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Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open 2011
11-16 Apr, Dublin, $25k+$26k

16-Apr, Finals:

[4] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt [3] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
    13/15, 5/11, 11/8, 13/11, 16/14 (110m)

Tarek Momen (Egy) bt [1] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
     12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/3 (54m)

It's an Egyptian Double in Dublin
Arthur Curran reports

The women’s final today was between no 3 seed Jaclyn Hawkes, 28, and ranked #15, and No4 seed Nour El Tayeb, the 18 year old Egyptian who just moved up to 20 in the rankings.

From the start Jaclyn showed her experience and maturity, easing in to a 5/1 lead then 7/4, but with some excellent shots from both players and Nour using her youthful energy she pulled back to 7/7. With the large crowd getting excited with every rally, the score moved up to 8/8, 9/9 then 10/9 game ball to Jaclyn. Nour saved that one, Jaclyn got another, Nour saved again, 12/12. Same again to 13/13, but then with Nour putting the last rally out of court Jaclyn finally took the game 15/13.

In the second game Nour started making a few mistakes with several shots into the tin, and Jaclyn moved to 5/2, then to 9/4, Nour took the next point but gave the serve back to Jaclyn with another tin, and Jaclyn served out to win 11/5. Third game and Jaclyn again showed her experience, easing in to a 5/1 lead, Nour levelled to 5/5 then Jaclyn took the next three points to lead 8/5, only three points required for victory.

For some unknown reason the whole match seemed to change at this point, Nour started making her shots count and with the aid of two tins from Jaclyn and a stroke call she went on to take the game 11/8.

The fourth game was fairly even up to 6/5 in Nour’s favour then she eased out to lead 9/5, Jaclyn pulled back to 8/9 before Nour got her first game ball at 10/8. Jaclyn held out to level 10/10 aided by a stroke call, then took match ball with a tin from Nour, but then Nour got two stroke calls in her favour and finished off the game to win 13/11.

Nobody expected the fireworks that we were entertained with in the final game. Nour eased to a 7/4 lead despite giving Jaclyn two points with tins, but then she was visibly struck with a very bad attack of cramp in her left leg and with a couple of tinned shots from Nour, Jaclyn moved in to an 8/7 lead, With Nour struggling valiantly with her cramp she still managed to drag back to lead 9/8, aided again by one tin from Jaclyn, but then Jaclyn went on the attack again with a lovely long drop shot and a stroke call she got the first match ball at 10/9.

I wish I could describe the remainder of this match in detail, but there is far too much. Suffice to say that with some great squash from both players, both of them visibly tiring and Nour virtually playing on one leg, the lead changed hands several times before Nour managed two points together to take the game 16/14, and the match 3 games to 2, in 1 hour and 50 minutes, by far the longest women’s match I have ever seen.

The crowd gave both players a standing ovation as they came off court, richly deserved, and Jaclyn showed abundant grace in accepting defeat.

What a fantastic match with a very worthy winner. Both players after the match were congratulated by Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Ms Frances Fitzgerald, who had attended the match.

Momen makes it two

After the huge excitement of the women’s final came the men’s, and whilst not generating quite the same excitement it was an excellent match played in great spirit with a rather unexpected ending.

Young Tarek Momen from Egypt, coming into this tournament unseeded despite having just gone up in the rankings to #24 was facing the very experienced Australian Stewart Boswell, No 1 seed for this tournament and ranked #20.

The score was kept very tight in the first, both players edging into the lead alternately right up to 9/9, Stewart got the first game ball at 10/9 but Tarek showed his tenacity to level then take the game 12/10.

Tarek eased into a 4/0 lead in the second, Stewart pulled back to 4/6 then 6/7, but Tarek again kept strong to take the game 11/7. Stewart seemed stronger in the third although the score edged up to 7/6 in favour of Tarek, but then Stewart showed his experience to take the game 11/8.

Although Stewart started stronger again to lead 3/1 in the fourth, he then seemed to tire very quickly and Tarek took great advantage to soar through the points to win the game 11/3 and the match 3 games to 1, to make it an Egyptian double here in Egypt in front of the Egyptian Consul for Ireland Mr Ahmed Abbas and the Vice President of the Egyptian Society of Ireland Dr Amr Arisha, who offered very warm congratulations to both winners.

The usual presentations and thanks to the sponsors and tournament organisers were made, with a special presentation made by Gina Menzies the Tournament Director to Vanessa Atkinson, who after making many appearances here in Dublin, winning the Tournament twice, chose this tournament as her last WISPA appearance before retiring.

End of an Era as Vanessa retires ...

This year's Irish Open also marked the last WISPA appearance for Vanessa Atkinson, the former World Champion and World Number One who, since 1996 has played in 140+ WISPA events, reaching 41 finals and winning 24 of those.

We'll be doing a fuller summary of Vanessa's career later this month (contributions welcomed), but since a fuss was made of her at today's presentations in Dublin we thought we'd better do the same ...

"I'm not sure whether I am sad or excited to be retiring from full time squash -maybe a bit of both.

"I've had a great career and no regrets but I think it's just time. Highlights were definitely winning the World Open in 2004 and winning the European Teams in 2010 - two titles I never dreamed I would ever win!.

"Too many people to thank but they know who they are.

"It was fitting in a way to lose my last WISPA match to one of the up and coming young stars and I'm definitely leaving squash in some capable hands."

Irish Open 2011
11-16 Apr, Dublin, $25k
Round One
13 Apr
14 Apr
15 Apr
16 Apr
[1] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
4/11, 11/5, 11/5, 11/4 (44m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
[1] Stewart Boswell
 11/5, 11/4, 8/11, 4/11, 11/2 (60m)
Chris Ryder
[1] Stewart Boswell

 6/11, 11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (58m)

Borja Golan

[1] Stewart Boswell

12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/3 (54m)

Tarek Momen

Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/9, 11/6, 11/7 (69m)
Alan Clyne (Sco)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
 9/11, 11/7, 6/11, 11/7, 11/7 (88m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (Fra)
Mathieu Castagnet
 11/9, 11/8, 11/1 (47m)Borja Golan
Borja Golan (Esp)
11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (60 mins)
[4] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
[3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11/8, 12/10, 11/3 (35m)
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
[3] Saurav Ghosal
11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (44m)
[Q] Siddarth Suchde
[3] Saurav Ghosal

8/11, 2/11, 12/10 rtd (57m)

