Day TWO

Punj Lloyd PSA Masters   12-18 Dec 2011  New Delhi, India  

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TODAY in Delhi - Tuesday 13th, Day TWO

Round One, bottom half:                   Full Draw

Alister Walker (Bot) bt Alan Clyne (Sco)          11/5, 11/6, 11/5 (28m)
[5] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)    11/5, 11/4, 11/1 (25m)
Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)   11/7, 11/6, 11/4 (34m)
[7] Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Mohammed Abbas (Egy)   11/4, 11/5, 11/9

Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Julian Illingworth (Usa)      12/10, 11/4, 11/2
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 9/11, 11/3, 11/4, 11/9
[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 8/11, 11/7, 11/5, 11/5
Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Jonathan Kemp (Eng)    11/5, 9/11, 11/4, 13/11
   

Ghosal delights, Ramy returns,
Willstrop on track ...


Day two of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi saw a series of quick opening matches as Alister Walker, Peter Barker, Simon Rosner and Daryl Selby all eased through to the last sixteen in straight games.

Walker's opponent, Scotsman Alan Clyne, complained on twitter of suffering from 'Delhi belly', as the Botswanan went through to a possible meeting with the in-form James Willstrop, who will become world number one if he wins the tournament.

The evening session started with a popular home win for the recently re-crowned Indian National champion Saurav Ghosal, who edged a tight first game before dominating the next two against the sole American in the draw,  Julian Illingworth.

All eyes were then on top seed Ramy Ashour as he started off his campaign, returning to action after limping out of the World Open some two months ago, and he looked a little sluggish in the opening game against Malaysia's Nafiizwan Adnan. In the next three games though he showed the brilliant shotmaking that is his trademark, winning convincingly in the end.

Willstrop set up that meeting with Walker, coming through strongly after dropping the first game to Swiss Nicolas Mueller.

The first round concluded with Australia's Cameron Pilley getting the better of Jon Kemp in a rapid-fire exchange, and he now meets Ashour in the last sixteen.
 

VANESSA REPORTS from Delhi ...

Alister Walker (Bot) bt Alan Clyne (Sco)
        11/5, 11/6, 11/5 (28m)

Walker takes advantage

The first match of the day was a one-sided affair due to Clyne suffering from the old 'Delhi-belly', as I was informed afterwards.

He is usually known for his doggedness and movement round the court but there was little evidence of that today. He couldn't get forward at all and was often doubled over in between points.

Walker took full advantage of the situation, stepping up the court and working any loose shot from Clyne into the front of the court.

Even though Clyne managed a big push in the second, going up 4 love and then 6/2, Walker responded in time and won 9 points in a row to take the game 11/6.

The result was never really in doubt and after 28 mins Walker secured his place in the second round with a convincing 3 love win.

I was struggling to concentrate at times because I was aware that something was wrong.

I sensed that he was struggling to move and that made me over think things at times. I was 6/2 down in the third but managed to focus in time to turn it round.

If you get a good length on that court, it just dies so you can really stretch players out and make the court big. It will be great for the top players. There should be some great matches to look forward to.

 

[5] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)
          11/4, 11/4, 11/1 (25m)

Barker at ease

Barker has a good record against Tuominen and that statistic showed in both players today. Barker looked calm, collected and utterly in control. Tuominen on the other hand seemed unsettled and at a loss what to do.

Barker raced to a 7/2 lead in the first, controlling the pace of the game with perfectly weighted length and well times drops and boasts. He quickly took the game 11/4.

In the second Tuominen looked like he might put up more of a challenge after a contentious decision fired him up, however Barker was having none of it and from 3 all he played a number of well executed rallies after which, once again, the errors started to flow from the Tuominen racket.

Barker had only made two unforced errors so far and the third was a formality with Tuominen refusing to chase and making unforced errors off serve. After only 25 minutes Barker was off court warming down. A disappointing performance from Tuominen who is generally known for his tenacity. Possibly another case of the dreaded 'Delhi-belly'?

