Friday, December 1, 2023

PSA: Graham grinds down Krajcsak at Kent Open

Anthony Graham and Mark Krajcsak debate the rules concerning access to the ball. Picture by KIM ROBERTS



PSA Satellite 10 SE Leisure Kent Open, The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent.


(1) Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Antoine-Camille Petrucci (France) 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (34 mins)

Elvinn Keo (Mas) bt Alex Phillips (Eng) 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11 (41 mins)

(4) Kristian Frost (Denmark) bt Robbie Downer (Eng) 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (48 mins)

Lucas Serme (France) bt Adil Maqbool (Pakistan) 11-7, 13-11, 11-7 (38 mins)

Anthony Graham (England) bt (3) Mark Krajcsak (Hungary) 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10 (76mins)

Karim Ali Fathi (Egypt) bt Jaymie Haycocks (England) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (33 mins)

Julien Balbo (France) bt (Q) Steven London (England) 14-12, 11-7, 11-7 (48 mins)

(2) Henrik Mustonen (Finland) bt (Q) Declan James (England) 13-11, 11-3, 14-12 (44 mins)

England’s Anthony Graham overcame No.3 seed Mark Krajcsak to reach the quarter-finals of the SE Leisure Kent Open after a pulsating battle at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.

Graham wasted a match ball at 10-9 in the fourth and survived one himself in the fifth before triumphing  7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10 after 76 minutes of brutal squash.

The 22-year-old Graham, ranked 103 in the world, matched the Hungarian number one throughout the match for inventiveness and power, gaining great dividends from some deft drop shots on both sides of the court.

Krajcsak, the world No.54, led throughout the fifth game and finally reached match ball at 10-8, but Graham refused to give in and reeled off the final four points to book a quarter-final clash against talented Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi, who beat Birmingham-based Jaymie Haycocks in straight games.

Top seed Chris Simpson meets Malaysian Elvinn Keo in the quarter-finals.

Simpson, the 25-year-old world No.43 based in Harrogate, Yorkshire, finished strongly to beat a tiring Antoine-Camille Petrucci of France. Simpson completed his victory with an 11-2 scoreline in the third game as his opponent’s energy levels dropped in the heat.

The first two games were close but Petrucci hit the tin too many times when set up for a drop shot.

Simpson looked comfortable throughout and his colourful shorts added a Beach Boys feeling to the opening match.

Keo overcame Alex Phillips in a very entertaining match, with the Malaysian squeezing home 13-11 on a tiebreak after four close games.

Lucas Serme (France) overcame Adil Magbool in straight games to clinch a quarter-final place against Danish No.1 Kristian Frost.  The Dubai-based Pakistani was left reflecting on a moment of sportsmanship that backfired when he refused to take a penalty point at game ball in the second game after striking his opponent.

Maqbool had fought back from 5-2 down to lead 11-10 but a relieved and grateful Serme edged home 13-11.

Magbool led 4-1 in the third game but Serme stepped up the pressure and played tighter squash as Maqbool’s challenge faded in the heat of a balmy Kentish evening.

There was plenty of barmy squash next on Court One as Kristian Frost overcame wild card Robbie Downer in a hard-hitting contest that posed plenty of challenging questions for referee Ian McKenzie.

From 3-3 in the first, Frost moved ahead to 7-4 and maintained his advantage to close out the game.

Downer hit back in the second but squandered an 8-4 lead as Frost fought back in determined fashion after both players disputed the legality of a boast from the Dane.

Frost won six points in a row and although Downer grabbed another point he had lost the decisive momentum. Frost clinched the game 11-9 and from 3-2 down in the third he regained the same control to win the third 11-4.

Declan James, the English and European Under-19 champion, battled bravely against No.2 seed Henrik Mustonen. James, from Nottingham, lost two close tiebreaks in the first and third games as the Finnish world No.52 triumped 12-10, 11-4, 14-12 in 44 minutes.

Mustonen meets Julien Balbo, the third French player in the main draw, who beat Kent’s Steven London 14-12, 11-7, 11-7 in 48 minutes.

5.30pm: (1) Simpson v Keo
6.30pm: (4) Frost v Serme
7.30pm: Graham v Ali Fathi
8.30pm: (2) Mustonen v Balbo

Tournament website:


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