Tarek Momen

[Q] Matthew Karwalski (Aus)
11/4, 12/10, 11/6 (44m)
[Q] Siddarth Suchde (Ind)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
 12/10, 11/7,11/6 (37m)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
Tarek Momen
11/3, 8/11, 11/6, 11/4
[2] Olli Tuominen
Chris Simpson (Eng)
11/4, 11/7, 11/8 (32 mins)
[2] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Qualifying Finals:

Matt Karwalski (AUS) bt Adrian Waller (ENG)   11/8, 7/11, 10/12, 14/12, 11/9. 78 mins.
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN)        11/6, 11/7, 11/5. 50 mins.
Henrik Mustonen ( Fin) bt Kashif Shuja ( NZL)            12/10,3/11,11/5,11/5 41 mins
Siddharth Suchde (Ind) bt Sean Le Roux (Eng)   11/5, 4/11, 8/11, 11/7, 11/7 92 mins

Qualifying Round One:

Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Nigel Peyton (Irl)      11/7, 11/3, 11/5 19 mins
Kristian Frost Olesen (Den) bt Conor O'Hare (Irl)   11/6. 11/9, 11/3 25 mins
Kashif Shujah (Nzl) bt Derek Ryan (Irl)      
11/7, 11/8, 3/11, 12/10 35 mins
Shaun Le Roux (Eng) bt Joel Hinds (Eng)          11/9, 11/4, 4/11, 11/5 54 mins

Irish Open 2011
11-16 Apr, Dublin, $26k
Round One
13 Apr
14 Apr
15 Apr
16 Apr
[1] Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/3, 12/10, 11/4 (28m)
Line Hansen (Den)
[1] Madeline Perry
11/7, 11/5, 11/6 (37m)
[8] Manuela Manetta
[1] Madeline Perry

 11/9, 11/8 rtd (21m)

[3] Jaclyn Hawkes

[3] Jaclyn Hawkes

13/15, 5/11, 11/8, 13/11, 16/14 (110m)

[4] Nour El Tayeb

[8] Manuela Manetta (Ita)
 7/11, 11/6, 11/7, 11/7 (38m)
Orla Noom (Ned)
[3] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
11/6, 11/3, 11/7 (24m)
[Q] Lauren Siddall (Eng)
[3] Jaclyn Hawkes
 14/12, 11/13, 11/4, 11/3 (50m)
[7] Dominique Lloyd-Walter
[7] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
 11/4, 11/13, 4/11, 13/11, 12/10 (78m)
[Q] Heba El Torky (Egy)
[Q] Tenille Swartz (Rsa)
11/9, 11/4, 6/11, 6/11, 11/5 (58m)
[5] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
[Q] Tenille Swartz
11/7, 11/6, 11/9 (23m)
[4] Nour El Tayeb
[4] Nour El Tayeb

7/11, 11/7, 10/12, 11/1, 11/3 (45m)

[2] Vanessa Atkinson

Victoria Lust (Eng)
11/5, 11/2, 11/3 (20 mins)
[4] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
Kylie Lindsay (Nzl)
11/7, 11/4, 11/6 (26m)
[6] Aisling Blake (Irl)
[6] Aisling Blake
11/9, 11/6, 8/11, 11/7 (40m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson
[Q] Lisa Aitken (Sco)
11/2, 15/13, 11/9 (25 mins)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)

Qualifying Finals:

Heba El Torky (EGY) beat Birgit Coufal (SUI)                   11/6, 12/10, 11/8. 30 mins.
Lisa Aitken (SCO) beat Adel Weir-Nunan (RSA)                   11/7, 11/6, 11/5. 22 mins.
Tenille Swartz (RSA) beat Laura Hill (ENG)      11/9, 9/11, 11/8, 12/14, 12/10. 60 mins.
Lauren Siddall (ENG) beat Gaby Schmol (SUI)          5/11, 13/11, 12/10, 11/9. 55 mins

Qualifying Round One

Birgit Coufal (AUT) bt Breanne Flynn (IRL)                       11/3,11/6,11/3 22 mins
Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Leonie Holt (ENG)                            11/3, 11/3, 13/15, 13/11
Lauren Siddall (ENG) bt Zephanie Curgenven (ENG) 11/6, 11/8, 9/11, 11/3 35mins
Laura Hill (ENG) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)                     11/4, 11/8, 11/9 23 mins

15-Apr, Semis:

[3] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt [1] Madeline Perry (Irl)
        11/9, 11/8 Perry w/d injured (21m)
[4] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt [2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
         7/11, 11/7, 10/12, 11/1, 11/3 (45m)

[1] Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Borja Golan (Esp)
        6/11, 11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (58m)
Tarek Momen (Egy) bt [3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
       8/11, 2/11, 12/10. Ghosal w/d injured. (57m)

Perry limps out in Dublin,
Tayeb calls the curtain on Atkinson

Arthur Curran reports

Shock start to the first women’s semi final when Irish favourite Madeline Perry conceded the match after two games. The first game started fairly evenly up to 8/7 to Jaclyn Hawkes, she then got two points to go to 10/9 game ball. Madeline saved two game balls but could not stop Jaclyn from taking the next point and the game 11/9.

In the second game, with Madeline obviously struggling to play her usual game, Jaclyn went into a 6/1 lead, Madeline fought back to take the next three, Jaclyn then took four points in the next hand to get to game ball at 10/4. Although Madeline fought bravely to save four game balls, she could not reach to return Jaclyn’s lovely low volley and Jaclyn won that game 11/8.

After the break Madeline came back on court to concede the match, suffering from a back injury. A shame for the match to end in that way, but Jaclyn now goes through to the final tomorrow.

The second women’s semi final was between No 2 seed, former World No 1 and World Champion Vanessa Atkinson against the No4 seed, the 18 year old Egyptian youngster Nour El Tayeb.

Young Nour started off very well taking a 5/0 lead, only stopping that run with a tin, Vanessa accepted the opportunity to go on a scoring spree herself, going in front 6/5, from which point Nour only managed a couple more points before Vanessa closed out with four straight points to take the game 11/7.

In the second Nour built up a good early lead 5/2, Vanessa eased back to 4/5, Nour then got to game ball at 10/4 and although she saved three game balls Nour finally got the one point to take the game 11/7. The third started evenly 4/4 then Vanessa got to 7/4, Nour levelled at 7/7, Vanessa got to game ball 10/8, Nour levelled at 10/10 but then Vanessa served out to take the game 12/10. In the fourth game Nour started to show her youthful energy, not just running all over the court but diving all over it, and playing numerous shots whilst lying on the floor – absolutely amazing for one so young, with an awesome variety of shots.

