Day ONE

• Cathay Pacific •  Sun Hung Kai Financial •  Hong Kong Open 2012 • 25 Nov - 02 Dec  • 

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  TODAY in Hong Kong 2012
   Sunday 25th, Day ONE                                                            Fram & Steve in HK

Qualifying Round One:
Ho lifts home hopes on opening day in HK

With local players appearing all eleven matches in the Women’s Qualifying Round One, the home crowd at the Hong Kong Squash Centre received an early boost as Ho Ka Po opened proceedings with a hard-fought four-game upset over Australia’s Sarah Cardwell.

That turned out to be the only upset - and the longest match -of the day though, as all the other matches went with seeding. Tong Tsz-Wing and Carmen Lee made it a trio of HK players through to tomorrow’s qualifying finals, both beating compatriots to progress.

Salma Hany Ibrahim made sure the day didn’t end with a second home upset as the Egyptian junior came from a game down to deny Lee Ka Yi - on her 19th birthday - in another tough match that took just short of an hour to complete.

There were eleven home players in action on the opening day of the men’s qualifying draw, but, with all fifteen matches going with seeding, Max Lee was the only Hong Kong victor on the day. 

The day started with the withdrawal of injured Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema which elevated South African Steve Coppinger to the main draw and qualifying second seed Marwan El Shorbagy receiving a bye in the resulting draw shuffle.

Two matches approached the hour mark as Egypt’s Ali Anwar Reda beat Malaysian Muhd Asyraf Azan 3/1 in 56 minutes while Nafiizwan Adnan provided a Malaysian winner as he beat Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid in a 57-minute three game tussle.

It wasn’t until the final match of the day that the 60-minute barrier was broken, Adrian Waller recovering from a game down to beat Ivan Yuen to set up a showdown with Shorbagy in tomorrow’s qualifying finals.

Women's Qualifying Round One:

Salma Hany (Egy) 3-1 Pansy Chan (Hkg)     11/3, 8/11, 11/7, 11/8 (34m)
Ho Ka Po (Hkg) 3-1 Sarah Cardwell (Aus)     5/11, 11/1, 11/9, 11/9 (56m)
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-0 Sin Kei Tsang (Hkg) 11/2, 11/8, 11/5 (20m)
Lucie Fialova (Cze) 3-0 Ho Tze Lok (Hkg)            11/8, 11/6, 11/8 (32m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-0 Uen Shan Choi (Hkg)  11/3, 11/4, 11/2
Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg) 3-0 Karman Siu (Hkg)        11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (20m)
Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-0 Ho Ka Wing (Hkg)         11/3, 11/5, 11/5 (19m)
Melody Francis (Aus) 3-0 Chu Ka Hei (Hkg)        11/6, 11/7, 11/7 (25m)
Carmen Lee (Hkg) 3-0 Jannis Lam (Hkg)              11/2, 11/3, 11/1 (11m)
Amanda L-Murphy (Nzl) 3-0 Ho Ching Chan (Hkg) 11/3, 11/7, 11/5 (20m)
Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 3-1 Lee Ka Yi (Hkg)  7/11, 11/9, 13/11, 12/10

Men's Qualifying Round One:

Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-0 Tang Cheuk Yan (Hkg)        11/5, 11/4, 11/8
Martin Knight (Nzl) 3-1 Yip Tsz Fung (Hkg)             11/4, 12/10, 8/11, 11/5
Henrik Mustonen (Fin) 3-0 Mark Krajcsak (Hun)               11/5, 11/8, 11/9
Max Lee (Hkg) 3-0 Henry Leung (Hkg)                              11/6, 11/5, 11/6

Ali Anwar Reda
(Egy) 3-1 Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) 11/13, 11/5, 11/8, 11/9
Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-0 Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 11/4, 12/10, 12/10
Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Wong Hon Fung (Hkg)                           11/3, 11/3, 11/2
Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 Yeung Ho Wai (Hkg)                        11/5, 11/5, 11/7

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-0 Chris Lo (Hkg)                 11/4, 11/7, 11/6
Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-0 Yuen Tsun Hei (Hkg)               11/7, 11/8, 11/6
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-0 Wong Chi Him (Hkg)                 11/3, 11/9, 11/8
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-0 Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)    11/6, 11/7, 12/10

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-0 Ma Tsz Hei (Hkg)                     11/3, 11/6, 11/5
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 3-0 Alex Lau (Hkg)                      11/6, 11/2, 11/5
Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-1 Ivan Yuen (Mas)               9/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/6
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)   bye

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Fram's Quick Reports
GOOD BACKHAND

Hong Kong Tang Cheuk Yan has nothing to be ashamed of, as he played an excellent game against French Mathieu Castagnet. Fast on court, Cheuk Yan posesses a superb backhand that passed by his opponent several times. I noticed he really constructs his rallies cleverly, and counterattacks pretty well too.



He really managed to stay in the rallies especially in the 3rd, where there was nothing between the players up to 5/5. A few errors crept in after that, and although the young man saved two match balls, Mathieu prevailed, 11/8 to take the match 3/0.

Well, it was a bit of an eventful month, first, in Dayton, got my lips badly cut when playing against Mosaad, needed 12 stitches. It also took a few days for the whole thing to stop hurting, for the swelling to go down.

Then, I played a nice French Ligue match, that I managed to win 3/2 against Nicki Mueller, a nice match, but the next day – like everybody in Aix training camp – I got a bad gastro, cut the legs for a few days as well!

So, today, I sort of managed, I was lucky enough to have a younger player, but if I play against Martin Knight tomorrow – logically that should be my opponent – it will be a good test to see how my body reacts, especially as he beat me the last time we played in Richmond, a few years back….

