• Artemis Edinburgh Open 2010  •  BSPA Grand Prix • 

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Artemis TODAY - Sat 30th, Day THREE                     Steve Cubbins in Scotland

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Draws & Results

Quarters and Semis

Two rounds of action today for the men and women, with the finalists decided by the close of play.

Some tremendous matches, but at the end of the day just one upset as Vanessa Atkinson, Nicolette Fernandes, Saurav Ghosal and Adrian Grant progress to the Artemis Open finals.

Of course, it was all a little bit more complicated than that ...

Women's Quarters
Scots out as seeds go through ...

Vanessa Atkinson - playing her first ever BSPA match - eased into the quarterfinals with an 11/4, 11/2, 11/7 win over Alex Clark in 17 minutes.

The top seed was a little nervous going into the match: "I wasn't sure how it was going to be, having just flown in from New York," she said. "But the courts are quite bouncy so it allows you to work your way into your game and get yourself out of trouble.

"That's not a bad little start, looking forward to the semis tonight ..."

In that semi she'll meet Lauren Selby, who beat Leonie Holt 11/7, 13/11, 11/6 in 27 minutes. Leonie competed strongly in all three games, having a game ball in the second, but it was the Essex girl who pulled clear from the midpoint of the first and third games, as well as saving that game ball of course.

"You have to concentrate," said the victor, "that court's really dead. When it got to about sixes I knew I needed to wake up. I'm glad to get off in three though, save my legs for tonight, I'll need them ..."

Scottish interest was ended when Victoria Lust and Nicolette Fernandes justified their seedings to defeat Lisa Aitken and Frania Gillen-Buchert.

Both matches featured runs of points, with Lust recovering from 8/3 down to take the first 12/10, easing ahead from 6-all to take the second 11/6, and almost squandering an 8/2 lead in the third, winning it 11/6, all over in 25 minutes.

Gillen-Buchert gave Fernandes, like Atkinson just back from America, a torrid time but just couldn't close out the games. 7/3 ahead in the first Nicolette scraped it 12/10; 10/5 ahead in the second she squeezed home 11/9; 6/3 up in the third she lost it 11/6.

The fourth was point for point with the Guyanan again edging home, 11/9 in 41 minutes.

"That was tough," she said, "I think I'm still on American time, but I'll be good for tonight!"

Frania was obviously disappointed to get so close. "I felt like I could have at least taken another game, in fact it feels like I should have won it.

"But she played well, she worked the ball really well and closed it out when she had to."

Men's Quarters

No upsets again but Jaymie so close

Saurav Ghosal maintained his unbeaten BSPA record (well, a whole three matches and counting) as he beat 2008 champion Simon Parke in an entertaining match that the ESC crowd really appreciated.

The Indian won the first two games 11/3, 11/4, and although he was on top, the scoreline was deceptive as the rallies were generally long, it was 'just' that Saurav kept winning them. "Those two probably should have been 11/7, 11/8," he admitted afterwards.

Parke reversed the trend at the start of the third, opened up a 6/2 lead, but Ghosal fought back, eventually taking it 15/13 after 43 minutes.

"We both play a counterattacking game," said Parke, "and if I put anything loose at the front he'd be onto it like a flash. In the first two we had good rallies, but he always produced the extra shot to win it every time.

"It shouldn't have come as a surprise though, we practice a lot together and everyone know he's quick!"

"I didn't think I was tired from yesterday, I felt fine this morning, but as soon as we got into those rallies I knew I'd been in a match yesterday."

"Too young, too quick, too good," concluded the legend.

Meanwhile Daryl Selby was having a first game against John Rooney that lasted longer than Ghosal's first two. The second seed won it 18/16 and proceeded to take the second 11/2 in no time flat.

The Irishman fought back in the third though, led 8/4 in the third before Selby came back at him, then on match ball they played out a humungous rally which left them both dead on their feet at the end of it, but Daryl in the semi-final, 11/9 after 48 minutes.

Top seed Adrian Grant got off to his now customary slow start as Edinburgh veteran Andy Whipp took the first game 11/7, but quickly got into gear to finish off the match 11/2, 11/6, 11/8 in 33 minutes.

"I enjoyed it," said the top seed. "Andy's always been an aggressive player and he came out firing right from the start.

"I've got bad blood blisters on my feet at the moment, so it takes me a while to get going, but once I did I felt I could control it and start to counter-attack.

Grant was pleased to get off quickly: "He sort of gave up in the second half of the second and third games and played in patches in the fourth, so although it was 3/1 it wasn't very long, which is the important thing.

With no upsets so far there was only one match left which could deliver one, but when Ong Beng Hee went two game up against Jaymie Haycocks it didn't look like that would happen.

But the Englishman could easily have taken either of those games, losing them both 11/9 after leading 9/6 in the second. He did take the next two, 11/6, 11/8 to set up a decider, but it was the Malaysian who reasserted to take it 11/7 to claim a 63-minute victory.

"I can't be disappointed," said a disappointed Haycocks, "I played well but I've had a lot to do this week, I'd already lost 3/2 to Parky and Kashif [Shujah].

