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

 TODAY at the Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2016

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Sun 6th Mar, Day TWO, Qualifying Finals:
Lee leads English trio into main draw
Qualifying concluded at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club this afternoon, with four places on offer in the first round at the spectacular East Wintergarden venue.

It was another good day for the English contingent as Charles Sharpes, Declan James and Joe Lee made it through, along with Egypt's Mohamed Reda.

Qualifying Finals:

Mohamed Reda (Egy) 3-0 Robbie Temple (Eng)
                      11/2, 11/6, 11/5 (34m)

[6] Charles Sharpes (Eng) 3-1 [3] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
                     11/7, 6/11, 11/3, 11/8 (60m)

[2] Declan James (Eng) 3-0 Joshua Masters (Eng)
                     11/8, 11/6, 11/8 (39m)

[5] Joe Lee (Eng) 3-2 Richie Fallows (Eng)
                     11/1, 11/4, 9/11, 7/11, 11/9 (68m)

Main Draw:  

Daryl Selby v Declan James, Mathieu Castagnet v Joe Lee,
Cameron Pilley v Mohamed Reda, Simon Rosner v Charles Sharpes

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 Alan Thatcher & Fram report, photos by Patrick Lauson

"I felt I was playing well today, but I thought my attacking game was again not at my best, and the same yesterday. I think that’s something I need to improve for tomorrow…

"I returned to Egypt in July for family matters. I truly enjoyed the American experience, but I was coaching more and more, not playing enough tournaments, and my ranking dropped to around 80 something.

"Being back in Cairo has been great for my family, my wife is very happy to have the support of our families to raise our son Ali. And I have to thank Karim Darwish and Wadi Degla for welcoming me. They offered me a great training back into shape, I won three tournaments last year, and my ranking has gone up again.

"Being in the main draw means a lot to me, and I hope I can go a little further in the tournament. My fitness has improved a lot, I have to say I’m very grateful to my fitness coach Hussein Abdayen, who has done a lot of work with me.

"Very happy to be in the main draw…"

Reda first through

Mohamed Reda was the first player into the main draw with a comfortable win over Robbie Temple.

Reda looks fitter and faster these days, and enjoys playing at a high pace.

Temple, now concentrating on a coaching career, showed the effects of playing his third match inside 24 hours, having squeezed in an exhibition against Peter Marshall at Middleton Squash Club in West Sussex last night.

As he admitted yesterday, after fighting back from 2-0 down to beat Henrik Mustonen, reacquainting yourself with the pace of the professional game is a difficult proposition.

Temple still managed to produce a fascinating variety of shots, including a cheer for the day’s first reverse-angle, but Reda’s pace on the ball and speed around the court were the deciding factors.

Sharpes gets a first over Olli

Charles Sharpes gained his first career victory over Finland’s Olli Tuominen with a hard-fought triumph in front of his home crowd.

Tuominen is still playing fast, aggressive squash at the age of 36 but Sharpes dealt with his threat in professional style.

He knew he had to hit good width and length to move his opponent off the T area and stuck to his task with impressive focus. He is also showing more variety and confidence at the front of the court to finish off the openings.

Sharpes looked in solid form as he took the first but Tuominen responded with a pacey second game to level the sores.

Tuominen had been suffering from influenza in Chicago but, as always, battled through any discomfort with his usual determination.

However, he looked a little sluggish in the third as he struggled to back up his efforts of the second game. At times there were traffic issues around the middle of the court but there was nothing malicious, despite the 45 decisions made by referee Jos Aarts.

Seventeen of them came in the fourth game as Tuominen fought hard to stay in the match.

Admittedly, some of it was a little messy, and led to frequent debates between both players and the referee, but Sharpes held it together to book his place in the main draw.

"I know how good Olli is across the middle of the court. He is exceptionally dangerous in various areas of the court, and you have to work hard to get the ball past him. Like most players, he is not so dangerous playing shots moving to the back of the court as he is across the middle.

"I felt I kept my discipline pretty well and although there were a few decisions there was nothing bad going on out there. There are very few chats in this game and all you want from the referee is a clear and concise explanation of their decisions so that you can understand what’s going on.

