Brave Australian challenge comes to an end
By ANDREW DENT
Australia’s chances of winning the British Open in 2013 ended on Friday after Kasey Brown met her match in a red-hot Alison Waters and a badly cramping Cameron Pilley bowed out after a five-game 107-minute marathon against third seeded Englishman James Willstrop in the English city of Hull.
A day after completing a superb comeback to beat Mohamed El Shorbagy in the second round, Pilley was on the receiving end against Willstrop, who came from two games down to beat the Australian number one 9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-1.
With matches moved indoors due to wild weather that is affecting large parts of the UK, Pilley and Willstrop played each other to a standstill in a classic encounter of power and precision.
The 30-year-old Pilley, who has the record for the fastest squash ball ever hit at 280kmh, opened with incredible power and impeccable length to have the Yorkshireman in trouble at two games down.
But Willstrop, who spent much of 2012 as world number one, battled back and edged the third game in a tiebreak.
Pilley’s marathon win over El Shorbagy appeared to take its toll on the Australian as Willstrop took the fourth game then eased away with the fifth against an opponent who was by then hobbling with cramp.
Willstrop now needs to recover in time to play top seeded Egyptian Ramy Ashour in the semi-finals, with the winner to play either defending champion Nick Matthew or former winner Gregory Gaultier.
“I just don’t know what to say, I can hardly speak,” Willstrop said afterwards. Cameron played so well, I couldn’t hit a straight ball, I don’t know, I just dug and dug and dug and dug.
“It’s amazing to get through a match like this. The intensity of that squash is like brain ache.”
Earlier, Brown was never in the hunt against Waters, the last woman to have beaten world number one Nicol David.
The English fourth seed was on the mark from the word go, attacking the ball and making Brown do a lot of work trying to run those shots down, more often than not in vain.
It was only in the third that Brown really threatened, recovering from 1-5 to 4-5, but Waters was soon off again, and not long after was in the semi-finals.