Day FIVE in Hull ...                                  open reports in new window
Round TWO - men's top half, women's bottom half:

  [7] Low Wee Wern (Mas) 3-2 Emma Beddoes (Eng)      11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-9 (76m)
  [3] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-0 [14] Kasey Brown (Aus)              11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (20m)
  Sarah Kippax (Eng) 3-2 Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)   15-17, 11-7, 13-15, 11-3, 12-10 (84m)
  [2] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [9] Annie Au (Hkg)                            11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)

  Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-2 Adrian Grant (Eng)            7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 (90m)
  [4] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Tarek Momen (Egy)                 11-2, 11-3, 11-9 (50m)
  [1] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-2 Daryl Selby (Eng)              11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4 (76m)
  [Q] Fares Dessouki (Egy) 3-2 [8] Karim Darwish (Egy) 12-10, 11-6, 2-11, 2-11, 11-9 (62m)

World Champions through
on a day of contrasts and upsets


England's world champions Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro won through the quarter-finals of the Allam British Open on a day of marathon matches in Hull.

Matthew needed five games to get past fellow Englishman Daryl Selby while Massaro beat her oft-time nemesis Annie Au in straight games.

They were joined in the quarter-finals by Sarah Kippax who won a marathon match against Nicolette Fernandes, while Mathieu Castagnet and, in the last match of the day, qualifier Fares Dessouki upset the odds to join the last eight.

Match Reports  |  En Bref  |  Full Draws Photo Galleries

[7] Low Wee Wern (Mas) 3-2 Emma Beddoes (Eng)          11-9,11-9,6-11,6-11,11-9 (76m)

After her MASSIVE win yesterday, you would think that Emma would have been – if not tired physically, at least mentally. Well, couldn’t be more wrong. Emma appeared like the hungry one today. WW was it seemed to be always a bit on the back foot, and was a bit too passive at times it felt.

Emma was going for her shots, retrieving so well, and although she made a few errors (7 in the 2nd), the “force was with her”, if you pardon me my expression! Power, superb serves, tight squash, great long drop shots, stepping up at the right time to volley, not much wrong in any department. Maybe taking just a bit too much time to clear the ball, but I put that on the account of yesterday’s tiredness.

A few funny moments with the referring, like when WW asks for a review at 6/7 in the second, and Emma says, no, I didn’t ask for a review, the central ref cancels the review! WW was confused, so were we. Also a very surprising let at 10/9 (that for me and a few others were a clear stroke). But overall, it all balanced out.

At 9/9 in the 5th, it was anybody’s match really, ridiculous rallies at that point, WW just clinching the two last points, a drop shot and a superb crosscourt drive that dies away. It could have gone easily the other way…. But then again, every time they play, EVERY TIME, it went 3/2, WW getting now 4 out of 6 encounters. More to come soon I’m sure.
 

Every time we play, we go the full distance, so today was no different. She played very well today, all credit to her, she was very sharp and hardly made any errors. I had to dig in deep and make each and every rally count.

I didn’t feel that comfortable to start with as I had only a few minutes this morning to practice, and I felt that she had a lot of support here, so I didn’t feel too keen on going to the front.

I kept telling myself to get more length in, to inject more pace, more rhythm because it was a bit of a scrappy match to be honest. The court is a bit dead at the back, I prefer a bit more bouncy!

It’s so nice to play on the Glass Court, it now feels like the British Open, because yesterday, when we played at the University, Delia and myself had exactly three people watching, so it’s nice to be back here. Now I feel that the British Open has started.

I truly want to thank Nicol for coming here today and coach me, and it was a long match as well, I’m really grateful.

 [3] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-0 [14] Kasey Brown (Aus)                      11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (20m)

Raneem Blitz

Every player will tell you that when Raneem El Welily is on fire there’s just nothing you can do about it, and that’s what happened to Kasey Bown today. No matter how hard she tried, the Aussie was given nothing to feed on as Welily varied the pace, varied her shots, andf found winners from every angle and position.

It’s not always like that, of course, as the winner admitted afterwards: “Yes, sometimes I can make mistakes and give away winning positions, I did that yesterday, but today everything just worked!”

