PSA KENT OPEN Qualifying First Round at The Mote
Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
returned after a nine-minute break he won four points in a row to win the game.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Ryder & Lee Make Kent Open Climax
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.
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.
victory took him through to the final of the tournament he won two years ago
before it became a PSA world-ranking event.
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.
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,
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
"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
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
Having won the
tiebreak, he powered through the second game 11-3. Hinds must have wondered what
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
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.
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
England & Hong
Kong Line Up In Kent Open Semis
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Au & Ford Make
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.