Macau 2016

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Macau Open 2016
13-18 Sep, Macau, China
, $50k


Selby and King claim biggest career titles in Macau
By Alex Wan

The 2016 Macau Squash Open came to a close tonight with both Daryl Selby and Joelle King claiming their biggest career title at the glass court erected next to the Macau Tower.

Selby had won his title in the morning after confirmation that Max Lee was unable to recover in time for the match tonight. He did however, was made to sweat as he took to court against Leo Au in a three game exhibition which he won.

“I’m absolutely delighted with this. It’s not the way I would want to win it, but it just happened. I was very much looking forward to play Max in front of this crown behind him. I feel very sorry for him after what he had done yesterday. I wish him a speedy recovery.”

“I want to thank all the sponsors and people who are around here who has been working hard to make this event for us,”
said Selby, who won his 12th tour title.

In the women’s, King overcame a first game deficit to beat Annie Au, and thus breaking local hopes of a home winner. Whilst Annie Au is from Hong Kong, they are very much considered as locals in the community.

Just like the previous day, Au had started brilliantly, using a slower pace to dictate the flow and pouncing on any half opportunities that were presented. It was very quick points in the beginning, with Au inching ahead to 4-2. From here onwards, she slowly opens up a lead to 10-5 with her delicate drops that were either winners or created better opportunities for her to strike a winner, especially on the front right corner, which was evident in the last point as King scrambled to a weak return which Au finished off with a pin point drive winner.

The rallies in the second game went on longer than they did in the previous, as King got a hang of Au’s drops and boasts, getting to them much earlier than she did. She also started to up the pace and soon got to a big lead to 6-1, but would next tin the next 2 to allow Au to close the gap 6-3. However, Au would return the favour with 2 tins to 8-3.

Things took a turn here when Au found her rhythm again and began to dictate the pace, hitting 4 winners in a row and closing the gap to 8-7. But she couldn’t maintain this and lost the game 11-8.

In the third, King once again fell behind thanks to a funny bounce on the left side of the court. But she bounced back with 3 winners to go 3-1 up. She was denied a let in the next rally and it seemed to have fired her up as she began to strike the ball a lot harder to bring up the pace. It worked wonders as Au was struggling to keep up, falling behind to 7-3. Au clipped the tin in the next 2 points in an attempt to go lower for winner. King continued with the pace in the next 2 rallies and ran away with the game 11-3.

The fourth was by far the most evenly contested game, with each player never being more than 2 points ahead. King was behind in the first half of the game, until she took 4 points in a row from being 5-7 down. She got to game ball at 10-8 and would tin the next, drawing loud cheers from the crowd rooting for Annie Au. But an unfortunate ball that found the joint on the right side would give Joelle King a stroke, her biggest title of her career and an 11-4 head-to-head record against Annie Au now.

The Macau Open champion, when asked how she felt, later said, “I’m pretty knackered actually. I’m very delighted of course. It’s the biggest title I’ve ever won. I was a little surprised with the (slow) pace Annie started with in the beginning and went for it when she had the chance. It’s very hot in there and the temperature in New Zealand is quite different right now.”

“I’ve had a good time here in Macau. I even had a go in the casino, but I’m more of an onlooker. I want to thank everyone, the sponsors, the helpers. Everyone involved, including the people who are here in the morning when we come to practice.”

17-Sep, Semis:
Men’s top seeds ejected, women's top two through ...
By Alex Wan

Play moved to the glass court erected by the Macau Tower today. Both the men’s top seeds were upstaged by their lower seeded opponents, while the women’s top seeds won comfortably.

Max Lee of Hong Kong, winner of last year’s event, once again defied his seeding to take out top seeded Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy in a match that lasted 68 minutes. The Egyptian started way better of the two when he raced to a 5-1 lead very quickly, and then 6-2. At this point, Lee then manages to find his range and a lengthy rally ensued. Though he lost that rally, it was certainly the turning point of the game as rallies were far more competitive from hereon. Elshorbagy got to 9-6, but Lee orchestrated his way back with some masterful performance to take 5 points in a row to take the lead 11-9

In the second, Lee continued to dominate the rallies, always staying ahead by a point or two until he raced to 9-4 and then 10-5. Lee was now in overdrive and looked very comfortable on this court. Two game points were saved before a low forehand kill would end the game 11-7, and Lee was 2-up.

