Sunday, March 3, 2024

Edinburgh sensations: Greg Lobban powers past Paul Coll as wife Donna topples top seed Emily Whitlock

Double delight for Greg and Donna Lobban

Husband and wife power into semi-finals to delight coach Matthew
By STEVE CUBBINS – Squash Mad Correspondent

Greg Lobban and his wife Donna enjoyed a dazzling double celebration with wins over Paul Coll and Emily Whitlock in the Edinburgh Sports Club Open.

Lobban produced a phenomenal, attacking performance to take out No.2 seed Coll in straight games. Earlier, his wife Donna had produced a similarly impressive display to topple top seed Whitlock in the women’s quarter-finals.

The overjoyed couple are both coached by former world champion Nick Matthew, who took to social media to share his delight at their performances. 

Day Three started with men’s round two as the eight seeded players started their campaign against the previous day’s winners. As with with the women’s draw, all eight won through to set up evening quarter-finals as predicted by the seedings.

The women’s quarter-finals started with top seed and former champion Emily Whitlock taking on fifth seeded Australian Donna Lobban – almost a local with husband Greg watching and the crowd definitely in her favour.

Had the seeding been done on highest world ranking, they would have been #1 and #2, and that closeness was borne out as Donna claimed two close first games, finishing both the stronger for 11-8,11-8 and almost pulling back Emily’s early lead in the third which the top seed took 11-9.

The fourth was a humdinger as Donna edged ahead to 10-8, but after saving those match balls, and four more in extended extra points, Emily edged home 18-16 to set up a decider.

Donna moved ahead again in the fifth, and only needed two more match balls as she delightedly closed out the match 11-8 in 67 minutes.

Both Scots exited the draw as Alexandra Fuller overcame Alison Thomson in straight games 11-6, 11-5,11-8 in 28 minutes. Then, in an uncanny repeat of the top match, Rachael Chadwick went two up against third seed Lisa Aitken, who battled back to take the third and save two match balls in the fourth before finally falling 13-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8 in just over the hour.

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Chadwick said: “I’ve never got close to Lisa, she’s battered me every time before so I went in without any pressure. I had to pick the time to play on her forehand, she’s lethal there. I was pleased to sneak the first two, felt I should have won the fourth, and she was really up for the fifth, I was glad to win that one. This seems like a lucky tournament for me, I’ve had some good results here.”

In the last women’s quarter-final, second seed Julianne Courtice let 10-6 leads slip in both the first two games against Satomi Watanabe, but took them both 12-10 before the former champion closed out the third 11-8 in 31 minutes.

The men’s quarters started with a sensational upset – home favourite and 2018 Champion Greg Lobban, this time a 5/8 seed, ousting second seed and defending champion Paul Coll in straight games! Greg maintained leads through the first two games then recovered from 2-6 down to close out the match 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in 45 minutes.
It was an astonishing performance

Five time champion Daryl Selby wasted no time in despatching Welshman Peter Creed 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 in 23 minutes to set up a semi-final against Lobban, a repeat of the 2018 final.

Wales’ Joel Makin added to the home nations’ interest in the semi-finals as he overcame determined resistance from Alan Clyne, taking the match 11-3, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 in 49 minutes.

Last up it was top seed Karim Abdel Gawad against Declan James in a rematch of their thrilling encounter in the World Teams in Washington. James took the first and had game ball for a two-love lead, but Gawad levelled in extra points. Long story short, Gawad prevailed in five, like he does, controlling the decider to win 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 in 80 minutes.

PSA Edinburgh Sports Club Open 2020, Edinburgh Sports Club, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Men’s Round Two:
[2] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 Fergus Richards (Sco) 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
[5/8] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 Sean Conroy (Irl) 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (32m)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-0 Dougie Kempsell (Sco) 11-5, 12-10,11-7 (35m)
[5/8] Peter Creed (Wal) 3-1 Robert Downer (Eng) 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 12-10 (44m)
[5/8] Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 Rory Stewart (Sco) 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (40m)
[3/4] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 Jamie Henderson (Sco) 12-10, 11-4, 11-7 (28m)
[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1 Abhay Singh (Ind) 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 (38m)
[5/8] Declan James (Eng) 3-1 Miles Jenkins (Eng) 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 (46m)
Men’s Quarter-Finals:
[5/8] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 [2] Paul Coll (Nzl) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Peter Creed (Wal) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (23m)
[3/4] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 [5/8] Alan Clyne (Sco) 11-3, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 (49m)
[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 [5/8] Declan James (Eng) 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 (80m)
Men’s Semi-Finals:
[5/8] Greg Lobban (Sco) v [3/4] Daryl Selby (Eng)
[3/4] Joel Makin (Wal) v [1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)

PSA $20k Women’s Challenger, Women’s Quarter-finals:
[5] Donna Lobban (AUS) bt [1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 16-18, 11-8 (67m)
[4] Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt [8] Alison Thomson (SCO) 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (28m)
[6] Rachael Chadwick (ENG) bt [3] Lisa Aitken (SCO) 13-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8 (62m)
[2] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt [7] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) 12-10, 12-10, 11-8 (31m) 

[5] Donna Lobban (AUS) v [4] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
[2] Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [6] Rachael Chadwick (ENG)


Pictures by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of  ESC


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