Madeira International 2015
21-25 Jul, Canico, Madeira, Portugal, $5k
Serial winner Koukal triumphs in Madeira
Michael Catling reports
Czech No.1 Jan Koukal has become the joint second most
successful player on the current PSA World Tour after notching his
33rd career title at the Madeira International in Caniço, Portugal.
The second seed overcame English rising star George Parker 6-11,
11-9, 11-8, 11-6 to tie Amr Shabana and Nick Matthew in the title
stakes and inflict a third successive final defeat on Parker in as
Victory at the second edition of the $5kevent also secured
back-to-back titles for the 32-year-old from Prague, following his
success at the Château-Arnoux Open earlier this month.
“It was my first time playing in Madeira so it feels extra
special to win here,” said a delighted Koukal. “It was a really
tough match, especially after playing my semi final against Lyell
[Fuller] earlier in the day.
started really well and put me under a lot of pressure. He actually
surprised me with the way he was playing so it took me a couple of
games to adapt and change my strategy. I didn't feel very sharp in
the first game but I started moving a lot better in the second and I
managed to control the rest of the match.”
Parker, meanwhile, was left to rue an error-strewn display in which
he accrued eight unforced errors in the third game alone.
The third seed from Leicester - positioned 35 places above Koukal in
the world rankings - appeared in cruise control in the opening
exchanges and punished a number of loose shots from Koukal to take
the first game.
The duo traded blows in the second game but with the scores tied at
nine-apiece, Parker tinned a routine drop shot to hand Koukal the
advantage. The former world No.39, who needed five games to defeat
Parker's fellow countryman Lyell Fuller in the last four, duly
converted his first game ball with a clinging backhand drive to
level the arrears.
A seething Parker took his frustrations out on his own racket, and
later received a conduct warning for equipment abuse as the world
No.113 struggled to hide his emotions. His mood was not helped by
the outcome of the third game, as Koukal benefitted from Parker's
generosity at the front of the court to strengthen his foothold on
With the error count racking up, Parker lost five of the first six
points in the corresponding game and appeared resigned to another
Three tinned drop shots from Koukal, punctuated by a fortuitous
bounce off the back wall, gave Parker hope, but the 16-time Czech
Nationals champion quickly regained the initiative and exploited
Parker's erratic hitting to prevail in 48 minutes.
Commenting on his 19-year-old opponent, Koukal added: “I know
George is desperate to win his first title but he is still young and
will have plenty of chances in the future. He deserves a big
congratulations for reaching the final because he caused a huge
upset beating the top seed in the semi final.”
21-25 Jul, Madeira, Portugal, $5k
 Alejandro Garbi (Esp)
11/2, 5/11, 11/5, 11/7 (34m)
[Q] Brian Byrne (Irl)
 Alejandro Garbi
11/8, 11/1, 11/6 (33m)
 Joe Green
 Alejandro Garbi
2/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/6 (34m)
 George Parker
 George Parker
6/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/6 (48m)
 Jan Koukal
 Joe Green (Eng)
11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (32m)
[Q] Sam Ellis (Eng)
 Tristan Eysele (Rsa)
11/3, 3/11, 9/11, 11/4, 11/8 (41m)
[Q] Omar El Tahry (Egy)
 Tristan Eysele
15/13, 11/6, 5/11, 11/9 (37m)
 George Parker
 George Parker (Eng)
12/10, 11/6, 11/6 (23m)
Remo Handl (Sui)
[Q] Pascal Gomez (Esp)
11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (31m)
 Mark Fuller (Eng)
 Mark Fuller
7/11, 5/11, 11/5, 11/8, 11/9 (66m)
 Lyell Fuller
 Lyell Fuller
11/7, 3/11, 11/6, 7/11, 11/5 (57m)
 Jan Koukal
Claudio Pinto (Por)
11/6, 11/6, 11/5 (43m)
 Lyell Fuller (Eng)
Tom De Mulder (Bel)
11/6, 11/5, 9/11, 11/5 (29m)
 Rui Sares (Por)
 Rui Sares
7/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/7 (40m)
 Jan Koukal
Joeri Hapers (Bel)
11/9, 11/9, 11/3 (28m)
 Jan Koukal (Cze)
22 Jul, Qualifying Finals:
Sam Ellis (Eng) 3-0 Ricardo Santos (Por)
11/3, 11/8, 11/2 (15m)
Pascal Gomez (Esp) 3-0 Pedro Gomes (Por)
11/3, 12/10, 13/11 (18m)
