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

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TODAY in Delhi - Thursday 15th, Day FOUR

Round Two, Bottom Half:              Full Draw

[7] Daryl Selby
(Eng) bt Simon Rosner (Ger)
                 11/7, 11/6, 8/11, 11/5
[3] James Willstrop
(Eng) bt Alister Walker (Bot)
                 12/10, 11/4, 11/5

[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy
) bt Cameron Pilley (Aus)
                11/5, 12/14, 11/2, 11/4
[5] Peter Barker (Eng)
bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
              11/5, 11/8, 6/11, 11/5

Round two complete in Delhi

After day two of the second round of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi, it will be the top eight seeds who contest the quarter-finals of the final World Series event of the year.

In today's matches all four 'challengers' faced uphill tasks, having never beaten their respective opponents before, and none of those records were broken as the four seeded players all progressed without too much difficulty.

British champion Daryl Selby dropped the third game against Germany's Simon Rosner, but reasserted strongly in the fourth, while his next opponent, the in-form James Willstrop, edged a close first game against Alister Walker before easing though the next two games.

Top seed Ramy Ashour, returning to action after missing the last few events through injury, took complete control of his match against Cameron Pilley after the Aussie had squeezed home in the second game on his sixth game ball, and he meets the third English winner of the day in Peter Barker, who ended home hopes with a solid enough four game win over Saurav Ghosal.


Your match predictions - TWO got them all correct,
well done Ashraf and Mainser ...

When Vanessa met Saurav ...
Malcolm Willstrop Reports

[7] Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Simon Rosner (Ger)
                 11/7, 11/6, 8/11, 11/5

Simon Rosner has developed into one of those players who is a threat to the top ten, so Daryl Selby, the British Champion, whose form has been a little patchy this season, needed to be on his guard.

He clearly was as he took control of the first game, winning it 11-7 without looking at risk. There were several exciting rallies at the beginning of the second, which the crowd much enjoyed and a confident Selby soon led 4-1 and later 7-2.looking much like his old self. Rosner was now distinctly uncomfortable and Selby raced to 10-3.Stung,perhaps,by the ease of it all Rosner recovered to 6-10,but a tight straight backhand was enough and Selby led 2-0.

With things as they were it was hard to imagine that Rosner, who had a careworn look about him, could stage a comeback. Reviews and lets played a part in the third game: When Rosner led 7-5 Selby reviewed successfully and correctly to reverse a no let decision. Another review went in Rosner's favour, wrongly in my view, since he could have and should have played the ball.

Encouraged he ran away to 9-5.Yet another review, as the game became rather messy. When he hit a forehand volley at 10-8 he was off the court like a bat out of hell, pre-empting the no let decision which followed-soccer like, heaven forbid!

Selby led early 3-0 in the fourth, as the volume of lets increased, spoiling the match, Selby no longer the dominant force of the first two games. An error on the backhand gave Selby a 6-5 lead, a winner to 7-5, a correct no let to 8-5;9-5 Selby assertive again as Rosner handed him the match with two unforced errors.

Selby will be happy to come through and there were signs that he was recapturing his best form-he will be happy about that.

There was no way I was going to underestimate him today. He's an up and coming player and always hard to play against. Simon has proven that he can be really dangerous, he's been getting good results lately.

It's been an up and down year. It started well with winning the nationals obviously but I've been a bit disappointed with my results since then. But you know, you just have to battle on. This is a massive opportunity, being top 8 seed here, to make the quarters so I'm really pleased to be able to end the year well hopefully.

[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt
Alister Walker (Bot)
                 12/10, 11/4, 11/5

A match here between a current Leeds resident, James Willstrop and a former Leeds resident, now relocated to America, Alister Walker.

Willstrop started with the assurance reasonably expected from a player in high form and he soon led 4-1 and 5-2,with the pace electric and shots abounding. Willstrop still led at 7-4,but a couple of errors encouraged Walker, who was already playing well and after a fine rally, which Walker won, the score was 7 all. Walker served at 10-9 ,but after another remarkable rally Willstrop took the game to a tiebreak which he won 12-10.

