Seeds safely through to quarters in Macau
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
Top seeds Borja Golan and Camille Serme led all seeded players into the last eight of the 2018 Macau Squash Open, with the Spaniard beating good friend and fellow countryman Iker Pajares and Serme halting the run the qualifier Yathreb Adel.
It was not a walk in the park for the top seeded Spaniard as he had to dig deep in his 3-0 win. The score line of the first and third games, and the 56-minute duration is a testament of how close the match went.
“It was very difficult to play Iker (Pajares) because we are very good friends and we are from the same country. I played the PSA tour for many years (alone) and seeing them (Spaniards) on tour now is very new to me, and they are improving a lot, so I feel the pressure. It was a hard 3-0 and I am happy to win to get through,” said Golan after.
Macanese Steven Liu has been looking forward to get on court with Egyptian Mazen Hesham and he was not disappointed. Despite losing out in a one-sided encounter, he was in good spirits as he said, “It was fun in there and it was a pleasure experiencing his trademark drops first hand. I managed to get some of them, but his cross court drops were amazing as most of them just went into the nick. I should watch more and learn to drop like him!”
Hong Kong trio Max Lee, Leo Au and Yip Tsz Fung, who recently helped Hong Kong win the Asian Team Championships, all made it into the last eight. Max Lee had the toughest day in the office as he was stretched by Spain’s Edmon Lopez and kept in court for close to an hour, before earning his ticket to face “The Falcon” Mazen Hesham tomorrow.
Leo Au too didn’t quite have it easy as overturned a 1-0 deficit to win 3-1 against Karim El Hammamy, while Yip Tsz Fung came through comfortably in the second and third games after a tough opening game against Mohamed Elsherbini. Au’s opponent tomorrow will be Omar Abdel Meguid of Egypt, who took out Finnish veteran Olli Tuominen.
In the bottom quarter, crowd favourite and second seed Omar Mosaad won the all-Egyptian battle against Karim Ali Fathi and faces Qatari number one Abdulla Al Tammimi tomorrow. Tammimi showed gutsy nerves as he battled through a five-game encounter against German left hander Raphael Kendra before winning in 70 minutes.
Women’s top seed Camille Serme looked impressive and well deserved her commanding win against a tricky first round qualifier, Yathreb Adel. On a good day, the former world number 25 would be great trouble to any player and she had proved this a year ago on this stage. But the disciplined game of Serme proved too much for her today as the top seed moves on.
“I’m very happy to be through the first round. I thought Yathreb was a very tricky and dangerous first match. It’s been a while I haven’t played her but Coline (Aumard) played her a few weeks ago, so I knew what to expect. I know she did really well here last year and I didn’t want to think too much about it because that’s dangerous, and you start to stress out, and I didn’t want to feel pressured. So, I’m really happy I won today,” said the French number one who now goes through to play another Egyptian Salma Hany tomorrow.
Salma Hany won with relative ease against Belgium’s Nele Gilis and would be one of three Egyptians in the last eight, after Mariam Metwally and second seed Nouran Gohar also won today against American Haley Mendez and Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling in straight games. Gohar will be gunning for her second consecutive title here after winning against Joelle King in the rain interrupted final last year.
Hong Kong’s left handed pair of Annie Au and Joey Chan also made it into the last eight, but in rather contrasting fashion. While lower ranked Chan won in three, Au had to come back from 0-2 down to draw level, before having to save three match balls at 7-10 in the fifth to clinch her quarters, winning five points in a row at the end. She faces England’s Emily Whitlock tomorrow, who won in four against Canadian Hollie Naughton.
Annie later said, “I think she was a little tired after the first two games, and I on the other hand, was more relaxed in the third. I told myself there’s nothing to lose after losing the first tow, so let’s go for it. I didn’t quite change my game plan and just went for my shots, especially in the fifth where I was facing the match balls. I’m just glad it worked out for me in the end.”
Local wild card teenager Gigi Yeung was no match for her American opponent, as Olivia Blatchford spent just 16 minutes on court at the loss of eight points.
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Iker Pajares (ESP) 12-10, 11-2, 12-10 (56m)
Yip Tsz-Fung (HKG) bt Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 5-11, 11-5, 11-6 11-3 (35m)
Leo Au (HKG) by Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 5-11, 11-3, 11-4, 12-10 (42m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Edmon Lopez (ESP) 11-5, 17-15, 7-11, 11-1 (56m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Steven Liu (MAC) 11-4, 11-2, 11-8 (17m)
Abdulla Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10 (70m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 (37m)
Camille Serme (FRA) bt Yathreb Adel (FRA) 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 (29m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (29m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 (32m)
Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt Gigi Yeung (MAC) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (16m)
Annie Au (HKG) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 12-14, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (62m)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (42m)
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 12-10, 11-2, 12-10 (56m)
Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-1 (25m)
Pictures by Macau Squash