Omar El Tahry (Egy) 3-0 Gonçalo Miranda (Por)
11/3, 11/3, 11/5 (13m)
Brian Byrne (Irl) 3-1
Roshan Bharos (Ned) 11/8, 8/11, 11/1, 11/7
Qualifying Round One:
Sam Ellis (Eng) 3-0 Antonio Gomes (Por)
11/2, 11/3, 1/1 (13m)
Ricardo Santos (Por) 3-0 Luis Ferreira (Por)
13/11, 11/2, 12/10 (25m)
Pedro Gomes (Por) 3-0 Carlos Delgado (Por)
11/2, 11/3, 11/9 (15m)
Pascal Gomez (Esp) 3-0 Milton Teixeira (Por)
11/3, 11/3, 11/4 (15m)
Omar El Tahry (Egy) 3-0 Michael Conroy (Irl)
11/0, 11/1, 11/5 (14m)
Gonçalo Miranda (Por) 3-0 João Gonçalves (Por) 11/1,
11/7, 11/2 (14m)
Brian Byrne (Irl) 3-0 Pedro Miranda (Por)
11/2, 11/1, 11/1 (8m)
Roshan Bharos (Ned) 3-0 Ricardo Sardinha (Por) 11/1,
11/3, 11/2 (12m)
Parker hoping for third time lucky in Madeira
Michael Catling reports
teenager George Parker will contest his third PSA World Tour
final in as many months after scalping top seed Alejandro Garbi in
the semi finals of the Madeira International at the Onda Revital
Club on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Parker, who was a losing finalist at the Inno Wood Open and Kent
Open, overturned a one game deficit to triumph 2-11, 11-3, 11-8,
11-6 in an ill-tempered encounter
The 19-year-old third seed will meet Czech number one Jan Koukal
in the final on Saturday afternoon, after the second seed survived a
five game battle against Parker's compatriot Lyell Fuller.
Fuller fought back from two games down to beat namesake Mark in the
quarter finals, and threatened to replicate his heroics after twice
levelling the scores.
Despite a noticeable drop in intensity in the deciding game, Fuller
ran out of steam as Koukal kept his hopes of back-to-back PSA titles
on the other hand, is still seeking a maiden PSA title and was
steamrolled in the opening game of his semi-final clash as Garbi
flew out of the blocks.
Parker's response was emphatic as the Spanish number three
surrendered his advantage in just eight minutes.
for the first time, the referee felt the brunt of Garbi's
frustrations on court and his displeasure almost reached breaking
point as Parker held his nerve in the third game to move ahead for
the first time.
Trailing 6-1 in the fourth game, Garbi capitalised on three unforced
errors to threaten a revival. A couple of ferocious rallies
ultimately proved Garbi's undoing as Parker exploited his opponent's
lethargy at the front of the court to clinch victory in 37 minutes.
is a tricky player to face but I was able to use my physicality and
short game to push him on the back foot,” said Parker. I really
struggled in the first game and I knew I had to step my game up. It
was a bit messy at times but I was happy overall with the way I
On the adjoining court, Koukal ended hopes of an all-English final
after edging a see-saw battle against fifth seed Fuller in just
under an hour.
The 16-time Czech National champion was twice pegged back by Fuller
- 13 years his junior - but the pendulum swung in favour of Koukal
in the decider as the former world number 39 started to dictate
A contentious drop shot, which appeared to catch the tin, gave
Koukal seven match balls and left Fuller incensed. The 19-year-old
from Devonshire responded with two winners before a tinned drop shot
ended his hopes of a maiden PSA final.
against Parker would see Koukal tie Amr Shabana and Nick Matthew on
33 PSA titles, but the 32-year-old from Prague remains unconcerned
about matching two greats of the game.
“I can't really compare myself to Shabana and Matthew,” said
Koukal. “They have obviously won bigger tournaments than me but I am
just really enjoying my squash at the moment. I have never played
George before but I am ready for the challenge. If I can add another
title to my collection, I will be delighted.”
Lyell gets his revenge in Madeira quarters
Michael Catling reports
English teenager Lyell Fuller fought back from two games down
to edge a titanic tussle against fourth seed Mark Fuller and
advance through to the semi finals of the Madeira International at
the Onda Revital Club in Caniço.
19, had lost their previous encounter at the Brest International in
April, and a similar scenario appeared to be unfolding as the fifth
seed's frustrations with a series of refereeing decisions threatened
to boil over.
