Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club
on Sat 17th & Sun 18th March.
Canary Wharf Qualifying Alan Thatcher reports from
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 ...
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Australian Aaron Frankcomb beat
David Barnett in 55 minutes, although the Englishman made his opponent
fight all the way.
kept ahead throughout the first game but surrendered a 7-3 lead in the
However, Barnett could not maintain the pressure and Frankcomb eased
through the third and fourth games.
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Scott Handley (Eng)
11/6, 4/11, 6/11, 11/9, 12/10 (41m)
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.
(Bra) bt Ben Ford (Eng)
8/11, 6/11, 11/6, 11/2, 13/11 (75m)
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
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
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.
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
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.