Finals Day at the 2016 GillenMarkets
IRISH OPEN. The women’s final featured Millie Tomlinson and Rachael
Chadwick. A close match initially but in the 2nd half of the first
game, the more experienced Tomlinson pulled away, exerting her
control to win the first 11/4. You could see that Millie was very
determined to not let Rachael get any opportunities. She kept her
back and dominated the T to win the 2nd 11/4. Millie kept a great
length and was really tight. The third game was more of the same and
Millie closed it out 11/3. Millie said “ I just wanted to keep her
behind me and not give her any opportunities” Rachael was
understandably disappointed afterwards, but she has had a super week
all the way from last Monday in the qualifiers to today's final.
The men’s final had 2 players with only 2 places between them in PSA
rankings. Lucas Serme, last year’s finalist was up against the 23yrs
Englishman Declan James. The crowd anticipated a titanic match.
In the first Serme took an early lead before James found his range
to level it. It then went nip ‘n’ tuck to 9 all. In between @ 7-5
there was a rally of 84 shots which ended with a super nick by Serme.
First game to Serme 11/9. In the 2nd James started taking the ball
earlier and was dropping beautifully. He just stayed in front and
took it 11/8. Serme knew he had to do something. “ After the 2nd I
had to change things. I pushed to stay in front more, gave him less
space and mixed it up more” James started to make more mistakes
resulting in the 4th going to Serme 11/6. The 4th was more of the
same and Serme won it 11/6. There was a really super rally to give
Serme match ball.
So congratulations to Millie Tomlinson and Lucas Serme, IRISH OPEN
CHAMPIONS FOR 2016.
Click on images for larger view
Mens Winner, Lucas Serme (France)
Pictured with Millie, is the
Mens Winner, Lucas Serme, Rory Gillen, Gillenmarkets and the Mens &
Ladies Runners Up, Declan James and Rachel Chadwick
Semi final day at the 2016 GillenMarkets IRISH OPEN. The first match
on was between Millie Tomlinson and young Georgina Kennedy. The pace
was furious from the start. Kennedy was forcing it a bit and put 3
balls out of court in that first game. Tomlinson never relented "We
both have similar games, she has a good volley so I knew I had to
stay in front of her" That is exactly what Millie did in all 3 games
to close it out 11/3, 11/4, 11/5.
In the first men's semi, we had the No.1 & No.3 seeds play each
other. Lucas Serme of France, who lost to Ali Farag (now World
ranked 11) in last year's final played New Zealand's Campbell
Grayson. It was a grueling 5 setter lasting 94min. After going
behind in the first, Lucas pulled it back to win the first 11/5.
Grayson was very patient in the 2nd & 3rd which worked for him,
taking them both. In the 4th, Grayson got a no let decision at 2-1
up which really got to him because within minutes he was 8-3 down.
He was a tough decision against him by the referee but he ref
thought Grayson could and should have played the ball so...
Two all and the decider.It was very tight and went to 8-7 and
Grayson got another no let which this time didn't upset him because
he then had a match ball but Serme remained cool and saved it before
winning the game 12/10. Super squash.
The qualifier Rachael Chadwick who had played some great squash all
week was up against No. 4 seed Alison Thomson in the 2nd Semi.
Alison was up early in the first, 6-3 then Rachael started to find
her range and pulled it back to win 11-6. She won the 2nd easily.
Thomson worked very hard to win the 3rd 11/6 but Chadwick upped it
again, driving beautifully and covering the court really well. Her
height and range helps her a lot. It was a tight game which Chadwick
just pipped 11/9. So a qualifier in the final, the first time that
has happened at the IRISH OPEN in a few years.
The last match of the day was the semi between Declan James and
Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema. LJ used all his experience and snuck
the first 11-8. James said " I had a really tough match yesterday
and was looking after my body" His game plan was then really put
into action in the 2nd. "I wanted to move him around a lot, not make
mistakes and wait for my opportunities" It worked, James won the 2nd
game 11-4. In the 3rd LJ worked really hard and it was nip and tuck
all the way to 9 all before James won it 11/9.
In the 5th James had a beautiful drop at 1-0 to start him off. Using
his super forehand drive which won him several points he got to 9/2
very quickly. He then had a super nick to give him match ball which
he duly converted to win the match and into the final vs Lucas Serme.