One photo tells you all you need to know - Raneem hsas just his an overhead crosscourt volley nick from deep in the court behind Kasey. Nuf said.
 

 Sarah Kippax (Eng) 3-2 Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
       15-17, 11-7, 13-15, 11-3, 12-10 (84m)

Kippax claims Quarters spot in thriller

Unseeded Sarah Kippex claimed her first-ever World Series quarter-final place with a second successive five-game marathon.

After beating compatriot Jenny Duncalf yesterday - from 5-10 down in the fourth and 3-8 down in the fifth - she survived an enthralling 84-minute marathon with fellow non-seed Nicolette Fernandes 12-10 in the fifth!

The Guyanese, who had yesterday beaten former British Open finalist Madeline Perry in straight games, showed her immense determination in taking the first and third games on extra points, 17-15 in the first and 15-13 in the third after being 10-7 down.

Kippax responded both times with comfortable wins, taking the second 11-7 and the fourth 11-3 to set up a decider which went point for point up to 7-all.

Fernandes’ intensity seemed to drop a little at that point as Kippax moved surprisingly easily to a 10-7 advantage, but Fernandes certainly wasn’t done as she fought back again to force a third set of extra points.

This time it was Kippax’s turn though as Fernandes put a drive out of court, and at the fourth time of asking Kippax fired in a dropshot from deep that propelled her into the last eight.

It really was a great match, thoroughly-enjoyed by the ever-growing crowd in the Sports Arena.
 

"The first game seemed to go on forever, I wasn't particularly happy when she pinched it, to say the least!

"It felt like a great match to me though, I really enjoyed it and hope everyone watching did too.

"It sounds just amazing to be in the quarters of the British Open - I came in without too many expectations, just to try to play my best and enjoy it, so I'm really delighted!"



Saying that I struggled with Annie recently is an understatement, she beat me the last times we played. And for those who don’t watch me on the tour, or don’t go on squashTv, I am not that fired up normally! But I knew that if I didn’t keep my energy up the whole time, she would just chopped me within seconds, she is so talented!

It was funny in Penang for the world, all that pressure trying to win against Nicol, who won 7 out of I don’t know, 8 or 9, and suddenly, you get to the final, and she is not there! So it wasn’t my best squash, but it was all about handling the situation…

This year, well, not that different from the previous years to come here. I still want to do go, still want to win, and the pressure is still on Nicol, the world number one for so many years, and yes I want to win, but maybe I’m less desperate to win now, as I have got one under my belt…

[2] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [9] Annie Au (Hkg)
           11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)

ANNIE DIDN’T SHOW UP

I know what you are thinking. I can read the angry tweets: Fram didn’t give Laura enough credit, it’s Laura’s doing with Annie didn’t play well.

Well, let me put it this way. Annie didn’t show up, and Laura made sure the door of the changing room was locked.

Basically, from the word go, Annie was so nervous she just didn’t hit a ball through. It went that bad that she actually served out in the second!

Only in the third, the Hong Kong girl started to relax a bit and made her opponent run a bit. But to be fair, there was only going to be one winner.

And it may seem strange to you. But I think this match was more difficult for Laura than any hypothetical/future final in the event. She seems to freeze normally when she plays Annie, and she seems to become what Annie became today: a ghost of herself.

As Annie beat her in Hong Kong last Hong Kong tournament, I guess it was only fair that Laura returned the favour this time round, in Hull, England…

 

Last time we played, he beat me, and even the last time, I had match ball 10/7, and he still won, so we both knew it was going to be tough.

Adrian played really well, he controlled the match from the start, and surprised me, as he played that match as if it was a final of a major!!! So perfect, and he kept in the front of me for 3 games.

I was never comfortable, but in the 4th, I was down 8/6, and I said to myself, you keep on doing that, and you lose the match… So I speed up the pace and got back. I could see he was getting tired a bit, but he seemed to have recovered at the start of the 5th. At 5/0, I woudln’ have bet a euro on my chances, but I guess I won just by doing what I know how, just fight and hang in there. So I hit the ball as hard as I could, again and again, and I twisted/turned him as often as possible. And it seemed to damage him physically.