With Vanessa tiring very quickly Nour took the fourth game 11/1, then carried on in the same vein in the final game, thrilling the spectators with some of her shots, winning it 11/3, with Vanessa struggling to keep playing.

A great win for a young lady who surely is destined to have a brilliant career, but a last thought for Vanessa, playing what was her last competitive WISPA tournament after what has been a brilliant career – we all wish her well for the future.

Boswell stops Borja,
Ghosal suffers ...

In the first men's semi-final top seed Stewart Boswell started the first game very well taking a good lead 6/1, but Borja Golan then took a firm grip on the game with 10 straight points to win the game 11/6.

Again Stewart took a good 6/0 lead, and again Borja came back but this time only taking four points before Stewart took control of the game to serve out 11/4. The third game was backwards and forwards score wise up to 5/6 for Borja, but then Stewart got three straight to go 9/5, Borja got two but Stewart again finished the stronger to take the game 11/7.

Borja seemed to be tiring in the fourth game and only managed the odd point now and again whilst Stewart stayed steady and won the game 11/5 and the match 3–0.

The final game of the night was the second men’s semi final between No 3 seed Saurav Ghosal from India, currently studying in Leeds, England whilst training under Malcolm Willstrop at Pontefract, currently ranked #23 in the world, and the unseeded Egyptian player Tarek Momen, ranked #24 in the world, so this could be a close match – but not to be.

Scoring was very level up to 6/5 in Tarek’s favour in the first, but then Saurav swept up to game ball at 10/6, Tarek managed to save two but could not manage a third and Saurav took the game 11/8. From 2/2 in the second, Saurav went on a wonderful run of points, showing great skill and dexterity around the court and won the game 11/2.

Saurav was in front 7/4 in the third and looking good for a place in the Final when disaster struck – he pulled up suddenly with what looked like an injury to his heel, after a short injury break he came back on court but although in serious pain he managed to score three more points but in between Tarek took advantage and won the game 12/10.

After a discussion with the doctor Saurav was unfortunately unable to continue and conceded the match, then was taken off to hospital for a scan. Hopefully the injury will not prove to be too serious and he is back here tomorrow to at least watch the final.

Jack Flynn page

In between matches here tonight Martin Macdonnell, the Tournament Player Liaison Officer, paid tribute to the late Jack Flynn who passed away a few weeks ago after a massive stroke.

Jack was the Tournament Referee here at the Irish Open for several years and was immensely liked and respected here at Fitzwilliam, both as a referee and as a person, as well as all over the world of squash.

He will be very sadly missed, and the audience were asked to stand and show their respect for Jack with a round of applause, which they did immensely.

Jack Flynn page


13-Apr, Quarters:
Arthur Curran reports

Here again at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin today for the quarter finals of the Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open. All matches today will be played on the glass back court alternating from women’s match to men’s match and so on.

[1] Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)
                              11/5, 11/4, 8/11, 4/11, 11/2 (60m)
Borja Golan (Esp) bt Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
                               11/9, 11/8, 11/1 (47m)
[3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Siddarth Suchde (Ind)
                               11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (44m)
Tarek Momen (Egy) bt [2] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
                                11/3, 8/11, 11/6, 11/4

[3] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt (7) Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
                               14/12, 11/13, 11/4, 11/3 (50m)
[4] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt (Q) Tenille Swartz (Rsa)
                               11/7, 11/6, 11/9 (23m)
[1] Madeline Perry (Irl) bt (8) Manuela Manetta (Ita)
                               11/7, 11/5, 11/6 (37m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt (6) Aisling Blake (Irl)
                                11/9, 11/6, 8/11, 11/7 (40m)
Boswell sails into semis,
Momen takes out Tuominen

The first men’s match of the day saw the No 1 seed and tournament favourite Stewart Boswell  of Australia facing Chris Ryder from England.

With Chris hardly able to get into his game, Stewart took the first two games reasonably comfortably, despite lots of long rallies, 11/5 and 11/4, and a quick finish seemed on the cards. However, Chris fought back hard with two lots of four point hands to lead the third 8/5, he then finished off well to win 11/8.

Again in the fourth he stretched the lead out to 7/0, with Stewart looking a little tired and taking odd points after that, but Chris remained calm and took the game 11/4 and the match to a deciding game.

Chris led 2/1in the final game, but Stewart found a second wind from somewhere and sailed through the points to win 11/2 and the match 3 – 2 in 60 minutes, a great hour of squash.
Second men’s match up was Borja Golan from Spain against Mathieu Castagnet from France, Borja moving back up the rankings after his long injury lay off is at #31 whilst his opponent Mathieu is at #53.

The difference in rankings did not show up in the first game, as they both fought hard long rallies trying to gain the upper hand, but the score moved very evenly all the way through until Borja managed to take the game11/9. The second followed in a very similar pattern up to 8/8, this time Borja taking three straight points to win the game 11/8. In the third Mathieu seemed to completely run out of steam and Borja wrapped the game up 11/1 for a 3 – 0 match win.

The next men’s match gave us two players from India, both at present residing in Leeds, England and training under Malcolm Willstrop at Pontefract. Although Saurav Ghosal is the younger by two years he is the much more experienced and is ranked 46 places higher than Siddarth Suchde. The difference in the experience level showed from start to finish, although Siddarth never gave up trying to get into the match Saurav was always in control, winning 11/4, 11/6, 11/7.

Final match of the night was the men’s match between No 2 seed Olli Tuominen of Finland and unseeded Tarek Momen of Egypt, with only two places between them in the rankings, being #22 and #24 respectively, but Tarek at 23 having the advantage of youth on his side.

Tarek started off the better not allowing Olli to score many points and took the first game 11/3. Olli turned things round in the second to lead 6/3, then kept those three points clear up to winning the game at 11/8. Tarek then showed the crowd why he is moving up the rankings by taking the next two games 11/6 and 11/4, and put the No2 seed out of the tournament.

Top Seeds through to Women's Semis

First match of the day was the first ladies quarter final between No 3 seed Jaclyn Hawkes from New Zealand and No 7 seed Dominique Lloyd-Walter from England, two very experienced players.

Dominique started off very well taking a 6/2 lead, Jaclyn pulled back a few points but Dominique still led 8/7, went to 9/9, Jaclyn got the first game ball at 10/9, Dom levelled to go to extra points, 11/11, 12/12, then Jaclyn finished off to take the game 14/12.

