a four point sequence to go 9/5 up, held on to win 11/8. 2 games
each and a decider to play. Natalie came back with her usual bouncy
style, led 5/2 and 9/4 then served out to win the game 11/5 and the
match 3 – 2.
A great match between two really nice women, and a good workout for
Natalie, who told me she just needs to play more top level games,
but unfortunately may not be able to before the World Open.
on the ladies court was local player and local favourite Aisling
Blake, seeded No 7 and WR 26, up against the English qualifier
WR 155 Leonie Holt. Leonie, despite her much lower ranking,
showed to be a really gutsy player as she did in qualifying, kept
fairly close to Aisling on the score card, but Aisling with her
lovely dainty drop shots and her Irish grit eased away to win the
first two games 11/7 and 11/6. But Leonie was not to be outdone, and
in a gruelling third game she managed to win 11/9. This really was a
great effort from Leonie, considering the difference in their
rankings, but despite keeping fairly close to Aisling in the fourth,
experience showed through in the end with Aisling taking the game
11/6 and the match 3 – 1 in a long 45 minutes. This was probably the
biggest match of Leonie’s career and her coach Chris Ryder, just
managing time to watch her before he took to the court in the men’s
competition, was really happy with her performance.
we come to the No 1 seed and favourite for this tournament, Irish
player Madeline Perry, WR 6, who was up against a young up
and coming qualifier from Germany, qualifier Sina Wall, WR
212 (yes that is correct), who had fought so well through the
qualifying rounds. She carried on that fighting spirit her in the
first game and whilst never heading Madeline, she kept very close to
her in the scoring, just losing out 11/9. Then Madeline showed her
experience and skills, easing through 11/4 and 11/4 in the next two
games. But keep an eye out for this youngster from Germany, I think
she could go far in the next few years. But at least that pleased
the local supporters, with now 2 Irish ladies through to the next
Still a couple more matches to go, with No 4 seed Laura Massaro
from England easing through fairly comfortably against the young
Canadian player Alexandra Norman, who is ranked 50 places
below her, 11/5, 11/2, 11/4, despite a knock in the eye which could
come up fairly black tomorrow. If it does nobody can blame husband
Danny for causing it!!
Last up were two English ladies, No 6 seed Sarah Kippax,
recently married to England coach David Campion, and full time fire
fighter and part time, but very experienced, squash player Laura
Hill from Derbyshire in England. Laura started out like a house
on fire (pardon the pun) taking a great 10/2 lead, and despite Sarah
pulling back to level at 10/10 she served out to take the game
12/10. However, Sarah then showed her much more tournament
experience, along with her great racquet skills, to take the next 3
games 11/8, 11/7 and 11/3.
And so we came to the end of a really exciting and entertaining day
of Squash, with some great matches to look forward to later today.
Qualifying complete in Dublin
Arthur Curran reports
Here we were back at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin for the
second day of qualifying, with 8 men and 8 women fighting for four
places each in tomorrow’s main draw first round.
day opened with the first men’s match between qualifier favourite
Borja Golan against the young English player Joel Hinds.
Despite Borja being much more experienced Joel battled to an early
8/5 lead and a game ball at 10/9, but could not sustain it and Borja
served out 12/10. The experience of Borja certainly showed in the
second, taking the game comfortably 11/1. Borja took an early 5/2
lead in the third, Joel levelled out to 6/6, but then only took one
more point before Borja served out to take the game 11/7 and the
match 3 – 0 in 47 minutes.
next in the men’s was Shaun Le Roux of England against the
Malta born player Bradley Hindle, recently based in Holland,
and this turned out to be a battle of attrition lasting 93 minutes. Hindle led early at 3/0, La Roux took 9 straight points to lead 9/3,
Hindle pulled back to 7/9, but la Roux got to game ball first at
10/9. However Hindle fought to level up at 10/10 and a very evenly
played tie break finished with Hindle taking the game 14/12. La Roux
was a little slow starting in the second and was soon 3/8 down and
despite pulling four points back Hindle served out to take the game
11/7. La Roux really started fighting back then, both players
getting frustrated with the referee, and he took the next two games
11/5 and 11/9. Neither player was willing to concede this match
easily, and the decider went evenly to 5/5, but then Hindle took
four straight points to lead 9/5, La Roux pulled back 3 points, but
Hindle served out to take the game 11/8 and the match 3 – 2 after
over an hour and a half.