But the world number 141 from Devonshire regained his composure to
complete an unlikely turnaround, triumphing 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8,
11-9 at the second edition of the $5k event on the Portuguese island
“The match was tough mentally and physically,” said Lyell. “It
was difficult trying to keep my emotions in check as we were both
battling incredibly hard on court. He started really strongly and I
felt I was being quite passive. I knew I had to change my tactics so
I really tried to take advantage of any openings and thankfully I
managed to turn things around.”
With just eight places separating Lyell and Mark in the World
Rankings, the match turned into a war of attrition down the
left-hand side wall as a number of gruelling rallies ensued.
Mark edged a 16 minute opening game and capitalised on Lyell's
frustrations with a series of refereeing decisions to double his
Facing a sixth quarter-final exit this year, Lyell returned
reinvigorated and stormed back to level the arrears. With the
momentum behind him, Lyell forged ahead again early in the final
Trailing by five points, Mark dug deep to claw back the deficit but
with the scores locked at nine-apiece, a tinned drop and a stroke
decision handed Lyell victory in 66 minutes.
the adjacent court, experience prevailed over youth as second seed
Jan Koukal ended home hopes with a 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7
success over Portuguese number one Rui Soares.
Koukal, who will face Lyell for a place in the final, was pushed
hard by Soares - 11 years his junior - and looked in danger of
falling to only his fifth defeat on the PSA World Tour this year.
Buoyed by the support of a raucous home gallery, Soares seemed like
a man possessed as he scurried about the court and deservedly won
the opening game.
The 16-time Czech national champion remained unflustered, however,
and slowly wore down the 21-year-old sixth seed to keep his hopes of
a 33rd Tour title alive.
the top half of the draw, third seed George Parker held off a
late fightback from South African Tristan Eysele to prevail 15-13,
11-6, 5-11, 11-9.
The English teenager was forced to save four game balls in the first
game and saw a 6-2 lead in the fourth game evaporate as Eysele
threatened to take the match into a decider.
With the prospect of another tie-break looming, Parker gleefully
accepted two unforced errors from a weary-looking Eysele to advance
in 37 minutes.
Success on Tour has so far eluded the 19-year-old from Leicester,
and Parker admits his current form is below the standard required to
break a run of two consecutive final defeats.
“My performance wasn't great,” admitted Parker. “There were far
too many errors and I wasn't moving that well. Credit to my
opponent, though, he pushed me hard and made it quite difficult in
the end. But if I play like that tomorrow, I don't think I stand a
good chance of winning.”
up for the reigning European Junior Under 19 champion is top seed
Alejandro Garbi who, like Parker, is looking to reach successive
PSA finals this week.
The 32-year-old Spaniard recaptured the form which earned him a
runner-up trophy at the Gibraltar Open last month as he powered past
seventh seed Joe Green 11-8, 11-1, 11-6.
Green, who was also knocked out of the competition at the
quarter-final stage in 2014, edged the opening exchanges before Caro
reeled off six points in a row to accrue four game balls.
The 20-year-old left-hander saved the first two but a mishit drop
shot handed Caro the ascendancy. The world number 110 from Castellon
stormed through the next game in just six minutes, and recovered
from a 5-2 deficit in the corresponding game to remain on course for
just a second career title.
23-Jul, Round One:
Parker leads English charge as seeds win through to
quarters in Madeira
Michael Catling reports
number 113 George Parker led a quartet of English players
through to the quarter-finals of the Madeira International, after
sweeping past Remo Handl of Switzerland in straight games.
The third seed, who triumphed at the European Junior U19
Championship in March, needed five game balls to take the opening
game, but eased through the next two untroubled to record a 12-10,
11-6, 11-6 success at the PSA $5k event at the Onda Revital Club in
victory, Parker's 15th on the PSA World Tour this year, was the
teenager's first since losing the final of the Kent Open last month.
Parker was also joined in the last eight by Mark Fuller,
Lyell Fuller and Joe Green to cap a successful day for
the English contingent.
There was heartbreak, however, for Irish qualifier Brian Byrne, who
fell to top seed Alejandro Garbi in four games.
The 32-year-old from Castellon admitted he “did not expect such a
tough match,” against Byrne, who is ranked 318 places below the
Spanish number three in the PSA World Rankings.
The Dublin-based deputy head teacher briefly threatened a major
upset after taking the second game, but Caro regained the initiative
to triumph 11-2, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7.
“The match was reasonably close but the games just ran away from
me at around five all in the third and fourth games,” lamented Byrne
afterwards. “I think I pushed him hard but his experience probably
made the difference in the end.”
