in Espoo semis ...
Pete Saarnivaara reports from
The South African team (they come as an entered team rather
than all as individuals) showed the merits of this system as they
dominated the semi-finals with five out of twelve in the women's events
and five out of sixteen in the men's on the fifth day of World Squash
Masters Championships in Espoo, Finland.
In the men's O35 the final will be an all South African one. Number one
seeded Craig van der Wath claimed his place in the finals with a 3-0
victory over Papua-New-Guinea's Derek Hunter. Van der Wath will take on
fellow countryman Michael Tootill (5-8), who beat Canada's David Sly 3-0.
No place in the final for South Africans in the men's O40. Another
beautiful game by number two seed Peter Hill of Singapore saw South
Africa's Trevor Wilkinson go down in three games. In the other semi-final
England's Martin Greenslade was unarmed against Fredrik Johnson from
Sweden. An interesting final is to be expected: Hill plays murderous
volley drop shots with an impeccable touch and Johnson relies on his speed
and stamina. The Swede is still dancing around the court and picking up
everything almost like in the old days.
In the men's O45 the surprise run of Germany's Volker Hauke ended with a
0-3 defeat to England's Peter Alexander. The 3-4 seed meets second seed
Geoffrey Davenport from Australia. Davenport beat Ian Bradburn from
First seed South Africa's Alan Colburn, just had the edge over Chris
Wilson (Scotland) in the men's O50. Wilson, seeded to reach the semis,
gave Colburn a real fright this time from 0-2, taking the third and coming
desperately close in the fourth. Colburn looked relieved to win: Wilson
had "next time" written all over his face.
In the other semi-final second seed Englishman David Manning survived a
peculiar encounter against compatriot Ian Parke. Parke took the first two
games easily with Manning's drop shots hitting the tin just a little too
often. In the third Manning was able to lift his drops by just an inch and
lower the pace of the game by squeezing the drives a bit tighter, while
Parke was troubled with a slight injury, apparently due to a pulled
muscle. Parke was not able to come back and lost the next three games
In the men's O55, number one seed Brian Cook (Australia) was too strong
for South Africa's captain and manager Nick Penstone, winning 3-1.
In the other semi-final two times Masters Champion Roy Plumstead (South
Africa) took a 2-0 lead over two-timer Masters runner-up Hugh Colburn
(Australia). Colburn then fought back to take the third relatively easily.
A tiring Plumstead seemed to be getting run around just a bit too much and
the money was on Colburn at the start of the fifth. But after Plumstead
had survived two match balls, Colburn's confidence and legs ebbed: 8/8,
8/9 and match to Houdini Plumstead to rapturous applause.
In the men's O60 Finnish 3-4 seed Veikko Eloranta upset second seed Thomas
Slattery of Australia in a close fought five game encounter. "I always
expect to win, otherwise it would make no sense to go to the court in the
first place", Eloranta said smiling after the hard game. "My opponent kept
me off balance and I had difficulties getting my own game on track. Anyone
can play wonderfully, if the opponent let's one use one's own strengths."
Eloranta meets John Perrot of England in the final.
In the men's O65 number one seed, England's John Woodliffe was beaten 3-1
by past Masters Champion Barry Gardiner of New Zealand. Gardiner meets
second seeded Brian Heath in the final. Heath beat Ireland's Alexander
Number one and two seeds faced each other, already, in the semis in the
men's O70, since the first rounds were not played as a cup, but in groups.
England's John E. Cox beat Australia's Nino Sydney and takes on 3-4 seed
Maurice Peters from New Zealand on Saturday.
Ladies' O35 top seed, South Africa's Angelique Clifton-Parks, cruised
through to the final, but it was a real battle in the other match. Silvia
Schrijvers of Belgium, who was seeded to reach the final, failed to take
advantage of her greater mobility against 3-4 seed Canadian Louise
Lefebvre. Some critical errors and choice of shot saw Schrijvers lose in
England's Fran Wallis continued her strong run in the ladies' O40 as she
comfortably dismissed 3-4 seed Susanne Nyberg of Sweden. Wallis had
earlier put out the number one seed Carin Clonda. In the other semi-final
England's 3-4 seed Susan Williams upset second seeded South Africa's
Marianne Baptiste 3-1.
