2015 Day TWO - men's qualifying finals   open in new window

I played better than yesterday I think, only in the third, we were at 3/3 and I played 2 really nice drop shots, and twice the refs called it down, whereas I asked the players outside, and they said it was good.

So it started to play on my mind, I was distracted, and thatís when Richie started to play really well. He was just too good in that one.

In the 4th, I told myself to forget about being 2/1, that I was just at the start of the match, and try and win that game. I played well up to 10/5, I changed my game plan, and again, Richie played some great squash and went for his shots.

I win the match on a no let, not the way you want to end a match of course, but so happy to get to my first British Open. Iím looking forward to the main draw, and hope that I will play good squash.

[1] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) 3-2 Greg Lobban (Sco)
         11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4 (61m)
[11] Zahed Mohamed (Egy) 3-1 Richie Fallows (Eng)
       11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8 (53m)

Two contrasting matches to start the day.

Zahed and Richie played at a very fast pace throughout. A few discussions from Richie, but then again, if he wasnít chatting to the ref, we wouldnít know itís Richie now, would weÖ. Zahed, better focused than yesterday, except in the second one where he let the refsí decisions get into his mind and allowed Richie to develop his attacking game. The English Boy save 3 match balls by just relaxing and finding superb winners, but too little too late, 11/8, 3/1 Zahed.

As for LJ/Greg, the Scot is fit, angry and willing. But he still needs to control his temper, as his frustration against himself gets in the way of his squash, and penalises him a lot. We could see it happening in the 3rd, and again in the 4th. The boy is talented and I have great faith in him for the futureÖ if he can sort out that intensity and channel it in his game, not against it.

Greg is a very good player, I played him last year in the Leagues, and the scoreline was very different, he has improved so much in a year!

The physical side is definitely playing its part in the recovery process. If you want to make it to a final, you have to play like 4 matches back to back, and thatís something I havenít done for a long time, the intensity of it, you donít have that in training.

To be honest, I found the process of recovery fascinating. When you play every day squash, you donít see any improvement to your game really, and there are so many factors, your opponent, etc. Whereas when you have surgery, you are in a cast. Then you get on crutches, then one crutch, then you are limping. Then limping only a bit, then not limping at all! I find the recovery/rehabilitation process very motivating, because you can see improvements day by day.

Then the first day you get on court. That was a nightmare. Holly sh!!! There are so many elements that need to be right when you play squash, speed, accuracy, racquet skills, etc. And it took me about 6 weeks to put all those in synch, and start playing squash, not just hit the ball around.

I never doubted I would be back. I have faith. Faith in the Human Body recovering ability. I enjoy the rehabilitation every day. Then I go to sleep. Then the same the next day. Day after day. I love it.

[13] Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-0 Victoria Temple-Murray (Eng)
         11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (30m)
[5] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-1 [15] Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
          12-10, 2-11, 11-9, 11-5 (39m)

A fast encounter between two attacking players, and our Abou playing 10 tins in the second game only. Normal day at the office for BirdsbrainÖ

I think we both play the same style of squash, we like to attack. We grew up together, we played so many times, even last month in Canary Wharf. So I knew what to do, just keep the ball tight, anything loose he would kill it and find winners.

Happy with the way I handled the match, and delighted to qualify for my first British Open. But this year, I qualify for all my tournament, and I lost all the tournaments in the first round! So Iím hoping to do a bit better this time roundÖ

Very happy with a 3/0 against Victoria, because she is a very good player and if you donít play your best against her, you just donít see the ball!

I had played her 2 years ago, it was a 3/0 as well, but more complicated for me. This time round, I know she is coming back from a serious illness, and itís really nice to have her back on the Tour.

Tomorrow, Iím playing Line Hansen, who I only played once 3 or 4 years ago. She beat me then, 3/1 I think. And Iím so looking forward to that match, thatís the kind of matches you want, a top 30 player, no pressure on me. My only aim is to play my best, and have no regretsÖ

I know, itís very long!!! Itís hard for the people that are watching and itís hard for us too! But I feel it was a mature performance, and although I didnít play my best squash, itís nice to win, especially when you are not at your top!

I just found it difficult to finish the points today, a real lack of confidence, as I tinned a few short shots, and then I starting thinking, should I go for it, or be more patientÖ So at the end, I just told myself to play a conditioned game, back to basics, and be patient. It finally workedÖ

I saw Jessica play last summer during the World Juniors, although I never played her, she hits the ball really well! This is my first time trying to qualify for the British Open Senior, so I am really excited to be here! I found it less intimidating I guess because I was playing somebody of my age group.

I arrived two days ago, so Iím getting over the jetlag, and I thought I played really well, although I could have been a bit more precise with my length, which landed in the middle of the court at times, and also more patientÖ.