The second started very closely contested with both players taking a couple of points each in turn until Dominique led 6/5. Jaclyn then strung four points together to lead 9/6, Dominique took two then Jaclyn got game ball at 10/8. Dominique levelled up again at 10/10 and 11/11, but this time she held firm to take the game 13/11.

Jaclyn got back into the game quickly at the start of the third, taking a huge 6/0 lead, then with Dominique seeming to tire, possibly after yesterday’s hard five-setter, but taking the odd points, Jaclyn finished the game off at 11/4. The fourth was level at 2/2 then with Dom tiring again Jaclyn found another gear, allowing Dom only one more point on the way to winning the game 11/3 and the match 3 – 0.

The next women’s match brought together the only remaining qualifier Tenille Swartz of South Africa and the No 4 seed, the 18 year old Egyptian Nour El Tayeb, who has just gone into the top twenty in the rankings.

Tenille played exceptionally well against a player ranked 27 places above her, showing great skills and movement around the court but Nour showed the Irish crowd just why she has shot up the rankings winning three straight games 11/7, 11/6, 11/9 in a lovely exhibition of squash.

Next up for the women was the player quite a few locals had come to watch, Ireland’s favourite player and the clear tournament favourite Madeline Perry, against feisty Italian lady Manuela Manetta the No 8 seed.

Madeline started off in great form taking a 7/1 early lead, Manuela did manage to take a few points in between, including saving one game ball at 10/6, but Madeline took the game 11/7. With Manuela battling hard and running hard she still could not contain Madeline as she scored in several short bursts of points to win the second game 11/5 and the third 11/6.

Final women’s match up was No 2 seed and former World Champion Vanessa Atkinson from Holland against the host club’s leading player Aisling Blake, the No 6 seed, who had plenty of local support including her lovely parents, who are always a pleasure to meet.

Aisling took an early 3/1 lead in the first, Vanessa then moved into a 5/3 lead, points moved in ones and twos up to 9/9 but then Vanessa served out to take the first 11/9. Vanessa started much better in the second and took a 7/3 lead, with both players showing great athleticism and skilful shot making Aisling could not quite make up the difference and Vanessa took the game 11/6.

A turn round in the third with Aisling taking a 5/1 and then 7/3 lead, with the crowd cheering every point, Vanessa then pulled level at 7/7, but could not keep up the charge and to the delight of the locals Aisling took the third game 11/8. In the fourth Vanessa led 3/1, then 5/4, but then despite Aisling fighting for every ball Vanessa moved into a 9/4 lead, Aisling pulled back two points but despite saving one match ball at 10/6 against, Vanessa finished off the game at 11/7, winning the match 3 games to 1.
13-Apr, Round One:
Arthur Curran reports
Round One Results:

The men’s court opened with a match between two qualifiers from yesterday, Siddarth Suchde (IND) and Matthew Karwalski (AUS).

The first game started rather slowly and went to 3/3, but then Siddarth moved into an 8/3 lead. Matt scored one more point but then Siddarth served out to take the game 11/4. The second game was much closer up to 7/6 in favour of Siddarth, then Matt got game ball at 10/9, Siddarth levelled and then took the game 12/10.

Matthew took the lead 5/4 in the third but then appeared to get very weary, probably on account of his long five setter yesterday, and only took one more point as Siddarth served out to win the game 11/6, and the match 3 – 1.

Tarek Momen of Egypt took the next match in three games against Campbell Grayson from New Zealad, the first game being very close and going to extra points, Tarek winning 12/10. In the second Campbell held a 7/4 lead but Tarek did not allow him to score again and took the game 11/7. In the third game Tarek took an early lead 4/0 and kept in front to win 11/6, and the match 3 – 0.

The third match up was an all French affair, pairing up Mathieu Castagnet and qualifier Gregoire Marche, and it turned into a marathon of 88 minutes duration.

Very close in rankings, #53 and #55 respectively, and quite close in ages, this match was close all the way through, with a great fighting attitude from both players, but in a very fair way. From a lead of 6/4 to Greg the score moved slowly up to 9/9, then Greg served out to take the first game 11/9. Mathieu started the next with a 5/0 lead, Greg moved slowly up to 4/6, then 8/4 to Mathieu, Greg got back in again up to 7/8 but Mathieu this time served out to win the game 11/7.

From 4/3 to Mathieu in the third Greg swept through to lead 8/4, then took the game 11/6. Greg took the first two points of the next game, but Mathieu fought back in to take a 7/3 lead, and although Greg saved two game balls when 5/10 down he could not stop Mathieu taking the game 11/7, and the match into a fifth game.

Mathieu again took an early lead of 6/3, with Gregoire tiring but taking a couple of points, Mathieu moved to 10/5, and although Greg saved two match balls he had to give way to Mathieu taking the final game 11/7. A great match played with lots of endeavour.

Final match in the men’s draw first half saw qualifier Henrik Mustonen of Finland take on No 3 seed Saurav Ghosal of India. Very evenly scored at the beginning up to 4/4, Saurav eased in front to 8/6, then took the game 11/8. In the second, after Saurav led 3/0, Henrik piled on the points to lead 9/4, then Saurav went on a run of 6 points to lead 10/9, Henrik levelled at 10/10 but Saurav served out to take the game 12/10. The young Finn then ran out of steam, only taking the odd point now and then whilst Saurav took the game 11/3 and the match 3 games to nil.

Although I now refer to the second half of the day, matches just kept rolling on one after the other without a break. First match upon the men’s court brought Guernsey born Chris Simpson up against the No 2 seed Olli Tuominen from Finland. Olli was ranked 20 places above Chris, but Chris is 8years younger, so what would make the difference? Age and experience showed us the difference, with Olli taking the match 3 games to nil, despite Chris saving five game balls in the second and 2 match balls in the third, 11/4, 11/7, 11/8.

Next up was the experienced 32 year old Australian Stewart Boswell, now domiciled in Manchester with his lovely wife Vicky (Botwright) and their young son Jack, No 1 seed here in Dublin. He was playing the young Swiss player Nicolas Mueller, ranked 15 places below Stewart.

You would not have thought there was that difference the way the match started, Nicolas taking a huge 8/0 lead, Stewart pulling back four points but Nicolas then served out to take the first game 11/4. However Stewart then used his experience to get steadily back into the match, built up a nice lead and took the next game 11/5. In the third Stewart pulled away to a 7/0 lead, and despite Nicolas pulling back a few points Stewart took the game 11/5 again. Nicolas stayed level up to 4/4 in the fourth, but then Stewart used his experience to glide home 11/4, winning the match 3 games to 1.