South Africa's finalist in the ladies' O45 was 3-4 seeded Pauline Douglas,
who played three close games with another 3-4 seeded and another South
African, Christien Strydom, winning 9/6 9/6 10/8. Number one seed Julie
Field (England) dropped the second game to unseeded Britt Carolyn Roylance,
but claimed the place in the final 3-1.
In the ladies' O50 the final is a South Africa - England encounter as
well. Number one seed Helene Schlebusch meets second seeded Faith
First and second seeded players met in the semi-final of the ladies' O55.
England's Averil Murphy overcame Ann Manley from the same country. In the
other semi-final between two 3-4 seeds, England's Betty Dryhurst beat
Sweden's Margareta Borgwall.
The top seed Jean Grainger from South Africa pulled easily through against
3-4 seed Australia's Margaret Doueal, but the second seed in the category,
Ireland's Barbara Sanderson had to give in to South Africa's Dawn Kaiser.
Finns flung out in
Pete Saarnivaara reports from
The host country's hopes in the men's O35 were devastated
in the quarter-finals as 5-8 seed Derek Hunter from Papua-New-Guinea put
out former Finnish international Marko Pulli. Pulli had beaten 3-4 seeded
Hunter's fellow countryman Mark Hildred in the previous round. Pulli was
leading 3/0, 5/2 and 8/3 in the first but Hunter fought his way back point
by point to win the game 10/8. The second game was even until 5/5, but
with Pulli doing most of the work Hunter pulled quickly from 5/5 to take
the game 9/5. In the third game the Finn could not keep up the speed
anymore. Hunter took the game 9/4. "I've had so few games that I don't
really have a basic level in my game. I just have to try and kill the ball
whenever it's possible", said Pulli. Today Pulli's tactics led to too many
Number one seed Craig van der Wath of South Africa had an easy day again.
He beat England's Peter Longsdale comfortably 3-0 and meets Hunter in the
On the other side of the draw 3-4 seed South African Michael Tootil meets
5-8 seed Canadian David Sly. Tootil dismissed Eric Nadal from France 3-0,
but the score does not tell the whole story. The audience got to see a
number of good rallies.
Another blow to the host country was dealt by number one seed in the men's
O40, Fredrik Johnson of Sweden, who dismissed the 5-8 seeded Matti Saarela
3-0. Johnson meets 3-4 seeded Martin Greenslade from England in the semis.
The other semi-final will, unsurprisingly, be played between second seeded
Trevor Wilkinson, South Africa and 3-4 seeded Peter Hill, Singapore.
Fredrik Johnsson SWE is through to the semis. Today he beat Matti Saarela
Germany's Volker Hauke is emerging as the surprise (perhaps not to
himself) player in the men's O45. He followed up a win over 5-8 seed
Robert Henning of Sweden with a remarkable quarter-final win over two seed
Gary Thomson from South Africa. Thomson looked to have it sewn up the
match at 2-0, especially as Hauke looked to have an ankle worry. This
perhaps made Thomson relax too much. The third went easily to Hauke, 9/1.
Thomson could not get it back. Hauke covered the center court very well
and played some superb drop shots and won 9/7, 9/7.
Another upset in the men's O45 category was Ian Bradburn's 3-0 victory
over 3-4 seeded Paul Hughes of England. Second seeded Australian Geoffrey
Davenport and 3-4 seeded Englishman Peter Alexander both came easily
through to the semis.