Misaki is on a high at the moment, she had some good results lately, looking forward to play herÖ

[4] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-1 [16] Rex Hedrick (Aus)
              11-6, 11-9, 1-11, 11-6 (74m)
[14] Sabrina Sobhy (Usa) 3-1 Jessica Davis (Eng)
             11-5, 8-11, 11-1, 11-5 (34m)
[6] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 3-0 [9] Shaun Le Roux (Rsa)
              11-8, 12-10, 11-6 (42m)

A match under high surveillance Meguid/Le Roux, with the top three refs officiating.

Well, they did a good job, hardly a word for either of them, although a few decisions Ė they are two big boys that like to take their space.

Some good rallies, very fast pace, with a bit of a similar pattern in the three games, Shawn taking a great start, 4/0 or 5/0, then Omar catching up, then relaxing, hitting silly short shots that find the tin, getting Shawn back in the game, and then a big push from the two of them in the end.

To be noted that the 2nd was crucial, Shawn had a game ball, and the match could have been very different at 1/1Ö

I go up and down, and I donít want to go up and down I want to stay up, I want to be consistent, thatís it! I seem to play well, then go for too short too early, then find myself down, then having to pick myself up again, getting my shÖ together, and it starts all over again!!!

In the first and second game, I played too many crosscourts on his forehand, he won like 7 or 8 points like that, and also I played lousy backhand boasts. Once I got rid of that, it got much better for me.

I really did everything I could to play that second game, I gave it all I had, I didnít want to go 1/1. Iím really happy with the way it ended, I didnít do anything special, I donít remember what happened except I didnít do anything wrong!

Itís the first time I qualify for the British Open, but I seem to have a curse with the World Series, always tie-breaks, tie-breaks. So, this is the time I break the Tie-Break Curse!!!

[8] Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 3-0 Rhianne OíDonnell (Eng)
          11-3, 11-2, 11-4 (18m)
Ben Coleman (Eng) 3-0 James Earles (Eng)
           11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (40m)

This is massive for me.

I feel that this is the most prestigious event of all, especially me being from England, so Iím a bit short of words, I can only say Iím extremely happyÖ

This is the first time I experience that kind of feeling, itís all new to me, itís all what young players want to do, and Iím extremely proud Iíve achieve itÖ

But I have a biiiig problem now: I run out of kit!!! Mind you, I did state that if I was to qualify, I would gladly do and wash my kit, so this is it! Or I could ask Daryl to bring me some more downÖ. As you can see, I really donít have much to worry about at the momentÖ

Itís a good start, itís always better to try and get to qualify being as fresh as possible.

Iím having some good results lately, and itís the first time for a very long time Iím actually enjoying my squash, Iím not putting myself under too much pressure, Iím just enjoying my time on court, and not expecting astonishing results.

I never qualify for the main draw of the British, so, I hope that the saying ďThird Time LuckyĒ will work for me."

I think Iím in a good period probably yes. But I was a bit tired today, maybe because of the last tournament in Kuwait.

I was playing too fast for my own good in the first game, and I lost it. So in the second, I slowed down the pace, to take more control of the middle of the court. And it worked for me.

This is the second time I qualify for the British, I am truly happy.

[8] Leo Au (Hkg) 3-1 [13] Henrik Mustonen
               8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (54m)
[2] Tom Richards (Eng) 3-0 [14] Lucas Serme (Fra)
              14-12, 11-3, 11-0 (40m)

Lucas Hits the Wall

Bless my compatriot. He had a few busy weeks, with reaching the Irish Open final and losing like 11/9 in the 5th against Ali Farag, then clinching the decider game in the European Team champs a few days ago. And that was a lot of squash, a lot of emotions.

Today, against an In-Form Tom Richards Ė soooo nice to have him and LJ back! Ė he played a very good first game, retrieved a lot of Tomís superb attacking shots, and basically hit the wall from the second onwards. He never stopped trying, but Tomís very hard hitting mixed with superb attacking boast just emptied the French energy tank. A very harsh 11/0 to finish. Time to rest for LucasÖ

Yes, I think Iím what you can call a confidence player, although Iím trying to work on being more consistent. Recently, I realise that I was not positive enough, and I made sure that I changed that, Iíd rather lose being positive than win and being negative on court!

This season, I feel Iím really back where I was, the confidence level and the fitness level are up where I was. And Iím hitting the ball really well, which helps. Itís like a spiral really.

In the first game, I made him do a lot of work, and of course, I told myself Iíd love to win it, but somehow, I knew I had more in the can, and I was not worried. Donít misunderstand me, when I went of court, first thing I said to Camps (David Campion) was: that was a tough game. But, still, the first game was important for me, but crucial for him.

