• Punj Lloyd PSA Masters 2009 • 05-10 Dec • Mumbai •  





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TODAY in Mumbai ...    Fram in Mumbai, India, Steve in Whitley Bay

[16] Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt Joey Barrington (Eng)
                       11/9, 10/12, 7/11, 11/9, 11/9 (96m)
[7] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)
                       11/3, 11/5, 10/12, 11/5 (39m)
[9] Adrian Grant (Eng) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)
                       6/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9 (54m)
[8] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Julian Illingworth (Usa)
                       11/4, 11/6, 11/4 (32m)

[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Renan Lavigne (Fra)
            11/9, 11/5, 11/7 (44m)
Daryl Selby (Eng) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
            12/10, 1/11, 11/13, 11/6, 11/6 (83m)
[10] Alister Walker (Eng)  bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind)
             11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (29m)
[13] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
              11/5, 11/3, 11/4 (47m)

Sun 6th, Day Two
Round One,
Bottom Half:

Action photos
by Vishal Kelkar
Photo Gallery


by Pradeep Vijayakar

09.30. London Bahrain. Great, I’ve got the most overweight passenger of the plane next to me, and as I’m not skinny, things are not going well.... (read more)

"I seem to switch off mentally a few times during the match, but at 9/9 in the 5th, it’s a bit of a lottery really, after such a long match…

"I seemed to move better than I did all season. And considering this is probably my worst season in PSA ever, I guess this was probably some of my best squash…

"It all comes down to attention to details, each shot is important… But it’s so disappointing, frustrating… Still, I wish BH the best for the rest of the tournament…"

[16] Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt Joey Barrington (Eng)
                       11/9, 10/12, 7/11, 11/9, 11/9 (96m)


Those two great champions produced a mammoth match today, not only physically, with long and gruelling rallies all along, but also mentally, with both players switching off at times, leaving the other one stringing point after point.

A few notes. First of all, BH’s backhand let him down today, couldn’t find his height on his famous crosscourt lobs, and every time he made a tin, it was on the backhand drop shot, and each time because he was going for too short too early.

Then I thought that Joey played excessively well today, in the counter attack department in particular, and also in the accuracy and tightness area. He didn’t much to his opponent to attack with, and on a traditional court, BH’s attacks were retrievable, and Joey took full advantage of it.

A gentlemen’s match, although a lot of stop and starts, with so many lets, non intentional or anything, but just an enormous amount of them. The most we had was eight lets at 9/8 in the fourth, ending with a no let, allowing BH to come back in contention and force a decider. But they were still courteous to each other, all the way, and even at 9/9 in the fifth, we had two lets, and not one frustration or bad body language from either of them. Amazing sportsmanship.

I wish that match would have been videoed. I feel it’s a shame that we were so few to witness the enormity of the work those two produced. It was a real privilege to witness this encounter, and they should be both very proud of their amazing performance today.

Unbelievable match. I enjoyed it!

It’s such a great feeling passing the first round of a platinum, something I failed to do for the past three events!

Today, almost too hungry, and at the same time, too relaxed… I just didn’t seem to find the right balance… And Joey put me under a lot of pressure today.

We seemed to get in each other’s way a lot, but I don’t think it was intentional, we were just trying to get straight to the ball…

Yes, normally, my backhand is my strongest point, but today, it was my weakest! And it started on the first ball, as I served on my backhand, and out it went!!!! Trying to play relaxed…. Didn’t go well there….

[7] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)
                       11/3, 11/5, 10/12, 11/5 (39m)


Those two players like and respect each other a lot, but still on court, they just try and kick the other out of their own territory. And today, it went with a few “moments”, where they were expressing their views on each other’s movement rather loudly! But from where I stood, it was like two dogs trying to impress each other by barking as loud as possible. Still, no bite there at all!

Olli used some great combination of hitting extremely hard, then finding some lovely volley drop shots or backhand boasts, but then again, Thierry made very few errors on his backhand drop shot from the back of the court, which put Olli under enormous pressure.

If Thierry dominated both the first and the second games, both mentally and territorially – Olli making far too many unforced errors – the Finn came back fast and furious in the third, leading very quickly 4/0 then 9/4. Thierry seemed to find his head and game to climb back to 9/9, then 10/10. But Olli’s attacks and counter attacks were just stunning and in a fourth we went.

The Frenchman was in control for most of that game, leading 3/0 then 8/2, before Olli got his act together again, attacking again and leading the rallies from the front, but Thierry had too much of a lead, and finally takes the match 11/5, in a “quick” but freaking intense 39m game.

"Intense. Intense between us too as well, because the match, the pace was intense. It was hard concentration wise, especially as we both had to wait a lot to get on court [Joey/BH’s match was nearly 100m].

"Both of us were trying to get in front of the other one, and you could see how the games went, the one that was in front was leading the dance. In the third, he was well in front of me, he was more opportunistic than I was, and cut my trajectories very well.

"A good game."

"As usual, I should have been more patient, played a bit more at the back. And I just couldn’t push enough when I needed to.