Third match of the second half was between experienced Chris Ryder of England and young Alan Clyne of Scotland. Despite Alan taking an early lead and making his way up to 9/8, Chris served out to take the game 11/9. Alan took an early lead again in the second, 4/1, but Chris zoomed back to 10/4, including a 20 minute break for a blood injury to his knee, Alan saved two game balls but Chris won out 11/6. Alan again took the early lead in the third 4/0, then 7/4, but Chris then piled on the pressure and won the game 11/7and the match 3 nil.

Running rather late on the schedule, the last match looked rather tasty on paper, young Egyptian Ali Anwar Reda, 22 this Friday, ranked #26 and No 4 seed for this tournament was facing the experienced Borja Golan from Spain, a real favourite here at the Fitzwilliam club, still moving back up the rankings after a long injury break, presently back up to #31. Despite young Ali showing great tenacity Borja kept slightly in front through the first game and won 11/6.

Borja took an early 3/0 lead in the second, Ali pulled back slowly and the score moved up to 7/7, then Borja used his experience to win the game 11/7. After Borja took an early lead 6/2 in the third there was a short injury break for Ali, but he then came back strongly to lead 7/6, Borja came back again to 9/7, Ali took one, Borja got to match ball 10/8, Ali saved the first one but Borja took the game with a lovely drop shot to win 11/9 and the match 3 - 0

And the Women ...

First on the women’s court today were two fairly experienced players, Manuela Manetta from Italy and Orla Noom from the Netherlands, promising a good start to the day. Orla took an early 2/0 lead, Manuela then led 3/2, Orla then moved into a 5/3 lead and gradually moved up to lead 10/6, game ball. Manuela saved the first game ball but Orla won the next point to take the game 11/7. Manuela then moved up a gear and although Orla stayed close, Manuela took the next three games 11/6, 11/7, 11/7.

Next on the women’s court was No 3 seed Jaclyn Hawkes from New Zealand, now living in Halifax, Yorkshire, playing Yorkshire girl Lauren Siddall, at present living in South Africa, who won through qualifying yesterday. As expected, Lauren played with true Yorkshire grit but found it a step too far against the silky smooth play of Jaclyn, and although she fought to the end, saving two match balls in the third, went down in three games 11/6, 11/3 and 11/7.

Third match on the women’s court, young Egyptian star Heba El Torky, who has just got up to #35 in the rankings, and come through qualifying, was matched against No 7 seed Dominique Lloyd-Walter, the experienced English player who had recently dropped down the rankings to #44 due to along injury lay off late last year.

Dominique showed from the start that she has now got over her injury problem, her movement around the court was back to the best I have seen her for some time, and she whizzed through the first game to win 11/4. The youngster Heba then started to get to the pace of the game, and the score moved steadily up to 4/4, , then Dominique led 7/4 and 8/5, however Heba went on a good run of points to lead 9/8, was level at 10/10, then served out to take the game 13/11. Dominique seemed to start to tire a little in the third and Heba stepped on the gas to win the game 11/4.

Heba carried on in the same way in the fourth, stretching out to a 7/2 lead, but then Dominique showed her experience in keeping a cool head whilst Heba was getting very upset with some of the referee’s calls, and she pulled back to level at 8/8. Heba however got to match ball at 10/8, but again due to getting herself upset, allowed Dominique to get to game ball at 11/10, Heba levelled at 11/11, but once again Dominique showed her experience and maturity, kept her head and took the game 13/11, to level the match 2 – 2.

The final game was cut and thrust, both players making great use of the court and playing some lovely shots. Dom went 3/3 up, Heba led 5/3, Dom levelled at 5/5 then they went point for point up to 9/9 – still either one’s match. Dominique got the first match ball, 10/9, Heba levelled at 10/10, Dominique got another match ball at 11/10, then with a no let call going against Heba, Dominique took the game 12/10 and the match 12/10. A great match for the spectators, though I don’t think the players would agree.

Final match in the first half for the women saw Ireland’s favourite Madeline Perry, just recently raised to the dizzy heights of No 3 in the world rankings, and No 1 seed and outright favourite to win this tournament, against the experienced Dane Line Hansen, ranked #30.

Madeline showed why she has risen so high by storming through the first game, winning 11/3. Line showed us then how well she can play, staying level all the way through the second game and in fact taking the first game ball at 10/9, however Madeline then let us all know why she is at #3 by taking three straight points to win the game 11/10. Line looked as though she had put everything into that second game, as Madeline raced into a 5/2 lead, then 9/3, Line stopped the spell with 1 point but then just could not stop Madeline from winning the game 11/4 and the match 3 games to nil.

The second half started immediately, matches running slightly behind schedule, and this next match did not help matters, taking 55 minutes before a decision was made. Qualifier Tenille Swartz from South Africa, ranked #47, was playing Emma Beddoes from England, ranked #24 and seeded No 5 for this tournament, and Tenille caused the biggest upset of the day.

In the first game Tenille took an early lead 6/2, then 8/5, and got first game ball at 10/7. Emma saved two match points but Tenille took the last point to win 11/9. Emma seemed really out of sorts in the second and Tenille eased her way to an 11/4 win. Emma came right back into the match in the third, taking a 3/1 lead then moving up to 8/4. Tenille then took the next two points but Emma served out to win the game 11/6.

Emma fought really strongly again in the next, taking a good 7/3 lead, getting game ball at 10/4, lost the next two points but eventually served out to win 11/6, and a deciding game to come. Again in the final game Emma seemed out of sorts and Tenille 7/3 lead, Emma could only get one more point before Tenille took the game 11/4 and the match 3 – 2. Splendid match giving us the first big upset of the day.

No6 seed and WR #26, the local club favourite Aisling Blake now came on court with lots of interest from the crowd, and she was playing Kylie Lindsay from New Zealand. Kylie led early on 3/0, Aisling then got into her stride and took a 9/5 lead, Kylie took two points but Aisling got the next two to win 11/7. From 2/2 in the second, Aisling showed her strength to move to 8/2 in the lead, Kylie got another two points but that was it, Aisling served out brilliantly to win 11/4.

