Declan James delivers but it’s Madeira misery for crocked Chris Fuller
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter
England’s Declan James claimed his first overseas PSA World Tour title when he beat compatriot Chris Fuller in the final of the Madeira International Open Squash, the inaugural PSA Challenger 5 event at the Onda Revital Club in Canico .
Fuller, who was competing in only his third event since suffering an ankle injury earlier this year, looked a shadow of the player who had eased into the final without dropping a game, as top seed James romped to an 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 victory in just 39 minutes.
But while Nottingham-based James celebrated his third win in as many matches over the World No.119 since the turn of the year, Fuller was left lamenting the slippery on-court conditions after suffering a heavy fall during the opening game.
The second seed, who admitted afterwards that he tweaked his adductor during the slip, was forced to change his footwear twice during the match.
In contrast, World No.80 James ruthlessly exploited Fuller’s tentative movement and amassed an impressive winner count to claim the opening two games 11-3.
Devoid of confidence and facing an uphill task, Fuller suffered another blow when his request to switch courts failed.
And despite winning the opening point of the third game, the 23-year-old capitulated spectacularly to lose the next 11 points and end his hopes of avenging his first round defeat at the Kent Open last month.
“Anyone who has seen Chris play will know that is nowhere near what he is capable of doing and I just hope Chris didn’t injure himself during the match,” said James afterwards.
“We have all struggled slightly on the courts this week but I think I managed to handle the conditions a little bit better today,” added the 21-year-old who now boasts a pair of Tour titles after making his PSA title breakthrough at the Nottingham Open at his home club last August.
“I’ve had a lot of bad starts this week, especially in the first games, so it was crucial to get the early momentum and I think that made it difficult for Chris to comeback.”
Fuller, who refused to make excuses for his below-par performance, paid tribute to his younger opponent.
“I’m not sure what was different today. It was a strange match and I just didn’t feel right and really struggled on court.
“All credit to Declan, he didn’t do anything wrong and didn’t give me any time to settle. That’s now two finals I’ve lost against him so it would be great if I didn’t play him in my next one.”
James will now head to the Nottingham Open in August to defend his title, where he is seeded to face Fuller again at the quarter-final stage.
 Declan James (ENG) bt Claudio Pinto (POR) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (39m)
 Mark Fuller (ENG) bt [WC] Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 11-3, 11-6, 11-6 (29m)
[Q] Joe Green (ENG) bt  Rui Soares (POR) 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 7-3 ret. (52m)
 Lukas Burkhart (SUI) bt Joshua Masters (ENG) 11-5, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7 (44m)
 Patrick Miescher (SUI) bt [Q] Nick Mulvey (ENG) 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4 (47m)
[Q] Angus Gillams (ENG) bt  Jonathan Geekie (SCO) 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 (37m)
 Steven London (ENG) bt [Q] Bradley Masters (ENG) 11-4, 12-14, 11-6, 11-6 (62m)
 Chris Fuller (ENG) bt George Parker (ENG) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (60m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Mark Fuller (ENG) 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 (65m)
 Lukas Burkhart (SUI) bt [Q] Joe Green (ENG) 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 13-11 (59m)
[Q] Angus Gillams (ENG) bt  Patrick Miescher (SUI) 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 14-12 (92m)
 Chris Fuller (ENG) bt  Steven London (ENG) 11-4, 11-5, 11-3 (38m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Lukas Burkhart (SUI) 8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (50m)
 Chris Fuller (ENG) bt [Q] Angus Gillams (ENG) 11-2, 11-8, 11-9 (41m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Chris Fuller (ENG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 (39m)
Picture by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)