Day THREE : the busiest day

Willstrop & Rosner out on opening day as Matthew survives

The third day of play at the World Champs in Manchester was the busiest, with 32 men’s first round matches plus 8 women’s qualifying finals, on five courts at the National Squash Centre.

Top seed Gregory Gaultier kicked proceedings off on the glass court and was comfortable enough in his victory over Todd Harrity in straight games.

Three men’s seeds fell as James Willstrop and Simon Rosner, seeded #9 and #10 and both feeling under the weather, lost out to Saurav Ghosal and Abdulla al Tamimi. Willstrop retired after one game while Rosner completed the match but faded in the fifth as the Qatari reached the second round for the first time.

“It’s really sad that James, who is such a great player and has achieved so much, has fallen sick in his home World Championship and he’s not well,” said Ghosal.

Cameron Pilley came from a game down to beat fellow Australian and 14th Seed Ryan Cuskelly, and the other upset of the round saw qualifier Youseff Soliman beat fellow Egyptian Mohamed Reda in four games.

He was one of eleven Egyptians to progress (four lost, but all to fellow Egyptians!) with ElShorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan also both winning all-Egyptian matches.

There was no joy for first timers from Jamaica and Portugal Chris Binnie and Rui Soares, and the Spanish trio and French duo who burst through qualifying all fell.

Nick Matthew, aiming for a fourth title but a first on home soil, had to fight back from one-two down to beat qualifier George Parker.

“Started well but let George in in the 2nd & he took full advantage,” said Matthew on twitter.

“Have been challenging the young English guys to step up to the plate so can’t complain if they do it against me. Mentally wasn’t at my best today & Relieved to still be in the @wcsquash draw.”

Daryl SelbyChris Simpson, Declan James, Ben Colman, Scots Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban, and Wales’ Joel Makin boosted home interest into round two.

Last on the glass was defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, who was in no mood for a repeat of last year’s first round scare – he was two games and points down to Nathan Lake – as he dismissed Nicolas Mueller in straight games.

“Last year I won the tournament and I wasn’t really expecting to win,” said Gawad. “I just wanted a good result and I won the tournament. This year, I came here with a lot of pressure trying to defend my title. I’m just trying to forget about the pressure a little bit and focus match by match and take baby steps and hopefully I can reach the final and defend my title.”

Egyptians to the fore as Grinham reaches 22nd main draw

No surprise that the women’s qualifying finals were dominated by Egyptians – four of the eight winners – but two of those produced big all-Egyptian upsets to progress.

In the opening match Yathreb Adel saved two match balls as she beat top seed Hania El Hammamy in a 77-minute five game marathon, and in the last match world junior champion Rowan Elaraby came from one-two down to beat third seed Mayar Hany.

The other Egyptian winners were Nadine Shahin, who survived a five-game encounter with Milou van der Heijden, and Zeina Mickawy, fresh from her run to the final in Monace.

In the other matches Belgium’s Nele Gilis dented the Egyptian progress as she beat Nada Abbas in four; Hollie Naughton came through a five-game all-Canadian matchup with Danielle Letourneau; Satomi Watanabe repeated her recent Japanese Nationals win over Misaki Kobayashi; and 2007 champion Rachael Grinham beat Lisa Aitken in straight games to reach her 22nd World Champs main draw.


Tomorrow it’s 16 men’s second round, and 16 women’s first round matches – should be a doddle !!



Day THREE Photo Gallery

Today’s Featured Contender : World #1 and 2015 Champion Gregory Gaultier