Sun 21st March, Qualifying Finals:
Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
11/7, 11/9 (70m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Chris Simpson (Eng)
11/6, 11/7, 3/11, 13/11 (73m)
Chris Ryder (Eng) bt Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
6/11, 11/5, 11/6 (56m)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita) bt Julien
11/4, 11/5 (50m)
Rosner reaches main draw
Alan Thatcher reports
Simon Rosner became the first qualifier to reach the main
draw after winning a bruising, brutal battle lasting 70 minutes.
It was a high-quality contest with some dazzling shots
throughout, occasionally interrupted by Mark Krajcsak's verbal
Krajcsak was keen to put on a good show in front of a camera
crew from Hungarian TV.
Krajscak, ranked 47 in the world, and Rosner (ranked 35) showed
what to expect with an opening rally of more than 100 shots.
With both players driving solidly and covering the court with
ease, it was always going to take something special to finish a
Rosner caused Krajcsak some discomfort with tight little boasts
in the front right corner and Krajcsak responded with some
carefully concealed and well delayed crosscourt flicks.
After Rosner edged ahead at 9-7, his attempted long drop from
the back of the court clipped the tin and he let Krajcsak back
in. The Hungarian forced the tiebreak but Rosner finally moved
clear to win it 13-11.
The second game followed a similar pattern and another tiebreak
ensued. This time Rosner conceded two crucial penalty strokes to
gift the game to his opponent.
From 6-6 in the third, Krajcsak seemed to lose his concentration
and Rosner closed it out 11-7. Krajcsak was angry at a penalty
stroke in the closing stages and received a conduct warning for
dissent as he left the court.
Krajcsak led 6-2 in the fourth game but Rosner responded with a
spell of sustained pressure to win eight of the next ten points
to reach match ball at 10-8. Rosner struck a forehand volley
into the tin to make it 10-9 and we all wondered if Krajcsak
would force another tiebreak. But not this time. Rosner closed
out the match and punched the air in delight as Krajcsak
continued complaining about a disputed pick-up in the front
Mueller sinks Simpson
Swiss No.1 Nicolas Muller won another marathon encounter,
fighting back from match ball down to win a fifth game tiebreak
against Channel Islander Chris Simpson.
This match lasted 73 minutes and Simpson, ranked 48 in the
world, came desperately close to beating an opponent ranked six
Simpson took the opening game playing tight, disciplined squash
and was rewarded for keeping the ball in straight lines. The
tall, stylish Muller did the same, but even tighter, to win the
Simpson lost focus in the third game as his conversations with
the referee grew longer. Muller kept his mouth shut and his
shots tight to go 2-1 up.
Simpson worked his way back into the fourth game with some
superb squash and maintained his focus to win 11-3. But Muller
hit back in the fifth to open up a lead of 5-2 and he seemed to
have the match in the bag as he progressed to 8-4.
Simpson is a tough fighter and produced a superb spell of
controlled squash to reel off six points in a row to hold match
ball at 10-8. However, he failed to convert his big chance and
Muller drew level to force the tiebreak. Muller then held match
ball at 11-10, Simpson drew level, but Muller held his nerve to
win it 13-11.
Ryder rocks Castagnet
Chris Ryder produced a typically solid display to clinch
a place in the main draw.
He was in the groove right from the start, winning the first
five points against an opponent who may have understandably been
suffering from fatigue after a marathon match yesterday.
However, Mathieu Castagnet suddenly sprung into life and reeled
off a succession of points to level at 6-6. Ryder pulled away
again to 10-7 but Castagnet hit back once more to force the
Ryder showed steady nerves under pressure to win the tiebreak
12-10 but Castagnet dominated the closing stages of the second
game to win 11-6 from 6-5 down.
The physical effort Castagnet had to invest to win that game
clearly took its toll as Ryder made steady progress throughout
the third game, leading 9-1 and surviving a late flurry of
French resistance to win it 11-5.
Ryder again built up a commanding 7-3 lead in the fourth and
although Castagnet fought back to 8-6 the Englishman, ranked 40
in the world, delivered the coup de grace with the final three
To the English spectators packed into the gallery at Wimbledon,
it was a small measure of consolation for the rugby defeat in
Bianchetti bags the last spot
The often volatile Davide Bianchetti gained the final place in
the main draw with a disciplined and stylish display against
Julien Balbo of France.
Spectators anticipating one of his typically flamboyant
outbursts had to wait until the middle of the third game for the
Italian to unleash a Vesuvius-like eruption towards referee Jos
Arts over a disputed let call.
We then had the full Oscar-winning theatricals as Bianchetti,
with arms outstretched, did two laps of the court. He was
clearly putting in a lot more effort and passion than his
beloved Juventus football team did on their visit to nearby
Fulham on Thursday night.
Some players fall apart mentally after venting their feelings at
the referee but, from 5-5, Bianchetti won the next six points to
close out the match, despite some phenomenal retrieving from
The first game was almost a disaster for Bianchetti as he
allowed a 10-5 lead to slip from his grasp. Balbo put together a
succession of magnificent rallies to draw level at 10-10 but
Bianchetti regained his composure to win the tiebreak 12-10.
Bianchetti did not make the same mistake in the second game,
building up an 8-1 lead and closing out the game 11-4.
RYDER DRAWS TOP SEED MATTHEW
The draw to complete the first round line-up paired Chris Ryder
with top seed Nick Matthew in an all-English battle.
