TODAY at the Canary Wharf Classic
Tuesday 22nd March, Round One (top):
Rosner (Ger) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/8, 7/11, 11/3, 11/4
 Grégory Gaultier (Fra) bt Olli
11/8, 11/6, 11/4 (42m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Borja Golan
11/8, 11/2, 11/8 (47m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Tom Richards (Eng)
11/13, 11/9, 11/7, 13/15,
updates lots on the blog
Fram reports, Steve on the Shutter, Alan on the Blog
Rosner (Ger) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/8, 7/11, 11/3, 11/4 (53m)
HOLDING THE SHOTS…
Both players were not at their ease today. Chris, just recovered
from a bug last week, hadn’t seen a squash court all of last
week, and was not only nervous, but white as a sheet – “that’s
what everybody has been telling me for the past week, laughed
Simon, nervous, so nervous, not letting go of the arm at all,
bless him. And well, I could have volleyed some of his drop
shots for crying out loud. In the second in particular, the
German, leading 5/1, suddenly started playing shots in the
middle, lost his length, which helped Chris that was playing an
excellent squash anyway, offensive, taking the ball short,
volleying well, and really taking Simon out of his comfort zone.
But the German reassessed in the 3rd, speeded up the game, put
the Englishman under much more pressure, found some length,
improved his width, found a bit of brain connection, and really
played much better.
Still, it was obvious to us that Chris was not match fit, and he
was extremely frustrated not to be able to defend his chances
today, which is completely understandable…
was on the phone with my coach Rob Owen, and ok, the 3th and the
4th are a write off, but still, it was nice having somebody to
talk to during the match.
It’s so frustrating, I was training very hard, and then, last
week, I got a bug and was pretty poorly. I only came back on
court yesterday…. It’s so disappointing, because I did so well
I feel I’ve improved my game recently, I’m more positive. And
during the first two games, ok, I was 5/1 in the 2nd, but still,
I played the way I would like to play, aggressive, chopping it
off, taking it early, and hitting the ball reasonably well...
It’s SO ANNOYING!
both like attacking, so I was lucky today that I got my game
This time, I didn’t have to speak with my coach on the phone, I
actually brought him with me, it was really nice to have him in
my corner today, giving me good advice.
I was so nervous today, not confident at all with my shots, but
both of us were the same, we were both very nervous. And it was
a very strange match, at some stage I lost concentration, then
he lost concentration, then I again….
It was not a fluent match, but a win is a win, and I’m happy to
Gaultier (Fra) bt Olli Tuominen
(Fin) 11/8, 11/6, 11/4 (42m)
Gaultier warms to his task
Olli Tuominen is never a draw any of the top players want in the
the first round, so Gregory Gaultier, last year's runner-up and
seeded three this time around, knew that he wasn't going to get
an easy ride in only his second PSA outing this year (in
Virginia, where he also met Tuominen)..
to form, the Finn came out of the blocks at a ferocious pace,
and from 3-all in the first opened up an 8-3 lead, aided and
abetted by three consecutive errors from the Frenchman. But then
it was Tuominen's turn to tin - seven times to be precise, plus
a stroke, and Gaultier had the lead.
To be fair, the majority of those errors were forced as Gaultier
began to turn the screw, and he continued to do so in the next
two games. Tuominen was being made to work harder and harder,
and of course he was quite willing to do so, but he was being
moved all over the court, corner to corner, and Gaultier was
working the positions well, forcing an easy winner or putting it
just too tight for Tuominen to return.
The Frenchman pulled clear from 4-all in the second, then took
an 8/1 lead in the third. Tuominen never stopped trying, he
never does, but it wasn't long before Gaultier had successfully
navigated this tricky first round assignment.
He was also happy with the Video review system, having appealed
three times and got the reversal he wanted twice, lets converted
into strokes. "Maybe we should watch the video of the other one
a few times, so you can see I was right on that one too, " he
quipped in the press/referee's room after the match.
course I’m delighted, you are always happy when you win!
We played in Richmond 3 weeks ago, and I could see that today,
Olli was determined, and up for it. He was sharp, and on top of
me, especially at the start, playing really well, finding great
shots, and he played much better than three weeks ago.
When I was down 8/3, I was moving well, and I still tried to
make it as hard as possible, in case I lose the game, to make
sure I would make him work hard. And it worked, because I was
able to come back and win the game.
