• Canary Wharf Squash Classic • 7th to 11th March 2016 • London •  

Today ] SEMIS ] QUARTERS ] Day TWO ] Day ONE ] [ Qualifying ]

Sun 22nd Mar, Qualifying FINALS

Qualifying Finals:

Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-1 Nasir Iqbal (Pak)         plays Barker
                                 11/8, 3/11, 11/8, 11/7 (40m)
Lucas Serme
(Fra) 3-2 Leo Au (Hkg)                             plays Rosner
                                 5/11, 7/11, 11/1, 12/10, 11/3 (78m)
Joe Lee
(Eng) 3-0 Greg Lobban (Sco)                            plays Selby
                                 11/5, 11/1, 11/5 (30m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 3-2 Shaun Le Roux (Rsa)      plays Willstrop
                               7/11, 11/4, 3/11, 11/5, 11/7 (82m)

Egyptians claim two Canary Wharf spots
Alan Thatcher reports

Mohamed Abouelghar of Egypt became the first player to advance from qualifying into the main draw of the Canary Wharf Classic, beating Nasir Iqbal of Pakistan by three games to one at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club with a quality display of attacking squash.

However, he can’t afford to switch off for long periods on the glass court at the East Wintergarden as he did here today and yesterday against Rex Hedrick.

He seemed to offer only token resistance as Iqbal won the second game, but recovered his attacking rhythm to win the third and fourth, completing victory in 40 minutes.

Abouelghar loves attacking the front right corner of the court, frequently hunting the loose straight backhand or forehand crosscourt to slot backhand volley kills into that forehand nick. We will love seeing him try that on the new glass court.

Lucas Serme thanked Egyptian Yathreb Adel for helping him to complete a solid fightback from two games down to beat Leo Au of Hong Kong. The world No.47, who has recently moved his squash base from Bristol to Prague to train alongside fellow Frenchman Gregory Gaultier,

Serme said: That result was more about him than me, I think. He played so well to control the first two games, hitting some quality straight balls and some excellent lobs.

“But then, after the third game Yathreb Adel, who trained with me at Bristol, came to the court and told me to be a bit more aggressive and start to play more in the Egyptian way. And luckily it worked.

“I stepped up the pace and won the third 11-1 and I could sense Leo was looking tired, or maybe struggling with an injury.

“I was 6-1 up in the fourth, but I switched off a little bit and let him back in the match. He started hitting some random winners and suddenly he was on match ball at 10-9.

“I played more aggressively again and won the game, and then stayed in front throughout the fifth, so I’m now looking forward to playing on the glass court at Canary Wharf.”

At the end of the second game, Serme earned a deserved round of applause when he insisted on playing a let when he hit a sublime backhand volley at full stretch. The referees saw it good, Au thought it was down, as did some of the crowd, so Serme told the officials he was happy to play a let.

The match, lasting 78 minutes, was a credit to both players, full of high-quality, technical squash, with enough splashes of genius to entertain a packed crowd behind the glass-backed court at Wimbledon.

Joe Lee enjoyed his second straight-games victory in qualifying to ensure he arrives at the East Wintergarden fresh and hungry. After disposing of Australian Steve Finitsis yesterday, he raced to victory against Scottish opponent Greg Lobban, who was clearly far from 100 per cent physically. Lee took just 30 minutes to complete a straightforward victory, winning 11-5, 11-1, 11-5.

Lobban’s mobility was clearly impaired by injury and he revealed: “I’ll need to get home and get that sorted out. My head was all over the place.”

Lee’s ability to finish rallies will prepare him for the next phase of his career as he seeks to climb the rankings. He said: “I was pleased with that yesterday. I was hitting it tightly again today but I know Greg likes to hit crosscourt in those areas and I was pleased with my volleys off those shots.”

The final match of the day was a physical affair between Egyptian Omar Meguid and South Africa’s Shaun Le Roux.

With two big guys striking the ball at a ferocious pace, there were frequent stoppages around the mid-court area, which led to even more frequent discussions with the referee.

Meguid received a conduct stroke at the end of the third game for dissent, and both players received a warning from the referee at the start of the fifth.

After a fiery closing game, world No.33 Meguid clinched victory 11-7 when his opponent received a conduct stroke.

Bizarrely, as he left the court Le Roux uttered a swear word and the referee announced he was awarding a conduct game … even though the match was over.

Meguid’s prize is a place in the first round against four-times champion James Willstrop on Tuesday.

Joe Lee meets Daryl Selby in the opening match of the tournament tomorrow, while Abouelghar was drawn against Peter Barker, with Lucas Serme meeting Simon Rosner of Germany.

Sat 21st Mar, Qualifying Day ONE

Sixteen players head for Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness, all looking to grab one of four available places in the main draw and a match - or more - on the new glass court at Canary Wharf.

