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Monday, September 20, 2021

NAO: Selby feels flat as he falls to Azlan

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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ALAN THATCHER REPORTS FROM RICHMOND

Daryl Selby admitted that he was “feeling flat” as he crashed out of the NAO first round to Mohd Azlan Iskander.

The London-based Malaysian defeated Selby after losing the opening game, hitting back to win 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 in 60 minutes.

Selby said he found it difficult to repeat the fantastic form he showed a week ago to beat world champion Nick Matthew in the final of the British Nationals in Manchester.

Selby said: “I have to admit I was feeling a bit flat after winning the Nationals. It’s very difficult to play that well on a regular basis and Azlan  played superbly today. I didn’t feel I was doing much wrong but often felt half a yard off the pace. I guess that’s a sure sign that I was feeling a bit flat. But Azza deserved to win, definitely. He hardly made a mistake.”

Asked about the draw, which paired the world No.10 against the world No.13 in the first round, Selby said: “I can’t have any complaints. I have benefitted in the past and I am sure these things even themselves out over the year. Having said that, I have heard that some fine tuning might  take place to sort out one or two possible anomalies. But no complaints. None at all.”

Iskander said that he was fine-tuning his game under coach Peter Genever in London. He said: “There are no massive changes, just some subtle adjustments about how you play certain shots. You do the same stuff all the time but Peter gets you to think creatively about some subtle differences in playing certain shots. That was a very tough match for a first round and I’m pleased to be in the second round and looking forward to a nice rest day.”

Iskander meets Simon Rosner in the second round after the German No.1 beat Joey Barrington 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 in a physically demanding contest lasting 48 minutes.

KEMP’S FLYING START

The North American Open got off to a flying start when England’s Jonathan Kemp powered through the opening match, beating Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar in just 24 minutes.

Kemp won 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 and was clearly carrying on the excellent form that gained him a key victory over James Willstrop in the recent National Championships.
Kemp opened up a 6-3 lead on a slightly cool court in the opening game but Salazar rallied to draw level. Kemp then pulled away to close out the game, allowing his opponent just one more point.
Kemp seemed to have adjusted to the surroundings in some degree of comfort as he advanced from 2-2 to 7-2 in the second. The Mexican again fought back to gather three points before Kemp again finished strongly.
Salazar led 5-3 in the third game before Kemp turned up the power and matched it with some perfect precision, winning eight points in a row to clinch his place in the second round.
Kemp said he was very impressed with the setting. “This is my first time playing here, ” he said.”And as a player this is everything you went from a tournament, great facilities, a wonderful setting for the court and it certainly helps you to feel relaxed and just concentrate on playing.
“It was nice to get on and off court so quickly. I feel I’m playing quite well at the moment and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”

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