Qualifying at Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club on Sat 17th & Sun 18th March.
Canary Wharf Qualifying
Alan Thatcher reports from Wimbledon,
photos from Jos Aarts, Patrick Lauson and Tamas Jovanovics

The year's first major event in the UK concluded today at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness club as five players (including 'Lucky Loser' Chris Simpson) booked their places in the main draw which gets under way at Canary Wharf on Monday evening ...

TODAY at Canary Wharf

Sunday 18th March, Finals:

Davide Bianchetti (Ita) bt Tarek Momen (Egy)           11/9, 11/6, 4/11, 11/9 (65m)
     plays White
Stacey Ross (Eng) bt Chris Simpson (Eng)                 11/6, 12/10, 11/2 (42m)
    plays Gough
Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Mohammed El Shorbagy (Egy)    11/7, 11/8, 15/13 (51m)
    plays Willstrop
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus) bt Rafael Alarcon (Bra)        8/11, 4/11, 12/10, 11/4, 11/6 (75m)
    plays Lincou

** STOP PRESS: Third seed Anthony Ricketts withdrew today - revised draw

                           Chris Simpson takes the 'Lucky Loser' spot (he plays Wael El Hindi)

Sun 18th March, Qualifying Finals:

Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
      11/7, 11/8, 15/13 (51m)

Selby bags main draw place

England's Daryl Selby overcame the incredibly talented 16-year-old Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy to claim a place in the main draw, but he was made to fight all the way in a superb match that featured a prolonged  third game.

The 24-year-old Selby, the world No.38 from Essex, had to withstand a barrage of attacking shots from Shorbagy, who enjoyed the support of the packed gallery at the Wimbledon club which has become his UK base under coach Phil Rushworth.

Selby kept it tight enough to win the opening two games but Shorbagy dominated the opening phase of the third game, advancing from 3-1 to to 5-3 and then held game ball at 10-7 but he hit the tin with a forehand volley and gave away a penalty stroke in the front left corner as Selby hit back to draw level.

Shorbagy missed further game balls at 11-10 and 13-12 before the more experienced Selby clinched victory in 51 minutes of hugely entertaining squash.

Australia's Aaron Frankcomb fought back from two games down to beat Brazil's Rafel Alarcon in 74 minutes.

Alarcon was punished with a penalty stroke for dissent at the close of the fourth game as in a physical contest that underlined both players' hunger to reach the main draw after travelling thousands of miles from home to compete.

Stacey Ross (Eng) bt Chris Simpson (Eng)
    11/6, 12/10, 11/2 (42m)

Ross races into main draw

Stacey Ross defied a cut hand to remove Channel Islander Chris Simpson in straight games.

Ross scraped his knuckles down the wall playing a sublime backhand volley winner to move to game ball at 11-10 in the second game. After a short break to have his finger bandaged, he returned to court to wrap up the game. With his hand strapped, he raced through the third 11-2 to book a place in the first round of the main draw.

Simpson was understandably frustrated by his collapse in the third game as the experienced Ross surged to victory.

Davide Bianchetti (Ita) bt Tarek Momen (Egy)
    11/9, 11/6, 4/11, 11/9 (65m)

Bianchetti first to qualify

Italian Davide Bianchetti reached the main draw of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic by beating young Egyptian Tarek Momen in the first of the qualifying finals at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club.

Bianchetti took the opening game courtesy of two errors from his opponent. At 9-9, Momen sliced a crosscourt drop into the tin to give Bianchetti game ball and then he found the tin again with a backhand drive from the back of the court.

Bianchetti controlled most of the second game to take it 11-6, but the 19-year-old Momen suddenly raised his game in the third. He cut out the errors, put Bianchetti under pressure with tight drop shots and punished any loose crosscourts with superb volley kills to take the game 11-4.

However, the experienced Italian, aged 30 and ranked 29 in the world, squeezed home in a tightly contested, physical fourth game in which he received a conduct warning for arguing from Dutch referee Jos Aarts.
Sat 17th March, Round One:

Davide Bianchetti (Ita) bt Alex Stait (Eng)
    12/10, 11/8, 11/4 (40m)

Davide Bianchetti gained the first victory in the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic qualifying competition today at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club. Italian Bianchetti, currently ranked 29 in the world, beat England's Alex Stait in 40 minutes.

Stait led 6-2 in the first game but seemed to tire as Bianchetti began clawing back the points. The Italian led 9-7 before Stait nosed ahead again at 10-9, but he wasted game ball.