Everything I tried today just seemed to work. Yeah I've got a good record against him, I don't think he likes playing me! If you play fast against him, you make it tough for yourself so I was trying to slow it down and use some hold to mix up the pace.

The court is quite slow. Yet another dead court! Should suit Jimbo unfortunately!

It's a good venue, just a pity there's not more support for the event. We are being well looked after though and the hotel is great so can't complain.

[7] Daryl Selby (Eng) bt
Mohammed Abbas (Egy)      11/4, 11/5, 11/9

Selby faces more serious challenges
Malcolm reports

Mohammed Abbas has always been an easy player to watch, but in recent times injury has held him back and even though Daryl Selby's form has not been as convincing as last season's, he looked the probable winner beforehand.

He started the better, too, leading 7-2. A hard rally, which he won, took him to 8-3 and looking comfortable he won the first 11-4 on a stroke.

He led in the second, too, in control. A lovely forehand drop by Abbas took him to 5-7,then 6-7,but that was as close as he got and at 10-6 Selby served for the game, winning it at the second attempt 11-7 with a delicate backhand volley drop.

For the first time in the match Abbas began well in the third, leading 7-4,but Selby held his game together to draw level at 8-8 and at 10-8 he served for the match. A mishit took the score to 9-10, but the second match ball was enough.

Selby had a pleasing workout and Abbas, although not offering a serious challenge, remains easy to watch.

Selby will face a more severe examination from his next opponent, Simon Rosner.

Simon Rosner (Ger) bt
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)     11/7, 11/6, 11/4 (34m)

Rosner races through

Both these players like to attack and it made for an entertaining though at times scrappy match. The first two games were level until the midway point with Rosner pulling away each time towards the end of the game. In the first Rosner won four points in a row to go from 4-6 to 8-6 up and went on to close it out in style with a forehand volley nick.

The second followed a similar pattern with Rosner playing his best squash towards the latter stages of the game.

In the third he raced to a 7/0 lead, in the end taking the game 11/4.

Overall, Rosner has matured as a player and plays a more measured game than his younger self. He did well to close it out in three and keep himself fresh for the next round where he'll meet Daryl Selby.

I thought I played really well there and I'm happy to get through in three games. First rounds can be a struggle but I felt really comfortable out there.

I felt that he got tired towards the end of each game which helped me. The court was great.

Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt
Julian Illingworth (Usa) 12/10, 11/4, 11/2



Saurav savours his revenge

Malcolm reports

Julian Illingworth, American no.1 beat Indian no.1 Saurav Ghosal in the last World Team championships when last they were played,so here was an opportunity for Ghosal on home ground to put matters right.No doubt interest in Ghosal meant there was a worthwhile crowd for his match.

Ghosal,encouraged by the support, led 3-1, 4-2 before Illingworth won a tough rally on a stroke to go 4 all. The quality was already high early in the first game and it continued to be so,as both players sought an advantage with precise play down the backhand side.

Illingworth, playing soundly, led 8-6 with a backhand volley into the cross court nick.A delectable cross court drop took Ghosal to 7-8 and Illingworth called the ball down to make it 8 all.9-8 now to Ghosal,the crowd shouting their approval. 10-8 crucial game ball; a stroke 9-10-an error 10-10 and a tiebreak, appropriate on the balance of the play. A cross court volley into the nick,third gameball and Ghosal led 1-0.

Ghosal, fortified by the lead, Illingworth talking to the referee now, led 5-1,confident .For the third time the American called one of his own balls down and Ghosal led 6-2 to 10-2, winning the game 11-4.

Illingworth arguing needlessly with referee John Masarella before the third game began-not sure what about, but a waste of time.

