Sun 22nd Mar, Qualifying FINALS
(Egy) 3-1 Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
11/8, 3/11, 11/8, 11/7 (40m)
(Fra) 3-2 Leo Au (Hkg)
5/11, 7/11, 11/1, 12/10, 11/3 (78m)
Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Greg Lobban (Sco)
11/5, 11/1, 11/5 (30m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
3-2 Shaun Le Roux (Rsa)
7/11, 11/4, 3/11, 11/5, 11/7 (82m)
Egyptians claim two Canary Wharf spots
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
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
We will love seeing him try that on the new glass court.
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
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.”
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
Qualifying Round One:
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-1 Rex Hedrick
11/3, 11/8, 6/11, 12/10 (46m)
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)
14/12, 11/7, 11/3
Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Steven Finitsis
11/9, 11/4, 11/9 (44m)
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
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.
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
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.
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
COUNTDOWN: 11 points with Mazen Hesham, and more
"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
Photos by Eric Downer
Photos by Eric Downer