They have not played each other before, so it will be interesting to
see their respective game plans. Also there is only 2 places between
them in World rankings so it should be very close.
The first match saw Number 1 seed Millie Tomlinson play Junior Elin
Harlow of Wales. Elin started well and was up in the first game by a
few points before Millie settled into the pace of the game and
started to impose her power into the rallies. The 1st game was 11/7.
In the 2nd & 3rd games Millie had too much for Elin, who was not
getting a good length. Millie won it in 3, 11/7, 11/4, 11/2.
first men's match, saw Number 1 seed Lucas Serme have a tough match
vs Charles Sharpes of England. Serme, last year a finalist in this
event, lost the first game 14/12 after some huge rallies. Sharpes
was playing very well before Serme took it up a notch, as he had to.
He reeled off the 2nd & 3rd games to 7 & 4. Sharpes wasn't finished
though and really fought in the 4th game. It went to 10 all and then
Sharpes had a game ball before Serme finished it out 12/10.
England's Georgina Kennedy played Enora Villard from France in their
quarter final. After a very tough match in Round 1 yesterday.
Georgina said she wanted to " Hit the ball low and hard to keep
volleys away from Enora, while also volleying myself as much as I
could" The score was reflective of that strategy. Kennedy said
afterwards " I was very happy to finish it in three" Final score was
11/5, 11/4, 11/6.
No, 3 seed Campbell Grayson of New Zealand
played Shaun Le Roux from Sth Africa. After a very slow start, Le
Roux lost the first 2 games. He then started to get into the match
in the 3rd, getting in front of Grayson. The New Zealander said " I
had a very tough match yesterday, so was happy the way I played, but
then he started to get in front of me in the 3rd" Le Roux was 6-3
up, then 8-5 in the 3rd. However he got a conduct stroke against him
to make it 9 all. Le Roux still fought hard and had 2 game balls but
Grayson pushed, got in front again and finished it to 14/12.
MATCHES FROM 4PM
Alison Thomson played Dutch player Tessa Ter Sluis and made a fast
start winning the 1st game easily enough, 11/5. Ter Sluis really
picked it up in the 2nd, driving beautifully. Then she lost
concentration and went 7-5 down. Then got it back again with a
couple of lovely nicks to win it 12/10 - 1 all. Alison said "I've
played her before and wanted to get her twisting & turning to stop
her driving it low & hard" In the 3rd Ter Sluis started making
mistakes and Thomson upped the pace to win it 11/6. Thomson had too
much in the end and won it 3-1.
Joe Lee, playing very well this
week, made another good start in his match with Declan James. He won
the 1st 11/7 but the 2nd was a much closed affair with some super
rallies and unbelievable retrieving from both players. Lee took it
12/10. James took the 3rd 12/10 & the 4th 11/9, playing a much
better length than in the 1st 2 games. The 5th was real 'cat &
mouse' with James playing very patiently, which worked for him,
winning it 11-9 to win the match.
In the last women's match, after
winning the first game, Rachael Chadwick, the qualifier from
England, stuttered in the 2nd and Anna Klimundova, the Czech player
won it. The 3rd & 4th went towards one player and then the other,
before they were both shared. In the 5th Chadwick raced ahead using
her powerful drive but let Klimundova back in again before closing
it finally 11/4.
Laurens Jan Anjema the Dutch player was up against Indian Mahesh
Mangaonkar, who put Irishman Arthur Gaskin out last night. The first
2 games were shared 11/8. Anjema took a very close 3rd 11/9 which
had some super rallies with a magnificent short game from both
players. In the 5th Anjema raced away utilising his tight game at
the front, keeping the ball so low to win it 11/3 and the match.
The first match of the day saw the 2 French teammates Lucas Serme
and Geoffrey Demont play each other. These 2 players have played on
French teams going back to juniors so know each other game very
well. Lucas over 40 places higher in World rankings, had too much
for Geoffrey and won without to much trouble, 3-0 in 28min. The
young Welsh player Elin Harlow also won convincingly over Moana Gray
of Australia 3-0. This is Elin's 2nd tournament in Ireland this
season. She won the IRISH Junior Open Under 19 title last November.
We had a super match between Englishwoman Georgina Kennedy the
former European U19 champion and Xisela Aranda of Spain. Xisela
belied her ranking of 145 to push Georgina and had 2 match balls
herself before Georgina just got over the line 16-14 in the 5th, in
a match that lasted 4 min short of an hour.
