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ALLAM BRITISH OPEN: Kemp too sharp for Charles

Allam British Open Squash Championships 2012, 12-20 May, London
DAILY NEWS – Edition #1 – Sat 12th May


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Let the Open begin

It’s been a long wait for the return of the British Open, but at noon today Men’s Qualifying kicked off at St George’s Hill with 32 players hoping to earn their way into the main draw of the PSA $155k Allam British Open.

It didn’t transpire to be such a good day for the local players, and all those who battled their way through the pre-qualifying events, all fell at the first hurdle, but sixteen worthy winners were left to battle it out tomorrow for a place in the O2.


Men’s Qualifying Round One:

Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Mark Krajcsak (Hun)  7/11, 11/2, 11/2 rtd (30m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) bt James Earles (Eng)  11/5, 11/6, 11/1 (43m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Olivier Pett (Eng)  11/7, 11/3, 11/1 (31m)
Zac Alexander (Aus) bt Kamran Khan (Mas)  11/8, 11/7, 11/8 (57m)

Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Chris Ryder (Eng) 12/10, 11/4, 11/4 (43m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Charles Sharpes (Eng) 11/7, 11/7, 11/6 (28m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) bt Matthew Karwalski (Aus) 11/13, 8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (51m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Kristian Frost (Den) 11/9, 6/11, 11/9, 11/4 (53m)

Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) bt Ivan Yuen (Mas) 10/12, 11/6, 11/2, 11/8 (52m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Alex Phillips (Eng) 11/4, 11/2, 11/9 (28m)
Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy) bt Leo Au (Hkg) 11/6, 11/6, 9/11, 12/10 (67m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Joey Barrington (Eng) 11/3, 11/9, 11/3 (28m)

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) 11/7, 9/11, 11/6, 11/4 (69m)
Abdullah Al Mezayen (Kuw) bt Joe Lee (Eng) 11/2, 6/11, 10/12, 11/9, 11/8 (80m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) bt Eddie Charlton (Eng) 11/3, 11/8, 11/1 (39m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Ben Ford (Eng) 11/9, 11/8, 9/11, 11/0 (37m)


Clyne and Simpson ease through

Qualifying top seed Alan Clyne wouldn’t have been looking forward to a tough draw against Mark Krajcsak, and indeed the Hungarian took a tough first game, but the Scot eased through the next two for the loss of four points before a struggling Krajcsak retired.

“One tournament too many I fear,” said Krajcsak. “It’s the end of the season for me, I went home for a couple of weeks, and just didn’t have many matches. I still won the first game, but after that, there was nothing left in the tank really.”

In tomorrow’s finals Clyne faces India’s Siddarth Suchde who beat young English prospect James Earles in straight games. Although the young Englishman kept attacking and playing clever squash, the Indian’s squash was just too good today.

“I just had a bad tournament in KW, so you normally get a bit over cautious, keeping it safe and simple. Plus, it was the first time I saw him play, and he is very talented, he’ll do well hopefully,” said Suchde.

Chris Simpson looked like he was in for a long match against fellow Englishman Olivier Pett, but after taking a tight first game Simpson wrapped up the match in fairly quick order.

“I’m happy, I played really well today,” said Simpson. “I’ve been training very hard for this tournament and I knew that Olli had been ill so I made it as hard as I could for me to start with, showed him the four corners and playing as fast as I could, and it worked pretty well I think.”

Simpson’s next opponent will be Australian Zac Alexander, who took just under the hour to subdue Kamran Khan in straight games.

“I had a terrible start, 6/0 down, and I ended up wining the game something like 11/7,” said a relieved Alexander. “I just needed to get on the board, I was a bit nervous. Really happy to win 3/0, saving my energy for Chris tomorrow. I played him in the North American Open, final of the qualifying, I won 3/2, it was tough. But that’s an omen surely???”

Charles gets ‘Kempied’

Another all-English matchup saw Jonathan Kemp through in straight games against Charles Sharpes, who didn’t know what hit him.

Kemp was playing his usual game, shooting from every angle, and if it was up it was a winner, otherwise it was down, an error, and despite a couple of spells the winners outnumbered the errors.

“It was the worst combination for me really, Kemp and on the glass court,” admitted Sharpes. “He is so hard to play, you can’t get any kind of rhythm, but that’s what makes him who he is, and got him up the rankings. ”

“After winning the first game, I thought ‘let’s get it over quickly, and after a few tins, I realised that I would have to work hard,’ said Kemp. “Happy with the win, a win is all what I can hope for these days since I just started a new coaching job and I’m not playing so many tournaments these days,” he added.