The considerable contribution Walker had made to the first game told in the second when Willstrop raced to 7-1,winners form him, errors from Walker. He won it 11-4.

Walker won the first two points of the third, the second after he had fallen and left a pool of sweat, which caused Willstrop to complain to the referee. It got him nowhere, however, but hitting several winners of perfect length he led 7-3 and pressed on to win the game and match 11-5. Willstrop will be pleased with his performance against a dangerous opponent, who acquitted himself very well.

Selby awaits.

I've played two players who play at a high pace. Alistair and Nicholas both play very very fast and that can makes things really tough. You don't think of it like that when you're on there but in hindsight they are great matches to have to get used to the pace.

Daryl tomorrow for the 600th time! We've been since all the way back in juniors. Now we're England team mates so we know each others game well enough. We've had plenty of tough matches in the past so I'll have to be on my toes.

[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Cameron Pilley (Aus)
                11/5, 12/14, 11/2, 11/4

How good it is to have Ramy Ashour back in action, so far free from his injury problems-long may that last!

In Cameron Pilley, the new Australian no.1 with the retirement of the distinguished pair, David Palmer and Stewart Boswell, he had an opponent to test him. Ashour has the advantage of being very fresh, which at this stage of 2011 is a major plus and he looked eager and ready to go in the first game always leading, hardly challenged to 8-5,from when a weak ending by Pilley allowed him to draw clear and win it 11-5.

Pilley, however, did much better in the second game, perhaps taking advantage of Ashour's lack of matchplay. Although Ashour played an exquisite rally to get to 4-6,it was Pilley who went ahead from that point to reach 10-6. Ashour is not easy to shake off, with his ability to hit winners that no player in the history of the game could match and a series of winners took him back to 9-10,when a dreadful error by Pilley led to a tiebreak.

To his credit he didn't panic after the onslaught and on his third game ball he won the game, much to his delight and to his relief, no doubt.

Anyone who saw this as a possible challenge to Ashour's chances were quickly proved wrong as much of his magic returned as he coasted through, winning the next two games 11-2 11-4,with a stream of winners of unique variety.

His quarter final against the athletic Peter Barker, who impressed against Saurav Ghosal will be full of interest.

Welcome back,Ramy!

I've been having trouble with my hamstring lately so I haven't played as many matches as the other guys. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing because I'm really fresh and happy just to be playing.

[5] Peter Barker (Eng) bt
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
              11/5, 11/8, 6/11, 11/5

The final match of what had been an entertaining evening's play was between World no. 7 Peter Barker and Indian no.1 Saurav Ghosal, the Delhi crowd urging him on.

Although Barker, moving well as usual,won the first game 11-5 it was by no means one sided, a feature being three or four dramatic winners produced by Barker from seemingly difficult positions.

Barker led 7-3 in the second, but Ghosal continued to play persistently well and at 7-8 he threatened to get level. However a couple of untimely errors saw Barker into a 2-0 lead,11-8.

Both players continued in good form and Ghosal's persistence gave him an early 5-2 advantage in the third, but when Barker levelled at 6 all the end appeared to be in sight.

This time, though, Ghosal held together, forced some errors out of Barker-by no means easy the way Barker was playing- got to 10-6 and won the game at the first attempt, which the crowd, happy for their player and to see more of what had been an entertaining match.

The Englishman, as top players do, tightened the screw and a combination of winners from him and errors by Ghosal meant that he led 6-0 and 8-1 in then fourth. To his credit Ghosal kept competing and managed to recover to 5-10,but that was that.

Barker will be happy with the quality he showed and Ghosal proved that he is far better than his current world ranking indicates. 

Its always tough playing against a home favourite so it's good to get a win. It could have been worse, we could have been playing in Chennai! I'm happy to get off 3/1 against someone of Saurav's standard.

I've got no idea how to play against Ramy! I won't think about it too much. I've beaten him once before and I think I'm playing better at the moment so I'll just go on and play my game. Anything can happen on the day.

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