Next up on the men’s court saw Kristian Frost Olesen from
Denmark against Matthew Kawalski from Australia. Olesen,
ranked 90 in the world, proved much too strong for the young
Australian, although Kawalski hung in to take the second game 12/10
Olesen took the match 11/4, 10/12, 11/2, 11/7 in 48minutes. Last up
was Frenchman Gregoire Marche playing against Englishman
Jamie Haycocks, a player 21 places below him in the world
rankings. Although Jamie put up a great fight he lost out to the
higher ranked player, Marche winning 11/9, 11/5, 11/6 in 33 minutes.
first ladies match was Maud Duplomb of France (world ranking
67) against Sina Wall of Germany (WR 85). The first game
found both ladies playing very long and strong, and were very level
up to 7/7, but then Maud played a few short shots and won the game
11/7 with three very good drop shots. The second game was very even
again playing long up to 9/9, Maud took the first game ball at 10/9
but Sina then produced some lovely shots to take the game 12/10.
Sina then stormed into a 9/3 lead in the third with Maud seeming to
tire, and despite Maud taking another 3 points Sina won the game
11/5. Again in the fourth Maud seemed to be tiring and Sina took the
game 11/6 and the match 3 – 1 in 49 minutes.
up for the ladies were Laura Pomportes of France (WR 75) and
Leonie Holt of England (WR 97). The first game up was a very
even battle with both players taking point for point, but at 9/9
Leonie served out for the game at 11/9. Leonie proved much stronger
and better in the second winning quite comfortably 11/2. The third
was again very even up to 6/5 for Laura, but then Leonie again took
charge taking six of the next seven points to take the game 11/7 and
the match 3 – 0.
A great win for Leonie against a player more than 20 places above
her in the rankings, and her coach, PSA player Chris Ryder, who
arrived here just in time to watch his charge, said afterwards “That
was the best game I have ever seen her play”. And Leonie followed up
with “ That was my best win ever”. Well done to her. That win now
gives her a first round match against local player and local
favourite Aisling Blake.
next was Samantha Cornett of Canada (WR 89) v Laura Hill
of England (WR 117) and despite the ranking difference it was felt
that Laura, the full time firefighter from Derbyshire in England,
would be too strong for the young Canadian. And so it proved,
although Samantha gave a really good showing for such a youngster,
but lost out to the much more experienced Laura 11/8, 11/9, 11/7.
Last up for the ladies was Victoria Lust of England (WR 61)
against Lotte Eriksen of Norway (WR 106), with a difference
of 45 places in the rankings surely Victoria would prove much too
strong for Lotte, and so it proved, with Victoria winning fairly
comfortably 11/4, 11/4, 11/5 in 29 minutes. She now plays Alana
Miller in the main draw.
Some really good matches today, with the English ladies coming out
on top with three players out of the four going through to the first
round main draw.
Under way at last in Dublin
men’s competition here in Dublin started off with Borja Golan,
a former winner here in Dublin, and the favourite to go through
qualifying, taking a fairly comfortable win over Ben Ford from
England 11/4, 11/4, 11/2 in 30 minutes.
Joel Hinds found it a little more difficult to dispose of Jens
Schoor from Germany, winning the first on a tie break 12/10,losing
the second game 8/11, but then fought back strongly to take the next
two games 11/5,11/5, for a 3 – 0 win. The times of some of the
matches were then changed to allow some of the local players to play
at a time when hopefully more local supporters may be at the club.
up was the first of the local players, Keith Moran, up against
Australian Matthew Kawalski, who has recently based himself
in Manchester. Although Keith held on defiantly in the first game,
Matt took that 11/8, then took the next two games 11/2, 11/2 to win
next match paired Englishman Neil Hitchens against Kristian Frost
Olesen from Denmark, and this was much more a match of
attrition, with neither player wanting to give much ground, but
Olesen took the first two games 11/6, 11/7, but Hitchens came back
to take the third 11/5 and hopefully make a fight of it, but
although taking the fourth to a tie break he lost out in the end,
Olesen winning the game 12/10 and the match 3 – 0.
Next came another of the Irish players, Arthur Gaskin, and although
he again fought valiantly as all Irish men will do he lost out in
the end to Bradley Hindle from Malta, who won 11/9, 11/7,
11/4 in a very exciting 40 minutes.