In the men's O50, ankle problems could not be overcome by New Zealand's
Tony Naughton, who had to concede, after a game and a half, to England's
Ian Parke, father of top professional Simon Parke. 3-4 seeded Scott Chris
Wilson ended a fine run by Finland's Kari Kattelus. David Manning (2) of
England dropped a game against South Africa's Wilhelm Du Toit (5-8), but
pulled through 3-1.
There were no surprises in the men's O55 quarters. Australian Brian Cook
(1) meets England's Kenneth Randall in the semis and South Africa's Roy
Plumstead (3-4) meets Hugh Colburn (2) of Australia.
The players in the men's O60, O65 and the ladies' O35, O40, O50 and O60
main draws got a days rest before semi-finals on Friday.
The Ladies' O45 saw a brilliant result for South Africa. Pauline Douglas
when she defeated number one seed Julie Field of England in a nail biting
fifth. Pauline originally comes from the north-east of Scotland. Maybe
Scotland will now reopen negotiations to have her back to replace a
certain P. Nicol.
As the ladies' O45 first rounds were played in groups, Field still
continues in Friday's semis, which will be a South Africa ? England
encounter. Field takes on another South African Christien Strydom. On the
other side of the draw, Pauline Douglas meets Carolyn Roylance of England.
Ladies' O55 saw an upset as second seed Ann Manley of England was overcome
by 3-4 seed Betty Dryhurst 9/7 in the fifth.
Everyone wanted their picture taken with WSF President Jahangir Khan.
Pulli puts out Hildred
The third day of the tournament saw seeded players being
dismissed in several categories.
Former Finnish international Marko Pulli beat 3-4 seed Mark Hildred of
Papua-New-Guinea comfortably 3-0 in the men's O35. Pulli played on the
center court of Esport Center for the first time since 1991, when he won
world team bronze medal as number three player of the Finnish national
team. Eric Nadal from France had mild difficulties only in the third game
as he dismissed Finland's 5-8 seed Simo Tarvonen.
Volker Hauke from Germany walked over 5-8 seed Robert Henning from Sweden
in the men's 45 after Henning injured his ankle during training session
earlier. Host country's Risto Jokinen, the 5-8 seed, was beaten by Ian
Bradburn of England. England's Mohamed Sarwar dropped the first game to
the 5-8 seeded Harvard University squash coach Satinder Bajwa, but pulled
through with a 3-1
In the men's O50 the host country's Kari Kattelus, who put out the 5-8
seed Peter Karlsson of Sweden in the second round, continued into round
four by defeating Chris Grainger of South Africa 3-1 leaving wife Jean to
carry the family flag as number one seed in the women's O60.
Martin Pearse was the first seed to fall in the men's O55, defeated in
three very close games by fellow Englishman and great rival John Smith.
In the men's O60 quarter-finals 5-8 seed, pocket battleship, Desmond Sacco
of South Africa took on a higher seed opponent in Gary Williams of Wales.
Sacco put up a most spirited fight before succumbing exhausted,
unsurprisingly, in 4 games. Sacco admitted that he was still tired from
the five-game clash with Sweden's Björn Borgwall in the previous round.
"It was a hell of a game. Now I'll just concentrate on watching the
In the same category 5-8 seed Tom Slattery (Australia) overcame second
seed from Wales, Brian Phillips.
In the men's O65 there were no problems for three of the seeds, but Irish
eyes were smiling as Alex Richardson beat 3-4 seed Lance Kinder (England)
3-1 with the help of some key mistakes from his opponent.
The youngest women get a days rest on Thursday before their semi-finals on
Friday. All seemed to be comfortable for the top seeds until 3-4 seed Bea
De Dreu of Netherlands lost the third game against England's Zoe Smith and
then he fourth, narrowly, 7-9. The fifth was amazing - De Dreu seemed
overcome with nerves restricting her movement leading to unforced errors.
An increasingly confident Zoe Smith took the game and match with ease.
Smith attributed her victory to her fiancé and coach, top pro Rodney
Durbach. The wedding, by the way, is in May.