#110 Garbi will take on Green for a place in the last four, after
the seventh seed outgunned fellow compatriot Sam Ellis in straight
Ellis, who was the top qualification seed, struggled to keep the
ball out of the tin for much of the match and eventually succumbed
to an 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 defeat in just over half an hour.
Green said: “I have made three quarter finals in a row now and
overall, I am probably playing some of my best squash. It will be a
tough game [against Caro tomorrow] and he will be a heavy favourite.
He is definitely beatable, though, and I think I can cause him
plenty of problems.”
In the bottom half of the draw, fourth seed Mark Fuller brushed
aside Spanish qualifier Pascal Gomez 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 to book an
all-English clash with Lyell Fuller (no relation).
Lyell also advanced with relative comfort against home favourite
Claudio Pinto 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 and has already set his sights on
avenging a four game loss to Mark at the Brest International earlier
“I had a close match with Mark a couple of months ago, so I will
definitely be looking for a bit of revenge,” declared Lyell. “I have
been knocked out in too many quarter finals recently, but I have
been training really hard and I feel pretty confident about the
state of my game.”
Meanwhile, second seed Jan Koukal secured a safe passage
through to the quarter final stage following an 11-9, 11-9, 11-3
victory over Joeri Hapers of Belgium.
Next up for Koukal, who is looking to tie Nick Matthew and Amr
Shabana on 33 PSA titles, is Portuguese number one Rui Soares,
who battled past Tom de Mulder 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5.
Tristan Eysele completed a clean sweep for all the seeded
players after overturning a 2-1 deficit to prevail 11-3, 3-11, 9-11,
11-4, 11-8 against Egyptian qualifier Omar El Tahry.
The South African eighth seed, who is rewarded with a last eight
clash against Parker, was indebted to fellow competitor Byrne, after
snapping the strings on two different rackets midway through the
Armed with Byrne's spare racket, while his wife fetched another from
their hotel room, Eysele returned to the court and attempted to
quell El Tahry's impressive shot-making at the front of the court.
El Tahry, who studies mechanical engineering at Plymouth University,
was winning plenty of admirers with a number of deceptive drops and
nonchalant flicks, but Eysele managed to wrestle control back to
deny the 18-year-old a maiden quarter-final appearance in only his
second PSA tournament.
Qualifiers Byrne, Gomez, Ellis & El Tahry
22-Jul, Qualifying Finals:
Brilliant Byrne bounds into Madeira main draw
Michael Catling reports
Irish number four Brian Byrne secured his first appearance in
the main draw of a PSA event outside his homeland for almost a
decade, after battling past Dutchman Roshan Bharos in the final
round of qualifying at the Madeira International.
who operates as a deputy head teacher at a local primary school in
Mayo, overcame a second game wobble to prevail 11-8, 8-11, 11-1,
11-7 and book a last 16 encounter with top seed Alejandro Garbi
at the PSA $5k event in Canico, Portugal.
“I felt drained during little patches because of the heat and I
almost switched off completely in the second game,” revealed the
30-year-old. “Thankfully, I managed to simplify things and played
much better in the third.”
With the games locked at one-apiece, Byrne regained the lead after
capitalising on a succession of unforced errors from the world
number 293. The fourth game followed a similar pattern, and ended
when Bharos inexplicably served down whilst facing a second of four
wasn't the best way to end, but tomorrow will be a nice opportunity
to test myself against the top seed,” said Byrne. It is certainly
not the easiest draw, but these are the games you want to play.
“This is the first time I have been away from my family competing
abroad and the experience has been pretty new for me. The mindset is
completely different from working nine to five and then travelling
to play a match in the evening. Hopefully, I can put in a strong
performance and catch Garbi on an off day.”
Byrne is joined in the main draw by Englishman Sam Ellis, who
defeated local favourite Ricardo Santos 11-3, 11-8, 11-2 at the Onda
The world number 317 barely surrendered control in the opening game,
but was forced to come back from a 6-2 deficit in the second as
Santos reeled off four successive winners - much to the delight of a
Any joy ultimately proved short-lived for the Portuguese
42-year-old, who managed to win just four of the next 24 points as
Ellis booked an all-English clash with seventh seed Joe Green.
Elsewhere, Spaniard Pascal Gomez will meet fourth seed Mark
Fuller in the first round, after holding off a spirited fightback
from Pedro Gomes to advance in straight games.