Yet another Irishman followed, this time Niall Rooney was up against
Gregoire Marche from France and although all the games were
very close up to the closing stages the Frenchman won 11/7, 11/9,
11/7 in 29 minutes.
again another Irishman, local boy Derek Ryan freshly back only
yesterday from his resounding success in winning the World Masters
Open Championship Men’s Over 40’s title in Cologne, Germany.
Unfortunately the week’s exertions must have taken too much out of
him, because although he fought well he lost out to Shaun Le Roux
11/7, 11/7, 11/7 in 31 minutes.
The last match proved to be a marathon, with Jamie Haycocks
of England winning out in the end over Dutchman Pedro Schweetman in
a match lasting 69 minutes.
The women’s matches, being played on an adjacent court to the men’s,
caused a few problems for the writer, because there were quite a few
stairs to negotiate between the two courts, but he soldiered on
bravely. There were good contingents representing England, with six
players, and France with four, along with five other nationalities,
and honours came out fairly even.
up was one of the French favourites Maud Duplomb, who held
off a strong challenge from Austrian Sandra Polak to win 11/7, 11/3,
11/8 in 20 minutes.
up was Emily Whitlock, the 16 year old from England against the
rather more experienced Sina Wall of Germany, and despite
Emily taking an early lead in each of her three games she was not
strong enough to hold off the challenge, and Sina went on to win
11/5, 11/7, 11/7 in 32 minutes.
Next the first of the France/England clashes, of which there were
Carrie Ramsey from England, up against more experienced Laura
Pomportes, fought very bravely, leading 8/5 in the first but
Pomportes coming back in great style to take the game 11/8. The
second game was very even up to 5/5, but then Pomportes zoomed ahead
to 10/5, and despite Carrie saving 3 game balls, she took the second
11/8 again. In the third Carrie took a 7/4 lead but Laura took 7 of
the next 8 points to win again 11/8, taking the match 3 – 0 in 31
third match was another France/England clash, and this turned out to
be a sizzler. Celia Allamargot from France took a 5/2 lead
against Leonie Holt of England in the first game, Leonie
pulled back to 5/5, Celia then took 5 straight points to go 10/5.
Although Leonie saved 2 game balls Celia took the next to win the
In the second from 3/3 Celia stormed up to 9/3 and although Leonie
pulled back three points Celia went on to win the game 11/6. Was
this to be another 3 – 0 to France over England? Well not if Leonie
had anything to do with it, she was certainly not going down without
a fight. Pulling back from 3/1 down in the third to lead 4/3 then
7/4, they traded point for point up to 11/7, game to Leonie.
The small crowd, made up mainly of the other English and French
players, were very noisy in their support for their own players, and
they both fought valiantly, with long hard rallies and a few
mistakes. Leonie took a 4/0 lead, Celia pulled back to lead 5/4,
again Leonie pulled back to lead 7/5, Celia levelled at 7/7, then
8/8, 9/9 and 10/10, tie breaker. Leonie then took the next two
points and the game 12/10.
Two games each, and both girls fighting really hard to win the match
with some great rallies and fantastic shots. The decider was fairly
even up to 5/5, Leonie then took 4 points in a row to lead 9/5,
Celia pulled one back but Leonie took the next two to win the game
11/6 and the match 3 – 2.
What a fantastic comeback and a fabulous match played as usual in a
Curgenven of England only got notification of her place in the
qualifying round on Saturday whilst she was on holiday in her
birthplace of Guernsey, travelled over to Ireland yesterday, Sunday,
and went straight into action against a much more experienced
Samantha Cornett from Canada.
Both ladies started off very evenly, going up to 8/8, then Samantha
took 2 points, 10/8game ball, but Zephanie took the next 3 points to
lead 11/10 game ball, however Samantha took the next 3 and won the
game 13/11. A very lively opening game to follow the previous match.
In the second Samantha seemed the stronger, led 5/2 and although
Zephanie took another three points Samantha served out to take the
game 11/5 and a 2 – 0 lead.