He’ll play another Englishman, Robbie Temple, who came from 9/4 and 10/8 down to win a long first game against Chris Ryder before taking the next two with some comfort.

It’s Marwan and Abouelghar again

An all-Egyptian match was made when familiar foes Marwan El Shorbagy and Mohamed Abouelghar, who have contested the most recent World and British Junior Open finals, won the final pair of afternoon matches.

Marwan played and won an intense first game against Danish number one Kristian Frost, but paid for it as he lost the second, and it looked like the match was going to the Dane as he led 7/4 in the third, but the Egyptian got his second wind, taking the next seven points to regain the lead 11/7, and an 8/0 start in the fourth made sure of his progress.

“In the first game, I was a bit stupid, I played at a very fast pace, which I knew I just couldn’t stand for four or five games,” said a somewhat relieved world junior champion. “So in the third and fourth, I played a much better game, a clever game, and it worked really well.”

Abouelghar had to come from two games down to set up that meeting though, after Australian Matthew Karwalski made a fine start.

“In the first game I had a bad start but almost pulled it back, and he played at a much faster pace, in the second but I guess it tired him a bit, and he looked a bit out of energy from the third.

“I’m happy, I didn’t want to lose that first match. Tomorrow, I’m playing Marwan, again! But it will be the first time in PSA, so no goggles…!!!!”

Adnan wins Malaysian Matchup

It’s a long way to come to play a fellow countryman – at least the Egyptians mentioned above had a warmup game first, but Nafiizwan Adnan and Ivan Yuen were straight into their ‘local derby’.

It was the younger Yuen who made the better start, taking a tough first game on extra points, but Adnan’s experience and strength told in the end as he ran out the 3/1 winner.

“Today my shots were not as good as I would have liked, I think it’s the pressure of being higher ranked,” said Adnan, “plus I was up 9/5 in the first, and I lost it. Also, we just played the Asian Team championships, spent a lot of time together, and it’s not easy to switch into competition mode.”

Adnan will face Mathieu Castagnet for a place in the main draw after the Frenchman put paid to the hopes of Englishman Alex Phillips with a straight-games win.

“The first two games were solid, I was wary of him, although I didn’t know him, as I know that the British Players’ level is always very high, even those who don’t play many PSA events,” admitted Mathieu. “And I was right to be careful, when I dropped my level slightly in the third, he was on me like a rush, and not only came back, but overtook me!

“So really happy to get away with it in three, I guess I used my physical qualities to close it down in the end.”

End of the road for Joey

Having come through one of the pre-qualifying tournaments, Joey Barrington – son of – found himself up against stiff opposition in the form of Max Lee, and the Hong Kong youngster duly put an end to Joey’s progress with a straight games win.

Having come through one of the pre-qualifying tournaments, Joey Barrington – son of – found himself up against stiff opposition in the form of Max Lee, and the Hong Kong youngster duly put an end to Joey’s progress with a straight games win.

He won’t face an all-Hong Kong qualifying final though, after Amr Khalid Khalifa made his considerable size advantage tell against Leo Au, who made it really tough after the former World Junior champion had gone two games up but then found himself 7/2 and 10/8 down in the fourth before taking the game to avoid a decider.

“Playing all six matches in Kuwait for the Asian teams gave me confidence that I could back up the matches,” said Max. “Against Joey today, I knew I had to concentrate on each and every rally, as he is such an experienced player. I had to avoid any unforced errors, and stay focused at all times, he was so good at controlling me.”

Khalifa was relieved and pleased: “It’s not that I lost focus, I just changed my game, went too short to early. Last time we played he beat me 3/0 in Hong Kong in a tough game, but he was just too good. Since then I’ve been working really hard.”

Heartbreak for Joe

St George’s own Joe Lee looked to be heading for the qualifying finals as he led highly-rated Kuwaiti Abdullah Al Mezayen 2/1 and 6/2, but a series of errors cost the young Englishman dear as Abdullah forced a decider. He led 7/3 in the decider, but Abdullah came back again, taking it 11/8 to set up a match with Ryan Cuskelly, who overcame Malaysia’s Muhd Asyraf Azan in a hotly-contested four games.

“I was so close to losing,” admitted a relieved Abdullah. “I’ve lost some weight, but my fitness is still not 100%. At the end, I was so tired, and I let my hands do the work. I was a bit lucky on the last points.”

Day one was rounded off by wins for a young Frenchman, Greg March, and a young Egyptian, Karim Abdel Gawad, both beating Englishmen as they set up a match tomorrow with the winner booking a place at the O2.

But that’s tomorrow’s story …


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