Tue 24th Mar, Round ONE (bottom)
 Max Lee (Hkg)
3-2 Mazen Hesham (Egy)
9/11, 11/3, 11/9, 8/11, 11/9 (76m)
 Peter Barker (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)
11/7, 11/5, 11/8 (49m)
 Simon Rosner (Ger) 3-0 [Q] Lucas Serme (Fra)
11/5, 11/9, 11/6 (52m)
 James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
11/0, 11/9, 11/7 (39m)
All eight seeds through to the quarters
The second day's play in
London's Docklands saw the remaining seeds claim their places in
the last eight, setting up four tremendous quarter-finals on
Lee through in five
Lee Horton reports
fans in these parts of London are well accustomed to the Hammers
so the ranks of West Ham fans in last night’s Canary Wharf crowd
were fully appreciative of the thundering hammer-forehand
Egyptian Mazen Hesham brought to the show against Hong
Kong’s Max Lee.
It is a fearsome weapon and the 20-year-old from Cairo unleashed
its full ferocity as he went toe-to-toe with the tournament’s
seventh seed over five punishing games that finally halted the
clock after 76 minutes.
Hesham, ranked 27 in the world and climbing fast, is a raw
talent with a mighty punch. Sadly for him, Lee, who at a
distance looks half his size and half his age, can handle the
big-hitters and has plenty of beguiling skills to back it up.
won a fascinating match up 3-2 to make the quarters for the
second year running. His ability to absorb Hesham’s pace while
limiting the error count was crucial and telling. The Egyptian
crashed down 31 straight winning shots but matched that with 26
errors. In contrast, Lee errored just 10 times. Match-winning
stats at this level.
Afterwards, Lee suggested he had been lucky in game five. A
little gracious, maybe, but certainly not how the crowd saw it.
They may be Hammer fans, but they can spot a battling winner a
As for Hesham, he will no doubt be reflecting on the tins he hit
at 9-9 and then on match ball down.
In his pre-match interview he had admitted to playing crazy,
reckless, erratic squash. Most of it is wonderful to watch but,
in the end, it all came down to those two crushing mistakes when
a calmer, less outrageous approach was called for.
Teacher 3, Student 0.
A somewhat saucy summation of Peter Barker’s predicted win over
Egyptian qualifier Mohamed Abouelghar but, in truth, pretty
Barker hails from a nearby postcode and after a dozen or so
years on the PSA circuit, more than knows his way around the
block. Some call it nous, some refer to experience …whatever it is, Barker has it in
The stats are irrelevant, but for the anoraks among us, Barker
won 3-0, hit 22 winners , few errors and romped home by a
country mile. Abouelghar is among the new breed of Egyptians who
will shine bright in future.
The present, however, still has the
hallmark of Barker, Matthew, Shabana, Selby and Willstrop firmly
engraved on the silverware.
For the Essex man, the only way is effort, and the hard yards on
the training court are, for now, enough to keep the young bucks
at bay. Like all good students, Abouelghar asked questions.
Sadly for him. Barker had the answers.
Barker said: “I read the report from the qualifying
competition and could see how dangerous he is. So I apologise for making the match so boring. I just wanted to
play the ball as straight and tight as I could to avoid giving
him too many openings, because I know how he can put the ball
asked about the wave of young Egyptians marching up the
rankings, Barker added:
“There are so many of them. Each year
the English guys have a meeting and we always ask which player
we’ve got to watch out for next. But there are so many of them
it’s becoming harder and harder.
Some of them have overtaken us already, but it’s great to have that kind of rivalry in the sport,
especially in big tournaments like this.
Rosner snuffs out Serme
Simon Rosner snuffed out the challenge of Frenchman
Lucas Serme then spoke of his desire to build on his world
ranking of nine.
“I spent a long time trying to break into the top 10 players
in the world, and now that I am here, I want to rise event
further,” said Rosner following his well grafted 11-7, 11-5,
11-8 win over the French number two.
Rosner has added a steeliness to the cerebral, and it’s a potent
cocktail. While Serme pushed and probed looking for frailties in
the German’s game, the chinks were few and the rewards even
The closest he got to Rosner was a painful blow to the head when
the players had a coming together in the third game.
It will give him a headache in the morning, but not as big as
the one he’ll get trying to fathom how to beat his Eurozone foe
in the near future.
Willstrop back in Wharf gear
James Willstrop went through the menu on his return to
Canary Wharf last night, a year after left the iconic venue
fearing he may never play again.
former world number one and four-times winner of the London
event feasted on the adoration of the capital crowd, devoured
his opponent Omar Abdel Meguid and even savoured the
delights of a first-game bagel as he powered to an 11-0, 11-9,
The Yorkshireman’s career was on the line 12 months ago
following his final defeat at the hands of great rival Nick
“On the Saturday morning, after the final at Canary Wharf,
the difficulties were slightly more pronounced than usual, but I
still wasn’t thinking the problem would be significant enough to
change the whole outlook of the next year of my life,” said
“In June I took the call from a doctor who delivered the news
that my career could well be over. The layer of cartilage in the
hip had worn thin and was arthritic.
At 31? I wondered if I should visit the local Job Centre.”
Fortunately, surgery, rehab and a lengthy lay-off put Willstrop
back in the game and his performance last night surgery
suggested he will be climbing the world ranking charts sooner
rather than later.
“It feels very, very good to be back on court, “ added
Willstrop. “I’m enjoying every playing again but I wouldn’t have
put a bet on winning a game 11-0. It was a little scrappy out
there, two lumbering guys, but overall I have to be pleased with
“I am playing the big German Simon Rosner tomorrow night. That
will be another challenge but I am looking forward to it
immensely. I love the venue and the new court is terrific.”