Top seed tumbles as plethora of nationalities progress
The 2017 PSA World Champs kicked off at the National Squash Centre in Manchester with 32 men’s first round qualifying matches, players from 35 nations aiming to grab one of 16 places in the main draw.
Top qualifying seed Ben Coleman was reprieved when Nafiizwan Adnan withdrew, giving the Englishman a couple of days off and a match against a qualifier on Sunday.
Egypt’s Mazen Gamal, who took on the top seed mantle, wasn’t so luck as he lost out in straight games to in-form Frenchman Baptiste Masotti in one of the final matches of the day.
The only other casualty in the top 16 seeds was Canada’s Shawn Delierre, who lost to young Englishman Lyell Fuller.
Earlier there was a plethora of wins from different nationalities – eight in the first nine results! Only one of the WSF invitees survived – although Portugal’s Rui Suares had actually earned his position by right anyway.
Fuller was one of five Englishmen to progress, with three winers each from Canada, Spain, India and Egypt.
Shortest match was the all-Caribbean clash which saw Bermuda’s Micah Frankin retiring injured againsrt Jamaican Chris Binnie after 13 minutes – although Australia’s Rex Hedrick completed his three-game win in just 16.
Longest was Iker Pajares‘ 95-minute five game win over Kyle Finch, and the long-distance award went to Argentina’s Robertino Pezzota and Leandro Romiglio who were drawn against each other, Pezzota winning in four games, dives tumbles and all.
Players from all over the world – 34 nations represented with the WSF Invitees hailing from some of the less well-known squash nations – will be striving to qualify at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
There’s a number of fierce looking matchups, and a couple of unfortunate ‘local derbies’ as Argentina’s Leandro Romiglio and Robertino Pezzota meet, and an all-Caribbean matchup between Chris Binnie and Micah Franklin.
Play starts at noon today, on four courts, with the finals following the same schedule on Saturday, on two courts.
We’ll be keeping things up to date on our NOW in Manchester twitter feed (you don’t need to be on twitter) with results going into the draws, photos going into the Gallery and a roundup here on Today when it’s all over.
Women’s qualifying starts on Saturday, concluding on Sunday.
There’s a strong Egyptian presence, with Hania El Hammamy, Nadine Shahin and Mayar Hany all seeded to progress but it will be no surprise if there’s more. Pick of the first round matches look to be the all-Canadian matchup between Hollie Naughton and Danielle Letourneau, the Samantha Teran v Yathreb Adel experience v youth clash, and Coline Aumard v Lisa Aitken could be a cracker.
Former champion (2007) Rachael Grinham is 9th qualifying seed and starts her 22nd (!) Worlds campaign against Haley Mendez.