Another cross court hold by Ghosal gave him the first point of the third game; he quickly raced to 5-1, having chased a rally to death and having won it, playing now with great confidence to the delight of his many supporters.10-1 match ball-not much restistance now,11-2 game and match.
 

[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt
  Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 9/11, 11/3, 11/4, 11/9

Hardly surprising that Ramy Ashour, returning from injury, lost the first game to Nafizwan Adnan .No doubt he was feeling the way, testing his leg.

Once that was out of the way he took the next two comfortably enough against the Malaysian. Moving more confidently as the match wore on and happily looking like his old self at times, Ashour eased away to 5-2 in the fourth ,which became 8-4,happy with the way things were going, doubtless relieved to be back. At 10-7 Ashour served for the match but Adnan wiped the ball into the nick and Ashour won on the next point 11-8.Post match Ashour expressed himself satisfied with his performance, especially as his body held up.

[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt
 Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 8/11, 11/7, 11/5, 11/5

Nicolas Mueller has been building on his promise over the past year and set off with confidence and self belief against his in form opponent, attacking from the onset. Willstrop, too, settled well enough into the rhythm he has been showing lately.

An error by him, though, on the backhand volley gave Mueller a 6-5 lead; a cross court volley into the nick 7-5;a stroke 8-5,another winner 9-5,and yet another 10-5. Wllstrop, though, wasn't inclined to let it go and he fought back threateningly to 8-10 before a review went against him and he found him self 1-0 down.

The match continued at a high level, Mueller's racket skills much in evidence, volleying well. Willstrop led 6-3,before Mueller came back to six all, still menacing.

There was a protracted rally at 8-6 which Willstrop won on an error and he levelled what had been an entertaining match at one all.

Willstrop began to exercise some control in the third, leading 5-2,when Mueller played a brilliant deep forehand drop to go to 5-3,but from 8-4 Willstrop pulled away without it ever being easy to take a 2-1 lead 11-5, Mueller showing odd signs of frustration, puzzling in view of the excellent performance he was putting up.

Willstrop was now on top and Mueller made a couple of tired looking errors at 8-4 and 9-4,goimg to 10-4 with a backhand deception. He won the match 11-5 but certainly knew he had been in a game.

Retrospectively I am sure Mueller will appreciate the merit of what he achieved and playing as he did tonight he is danger to anyone. Willstrop ,in retrospect, may be happy to have had such a tough opening with a day's rest to come.
 

Cameron Pilley bt Jon Kemp 11/5, 9/11, 11/4, 13/11 (55mins)

I think anyone could have predicted that the last match of the evening would be a quick fire match. Two of the most attacking players on the tour on a relatively dead glass court... its not rocket science.

And so it was, especially from Kemp who has struggled with injuries throughout his career which seems to have made him even more determined to keep the rallies as short as humanly possible.

Kemp came out firing in the first but more often than not found the tin with the usually equally attacking Pilley trying to contain rather than counter attack. Kemp was leaving no margin with his shots and the error count proved costly, giving Pilley the game 11/5.

Kemp steadied himself in the second and created more space with a much more measured attack. It was working well and they stayed neck and neck throughout most of the game with Kemp eventually squeezing the game 11/9.

The third was played at a frenetic pace and although Kemp had some good fases, Pilley was still the more consistent of the two, attacking at the right time and finishing well. In a similar vein to the first, Pilley took the game 11/4.

At 2-1 to Pilley in games, one might have expected the Kemp challenge to wane, however he pushed on in the third once again finding the right balance in his attack. It was close all the way with Pilley pulling away to 10/8. On the first match ball, Pilley dived into the front losing the rally and causing quite a long break while the court was being cleaned.

Needless to say, both players reacted to the colder ball, firing into the front at any given opportunity, with Pilley eager to finish it off and Kemp pushing for a fifth. Kemp did manage to force a tiebreak, however on his fourth attempt after an entertaining four games, the Australian finally prevailed 13/11 in the fourth.
  

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Day TWO

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