Gomez, 20, was forced to save two game balls in the final game,
before eventually securing victory at the third time of asking 11-3,
To complete a trio of Portuguese exits, Gonçalo Miranda was blitzed
by Omar El Tahry 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 in just 13 minutes. The
Egyptian teenager, who is competing in only his second PSA
tournament this week, will now face South African Tristan Eysele for
a spot in the last eight.
Elsewhere, second seed Jan Koukal begins his quest for a 33rd Tour
title when he faces Belgium's Joeri Hapers.
In the opposite end of the draw, third seed George Parker will be
looking to bounce back after two consecutive final defeats when he
tackles Remo Handl of Switzerland.
Qualifying under way in Madeira
Michael Catling reports
Englishman Sam Ellis moved within one victory of his first
appearance in the main draw of a PSA World Tour event since
September 2014, after cruising past unranked Portuguese opponent
António Gomes in the first round of qualifying at the Madeira
Ellis, who was born in New Mexico but now resides in Bristol,
recorded an impressive 15 winners en route to an emphatic 11-2,
11-3, 11-1 success at the PSA Challenger 5 event in Canico,
started off strongly with a good attitude and I tried to play quite
solidly without many mistakes,” said the world number 317.
“As the match progressed, I was able to have a bit of fun and
attempt some shots I wouldn't normally play. There are always some
nerves in the first match, so it was a nice way to relax and build
some confidence for the rest of the week.”
On a day where the longest match lasted less than half an hour,
Ellis' 13 minute triumph set the tone for a number of one-sided
the penultimate matchup, Irish number four Brian Byrne needed
just eight minutes to romp past Pedro Miranda 11-2, 11-1, 11-1.
Byrne, 30, will now meet Roshan Bharos for a place in the
last 16 at the Onda Revital Club, after the Dutchman notched his
first win on Tour since early January.
Bharos had lost three consecutive qualifying matches heading into
the event, but the 20-year-old brushed aside co-tournament organiser
Ricardo Sardinha 11-1, 11-3, 11-2.
Portuguese compatriot and colleague Milton Teixeira endured a
similar fate, losing 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 to Spanish youngster Pascal
Gomez, while unranked Irishman Michael Conroy suffered a
thrashing at the hands of Egyptian Omar El Tahry.
Conroy, who won the pre-qualification regional tournament at the
weekend, was bagelled in the opening game by the world number 428
and fared little better in the next two as El Tahry advanced 11-0,
Elsewhere, Portuguese trio Ricardo Santos, Pedro Gomes
and Gonçalo Miranda all moved within one victory of a maiden
PSA first round appearance after overcoming fellow countrymen Luis
Ferreira, Carlos Delgado and Joao Gonçalves respectively.
Santos plays Ellis for a place in the main draw, while Gomes takes
on Gomez and Miranda faces El Tahry.
Take two in Madeira
Michael Catling reports
The Madeira International returns to the Onda Revital Club in
Canico for a second edition of the PSA $5k event.
Rising English star George Parker will attempt to put his
final woes behind him when he begins his quest for a maiden PSA
World Tour title at the Madeira International next week.
The European Junior U19 champion, who reached a career-high 113 in
the July world rankings, was a losing finalist at the Kent Open in
June - less than two weeks after suffering a similar fate at the
Inno Wood Open.
Parker, 19, is seeded third at the second edition of the PSA 5
Challenger event on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and will hope
to avoid a repeat of last year's first round exit when he plays
Remo Handl of Switzerland.
Top seed Alejandro Garbi, who is expected to face Parker in
the last four, also returns to action after suffering final
heartbreak at the Gibraltar Open last month.
The 32-year-old Spaniard has reached at least the quarter-final
stage in all but one of his last nine PSA outings and begins his
campaign against a qualifier on Thursday evening.
South African Tristan Eysele and seventh seed Joe Green are
also scheduled to do likewise, with the latter seeded to meet Garbi
for a semi-final berth.
In the bottom half of the draw, Czech No.1 Jan Koukal will be
gunning for back-to-back titles after triumphing at the Château-Arnoux
Open last Sunday.
The former world number 39 became the first player in history to win
a PSA final for a 12th consecutive year with victory in France.
Koukal has been drawn against Belgian Joeri Harpers in the first round
could face a quarter-final clash with Portuguese No.1 Rui Soares,
whose last 16 opponent is Tom de Mulder of Belgium.
Elsewhere, English duo Lyell Fuller and Mark Fuller
will need to overcome Claudio Pinto and a qualifier respectively to
set-up a repeat of their last eight encounter at the Brest
International Classic in April.