"It’s always difficult to play against Thierry, he takes his space, but still lets you go through, and you get to play the ball, but you are out of balance, you cannot play the way you would like, but if the people up there [the refs in the gallery] don’t do anything about it, I just cannot do much…

"Then again, if I’d played better in the first two games, I would have been in a better position when I gave it the big push in the fourth…. Let me put it this way, I can play better than this!"

"It was close at the end of the fourth, wasn’t it? I should have pushed him to five, I cocked it up at the end… But we played at the Worlds a few weeks back, and he absolutely chopped me, so that was a big improvement already!

"I’ve been struggling a lot physically recently, in KW in particular, Qatar, I just getting a bit better, and I think I’ve found a way to get through it, I hope I can have a good training at Christmas, and I think I’m on the right path there.

"Adrian is such a solid, solid player, he made the right decisions at the right time. I went a bit short at times, but that comes from not feeling my best recently, and trying to shorten the games as much as possible, which is not my natural game, I’m more of a getting back into the rally kind of player. But against Adrian, it’s all about finding a good balance between staying at the back and still trying to do something with the ball…"

[9] Adrian Grant (Eng) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)
                       6/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9 (54m)


A typical slow start from Adrian, who started to use all  his physical power from the second onwards to try and overcome his opponent by scotching him to the back wall. But Chris found some stunning counter attacks and lovely short shots that pushed Adrian to make a few errors.

Chris will regret he couldn’t push his compatriot to a fifth, but Adrian, although the score was really close, always seemed in control of the encounter…

"I didn’t like the way the ball was flying in the air at all, I could never feel comfortable with the court. Chris realised that, and made it very hard for me. Oh well, I never felt comfortable; and still come out with a win, that’s what’s important I guess.

"It wasn’t a brutal match, still we had three or four very hard rallies then easier ones, then again, three or four very intense ones, so a good run around for me.

"I’m so looking forward to playing on the glasscourt tomorrow, I had a play on it this morning, I just loved it, really looking forward to it…"

[8] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Julian Illingworth (Usa)
                       11/4, 11/6, 11/4 (32m)


The most intense moment of the match occurred actually between the games, at the end of the second to be precise, when Peter asked for a ball change, as he realised it was spongy and didn’t suit his game at all. He was told by the ref that although it is a platinium event, as they were not playing on the glass court, the two players had to agree, and of course, Julian wanted to keep the ball running, as he is more of a natural attacker that Peter is.

Peter got annoyed with the decision, but thank God for him, didn’t lose too much focus, as he can sometimes when he doesn’t agree with refs’ decisions.

Apart from that, a solid performance from the Englishman, and a bit too many unforced errors from the American to really put his opponent under real pressure…

"I know what he is capable with a racquet, that’s probably why I was so tense, and that the decision not to change the ball at the end of the third annoyed me so much.

"I don’t know, I was winning, but you remember that match I lost in NY against Thierry, where I thought the ball was a flyer, it just stuck in my mind. And I guess it’s also because I know how dangerous he is that I got worried…

"I was so keen on keeping him behind me, of playing it straight. It was my first match back since coming back from injury – my ligament in my ankle caused me to withdraw from my last match in Qatar
, and it was a good test, as I hate playing against those gifted players when you are a bit fragile injury wise, because they flick you around really… yes, a good test…"

"I was comfortable on the court, the ball was very slow, so I was not under too much pressure there, but I just made too many mistakes, and I was not sharp enough today.

"I realise that the ball was spongy, and I knew I was going to have to take my chances and take it to him at the front, but I just didn’t play well enough…


[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Renan Lavigne (Fra)
            11/9, 11/5, 11/7

"You never play at your best in the first round. Nither of us could practice during the night on the glass court, because of the matches, we could only practice during the day, and the ball just went to the back on its own! Whereas at this time, you’ve got to work very hard for it to get there!

"The French always speak about, ‘finding your marks”, well, that what the first game was really for us…

"It took me about a game to get used to the court, and then at the end, I took my foot off the gas for a bit at the end….

"I lost a lot of fluid tonight, god help the ones that will take it to five! I’ll have to make sure that I replenish myself tonight;

"Everybody is enjoying the tournament, we are having a great time, great atmosphere, I’m having a good time so far, hopefully I can go on enjoying the rest of the tournament!!!!"

"He made my little legs work double time!

"I was able to stick to my game plan, but the boy ain’t stupid, he figured it out, and was able to cut off my shots and send me on diagonal runs a few times… I got punished in the second, I got back at the end of the 3rd, but a bit late…

"Everything starts from the first game, we are pretty close at 8/8, he takes the lead 10/8, I come back at 9/10, but he plays a superb tight shot, game for him. If I take it, maybe I can make him doubt a bit, but he is the man in form at the moment really…"

"I’m quite pleased he won. It’s all about believing that you can beat the other one, it’s not easy, of course, but it’s all a question of confidence and belief.

"Daryl nullified everything that Greg was trying to do, he was quite good at preventing him from attacking. It was pretty close till the fifth, and then, Greg seemed to run out of ideas really… Still, he’ll be there for a long time, this is just a bad moment for him.