Bianchetti scraped in 12-10 and the score seesawed again in the second game. Stait led 3-0, Bianchetti hit back to lead 5-4, and it seemed anybody's at 8-8, but again Bianchetti finished stronger.

The third game was mainly one-way traffic as Bianchetti made sure of his place in tomorrow's qualifying finals.

Aaron Frankcomb (Aus) bt
David Barnett (Eng)
   11/5, 9/11, 11/5, 11/5 (55m)

Australian Aaron Frankcomb beat David Barnett in 55 minutes, although the Englishman made his opponent fight all the way.

Frankcomb kept ahead throughout the first game but surrendered a 7-3 lead in the second.

However, Barnett could not maintain the pressure and Frankcomb eased through the third and fourth games.

Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)  bt
Scott Handley (Eng)
    11/6, 4/11, 6/11, 11/9, 12/10 (41m)

Mohamed El Shorbagy, the double British Junior Open champion, became the second of two young Egyptians through to the qualifying finals after beating beat Scott Handley in 41 minutes of electrifying squash that thrilled the packed Wimbledon gallery.

The battle went to the wire in the fifth game, but Handley tinned his backhand drop shot when he had a great chance at 10-10.

Rafael Alarcon (Bra) bt Ben Ford (Eng)
    8/11, 6/11, 11/6, 11/2, 13/11 (75m)

Ben Ford came desperately close to springing a major surprise, but lost a marathon match 13-11 in the fifth to Brazilian Rafael Alarcon.

Ford, 31, strikes the ball as well as anyone in the game but his fitness has occasionally been suspect in recent years. However, he seems to be competing with a confidence and a freedom these days. Aah, the wisdom of experience!

Alarcon was angry at a controversial call when he was 9-8 down in the first game and he clearly lost his concentration as Ford quickly wrapped up the game. The Kent county coach was always ahead in the second, striking fierce kills, reverse angles and tight drops as he powered through 11-6.

He was level at 3-3 in the third, but once Alarcon edged ahead 5-3 you sensed that Ford was reaching his physical limits. He snatched three more points as Alarcon took the third game but then took a prolonged rest as he allowed the fourth to slip by 11-2.

With a change of shirt and a hoped-for second wind, Ford fought his way back into the match as the fifth game unfolded. He turned a 5-2 deficit into an 8-7 lead but was visibly wilting, leaning on his racket after any prolonged rally.

Alarcon battled back to hold match ball at 10-9, but Ford dug deeper to level the scores and then hold his own match ball at 11-10. After a series of lets, Ford slowballed everything instead of going for the kill and it was the Brazilian, ranked 30 in the world, who levelled and finally clinched the match as Ford struggled to cover the court.

Tarek Momen (Egy) bt
Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
    8/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/7

Egyptian Tarek Momen and Hungary's Mark Krajcsak played at a lightning speed throughout (remember those days, Ben?).

Krajcsak took the first game but the young Egyptian maintained his attacking barrage throughout the next three games to triumph in a tight match.

Round One
17th Mar
18th Mar
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
12/10, 11/8, 11/4 (40m)
Alex Stait (Eng)
Q  Davide Bianchetti  Q
11/9, 11/6, 4/11, 11/9 (65m)
Tarek Momen
Tarek Momen (Egy)
8/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/7
Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
Stacey Ross (Eng)
11/7, 11/8, 11/4 (36m)
Jonny Harford (Eng)
Q  Stacey Ross  Q
11/6, 12/10, 11/2 (42m)
Chris Simpson
Tom Richards (Eng)
11/9, 12/10, 11/5 (43m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 
Scott Handley (Eng)
11/6, 4/11, 6/11, 11/9, 12/10 (41m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11/7, 11/8, 15/13 (51m)
Q  Daryl Selby  Q
Joe Lee (Eng)
5/11, 11/5, 11/4, 11/7 (51m)
Daryl Selby (Eng)
David Barnett (Eng)
11/5, 9/11, 11/5, 11/5 (55m)
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
Q  Aaron Frankcomb  Q
8/11, 4/11, 12/10, 11/4, 11/6 (75m)
Rafael Alarcon
Ben Ford (Eng)
8/11, 6/11, 11/6, 11/2, 13/11 (75m)
Rafael Alarcon (Bra)

Tickets are 10 per session
for adults or 5 for juniors.

Tickets include a finger buffet. For more info or to book tickets email
Phil Rushworth or call 020 8947 5806

Directions etc on 
www.wimbledonclub.co.uk       Wimbledon's Club of the Month article.

2006 Qualifying Reports from Framboise at Wimbledon