The third saw Elshorbagy coming in a different player, playing a far more aggressive style to unsettle Lee, which worked as he got from 5-4 to 9-4 in a very quick time, attacking every opportunity that he had. An unfortunate stroke from a ball that hit Lee from an unnecessary shot unsettled the defending champion further, which was then cautioned by the referee. Elshorbagy hung on to take it 11-5 and into a fourth game.

Elshorbagy continued his momentum from where he left off, making Lee chase down every corner that tired him out. At 5-3, Lee found the tin and started crouching and gasping for air after each rally from here onwards. It’s certainly not a normal sight of this physical machine that Lee is. It’s no secret that at the end of the game, Lee was struggling as he did not walk to his corner but merely sat on the steps of the side door. 11-8 to Elshorbagy and we have a decider on hand that surely only looked to go Elshorbagy’s way given the condition Lee was in.

Elshorbagy raced to 6-3, capitalising on Lee’s exhaustion, who was also seen limping. Lee was just returning the ball without much purpose but each time he had an opening, tried to finish it in the corners. It paid well, as he manages to close the gap to 6-5, and again at 7-6 from points in the front. He then took 4 points in a row to go 10-7 match ball up.

Elshorbagy catches up to 10-10, the last rally which sent Lee onto the ground where court services was required to dry the surface. This gave Lee some desperately needed time to recoup. The next rally was finished off with a forehand kill from the back and the next point went Lee’s way as well to everyone’s disbelief. Max Lee was in his second successive Macau Open final.

“I took a while to get started in the first game. Then when I was 2-up, the change from day to night unsettled me quite a bit, the ball got softer and I couldn’t adapt quick enough. Marwan also came in with a much more physical game as you can see, a lot of body contact, which I found hard to get used to. In the fourth, I was totally gone, I couldn’t think. I was just hitting the ball and chasing the next. My mind was blank and I had no idea how I won it,” said Max Lee, who was still struggling for his breath.

However, it is highly unfortunate that halfway through the next match, Max would go into severe cramp and fell on the ground crouching and screaming. So loud that Daryl Selby and Saurav Ghosal took notice. An ambulance was eventually called and it is uncertain if Lee will be able to play in the final tomorrow.

In the second men’s semis, Daryl Selby maintained his 100% record against Saurav Ghosal after he won 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-0 in 64 minutes. Selby has now won all 6 of their meetings and maintains that none of their matches has gone below the hour. While it is an upset on paper, it is the Englishman who is ranked higher than Ghosal in the current world rankings.

The first game was long as both players seem a little cautious, never attacking much. It was Ghosal who got ahead first, going from 6-4 to 9-4, but Selby fought back to 9-7 before tinning the next rally to go game ball down. He saves one but would tin the next in a backhand drop attempt to go a game down.

Selby started attacking a lot more in the next and was rewarded with the game, in which he led from the first point and was never behind, winning 11-7 eventually. The pace was also higher by now and there were quite a few traffic problems especially on the mid-length of the right side. There were some decisions which both players would not agree with the referees.

The traffic problems continued into the next game and here was easily another 10 let appeals from both players. So much, it may even have confused the referees who got the score wrong at one point. Selby started this game well, racing to a 5-1 lead and never looked back again, winning the game with a drive that died at the back of the court.

In the fourth, it was a one way traffic. Ghosal seem to have had it with the refereeing and was clearly not playing his usual self. At 5-0, Selby played through interference and caught Ghosal in the eye, to which a 3-minute injury break was taken. It didn’t change anything when game resumed as Selby won all the 5 remaining rallies to close out 11-0, with a forehand cross court volley into the nick.

“Game down again! I have to stop this habit but again, it’s not done me any harm here so far. This is one of the matches where I tried very hard to control the T because Saurav is very good with his hands from the middle. That’s also probably why there are more decisions than usual. I hit way better than before (in this tournament). I took the ball to the front much better. I feel physically very good given the conditions in there. It’s really, really hot.

I feel really sorry for Max. It’s the loudest scream I’ve heard. He did brilliantly today to hang in. I just hope he’s alright.”

Women’s top seeds to contest final

In the women’s the top seeds justified their seedings when Joelle King beat Delia Arnold for the third time in three months and Annie Au gave a masterclass performance to dispatch a helpless Emily Whitlock.

Joelle King started off her match effectively, leading from 2-0 to 5-1. Arnold was playing rather passively and only when she started attacking did she get her act together to close in 5-4. The backhand boast won her the point, and another 2 in this game. A no let to Arnold and 2 consecutive tins would give King the game 11-6 and the lead.

