Coppinger slays Knight
From ANDREW DENT
South African Stephen Coppinger justified his top billing when he downed New Zealand’s Martin Knight in the final of the Hibiscus Gardens Open squash tournament in Brisbane on Sunday.
The world number 39 from Cape Town won a high quality final 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 to claim the seventh title of his career and his second of the year.
Coppinger and Knight are separated by only 13 places on the world rankings and they were evenly matched throughout the opening two games.
However, Knight began to show signs of fatigue at the start of the third and Coppinger took full advantage.
He stepped up his attack at the start of both the third and fourth games, seizing on his opponent’s mistakes and racing away to big leads.
Knight fought hard but he was unable to make an impression and the South African added the Brisbane title to the Finnish Open he won in February.
“It was a really, really tough match so I was delighted to get through,” the 26-year-old Coppinger said.
“I really had to regroup after the second and force myself to make the pace, to get onto the T and to push him around the court rather than the other way round.”
Coppinger said he realised Knight, who had a tough semi-final win on Saturday, was tiring after the second game.
“We both put a massive effort into the second game – I sensed he was tiring towards the end of that game, it’s easy when you are winning the game to stay pumped up but after the rest between games, I think it took its toll.”
Knight conceded he had lost concentration in the third game after battling hard to get the final back on terms.
“I hung back and was trying to control the ball and play a more controlled, accurate pace, but he was a bit more frantic and he was able to cut the ball off and do a bit with it,” Knight said.
“I got back a little bit in the fourth, but my legs gave way – I was tired.”
Final result – prefix denotes seeding:
1-Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt 2-Martin Knight (NZL) 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8
SEMI-FINALS: Top seeds to play for Brisbane title
From ANDREW DENT
Top seeded South African Stephen Coppinger will take on second ranked New Zealander Martin Knight in the final of the Hibiscus Gardens Open squash tournament in Brisbane after contrasting semi-final wins on Saturday.
Coppinger looked in great touch as he saw off Malaysian Kamran Khan 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 while Knight had to fight all the way before outlasting veteran South Australian Mike Corren 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5.
Corren, who won the ACT Open in Canberra last Sunday, was left ruing his lost opportunities when he had a number of chances to go 2/0 up.
“I had some game balls in the second game but he saved them, then won the game himself – that was the difference,” Corren said.
“I’ve got no excuses – he played well and stuck to his game, while I got stuck playing at one pace and couldn’t get forward.
“I think if I could have got that second game and gone two-love up it would have been a different result.
“But he stayed on one level and my game dipped in the third and fourth games.”
Earlier, Coppinger had taken advantage of some weariness from the Malaysian to close out the first semi-final.
Khan won a marathon quarter-final against Melbourne’s Rex Hedrick on Friday night and struggled to recover in time for his semi-final.
Coppinger, the world number 39 from Cape Town, has been in superb form over the last 12 months and won the Finnish Open in February.
He and Knight have played once before, at the Hong Kong Open in 2009, the South African winning in four games.
The final will be held at 2pm on Sunday at the Hibiscus Gardens sports complex in Brisbane.
Results – prefix denotes seeding:
1-Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt 3-Kamran Khan (MAS) 11-5, 11-3, 11-5
2-Martin Knight (NZL) bt 4-Mike Corren (AUS) 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5
KHAN REACHES BRISBANE SEMI-FINALS
Malaysia’s Kamran Khan recovered from two games down to beat Melbourne hope Rex Hedrick to reach the semi-finals of the Hibiscus Gardens Open in Brisbane on Friday night.
Khan, the 21-year-old third seed, had to dig deep to overcome 22-year-old Hedrick 5-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 in 78 minutes.
Khan was down two sets to love but the tenacious Hedrick ran out of steam and couldn’t keep the intensity that he showed in the first two games.
Khan, ranked 82 in the world, will now face world number 39 Stephen Coppinger, the top seed from South Africa, who despatched England’s Chris Truswell 11-3, 11-7, 11-8.
There will be Australian interest in the other semi-final where Mike Corren takes on New Zealander Martin Knight.
Corren, the third seed from South Australia who won his sixth successive PSA Tour title at the ACT Open in Canberra last week, took only 24 minutes to quash Canadian Fred Reid 11-8, 11-6, 11-9.
Second seed Knight ended Leo Au’s brave run, beating the Hong Kong qualifier 12-10, 11-4, 11-7.
Quarter-final results – prefix denotes seeding
1-Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Chris Truswell (ENG) 11-3, 11-7, 11-8
3-Kamran Khan (MAS) bt Rex Hedrick (AUS) 5-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6
4-Mike Corren (AUS) bt Fred Reid (CAN) 11-8, 11-6, 11-9
2-Martin Knight (NZL) bt Leo Au (HKG) 12-10, 11-4, 11-7
RESULTS: PSA Challenger 15 Hibiscus Gardens Open, Upper Mount Gravatt, Australia
 Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Choong Kam Hing (MAS) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (28m)
Chris Truswell (ENG) bt Alex Grayson (NZL) 11-5, 16-14, 11-5 (42m)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt Ben Takamizawa Harris (JPN) 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (22m)
 Kamran Khan (MAS) bt [Q] Bradley Freeme (AUS) 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 (80m)
 Mike Corren (AUS) bt [Q] Jamie Mcervale (AUS) 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (26m)
Fred Reid (CAN) bt Tyler Hamilton (CAN) 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 (38m)
[Q] Leo Au (HKG) bt Nathan Stevenson (AUS) 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (38m)
 Martin Knight (NZL) bt [Q] Sebastian Weenink (NED) 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (47m)
Au, that hurts as Stevenson exits Brisbane
Hong Kong qualifier Leo Au upset local favourite Nathan Stevenson in today’s first round of the Hibiscus Gardens Open squash tournament in Upper Mount Gravatt, near Brisbane, in Australia.
Au, who won through two rounds of qualifying to make the main draw of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 event atHibiscus Gardens Squash Centre, came back from losing the first game to win 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 – and move into a quarter-final clash against second seed Martin Knight.
The New Zealander had to fight hard to see off Dutch qualifier Sebastian Weenink 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6.
South Africa’s top seed Stephen Coppinger cruised into the final eight with an 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 win over MalaysianChoong Kam Hing.
However, the third-seeded Kamran Khan was pushed all the way by local qualifier Bradley Freeme, the Malaysian eventually winning 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7.
Meanwhile, South Australian veteran Mike Corren, who last week won his 33rd PSA title, ended the run of fellow Australian Jamie McErvale 11-5, 11-5, 11-9.
Other winners were Melbourne’s Rex Hedrick, an 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 victor over Japan’s Ben Takamizawa Harris; Chris Truswell, who beat Kiwi Alex Grayson11-5, 16-14, 11-5; and Canada’s Fred Reid, who upset fellow countryman Tyler Hamilton 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10.
 Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Chris Truswell (ENG)
 Kamran Khan (MAS) v Rex Hedrick (AUS)
 Mike Corren (AUS) v Fred Reid (CAN)
 Martin Knight (NZL) v [Q] Leo Au (HKG)