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  TODAY in Hong Kong 2012
   Monday 26th, Day TWO                                                            Fram & Steve in HK


English and French excel in Hong Kong qualifiers

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 encounters.

Joe 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 respectively.

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) 10/12,11/5,4/11,11/6,11/2
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 11/5, 11/8, 12/14, 13/11

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)  11/9,11/7,11/7 (29m)
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)  11/4,3/11,11/8,11/8 (37m)

Amanda L-Murphy (Nzl) 3-2 Carmen Lee (Hkg) 3/11,9/11,11/2,11/8,11/6
Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-1 Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 9/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/8

Updated main draws

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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!

Martin 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.

If 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 pretty tired…

Ali 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!


I’ve 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.

When 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 now.

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 the point….

He 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.

I 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…!

From 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.


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.

First 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 beautifully.

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….

Now 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 Englishman.

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.

Not 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.

It 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…

"I 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!"

Kylie Lindsay

"I was very tense at the start, she came out all guns blazing and I just couldn't get anything to work. I really had to work hard to get back into it.

"It's the first time I've made the main draw of a major event outside the Australian Open, so I'm really looking forward to the next round."

"Even though we're both from Alexandria we've only been on court together a few times in training sessions, this is the first time we'd played a competitive match.

"She played really well, and I had to really fight when I was 6-1 down in the fourth, I'm glad I managed to come back and stop it going to a fifth.

"It will be amazing to play Natalie Grinham, She's been world number two, she's coming back after having a baby and playing really well, I wish I could be like her!"


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