During the worlds in Saudi, in the quarters against Shabana, I
felt like a sharp pain in the right hamstring, and I was out for
two months, which was really unfortunate, as I had been playing
really well. I had to miss out on the Worlds, and so many other
tournaments, which didn’t do any good to my world rankings!
But I had a strong rehab, and I’m so happy to be back, I love
everybody, I’m so thrilled to be back playing…
GREG WITH THE RIGHT MENTAL STATE
When Greg is making errors, and getting excited about them, you
know he is in turmoil, and that he may be in trouble squash
wise. But when you see him making a few mistakes, and getting on
with it, then you know it’s the other one who is in trouble…
Olli played an excellent game, did very few errors – at the end
of the 1st, three in a row at the end of the game, and played
extremely well at times. But when Greg moves that well, that
quickly, steps into the ball that early, he is well, virtually
impossible to beat…
changed my game a bit after Richmond, I was more patient. In the
first in particular, I still played a few unforced errors I
would have rather go up, but it was the right shot to play, and
a real opportunity to put the ball away.
shame I couldn’t keep my focus solid enough, I played really
well from time to time, and then, would lose my concentration a
bit. I could have done better there, I wasn’t sharp enough, but
there were moment where I was controlling the rallies well.
I could have played a more solid game. I just couldn’t keep it
Matthew (Eng) bt Borja Golan (Esp)
11/8, 11/2, 11/8 (47m)
If Nick was a bit nervous when he started the match, well, it
soon passed. Quietly, clinically, the World number one found his
marks on that court, length first, then width, pushing the
Spaniard in the back corners, never really letting him having
any say in the control of the rallies.
Borja worked hard, very very hard indeed in that opening game,
17 minutes. He stayed in the rallies, trying to get pass Nick,
and kept rallying up and down the wall again and again,
retrieving, running, trying to vary the angles.. And when the
second started, he was very eager to get in front, but I guess
that the hard work produced in the first just took his toll.
The third was a much better game for Borja, he got some lovely
length, was able to pass Nick a bit more often, and looked more
comfortable. 1/1. 2/2. 3/3. 4/4. Feeling the danger, the
Englishman started to accelerate the pace, and again, Borja
found himself on the back foot.
At 9/5, maybe Nick relaxed a little bit, maybe Borja, having
nothing to lose anymore, just went for his shots, result is, the
Spaniard clawed back to 8/10, getting Nick a bit nervous and
frustrating. But a tin at the worst of times, match ball, and
the Englishman too happy to close out the match, 11/8.
Borja was extremely humble at the end: “there are 30 places
between us. I had the world number one in front of me. It’s a
logical result.” And Nick couldn’t say enough about his
admiration for his opponent. A Gentlemen’s match that was.
said that he was a bit nervous at the start, of course, he would
be, everybody wants to beat him, he is the world number one. He
played better and better, in the second, in the third, he was
constantly ahead in the score, very solid.
In the second, I became really anxious to do well, and I made a
few errors in a row at the front. And it really annoyed me,
because that’s what I’ve been concentrating my training on
recently, and when I get to test it, that’s what happens…
But then again, in front of me, I had the world number 1, who
put me under a lot of pressure. So I’m not happy with that game,
but it’s all credit to Nick.
was a very tough first round.
Borja is a very admirable player, the way he came back from
injury is astonishing. I know what it is to have to come back,
and I think he was away even more than I was!
Recently, we played in the leagues, and it was a very tough 3/2.
Also, as I stopped and didn’t play the World Cup – as I had some
niggles in my body that needed to be looked at, I was a bit
nervous, a bit of anticipation. When you play like I felt was 5
tournaments in 5 weeks, well, you are not nervous because your
last match is not that long ago. But in that case, it’s been a
But the good thing is that I’m fresh, and I had the opportunity
to train well. So, there are two sides to it.. And to be honest,
I have no excuse to play well this week!
About my good results last year, yes, when it gets tight, you
know that you’ve done it before, it gives you a bit of
confidence, but really, Borja for example, on the court, doesn’t
give two monkeys about the tournaments I may or not have won!
Again, very impressed with the way Borja came back, I know what
it feels like when your lifewood is taken away from you, so, it
would be good to stay away from him for a while, because he is
going to get better.
