Friday, July 19, 2024

Egyptian quality shines in Canary Wharf qualifiers

Mohamed Abouelghar and Rex Hedrick at Wimbledon
Mohamed Abouelghar and Rex Hedrick at Wimbledon

Mohamed Abouelghar wins exciting finale against Rex Hedrick

By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor

Qualifying top seed Mohamed Abouelghar turned in a classy performance in the opening match of the Canary Wharf Classic 2015 to overcome spirited resistance from Australian Rex Hedrick at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club.

The 21-year-old Egyptian, ranked 33 in the world, won 11-3, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 in 46 minutes.

Abouelghar began strongly and threatened to power through in straight games as he unleashed a succession of winners.

However, at 6-4 up in the third, he found his stranglehold on the match was wrenched away from him as Hedrick stepped up the court and began to dominate with an aggressive spell of attacking squash.

The Australian, ranked 52 in the world, reeled off seven points in a row to win the game and carried that form into the opening phase of the fourth game.

Hedrick advanced to a 7-2 lead and his boisterous crew of supporters must have felt that the match was heading into a fifth game, but Abouelghar had other ideas.

He reeled off four points in a row, then staged another fightback from 9-6 down to hold match ball at 10-9. Hedrick levelled, but the talented Egyptian closed out the match in 46 minutes.

Tomorrow he meets Pakistan’s Nasir Igbal, who overcame England’s Ben Coleman in a marathon match lasting 85 minutes.


Tom Ford, from Gloucestershire, came in as a replacement for Jaymie Haycocks, who injured his back in training yesterday. However, he found Leo Au of Hong Kong too strong.

Ford missed an opportunity in the opening game when he surrendered a 9-5 lead. Au won five points in a row before Ford won two more points to hold game ball at 11-10. But again Au came back to win the tiebreak 14-12.

Both players were producing controlled squash but Au’s finishing skills proved to be the decisive factor as he won the second and third games by a much wider margin.

Au meets Lucas Serme in the qualifying finals after the more experienced Frenchman overcame the 19-year-old Lyell Fuller in straight games, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6.

Fuller and Coleman may have missed out on the chance to win a place on the glass court in the main draw, but they are scheduled to make a special appearance on Friday in a special shoot-out to decide next year’s wild card.

There are no Australians left in the competition after Steve Finitsis fell to England’s Joe Lee.

In a high-quality match, full of intelligent rallies, Lee’s finishing was the deciding factor as he triumphed 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 in 44 minutes.

LobbanHis opponent in the qualifying finals is Scotland’s Greg Lobban, who showed the greater control as he beat fellow 22-year-old Robbie Downer 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 in 51 minutes.

A third member of Wimbledon’s Surrey Cup championship-winning team was eliminated today as Charles Sharpes fell to South Africa’s Shaun Le Roux, following Ben Coleman and Lyell Fuller out of the competition.

In an argumentative match, in which both players received conduct warnings, Le Roux powered through 11-6, 11-7, 11-7.

Number two seed Omar Abdel Meguid and Richie Fallows slugged it out toe to toe, with some phenomenal winners and occasional bouts of physical contact in mid-court.

After losing a tough opening game, in which he squandered four game balls, the Egyptian finished strongly in each game thereafter to book his place in the qualifying finals against Le Roux.

Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
Qualifying competition at Wimbledon

[1] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) beat Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-3, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (46 mins)

[7] Nasir Iqbal (PAK) beat [L] Ben Coleman (ENG) 12-10, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10 (85 mins)

[6] Lucas Serme (FRA) beat [L] Lyell Fuller (ENG) 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 (28 mins)

[3] Leo Au (HKG) beat Tom Ford (ENG) 14-12, 11-7, 11-3 (48 mins)

[4] Joe Lee (ENG) beat Steven Finitsis (AUS) 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (44 mins)

[8] Greg Lobban (SCO) beat Robert Downer (ENG) 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 (51 mins)

[5] Shaun Le Roux (RSA) beat Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (45 mins)

[(2) Omar Abdel Meguid (Egypt) beat Richie Fallows (Eng) 13-15, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 ((54 mins)

Qualifying Finals (Sunday):

1pm: Abouelghar v Iqbal

1.45pm: Serme v Au.

3.30: Lee v Lobban.

4.15: Meguid v Le Roux.

Pictures by ERIC DOWNER

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