Marks Quarter Century Success In London
Spain's Borja Golan
(left) marked his 25th PSA World Tour title
success tonight after surviving a marathon five-game Coronation
London Squash Open final at the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club
in north-west London.
No3 seed from Santiago beat second-seeded South African Stephen
Coppinger 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-3 in 73 minutes to become
third in the list of current Tour players with the most titles -
behind Egypt's four-time world champion Amr Shabana,
but ahead of England's world number one Nick Matthew and Egypt's
out crowd had gathered to watch the finale of the PSA World Tour
Challenger 15 event, with both players giving it 100% from the very
the Spaniard who sprang into the early lead, with some tight lengths and
impeccable lunges to hold a five-point advantage on his opponent. But
Coppinger dug his heels in and stormed through an incredible eight
points in a row to claim the first game.
refocused in the second game, went toe to toe with Coppinger as both
players demonstrated a determined refusal to let the ball die. Neither
player could forge the kind of lead seen in the first game and stayed
within a point of each other. The South African edged ahead at 6-4 with
some precision drop-shots, but the Spanish No1 tightened his game to
force errors out of Coppinger to draw level at nine-all.
Coppinger (right) desperately hunted the winning shot at 10-9, diving across the
floor on two occasions in one rally - reaching the first but missing the
second by centimetres - to force a tiebreak. Golan went on to close out
the game to draw level.
Numerous brutal rallies followed as every ball was fired tight into the
corners and both players were forced to hit tighter and tighter shots to
prevent the other from taking advantage. As a result, the error count
began to rise but to neither player's detriment as the scores remained
close throughout the third. The Spaniard crept ahead however at 7-5 and
managed to stay ahead of the world no35 and see out the game.
Coppinger's night wasn't over yet though. From 4-2 up, he reduced Golan
to snatching at shots and keeping him deep in the back. His only points
from then were two spectacular, but desperate, volley-drop kills. The
South African saw out the game as Golan admitted defeat towards the end
of the fourth game, conserving his energy for the inevitable decider.
turned out to be a wise tactic by Golan, as he seemed refreshed coming
back on court for the final game of the match. He took an emphatic 6-0
lead as Coppinger seemed to have grown sluggish during the break. By
then it was too far for the South African to come back from and Golan
closed out the match to claim his historic title success.
you play a final like this, the score is not important," said Golan
later. "Steve is playing really well at the moment, and since I've been
back from injury I can't remember playing such a hard match. So to win
today I really had to play out my skin!
"Playing here in London has been great. The court is really nice to play
on and the people here, the spectators, they are really kind. I played
Englishman Chris Simpson in the semi and they still clap both
players and are just pleased to see to great squash. The crowd has been
very respectful and it's really nice to experience.
a great thing for me to follow (Australian) Stewart Boswell on
the trophy. To me he was a great example of a player. He retired two
weeks ago and I really hope I can still be playing at this level at his
Coppinger & Golan To Contest London Open Final
African Stephen Coppinger and Spaniard Borja Golan will
contest the final of the Coronation London Open after prevailing
in hard-fought straight-game semi-finals of the PSA World Tour
Challenger 15 squash event at the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club
in north-west London.
opening match demonstrated a master class in retrieval as both second
seed Coppinger and Karim Abdel Gawad, the No4 seed from Egypt,
combined patient attacks to boost the spectacle of the $20,000 event on
its fourth year in the English capital city.
consistency separated the pair throughout the match. The 27-year-old
from Cape Town always had a tighter length and was let off the hook on
numerous occasions as Gawad struck the tin more frequently.
was again evident in the second game, as three of the last four points
were errors from Gawad, resulting in the South African extending his
lead to two games.
whole match was played at a furious pace as the competitors looked to
gain control of the middle. Neither managed to dominate completely, but
Coppinger's extra years on the tour against the 20-year-old proved to be
an advantage and the world No35 closed out the match 11-8, 11-9, 11-7.
3/0 that was a really hard match," said Coppinger after the 39-minute
battle. "It felt like I was the one defending for most of it. He has
some great shots on him and he builds the rallies really well. He was
moving me all over the place.
just hope the guys in the other semi have a really long match now,"
added the South African champion, now in the 13th Tour final of his
career and looking for his third title of the year.
other semi, Borja Golan faced surprise opponent Chris Simpson, the
unseeded Englishman who upset Pakistani favourite Aamir Atlas Khan
in a 71-minute quarter-final.