Shaun Le Roux and Joshua Larkin had a tense match with plenty of
questioning of referee decisions. Shaun was always in control but
Joshua made him work hard and Joshua certainly worked really hard
himself, with the amount of sweat showing from his shirt. Shaun won
3-0 but it was closer than the score suggests.
In the match of the day for the Irish crowd, Arthur Gaskin ranked 85
was up against India's Mahesh Mangaonkar who is ranked 27 places
higher than him. Arthur started slowly but Mahesh was playing well
and went 2-0 up in games. Arthur knew he had to extend the rallies
and get in the game "In the last point of the 2nd game I played the
point more deliberately, looking to extend the rally and not force
it" At the start of the 3rd game Arthur continued with this gameplan.
It worked - he leveled the match 2 all, to the delight of his home
In the 5th both his calves tightened as he went to the front wall
and before he knew it, he was 6-0 down. He got 3 points but Mahesh
closed out that 5th game fairly quickly 11-3 to win the match. The
wrong result for the home crowd but a very enjoyable match
In the last match of the evening, Rachael Chadwick from England, had
a super win over much higher ranked Alexandra Fuller (68) from South
Africa. Rachael used her power and height to great effect to beat
Fuller 3-0 in 24 min. Alexandra was never really in the match as
Rachael took full control of affairs.
Day 2 of the GILLENMARKETS IRISH OPEN saw some super matches with 2
IRISH players, Sean Conroy and Brian Byrne pushing their much higher
ranked opponents hard. In the 1st match of the day, Byrne was
playing Joshua Larkin of Australia. Brian raced into a 2-0 lead,
playing super squash. Joshua said "The fast pace of those first 2
games didn't work for me, so I decided to lengthen the rallies and
make it a longer match" Byrne started to force it and made mistakes.
Brian said "I just switched off at some big points and lost
concentration" Consequently Larkin came back into the match and won
the next 3 games to win 3-2. So close and yet so far for Byrne.
The other IRISH player Sean Conroy played Frenchman Geoffrey Demont
nearly 100 places higher than him in World rankings. Again Sean
started well and won the first game 11/7. Demont had to increase the
pressure on Sean. " I had to put pressure on him in the 2nd game,
take volleys early and dominate the T" It worked as Demont took the
2nd game 11/4. The 3rd game went to the wire and crucially Demont
just pipped it 11/9, which proved decisive. He closed out the match
11/3 to win 3-1 in 41 min. In the other 2 men's matches Matthew
Hopkin from Australia beat Ashley Davies of England 3-0 and
Frenchman Christophe Andre of France beat Scotland's Douglas
Kempsell 3-1 in a close match that went on for 46 min.
In the women's event the no.1 seed Nadia Pfister from Switzerland
lost to Harshit Jawanda of India 3-0. It was a convincing victory
for Harshit. Eva Fertekova had too much for Welsh player Nia Davies
beating her 3-0. In the last 2 matches there was 3 Spanish players
playing in them. In the first Xisela Aranda beat her compatriot
Marta Latorre Ramirez and in the last match Rachael Chadwick had a
convincing victory over no. 2 seed Marina De Juan Gallach 3-0.
Rachael's high reach proved too difficult for Marina to cope with.
Rachael dominated the T and drove superbly.
We had some super matches with the highlight from an Irish point of
view being Brian Byrne's victory over Manuel Wanner from
Switzerland. Brian is ranking 11 places below Manuel in World
rankings but made little of that as he won 3-0 in convincing
fashion. The other Irish player through to the next round is Sean
Conroy who beat his Irish team mate Rory Byrne 3-1. Galway's David
Noone had a super match vs Matthew Hopkin of Australia, world ranked
104. David won the 1st game 12-10, but as the game progressed the
pro came through and eventually won 3-1. The other men's matches
went with seeding.
In the women's event 2 Irish juniors were making their debut in a
professional tournament and both competed well. Hannah Craig took a
game off Harshit Jawanda of India but lost 3-1. 15 year old Sophie
O'Rourke from Cork played Spain's Marta Latorre Ramirez. It was 3-0
to Ramirez but again the young Irish player was not overawed and
this experience will stand to her for the future. Again the other
women's match went as per the seeding.