Hong Kong 2012
Monday 26th, Day
Fram & Steve in HK
EN BREF #1
English and French excel in Hong Kong
The crowd at Hong Kong
Squash Centre only had one home victory to cheer in today’s
qualifying finals as HK number one Max Lee made sure
there would be home representation in the men’s main draw with a
straight-game win over Finland’s Henrik Mustonen.
It was the English who were
celebrating the most though, as Max’s namesake Joe Lee,
Chris Simpson and Adrian Waller all won tough
beat Scotland’s Alan Clyne in four games, Simpson overcame
Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan in the longest match of the day, but
star of the show was Waller who came from 0-2 and 2-7 down to
beat qualifying top seed Marwan El Shorbagy.
Other qualifiers were French duo Mathieu Castagnet and Greg
Marche - the latter drawing the short straw as he was paired
with compatriot Gregory Gaultier - along with Egypt’s Karim
Abdel Gawad and Australian Ryan Cuskelly.
In the women’s draw there was to be no repeat for yesterday’s
giant-killer Ho Ka Po as the HK youngster lost in straight games
to Kylie Lindsay, who was joined in the main draw by
fellow Kiwi Amanda Landers-Murphy who came from two games
down to deny another Lee from Hong Kong, Carmen.
There were two marginal (according to the world ranking) upsets
as Australian Melody Francis, 3-1 over Lauren Selby, and
Nicolette Fernandes, 3-0 over Lucie Fialova, advanced to
the main draw where they face Low Wee Wern and Samantha Teran
Completing the qualifiers were Lauren Briggs, Joshana
Chinappa, Coline Aumard - making it three out of three for
the French - and Heba El Torky.
Men's Qualifying Finals:
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-1 Martin Knight (Nzl)
11/6, 11/4, 8/11, 11/3
Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-1 Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
11/9, 11/8, 10/12, 11/9
Max Lee (Hkg) 3-0 Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
11/6, 11/2, 11/8 (33m)
Joe Lee (Eng) 3-1 Alan Clyne (Sco) 11/9,
11/8, 3/11, 11/4 (68m)
Karim A.Gawad (Egy) 3-2 Shawn Delierre (Can)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 11/5, 11/8,
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-0 Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 11/6,
11/4, 11/6 (39m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-2 Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
7/11, 3/11, 11/7, 11/9, 11/7
Women's Qualifying Finals:
Lauren Briggs (Eng) 3-0 Salma Hany (Egy)
11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (26m)
Kylie Lindsay (Nzl) 3-0 Ho Ka Po (Hkg)
11/7, 11/9, 11/6 (34m)
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-0 Siti Munirah (Mas)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-0 Lucie Fialova (Cze) 11/7,
11/5, 11/3 (27m)
Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-0 Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg)
11/4, 11/8, 12/10 (49m)
Melody Francis (Aus) 3-1 Lauren Selby (Eng)
Amanda L-Murphy (Nzl) 3-2 Carmen Lee (Hkg)
Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-1 Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 9/11,
11/4, 11/6, 11/8
Updated main draws
TWO FRENCHIES ON COURT
This is a good day for French squash as both Mathieu Castagnet
and Acrobat Greg Marche have made it to the main draw.
They were both lucky in the sense that Mathieu played Martin
Knight – who I think is probably more at his ease on a
traditional court, and Little Greg played Mohamed Ali on a
traditional court – whereas the Egyptian would have rather play
on the glass court!
Knight, I hadn’t seen him play for quite a while, and I thought
that he was getting a bit tired at the end of the games, and in
particular in the 4th.
Talking to the NZ after his match, I realised that he was not
exactly match fit, having been impaired by several niggles
recently. And that didn’t help him today, obviously, against a
player who really likes to make the rallies last….
Mathieu played well, he was patient and aggressive, with some
good spells of squash. Martin – he admitted it himself – maybe
didn’t do enough in the first two games, although he hit the
ball very hard and pretty accurately, but kept his best squash
for the second, leading 9/4 before maybe relaxing a bit there
only to take the game 11/8.
The fourth was all about Mathieu collecting the dividends of the
hard work he made his opponent do in the first two games.
One personal remark. It was one of those matches where both
players are fair, moving particularly well, no block, no
nastiness, no aggression towards each other, but only against
the ball! It was a pure pleasure to watch. Thanks guys.
Martin didn’t put too much pressure on me at the front in the
first two games, only keeping me at the back, he certainly found
his short game in the 3rd, and really played an excellent game.
Martin, like Campbell, Ryan and Zac, are really a joy to play,
such fair players. It makes playing squash a real pleasure.
And Martin is such a fighter, I feel we’ve got a bit of the same
way of playing. Until you win the last point, you just cannot
take your victory for granted, and you can’t relax.
I’m pretty happy with my counter drop on the backhand corner, I
think I managed to frustrate him a bit there, I was able to be
accurate there today.
And it was a nice revenge too, as I lost against him last time
we played. Really happy to qualify…
I started off pretty well, if you can say that, nice-ish, nice
enough shots, but not capitalising on the pressure I created,
and not doing enough with the ball in the first two games.
In the third, I managed to create a good lead, 9/4, but he came
back much closer thatn it needed to be in the end, I’m lucky he
goes for a bit too much at 8/9! And in the fourth, yes, I was
was able to make me play at his pace today, he was slowing down
the ball beautifully, lobbing it quite well, and it was not easy
for me to speed up. I was not going for enough, and I didn’t
really feel comfortable with my shots today.