Spaniard started quickly and Simpson was forced to play catch-up for
much of the first game. The initial rallies saw third seed Golan hitting
a good length and looking in control of the tee, with much of Simpson's
play being recovery shots.
Englishman was always just off the pace and Golan closed out the first
game in 21 minutes. Simpson responded well in the second, attacking
confidently and claiming some outrageous backhand volleydrops. At 6-4
up, he looked to have turned a corner after coming so close in the first
game - but Golan was not about to lie down and let him have it.
world No25 from Santiago put together a surging run that saw him take an
impressive seven points in a row to claim the second game with Simpson
unable to retaliate.
the Guernsey-born Englishman was visibly struggling to stay in the game.
Golan continued his unanswerable streak with a further six points in the
third game, and Simpson was clearly weighed down by his efforts in the
quarter-finals. More errors came by his racket and Golan had only to
keep up his consistency and ride the Englishman into the ground before
claiming the match 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 after 42 minutes.
goal is to just keep improving my ranking," said Golan, the former world
No10 who is climbing back up the rankings after career-threatening knee
surgery. "And I am achieving this slowly but surely at the moment.
played Chris about three months ago and won 3/0, but today was a
completely different game," added the 28-year-old Spaniard, now in the
34th PSA Tour title of his career. "He has improved a lot and it was a
very tough three games. I'm glad it wasn't longer. I tried to push him
as much as possible after his 3/2 yesterday and thankfully he began to
Simpson Boosts Home Hopes In London Open
kept English title hopes alive in the quarter-finals of the
Coronation London Open after surviving a brutal five-game match to
upset top seed Aamir Atlas Khan at the squash event at the
Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club in north-west London.
unseeded Guernsey-born 24-year-old found a game plan and stuck to it
well to claw his way back into the game after a slow start. A cat and
mouse scenario ensued at 10-all, but it was the underdog who came out on
top, thanks to some dominant forehand lengths and impeccably tight
threat level rose and fell throughout the match - the Pakistani
attempting spectacular cross-court winners, yet more often playing
through spells that were very much attritional-focussed. A more dominant
phase saw the 21-year-old from Peshawar cause Simpson some serious
problems as he claimed the second game.
Simpson worked well and came to hold three game balls in the third. With
a maturity resembling England's very top players, he patiently waited
for his opportunity to close out the game and not panic as his opponent
chipped away at the deficit, before coolly dispatching another
another dominant spell in the fourth game, the Pakistani No1 tried
another tack - forcing Simpson to the front more often and avoiding his
strong forehand side in favour of the backhand wall. This period saw him
level the match at two-all to set up a tense decider.
Simpson sprang to a four-point lead early on in the fifth, but the gap
was quickly closed. The players remained within a point of each other
until nine-all when the referee called Khan's retrieval a double bounce,
to conflicting reactions from both the crowd and players.
Simpson again kept a methodical head throughout the final rally and
finished off the match-ball on the first attempt to win 15-13, 7-11,
11-9, 9-11, 11-9 after 71 minutes.
over the moon with that win," said a beaming Simpson. "That's probably
the best result I've had in a good few years.
didn't have the best of starts, but I managed to play into my game plan
and stuck with it throughout," added the Harrogate-based world No51.
"That was especially important in the last game when I started to get a
bit edgy. I knew my drops had to be tight against Aamir, he's so quick
around the court.
just need to get some sleep now and I'm looking forward to facing Borja
the No3 seed from Spain, beat 21-year-old Egyptian Andrew Wagih
Shoukry 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 in an entertaining, fast-paced, match.
never played Andrew before," said the Spaniard, a former world No10.