The backhand boast continues to trouble Arnold in the next game, and so did the backhand front corner. King led for most of the game except at 6-7, which she quickly drew level to 7-7. A pair of no lets against Arnold was next followed by a forehand winner to give King game ball, and yet another no let would give her a 2-0 lead.

In the third, Arnold started with a bang as a pair of winners would take her to 3-1. Her mistakes crept back in and she trailed once again at 4-6 before her attacking play get her level to 7-7. A few more winners and a tin from King gave the Malaysian a game and a chance to force a decider.

However, King regrouped very well in the fourth and eliminated all attacking opportunities she presented Arnold with in the third. She took it in an emphatic fashion, taking a 5-0 lead before dropping her first point. Then raced onto the next 4 points to 9-1 before Arnold got a winner, but that is all the Malaysia managed, as King wraps up the game 11-2 and checks into the final after a quarter of an hour.

“Apart from the third game where I allowed her back into the game, I think I did very well. Given the conditions in there, I’m very happy with how I did. It’s so hot in there, it’s a game you want to play smart and I’m trying to think more. In the fourth, I got a good lead and I never looked back.

Whoever I play tomorrow, I have to do the same thing. It’s still going to be a hot court, so I have to play smart again. I’ve never played Emily before but I’ve been playing Annie since I was a junior. Whoever it is, I hope they have a tough match now.”

Joelle King’s wish for a tough match certainly did not come true as Annie Au produced her best performance of the tournament tonight. In the first game, it surely did not look like semi-final, as Au dictated the rallies so well, and was hitting her lengths so tight, it was easy for her to finish the ball. Whitlock took the first point, but then lost 11 points in a row.

The second started in a similar fashion, with Au continuing to dominate, going to 4-0 and then 7-2 before things took a turn. At 7-2 down, Whitlock gave a loud shout to herself, asking “what’s going on” which seemed to work, as she won rally after rally and got as close as 8-7 down. She let out a big “come on” then, but fell just short, losing 11-9.

The third was also Annie Au all the way. She seem to play with the confidence she had in the first game once again and punished everything that came short or loose. There was simply nothing Whitlock could do and it must have been downright frustrating for the 22 year old Englishwoman, who’s doing all the work but had nothing to show. Au won the game 11-3 and sets a final date with Joelle King tomorrow.

“I started off unbelievably well in the first 2 games. I was especially sharper than I thought and I was able to dictate the rallies. I came into this match well prepared so I knew I had to play well, which I did. It’s probably easier than I expected, I certainly did not expect straight games. But the second was crucial. She came back strongly and thankfully I managed to win that, which helped with my confidence coming into the third.”


16-Sep, Quarters:
Top seeds through to the semis in Macau
By Alex Wan

Play opened for the day with men’s and women’s top seeds facing their eight seeded opponents. All matches went to seeding today after several upsets the day before.

With today being a public holiday in conjunction with the Chinese mid-autumn festival, the stands in the Centro de Bowling were filled with squash enthusiasts.

In the men’s, top seed Marwan Elshorbagy took four games to overcome Alan Clyne. After taking the first game with 4 points to spare 11-7, the second proved to be a much tougher challenge. For part of the game, Elshorbagy had to play catch up. Clyne got to 9-8 but then lost 3 straight points, including a harsh no let at 9-9.

Clyne found his shots coming in the third and hit many winners in the third, taking the lead from 3-3 and never looking back, finishing off the game with a low backhand crosscourt that had so much cut on it, you could hear the strings singing.

In the fourth, the world number 7 accelerated the pace and this got him rewarded with many more opportunities to go short. He did so effectively, especially in the front left corner, to which many times, Clyne was denied a let, which naturally left him unhappy.

The fourth was quick, Elshorbagy racing to a 6-1, 7-3 and then 11-4 to book his place on the glass court by the Macau Tower tomorrow.

“Much better from me today. I’m especially happy with how I started and I had a good lead in each game. I lost a little concentration in the second game but I managed to come back to close it. In the third, Alan just played especially well and I feel he was trying to speed up the game. In the fourth I just told myself to be less passive. I’m happy to get through and looking forward to that glass court tomorrow,” Marwan Elshorbagy said after his match.