First up on Monday night is Germany’s Simon Rosner against
former world champion Thierry Lincou of France.
On Tuesday, Davide Bianchetti meets reigning champion David
Palmer of Australia and Switzerland’s Nicolas Muller is drawn
against No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier of France.
"That's two tournaments in a row
that I have lost by the same scoreline at the same stage in
"It hurts so much because Malaysia and Canary Wharf are two of
my favourite tournaments and favourite venues. I've got to learn
to convert those situations into wins."
ISS CANARY WHARF SQUASH CLASSIC IS A
Next week's ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic is a total sell-out.
Every session of the tournament has been sold out for this PSA
World Tour Five Star event which runs from Monday to Friday
(March 22-26) at Canary Wharf's spectacular East Wintergarden
are claiming a record for a major world-ranking event. Peter
Nicol, the tournament promoter, said: "This is a first for us in
the seventh year of the competition and we are pretty sure this
is a first anywhere in squash."
The former world champion, a director of promoters Eventis
Sports Marketing, added: “It’s a sign of the quality of squash
on show, the fantastic atmosphere in the magnificent East
Wintergarden venue and the culmination of seven years’ hard work
by the organising team. I can’t wait for the first match on
Meanwhile, at East Wintergarden ...
Sat 20th March:
Sixteen hopefuls assemble at Wimbledon Racquets & Health Club
this afternoon as qualifying for the seventh Canary Wharf
Classic gets under way.
Qualifying Round One:
Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Max Lee (Hkg)
14/16, 11/5, 11/3, 11/5 (53m)
Mark Krajcsak (Hun) bt Neil Hitchens (Eng)
11/4, 11/5, 11/4 (32m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Eddie Charlton (Eng)
11/9, 10/12, 9/11, 11/6, 11/4 (58m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Joe Lee (Eng)
9/11, 11/4, 17/15, 12/10 (82m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Yann Perrin (Fra)
12/10, 13/15, 6/11, 11/0, 11/6 (77m)
Chris Ryder (Eng) bt Kashif Shuja (Nzl)
11/7, 12/10, 11/4 (38m)
Balbo (Fra) bt Robbie Temple (Eng)
9/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/2 (55m)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita) bt Ben Ford (Eng)
11/5, 12/10, 11/1 (29m)
Under way at Wimbledon
Alan Thatcher reports
Hungary's Mark Krajcsak made a flying start to the ISS
Canary Wharf Classic qualifying competition, sweeping past
England's Neil Hitchens in straight games. Playing fast,
attacking squash, Krajcsak moved the ball and his opponent
around the court in a dominant display.
Germany's Simon Rosner overcame a nervous start to power
past Max lee of Hong Kong. Lee won the opening game 16-14 on a
tiebreak but Rosner emerged for the second game with a more
He produced almost error-free squash to race through the next
three games and will need to maintain that level of performance
against Krajcsak in tomorrow's qualifying finals.
Swiss ace Nicolas Muller overcame a tired-looking Eddie
Charlton in a gruelling five-setter. Charlton lost a tight first
game after taking an early lead, and almost surrendered the
second before finally clinching it on a tiebreak.
Charlton squeezed home in the third with a nick on game ball but
Muller maintained a high level of consistency to take the fourth
game. He powered through the fifth game with minimal resistance
from a clearly wilting opponent.
Chris Simpson booked his place in the qualifying finals
against Muller after beating Joe Lee in a hard-fought 82-minute
Simpson won 9-11, 11-4, 17-15, 12-10, with the scoreline clearly
reflecting the closeness of the match and the physical
investment made by both players.
The third game tiebreak was a brutal affair, with the Guernsey
player Simpson edging it 17-15. The fourth game was a similarly
close battle with Simpson winning another tiebreak 12-10 to book
his place in the qualifying finals against Muller.
Chris Ryder was too sharp for a strangely subdued Kashif
Shuja. The New Zealand number one has a sublime touch but was
clearly lacking in the mobility department as Ryder eased home
in straight games.
Ryder sneaked a second-game tiebreak 12-10 and Shuja had little
left in the tank during a one-sided third game. Ryder fired in a
succession of sharp, fast boasts that Shuja either saw late or
decided not to pursue.
Italy’s Davide Bianchetti eased past his English Premier
League team-mate Ben Ford. The two play for Surrey Health and
Rackets Club and Ford started in a very friendly fashion as he
allowed Bianchetti to open up a 9-2 lead in the opening game.
The Kent county captain began to get some points on the board
but had given his opponent too big a lead to think about winning
the game. The second was a much closer affair and Ford struck
some superb winners to take the game to a tiebreak before two
errors allowed the Italian to win 12-10.
The effort clearly took its toll on the 34-year-old Englishman
as Bianchetti powered home 11-1 in the third, with Ford
receiving a conduct warning for racket abuse in the process.
An all-French encounter finished with Mathieu Castagnet
overcoming Yann Perrin in a 77-minute see-saw battle. In an
extraordinary match, Perrin led two games to one but lost the
fourth without securing a single point as his exertions caught
up with him.
Castagnet opened up a solid lead in the fifth game and withstood
a ferocious recovery by his compatriot to clinch victory.
Another Frenchman, Julien Balbo, secured the final berth
against Bianchetti by beating England’s Robbie Temple in a
scrappy, ill-tempered affair. Temple received a conduct warning
for arguing with the referee as he lost the third game from 7-6
up. Balbo then took complete control to clinch victory in