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01-Dec, Day THREE:
Serme surprises as round one begins

Qualifying complete, action moved over to Hong Kong Squash Centre, nestled in Hong Kong Park,  where sixteen matches in the top half of the main draw took place.

Top seeds Raneem El Welily and Mohamed Elshorbagy went through comfortably enough, Welily avoiding her early pitfall in Qatar as she beat qualifier Siyoli Waters in three, Elshorbagy taking four games to see off England's Peter Barker, playing in his last competitive match.

"It's an honour for me to be Peter's last match," said Elshorbagy, the defending champion who lost his world #1 status to Gregory Gaultier today.

"I looked up to him since he was a kid, he's such a fair player and the consistency he showed over all those years is remarkable, so tough to play and he never lost to a lower seeded player. I wish him the best in his new role and hope to still see him involved in the sport."

The main upset of the day came as French qualifier Lucas Serme came from a game down to beat 2013 HK finalist Borja Golan, 14-12 in a tense fourth game finish.

"That has to be my best win," sad a delighted Serme. "I had game ball in the first and I think I showed maturity and resilience to come back to win the next three, I'm tired but ecstatic!"

There was almost another upset as Malaysia's Low Wee Wern, seeded nine and returning to action after an extended injury layoff, had to come from one-two down and save match balls in the fifth to dent French qualifier Coline Aumard.

"I'm not 100% yet," admitted Low, "I still have pain and I can't play as fast as I'd like. At 2-1 down I though about stopping, but when you're an athlete you always want to win!"

Emily Whitlock and Heba El Torky both beat qualifiers and both, amazingly for the first time, will enjoy a rest day tomorrow. "Whenever there have been rest days in the draw I've either had to play through, or lost when I could have had one," said Whitlock.

After yesterday's qualifying hat-trick there was plenty of home interest but Joey Chan, Vanessa Chu and M x Lee all bowed out, but there are five more chances for Hong Kong tomorrow.

The day's final match was also the longest as India's Saurav Ghosal beat South African Steve Coppinger 11-9 in the fifth after 76 minutes.

"It was a fantastic match, we both played really well and I'm delighted to get through! said Ghosal."

Tomorrow sees the bottom half of the draw in action, sixteen more matches from 13.30.

Photo Galleries

Today's Results

Draws & Results

What they said - a few player comments ...

"I hadn't seen her play before, but a few of our junior players told me she was a good player, and fast, and she was! I was 2-6 down in the third and I had to fight hard otherwise it could have been very tough.

"Hong Kong have so many good young players, Rebecca is doing a great job.

"I have so much respect for Laura [Massaro] but I'm going in and I'll be doing my best to win in the next round!"

Heba El Torky
"Even though I was two-nil up it was tough, and I relaxed in the third but she was still fighting hard.

"Losing the third was a bit of a wakeup call for me, so thanks to Mosaad for giving me advice the advice, telling me to stickto the basics and to stick to my game plan!"

Nouran Gohar
"We had some good hard rallies, Christine played well. In the end it was my consistency that paid off and I managed to come through at the end of each game.

"It's good to get a first match on Centre Court, it's a difficult court to get used to, it's quick at the front and then dead at the back, very different from Qatar and other glass courts."

Laura Massaro
"I'm glad I won in three, but I don't really know how - it felt like I was just running around after the ball like a headless chicken most of the time, but I managed to get to about 90% of the balls and put a few away.

"Hong Kong has been good to me, I made the semis last year and won a couple of other tournaments here, so hopefully I can keep going."

Amanda Sobhy
"She varied the pace so much, I noticed this when I played her before and never understood how to counter it. You have to get the balance between playing fast and slowing it down just right or she draws you in, you can tell she's training with Nicol.

"I was tired after five points even though I was 5-0 up, so I'm glad to finish it in three! This will be the first time I've ever had a rest day in a tournament!"

Emily Whitlock
"It's a difficult court to play on, the walls behave differently and it's very noisy. We're both very fast players and he came in full of confidence after two good wins in qualifying.

"It's a pity he got injured at the end, it was a good match, but I'm delighted to reach the second round here for the first time!"

Miguel Rodriguez
"I wanted to make it hard from the start, and from 6-1 down in the first I think I controlled it maybe 60/40 in my favour. it would have been good to take the first but he played some good rallies and hit a few winners at the end of it.

"I'm pleased with how it went after that, that's a good win as he's playing very well at the moment."

Daryl Selby
"I'm happy to get through in three, it's been a while since I had a really hard match, maybe my ranking is giving me slightly easier draws but it's helping my confidence too.

"I think I played very well today, it's the last tournament of the year so I'm going to do my best to enjoy it and see how far I can go ..."

Mathieu Castagnet
"After the worlds I was tired, so took some time out to refresh myself. I knew what the draw here was, it's always tough to play Max here in Hong Kong, especially on this court when he's playing so well.

"It was very important to win the first game, if he'd taken that the crowd would have been behind him and the expectations would be on him to beat me. He played very well to win the third, he was volleying everything, but I managed to get my focus back to take the fourth."

Omar Mosaad
"That's just what you need in your first game for seven months, an 80-minute five-setter!

"I'm not 100% yet, I still have some pain and I'm not as quick as I'd like to be so I had to try to find ways to slow it down where I could.

"At 2-1 down I was feeling it, and my coach told me that if I wasn't up to it to stop - I thought about doing that, but I've missed out on so much I didn't want to miss any more, and as an athlete you always want to win!"

Low wee Wern
"That's probably my best ever win. I had game ball in the first, but after losing that I was able to stick in and show that I have maturity and reliability. I knew that if I won I'd have a day off, so that gave me a little bit of extra push at the end.

I'm tired, but ecstatic!"

Lucas Serme
"That was a fantastic match, we both played really well, it was a pleasure to be involved in a match like that and obviously I'm delighted to get through."

Saurav Ghosal
"We had some really long rallies in there, he loves that so you have to try to shorten them if you can, but sometimes you just have to put in the hard work first.

"I felt I got better as the match went on, happy to get through to the second round for the third time in a row."

Chris Simpson
"That was a tough match. I knew it was his last if I won, and I have so much respect for him, he was always there since I started, someone to look up to.

"He's such a fair player, the way he handles himself on court, his consistency throughout the years. He was under-rated, so tough to play, he never lost to lower ranked players and had some great results.

"I wish him well in his new direction and hop he stays involved in the sport. It just shows you that everything comes to an end, it will happen to me one day and I hope I can conduct myself like he has and finish as well as he has."

Mohamed Elshorbagy

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