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.
Mohamed Reda (Egy) 3-0 Robbie Temple (Eng)
11/2, 11/6, 11/5 (34m)
 Charles Sharpes (Eng) 3-1  Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/7, 6/11, 11/3, 11/8 (60m)
 Declan James (Eng) 3-0 Joshua Masters (Eng)
11/8, 11/6, 11/8 (39m)
 Joe Lee (Eng) 3-2 Richie Fallows (Eng)
11/1, 11/4, 9/11, 7/11, 11/9 (68m)
Selby v Declan James, Mathieu Castagnet v Joe Lee,
Pilley v Mohamed Reda, Simon Rosner v Charles Sharpes
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Alan Thatcher & Fram report, photos by Patrick Lauson
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
"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
"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
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
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.
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
Sharpes gets a first over Olli
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.
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.
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."
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
"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
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
Masters continued to miss most of the openings
when they arose, with four more errors in the third.
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
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.
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
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.