Saturday, March 2, 2024

Home hopes kept alive as Lee advances in Hong Kong

World number 32 Max Lee delighted his home crowd to recover from the brink of defeat against Andrew Wagih to triumph 3-2 and ensure there will be local representation in the main draw of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open.

Lee, who will face Egypt’s Tarek Momen in the next round, struggled in the early stages and despite winning the opening game, quickly lost the next two thereafter.

But buoyed by the home support and words of wisdom from his coach, the 25-year-old fought back superbly to secure an 11-5, 6-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8 victory at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

Lee  is joined in the first-round proper by 21-year-old Lucas Serme, who caused a second-successive upset of the week – a 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 success over Pakistan’s Nasir Iqbal  – to reach his maiden World Series main draw.

The world number 76 will now face Indian number one Saurav Ghosal with a potential showdown with World champion Nick Matthew awaiting the victor.

Elsewhere, Serme’s compatriot Grégoire Marche also advanced after struggling past Shaun Le Roux 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 11-8 in the longest match of the day.

By contrast, Mathieu Castagnet made short work of England’s Jaymie Haycock to prevail 11-8, 11-2, 11-3 and ensure a strong French presence in the last 32.

The English trio of Joe Lee and Adrian Waller also eased into the main draw with straight game victories and will now meet Karim Abdel Gawad and Cameron Pilley respectively.

Defending champion Ramy Ashour will face Nafiizwan Adnan for a place in the last sixteen, after the unseeded Malaysian edged past New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson in a five-game marathon.

In the women’s draw, Canadian Sam Cornett’s reward for battling past Melody Francis in five games is a daunting encounter with defending champion Nicol David, who is bidding for her eighth successive crown at the WSA World Series Gold event.

Meanwhile, France’s Coline Aumard has been pitted against world number two Laura Massaro for a last 16 berth, after beating Olivia Blatchford 12-10, 11-9, 11-5.

Young Egyptian trio Yathreb Adel, Mariam Metwally and Salma Hany Ibrahim joined several of their compatriots in the next round, as Metwally and Ibrahim shocked the higher-ranked duo of Latasha Khan and Delia Arnold respectively.

There was also delight for Japanese youngster Misaki Kobayashi, who fought past Deon Saffery 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 to qualify for her first World Series main draw.

However, the last 32 stage proved one step beyond local duo Tsz Wing and Ho Ka Po, who bowed out at the hands of British pair Emma Beddoes and Tesni Evans respectively.

Qualifying Finals – Men’s Results:

Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-2 Shaun Le Roux (Rsa) 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 11-8 (77m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-2 Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (67m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 3-1 Steve Finitsis (Aus) 11-8, 1-11, 11-6, 11-5 (51m)
Max Lee (Hkg) 3-2 Andrew Wagih (Egy) 11-5, 6-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8 (50m)
Lucas Serme (Fra) 3-0 Nasir Iqbal (Pak) 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 (53m)
Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind) 11-0, 11-4, 11-8 (40m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-0 Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (40m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-0 Jaymie Haycocks (Eng)11-8, 11-2, 11-3 (30m)

Round One – Men’s Draw:

[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) v Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) – 19:30pm
Cameron Pilley (Aus) v Adrian Waller (Eng) – 20:15pm
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa) v Chris Simpson (Eng) – 18:00pm
Ong Beng Hee (Mas) v [7] Borja Golan (Esp) – 18:45pm
[5] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) v Leo Au (Hkg) – 17:15pm
Marwan El Shorbagy v Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) – 16:30pm
Simon Rosner (Ger) v Tom Richards (Eng) – 14:15pm
Adrian Grant (Eng) v [3] James Willstrop (Eng) – 13:30pm
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) v Daryl Selby (Eng) – 19:30pm
Saurav Ghosal (Ind) v Lucas Serme (Fra) – 20:15pm
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) v Grégoire Marche (Fra) – 18:00pm
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) v [6] Amr Shabana (Egy) – 18:45pm
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) v Max Lee (Hkg) – 13:30pm
Olli Tuominen (Fin) v Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) – 14:15pm
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) v Joe Lee (Eng) – 16:30pm
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) v [2] Gregory Gaultier – 17:15pm

Qualifying Finals – Women’s Results:

Emma Beddoes (Eng) 3-0 Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg) 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (30m)
Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2 Ho Ka Po (Hkg) 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 (65m)
Sam Cornett (Can) 3-2 Melody Francis (Aus) 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-3 (43m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0 Laura Pomportes (Fra) 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (29m)
Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-0 Olivia Blatchford (Usa) 12-10, 11-9, 11-5 (34m)
Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 3-1 Delia Arnold (Mas) 11-5, 2-11, 11-6, 11-7 (43m)
Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 3-0 Deon Saffery (Wal) 11-6, 11-4, 11-9  (27m)
Mariam Metwally (Egy) 3-0 Latasha Khan (Usa) 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)

Round One – Women’s Draw:

[1] Nicol David (Mas) v Sam Cornett (Can) – 18:45pm
[9] Camille Serme (Fra) v Emily Whitlock (Eng) – 18:00pm
[16] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) v Donna Urquhart (Aus) – 15:00pm
Joey Chan (Hkg) v [5] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) – 15:45pm
[4] Alison Waters v Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) – 16:30pm
[10] Kasey Brown (Aus) v Tesni Evans (Wal) – 17:15pm
[15] Line Hansen (Den) v Sarah Kippax (Eng) – 19:30pm
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) v [7] Natalie Grinham – 20:15pm
[8] Madeline Perry (Irl) v Mariam Metwally (Egy) – 16:30pm
Sivoli Waters (Rsa) v [11] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) – 17:15pm
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) v [14] Dipika Pallikal (Ind) – 19:30pm
[3] Raneem El Weleily v Liu Tsz-Ling (Hkg) – 20:15pm
[6] Low Wee Wern (Mas) v Emma Beddoes – 15:00pm
Yathreb Adel (Egy)  v [12] Annie Au (Hkg) – 15:45pm
Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) v [13] Rachael Grinham (Aus) – 18:00pm
Coline Aumard (Fra)  v [2] Laura Massaro (Eng) – 18:45pm

Pictures by Steve Cubbins of

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