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Ryder Rallies To Kent Open Success

Kent Open 2011
24-29 May, Maidstone, England, $10k
Round One
26 May  17.30 - 20.30
27 May
28 May
29 May
[3] Max Lee (Hkg)
12-10, 12-10, 11-9 (56m)
[Q] Chris Fuller (Eng)
Max Lee
11-7, 11-2, 11-9 (36m)
Ben Ford
Max Lee
12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-3 (62m)
Joel Hinds
Max Lee
-9, 16-18, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4 (121m)
Chris Ryder
Fabien Verseille (Fra)
1-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 (53m)
Ben Ford (Eng)
Olivier Pett (Eng)
12-14, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7 (78m)
[Q] Ben Coleman (Eng)
Olivier Pett
11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (76m)
Joel Hinds
James Snell (Eng)
13-11, 11-6, 11-8 (35m)
Joel Hinds (Eng)
[4] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
14-12, 11-8, 11-4 (34m)
[Q] Leo Au (Hkg)
Leo Au
12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10 (70m)
Dick Lau
Leo Au
8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 10-12, 11-3 (65m)
Chris Ryder
Dick Lau (Hkg)
11-9, 11-1, 11-8 (35m)
[LL] Phil Nightingale
Eddie Charlton (Eng)
 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 (53m)
[Q] Yasir Butt (Pak)
Eddie Charlton
13-11, 11-3, 11-2 (52m)
 Chris Ryder
Chris Truswell (Eng)
7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (49m)
[2] Chris Ryder (Eng)

Qualifying Finals Results
Ben Coleman (Eng) beat Aqib Hanif (Pak) 11-9, 11-2, 11-6 (42 mins)
Leo Au (HKG) beat Robbie Downer (Eng) 11-5, 11-13, 11-1, 11-8 (51 mins)
Chris Fuller (Eng) beat Phil Nightingale (Eng) 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (52 mins)
Yasir Butt (Pak) v Alex Ingham (Eng) 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (30 mins)

PSA KENT OPEN Qualifying First Round at The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent


Ryder Rallies To Kent Open Success

In the longest recorded match of his career, England's top seed Chris Ryder overcame Hong Kong's Max Lee in a marathon final to win the Kent Open title at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone in the English country of Kent.

The world No38 from Leamington Spa won the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 event trophy 11-9, 16-18, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4 in a brutal battle lasting 121 minutes.

The second game alone lasted 34 minutes before Lee clinched it 18-16 to level the match at one game all after almost an hour's play.

Ryder was ahead all the way through the opening game and held game ball at 10-8 in the second before Lee launched a phenomenal comeback. The 30-year-old held six game balls but Lee, 23, responded positively each time to delight the packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club as he clinched the tiebreak.

Second seed Lee led 4-2 in the third game and the crowd sensed a surprise was on the cards. But Ryder's solid technique and fitness helped him to draw level at 6-6 and he finished strongly to close out the game 11-9.

The fourth game followed a similar pattern, but in reverse. Ryder led 4-2 and then 8-7, when Lee left the court for treatment on a cut knee.

When he returned after a nine-minute break he won four points in a row to win the game.

Lee was unsettled by a "No Let" call early in the fifth game when he felt he should have been awarded a stroke. His concentration lapsed and Ryder raced through the game to reach match ball at 10-2. Lee responded with two points but then tinned a tired-looking drive to give Ryder the title.

This was Ryder's second title at the club, having won the inaugural Mote Classic two years ago before the tournament was upgraded to a PSA World Tour event.

"The match lasted more than two hours and at times it was brutal," explained Ryder after collecting the sixth Tour title of his career, but his first for a year. "Physically I felt good all the way through although my left leg was hurting at times. When Max had to go off to treat his knee that seemed to help it calm down, so I'm pleased about that.

"I love playing here at The Mote and still haven't lost here yet. The courts play well and the players all appreciate the way they are looked after here.

"It's great to hear that the tournament may be growing next year. I look forward to coming back, as I am sure all the players do."

Leo Au, the Hong Kong qualifier who powered his way through the draw to reach the semi-finals, was awarded the Wonga Mzimba Sportsmanship Shield in memory of the Mote Squash Club member who died on court during three weeks ago.

Semi Finals

Top Seeds Ryder & Lee Make Kent Open Climax

England and Hong Kong shared the spoils in the semi-finals of the Kent Open as top seeds Chris Ryder and Max Lee won their respective matches to advance to the final of the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 event at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone in the English country of Kent.

Second seed Lee beat Englishman Joel Hinds in the first semi-final before home favourite Chris Ryder finally put paid to the amazing giant-killing run of little Leo Au, the 5ft 2in world No 117 from Hong Kong who lit up tournament with his astonishing racket skills.

Lee beat Hinds 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-3 before Au took Ryder the full distance, playing some exquisite drop shots before the world No36 from Leamington Spa finally took control of the match in the fifth game.