[6] Siyoli Waters (Rsa) 3-0 Lucy Beecroft (Eng)
                11-3, 11-6, 11-1 (22m)
[10] Olivia Blatchford (Usa) 3-1 Fiona Moverley (Eng)
               7-11, 14-12, 11-4 , 11-7 (34m)

The two first games were really close, I think the second was something like 14/12! After that, I just made sure I hit good length and take the ball in, and I was happy to not hit as many unforced errors as I normally do!

I played well for sure, but so did she. Iím particularly happy with my boasts, but I think I could have served a bit better. She kept playing nice drops from my serve, and I was telling myself, STOP THAT!

Fiona had the whole crowd cheering for her, I felt like I was playing against her AND her army! Fair enough of course, Iím joking, I really enjoyed it, good day at the officeÖ

Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-1 [16] Laura Pomportes (Fra)
             11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8 (60m)

Iím the youngest player, and the lowest ranked player, so nobody was expecting me to win, no pressure on my at all! I played well, but I had no confidence in my shots at all, so I kept playing to the back, and the rallies were so longÖ! It just kept going and goingÖ

I was overhitting the ball a lot in the first two games, and Mazen who was coaching me just told me to stop doing that, to make sure I would vary the pace, to play the ball soft, and then when I would have the opportunity, go for it. If I had kept on hitting all the time, I would have lost. So, thanks Mazen!

Last year, I could only dream about playing in the British Open, and here I am now, I won a game, so now, I just home Iíll play well, and make my debut on SquashTVÖ Thatís the best case scenario of courseÖ

Itís good when you can finish a game as quickly as you can and stay as little as you can on court! I never played her or even see her play, she is a young player who strikes the ball well, so I didnít take any chances...

I just won two events on the South African Tour, so I have a good momentum coming here, and hopefully I can keep that momentum going.

This is a very special tournament for me, because here is the home of my husband, so I have the whole family, all the in-laws, plus friends, plus nieces and nephews, I think I have more support than the English Players!


I didnít expect to win AT ALL today, she is a much higher ranked player but I could see she didnít like the conditions and I took full advantage of that. Normally on another day, her shots would have go in, I would have had no chance, but today, she kept hitting unforced errors and that benefitted me.

Tomorrow, Iím playing Sam, again, I never played her, and she is much higher ranked than I. Iím not sure about how she plays, I know she is a solid player, so Iíll just go out and play my bestÖ

I played great.

Oh, you want more? OK! Hopefully I can keep it up and play well against Georgina from England I never played before!

Just arrived from Chorley for the Courtcare, and right before that, I played in our Nationals and won the final against Holly Ė who just lost against TesniÖ

[3] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-1 Hollie Naughton (Can)
            7-11,11-3, 11-7, 11-7 (42m)
 [4] Sam Cornett (Can) 3-0 Chloe Mesic (Fra)
          11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)
Georgina Kennedy (Eng) 3-0 [15] Maria Toorpakai (Pak)
          11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (22m)

I have never play Hollie, and never even got on court with her.

But I thought I knew what to expect, and she really took me by surprise, Iím not used to play against players that hit that hard! So I was taken back in the first game, and found myself behind her instead of stepping in front of her.

So I slowed the pace down, got everything a bit tighter, took the pace off and worked on my length that was also a bit short in the first.

At the end of the games then, she started to make unforced errors, I donít think she was tired, maybe just frustrated. I was able to volley better and found some nice shots at the front.

I played ok, but I could have been a bit more positive, taking the game to her instead of letting her dictating the game and sitting backÖ

Tomorrow, Iím playing Nele, I just played her in the European Teams last week, so, it will be the second time! Last time, I beat her 3/0, but it was far from easy, so I know Iíll have to play well tomorrow if I want to win.


[9] Aisling Blake (Irl) 3-0 Alicia Mead (Eng)
            11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (25m)
[11] Deon Saffery (Wal) 3-0 Antonella Falcione (Arg)
           11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)

She got a good lead in the 3rd, and she just relaxed, and she was able to play her game. So maybe she was finally able to play her true game in that third, but by then, I was in the leadÖ

Close game that third, in the mid part in particular, but I edged it in the end by getting back deep in the back corners, and keep it tight, which was my game plan anyway. A leftie, you donít want to play too much on their forehandsÖ

Those matches are the worst, all the pressure is on you! I hadnít played her for yearsÖ

I lobbed well today I thought, but it was a bit of random squash, pretty bitty, itís tough to play at 8pm, and being the last one on courtÖ.

Donna, funny, we hadnít played every on the Tour, and suddenly, we play twice in two weeks! But I donít mind, sheíll have the pressure. My only regret is that she didnít have a long 3/2 against Alison, that would have made me very happy.