MARK A BIT SLOW

I’m not sure if Mark Krajcsak  was slower than he normally is because he only arrived yesterday in Hong Kong – and if I judge by the state I’m in today, he must not feel that fresh – or just because Henrik Mustonen played a very steady/accurate game…

The games were a bit on the same model, a good start for Mark who would play fast and aggressive at the front, then Henrik slowly pushing him back and getting in his comfort zone to take back control.

Mark never gave up, and even threaten to take it to a 4th, saving 3 match balls from 10/6 to 9/10, but on a bit of a controversial rally – Mark seeing the ball not up, don’t ask me I was writing down and was not looking – Henrik closes it down, 11/9 in the 3rd…

I’m feeling rather comfortable with my movement at the moment, but I was struggling a bit when I was trying to speed up the pace. I would lose a bit of accuracy, trying to hit the ball faster, and found myself playing in the middle of the court.

Best example was in the middle of the second, when I build a good lead, tried and speed up, and lost 5 points in a row! But when I was playing my natural/typical game, I was in control most of the time….



WAN MORE ACCURATE


Two strong boys on court today, both pretty keen to get to the ball and fit as it comes. The result, a match with a few contacts – to say the least – and Meguid paying for his “bad reputation” of being a bit too physical on court I felt – a few calls a bit harsh I felt, especially at the end of the second, start of the third.… Still the Egyptian has improved his game tremendously, although there was a few times on there the nickname “China Wall” came to my mind, bless him…

Overall, a good match though, with some great rallies, both retrieving extremely well and moving fast, some good spell of attacking squash. But at the end of the day, Wan was just too accurate today, especially on the forehand drive, where he got at least two points per game, just with a perfect length that dies in that back corner beautifully. Yes, accuracy and length in Wan’s game made the difference today, and maybe Meguid lacked a bit of glasscourt experience as well…

We are both physical players, but on a cold court, I think I had a bit of advantage, and I did my best to keep the ball away from him.

At the start of the match, I was a bit nervous, and made a few errors. But I got more confidence in my game recently after some hard training, in particular in the past two months with Peter Genever, our National Coach.

Happy with the game today…

THE ACROBAT PREVAILS

If you don’t know why I call Little Greg the Acrobat, then you never saw the boy play! He is a bit of a “jumper” that one is, he luuuuves flying in the air, and crushing all over the court – black and blue he must be at the end of tournaments…

Joke apart, it was one of the worst draws Abouelghar could have really. Somebody that runs everywhere and retrieves the un-retrievable.

Maybe you don’t know the name Mohamed Abouelghar yet. He is twice runner up in the World Juniors, twice against his best mate Marwan El Shorbagy.

Abouelgar is the coming up talent I would say. He is very fast, he hides his lethal shots so well, in particular on the backhand, he moves very well/fast, and he forgot to be stupid. Only flaw to his game at the moment, a bit of a junior squash at times, hence far too many unforced errors.

And that’s exactly how he quickly lost the first game, 11/4, far too many errors. The second game, he reassessed, never more than two points between them. A little luck for Greg, at 9/9 and 10/10, two lucky bounces, and the Frenchman takes a big advantage 12/10 to lead two games to love.

But Abouelghar never gave up. Not more than a point in the third, a really entertaining game, fast, using all the angles, with the Egyptian attacking so inventively, and the Frenchman finding that lovely defence lobs and a few nice volleying of his own.

Young Abouelghar got himself a game ball at 10/9 with a perfect length that died at the back. But Greg managed to clinch the last three points to win the match 11/4, 12/10, 12/10. As the Frenchboy stated, “thank god he is making a few errors”, because in my humble opinion, the day he stops making them, tremble Squash World…

"Thank GOD he is making a few errors!

I knew he’s a player that speeds up the pace a lot and gets so many shots in, so I couldn’t afford to play a “shot contest” with him, I had to play the ball a bit higher and keep the drives close to the walls to prevent him attacking from a good position, otherwise, he gets everything in…

I’m not too unhappy with my performance today, being the first match of the tournament, the jetlag, the end of the season and all…"

WALLER A BIT NERVOUS TO START WITH…

Englishman Adrian Waller looked a bit under pressure when he got started today I thought. Staying a bit too much at the back, a bit too cautious maybe, a few errors, whereas Ivan Yuen was much more positive and aggressive at the front.

But progressively, the Englishman seemed to grow in confidence, while the Malaysian seemed to slow down, making a few more errors himself. Maybe if Ivan had taken the second game, he would have found a new life and a second wind, but he seemed a bit tired after losing that game, and Adrian felt it….

Both players played in the four corners, a nice pace too, nice angles, but today, Adrian was just that much better, especially at the end of the games I felt, where he gave it a big push, speeding up the pace beautifully.

The fact that it’s the qualifiers and that you have come a very long way to lose in the first round is always in the back of your mind, but you’ve got to try and push it away as the match advances, as it’s not doing you any favours.

I feel that the end of the second was crucial, 8/8, 9/8, I could feel him getting a bit tired, slowing the tempo down. And me winning that tight second game gave me more confidence to volley a bit more. From that point on, I relaxed a bit, as I was pretty wary about going short before, he was counter attacking pretty well up to there…

I feel that my game has improved a lot in the past six months, the hard summer training that Joe Lee and myself have produced in the summer – we attended all the training camps organised by Chris Robertson with the top English seeds, James, Nick, Peter, and it really made a big difference. Not only game wise, because you get the chance to play a level of squash you are not used to, but also the fact of playing the top 1, top 2, etc, well, allows you to be less nervous when you play say, Greg in the British Grand Prix. It was hard, because the squash was hard, but it took a bit the pressure off playing a top 3, the pressure off the situation itself.

So yes, I feel that I’m playing better squash than I was six months ago.

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Day ONE

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