By then, Au looked a little tired after his fifth match in five days, after working his way stylishly through to the semi-finals from the qualifying competition.

Ryder's victory took him through to the final of the tournament he won two years ago before it became a PSA world-ranking event.

Before a packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club, Ryder finally showed why he is the higher-ranked player, dominating the fifth game to clinch victory in 65 minutes of compelling squash.

Au attacked throughout the match and made Ryder work hard for his victory. The 21-year-old from Hong Kong won the opening game and fought back solidly in the fourth as Ryder appeared to be moving imperiously to his allotted place in the final. Au won the fourth game on a tie break but Ryder recovered his composure, control and trademark quality length to close out the match 8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 10-12, 11-3.

"Au played superbly and it was a massive examination of Ryder's senior ranking," said tournament organiser Alan Thatcher. "But the Englishman rose to the challenge and his dominance of the fifth game showed just what a class act he is."

Ryder said: "I'm a little bit frustrated that I didn't play better to win in four but happy that I managed to close it out in the fifth.

"I felt in control towards the end of the fourth but Leo decided to go for his shots and they all seemed to come off. I seemed to take the role of the steady player and trying not to make any mistakes.

"It will be tough against Max tomorrow he is playing well and hitting the ball cleanly. He's a very open and attacking player, so it's going to be a tough battle."

Au said: "I played quite well today, as I have done throughout the whole tournament. I am very satisfied with my performance. Chris was just too good today. I didn't expect to get this far in the tournament, having come through qualifying. It should really help my ranking.

Au has been training all week with No2 seed Lee, who overcame fourth seed Hinds in emphatic style.

"The world No66 from Hong Kong dominated for long periods of the match with a disciplined game plan," added Thatcher. "His straight volleys, tight drops and gut-ripping boasts offered suggestions that this talented young man can climb a lot higher in the world rankings."

As the match progressed, he became more adventurous with some crosscourt volley kills rolling out of the nick.

Hinds lost the first game on a tiebreak after holding an 8-2 lead, not something you see very often in PAR to 11 scoring. Lee made a number of uncharacteristic mistakes at the start of the match and Hinds must have felt this was to be his day. But once Lee tightened up he dominated the middle of the court and pounced on anything loose.

Having won the tiebreak, he powered through the second game 11-3. Hinds must have wondered what hit him.

But in the third game the former British Under-23 champion stepped up the pace and seemed to find some success with cross courts that forced his opponent to twist and turn.

He won it 11-6 but Lee regained control in the fourth game. Hinds led 3-2 but failed to win another point as Lee forced him from corner to corner.

Now operating in an effortless comfort zone, Lee rolled in some outstanding boasts and crosscourt volley winners to show that, hiding beneath that disciplined front, lies an extravagant wealth of shots waiting to be unleashed on a more regular basis.

Quarter Finals
England & Hong Kong Line Up In Kent Open Semis

The Kent Open semi-finals will feature two battles between England and Hong Kong after a night of thrilling squash in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 event at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone in the English country of Kent.

Max Lee, the third seed from Hong Kong, ended local involvement in the event as he battered Kent professional Ben Ford in straight games, winning 11-7, 11-2, 11-9 in 36 minutes.

The 35-year-old Ford admitted that he made too many mistakes as he struggled to devise an effective strategy against a super-fit opponent who was 12 years his junior.

Lee meets Joel Hinds in the semi-finals after the fourth seed beat fellow Englishman Olivier Pett in the longest and most entertaining match of the night.

Both players were committed to full-on attacking squash throughout the match and the 22-year-old Pett, from Sussex, was on the verge of causing a major upset as he led 4-1 in the fifth game.

But Pett's flamboyant style, which had produced so many spectacular shots, suddenly dried up and the winners that flowed from his racket turned into errors. Hinds tightened up and gained control to win eight points in a row.

Pett rallied briefly but the gap was too wide to bridge and the World University champion from Derby closed out the match after 76 minutes, winning 11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 in front of a packed and enthusiastic gallery at The Mote.

In another all-English battle, top seed Chris Ryder overcame Nottingham-based Eddie Charlton in straight games, winning 13-11, 11-3, 11-2 in 52 minutes of gruelling combat.

Charlton led for most of the opening game but the 30-year-old Ryder, from Leamington Spa, won the tiebreak and then dominated the next two games to book his place in the last four against Hong Kong qualifier Leo Au.

The 5ft 2in Au continued his giant-killing run by beating compatriot Dick Lau 12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10 in 70 minutes of dynamic, intelligent squash. Once again the world No 117 Au's superb touch was the decisive factor as he chopped in a succession of winning drop shots to overcome an opponent 35 places above him in the world rankings.

First Round
Au & Ford Make Maidstone Quarters

Hong Kong qualifier Leo Au and Kent veteran Ben Ford pulled off shock victories in the first round of the Kent Open, the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 event at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone in the English country of Kent.

