Mon 24th Mar, Day ONE:
Round One, Top Half:
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
3-2 Adrian Grant
11/7, 5/11, 11/5, 7/11, 11/8 (87m)
[Q] Max Lee (Hkg) 3-0  Karim Darwish (Egy)
11/8, 13/11, 19/17 (48m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [WC] Alan Clyne (Sco)
11/6, 11/7, 11/5 (39m)
 Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-1 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/6, 5/11, 14/12, 11/9 (71m)
On to East Wintergarden
Qualifying complete, action moved on to the spectacular East Wintergarden venue tonight for four first round matches in front
of the now traditional sellout crowd.
Mighty Max takes out Darwish
Alan Thatcher reports
Qualifier Max Lee sprung a massive surprise by beating
former world number one Karim Darwish on the opening day of the
Canary Wharf Classic.
Lee produced a stunning performance and held his nerve at
crucial moments of the match to win in straight games. The
scoreline of 11-8, 13-11, 19-17 showed how close this contest
Darwish survived five match balls in the third game before the
world No.33 clinched an astonishing victory. Earlier, Lee had
hinted at the shocks to come as he built a big lead in the
opening game and closed it out 11-8.
Darwish led 5-2 and 5-4 in the second but Lee responded with a
surge of points to lead 9-5. Lee held game ball at 10-8 but
Darwish then recovered his momentum to twice draw level before
showed coolness under intense pressure to win it 13-11.
Darwish was always looking to fire in quick winners, frequently
slotting nicks off the serve, but Lee was fast and mobile around
the front of the court as he hunted down every ball.
Darwish led 7-3 and 8-5 in the third game and you wondered if
the game was at a turning point, but Lee constructed another
solid period of pressure play to reach match ball at 10-9.
The following rallies drew gasps and screams from a packed crowd
at the East Wintergarden as the lead seesawed between each
player, but Lee displayed astonishing maturity to win 19-17.
Afterwards he revealed: "There is no secret to this success. I
have learned from losing.
"For the past five tournaments i have lost on the second day of
qualifying so it's hard to believe i have come through
qualifying and beaten the great Karim Darwish here at Canary
Superman survives against Grant
The tournament had got under way in spectacular style with an
enthralling battle between Colombia's No.8 seed Miguel Angel
Rodriguez (the Superman of
Squash) and Londoner Adrian Grant.
Rodriguez finally clinched it 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8 in 87
minutes of fast and furious combat.
After a slow start, Grant worked his way into the match with
some phenomenal retrieving and imaginative strokeplay at the
front of the court to counter the high-paced attack of the nippy
Colombian. Rodriguez may be enjoying the reputation of the
Superman of Squash because of his frequent dives around the
court, but his agility was more than matched by Grant in one
spellbinding rally as he won the second game.
When the match reached a fifth game, Rodriguez built a 5-2 lead
before Grant hit back strongly. At 7-7 it was anybody's match,
but Rodriguez finished strongly to earn his place in the
Rodriguez said: "I knew it would be a hard match against Adrian,
especially playing an English player in front of this amazing
audience here at Canary Wharf.
"I have been working hard with my coach David Palmer in Orlando,
especially on movement and fitness, and recently doing more work
"It is great to be in the quarter-finals in such a special
Matthew made to work hard
World champion Nick Matthew overcame stubborn resistance
from Scottish No.1 Alan Clyne before winning in straight games,
but he acknowledged that he was made to work hard for his
Matthew won 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 in 39 minutes and then said: “Alan
is a fighter, and showed that especially at the end of the
second and third games.
“He really forces you to work hard for every point.”
Matthew shows no signs of any easing up in his powerful style,
and seemed to be enjoying the work-out with some rapid changes
of direction at the front of the court.
After clinching victory, Matthew admitted how proud he was of
his Duffield team-mate Laura Massaro after her triumph in the
Women’s World Championship in Malaysia and invited the packed
audience to join him in a round of applause.
He said: “That was a tremendous achievement, especially after
she had so many tough matches on the way to the final, saving
match balls and then having to adjust her thinking when she
reached the final and instead of facing the top seed Nicol David
she found herself as the favourite against Nour El Sherbini.
“Again, she handled that pressure very well to become world
champion. We share the same coach and I hope her achievement
will inspire more girls to take up this great sport.”
With a nod to his Scottish opponent, Matthew said how much he
was looking forward to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the
He said: “It is massively important for the Commonwealth Games
to provide a great shop window for squash and we hope that the
visiting IOC officials are in the front row. Maybe we should ask
them to pay for their tickets.”
Mosaad muscles past Gawad
Omar Mosaad hustled his
way past fellow Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad in an ugly match that
set some kind of record.
Mosaad triumphed 11-6, 5-11, 14-12, 11-9 and it seemed that
every rally ended in a dispute with the referees.
The match lasted 71 minutes and contained 70 decisions.
The 6ft 4in Mosaad received a conduct warning after barging into
his much shorter opponent’s back, and central referee John
Massarella was involved in a running dialogue with both players.
The new PSA Referees Director Lee Drew said his mobile phone was
red hot with TV viewers texting and Tweeting their comments.
Gawad, the PSA Young Player Of The Year, made a tactical
decision to hit hard, low drives in an attempt to force his
opponent to bend, twist and turn.
However, it takes a brave man to try to outhit a giant opponent
whose nickname is The Hammer Of Thor.
Unfortunately, the hard-hitting rallies frequently resulted in
drives landing around the service box and causing access
problems as each player found his path to the ball being
Mosaad said: “Everything looks great about this tournament.
It’s a wonderful crowd, and a big crowd, nice hotel. Everything
is perfect. Now I’m looking forward to playing Nick Matthew.”
H2H and Stats
Ham footballer Pablo Armero was at the East Wintergarden tonight to cheer on fellow Colombian Miguel