The quarter-final lineups were concluded today at the Airco Arena, with Raphael Kandra bringing down the curtain on Nick Matthew’s British Open career, and World Champion Raneem El Welily surviving by the skin of her teeth …
Rodriguez completes the Quarters
The final second round match saw Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez beat Omar Mosaad in four games to complete the quarter-final lineups. The first two games were close all the way, then Rodriguez saved a game ball on the way to retaking the lead on extra points.
That seemed to deflate the Egyptian, and the fourtg game was over in a flash.
“It was a strange match,” said Miguel. “I wasn’t expecting that, there weren’t a lot of long rallies, so I was just focusing on making the rallies longer and I think it worked for me. The key of the match was definitely the tie-break that I won, and I think it worked that I was strong and physical.”
Raneem survives …
World Champion Raneem El Welily performed a houdini-esque escape to keep her bid for a first British Open title on track. Victoria Lust played out of her skin for the first two games – yes there was the odd Egyptian error, but nothing excessive.
Welily struck back to take the third, and led 6-3 in the fourth before Lust surged again to take a 10-7 lead. Two quick tins, two lets, and a let to Welily overturned into a stroke saw those match balls disappear. Another Lust tin and a Welily winner took the match into a decider, which Welily controlled from the start.
“She played really well at the start,” said Raneem. “I wasn’t playing my best and was on my way back home but I’m really happy to still be here and play again tomorrow. My coach told me if I was going to lose then I had to lose fighting.”
“It’s a special tournament for me, I’ve never made it to the final and I’ve only made it to the semis a few times so I’m happy to be in the quarters again this year and tomorrow I will fight again harder.”
Farag too fast for Max
Second seed Ali Farag won through to the quarter-finals with a solid four game win over Max Lee. There wasn’t too much in it for the first three games, Farag taking a good lead in the first, Lee playing well to level the match, and Farag pulling away from a close opening to the third.
The Egyptian was in charge in the fourth as Lee faded, but paid credit to the work his opponent had made him do.
“I think all the first three games were tough,” he said. “The first one there were some errors at the crucial time and then in the second one he came very strong, in the third up until 5-6 it was pretty tight and then I ran away with the game and it gave me an advantageous lead in the fourth.
“I’m very happy to be in the quarters here for the third time and hopefully I can make it further this time, I’ve made all the semi-finals of the World Series finals except for Qatar and here, so hopefully I can tick here off the list this year.
Perry powers past Au
Au was never able to mount a serious challenge with Perry, watched by her England teammates and her father, used her physical advantages to great effect as she joined Laura Massaro and Alison Waters in the last eight.
“Annie’s a really awkward opponent because she plays different to most of the other players,” said SJ. “I’ve got a good record against her but we haven’t played very much.
“I knew I had to come out firing and thought I played pretty well for the most part and she came at me with some good shots, so I just had to keep my focus.”
Kandra qualifies to bring an end to Matthew’s BO career
German qualifier Raphael Kandra brought the curtain down on Nick Matthew’s British Open – and possiblly his playing – career as he came from a game down to beat the three-time champion in front of a packed crowd willing the Englishman on.
Matthew took an early lead in the opening game with Kandra coming back towards the end. The German carried that momentum into the second to level, and got the better of a tense ending to the third game.
An early lead for Kandra in the fourth and the writing was on the wall for Matthew. He fought, of course, but as he admitted afterwards, he knows what to do to win these matches, if only his body would let him.
After Kandra had taken the final point, Matthew insisted that a respectful and equally emotional Kandra leave the court first, and there followed emotional interviews with Jenny Duncalf (to follow) as the crowd bade farewell to one of the all-time greats and all-time favourites.
“I’m certainly not a machine these days,” said Nick. “No disrespect for Rafi, but it’s not how I wanted to go out, on a Thursday afternoon. I said it on Tuesday, I wanted to make it to the showtime at the weekend, I had my eye set on that.
It sums my season up really, every time I thought I came ahead of the game, something tripped me up, the Commonwealth Games were a bit like that.
!nd this week, I had a great performance, but then my body just let me down. There were some of those boasts I wouldn’t have gotten them back on fifth bounce, which is a bit embarrassing to be honest. It’s about time I call it quit cause my body’s quitting on me.”
Camille comfortably into Quarters
Camille Serme moved smoothly into the quarter-finals with a straight-game win over Donna Urquhart, the Australian coming back in the first to make the ending edgy, but unable to mount a serious challenge in the next two as Serme completed the win in just under half an hour.
“I think I played alright,” she said, “I had a tactics plan quite clear in my head and managed to execute it well. I don’t think Donna played not as well as she did in New York when we had a 3-2, but she managed to find some good lobs in the third game and I had to stay really focused and precise.
“I’m very happy to be back and let’s hope that it can be my best tournament of the season, it has been a bit up and down and hopefully I can enjoy my squash.”
Marwan tested by Cesar
Marwan looked comfortable as he led 6-3 in the first, but then had to fight back from 6-9 down to take the lead.
Cesar continued to impress as he took the second, but the Egyptian was always in front – just – in the final two games.
“He played very well today,” said Marwan. “To be honest all credit to him because that match could have gone either way.
“I think the first game was very important and I was really happy to come back the way I did after losing the second game but all credit to him, he pushed me really hard in the third and fourth.”
The first match of the day brought about an up as British Champion Tesni Evans beat CWG champion Joelle King in straight games – the Welsh woman’s first win over King, and a first quarter-final appearance.
Evans finished the stronger in two close first games, then held an advantage throughout the third to complete the win.
“It’s never easy to play a good friend,” said Tesni. “We’ve played so many times in practice, not so much on the Tour but in practice we have and we both know each other so well so it was just going to be a case of who did it better today. Fortunately, I did that but it was not an easy match at all, she is a very good friend of mine but someone had to win today.”