So happy to win this match, as I think it’s taking me to the top 20. ‘Bout time too!!!!!

It makes a huge difference to have a staff behind you, and your team mates, and your friends. When I was down 5/0, I looked at them, and I could see in their eyes that they believed I could come back, that I just had to push. So I did. And if I am in the quarters now, it’s thanks to them.

Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-2 Adrian Grant (Eng)
          7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 (90m)

AND ANOTHER 3/2 CRACKER…

My Godfather as Cameron would say, we’ve been spoiled for long and intense matches up to now haven’t we… To be honest, it looked like a quick one for Adrian to start with. The way the Englishman was playing was a top 10 level he used to be a few years ago.

Analytic, clinical performance, attacking superbly, his volleys were spot on every time, putting Mathieu constantly under pressure, and when the French was able to attack, his counter drop was just perfect. Immaculate performance for 3 games and a half.

Yes, although Mathieu took the 2nd (4 unforced errors from Adrian), the English was the winner for sure in everybody’s mind. Mathieu was just too passive, too careful, basically trying not to lose the match, instead of his normal “got nothing to lose, let’s go for it” attitude I cherish.

Why? Because winning this match would give him a good mathematical chance to get to the top20. And that, for him, was capital. So crucial.

And it took him to get down 2/1, and 6/3 down to finally throw caution to the wind and say, let’s do this. Let’s win this. Right here. Right now.

I hear myself say to whoever was next to me “shame he had to wait for the 4th game to play aggressively instead of starting it in the first game”!!! Qu’importe le flacon pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse.

That you could translate with a “no matter where you buy the bottle, as long as you enjoy the wine…” He finally found the good tactic/attitude, found a much faster pace, hit harder, and so much more positive coming out of the racquet. That coincided with Adrian, 33, dropping a bit energy wise.

Still if the French takes the 4th only just 11/9, it doesn’t look good AT ALL for the French in the 5th, as he finds himself again down, and not just a little, 5/0!!

But Adrian is now running on fumes, he’ll make 5 errors in 8 points, and let Mathieu string 9 points in a row. He’ll score another point, but after massive rallies, giving it all the push he doesn’t have anymore, he finally bows 11/6, on a ridiculous shot from Mathieu, a terrible boast that ends in the nick, what we call in French a “Merguez”, meaning “spicy sausage” in French, a ridiculously lucky shot.

Apparently, “Mister Merguez” could become the Frenchman nickname, as he apparently is customary to play that kind of shots at crucial time…

[4] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Tarek Momen (Egy)
                            11-2, 11-3, 11-9 (50m)

MOHAMED: OBJECTIVE – THE TITLE

Mohamed El Shorbagy is on the title path I tell you. He was dreading that match with Tarek. You could feel it the way he immediately started to argue the let decisions against him. The mental war started early. Both trying to get into each other’s skin. And it seemed to work perfectly for Mohamed in the first two, 11/2, 11/3, with Tarek only score 1 point in the first, and 1 in the second, the rest being Mohamed’s unforced errors.

Strangely enough, the 2nd appeared to be 12 minutes on the scoresheet. Funny, it looked much shorter to me.

The third is the key really. Mohamed went on with the same momentum that carried him in the first two, 5/0. But what he dreaded happened. Remember the Final of the World Series where Tarek saved 4 match balls, to finally win it? It gave Mohamed nightmares”!!! So when he saw Tarek coming back, he didn’t take it lightly and made sure he was not letting him run away with the score.

Tarek, as always a slow starter, found his groove and astonishing shots from 5/0 down, as you would… Like I said, he clawed back to level 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9! The crowd was loving it, but they couldn’t get another game on this one. A tin from Tarek at the end of a very long rally, and a quickly to finish, a “Grégory Gaultier” crosscourt that flirts with the tin, superb, 11/9.

Tarek is such a great player, and when the draw was out, I knew it was going to be a very hard match.