Defending champion Max Lee exacted his revenge on Malaysian Ivan Yuen, whom he lost to in his own backyard at the HKFC International back in May this year. In a match spanning over 53 minutes, there were moments of brilliances from both players. The match was also no short of drama with Yuen diving all over the court, to the point he needed an injury break.

Having taken out Lee’s compatriot Leo Au the day before, Lee was wary that Yuen was playing some good squash. Overall, Yuen did play some good squash – when his concentration was there and not on many occasions, when he wasn’t questioning the referees’ decisions.

Apart from the second game which Yuen won, all the other games went in similar fashion. It would all be competitive, point for point to a certain stage, and then Lee would string a series of points to open up a huge gap and in the case of the first game, close it out with a single hand.

“As I said yesterday, it’s never easy with Ivan. His forehand volley cross court nicks is like 100% success rate. He just tries for winners from everywhere, so I just had to play a patient game and pick up whatever he threw at me. I’m looking forward to another match. I’ll be playing Marwan, he’s a top ten player so I don’t have any expectations.”

After Ivan Yuen had lost, there was still hope that Nafiizwan Adnan would once again turn the tables to gate crash the semis (Adnan beat Omar Mosaad in the quarters last year). He did start very well indeed against 4th seed Daryl Selby, taking the first game 11-7 with a masterful display of dictating the pace. He then went to 10-8 in the second and things looked promising for the Malaysian. A no let got Selby within a point to force the tie break, after which Adnan slams a forehand into the tin, which he was intended for the nick. A huge “come on” came from Selby who then saved yet another game point before taking it 13-11.

By this stage of the match, there has already been a number of questionable decisions from the referee which both the players have questioned, especially on the consistency of decisions. This trend continues in the following two games, both which Selby won 11-7 and 11-8, which sends him into the semis.

“I was trying not to have a bad start but I did again. It’s a tough court to play well in. It’s just one of those days I had to grind it out both mentally and physically. I was struggling with pretty much everything today and Nafiizwan hit some good winners in the first. I’m happy to win of course and looking forward to the glass court tomorrow, somewhere I’m a lot more comfortable in. I’m seeded to get into the semis so anything beyond this is a bonus," said the world number 19.

Selby’s opponent tomorrow will be Saurav Ghosal, who beat best friend and roommate Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu in the last match of the day, which was also unsurprisingly marred by many interactions with the referees.

As both the players know each other so well, it was bound to be a close one and the first game was evident of that, with Ghosal just doing enough at the end to squeeze through 11-9. The second game saw Ghosal open up a gap, which he will not lose and at 10-6, the ball bounced off the left wall so wide it came to the middle, to which Singh Sandhu stopped as a safety precaution, only to be shockingly denied a let. Mind you, the ball was nearly waist high.

Ghosal seem to have lost some concentration in the third as he allowed his opponent to dictate the rallies and fizzled out very quickly 3-11. He came back strongly in the fourth, opening up a 2-point lead at 3-1 and never falling behind again, winning it 11-8 and the match in over 64 minutes.

Annie wins battle of Hong Kong and left handers

Annie Au won the highly anticipated battle of the top Hong Kong ladies with a clinical performance that Joey Chan simply had no answer to. Using her signature lobs and drops, she sent Chan scurrying all over the court and her anticipation of what Chan was going to do next was spot on today.

In all the games, Au took big leads, including the third game which she lost 10-12, despite leading 6-1. Chan was simply dictated from the word go and there was not much she could do today. Simply clinical stuff from the world number 13.

Au will play Emily Whitlock tomorrow in the semi-finals after the 22 year old from Macclesfield beat Aussie Donna Urquhart in straight games. It’s certainly a match the Aussie lefty would love to forget as she led 5-1 in all three games, but never converted.

Credit to Whitlock for her discipline on court as she stuck to her usual simple game and not be drawn into trying something radical despite being behind. Her perseverance earned her a place tomorrow on the glass court after an 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 in 34 minutes.

“I was behind in all three games. I didn’t panic and I thought if I caught up and so long I imposed my game plan, we’d have a game. It wasn’t a bad start from me, just that she had a good start.

I’ve been here three times. The first time I had to play qualifying and got into the main draw, last year I was in the quarters and I’m now in the semis. So I have good memories here, I’m always improving,”
said Emily on her Macau history.

In the upper half of the draw, Joelle King overcame a one game deficit to beat roommate Line Hansen in four. The 27 year old from New Zealand was surprised in the opening game by a very sharp Hansen, who dictated the rallies from start to finish of the game. As Ivan Yuen (who was next to me) would say, “Line is killing it.”