Similar pattern in the third with Aisling taking a 3/0 lead, Kylie pulling back to 3/4, but then Aisling hung in to go 8/3 up, Kylie took a couple, Aisling got two more to go10/5 game ball, Kylie saved one but Aisling served out to win 11/6and the match 3 – 0 in 26 minutes. A good win for the local lass who is such a crowd favourite here at Fitzwilliam.

No 4 seed Nour El Tayeb from Egypt, No 4 seed and ranked #20 faced English girl Victoria Lust, ranked #38, and just back from a fine victory in the British Under 23 Championship. Despite that victory, Vicky battled bravely as she always does but found the 18 year old Nour much too strong for her and went down 11/5, 11/2 and 11/3.

The final match on the women’s court was the qualifier Lisa Aitken from Scotland, who had played ever so well during qualifying, up against No 2 seed and former World No 1 Vanessa Atkinson, the Dutch player now based in Leeds with the wonderful James Willstrop. Lisa unfortunately was so outplayed in the first game and Vanessa took the game comfortably 11/2.

The second game was much better from Lisa’s view, she stayed close with Vanessa throughout the game and only lost out 15/13 in the end. Again in the third Lisa stayed with the score up to 9/9, but then Vanessa showed her experience and served out for 11/9 and a 3 – 0 match score.

That was eventually the end of a great day of squash, and there will be lots more tomorrow.


12-Apr, Qualifying Finals:
Arthur Curran reports

Here we are again at the Fitzwilliam Club for the Final day of qualifying. Four matches each in the men’s and women’s tournaments for four places each in tomorrow’s opening first day of the main draw.

Qualifying results (men) Final Round.

Matt Karwalski (AUS) beat Adrian Waller (ENG)
        11/8, 7/11, 10/12, 14/12, 11/9. 78 mins.
Gregoire Marche (FRA) beat Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN)
       11/6, 11/7, 11/5. 50 mins.
Henrik Mustonen ( Fin) bt Kashif Shuja ( NZL)
       12/10,3/11,11/5,11/5 41 mins
Siddharth Suchde (Ind) bt Sean Le Roux (Eng)
      11/5, 4/11, 8/11, 11/7, 11/7 92 mins

First match up on the men’s court was between Matthew Karwalski (AUS) and Adrian Waller (ENG). These two met only last Tuesday in the PSL Semi Final at Duffield, when Adrian won in three straight games.

Matt was much more determined this time round, and the whole match was played with great intensity, but very disruptive, with referees calls being disputed and both players (accidentally, I think) catching each other with their racquets on occasions. The first game was very even scorewise, going up to 7/7, Matt then got two to lead 9/7, Adrian got one back but Matt served out to win the game 11/8. In the second Adrian pulled out to lead 5/1 then 7/3, Matt pulled back to level at 7/7, but Adrian then served out to win the game 11/7.

The third was even up to5/5, Adrian eased in front 7/5 then 9/6, Matthew levelled up at 9/9, Adrian got game ball at 10/9, Matt levelled again at 10/10, but Adrian again served out to win 12/10. 2 – 1 to Adrian. Adrian dominated the fourth to go 8/2 up, Matt then fought his way back into the game to go 6/8, Adrian got a match ball at 10/7, but Matthew was definitely not finished yet. He levelled up to 10/10, lost the next point, won the next two, lost the next but won the next two to take the game 14/12 and stay in the match.

The last game was a little scrappy in parts, both players determined to win, the score fairly level with Adrian slightly in front up to 9/8, but could not get the match ball again as Matthew took 3 straight points to win the game 11/9, and the match 3 games to 2. A great win for Matthew.

Second up on the men’s were two players ranked only two places apart in the rankings a couple of months ago, but Frenchman Gregoire Marche has shot up to #55 this month whilst his opponent Kristian Frost Olesen from Denmark has gone down to #76.

The difference showed up quite early, with Gregoire taking a good 6/1 lead, then 8/1, and despite Kristian taking the next three points, and saving one game ball, Gregoire took the game 11/6. Again Gregoire flowed into a 5/0 lead, Kristian was slowly coming back into the game and got to 7/9, but then Greg took the next two points for the game at 11/7. Once again in the third Gregoire took a 6/1 lead then up to 10/4, Kristian saved one match ball but then Greg closed out the game at 11/5 and the match 3 -0. This match at 50 minutes duration was a long one for a 3/0 result, but there were lots of long rallies.

Henrik Mustonen of Finland started strongly in the next match against Kashif Shuja from New Zealand, taking an early 6/1 lead, then Kashif levelled at 6/6, Henrik got the first game ball at 10/9, Kashifa levelled again but Henrik finished off to take the game 12/10.

The match swung the other way in the second with Kashif lifting his game to lead 5/1, Henrik scored one more point then Kashif finished off the game to win 11/3. However Henrik fought back very strongly to take the next two games fairly comfortably 11/5 and 11/2, to win the match 3 games to 1.

Last match up for the men turned out to be a marathon of 92 minutes of battling squash between Englishman Shaun Le Roux and Siddarth Suchde from India, with twenty places difference in the rankings in Siddhart’s favour. Siddhart took an early 3/0 lead, then 6/2, and in spells of scoring took the game 11/5. Shawn started to show what a fighter he is by taking the next two games 11/4 and 11/8. However Siddarth showed why there is a difference in rankings by taking the next two games 11/7 each, winning the match by 3 games to 2 in a marathon 92 minutes of hard battling squash.

Qualifying results (Women) Final Round.

Heba El Torky (EGY) beat Birgit Coufal (SUI)
      11/6, 12/10, 11/8. 30 mins.
Lisa Aitken (SCO) beat Adel Weir-Nunan (RSA)
        11/7, 11/6, 11/5. 22 mins.
Tenille Swartz (RSA) beat Laura Hill (ENG)
        11/9, 9/11, 11/8, 12/14, 12/10. 60 mins.
Lauren Siddall (ENG) beat Gaby Schmol (SUI)
        5/11, 13/11, 12/10, 11/9. 55 mins

First on the women’s court was one of the young fast-rising Egyptian girls, Heba El Torky, playing against Austrian girl Birgit Coufal, a player ranked 40 places below her in the world rankings.

The first game, as is usual, started rather slowly, both players sizing each other up and getting used to the court. The score moved gently up to 4/4, but then Heba started to show her skills, moved into a 9/4 lead and then took the game 11/6. In the second Heba moved into a 3/1 lead, Birgit pulled back to lead 4/3, the scored then moved evenly up to 8/8, with both players showing great movement and lovely shot making.