"I think I try to do too much when it gets close, but I've definitely improved recently so I'm happy with how it's going.

So there you have it - all the seeds through to the semis, there must be an upset coming soon, don't you think, lads ?


[1] Vanessa Atkinson bt [3/4] Lauren Selby
            7/11, 11/3, 9/11, 11/2, 11/5 (38m)

[2] Nicolette Fernandes bt [3/4] Victoria Lust
            11/13, 11/4, 13/11, 11/6 (47m)

Top seeds survive

We might joke about Vanessa Atkinson still being unbeaten in BSPA after just two matches, but as she said herself after a see-saw semi-final against Lauren Selby, "at 2/1 down I thought to myself I'd be seriously annoyed if I lose this."

The first game was over in a flash, no real rallies at all, but Vanessa came out sharp in the second, raced to 8/0 and quickly levelled.

The third was the closest of the match. Neither seemed to believe they were playing well, but Lauren was playing that much better as she regained the lead.

Same again as Vanessa picked up the pace again to take the fourth with ease, and at 8/2 ion the decider there was no way back for Lauren.

"She knows exactly when to up the pace from 2nd to 5th gear," said Lauren with a wry smile. "But I'm not disappointed, I gave her a good run."

The victor was full of praise for her opponent: "She played very well, and to be fair I didn't expect her to be that good. It's not a good sign if I'm still underestimating opponents at my age!

"I just spaced out now and then and she's good enough to take advantage. I knew I had to play fast, and once I'd stopped being lazy I was ok. Maybe I needed a game like that to get me sharpened up a bit."

For Nicolette Fernandes it was also a case of what might have been - she could easily have beaten Victoria Lust 3/0, but she might just as easily still be on there, battling away in a decider.

"I don't mind the score," she said, "I'm just thankful to win.

Victoria played well to earn a 10/6 lead in the first, nearly threw it away with two tins and two strokes, but managed to hold on to take the lead.

Nicolette was well on top in the second, but had to work hard to take the third 13/11 although she never faced a game ball.

Victoria has been known to self-destruct, and in the middle of the fourth it looked like happening again as she fell 6/2 behind, 7/2 after a conduct stroke for an unkind description of the referee.

She held it together though, but by then it was too late as Nicolette moved into the final.

"Last time I played her she kept cool all the time," Nicolette revealed, "but I know that even when she gets annoyed she can come back, so it never meant I was winning easy.

"It will be the first time I've played Vanessa, I'm looking forward to that ..."

For her part Victoria was happy enough: "First tournament of the year, and I just didn't play well enough, that's all, but it's good practice for the Nationals which is my next target."

[3/4] Saurav Ghosal bt [2] Daryl Selby
          11/5, 11/3, 11/7 (45m)
[1] Adrian Grant bt [3/4] Ong Beng Hee
          6/11, 3/11, 11/8, 11/5, 13/11 (86m)

Saurav shocks Selby as
Grant 'tests his fitness' ...

Well, we finally got our first upset as Saurav Ghosal continued in the form he showed at lunchtime to oust second seed Daryl Selby in straight games.

It was similar to his quarter-final against Parky, out of the block like a whippet for the first two games then coming from behind to take the third.

For the first two games Saurav was firing in drops from everywhere, and scampering around the court like he does, retrieving most things Daryl could throw at him.

The Englishman improved in the third, led 5/1, but couldn't stop his opponent's comeback to take the match. As with his quarter-final, the match finished with a looooooooong rally, Daryl lifting the ball off the backwall to above the out line on the front wall ... a strange ending indeed.

 "He was just too good for me today," said Daryl. "It's the first tournament of the season for me, I'm just not good enough yet, so I'm not too disappointed."

While Saurav remains unbeaten, Daryl quipped, "he's just condemned me to my second ever defeat in about 48 BSPA matches!"
It looked as though we were in for another upset when Ong Beng Hee went two games up on top seed Adrian Grant, but as he did yesterday, Grant shrugged off the deficit and came back to win.

There was only one player in it for the first two games, Bengy looking sharp and eager, Adrian a little laclkustre.

He was sharp enough as soon as the third started though, upping the pace and intensity as he eased away from mid-game parity to pull one back.

The fourth was a bit of a phony war, Bengy not imposing himself at all as Adrian easily levelled the match.

Battle was well and truly joined from the first rally of the fifth though, both playing hard and fast, rather than just one of them.

There was nothing in it as the 33-minute battle raged, point for point they went. Yes, there were a lot of lets, particularly towards the end, but a lot of punishing rallies too.

Adrian took earned his first match balls at 10/8, Bengy saved one with a glued drive, one with a stroke. A tin gave Bengy match ball, but he was starting to suffer now. Adrian levelled with a crosscourt flick then Bengy tinned twice to finish the match.

"I got cramp at 11-all," he said, "so I thought I'd better just go for it!"

Grant was blasé about his slow starts this week: "I'm, just testing my fitness out with a few games ... and I'm feeling strong!"

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