King came back in the second with a lot more precision in her shots and earned an 11-5 game. In the third, King broke away to 5-2 before the Dane took 4 points in a row to take the lead 6-5. She then blew this away when she lost 4 quick points from 7-7 to give King the overall lead.

It was rather similar in the next, as Hansen lost some easy points from 5-5 much to her frustration, which she shouts out at 5-9. The 4-point gap was now too far for Hansen to chase and after 48 minutes, King was into the semi-finals.

Despite the loss, Hansen took it all in her stride and was all smiles, “I thought it was a good match. I really enjoyed myself out there. I knew it was going to be tough and I thought I had my chances, but I missed those opportunities with some bad decisions.”

Joelle King, meanwhile, paid tribute to her friend, “I thought Line played very well. It’s probably the best she’s played against me. I struggled to see the ball in the first and couldn’t judge the timing so well. It’s never easy playing my roommate, and we’re more than that, we’re friends. We just got to forget that for the moment and get things done. I’m looking forward to the glass courts tomorrow.”

Joelle King will next face Malaysia’s Delia Arnold who took out hard hitting Egyptian teenager Mayar Hany in straight games. Arnold started off really well with some inch perfect finishing that Hany had no answer to. From the start, Arnold was hitting the ball low and caught Hany on many occasions, allowing her a 5-1 lead. Hany did some catching up and at 7-9, Arnold next returned 2 consecutive serves into the tin. She recomposed herself, and was able to close out 11-9 for the lead.

She continued her momentum in the next two games, which was enough to see her through into the semis, her best results in the Macau Open.

The Malaysian said afterwards, “I came well prepared for today. Playing an up and coming young Egyptian, it’s always dangerous. There has been a few upsets here as well, so I was wary of that. I watched some of her videos yesterday and did some analysis coming into the match. I started off a little tensed but it got more comfortable along the way. I’ve played in Macau for a few times already and this is my best performance already, so I’m happy.

15-Sep, Round One
Round One in Macau
full report to follow ...

Malaysian World No.53 Ivan Yuen bridged a 28-place World Rankings gap to defeat Hong Kong’s Leo Au to reach the quarter-final stage of a $50k tournament for the first time in his career.

Despite being ranked below fifth seed Au for much of the past five years, Yuen led the head-to-head record 3-1 coming into the duo’s Macau Open encounter, and the man from Penang came out on top once more, with an 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 victory in 72 minutes seeing him progress to the last eight.

Yuen will line up against defending champion Max Lee for a place in the semi-final after Lee overcame Tsz Fung Yip by a 3-1 margin.

Swiss number six seed Nicolas Mueller was the other seeded player to bow out on the first day of main draw action in the Men’s event after he lost out to Indian qualifier Harinder Pal Sandhu 3-1. A quarter-final meeting against compatriot Saurav Ghosal awaits Sandhu, with Ghosal seeing off Elvinn Keo in straight games to seal his place in the next round.

Meanwhile, pre-tournament title favourite Marwan ElShorbagy got off to a winning start, recovering from a game down to defeat Australia’s Rex Hedrick, and the Bristol-based World No.7 will lock horns with Scotland’s Alan Clyne, who overcame English qualifier Joshua Masters in a five-game contest.

England’s World No.19 Daryl Selby and Malaysian No.1 Nafiizwan Adnan will clash in the other quarter-final fixture after they achieved respective triumphs against Welshman Joel Makin and wildcard Steven Liu.

Elsewhere, Egyptian qualifier Mayar Hany dispatched compatriot Heba El Torky in the Women’s event to set up a quarter-final meeting with Malaysia’s Delia Arnold, who eased past wildcard Liu Kwai Chi.

There were also first round wins for the likes of Joelle King, Annie Au and Emily Whitlock. King downed South Africa’s Siyoli Waters to set up a fixture with Denmark’s Line Hansen, while Hong Kong’s Au defeated France’s Coline Aumard to ensure that she will play compatriot Joey Chan.

Whitlock, meanwhile, stormed to victory against Egyptian 16-year-old Hana Moataz and will contest her quarter-final match with Australian No.1 Donna Urquhart.

14-Sep, Qualifying Finals
MEN: Elvinn Keo gets his biggest break
By Alex Wan

Malaysia’s Elvinn Keo secured the biggest win of his career when he outclassed his higher raked Australian opponent Joshua Larkin.