Qualifying Round One:

Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-1 Rex Hedrick (Aus)
                               11/3, 11/8, 6/11, 12/10 (46m)
Nasir Iqbal (Pak) 3-1 Ben Coleman (Eng)
                               12/10, 7/11, 11/4, 12/10 (85m)

Lucas Serme (Fra) 3-0 Lyell Fuller (Eng)
                                11/2, 11/7, 11/6 (28m)
Leo Au (Hkg) 3-0 Tom Ford (Eng)

14/12, 11/7, 11/3 (48m)

Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Steven Finitsis (Aus)
                                11/9, 11/4, 11/9 (44m)
Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-1 Robert Downer (Eng)
                                11/6, 8/11, 11/4, 11/6 (51m)

Shaun Le Roux (Rsa) 3-0 Charles Sharpes (Eng)
                                 11/6, 11/7, 11/7 (45m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 3-1 Richie Fallows (Eng)
                                13/15, 11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (54m)

Lee the sole English survivor
Alan Thatcher reports

Qualifying top seed Mohamed Abouelghar, ranked 33 in the world, turned in a classy performance in the opening match at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club to overcome spirited resistance from Australian Rex Hedrick.

Abouelghar began strongly and threatened to power through in straight games as he unleashed a succession of winners. However, at 6-4 up in the third, he found his stranglehold on the match was wrenched away from him as Hedrick stepped up the court and began to dominate with an aggressive spell of attacking squash. The Australian, ranked 52 in the world, reeled off seven points in a row to win the game and carried that form into the opening phase of the fourth game.

Hedrick advanced to a 7-2 lead and his boisterous crew of supporters must have felt that the match was heading into a fifth game, but Abouelghar had other ideas. He reeled off four points in a row, then staged another fightback from 9-6 down to hold match ball at 10-9. Hedrick levelled, but the talented Egyptian closed out the match in 46 minutes.

Tomorrow he meets Pakistan’s Nasir Igbal, who overcame England’s Ben Coleman in a marathon match lasting 85 minutes.

Tom Ford, from Gloucestershire, came in as a replacement for Jaymie Haycocks, who injured his back in training yesterday. However, he found Leo Au of Hong Kong too strong.

Ford missed an opportunity in the opening game when he surrendered a 9-5 lead. Au won five points in a row before Ford won two more points to hold game ball at 11-10. But again Au came back to win the tiebreak 14-12.

Both players were producing controlled squash but Au’s finishing skills proved to be the decisive factor as he won the second and third games by a much wider margin.

Au meets Lucas Serme in the qualifying finals after the more experienced Frenchman overcame the 19-year-old Lyell Fuller in straight games, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6.

Fuller and Coleman may have missed out on the chance to win a place on the glass court in the main draw, but they are scheduled to make a special appearance on Friday in a special shoot-out to decide next year’s wild card.

There are no Australians left in the competition after Steve Finitsis fell to England’s Joe Lee. In a high-quality match, full of intelligent rallies, Lee’s finishing was the deciding factor as he triumphed 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 in 44 minutes.

His opponent in the qualifying finals is Scotland’s Greg Lobban, who showed the greater control as he beat fellow 22-year-old Robbie Downer 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 in 51 minutes.

A third member of Wimbledon's Surrey Cup championship-winning team was eliminated today as Charles Sharpes fell to South Africa's Shaun Le Roux. In an argumentative match, in which Sharpes received a conduct warning, Le Roux powered through 11-6, 11-7, 11-7.

Number two seed Omar Abdel Meguid and Richie Fallows slugged it out toe to toe, with some phenomenal winners and occasional bouts of physical contact in mid-court.
After losing a tough opening game, in which he squandered four game balls, the Egyptian finished strongly in each game thereafter to book his place in the qualifying finals against Le Roux.

COUNTDOWN: 11 points with Mazen Hesham, and more

Bryan Lintott

"Un petit mot depuis le Canary Wharf, je le fais pas souvent mais pour une fois que j'y pense.

"Je viens de me qualifier pour le tableau principal en battant Leo Au... chaud, chaud, chaud!

"Il m'a vraiment malmené dans les deux premiers jeux et je n'ai pas réussi à installer la tactique prévue.
Anna, ma copine, avait carrément et de sa propre initiative regardé des matchs de Leo pour me conseiller avant mon match. Et à partir du troisième jeu j'ai réussi à mettre en place ce qu'elle m'avait dit et être plus agressif sur l'ensemble de mes frappes et ainsi repasser devant, et contrôler le T.

"Il a commencé à vraiment fatiguer à partir de ce moment là et a même commencé à avoir des crampes dans le 4eme jeu.
Super content de m'être qualifié, je joue Rosner mardi, revanche du Qatar!
À plus!


Photos by Eric Downer

Photos by Eric Downer

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