I’m happy I took the first two close games, but in the 3rd, I
was finding it more and more difficult to get access to the
ball, and that took me off my game a bit.
Lucky I was to be able to get back into it in the 4th, where I
took an excellent start. He nearly came back, but I gave a big
push, and closed it down 11/9.
Very happy to be in Hong Kong, it’s my second time here, and I
qualified twice. I like it here!
seen that boy coming from a shy and not that fit junior to a
more mature and confident player, and it’s really striking how
much he’s changed… He is fitter, much fitter, doesn’t go for
silly shots as he was, but more important, he doesn’t have those
mental break down he seemed to have…
Alan, well, was not at his best today I found. He was not as
accurate as he can be, and although he did pretty well to speed
up the pace in the third, wining the game pretty comfortably
11/3, he didn’t manage to take Joe out of his comfort zone
enough to put him under pressure physically.
you work on your physical side, your mental side improves as
well, they are both linked really. Being fitter gave me more
freedom to play good squash, and not having to play perfect
squash all the time like I used to when I was not as fit as I am
Well Alan is one of the fittest players on tour, and although
I’m not as fit as he is yet, I’m close enough to be able to play
a good squash against him.
In the third, the ball went all spongy – and it’s Chris
[Robertson] that told me! I should be able to see that by
myself, but I didn’t ! I’m getting better, but I didn’t see it.
And Alan really surprised me, he took advantage of it, speeded
up the pace. Plus we had two very hard rallies at the start of
the game I didn’t really recover from.
In the 4th, I got a good lead, and I was not going to let go at
is such a good player, I watched him play when he played against
other Egyptians, so I know how good he could be, and how hard it
was going to be.
My concentration was not at its best today, up and down, and
because of the jetlag, I was struggling a bit physically and
mentally on there. And he is so fast, I really had to push
myself very hard to win today.
So happy to qualify again, I did in 2010. I came twice, and I
qualified twice. Really happy.
came and qualified already in 2010, and it was exactly the same
draw! First a local, then Sid, on the same score.
Today, it was weird, he gave me a lot of free points, ok, I
played tight and probably forced a few, but he made a lot of
errors at the front which helped me!
I just don’t know what happened, I struggled on there. It’s
really surprising, because I’ve been playing quite well up to
now, I worked a lot, trained hard. I have no idea why, it’s
probably my worst performance of the year….
When I warmed up, I prepared myself to play a two hours match…
Today, I was able to play a good length, and on that court,
which is a bit slow, I kept the ball tight and deep, and it
worked. I did my best to prevent him from volleying because I
knew it would have been very short rallies otherwise…!
the beginning of the match, I tried and played steady squash, I
did attack but I didn’t go for winners, I didn’t go for too
much, and my motto today was, keep it simple!!!
I just kept on going, kept on going. It was a really pleasant
match, we barely had any lets, I would say under 5 in the whole
match. We just played the ball. Good game.
A GAME OF TWO HALVES….
What the heck happened? “Don’t ask me Fram, I don’t have
anything for you, I have no idea…!!!!” said a
stunned/happy/incredulous Adrian Waller at the end of his match…
From outside, it was pretty clear though.
two games, Marwan played a spotless squash, extremely fast pace,
very accurate, not going for too much, but tight at the back,
and nicely lethal at the front. Taking Adrian to the throat, not
letting him breathe, think or find his rhythm, forcing him on
the back foot constantly and twisting and turning him
Victory seemed sure for Marwan when he led 2 games up, and 7/2.
And then… Black Hole.
Suddenly, the shots are going in the tin, or out of court, bad
timing of the ball, and wrong choices. Adrian, grateful indeed,
started to realise there was a fault in the squash armour, and
his confidence grew with the win of the 3rd and the fact that
Marwan lost 11 points in a row….
used to Marwan’s pace – who was not playing that fast anymore
anyway in the 4th – used also to that 3 walls glass court that
is sooo specific, having more time on the ball, the young
Englishman cut the errors down, and started putting his opponent
under more and more pressure.
Still Marwan was still a strong contender, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6,
7/7 and 9/9. But it’s Adrian that closes it down with a backhand
drop shot and a perfect length drive that dies in the backwall,
11/9. All level, ball in the centre, and the momentum with the
That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back really.
Marwan took an awful bad start, led 6/1 by a now completely in
control/confidence Adrian. Quickly we were at match ball, 11/3.
Marwan, having nothing to lose anymore, went for a few shots, a
few nice rallies, saving 4 match balls. But Adrian was not going
to lose today, 11/7 he takes the 5th.
That was a good match to win.
sure what happened but definitely lost my concentration in the
3rd, obviously disappointed but I have to learn a lot from this.
Adrian deserved to win he had a good comeback.
was the first time I've played Salma, and I knew she was very
dangerous in the middle, so I tried to keep the ball away from
her, by playing deep and tight squash.
Very happy with a 3/0 victory, it’s always nice, and of course,
very happy to qualify…
played her just a couple of months ago in the Crocodile Cup
here, and she's improved even since then and played very well
yesterday and today.
"There's always a lot of pressure on you when you play against
the home players, but I managed to keep the crowd a bit quieter
than usual today!"