Flu-hit Malaysia ace falls in four to Kelvin Ndhlovu in Games upset
By HOWARD HARDING – Commonwealth Games Correspondent
Eighth seed Ong Beng Hee, the former world No7 from Malaysia making a record-equalling fifth successive appearance in the Commonwealth Games, bowed out in the opening round of the Glasgow 2014 Games today after losing in four games to unranked Zambian Kelvin Ndhlovu.
Suffering with flu and a shadow of his usual self, Beng Hee did his best to withstand the determined attack of South Africa-based Ndhlovu in the last 64 round at Scotstoun Sports Campus in Glasgow. But the unheralded 28-year-old held his nerve to produce the upset of the round, winning 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-5 in 35 minutes.
“I’ve been struggling with a knee problem for a few weeks and then a few days ago was struck down with a fever and just haven’t been able to practise – in fact today’s the first time I’ve been to the venue,” explained a distraught Beng Hee afterwards. “But well done to Kelvin – I’ve never seen him play before but he deserved the win.
“I’m very sad – you look forward to something like this every four years and not to be able prepare and then perform is very disappointing. But at least I have the Asian Games still to go this year. At least I can now prepare for that.
“But I’ve still got the doubles here – though I’ve never played men’s doubles before,” added the 34-year-old, a silver and bronze medallist in the mixed doubles.
Ndhlovu was delighted with his breakthrough success: “I’m really happy about that – it was a big win, the biggest of my career and I’m very proud.
“I had some good wins last week in South Africa, where I am based, which was good preparation,” added the Gauteng-based Zambian. “I lost easily in my first appearance in the Games four years ago – but I came into this with a different mind-set – I was much more motivated.
“But I was really nervous when I walked in. I then got too tense when I was ahead in the third game, and he came back strongly to take the game. I really didn’t expect to win – I have got no idea who I’m playing next!”
Three-time world champion Nick Matthew, who only hours earlier had led Team England into the Opening Ceremony as his country’s flag-bearer, successfully began the defence of his gold medal with an 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 win over Xavier Koenig of Mauritius.
“He had a good array of shots – and that’s what I wanted, to get rid of the cobwebs,” said 33-year-old Matthew, the world No2.
“After last night’s massive high, I got to bed around midnight and was up at eight o’clock.”
The opening match on the venue’s spectacular showcourt was watched by an exuberant near capacity crowd surrounding the all-glass court.
“It was just good to come out to such an amazing response – it’s more like a finals crowd than a first round! I’ve had a long career and played in some amazing venues, but never experienced a first round crowd like that.”
The Yorkshireman was also celebrating his 100th cap for England. “To be honest, I was originally a bit disappointed when I knew my last England match – when I beat world number one Greg Gaultier in the European Championship final – was my 99th cap, as it was such a big game.
“I expected this to be relatively low-key – but it was far from it!
“I’m feeling good being back on court after the knee surgery. My back-up team, with England physio Jade here with me, are looking after me well.”
Games debutant Koenig, playing on the biggest stage of his life, was pleased with his performance: “I wanted to get a least two points – I had to try everything. He was very kind to me – but I was so relieved to get that first point! I studied in Perth, Australia, for six years so that’s where my squash improved.”
The sensational crowd became even more vocal when local hero Alan Clyne, the Scottish number one ranked 35 in the world, despatched his first opponent Kevin Hannaway, from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 11-1, 11-2, 11-2.
“The crowd reaction was pretty incredible – I didn’t expect it to be like this!” said the ninth seed from Edinburgh. “When I first came out, I had goose-bumps. But I could see from the warm-up that he was a good player.
“I’ve never played in front of a home crowd like this – in fact the first time was only a month ago when I played a small Tour event in Inverness – but it was nothing like on this scale! I wanted to play good squash today and I think I did that.”
Second seed James Willstrop, the world No6 expected to meet Matthew in the second successive all-English men’s final, also had a straightforward opening round win on the all-glass court, seeing off Bermuda’s Nicholas Kyme 11-4, 11-3, 11-4.
“The atmosphere here was unbelievable – a lot of big finals wouldn’t get this,” said the former world number one from Harrogate later. “It’s great for the game and it’s wonderful to be involved – I’m trying to soak up every minute.
“The Commonwealth Games? It doesn’t come any better than this – it’s quite exceptional what Glasgow has been doing.”
Like all the men’s last 64 round winners, Willstrop will go on to play a further match today to qualify for Thursday’s fourth round.
