|Qualifying Day One
Thatcher reports, Photos and Interviews by Fram
Welcome to Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club for the
qualifying competition that leads to four coveted places
in the first round of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic on
As well as a host of rising stars, we have a fascinating
Golden Oldies encounter coming up later today featuring
Italian Davide Bianchetti and Kent's Silver Fox Ben
Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Rory Pennell (Eng)
11/5, 11/8, 12/10 (48m)
The first winner of the day was
Robbie Temple, who
overcame fellow English hopeful Rory Pennell in straight
games less than 24 hours after flying home from Calgary.
The third game was tight and Pennell led for much of the
way through until the closing phase. Pennell raced out
to 4-0 before Temple strung together five points in a
row. Pennell hit back to lead 8-6 and 9-7 but back came
Temple to force the tiebreak and win it 12-10 to clinch
Rory played really well today, heís got a very strong forehand.
I felt good today, physically, considering I only came back from
Canada yesterday, but still a bit tired, and I was mentally in
and out a bit. In the old days, I would have hit more winners,
and more tins!
Iím not trying to change my game, I learning to winÖ Iíll always
be going for winners, itís part of my game, but tactically, Iím
getting more astute I believe.
In Canada, I played well, itís a bit unfortunate I didnít do
better, but itís comingÖ
made a few silly errors, in the third for example, Iím up
9/8, an easy shot, simple, and I tin it.
Wasnít really comfortable today, I couldnít go up the court, I
didnít volley as much as I wanted to, but then again, he
wouldnít let me!
This year, my goal is really simple, trying to play some good
squash, and win! More seriously, Iím focusing on consistency, as
it seems to be one of my main issues.
On the adjacent court,
Eddie Charlton was struggling to cope with the skills of
young Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, who won 3-1.
Karim Abdel Gawad bt Eddie Charlton
9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 (54m)
Charlton took the opening game by a narrow 11-9 margin
but Awad clinched the second on a tiebreak, 12-10. The
young Egyptian's racket skills shone brightly throughout
the third game and he eased home 11-4.
struggled to concentrate at the start of the fourth and mis-hit two service returns before working his way back
into the match. He led 8-7 in the fourth but Awad won
the final four rallies to clinch it 11-8. He meets
Temple in tomorrow's qualifying finals.
For the first two game, Eddie played really well, and I just
couldnít find any answers, I was out of strategy. And in the
second, I was up 8/4, I lost concentration as wellÖ
From the third onwards, I was able to play a better squash, I got
more confident. But Eddie played really well today, it was the
first time I saw him play, he is a good player.
Iím still studying at Uni, I have three more Business years to
do. Normally I play squash in the morning, and study in the
afternoon. But last month, I just didnít have the time to play
squash at all! I know thatís not the way to do it, but hey, you
donít just do what you want sometimes!
I seem to switch off in patches, and at this level of
game, you canít really afford that. In the third I got
really tired physically, but in the fourth, I thought I
still haa a chance of winning, I felt better.
At 8/8, he gets a lucky nick at the back, to go 9/8,
that was a bit fortunateÖ But he really played well,
his forehand boasts in particular were lethal today.
Still, frustrating, one of those matches, nearly but not
(Italy) bt Ben Ford (Eng)
11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (44mn)
Italian Davide Bianchetti overcame Kent's Ben Ford to move one place closer to a return visit to the glass
court at the East Wintergarden.
He looked solid throughout the first two games but Ford
looked dangerous at the start of the third. His silky
racket skills helped him to open up a 5-2 lead before
Bianchetti reeled off four points in a row to lead 6-5.
Ford levelled at 6-6 but Bianchetti managed to stay in
front to close out the match.
really be annoyed, as today was just one of those days,
I think I played the right game, but just couldnít hit
the ball well for some unknown reason! Weird, but it
just happens. I felt fine, I was moving well, but still,
couldnít play my game at all.
Davide played well, mind you I donít think he had to
play that well to beat me todayÖ
I havenít retired yet, Iím only choosing carefully the
events I play! I need to like the place AND it needs to
be close! And thatís why Iím still enjoying the tour, I
donít want to have to travel to places I donít enjoy,
only to get points. I enjoy England, Sweden, IstanbulÖ
A few months back, I was playing a tournament in London,
and I really felt out of it, really felt bad. So I
thought, either I stop playing, or I find what/if something
is wrong with me. So, did a lot of tests, and they found
that I had an iron deficiency. I took some pills, and two
weeks later, I was beating Golan, who I never beat
Now, back at my normal bad standard self, nothing
special. And 99% chances are that Iíll stop playing at
the end of this yearÖ
(Fin) bt Adrian Waller (Eng)
6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (63m)
Waller wins first game 11-6.
Mustonen levels after
winning second 11-9. Mustonen wins third 11-6. Adrian
wins fourth 11-9 to take it to five. 11-6 in fifth to
A battle all the way in the fifth. Neck and neck up to
5-5 then Mustonen wins four points in a row to make it
9-5. Two points from Waller then Mustonen reels in two
himself to win it after 63 minutes. Mustonen meets
Campbell Grayson (NZ) beat Jonny Harford (Eng)
13-15, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (67m)
First game tiebreak 15-13 to
Harford. Grayson began the
game chopping and slicing the ball into the front
corners, but Harford worked his way into the match by
hitting a tighter length to cut out Grayson's
opportunities to go short. He gradually turned it round
and won on the tiebreak, 15-13.