"But I know he's a very up-and-coming Egyptian player. He's a very
dangerous player if I left the ball loose so it was important for me to
concentrate tonight. It was an intense match - not your typical 3/0 win
- and I'm glad to make it off in court in three."
will be Egyptian interest in the other semi-final where fourth seed
Karim Abdel Gawad takes on Stephen Coppinger, the No2 seed
from South Africa.
the 20-year-old world No44 from Cairo, faced the competition's last
surviving qualifier Eddie Charlton, the Englishman who scalped
Robbie Temple in round one. The match went the full distance, the
Egyptian recovering from the loss of the first game to win 9-11, 11-8,
11-6, 13-15, 11-7 after 76 minutes.
a very talented Englishman," Gawad said after the match. "There are few
players like him, he does the basics well and retrieves extremely well
so I expected a tough game when I saw him last night against Robbie.
still feeling good, despite the five games. I didn't play today like I
would have liked. There was a lot of pressure on me and I think I played
more defensive than I normally like to play. But that's a credit to
Eddie, he was always in front of me and didn't let me attack."
Coppinger had only played Mark Krajcsak once before - the
Hungarian claiming a 3/1 victory against the Durban-born 27-year-old in
second meeting was a hard-hitting affair with Coppinger, now ranked more
than 40 places higher, looking to push up on the tee and deny his
opponent time. Neither players were flawless in their finishing, with
Krajcsak often counteracting his own efforts by regularly hitting the
tin. Errors aside, the first game and much of the second were closely
fought affairs, though Coppinger more often than not ended up on the
positive end of the rallies.
Krajcsak's movement seemed less enthusiastic as the second game
progressed and two outright winners from the South African, followed by
a Krajcsak tin allowed Coppinger to close out an 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 win in
pretty happy with the match tonight," said the top-ranked South African.
"I'm happy to be through to the next game. I know from experience that
it'll be a tough battle against Karim, and he'll be a big obstacle in my
way of getting anything from this event. But one match at a time!"
Charlton Takes Out Temple In London Upset
English qualifier Eddie Charlton produced the only upset on the
opening day of main draw action in the Coronation London Open
when he ousted fellow countryman Robbie Temple to reach the
quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 squash event
in its fourth year at the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club in
Temple, ranked 37 world ranking places above his opponent, started the
match well - and a shaky start from Charlton eased him into a first game
lead. But 23-year-old Charlton, from Nottingham, steadied his resolve
and played a consistent game to fight back and take the next three to
claim a surprise 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 win.
played Robbie in the qualifiers here last year and won 3/0, so it's good
to get another win against him," said the world No99. "He's a useful
player, and he did well in the first. I just had to try and nullify his
shots and limit what he could do on the ball."
Charlton will now face young Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, the
20-year-old No4 seed who saw off French qualifier Fabien Verseille
11-7, 11-9, 11-5 in 42 minutes.
leads home interest in the capital event. The Guernsey-born world No51
took on Steven Finitsis. The Australian qualifier started well,
hitting powerful lengths that Simpson struggled to combat.
down in the first game, the Englishman found some consistency and hit
back to set up a two-game lead. A lapse in concentration allowed
Finitsis back into the match in the third game and he duly took the
opportunity to reduce the deficit. But Simpson returned to the court
refocused to finish off the match 11-9, 14-12, 3-11, 11-1 after 75
Harrogate-based Simpson will now line up against Aamir Atlas Khan,
the top seed from Pakistan. The 21-year-old from Peshawar combined
powerful attacking shots and explosive movement to limit New Zealand
opponent Campbell Grayson's early opportunities to score points.
took the first two games - but, despite the mountain to climb, the Kiwi
refused to give up and a after a lapse in concentration from the
favourite, leapt in to claim the third game.
Clearly buoyed by the third game, Grayson was on fire from then on with
Khan struggling to finish off a rally. Numerous back-wall boasts from
the New Zealand international kept the rallies going and his retrieval
at the front was just as good.
Khan dug deep to salvage the match from game-ball down in the fourth,
ultimately winning 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10.
the third seed from Spain making his debut in the event, took on
London-born Joe Lee, a quarter-finalist in the 2010 event. The
former world No10 from Santiago made short of work his English opponent,
winning 11-9, 11-6, 11-6.
not always easy to play very well in the first round," said the
Spaniard. "But I'm pleased with the win today, as Joe is a good player
and he's always improving."
striking all-Egyptian clash saw 21-year-old Andrew Wagih Shoukry
take on 18-year-old qualifier Mohamed Abouelghar, the world
junior championship runner-up. Both players favoured an aggressive and
attacking tactic, and both outright winners and tins were in ample
Shoukry was always the more consistent of the pair, however, and had to
dig deep in the third game, coming from four points behind to close out
the match 12-10, 11-9, 11-9.