“It’s long time since I’ve played two matches in day – back in the days of the Under-12s – it’s quite rare!”
Games debutant Alister Walker celebrated the first ever Botswana win in the Commonwealth Games when he beat Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Gunawardena 11-5, 11-4, 11-2. US-based Walker, the sixth seed who switched nationality from England to the country of his birth three years ago, will now face Cameron Stafford, of the Cayman Islands, for a place in the last 16.
Men’s 1st round:
Othneil Bailey (SVG) bt Mark Tewkesbury (GIB) 11-4, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-2 (41m)
Michael Kawooya (UGA) bt Schubert Maketu (PNG) 11-1, 11-5, 11-5 (17m)
Hartaj Bains (KEN) bt Daniel Murphy (CAY) 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (21m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Xavier Koenig (MRI) 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 (21m)
Christopher Binnie (JAM) bt Ntholeng Lechesa (LES) 11-0, 11-0, 11-1 (17m)
 Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Kevin Hannaway (SVG) 11-1, 11-2, 11-2 (14m)
Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt Michael Craig (NIR) 11-9, 11-5, 11-5
 Chris Simpson (GGY) bt Julian Jervis (CAY) 11-7, 11-4, 11-1 (23m)
Colin Ramasra (TRI) bt Ravindu Laksiri (SRI) 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Kenneth Maina (KEN) 11-7, 11-6, 11-7
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Moreaina Wei (PNG) 11-0, 11-2, 11-5 (16m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Manda Chilambwe (ZAM) 11-4, 11-1, 11-3 (30m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Hardeep Reel (KEN) 11-1, 11-5, 11-7 (24m)
 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Robert Maycock (BER) 11-2, 11-5, 11-4
Peter Creed (WAL) bt Ian Rukunya (UGA) 11-0, 11-2, 11-0 (20m)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Kale Wilson (TRI) 11-3, 11-2, 11-2 (15m)
Sunil Seth (GUY) bt Daniel Zammit-Lewis (MLT) 11-2, 12-10, 11-0 (24m)
 Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Bruce Burrowes (JAM) 11-3, 11-5, 11-9
Nick Taylor (JEY) bt Othneil Bailey (SVG) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (22m)
Micah Franklin (BER) bt Michael Kawooya (UGA) 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4 (47m)
 Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Hartaj Bains (KEN) 11-0, 11-4, 11-1 (17m)
Joe Chapman (IVB) bt James Fayia (SLE) 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 (10m)
Kelvin Ndhlovu (ZAM) bt  Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-5 (35m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt Alexander Arjoon (GUY) 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
 Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Mwinga Lengwe (ZAM) 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (23m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt Issa Kamara (SLE) 11-0, 11-5, 11-7 (22m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Jules Snagg (SVG) 11-1, 11-6, 11-3 (16m)
Bradley Hindle (MLT) bt Scott Fitzgerald (WAL) 11-5, 14-12, 11-9 (40m)
 Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Ridvan Prosper (SEY) 11-0, 11-3, 11-1 (13m)
Cameron Stafford (CAY) bt Christian Navas (GIB) 11-2, 11-5, 11-3
 Alister Walker (BOT) bt Dilshan Gunawardena (SRI) 11-5, 11-4, 11-2
Kevin Moran (SCO) bt Scott Gautier (JEY) 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)
 Martin Knight (NZL) bt Gihan Suwaris (SRI) 11-0, 11-6, 11-3 (13m)
Anthony Brindle (GIB) bt Madako Junior Suari (PNG) 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (21m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Nicholas Kyme (BER) 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)
Men’s 3rd round line-up
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Christopher Binnie (JAM)
 Alan Clyne (SCO) v Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND)
 Chris Simpson (GGY) v Colin Ramasra (TRI)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Shawn Delierre (CAN)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)
 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Peter Creed (WAL)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Sunil Seth (GUY)
 Greg Lobban (SCO) v Nick Taylor (JEY)
 Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Micah Franklin (BER)
Kelvin Ndhlovu (ZAM) v Joe Chapman (IVB)
 Steven Finitsis (AUS) v Joel Makin (WAL)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Paul Coll (NZL)
 Ivan Yuen (MAS) v Bradley Hindle (MLT)
 Alister Walker (BOT) v Cameron Stafford (CAY)
 Martin Knight (NZL) v Kevin Moran (SCO)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Anthony Brindle (GIB)