Tough second game and another tiebreak, which Grayson
wins 12-10. A few untidy mid-court collisions every few
rallies. Grayson takes the third 11-7 to lead 2-1.
Harford leads 7-5 in the fourth but Grayson finishes
strongly to win 11-7.
years ago, I broke an ankle, and it always stayed a bit
fragile, I have all sorts of trouble with it. And in
January, I had a bit of a freak accident, somebody hit
me on the way to the ball, and my ankle got really bad
And just as I was recovering for that, I got
really sick, and really couldnít do much for a couple of
I guess I should have pulled out of tournaments, but I
had points to come out, so I still played, and had
really bad results, not to mention a couple of close
3/2 losses that really damaged my confidence. In other
words, February was a bad month!
But slowly, my ankle got better, by icing it really, and
once I got back to England, the National League really
helped me, I got a few good matches, 3/2, and that gave
me my confidence back.
I wouldnít say I played well today, it was a bit of a
struggle, and Iím really happy to get through. And well
done to Jonny as well, he had hip surgery, and did very
well to come back, I thought he played really really
(Aus) bt Jaymie Haycocks (Eng)
11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (30 mins)
Whole match over in 30 minutes here. Karwalski looked
very comfortable out there. He attributes his excellent
form to spending some time in Manchester, practising
with Stewart Boswell.
If he gets through tomorrow,
against Grayson, I bet he draws Bozza in the first round
had a slow start, Jaymie was playing well, and I had
trouble with my lengthÖ
Iíve been training in England now for 6 weeks, Iím based
in Manchester, and working with Boswell. Trainingís
good, club is good, people are good, although itís a bit
cloudy and cold!
I was lucky to get into Canary Wharf, I entered both
Malaysia and this one, and I didnít get in Kuala Lumpur,
but I was lucky enough to get into this one! Thatís the
luck of the drawÖ
Everyone on the tour has been telling me that I lack
consistency, and that I just donít have a clue of what
Iím doing on a squash court, which is probably a pretty
accurate description of my game. So, Iím really trying
to play and find my game reallyÖ
Charles Sharpes (Eng) bt Laurence Delasaux (Eng)
11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (48m)
Charles Sharpes had to dig deep to beat
Laurence Delasaux in an intensely physical encounter, with some
superb touch play from both players.
qualifying matches are brutal battles and Sharpes was
puffing heavily as he chased down a variety of late
chops, flicks and holds flowing from Delasaux's rackets.
The Yorkshire player's movement did not match his racket
skills and Sharpes was rewarded for his willingness to
run ... and run, and run. At the end of the match his
face was several shades of pink and grey. But he's in
the qualifying finals tomorrow. The pain has to be worth
has been in the top 60, so I can say this is the best
win of my career. But itís so hard to play him, as he is
such a good mate, but youíve kind of got to do it, and
do the business.
Iím very happy with the way I played, I managed to keep
him in the back corners, as he is so dangerous in the
middle and in the front, and to keep it low. I was really
happy with my game, Iím getting stronger!
I managed to win my second PSA a few days ago, Iím
trying to get as much game experience I can, Iíve
learned a lot on the PSA circuitÖ
Max Lee (Hkg) bt
Chris Simpson (Eng)
11-9, 11-2, 11-8 (44m)
Max Lee meets Charles Sharpes after powering past Chris
Simpson with a sustained spell of high-quality,
Lee plays fast, tight, controlled
squash and attacks with some ferocity. He mixed soft
drops with some stunning volley kills and, as hard as
Simpson tried to match him, Lee was usually tighter when
After a tight opening game, Lee dominated
the second to win 11-1. Simpson fought back from 6-2
down in the third to level at 8-8, but Lee finished with
a flourish, slamming a crosscourt nick to book his place
in the qualifying finals.
comfortable on court today, apart from the first game,
where we were point for point, but from the second
onwards, I was always two points ahead.
Iím extremely happy with the way I played, my length in
particular was solid, accurate, and tight. Also, I was
pretty strong mentally. When he was attacking, I just
didnít smash the ball, I just tried to get back to
Iíve been training with Pete Genever for two and a half
years, two months here in London, and then, two months
back home with Dick Lau. Iím really working on improving
my short game, on my consistency, as Iím not that sharp,
Iím not Ramy or Shabana! So Iíve got to work on my basic
Max played so well today, whereas I just felt a bit
short. Apart from the second game, I was able to come
back into it in patches, but I was not fast enough, not
onto the ball enough.
I had some good results this year, and what makes it
even more frustrating is that I really felt great in
training recently! But itís a bit every time like that,
when I feel good before a tournament, I play really
badly, and when I feel really bad, not hitting the ball
well at all, I have the best tournaments!
His shots were winners, my shots were errorsÖ
Physically I really felt OK, even in
the 4th game, where I took an awfully bad start, 4/0 down.
It's just that sometimes, I play silly shots, or don't take my space
to play my shots, and play the ball in the wrong position, making a
lot of errors.
But from 9/4, I played a few good rallies, and I realised I still
have a chance to win that game.
And I decided to make him work a lot. At 9/9, I relaxed a bit, but
it doesn't matter if I lost that game, because I made him work hard,
and I think it gave me the edge in the decider.
I played Davide back in October, in Ireland, and I managed to squize
a tight 3/0 game. But recently, he has had a few good results, and
that court is really rewarding, his shots are going to get in, so
I'll have to play at my best if I want to win. It's going to be