Selby (Eng) bt Tom Richards (Eng)
11/13, 11/9, 11/7, 13/15, 11/9 (97m)
“Brutal”… “I was just about to write exactly the same tweet!! #sillystomachcramps”…
“Well I can honestly say that squash matches like that make me
love what I do for a living. It was absolutely brutal but the
crowd got us thru”…. “Win or lose it was the probably the best
match I've ever played in. That's how squash should be played,
bloody hard but bloody fair”…
“tweet” conversation between Tom and Daryl shortly after their
match. And to be honest, it’s a perfect summary of how those two
warriors combated today….
The first game was as close as it gets, point for point during
the whole time, with Tom getting the first chance to close it,
10/9, and Daryl getting his own, 11/10. It’s finally Tom who
gets it, 13/11, in an “observation” game, where both tested each
other's patience and accuracy on the straight drives.
In the second, Tom makes a few more errors (5), probably wanting
to shorten the rallies. Daryl very solid indeed, gets ahead 9/6
then 10/7. But it will take him three game balls to finally
From that point on, and till the middle of the fourth, Tom lost
a bit of his discipline. He lost his accuracy, kept hitting the
ball without really any purpose, allowing Daryl to turn the
screw on him quite tight. The National Champion gets the third
The fourth, well, a classic. Tom, still all over the place,
can’t stop his opponent’s momentum, and finds himself 11/7
matchball down. That’s the moment he chooses to play exquisite
squash, nicks, lobs, perfect length, the whole lot. And a
tie-break it is. The crowd goes wild. 11/11. 12/12. 13/13.
14/14. And despite his five match balls, Daryl just cannot
finish it off. And it’s Tom who clinches it, finally, 16/14.
As was to be expected, after such an effort to come back, both
mentally and physically, Tom has a little drop in focus and
energy at the start of the decider. And Daryl, clever man,
attacks every shot, every ball. The rallies are incredibly fast
and short, and the National Champion gets to 4/0 in no time,
then 10/3, It’s over.
Well, not exactly.
he did in the previous game, our Tom suddenly thinks, oh well,
let’s go for it then. And go for it he does. He strings the
points, ineluctably, 4, 5, Daryl not worried yet, 7, 8, now he
is, a stunning nick, 9/10, now Daryl is in panic mode.
Hands on his knees, trying desperately to find some air, while
Tom is looking fresh as a rose, we all hold the very little
breath we have left. A long rally, both of them fighting for
their lives, attacking, retrieving, all four corners are used,
it’s just unbearable, and suddenly, a simple backhand crosscourt
that bounces slowly, Tom is fooled, tries to turn, but just
cannot return it.
The crowd is on their feet, clapping and cheering the two
gladiators who fall in each other's arms. Stop frame. Perfect.
Just perfect. And that’s squash.
don’t know what to say. That was brutal, brutal squash.
I think that both of us could have played better patches, it was
a bit scrappy at times. We are both moving well, both fit… It’s
bound to get a bit scrappy, but what you saw on there were two
people giving it 110%.
It was kind of a strange situation, when one was going down in
game, he was starting to play better, while the other one would
go a bit conservative, and on the glass, that just wouldn’t do.
You need to stay positive and attack.
In the 5th, I was expecting he would really give it a big push,
but he still surprised me. I would have had to speed up the
pace, but by the time I was able to do that, he already had 4, 5
points. But when you’re down, you can relax. And I know I can be
dangerous when I’m on a run…
It’s such a pleasure to play Daryl, he is such a fair player.
It’s how squash should be played, no double bounce, easy
movement… I so enjoyed it. It’s such a shame somebody’s got to
lose. It’s devastating.
the best match I’ve played in the carnage factor!!!!
It was an unbelievable game, I couldn’t give anymore, I’m sure
Tom couldn’t give anymore either.
It’s just the ideal preparation before playing the world number
one, actually, if I had been able to chose a preparation for
tomorrow’s match, that’s exactly what I would have chosen.
has been playing fantastically well recently, he really pushed
Ramy to the limit, and could have well beaten him.
How many match balls Fram? 12??? Well, I may have to look into
that and try to improve it!!!!
I’m disappointed I didn’t win the 1st, and obviously
disappointed I didn’t win the 4th, but Tom played amazing well,
some fantastic shots, it’s all credit to him…..