"It’s great to reach the main draw again and I am looking forward to going back to the East Wintergarden."

"No, I’m fine, my flu is fine.. I wish I could blame it on that!

"I was trying to put pressure on him, maybe too much. But I made too many unforced errors, just too many. I was not good enough today.

"He played well. His length was very good, on the backhand in particular. He was very accurate and glued the ball to the wall.

"Maybe I miss a bit of match practice at this level. If I do, I can hopefully get my ranking back up again. But the most important, I’m still enjoying squash… Too bad I lost!

"Next stop is the British Open. Life goes on."

"I’m happy to qualify, it’s quite a relief really.. It was the first time I was playing him, I heard some pretty good things about him, I know he is pretty good with the racquet, and that he is training a bit with the boys in Bristol.

So I was a bit unsure in the first game, feeling him on court really. I felt more comfortable in the second, that’s for sure, I did my things, but also he gave me a lot of cheap points. I’ve learned to recognised when I start doing a few errors in a row, I’m working on trying to stop it after two errors, and not letting it go to 5 or something…

It’s a bit of a confidence doubt, first I had a bad two weeks at the end of the year, including losing the first round of the worlds and missing a chance to play Nick on the glass court, plus I’ve tried to change my game.

Also, I have been working with my coaches to get to the next level of my game really. I was pretty consistent with my squash, but matches were too long, I try and be more severe now, but it’s a long process, it’s a work in progress, and it won’t happen overnight.

I need to have the confidence to do the new things I’m trying to implement… It takes time with the new me…"

James through in three

Declan James is through to the first round after a solid win over Josh Masters.

Despite both players being 6ft 3in tall, they moved around each other well and there were few stoppages. The outcome of the match was decided by the error-count. Sadly, for Masters, he was the main culprit.

In a fairly even first game, Masters was guilty of some crucial mistakes at the business end of proceedings. James returned the favour at the start of the second, but, from 5-5, Masters made five errors in succession to allow James to ease to game ball.

Masters pulled one point back but another mistake gave James the game. This clearly affected the 20-year-old Masters’ confidence and James maintained the dominant role in the third game. Despite some well-worked rallies,

Masters continued to miss most of the openings when they arose, with four more errors in the third.

It was a lesson to be learned. James, just two years older but with a successful spell on the PSA Tour in the autumn yielding four tournament victories, is the one going through to seek a major scalp in the main draw.
Lee hold off Fallows fightback

Joe Lee withheld a phenomenal fightback from Richie Fallows to reach the main draw of the Canary Wharf Squash Classic.

Lee looked to be cruising as he dropped just five points in the opening two games and seemed on course for a straight-games victory before Fallows suddenly upped his game.

The 20-year-old from Stratford, east London, powered back into contention as he rediscovered the form that helped him to knock out the top qualifying seed, the experienced Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the previous day.

Fallows won the third and fourth games and it was desperately close all the way through the fifth before Lee finished strongly to win 11-1, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9 in 68 minutes.

His reward is a place in the first round against the flying Frenchman, Mathieu Castagnet, whose incredible retrieval against Daryl Selby in Chicago last week became an internet sensation.

"At the start, he played well, and I didn’t, and I guess I grew into it at the end…

"Maybe I thought that physically, I was more tired than I actually was. At the start of the match, I was thinking a bit too much of the match yesterday, and it’s only at 2/0 that I realised that I was not tired, that I was fine.

So I told myself, come on, push. And I guess I got a bit of confidence after that third…"


I think what changed from the 3rd on is that he stepped up, hit harder and loosen up a bit. After his hard match yesterday, no matter how good you warm up, the longer you play, the better you feel. And also, I went with him, I was drown in his pace.

The first two games were of high standard, and maybe a better player would have been able to stop him in the third. Maybe that’s something I have to look at, find what I have to do differently next time. Also, the first two games were so good – without being too pretentious – with no competition really, so it’s difficult to find yourself back in the competition mode I guess…

I took an ok start in the 3rd, but he got stuck in. I was a bit disappointed in the third and fourth, but I have to give him a lot of credit for it, he played some very high level of squash in the last three games. It comes down to just do enough, and at 9/9, it’s anybody’s game.

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