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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

PSA Kent Open quarter-finals

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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Joel Hinds in action. Picture: KIM ROBERTS

PSA KENT OPEN at The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent
Quarter-finals:

Max Lee (Hong Kong) beat Ben Ford (England) 11-7, 11-2, 11-9 (36 mins)
Leo Au (Hong Kong) beat Dick Lau (Hong Kong) 12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10 (70 mins)
Joel Hinds (England) beat Ollie Pett (England) 11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (76 mins)
Chris Ryder (England) beat Eddie Charlton (England) 13-11, 11-3, 11-2 (52 mins)

The Kent Open semi-finals feature two battles between England and Hong Kong after a night of thrilling squash in the quarter-finals at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.

No.3 seed Max Lee ended local involvement in this PSA Challenger 10 world tour event as he battered Kent professional Ben Ford in straight games, winning 11-7, 11-2, 11-9 in 36 minutes.

The 35-year-old Ford admitted that he made too many mistakes as he struggled to devise an effective strategy against a super-fit opponent who was 12 years his junior.

Lee meets Joel Hinds in the semi-finals after the former British Under-23 champion beat fellow Englishman Ollie Pett in the longest and most entertaining match of the night.

Both players were committed to full-on attacking squash throughout the match and the 22-year-old Pett, from Sussex, was on the verge of causing a major upset as he led 4-1 in the fifth game.

But Pett’s flamboyant style, which had produced so many spectacular shots, suddenly dried up and the winners that flowed from his racket turned into errors. Hinds tightened up and gained control to win eight points in a row.

Pett rallied briefly but the gap was too wide to bridge and the number four seed closed out the match after 76 minutes, winning 11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 in front of a packed and enthusiastic gallery at The Mote.

In another all-English battle, top seed Chris Ryder overcame  Nottingham-based Eddie Charlton in straight games, winning 13-11, 11-3, 11-2 in 52 minutes of gruelling combat.

Charlton led for most of the opening game but the 30-year-old Ryder, from Leamington Spa, won the tiebreak and then dominated the next two games to book his place in the last four against Hong Kong qualifier Leo Au.

The 5ft 2in Au continued his giant-killing run by beating compatriot Dick Lau 12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10 in 70 minutes of dynamic, intelligent squash. Once again the world No.117 Au’s superb touch was the decisive factor as he chopped in a succession of winning drop shots to overcome an opponent 35 places above him in the world rankings.

Semi finals:

5pm: Max Lee v Joel Hinds

6pm: Chris Ryder v Leo Au

 

Max Lee (Hong Kong) beat Ben Ford (England) 11-7, 11-2, 11-9 (36 mins)

Ben Ford

Due to my opponent’s strength and my poor performance, I didn’t play well today. I knew what I had to do but still knew it was going to be tough.

Thanks to Alan for organizing a great tournament and good luck to Max in the next round.

Max Lee

This was the first time we had played; I knew he was very experienced so knew it wasn’t going to be easy. In the first game I started well, I kept the ball tight and made very few errors. Ben made a lot of mistakes in the second so this allowed me to push forward and win the game. I started well in the third but Ben came back and went into the lead. I fought well and managed to just take it.

Leo Au (Hong Kong) beat Dick Lau (Hong Kong) 12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10 (70 mins)

Leo Au

I am very happy with that result and I really enjoyed the match. We know each other too well; we know each others every move. I had to play a basic game and keep the mistakes low. I felt some of the decisions were a bit harsh against Dick.

Looking forward to tomorrow, hopefully it will be another good match.

Dick

My performance was ok; I felt I gave it 100%. Today I think the thing that let me down was my concentration, it wasn’t as good as Leo’s today. I feel as If sometimes I am too casual. As I have said before I haven’t been playing that many tournaments, but I am pleased with my speed and the way my body feels. I never lost confidence I felt if it had gone to the 5th I would have had the fitness and style of game to win.

I got used to the refs decisions. This is the sport I play and love, so I accept the decisions they make.

Joel Hinds (England) beat Ollie Pett (England) 11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (76 mins)

Joel

It was a very tough, long match. He was playing well and was attacking any time he could. There were patches where there were dips in concentration from both of us. From 4-1 down in the fifth, I was starting to get a bit twitchy and I just decided I wasn’t going to make any more mistakes.

I’ll be up for it tomorrow playing Max. I know it will be tough but I am looking forward to it.

Ollie

It went well and was pleased with the way I played. It was really patchy; there were phases of good then phases of bad. It was a good game played in good spirit (as it always is with Joel.) To be honest, I am gutted.

At 4-1 up in the 5th my head went. I think it was because of the lack of matches and I think it caught up with me.

Chris Ryder (England) beat Eddie Charlton (England) 13-11, 11-3, 11-2 (52 mins)

Eddie Charlton

I am bitterly disappointed with that. I genuinely thought I had a good chance. I had been playing well and I went on knowing what I had to do. The first game was crucial. It gave Chris the momentum. I had a really bad start in the second. Chris was dropping the ball every 2 or 3 shots and credit to him, he didn’t miss many. Physically, I didn’t feel that tired. I didn’t apply myself mentally. The concentration was the key thing today and it let me down. I will take a lot with me from this match.

The referees were very inconsistent. It didn’t in anyway determine the outcome of the match; we had equally as bad decisions. I think we both let it affect us.
Chris Ryder

Yes, I felt I played really well, especially looking at the 2nd and 3rd. I am really happy with the 3 0 score line, I think it is a bit flattering as it doesn’t fully some up the game. The first was very important if it had gone the other way the match would have been a lot different.  We played at the weekend and it was very similar first and second game. I was expecting the third to be a lot tougher.

There’s always room for improvement but overall I am very pleased with that. Eddie’s improving really quickly.

I’ve never played Leo before. I have been watching him this week. He looks very neat and organized, he moves very well and he has no obvious weakness.

 

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