I couldn't keep my focus in the third and he took his chances really well.
I’m lucky to get the third, it was such a hard game, I had to dig in deep, it was point for point until the end. I just stayed in the game and luckily I won the last 2 points.

So happy to get a 3/0, it means that I’m both mentally and physically fresh for my quarter against Castagnet.

When I saw the draw the first time, I thought there was a chance he would make it to the quarters as he’d beaten Borja once already.

And last time we played each other was for the World Team event, and that’s matches you don’t forget, they stay with you for as long as you live…

 It's going to be a very tough match against Mathieu. Luckily for him he will have a rest day but maybe he needs it more than me now.

I know physically he won't be at his best but it will be interesting to see how he is going to back it up mentally. This is his first British Open quarter final and it's going to be a huge occasion for him. I'm used to it, I'm the more experienced player in that situation so it's going to be interesting to see how he copes with it.

I'm not going to think about how the other player is, I'm just going to focus on how I have to deal with it

You know, I just lost two finals, one in Virginia, one in El Gouna. And I didn’t came here to lose another one. I came here to win. And I knew how Tarek can drain energy out of you. I knew that if I wanted to have a shot at the title, I needed a 3/0 today to save my energy. And that’s what I did today, so I’m very happy indeed.

 [1] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-2 Daryl Selby (Eng)
          11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4 (76m)

NICK HANGS IN THERE..

What I find amazing in our sport, is the fact that, 2 racquets, 1 ball, 4 walls, and the combinations are endless. A bit like a music partition. Seven notes, and look how many pieces of music have been written. Bit the same for squash. Not two matches are the same.

OK, that match reminded me of Kuwait, and in the match, I kept thinking “this is Kuwait all over again!!!”. Why? Because for some weird reason, Daryl seems to beat Nick there! First time, from 2/0 and 9/4 up I seem to remember, the second time, 3/0, Nick kept hitting the tin.

At the time, Daryl was a bit surprised because I was apparently reacting when Nick was hitting the tin, and he actually thought I was rooting for Nick. Told him the honest truth then, that I was just stunned that Nick would play so many tins, and that I was surprised more than anything else, and that I never saw him do that before. And Daryl, with a little smile said “I did, against me….”

And tonight, it was exactly the same. Something in Daryl’s game is getting under Nick’s skin it would appear. I’m not technical enough to analyse what, maybe Daryl’s pace on the ball, which creates a feel of false security, and gets him into an economy mode, a bit slower to react, and that whaaaam, Daryl strikes, and scores, and frustrates the heck out of Nick, which then finds the tin… Like I said, not sure what, but Daryl gets to Nick, that’s for sure.

First game was a good start for the English, 5/2, courtesy of Nick, 4 tins in 6 points. Nick finally gets in the mood for squash, and takes the game 11/7.

Second is so weird, they are neck to neck, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, then Nick get in front and punishes Daryl at the end of long rallies, game ball 10/6. Six points later (including 3 unforced errors from the World Champion), Daryl has level the score, 12/10.

Ah, the plot thickness.

The third, Nick is back with the racquet between the teeth, and takes Daryl by the throat, to only let go at the end of the game, 11/3. You think, that’s it, it’s all over, thanks for coming Daryl. Yeah right. 4th, Daryl, 11/5, with Nick not going to the ball two or three times at the end.

WTHull????

We think injury, I can see Jade Elias, England Squash physio going to Nick, but being kindly dismissed. No the body is fine. It’s the mental side that needs to get sorted. That’s DP’s department, and he gets the job done. Nick comes back, and although we’ve got massive rallies and great squash, Nick is the Master of the Court, 4/0, 7/2, 10/3, 11/4, game and match.

Pfew for the Matthew camp…

It's a huge relief to get the win tonight. Daryl is a dangerous opponent and he has been throughout my career. He's a player I've always had to approach carefully as he's physically strong so we share a lot of attributes.

If I'm not firing on all cylinders he can overtake me doing the things I'm good at and I can sometimes struggle to come up with a plan b against him as he's one of the few players who can take me on at the physical game.

