• Canary Wharf Squash Classic • 24th to 28th March 2014 • London •  

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

Wed 26th Mar, Day THREE:

Day Three at the spectacular East Wintergarden venue, another four matches in store for another sellout crowd.


[8] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) 3-1 [Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
                                      11/9, 7/11, 11/6, 12/10 (68m)
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [7] Omar Mosaad (Egy)   
                                      11/5, 11/9, 11/8  (46m)
[2] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [5] Daryl Selby (Eng)
                                     11/3, 11/4, 11/6 (30m)
[3] Peter Barker (Eng) 3-1 [6] Simon Rosner (Ger) 
                                     8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 13/11 (78m)

Rodriguez joins three Englishmen in the Semis
Joel Durston reports from CW

Miguel Angel Rodriguez overcame stiff resistance from friend and training partner Max Lee to win 3-1. The Colombian, nicknamed the ‘Superman of squash' for his outrageous full-length dives, found himself at one game all, then later 7-1 down in the fourth game, but recovered to take it in four games against the Hong Kong player who sprang the upset of the tournament in beating Karim Darwish 3-0 in the first round.

“I want to congratulate Max for one of the greatest victories of his career,” Rodriguez said of Lee’s victory. It was very tough for today mentally and physically”.

Not least because, as Rodriguez admitted, Lee knows all of his shots since they train together, with David Palmer, who certainly puts the two through their paces.

The Hong Kong player outlined the threat he posed to Rodriguez right from the off, as he took a 5-3 lead on the back of some squeezes, drops and boasts that even lightning-fast Rodriguez could not reach. But the Colombian fought back - his superb court coverage putting pressure on Lee, who made three unforced errors as Rodriguez brought the game back to 7-6, and then went on to take the first game 11-9.

Lee was not to be content with his scalp against Darwish, however, as in the second he upped gears and took the game 11-7 against his opponent who stands 19 places higher than him. But Rodriguez didn't get to World No. 14 just for running around a lot, as he showed in the third game, which he took 11-6.
Lee looked odds-on to take the game to five as he went 7-1 up but errors let Rodriguez back to 7-7.

From there, Rodriguez just got the better of the some of the best rallies of the game - and found a tactic of smashing the ball straight at Lee down the middle which worked well - to take the game 12-10.

Nick Matthew overcame a late fightback from Omar Mosaad to win his quarter-final 3-0 - something he is glad about at his "age".

Matthew, 34, took the first game without too much trouble, 11-5, and played impressively to win the second 11-9 and build up an 8-2 lead in the third.

At this point, Mosaad, nicknamed the "Hammer of Thor" for his powerful hitting, "freed up his arm" as Matthew said and fought back to 8-8, before Matthew sealed the game and the match 11-8.

Matthew talke "He picked one of my serve [at 8-2 in the 3rd] and it wasn't that bad a serve. He went for it and started flying it in, and when you play like that the margins are tight, and he tinned a couple at 8-8, and that's what happens when you go for it."

"So I'm pleased to get through, but a little bit annoyed with myself because when you get to my age you should be better from 8-2 - you shouldn't allow that to happen. You've got to be hard on yourself and that's something I need to improve for tomorrow."

Tomorrow he will face Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who Matthew also met here last year in a brilliantly entertaining tie full of acrobatics from the Colombian.

James Willstrop made light work of Daryl Selby, who was clearly far from 100%, beating the current World No. 10 11-3, 11-4, 11-6.

Selby has only beaten Willstrop once, 3-2 in the Qatar Classic last year, and in truth Selby never looked like he was going to add to that tally here, as his epic five-game match yesterday with Jonathan Kemp, who rolled back the years from semi-retirement, took a heavy toll.

Asked whether yesterday's game affected Selby, Willstrop said: "I would have thought so. Obviously movement is slower and I know and I'm sure he knows and the crowd knows that that's not Daryl at his best.

"It was tough last night. Jonathan played really well, made him move very fast. But I suppose that's what squash tournaments are about; you have to keep backing up.

"But credit to him, he put a big effort in in the third and that just shows what he's like, and why he wins crucial matches. He's World Team champion and he's a very, very tough competitor."

So, as ever, very humble in victory. But Willstrop could be forgiven for thinking, privately, that he would have taken even a fully fit Selby in three games, given the form he is in, having also beaten young, improving Adrian Waller 3-0 in the first round.

His line-and-length game was near flawless here, at many times the game seeming like Willstrop was a puppeteer controlling Selby with a string and waiting for the opportune to moment to spring one of trademark drop shots, used to full effect tonight.

Selby mounted some resistance in the third game, with a couple of impressive smash nicks and, at 5-2 to Willstrop, one backhand cross-court flick from the back of the court which landed in the nick and had even Willstop looking to him in astonishment.

But, from 7-5, Willstrop pulled away to win the game 11-6, sealing the win with a ball which basically stuck to the wall and Selby could not retrieve. Quite a fitting snapshot of the match really.

Peter Barker triumphed in what, at times, seemed like two personal duels - one against Simon Rosner and the other against the officials.

Barker, on what is basically home turf for the Shenfield player, fought back from a game down to beat the German 'Tree Chopper' 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 13-11 - but not before many calls and tense verbal exchanges with the ref, involving both players in fact.

But the crowd were certainly entertained by all the drama - with far more fans and noise than at the other 9pm games this week.

It was obvious how much of a battle Barker had been in by his celebration after the 29-minute long fourth game, which contained at least half a dozen video reviews - an emotional fist-pump from the World No.9 against the front wall.

Barker claimed he did not get the rub of the green the whole game until the final few points, when he got given a couple of "50/50" calls given in his favour.

"The refs don't get paid enough and I certainly gave them a run for their money," Barker said.

And on the other obstacle, the not-inconsiderable World No.11 Rosner, he said: "I lost to Simon last time and probably didn't pay him the respect he deserves. I sort of did today...believe it or not.

"It was a really, really tough match. I don't think I played as well as I did yesterday, but I think hopefully I showed a few different qualities.

"So, really pleased to get through. It wasn't vintage today, but I'm in the semis, so I'll hopefully play a little better tomorrow."

It looks like he will need to, as he faces James Willstrop, who is in fine form, having won both games 3-0.

11 Points with ...











Saurav Ghosal

Full Draws

PSA Head 2 Heads

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