Playing far better than he did in the previous round, Keo dictated the rallies from the start and it was the Aussie who was doing most of the work from corner to corner.

Keo’s patience on court today was evident and he was rewarded with a place in the main draw with an 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 win after 28 minutes.

It’s also worth a mention that his flamboyant did come into play in the end, where he finished the match with a forehand slam into the nick and on match point, a topspin backhand drop way beyond Larkin’s reach.

“I don’t look as excited, but right now, I’m on cloud nine inside. This is my biggest win and into my first $50k event (main draw). I’ve won a $5k and a semis in a $10k, but this beats them all.”

When asked what was different with his game today, the 28 year old Penang native said:

“I got more used to the court compared to yesterday and I’ve never played Joshua before, so I was a lot more focussed on my game plan.

"I was disciplined and focussed throughout the match, being more patient and kept the pressure up. I had to keep myself calm throughout as I have a tendency to lead, then fall behind and having to chase again.”

Josh Masters was the first to check into the main draw when he beat a stubborn Ko Youngjo of Korea. Both men contrast in size but it was Masters, the bigger of the two seem to have done more painful work in the court.

Masters started well and in quick fire time, he went from 4-2 to 8-3 up before the Korean came back up to a point at 9-8 before the Masters got to game point with a low backhand kill, after which he would convert after a no let decision went against Ko.

The next two games were split one each, Masters winning the first to go 2-up before Ko hit a patch of brilliance with some very sharp finishing to win the next 11-5.

The fourth game was neck to neck most of the time and Masters would eventually clinch it on a tie break 12-10.

Harinder Pal Singh and James Huang played the last match of the afternoon and before the match begun, a referee had commented that this was going to go all the way and anything less than an hour would be considered short.

True to his words, it went to five games and lasted a little longer than “short” – 61 minutes to be exact. Both Sandhu and Huang are known to chase the ball down very well and so the rallies were mostly long.

It was definitely not the most pleasing match to watch but the athleticism of both is surely a sight to behold.

In the end, it was Sandhu who would walk out in victory over the Hong Kong based Taiwanese.

The last to check into the main draw was Joel Makin, but he was surely also the quickest. Additionally, he must also be one of the most “efficient” qualifiers in history as he dropped only a single point in qualifying - after giving local Vang Keng Hei a beating at the loss of the single point yesterday, his opponent today, Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him, withdrew from the match after falling ill.

WOMEN: Three more Egyptians in main draw

It is not often to see only a single Egyptian in the main draw of an event of this size – in this instance, Heba El-Torky, the seventh seed. However, all three Egyptians won their matches today to join their more illustrious compatriot tomorrow.

First on was qualifying top seed Mayar Hany, who took out Hong Kong’s top junior Bubble Lui in just 21 minutes. While the duration may indicate an easy game, it had its ups and downs as both players were playing well in patches.

After winning the first two games rather comfortable, Lui came back down impressively to snatch the third game 11-4. Playing some very clever squash, she orchestrated her rallies to set up her chances which she deftly finished off.

However, in the following game, the Hong Kong junior had a disastrous start and in no time found herself trailing 0-8 after Hany found her range once again to completely assert her ways.

While Lui staged a comeback, it was a little too far to catch up and it was 11-4, 11-6, 4-11 and 11-5 to the Egyptian.

Hana Moataz then made it two Egyptians when she upset South African Cheyna Tucker, the qualifying third seed and world number 69, in straight games. The first two games went in similar fashion with both players never more than two points apart up to 6-6, and the Egyptian would break away to 11-6.

The third game was the most exciting as rallies would now be longer and the points going to either player more equally. It took six tie breaks from 10-10 before the game, and match was decided after Moataz, the world number 85 finished off with a low cross court backhand kill.

Nada Abbas then made it three out of three for Egypt after she won the battle of the teenagers. Her opponent, Hong Kong’s 15 year old Chan Sin Yuk, had a day earlier had took out another Egyptian.

But today, the 16-year old from Giza made sure that did not happen. Abbas took three games to seal her place in the next round, but the opening and third game were close.

Abbas had dictated the flow of play for a big part of the match but Chan did respond with some brilliant kills of her own, often from the forehand side aimed low, but again it just wasn’t enough.

In the last match of the ladies event, Siyoli Waters of South Africa ousted Carmen Lee of Hong Kong in straight games. After a competitive first game and a little in the second, it was pretty evident that the 24 year old Lee was not match fit and would concede the third game tamely.