Samantha then took a 4/0 lead in the third and it looked all over
for Zephanie, but she was determined to show that she had not come
all the way here to be beaten easily. She took the next 6 points to
lead 6/4, Samantha levelled to 6/6, 7/7 and 8/8 but Zephanie then
served out to take the game 11/8 and stay in the match. She then
took a 5/1 then a 7/3 lead in the fourth, Samantha pulled back to
level 7/7, but after some great rallies and shots from both girls
Zephanie took the game 11/9 and the match to a decider.
Unfortunately Zephanie then ran out of steam after her fight back,
and although she did not stop battling, Samantha took the decider
11/5 and the match 3 – 2. Another great match from the ladies.
last two matches seemed a bit of an anti climax after these two, but
Laura Hill, the fulltime fire fighter from England had a very
convincing win over another French player, Coline Aumard, winning
comfortably 3 – 0 in just 18 minutes.
the last match of the night for the ladies, Lotte Eriksen
from Norway, who recently got her degree at Birmingham University
and has now moved to Amsterdam to train under the major coaching
force of Liz Irving, got a 3 – 0 victory over Olga Ertlova of the
Czech Republic, although she had to battle to take the last two
games 11/9 and 11/9. With Victoria Lust of England getting a bye
because no reserves turned up, that was the women’s qualification
first day complete.
Let’s look forward to some great matches on Tuesday ...
for the early results
Looking forward to Fitzwilliam
Preview from Arthur Curran
Starting to look forward now to the re-scheduled Cannon Kirk Homes
Irish Open to be held at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin from
30th August to 4th September and ensure that it does not go unseen,
sandwiched as it is between the PSA/WISPA
Hong Kong Open
starting next week, and the WISPA
Women’s World Open
to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh from the 15th September.
There will be a very good line up of top players in both the men’s
and the women’s events, and all squash fans around Ireland in
particular should come along and enjoy the great games and the
fantastic friendly atmosphere at the Fitzwilliam Club, especially as
admission throughout the tournament is COMPLETELY FREE -- YES,
COMPLETELY FREE !!!
the men’s tournament, after two days of qualifying, which will
include some local Irish players, the First Round of the Main Draw
starts with a fascinating match up of the No 1 Seed Azlan
Iskandar, world ranked No 14, fresh from his recent success in
his homeland Malaysian Open Tournament, playing the man who I am
sure will be the crowd’s favourite, the well liked Irish No 1,
recently married John Rooney. No 2 Seed Stewart Boswell,
world ranked 18 from Australia, currently living in England with
lovely wife Vicky (Botwright) and their beautiful new son, and
several other top 50 players will be fighting Azlan all the way to
win the title.
women’s tournament promises even better matches, with No 1 Seed,
world ranked No 6 and No 1 Irish player Madeline Perry
returning to Ireland after her tremendous recent success in winning
the Australian Open, and possibly after repeating that success in
Hong Kong before arriving here in Dublin. Not only favourite in the
seedings, she will certainly be a huge favourite with the Irish
fans, and starts off her attempt to regain this title, after winning
in 2005, 2006 and 2007, losing in the semi final in 2008, and losing
a great final match against Alison Waters last year, with an opening
match against a qualifier.
Madeline will certainly not have an easy passage through the
tournament, since American Natalie Grainger, the No 2 Seed,
returns to play in Ireland on her way back to the top after a long
injury lay off, and the Irish Open sees the return to tournament
play of the lovely Natalie Grinham, after a 10 month lay off
to have her baby son Kieran, who hopefully we shall see at the
tournament, who opens with a fascinating match up against her fellow
nationalised Dutch player Annelize Naudé. The remaining seeds
range from No 4 Laura Massaro, world ranked 8, to No 8 seed
Aisling Blake, world ranked 26, and another huge favourite
here in her home country of Ireland, so there are some great matches
to look forward to.
So, just another reminder to all squash fans in Ireland and
elsewhere, please come along to the Fitzwilliam Club, just
south of Dublin City centre, and enjoy the squash and the convivial
atmosphere ---- AND ALL COMPLETELY FREE !!!!
Seating in the glass backed court, where all the later rounds will
be played, is limited and comes on a first come first seated basis,
so make sure you get there in plenty of time ... I will be there to
report it all for squashsite fans.
for the early results
Back on in Dublin
The 2010 edition of the Irish Open was postponed from its original
April dates because the Ash Cloud crisis prevented most of the
players from getting to Dublin.
But it's back on the calendar, and the Fitzwilliam Club will play
host to many of the world's top players in early September ...