It was a bit of a topsy turvey match. We normally have very attritional matches but it was a dead court today and we both adapted and fortunately I got the better start in the fifth game and just saw it through.

Good thing when you arrive at this stage in your career, you have no pressure, I could retire tomorrow and be happy. And it makes you appreciate stages like this one. If I play well, if I can back it up, I can win. As simple as that.

Nick Matthew



He is such a great player, everybody knows Karim Darwish, and to beat a legend like him is huge. I dreamed of these moments when I was young and now, it’s happening…

In the 3rd and 4th, Karim changed his plan, and made the ball very cold, and it was very hard for me to pick up his shots, especially on the glass court. [no, he didn’t change his game plan,
you just lost your length completely!!!, note from Fram] So when I came back in the 5th, I changed my tactics, and hit very hard in the back corners to make the ball bouncier.

My focus was up and down in that last game, but the end, I played two nice shots, and got to 10/8, but he played a great shot, but I was very lucky that he tinned the next one. Because Karim has got so much experience, he has seen it all, done it all, and he can come back from any situation. I am truly lucky.

This is the biggest win in my career, and I want to thank my mum and dad, my two brothers, my fitness coach Waleed, my coaches Mohamed Elkeiy and Mohamed Mosaad.

Hopefully I can play well in my match against Nick Matthew, the Legend, I have been looking up to him since I’m very young, and I want to be like him.

[Q] Fares Dessouki (Egy) 3-2 [8] Karim Darwish (Egy)              12-10, 11-6, 2-11, 2-11, 11-9 (62m)

LA RELEVE EST LA…

or “Change of the Guard”.

Sorry Karim. I know you are not happy reading this. Et je suis désolée. But that’s what it looked like tonight.

Thank God Fares reminded us at times he is only 19, by going for stupid shots once in a while, or completely losing the plot and his length for two games, but he also showed that the Future of Squash is in good hands. And now that Karim is going to get full time at the job at Wadi Degla, probably the biggest chain of Sports Club in Cairo/Egypt, he can beat happy knowing that Egypt will probably still rule the world for another 10 years, at least.

What a maturity Fares showed today. Because he beat the Great Karim. It reminded me the Worlds in Qatar, when Mohamed beat him. I told him then, “Mohamed a battu le Grand Karim”, “Mohamed beat the Great Karim” because like then, Karim played out of his skin, talent and experience tonight. And it only came down to one tin. One little tin at 9/10 in the 5th.

First game, Fares is outplayed to start with, 5/1 for Karim. Fares changes his tactic, and just hit deeper and harder, twisting Karim a lot. It worked. 5/5, 6/6, then 8/6. But Karim knows the drill, and he comes back, 9/9. Some amazing astonishing rallies there, a few lets, but it’s the young man that takes it on his second game ball, 12/10.

The second, Karim looks tired to be honest, and Fares is able to impose his game more freely. From 2/5 down, he’ll score 7 points, and takes the game 11/6.

Game over? Naaaaa, Karim like the first day, is keeping us up (you are forgiven). He just plays some of his best ever squash, and just rolls his young opponent into white flour, 11/2, 11/2, 11m for the two games!!! Thanks for coming, Fares, and next time you play a Legend like Karim Darwish, don’t go and give him easy shots at the front by losing your length completely, mate.

But that’s where Fares shows how great player he is going to become soon. Without any coaching – two Egyptians, so no coaching – he reassesses the situation, and just starts playing the game that got him to lead 2/0. And it works to certain point. Cause in front, we still have Karim Darwish the Great, that just won’t go away. That want to live another quarter of the British Open, who HATES losing.

So the match starts all over again. 1/1. 2/2. 3/3. 6/6. 7/7. 8/8. Two superb shots for the contender, that get two no lets. 10/8 match ball. A stunning long drop shot at the end of a gruelling rally, 9/10. But Karim, just a bit too eager, will find the tin in a very short rally, ending the match.

Fares doesn’t go wild, doesn’t celebrate, just savours the moment. He just beat one of his idols. And he is in the quarters of the British Open.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

Day FOUR  |  Day THREE  |  Day TWO   | Day ONE