The poster girl Lee said later:

“I haven’t trained for a while now that I’ve stopped playing professionally. I played alright but I just don’t have the fitness anymore. I’m happy with how I played in the first game, but not after that.”

Players at the Welcome Dinner

13-Sep, Qualifying Round One

MEN: Seeds safely through - locals all crash out.
By Alex Wan

The first two games on the centre court featured University of Bristol students, Joshua Masters and Stu Hadden.

Masters, fresh from the World University Champs in Kuala Lumpur last week, faced Hong Kong number 6 Henry Leung. The 21 year old from Maidstone had a comfortable first game, in which he dominated the T with all of his 6’1 height and ending many rallies with low kills.

However, he found himself truly challenged in the second game and was behind in the first half of the game. However, he recovered from 4-6 down to squeeze through 11-9 after a rather physical last few points. He was in control again in the third game, racing to a 10-5 and eventually winning 11-8.

“I eased off a little after the first game and lost a bit of the lengths. I’ve seen some of his drops so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I have to thank Marwan (Elshorbagy) for his coaching in between my games,” said the Englishman.

Ko Youngjo made easy work of Ireland’s Hadden, who started the more aggressive one, striking the ball with all his might. The pace seem to have favoured Ko, who was moving gracefully in comparison. Right from the first game, Ko’s tighter drives and more effective shot selections was way above his Irish opponent.

23 minutes was all it took Ko to book his place in the next round against Joshua Masters, and thus preventing an all-Bristol clash.

Malaysia’s Elvinn Keo, the qualifying seventh seed from Penang, made it to the qualifying finals at the expense of India’s Ravi Dixit. Keo was in cruise control in the first two games with his deft touches, especially to the front left corner, dropping just 6 points in total.

The third was more competitive but Keo was always in control in the first half of it. But things took a turn from 4-6 onwards as Dixit inched his way to 11-9 to force a fourth game, which was close and Keo was forced to save two game balls, before winning 13-11. It must have been a relief for the Malaysian, who later said he felt his heart racing midway through the second game.

Local interest for the locals in the men’s event kicked off with 15 year old Leung Teng Chi, who took to court against Aussie world number 90 Joshua Larkin. The 26 year old from Sydney was dominant right from the start, exerting a high paced tempo which his young opponent never settled into. 14 minutes was all it took for Larkin to book his place tomorrow for a shot into the main draw against Keo.

Match of the day has to belong to HarinderPal Sandhu of India and Hong Kong’s Tang Ming Hong. While their world ranking would suggest a gap in playing standards – 79 for the Indian and 156 for Hongkie, but the match was anything but.

The Indian had started off effectively, hitting the ball with a lot more purpose than his opponent, leading from 4-3 and then opening up a 4-point gap to 8-4 before closing it 11-5 thanks a tin from Tang.

However, Tang soon got his A-game and found himself taking the lead 8-4 in the second, before Singh Sandhu hit a few winners to draw level 8-8. An exciting rally ensued where both men took turns on the attack and defence that ended in favour to Tang. A no let followed by a backhand flick that sent Singh Sandhu the wrong way drew things level, and Tang did not hide his delight with a huge “Yes” on his way out of the door.

The third and the fourth was just breath taking athleticism from both the players; Tang probably a little more. Both games went the distance and twice, it was the Indian who scrapped through marginally, earning himself at least another day of play.

The manner in which Tang chases down every ball in the final rally was as quick and fresh as it was in the very first point. Singh Sandhu might have been in more control most of the time, but the retrieval ability of Tang was a joy to watch. It must also be mentioned that Singh Sandhu’s perseverance in not rushing to end the rallies probably won him the big points.

“I started off well, hitting good lengths and varying the pace. In the second half, I relaxed a little and that’s when things got more difficult. There were more loose shots and he was able to take advantage.

"I used my experience to stay in the rallies a little longer (after the second game), be more patient and in the end it paid off for me,”
said Macau Open debutant Sandhu later.

Taiwan’s James Huang also made it to the next round when he recovered from a one game deficit to beat Jordan’s Ahmad Alsaraj. The lanky Jordanian started off well, catching Huang so often with his crafty style of play and taking the first game.

The next two games, Huang was a little more familiar with what was coming or what could possibly come. His experience on the tour showed as he was more patient in the rallies, working out the younger Al-Saraj. He won both the games deservingly and in the fourth, Al-Saraj was simply out of breath and lost tamely 3-11.