Birgit then got to game ball at 10/8, then tinned to give Heba the serve back, and she made the most of it with a great volley to save the first, then Birgit unfortunately put one ball out of the court and the next into the tin, to give Heba the game 12/10.

With both players moving over every square inch of the court this match was a pleasure to watch. Heba took an early lead 4/1, but then Birgit, determined to stay in the game, eased back in to level at 5/5, Heba took three to lead 8/5, Birgit took the next three to level at 8/8, but then Heba showed why she has just moved up the rankings to #35 with a couple of lovely shots to lead 10/8, and Birgit gifted her the game and the match with a final tin, 11/8 to Heba and the match 3-1.

This match was played in a great spirit, and Heba showed that she is definitely one to watch for the future – she could be a good champion before much longer.

The next match featured another young up and coming star, this time a Scots lass called Lisa Aitken, only recently started playing full time after finishing University and ranked #118, up against experienced South African Adel Weir-Nunan, ranked at #55.

Lisa started well taking a 4/2 lead, moving up to 8/5, Adel pulled back two points but Lisa showed how well she is improving by finishing the game off 11/7. Lisa again took an early lead of 5/1 then 8/2, Adel pulled back four shots this time but again Lisa finished off by taking three straight points and the game 11/6. In the third Adel this time took an early lead 3/1, but with some scintillating squash Lisa moved smoothly up to lead 9/3, got to match ball at 10/4, Adel saved one but could not stop the inevitable and Lisa took the game 11/5 and the match 3 – 0. Definitely another player to look out for in the future.

The third match turned out to be a battle royal, considering the players were separated by nearly 50 places in the rankings, Tenille Swartz from South Africa (#47) and Laura Hill (#95) the full time firefighter from Duffield in Derbyshire, England.

Laura started well taking a 5/1 lead, Tenille then picked up a little but Laura still led at 8/6. Then Tenille showed lots of tenacity going to 10/8 game ball. Laura saved one but Tenille finished off to win the game 11/9. The second went more in Laura’s favour, leading 7/3, then 9/6 and 10/7. Tenille saved one game ball but this time Laura took the game 11/9. The next game again swung the other way, with Tenille taking an early 6/2 lead and getting game ball at 10/6, Laura saved two game balls but again Tenille served out to take the game 11/8.

All very close with both players really showing that they wanted to win, and the fourth game was to finish even closer. With the lead changing hands several times the score got to 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, Laura taking the first game ball at 10/9, Tenille saved that game ball at 10/10, and again 11/11, and again 12/12. Laura then got two points together to win the game 14/12. What a fabulous game. Two each and all to play for. Laura, playing with great spirit, took an early 5/1 lead then 6/3, Tenille pulled back to 6/6, Laura pulled back again to 9/6, nearly there.

However Tenille, in no mood to lose this match, got to game ball first at 10/9, Laura saved that one 10/10. Unfortunately Laura then allowed a disputed call to upset her, and Tenille took the next two points for the game 12/10 and the match 3 games to 2. One of those matches where neither player really deserved to lose, but a great match for the spectators, lasting just on the hour.

The final match on the women’s court started a little late, and this one ran over the usual average time for a match. It featured Swiss player Gaby Schmohl, ranked #51, and English player Lauren Siddall, ranked #115.

Should have been fairly straight forward you would think? Not a chance!

Early lead changed a couple of times, Lauren led 4/3, Gaby then took five straight points to lead 8/4, Lauren won the next point but Gaby took the next three and the game 11/5. In the second game Gaby took an early 3/0 lead, Lauren levelled at 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, then Gaby led 8/5 and 9/6, but Lauren showed her true Yorkshire grit taking four straight points to get game ball at 10/9. Gaby saved two game balls to have game ball herself at 11/10, but Lauren came back again to take the next three points and the game 13/11.

The third started very tightly, but Lauren edged into a 6/4 lead. Gaby then took a 9/7 lead, and got to game ball at 10/9. Lauren was certainly not giving up, took the next three points and won the game 12/10. Gaby then showed that she was not giving up, taking a huge 7/1 lead in the fourth game, then 8/3, Lauren fought magnificently to take the lead 9/8, Gaby levelled at 9/9 but Lauren took the next two points, winning the game 11/9 and the match 3- 1, with her hands raised to the roof in victory. A great finish to a great day of squash.

I had been talking to Lauren earlier in the day about her new life in Johannesburg, South Africa, where, she tells me she is getting huge satisfaction in teaching young children in the suburbs of Johannesburg, like Soweto, the game of squash, where they have nothing, no shoes on their feet and hardly any food to eat, nowhere near enough racquets to go round, but they absolutely love it, and it made me feel very humble that this lovely young lady is out there doing this kind of work, and really enjoying it.

She told me after this match “ I kept thinking all the way through that match, if those kids can play out there with no shoes and no food I can play well here – that match was for them” . Well done to Lauren, and may she keep on doing what she is doing.

Well that is another fabulous day of squash over, tomorrow we start the first round of the main draw, a very busy day with 8 matches on both courts, starting at 2.00 pm.


11-Apr, Qualifying Round One:
Arthur Curran reports

Here we are again at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin, back to the normal time of the year. We start today with the first round of qualifiers in both men’s and women’s draws, 4 games in each today, then four games in each tomorrow, with four in each going through to the main draw starting on Wednesday.

Qualifying results (men) First Round.
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Nigel Peyton (LOCAL)
      11/7, 11/3, 11/5. 19 mins.
Kristian Frost-Olesen (DEN) beat Conor O’Hare (LOCAL)
      11/6, 11/9, 11/5. 25 mins.
Shaun Le Roux (ENG) beat Joel Hinds (ENG)
       11/9, 11/4, 4/11, 11/5. 54 mins.
Kashif Shuja (NZL) beat Derek Ryan (LOCAL)
       11/7, 11/8, 3/11, 12/10. 35 mins.

First match up on the men’s court was fairly experienced Australian Matt Karwalski against local club player Nigel Peyton.

Although Nigel played some good shots occasionally, especially in the second game, Matt showed his much greater experience to win 3 – 0 in 19 minutes.

The second men’s match was between Denmark’s Kristian Frost Olesen, WR 74, and another local club player, Conor O’Hare.

Despite Olesen’s much greater experience O’Hare showed some really good touches and was not overawed, but Olesen took the match 3 games to nil in 25 minutes.