"Now we’ve got to refocus in view of the next challenge, one win doesn’t make a tournament …"

Daryl Selby (Eng) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
            12/10, 1/11, 11/13, 11/6, 11/6 (83m)


“I tried to get into Greg’s mind.” I guess that’s a perfect summary of what happened on there today. The Frenchman, in complete loss of confidence and motivation to play, got imprisoned into the false pace Daryl imposed tonight.

Frankly, Daryl reminded me of Lee Beachill as his best. Perfect tight game, nothing impressive spectator-wise I guess, but extremely accurate length, good delaying, good tactic, and one short shot that out of the blue takes the rally… Pretty lethal stuff.

Normally, Greg would have stepped up the pace, and got in front of his opponent. But tonight, the Frenchman just didn’t have enough mentally to hurt himself out there. He needed to really fight extremely hard, but honestly, I just don’t think he wants to play squash at the moment. I could be wrong of course, but I’ve got the feeling he’s just had enough squash and probably wants to go home and rest…

Daryl played the perfect tactical game tonight, preventing Greg from applying his magic. And mentally, it all came down to the third, where the Frenchman needed six game balls to win a game he should have won 11/6. From that moment, although Greg took the second so easily, Daryl knew he could sneak in there, and make the top seed doubt.

A few discussions with the ref, with Daryl complaining that Greg was preventing him from reaching the ball, the ref warning the Frenchman for getting into his opponent's space, a few disagreements between the players and the refs about close calls, but nothing bad really.

No, like I said, Daryl played at his utmost best tonight, and the world number 11 confirms his great form, while Greg has got to find his desire to do what he normally loves more than life itself, playing magic on the court…

"Such an unbelievable first event, great setting, the crowd that is getting involved that helped me a lot - not that I needed it, I’m normally pretty good atn getting my motivation within myself, but still, so many people watching from the first round, it really gives the players the envy of performing at their best.

"This is my best win ever, for sure. Greg is such an amazing player, when he gets confident, he gets in a roll, and we could see in the second how good he can be, and he showed there why he was number one last month.

"You’ve got to be pretty gutsy to play on that court against Greg. I’m sure he’ll say he was not 100%, but that’s in his head. I’m sure too that he’ll agree that’s the weakest point of his game, as the squash is close to perfection really. I just tried and get in his head tonight…

"With Karim out of the tournament, this was the toughest draw I could get, and the same for him. I’m so happy, but now, I need to regroup for the next round.

"What made the difference tonight? The mental side of things, no doubt about that."

[10] Alister Walker (Eng)  bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind)
             11/4, 11/5, 11/3


There was no way, no way on earth Ritwik was going to win this match. I remember Peter Nicol a few years back, sweeping the Canary Wharf court minutes before he was meant to play Jonathan Power. It didn’t work, did it Peter?

Well the same here. Ritwik has been magic for us all here, players, officials, sponsors. Along with his friend Raj, they’ve been making out of this first time a stunning success, and you can’t do everything, concentrating mentally for a match, and organise a major event.

Still, Alister had to be on his toes, as the Indian played out of his skin tonight, and found some great counter attacks. Well done to both for producing a good match despite the oh so special conditions out there tonight…

"I would like to thank Ritwik not only in the name of all the players but also in my personal name for the amazing achievement he and his team have produced to put on this amazing event.

"I know, we all know how hard you work, and we really wish to thank you for all what you have done for us."

"Like I’ve been saying to everybody for the past two weeks, there are two ways to prepare for a marathon, you train for 6 months, or you just turn up on the day. Well, I chose the second solution I guess, I just turned up on the day.

"If I’d been a bit sharper, maybe I could have done something, I don’t know..

"It’s awesome to play here, in front of my home crowd, I’m sorry I let everybody down tonight, I’ll just try and win next year…"

"If I gave him a sniff, Davide would put me under a lot of pressure, he is such a dangerous player.

"We are all having a great time here, thanks Ritwik for your hard work man, really…"

[13] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
              11/5, 11/3, 11/4 (47m)


Well, my favourite Italian – sorry for the others, but sue me – was on his best behaviour tonight, and only got a conduct warning for racquet abuse, talk about an abuse, he broke the poor thing in the last game, at 6/2 proof that although he was led 2/0 and 6/2, he still wanted to win that badly.

Davide read LJ’s game really well tonight I thought, maybe something the Dutch has got to look into… The Italian played really well, he was very patient, and put his opponent under a lot of pressure at the back of the court. Still LJ was very focused, very accurate, and retrieved very well all the excellent shots Davide found tonight.

LJ never let his mind wander around, and with the help of his coach Lucas Built, will be solid against a Daryl Selby that may be a bit mentally tired from his victory tomorrow. Still, Daryl has been causing trouble to all the top guys recently, and he won’t be a push over, that’s for sure. Probably one of the top encounters not to be missed tomorrow…

On a more personal note, I know Davide can be a bit of a loud player sometimes, but we need players with a bit of character too, you know, a world without colourful and passionate intense player would be a very sad and boring one…

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