Au, the 21-year-old world No 117, beat Finland's number three seed Henrik Mustonen in straight games. That surprise result was soon followed by another as Ford, the 35-year-old wild card from nearby Bexley, ranked 150 in the world, overcame Frenchman Fabien Verseille, ranked 51 places higher.

Ford's superb touch at the front of the court provided the decisive factor as he took advantage of any loose shots from his opponent.

After Ford had won the opening two games by the same 11-9 margin, Verseille dominated the third but he was surprised as Ford hit back to finish strongly in the fourth, winning the final five points from 6-6 to clinch a quarter-final slot against number two seed Max Lee, one of three Hong Kong players in the competition.

Lee overcame qualifier Chris Fuller 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 in a desperately close match despite the 20-year-old Englishman opening up substantial leads in each game.

Lee's compatriot Au played superbly to beat Finnish number two Mustonen, the world number 60 from Hollola. Au won the opening game 14-12 after a dramatic tiebreak sequence and this boosted his confidence as he grew stronger in each of the next two games, clinching victory in 35 minutes of high-quality squash.

Au's opponent in the quarter-finals is a third Hong Kong representative, world No82 Dick Lau, who ended the involvement of the qualifying competition's lucky loser Philip Nightingale, the Englishman who was awarded a place in the main draw following the surprise withdrawal of top seed Joey Barrington.

Top seed Chris Ryder beat regular training partner Chris Truswell and meets fellow Englishman Eddie Charlton, who played superbly to beat Pakistan's former world No40 Yasir Butt, winner of last week's Tour event in his home town Lahore.

Four young Englishmen provided two outstanding matches, with world No 119 Olivier Pett surviving two match balls against 20-year-old qualifier Ben Coleman before winning the longest match of the night in 78 minutes in five games of outstanding squash.

In the quarter-finals he meets former British Under-23 champion Joel Hinds, the world No74 who beat James Snell in straight games.


Top seed Joey Barrington’s late withdrawal from the Kent Open was good news for qualifier Phil Nightingale, who was awarded a Lucky Loser’s place in the first round of this PSA Challenger 10 tournament.

World No.36 Barrington was forced to pull out with a hamstring injury midway through the qualifying competition at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent. But the 6ft 4in Surrey player Nightingale gained a reprieve after losing in straight games to Chris Fuller in the qualifying finals.

Nightingale’s reward is a first round match with Dick Lau, from Hong Kong, while Fuller faces a much tougher examination against the new No.2 seed, Max Lee, also from Hong Kong.

A third Hong Kong player, Leo Au, overcame Hampshire’s big hitter Robbie Downer to book his place in the first round draw against No.3 seed Henrik Mustonen from Finland.

Earlier in the day Downer had come desperately close to beating John White’s world record ball speed of 172mph.

Watched by a cheering crowd of school children taking part in the Kent Junior Squash Festival, Downer achieved an amazing 171mph with his powerful forehand, but he was unable to out-hit the patient and controlled Au later in the day.

Chris Ryder, the new top seed, faces fellow Englishman Chris Truswell.


Four fantastic qualifying finals are in prospect in the Kent Open with four places in the main draw on offer to the winners.

Five English players won through to the finals, with two from Pakistan and one from Hong Kong after an opening night of exceptional squash.

In the longest match of the night, Chris Fuller achieved an excellent victory over the higher-ranked Neil Hitchens, triumphing 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 in 62 minutes.

Fuller meets the tall Surrey player Phil Nightingale, who overcame gallant Mote member Jonny Powell, who came desperately close to achieving his goal of pinching game in a very close second. Nightingale’s superior fitness told as he squeezed home 11-9, but Powell drew warm applause from a packed gallery for some outstanding winners.

Ben Coleman played superbly to overcome Adil Maqbool 3-1 and he faces another Pakistani, Aqib Hanif, in the qualifying finals. Hanif won a very tight match against Rory Pennell in 54 minutes, with disappointed to hit a succession of tins from winning positions.

Leo Au from Hong Kong was too fast and accurate for Jamie Mathews and eased home in straight games. He is sure to be extended in a contest of contrasting styles by the hard-hitting Robbie Downer, who triumphed against Richard Birks in the match between the two tournament reserves who stepped in after the withdrawals of Wael Farag and James Evans.

Downer blitzed his way through the opening game 11-1 but Birks worked his way back into the matchwith some intelligent squash in the second game. It was a tight battle from then on, but Downer won the third and fourth games by an 11-5 margin to boo his place in the finals.

Yasir Butt of Pakistan followed his weekend triumph in Lahore by beating Richard’s brother Andrew Birks, responding strongly after losing the opening game.  Birks plays a game with deft touch and superb use of the lob, but ultimately Butt’s drops were tighter and his shot placement was more accurate. However, the Birks brothers look sure to make in impact on this game with their measured style of play.

Butt’s opponent in the qualifying finals will be Alex Ingham, who overcame the Kent county captain Neil Baker in straight games, but the improving Baker worked hard to keep his opponent on court for 34 minutes.