The all-English match between Shaun Le Roux and Joel Hinds started off slightly cagey, both Sean and Joel looking for openings. Joel led 2/0, 4/4, 7/4 and 9/7, but then Sean took four straight points without reply to take the first game 11/9. Sean took the initiative in the second, going in front 7/2, Joel got one back but Sean went out to 10/4, Joel saved one game ball but Sean took the game 11/4.

The third game was a complete reversal in fortunes, Joel going ahead 6/1, 9/3, and taking the game 11/4. Another change round in the fourth saw Sean lead 5/1, then 7/4, and Joel took only one more point before Sean wrapped up the game 11/5 and the match 3 games to 1.

The last match of the evening saw local favourite Derek Ryan facing the New Zealand player Kashif Shuja. Shuja took a good 9/4 lead, Derek then took the next three points but could not stop Shuja taking the game 11/7. Kashif took an early 4/2 lead in the second, Derek pulled back to 4/4, level at 6/6 and 8/8, but then Kashif served out to take the game 11/8.

Kashif seemed to lose the speed of the game in the next as Derek stormed through to take the game 11/3. The fourth game had Kashif slightly in front through to 10/6, match ball, Derek then pulled back really well to level at 10/10, but unfortunately could not keep it up and Kashif took the game 12/10 and the match 3 – 1.

Qualifying results (Women) First Round.
Birgit Coufal (AUT) bt Breanne Flynn (LOCAL)
     11/3, 11/6, 11/3. 22mins.
Lisa Aitken (SCO) beat Leonie Holt (ENG)
      11/3, 11/3, 13/15, 13/11. 35 mins.
Laura Hill (ENG) beat Sarah –Jane Perry (ENG)
      11/4, 11/8, 11/9. 23 mins.
Lauren Siddall (ENG) beat Zephanie Curgenven (ENG)
      11/6, 11/8, 9/11, 11/3. 30 mins.

First match on the women’s court matched up Birgit Coufal from Austria, world ranked 71, against a young 15 year old from nearby club Sutton, Breanne Flynn. Birgit showed her experience right from the start, leading 4/1 then 8/2 in the first game then taking the game 11/3.

Breanne got more into the game in the second, scoring the odd point now and then, but Birgit won the game 11/6. Birgit then took the third fairly comfortably 11/3 and the match 3 – 0, but young Breanne said afterwards that she enjoyed the match and was good experience for her for the future.

Second match up turned into an absolute cracker. Leonie Holt (ENG) WR 63, came up against 21 year old Scots lass Lisa Aitken, WR 120. Lisa set off like an express train to her home town of Edinburgh, taking the first two games 11/3 and 11/3, the only points of note for Leonie was saving two game points in the first and two game points in the second, one of which was a tin from Lisa, but then Leonie tinned herself to give Lisa the second game. In the third game Leonie started to pull back into the match a little and battled every point. With both girls playing great squash, Lisa led 2/0, went to 2/2, slowly but steadily Leonie eased in front 6/4.

Lisa took the next three to lead 7/6, Leonie took back the lead 8/7, Lisa levelled, 8/8, then 9/9, Leonie claimed the first game ball at 10/9, but this game was destined to go into extra points. Lisa levelled at 10/10, then had match ball at 11/10, Leonie came back to get game ball at 12/11, Lisa again got match ball at 13/12, but Leonie finished the stronger to take the game 15/13. What a sizzler! In the fourth Leonie was coming strongly back into the match and took an early 4/2 lead, then eased that lead out to 7/5. Lisa, not to be outplayed, stormed back to take a 9/7 lead.

Incredibly Leonie got to game ball at 10/9, Lisa got match ball at 11/10, Leonie saved one but Lisa finished up strongly to take the game 13/11, and the match 3 games to 1. Both players had a fantastic game, but what a fabulous win for Lisa. She then had to come into the office to change her flight home, booked for tomorrow!

The next two women’s matches were both all-England matches, the first between the fulltime firefighter from Duffield, Laura Hill, and yesterday’s runner up in the U23 Championship Sarah-Jane Perry. Laura showed her vast experience to take the first fairly comfortably 11/4, but then in the second Sarah-Jane was battling for every point, going from 3/0 down to 4/3 up, Laura eased back in to lead 9/6, Sarah-Jane took two vital points but then tinned the next two rallies to give Laura the game 11/8. The third game was again another battle, both players fighting hard for every point, the score staying fairly even up to 9/9, but then Laura finished off well to take the game 11/9, and the match 3 – 0.

The last match on the women’s court was another all-England match, albeit one of the girls, Lauren Siddall is currently ‘in exile’ but doing a great job in South Africa, whilst the other one Zephanie Curgenven is from Guernsey.

The much more experienced Lauren managed to take the first game 11/6, despite a valiant attempt from Zephanie, then Zephanie made Lauren work even harder in the second, but Lauren managed to take the game 11/8. In the third, Zephanie took an early 3/0 lead, then a 6/2 lead, Lauren pulled back to lead 7/6, Zephanie pulled ahead 9/7 but then gave away two strokes to allow Lauren to level at 9/9. However Zephanie was still not daunted and took the next two points, for the game at 11/9. Lauren then eased in front in the fourth 2/0 then 4/1, Zephanie took the next two points, but with a great stretch of 7 points on the run, Lauren took the game 11/3, and the match 3 – 1. That was the last of the women’s matches for today.


Competitors from 12 countries will take part in the Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, Dublin from 11th to 16th April.

Heading the list of competitors is Irish woman, Madeline Perry, currently at her highest ever World Ranking of 3. Madeline is seeking her fourth Irish Open title. In her path is English competitor, Laura Massaro. Massaro recently beat World Champion and World Number 1 Nicol David’s who had been unbeaten for 14 months. The top 4 seeds in the women’s draw are ranked in the World Top 15. Ireland’s Aisling Blake (World 26) seeded 7 returns home for a first round match against Manuela Manetta ranked 27.

Note: Massaro withdrawn injured

The men’s draw is headed by Stewart Boswell (Australia) World 20 and a, former World 4. He is seeded to meet Finnish, Olli Tuominen, ranked 22 in the final

Last year’s qualifier and finalist, Borja Golan of Spain, returns this year and continues to climb the rankings after his injury in 2009. Borja, ranked 31, will be hoping for an easier passage to the final this year but will find Egyptian, Ali Anwar Reda, seeded 4, as his first round opponent.

Qualifying competition begins on Monday 11th April in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, Ranelagh. Main draw begins on Wednesday 13th April at 2.00pm with finals on Saturday 16th April.
Entry to all rounds is free.


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