Scotland’s Alan Clyne survived the longest battle in the first qualifying round of the $147,500 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open to earn a place in the qualifying finals of the long-established PSA World Tour squash event – the fifth PSA Super Series championship of the year – in Hong Kong.
The 24-year-old from Edinburgh took a two-game lead against Matthew Karwalski – but the lower-ranked Australian, also 24, recovered the deficit to draw level. It was nip and tuck throughout the decider but Clyne ultimately clinched his 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 13-11 victory after 72 minutes.
“I was hoping to win it 3/0 – I was 8/6 up in the third, but then I was 8/3 down in the fifth,” Clyne explained towww.squashsite.co.uk later. “It was a bit of a yoyo match, all the games were close, it was a question of trying to knuckle down at the important moments.
“He stepped up the pace in the third and fourth, putting me under more pressure, and in the fifth I was having to go to last resort tactics, just picking everything up!”
The world No57, bidding to make his first appearance in a Super Series event since competing in the first of the year at theTournament of Champions in New York, will now face Farhan Mehboob, the Pakistan number two.
Mehboob, a left-hander from Peshawar who is ranked 30 in the world, took four games to overcome local hope Hon Fung Wong 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6.
Egypt’s Omar Abdel Aziz, the second highest-ranked player in the qualifying competition, was also taken the full distance before reserving his place in the final round. The 26-year-old world No30 from Cairo withstood a fightback by USA’sChristopher Gordon before beating the 24-year-old from New York 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3.
Aziz now faces experienced compatriot Mohammed Abbas for a place in the main draw. Abbas, a former world No13 bidding to make only his second appearance in a 2010 Super Series event, took just 19 minutes to down Hong Kong 17-year-old Cheuk Yan Tang 11-4, 11-4, 11-6.
Men’s 1st qualifying round:
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Fung Ngo Long (HKG) 11-6, 11-0, 11-6 (21m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt Choy Kit Lun (HKG) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (19m)
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt Anson Kwong (HKG) 11-5, 12-10, 11-4 (37m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Lo Cheuk-Hin (HKG) 11-7, 11-6, 11-0 (17m)
Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6 (39m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Clinton Leeuw (RSA) 11-4, 11-4, 12-10 (36m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (22m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Ho Tze Ho (HKG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (21m)
Amr Swelim (ITA) bt Kamran Khan (MAS) 13-11, 11-7, 11-9 (60m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 (48m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 13-11 (72m)
Farhan Mehboob (PAK) bt Hon Fung Wong (HKG) 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6 (25m)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Gilly Lane (USA) 6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (66m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Yeung Ho Wai (HKG) 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 (28m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Cheuk Yan Tang (HKG) 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (19m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3 (52m)
Local Players Shine In Hong Kong Open Qualifiers
Local players will contest all but two of the Women’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Openqualifying finals after a great display by Hong Kong teenagers in the $74,000 WISPA World Tour squash event – the seventh WISPA Gold championship of the year.
An impressive 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 win over compatriot Karman Siu will take 14-year-old Ho Tze-Lok into the final round, where she will meet India’s Dipika Pallikal, the second highest-ranked player in the qualifying competition.
At the other end of the draw, 15-year-old Ho Ka Po also got the better of a fellow Hong Kong countrywoman when she beat Szeto Ka-Hei 12-10, 11-4, 11-8.
However, standing in the way of Ho Ka Po making her debut in a WISPA Gold event is England’s Emma Beddoes, the world No33 who arrived in Hong Kong fresh from title victory in last week’s Hamptons Open in the USA.
Women’s 1st qualifying round:
Ho Ka Po (HKG) bt Szeto Ka-Hei (HKG) 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 (25m)
Lauren Selby (ENG) bt Ahn Eun Chan (KOR) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (33m)
Carmen Lee (HKG) bt Isabella Bersani (USA) 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (15m)
Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (22m)
Tenille Swartz (RSA) bt Choi Uen Shan (HKG) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (18m)
Yu Ra Choi (KOR) bt Chiu Ka-Hei (HKG) 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9 (39m)
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt Chan Pui-Hei (HKG) 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 (21m)
Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) bt Karman Siu (HKG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (24m)
Qualifying finals line-up:
Emma Beddoes (ENG) v Ho Ka Po (HKG)
Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS) v Lauren Selby (ENG)
Orla Noom (NED) v Carmen Lee (HKG)
Song Sun-Mi (KOR) v Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG)
Elise Ng (HKG) v Tenille Swartz (RSA)
Lisa Camilleri (AUS) v Yu Ra Choi (KOR)
Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy (EGY) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Ho Tze-Lok (HKG)