Friday, July 12, 2024

British Squash Nationals 2023: Charlie Lee upsets the odds

Charlie Lee, England’s No.7 seed and now under the auspices of coach David Palmer, earned his place in the British National Squash Championships semi-finals for the first time after he upset No.3 seed Patrick Rooney in a five-game battle at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

It was an even contest which saw Lee come back from 2-1 down to secure a 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory following 56 minutes of action. It sets up a semi-final clash with defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy. Lee will hope to replicate the performance that saw him beat the former World No.1 in the second round of March’s Optasia Championships.

“It’s a nice stage to reach,” said Lee afterwards. “It was a weird match today. I don’t think either of us were at our best today, but sometimes that happens. It was nice to come out on top, especially after being down 2-1, so now it’s about preparing tomorrow for Mohamed and to try and keep winning.

“I like to draw on my positives and take confidence from what I know and my strengths. I’m going to take each match at a time, each point at a time. You go in and it’s a completely new day against a top quality player.”

ElShorbagy booked his last four berth courtesy of an 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 win against Welsh qualifier Emyr Evans, while No.2 seed Joel Makin and No.4 seed Adrian Waller will go head-to-head in the other semi-final, a repeat of the 2021 title decider, which Makin won.

Makin, the World No.10, overcame No.10 seed Joe Lee in a scintillating 11-2, 11-3, 11-0 victory.

“Me and Adrian [Waller] have played a lot over the last couple of years,” Makin said.

“I rate his squash highly and I’ve just got to use my advantages and play the match on my terms. If the match is played on his terms he is a very dangerous player. I know what he can do, but I want to play the match on my terms, disrupt him and unsettle him as much as possible.”

Waller got the better of fellow Englishman Nick Wall in straight games.

Meanwhile, defending women’s champion Jasmine Hutton came back from match ball down to overcome Wales’ Emily Whitlock in a gripping five-game contest.

World No.23 Hutton is ranked just one spot below Whitlock in the PSA World Rankings and comes into this event as the reigning champion following her win over Lucy Beecroft in last year’s title decider.

Jasmine Hutton savours victory

It was a captivating contest in front of a packed house, with momentum ebbing and flowing throughout the 69-minute match. With the score locked at 2-2, Hutton had two match ball opportunities, but was unable to capitalise as Whitlock came back to level. The Welshwoman then had a chance of her own, but Hutton fought on, eventually closing out a 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11 victory.

Top seed and 2021 runner-up Georgina Kennedy awaits Hutton in the last four after the World No.10 saw off the threat of Scotland’s Georgia Adderley, winning 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 in 32 minutes.

“I didn’t have my usual advantage over Georgia, because I usually feel like I can physically dominate my opponents, but Georgia has the exact same assets as I have,” Kennedy said.

“She gets back some unbelievable balls, she’s very deceptive as well, so it is very difficult to win rallies against her. I knew today would be a good test to see whether my short game would live up to when I have been practising, and it did. I feel like I made few errors and I feel like I made her do lots of work.”

The other women’s semi-final will see three-time champion Sarah-Jane Perry take on two-time winner Tesni Evans following respective wins over No.7 seed Katie Malliff and No.6 seed Lucy Turmel.

Results – Men’s Quarter-Finals: 2023 British National Squash Championships

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt [Q] Emyr Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (35m)

[7] Charlie Lee (ENG) bt [3] Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (56m)

[4] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt [5] Nick Wall (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (39m)

[2] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [10] Joe Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-0 (26m)

Draw – Men’s Semi-Finals: To Be Played August 18th

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) v [7] Charlie Lee (ENG)

[4] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt [2] Joel Makin (WAL)

Results – Women’s Quarter-Finals: 2023 British National Squash Championships

[1] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [8] Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 (32m)

[5] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt [4] Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-2: 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11 (69m)

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [7] Katie Malliff (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 12-10 (24m)

[2] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [6] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 15-13, 11-9, 11-8 (52m)

Draw – Women’s Semi-Finals: To Be Played August 18th

[1] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v [5] Jasmine Hutton (ENG)

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [2] Tesni Evans (WAL)

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