The last two matches of the evening featured 15-year old locals Manuel Chan Gassmann who faced Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him and Van Keng Hei who had Welsh Joel Makin for company.

Both matches lasted identical 16 minutes and were one sided. Wong won in 1, 4 and 1, while Malkin was more ruthless, dropping just a single point in the opening game.

WOMEN: Teenagers steal the show

A trio of 15 year olds featured in the women’s qualifying today, of which two came out triumphant over their more illustrious opponents.

A trio of 15 year olds featured in the women’s qualifying today, of which two came out triumphant over their more illustrious opponents.

Hong Kong’s Bubble Lui was first on court and ousted seventh seed Yura Choi of Korea. While it may be an upset on paper, the result did not come as a complete surprise to many. The Hong Kong 15 year old started with a bang, opening up a big lead right from the start and wrapped up 11-3 before Choi could settle.

The more experienced Korean then tightened up her game and the following two games were both equally tight, which ended split between the pair. The two games took its toll on the Korean as she was a spent force in the fourth game, going from 1-5 down and eventually losing 5-11.

Chan Siu Yuk, a relatively unknown 15 year old from Hong Kong next took out Egyptian Farah Momen, the 8th seed in qualifying. It was a match that saw both players having streaks of brilliances followed by a string of errors.

Momen, who hits the ball with brute force most of the time, troubling the petite 15 year old with the ferocious pace in the beginning. But Chan would settle into the game and Momen would find the tin consecutively, before squeezing through.

The trend continues in the next 3 games, with the only difference being Chan would walk out the winner in all three to book her place in the next round. She will face another Egyptian, Nada Abbas tomorrow, for a place in the main draw.

Egypt’s Hana Moataz, the 16 year old from Egypt took to court against local player Yeung Weng Chi, who is a year her junior. While they may be close in age, their standard of play was clearly a mismatch. The world number 85 walked out a winner at a loss of only 7 points over 15 minutes.

Team Malaysia

Five up for Macau
Preview from Alex Wan

The Macau Open 2016 returns to the PSA World Tour calendar once again, running for the fifth consecutive year since 2011. The 2016 edition will offer $50,000 on-site prize money and bonuses in both the men’s and women’s categories.

The event will be held from 13 to 18 September 2016 and is organised by the Macau Squash Association with support from the Macao Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government.

Egypt’s world #7 Marwan Elshorbagy and India’s world #21 Saurav Ghosal lead the pack in the men’s event. Defending champion Max Lee of Hong Kong is the third seed and will be looking to continue his great start to the season after reaching the semi-finals of the World Series Hong Kong Open last month. England’s Daryl Selby, who will be playing in his second Macau Open, complete the top quartet.

In the women’s event, Joelle King of New Zealand returns to Macau as the top seed ahead of Hong Kong’s Annie Au in second spot. The top seeded pair met in the quarter finals of this event a year ago with the Hong Kong number one coming out victorious. World #18 and #15 Delia Arnold of Malaysia and Emily Whitlock of England are seeded three and four respectively.

The local challenge at the event will once again be spearheaded by siblings Steven and Ivy Liu, the national champions of Macau who will both face Malaysian opponents in Nafiizwan Adnan and Delia Arnold.

The Macau pair will also be joined by their younger counterparts who will play in the qualifying rounds - 15 year old Yeung Weng Chi in the women’s and Van Keng Hei, Manuel Chan Gassmann and Leung Teng Chi in the men’s.

The qualifying rounds will take place on the 13th and 14th of September, with the main draw matches following from the 15th  onwards at the at the Bowling Centre located at Avenida da Nave Desportiva.

The semi finals and final, will be played at the glass court that will be erected on Praça Do Lago Sai Van.

The Macau Squash Open 2016 press conference was held where the draw was officially released to the local media.

Present at the press conference today were Mr. Wu Lao Ut (Head of Sport Development, Macau Sports Bureau), Mr. William Kuan (Chairman, Macau Squash Association), Mr. Victor Hoi (Vice President, Macau Squash Association), Mr. Kenneth Lei, the tournament director, and assistant tournament directors, Mr. Armando Amante and Mr. Lim Chee Ming.

In conjunction with the 2016 Macau Squash Open, there will be a Macau Squash Charity Carnival held at the Praça Do Lago Sai Van on 17 and 18 September between 1 -6 pm before the matches in aid of the Macau Autism Association.


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