Edinburgh Sports Club Open 2013, 24-27 January:
 Emily Whitlock (Eng) 3-0  Victoria Bell (Eng) 11/1, 11/5, 11/3 (22m)
 Lauren Selby (Eng) 3-0  Carrie Ramsey (Eng) 11/8, 12/10, 11/7 (36m)
 Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-2 [3/4] Chris Ryder (Eng) 4/11, 7/11, 11/4, 11/7, 11/7 (80m)
 Tom Richards (Eng) 3-0 [3/4] Adrian Grant (Eng) 11/9, 11/7 , 12/10 (53m)
Top seeds through to finals in Edinburgh
After the morning’s quarter-finals had seen eight English players progress, it was down to the semi-finals tonight at Edinburgh Sports Club.
“Well I made a better start to that one,” said Emily Whitlock after beating fifth seed Victoria Bell in straight games to reach the WSA final.
Indeed she did, 9-0 [compared to a 0-5 start this afternoon] in the first game which she quickly converted 11-1 with Bell being rushed into unforced errors.
Bell, like Whitlock a former top junior (although Emily’s junior career only finished earlier this month) made a better start to the second, but from 5-4 Whitlock pulled clear, doubling her lead 11-5.
A 7-0 start in the third was enough for Emily to reach the final, 11-3 after 22 minutes.
“It felt weird playing Vicky when I’m seeded higher, ” admitted the winner. “She used to be top dog at U19 when I was like 14 and chasing to get up there!”
Lauren Selby made sure the top seeds would contest the final as she beat Carrie Ramsey in three close games.
A 5-1 start for the former European Junior Champion wasn’t enough as Selby, revelling in the ability to lob on the ESC showcourt, clawed back the lead and from 8-all took the first 11-8.
The rallies were tough throughout and there was hardly a point between them in the second. Selby saved one game ball before taking it 12-10, but always had the advantage in the third, closing it out with a final volley error from Ramsey 11-7 after 36 minutes.
No 21-19 in the fifth like their previous epic in the 2010 Nationals, but still a tough match.
“It’s amazing to have the freedom to slow the ball down with height, and I love playing on this court, it rewards good length and it’s easy to mix the pace up.
“I had to settle myself down after that start but once I got into it I felt good, and I think she was getting a bit tired towards the end. I’ll have to concentrate from the start tomorrow …”
Tom Richards maintained his run of 3-0 victories, but his semi-final against Adrian Grant was far tougher than his previous matches, and in truth each of the three games could have gone either way.
Grant led 5-2 in the first, but Richards caught up at 6-all and got the better of the endgame as the pace and intensity increased. The second seed held a slender lead through most of the second game, taking it 11-7, but trailed for most of the third, drawing level for the first time as Grant hit a rare tin on game ball.
Another error from Grant brought match ball and a delicate dropshot from Richards finished it off 12-10 after 53 minutes of quality action.
“It’s a massive step up to play someone like Adrian,” said Richards, so I knew I had to be very disciplined. We’re both very good at coming from behind, you almost don’t want to take the lead sometimes! Happy to get through in three, certainly.”
Grant wasn’t dissatisfied with his day’s work: “We don’t play twice in a day often, that’s one of the reasons I like these events. I was a bit disappointed to stay on court so long at lunchtime after being 2-0 up, it obviously affected me a little tonight but I’m still happy with my tactical game and my overall performance, it came down to a couple of points really. Tom and I are sharing so we knew what state the other one was in!
“I have a good few days off now to prepare for the Nationals, that’s a big target for me, it’s always a great event.
Two-time Edinburgh champion Daryl Selby completed the clean sweep of wins by the top seeds, but had to come from two games down to deny Chris Ryder.
Ryder started brilliantly with Selby struggling to get a foothold in the match. At 11-4 and 6-0 the top seed looked in real trouble, but although he eventually lost the second game 11-7 he’d started to come to terms with the match, and his opponent.
Selby took the next two games in a repeat of the first two, 11-4 and 11-7, and a 5-0 lead in the decider suggested it was all over. Now it was Ryder’s turn to dig in though, and at 7-all it was in the balance again.
An error from Ryder at the end of a ferocious rally brought a loud “YES” from Daryl, who took the next three points to advance to the final 11-7 after 80 compelling minutes which brought a standing ovation from the ESC crowd.
“I’ve been playing well for a few months,” said a ‘not-too-disappointed’ Ryder, “I just ned to get fitter after having such an awful year with injuries.”
Selby was relieved: “I struggled at the start, partly with the change of court but Chris played really well too and I just couldn’t get a look in for the first game and a half.
“My touch wasn’t very good tonight which limited my options, so I just had to dig in and battle it out. Fortunately he seemed to tire in the end, but he gave me a bit of a scare when he came back in the fifth.
“I’ll have to play better tomorrow, I think,” concluded Daryl.
Finals are from 15.00 on Sunday.
Full coverage: www.bspasquash.com
 Emily Whitlock (Eng) 3-1  Orla Noom (Ned) 6/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/2 (36m)
 Victoria Bell (Eng) 3-0  Birgit Coufal (Aut) 11/9, 11/6, 11/9 (25m)
 Carrie Ramsey (Eng) 3-0  Milou Van Der Heijden (Ned) 13/11, 12/10, 11/9 (38m)
 Lauren Selby (Eng) 3-1 Cryielle Peltier (Fra) 12/14, 11/7, 11/4, 11/8 (44m)
 Tom Richards (Eng) 3-0 Kevin Moran (Sco) 11/6, 11/5, 12/10 (22m)
[3/4] Adrian Grant (Eng) 3-1 [5/8] Eddie Charlton (Eng) 11/7, 11/7, 5/11, 17/15 (84m)
[3/4] Chris Ryder (Eng) 3-1 [5/8] Greg Lobban (Sco) 7/11, 11/8, 11/1, 11/3 (64m)
 Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-1 [5/8] Andy Whipp (Eng) 11/7, 11/9, 12/14, 11/8 (47m)