l Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open l 12-17 March 2017 l London, UK l


 2017 Tournament Reports

Thu 16-Mar, Semis:
Top seeds beaten for Surprise S2 final

The upsets returned on semi-finals night at Wimbledon as both top seeds were beaten in hour-long semi-finals.

First up Tom Richards came from a game down to beat second seed Nafiizwan Adnan, then Alan Clyne took three tough games to down top seed Saurav Ghosal.


[3] Tom Richards
(Eng) 3-1 [2] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
            9/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/6 (66m)
[4] Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 [1] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
            11/3, 12/10, 11/9 (60m)

Wed 15-Mar, QUARTERS:

Top four seeds through to semis

If round one witnesed a series of upsets, it was a case of 'normal service resumed' on quarter-finals night at Wimbledon as the tops four seeds all beat their 'surprise' opponents to reach the semi-finals.

Full quarter-final reports

the 2017 Squash Squared AUCTION

Semis:        Fram reports from Wimbledon     photos by Mark Westwood

[3] Tom Richards (Eng) 3-1 [2] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)      9/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/6 (66m)

Wan nervous, Tom hungry

A bit of a surprise that match was for me. I’m sure that Wan will be a bit disappointed. No, not in his loss, but in the way it happened. “I don’t go for silly shots anymore Fram, I changed my game, I make sure that I make every rally hard” he told me yesterday when I congratulated him about his error-less match.

Famous last words .

At 4/6 for Tom, all Tom’s points were from errors from Wan. Five unforced errors in the first game, 6 in the second, 6 in the third, only 2 finally in the 4th….

Today, from the warm-up, I could see the Malaysian tense. He kept putting the ball in the tin as they exchanged their shots, then at the start of the match, Wan asked the photographer to move out of the backwall – I never saw him do that, the photographer was not doing anything particularly wrong. All those little elements were leading me to think that our Malaysian was not as comfortable as he was up to now.

Like I said earlier, he made 4 errors early in the game, but still managed to keep his nose in front somehow, 5/2, 6/3, 7/4. Tom was right on his hills, 6/7, 7/8, 8/9! A superb deep drive sets up his first game ball 10/8, closing it down 11/9 with a bit of controversy on the last point, Tom having seen a shot at the front clipping the tin – a let was played as the ref was unsighted – and thinking that one of the Malaysian’s shots was double bounced.

Nevertheless, Tom came back very focused, and speeded up the pace, again with a few errors from the Malaysian at the start of the second, 4/1, 10/2, 11/3.

The third is a bit the same at the start, Tom comfy 4/1, but this time, Wan is back in the game quickly, 4/4, 5/5. Five points in a row for Tom, 9/5. Wan claws back but falls short, 11/8, despite some lovely backhand flicks, Beng Hee’s style…

Excellent start for Wan in the 4th, 2/0, only to see Tom scoring the next 6 points, 6/3. We have great rallies, superb squash, but Tom is confident, and it shows, he goes for superb shots that Wan can’t retrieve all… 7/4, 11/6, game England, in front of a delighted but extremely fair packed crowd…

My game plan was to make it tough in the first game, so when I lost it, it was not the end of the world. I think I tried so much to make it tough, I forgot to play squash! So between the first and the second game I told myself, look, play squash, don’t make any errors, but be positive. And that really helped.

At the start of the second, I really tried to make it as hard for him as I could, thinking that maybe he would feel it, and I think eventually he did.

It was anybody’s game in the 4th, until the last ball…

Wan is such a fair player, we get on very well, he is a strong player, and it was always going to be a tough one. It’s a bit of a release, knowing that I can play several matches in a row, as you know I haven’t done that for a while. I was pretty nervous getting into the match, so it’s really a big moment for me to realise I can still beat top players….

I’ve been coming here since I’m 8 years old, I love the club, I know Stacey and the people here, I love playing on the courts. I missed it last year, but when I saw it on the calendar, I was happy to be able to play.

No preference for tomorrow, I just hope they kill each other out there, 2h 120m game, 3/2. We are all of the same age group, we’ve been playing each other for years and years, so whoever I’m going to play, it’s going to be incredibly tough…

[4] Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 [1] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)           11/3, 12/10, 11/9 (60m)

Alan Masterclass

I may be completely wrong, but I feel that Alan benefited greatly from his match against Jaymie Haycocks yesterday. In that match, he was much too passive at times, and Jaymie really pushed him hard. Today, it was like Alan learned the lesson and was positive and attacking from the word go.

And for sure, he took the Indian by surprise, who seemed to really dominate his two previous opponents Olli and Joe – although Joe’s match was far from easy!

So, after the opening shock, 11/3 in no time, Saurav regrouped beautifully, taking control of the rallies, but both of them working a heck of a lot on each and single point. 3/0, 6/1, 7/3, surely we were going for a 1/1. But with again some amazing backhand boasting long drop shots, Alan clawed back to 8/8, 9/9. 10/9, Saurav, but a sublime backhand boast gets the tie-break. At 10/10 and 11/11, Saurav gets awarded 2 lets that for him were definite strokes. He tins both of them, and as he exits, goes “That were 2 strokes” to the ref…. 12/10 Alan.

The third is starting, and the battle is on. Not a point between them up to 6/6. Suddenly a big push from the Indian, playing some ridiculous amazing astonishing winners, 9/6. But Alan believes he can do it. And supported by girlfriend Olivia Blatchford (I thought that Basma Shorbagy was intense until Liv sat next to me), Alan somehow, with calm, composed yet intense attacking squash, scores the next 5 points, 11/9, to reach the final.

Alan v Tom, that’s not what the bookies predicted I bet, but it’s going to be a cracker.

I think I played well today, I was sharp, I had to be with the way he retrieves absolutely everything. You know that against Saurav, if you only go up and down the wall, you are going to make a lot of work! And my short game was pretty on point, that proved to make the difference.

At 9/9 in the 3rd, the rally seemed to go forever [110 strokes] and I don’t know how it was for the spectators, but it looked from our end like it would never end!!!!

I was not expected to win this one, he is top seed, so it’s a sweet feeling.

Of course I remembered my victory against him in Qatar, it was the first time I did beat him after 6 defeats. I actually watched the match today to have a feel about what worked then, but it’s completely different conditions, glass court, very cold. But what I got out of it was the confidence, when you pass that barrier, especially after 6 defeat. Hard to mentally believe you can beat somebody after 7 defeats in a row…

Tom, always great to play against him, he likes to play at a fast pace, and volleying, so do I. So it’s going to be a great match.

I’m very disappointed. I am practicing well, I am playing well, and I haven’t done it justice fully this event, although beating Olli and Joe, especially 3/0, was not easy, so I must have been doing something right.

My game is not flowing as I would like it to be.

Today, Alan played very well, he was physically and mentally tuned in, and didn’t give me much to work on. I’m happy with the fact I still tried a few different things, that I didn’t panic and that I stuck in.

I could have won the second, and I could have won the 3rd. In the second, he gets a nick serve at 7/8, then on match ball he frames it… But it means that he played very well, to create that little bit of luck…

One positive thing, I think I played better than I did in Qatar, I learned from that match, but for some reason, it was not enough today.

Oh well, now I’ve got to regroup to play on Sunday to try and qualify for the British Open.


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