Smith will now meet Angelique Clifton-Parks of South Africa (1) in the
semi-final. In the other semi-final Belgium's second seed Silvia
Schrijvers takes on Canadas Louise Lefebvre (3-4).
England's Fran Wallis put out the gutsy number one seed Carin Clonda of
Australia in the women's O40. She now takes on 3-4 seed Susanne Nyberg of
Sweden. On the other side of the draw South African Marianne Baptiste (2)
meets England's Susan Williams (3-4).
Eira Oinonen from Tampere, Finland, caused the only upset in the women's
O50. Oinonen went through to the semis with a 9/0 3/9 9/2 9/4 victory over
Australia's Yvonne Cook.
The ladies' O60 semi-finals will be an Ireland - South-Africa encounter.
First seed Jean Grainger (RSA) will meet Maeve Spotswood (IRL), seeded 3-4
and second seed Barbara Sanderson (IRL) will meet Dawn Kaiser (RSA),
FIRST SEEDS FALL
ON DAY TWO
Seeded players were again strong on the second tournament
day with only a few exceptions.
Michael Gunton from Greece, seeded to reach the quarterfinals in men's
O65, became the first seeded casualty of the tournament with a 1/9, 3/9,
4/9 defeat to Sami Ikonen of the host country.
In men's O60 5-8 seed Peter Field of England was dismissed 9/7, 9/0, 10/9
by Welshman Chris Clarke. Clarke had the advantage of home crowd support
as he has played in the eastern Finnish town of Kouvola on his holidays
for the last 20 years. Clarke, who takes on number one seed John Perrot in
the quarterfinals, was himself surprised by his strong performance. "I
thought I was the underdog. But the match could have gone either way."
SEEDS THROUGH AS
Day one saw almost 200 matches, with most of the seeds
securing comfortable wins. In the Men's Over-40 the top 8 seeds dropped
just 33 points between them (although top seed Phil Whitlock had withdrawn
due to 'unforseen circumstances').
MASTERS UNDER WAY
As the 7th World Masters gets under way in Espoo, Finland, 440 players
from over 30 countries are set for 700 hours on court to decide the
Family Double predicted
by World Masters seedings
South Africans Craig van der Wath and his partner
Angelique Clifton-Parkes are expected to claim a unique family double
in the 7th World Masters Squash Championships in Finland, following
today's announcement of the seedings.
More than 400 competitors from 33 countries will compete in the event
which will be staged at the Esport Center in Espoo, near Helsinki, from
England and South Africa are seeded to win all but two of the 14 titles
being contested. Van der Wath, the reigning British Open Over-35 champion,
is seeded to retain the World Masters Men's Over-35 title he won in
Melbourne in 2001, while event debutante Clifton-Parkes is favourite to
win the Women's Over-35 trophy. Both are expected to face Europeans in the
finals - van der Wath the former Finnish international Sami Elopuro and
his partner the Belgian Silvia Schrivers.
Sweden's 1999 Over-35 champion Fredrik Johnson is seeded to reach the
Men's Over-40 final, where he is expected to face top-seeded Englishman
Philip Whitlock. South Africa's defending champion Trevor Wilkinson is
seeded to reach the last four.
In the Men's Over-65 event, England's John Woodliffe is favourite to go
one step further than the runners-up finish he achieved in the 2001 event
in Melbourne. Meanwhile, the 1999 winner John Cox moves up to the Over-70
event where the Englishman is seeded to claim victory.
In the women's championships, Ireland's much-travelled veteran Barbara
Sanderson is seeded to reach her third successive final. The defending
champion is the second seed in the Over-60 event in Espoo and expected to
face top seed Jean Grainger, the 1999 Over-55 champion from South Africa,
in a repeat of the 1999 final.
Former international Carin Clonda is seeded to win the only title for
Australia in the Over-40 category, while England's Averil Murphy,
runner-up in the 2001 Over-50 event, is seeded to take the 2003 Over-55