English talent Patrick Rooney (on left) secured his first ever PSA
World Tour title after coming through a brutal five-game thriller
with Spainís Edmon Lopez Moller in the final of the Madeira
International Squash Tournament - despite beginning the PSA M5 event
Coming just days before his 19th birthday, Rooney celebrated a
series of upsets as he battled through to the final, defeating top
seed Shehab Essam and number four seed Rui Soares en route, while
Lopez had already beaten two Englishmen, Luke Parker and James
Peach, to set up a final clash with Rooney.
The opening exchanges saw a number of lengthy, attritional rallies
play out in front of the crowd at the Onda Revital Club in Funchal,
Portugal, with both players taking a game apiece.
With the scores level, a change of tactic from Rooney saw the World
No.192 attempt to take the ball short at every opportunity, but it
initially appeared to have a debilitating effect as Lopez
capitalised on some unforced errors from the youngster to go 2-1
A reinvigorated Rooney recovered in the fourth though to level
proceedings once more, and a back and forth decider saw Lopez
sustain an ankle injury after Rooney had recovered from 3-0 down to
go 6-4 up. The Spaniard battled bravely on, but fatigue began to set
in and Rooney took full advantage, converting his first match ball
at the end of a typically gruelling rally to open his PSA World Tour
ďItís an unbelievable feeling and a nice early birthday present,Ē
said Rooney, who later dedicated his victory to his aunt, who passed
away last week.
ďI knew it was going to be tough and a really physical battle, but
Iím just glad I was able to keep the same intensity and level of
concentration all the way through the match. Itís the perfect way to
end the season.Ē
For Lopez, however, the wait for a first PSA World Tour crown goes
on after he lost out in a second successive final, having also
fallen in the same stage of the Raanana Squash Center 30th
Anniversary Festival last month.
ďI saw a really good opportunity to win this week when Carlos [Cornes
Ribadas] got knocked out in the first round," Lopez said.
"I am happy to reach the final, but itís just a shame that I was so
close to victory again. I am still young, so I hope that I will get
plenty more opportunities to win my first PSA title. Physical
fitness is normally my biggest strength, so itís annoying that it
let me down today.
"I thought I played really well, but Patrick just played better than
me. I have to be realistic and I canít really make any excuses.Ē
Unranked Englishman Luke Parker stunned compatriot Sam Ellis to
qualify for the main draw of a PSA World Tour event for the first
time in the final qualifying round of the Madeira International
Squash Tournament in CaniÁo, Portugal.
Parker, the brother of World No.74 George, also upset the odds by
ousting Dutchman Tesse Jutte earlier in the previous round, and
showed flashes of his younger brotherís shot-making as he battled to
an 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8 victory in the PSA M5 event at the Onda
The 21-year-old now faces English seventh seed Ben Coates for a
place in the last eight, but admitted he has already exceeded his
ďI didnít really expect anything this week,Ē explained Parker.
ďI came to Madeira for a holiday with my girlfriend, so itís a bonus
that Iíve made the main draw. Iím not a particularly flashy player
but I just try not to give too many points away. Thankfully, I
managed to frustrate Sam and hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.Ē
Commenting on his last-16 clash with Coates, Parker added: ďHe has
got a lot more tournament experience than I have, but I remember
playing him a few times when we were juniors and it was pretty
ďHeís obviously turned professional since then, whereas I havenít,
but Iím still quietly confident heading into the match.Ē
Meanwhile, Adam Auckland continued his comeback from a near two-year
injury layoff as he cruised past Welshman Owain Taylor in straight
games. Auckland, who reached the semi-finals of the British U23 Open
in January, barely surrendered control in a one-sided encounter and
now faces Irish sixth seed Sean Conroy for a spot in the quarter
But while Auckland and Parker will steel the headlines, the biggest
cheer of the day was reserved for Spaniard Pascal Gomez who edged
past Matthew Broadberry to book a first-round matchup with top seed
Shehab Essam. Gomezís boundless energy drew plenty of gasps from the
Portuguese crowd and ultimately proved the difference maker as a
frustrated Broadberry fell to a three-game defeat.
On the adjacent court, Englandís James Peach secured a last-16
meeting with second seed Carlos Cornes Ribadas after comprehensively
outclassing unranked Irishman Michael Conroy. Conroy, who was
bidding to join Parker as a first-round debutant, struggled to keep
pace with Peachís intensity and fell to a 3-0 defeat in just 19
revels in victory after two years out
By Michael Catling
click images for larger view Former
world No.105 Adam Auckland (right) ended a 20 month injury-enforced
absence from the PSA Tour as he led a quintet of English players
through to the final round of qualifying at the Madeira
International Squash Tournament, PSA M5 event in CaniÁo, Portugal.
Auckland, 23, has barely played competitively since landing his
maiden title at the 2014 North Coast Open in Australia, but showed
few signs of rustiness at the Onda Revital Club as he brushed aside
Jorge Monteiro in straight games.
ďItís been a long road to recovery,Ē said Auckland. ďI sustained an
injury to my adductor just before I went to Australia and I actually
havenít played on the PSA Tour since the Bexley Open in October
ďI tore my adductor for a third time in February last year and that
was when I discovered the underlying problem was caused by Gilmourís
ďI had two operations in Harley Street last March so itís just a
relief to play my first tournament on the PSA Tour in nearly two
years. My main goal now is to play injury free and if I manage to
win this week, it will be a huge bonus.Ē
Standing between Auckland and a place in the last 16 is Welshman
Owain Taylor, who lost just nine points en route to thrashing Luis
Tavares of Portugal.
Elsewhere, Luke Parker sprung the first major upset of the
tournament as he knocked out Dutchman Tess Jutte in four games to
set-up an all-English clash with Sam Ellis.
Parker, who is the older brother of last yearís runner-up George,
recovered from losing the opening game to record one of the biggest
wins of his young career. The 21-year-old also kept alive his hopes
of making the main draw of a PSA Tour event for the first time.
The result completed a miserable couple of days for Dutch
representatives after Roshan Bharos was forced to pull out on the
eve of the tournament after misplacing his passport.
The Dutch No.5ís withdrawal sees Michael Conroy, brother of Irish
No.2 Sean, advance into the final round of qualifying without even
hitting a ball.
Conroy now faces James Peach for a place in the main draw, after the
18-year-old swept past Ricardo Santos in three games.
Top qualifying seed Pascal Gomez was in a similarly ruthless mood as
he marked his return to competitive action with a convincing
The Spanish No.10 has not played on the PSA Tour since his last-16
defeat at the Finnish Open in January, but needed just 13 minutes to
advance at the expense of co-tournament organiser Ricardo Sardinha.
Next up for Gomez is a meeting with Matthew Broadberry, who overcame
a third game wobble to beat Alfredo Felicidade 3-0. Ellis completed
a clean sweep for England after defeating local favourite Goncalo
Miranda by the same scoreline.