select gaming Kent Open Squash Tournament
By ALAN THATCHER
Makin makes it tough for home hero Masters
Final: (Sunday June 18):
(1) Joel Makin (Wales) beat (4) Joshua Masters (Eng) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (37 mins)
Top seed Joel Makin, who was runner-up last year, claimed the Select Gaming Kent Open title by overpowering local hero Josh Masters in straight games.
In front of a packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent, Welsh number one Makin dominated the match as a tired-looking Masters looked to win points in a hurry.
Masters, the fourth seed from Walderslade, ousted No.2 seed Todd Harrity, the USA No.1, in the semi-finals, having beaten Danish No.1 Kristian Frost in the quarters and Spanish international Edmon Lopez in a fiery first round encounter.
The matches against Lopez and Harrity were brutal five-setters and clearly sapped his energy.
On the hottest day of the year, with temperatures approaching 30 degrees, the ball flew around the court making it a challenge for both 22-year-olds to adapt to the conditions.
Cheered to the rooftops by Mote members every time he stepped on to court, Masters was bidding to become the county’s first winner of the event in its eight-year history as a world-ranking tournament.
Makin settled into a comfortable rhythm early on and quickly built an 8-1 lead before Masters got a few more points on the board.
Makin closed out the game 11-5 and soon led 5-1 in the second. Masters pulled it back to 3-5 but Makin powered through to close out the game 11-4.
Masters produced his best squash in the third game, leading 5-4 and then 8-6, but Makin soaked up the pressure and won five points in a row to win the title.
A delighted Makin said: “Josh had some hard games this week and was obviously feeling the effects but I felt good all week and I felt I was moving well.
“After winning the British Under-23s, and now this, it’s great to end the season on a winning note.
“It’s been a superbly-run tournament and the players all appreciate the way they are looked after at The Mote.”
Masters revealed: “It was one match too many, I guess. There wasn’t much left in the tank after some hard matches this week and I was disappointed that I didn’t give Joel a better game.
“I was pleased to get to the final and it was great to see the club packed out every day during the tournament. All the noisy support from the Mote members gave me a lift, for sure.”
Before the men’s final, The Mote hosted a special women’s exhibition between Kent’s Gina Kennedy and Essex ace Elise Lazarus, who recently won the British Under-23 title at the age of 16.
Kennedy, who completed a successful first year at Harvard by winning US Colleges Individual title, won the match 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 13-11.
(1) Joel Makin (Wales) beat (3) Richie Fallows (Eng) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-8 (50m)
(4) Joshua Masters (Eng) beat (2) Todd Harrity (USA) 3-2: 4-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6 (63m)
Fri 16th June
(1) Joel Makin (Wal) beat (6) Jan van den Herrewegen (Bel) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11 (71m)
(3) Richie Fallows (Eng) beat (5) Adam Murrills (Eng) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (37m)
(4) Joshua Masters (Eng) beat (8) Kristian Frost (Eng) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 (50m)
(2) Todd Harrity (USA) beat (7) Aqeel Rehman (Aut) 3-2: 11-7, 7-11, 11-2, 10-12, 11-8 (49m)
By ALAN THATCHER
Top seed Joel Makin survived a tough battle against training partner Jan van den Herrewegen in the quarter-finals of the Kent Open.
Welsh number one Makin squeezed home 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11 in 72 minutes of high-quality squash.
The two players train together at the Midlands-based Robert Owen Academy and, with a familiarity of each other’s playing styles, it was close all the way through.
Makin advanced to match ball at 10-5 in the fourth game but Herrewegen put together a superb spell to win six points in a row to hold game ball at 11-10.
Makin, runner-up to Tom Ford in the Kent Open last year, turned the tables to win three points in a row to clinch the match and book his place in the semi-finals.
He will face England’s Richie Fallows, who beat Adam Murrills in straight games. Fallows looked confident, moved supremely well and finished strongly in each game.
The other semi-final is between Bristol-based training partners Todd Harrity and local favourite Josh Masters, who was cheered throughout by a packed crowd at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.
Each one battled through hugely challenging encounters. Masters weathered a fierce physical and mental battle with Denmark’s experienced Kristian Frost.
US number one Todd Harrity overcame his hotel room-mate Aqeel Rehman, from Austria, in five entertaining games.
Ironically, Masters’ three-game victory was longer than Harrity’s five-game battle.
SEMI FINALS (Saturday June 17):
5pm: (1) Joel Makin (Wal) v (3) Richie Fallows (Eng)
6pm: (2) Todd Harrity (USA) v (4) Joshua Masters (Eng)
FIRST ROUND MATCHES
(Thursday June 15):
(1) Joel Makin (Wal) v (WC) Daniel Poleshchuk (Isr) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (22m)
(6) Jan Van Den Herrewegen (Bel) v (Q) Connor Sheen (Eng) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 13-11 (36m)
(5) Adam Murrills (Eng) beat Asim Khan (Pak) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 (31m)
(3) Richie Fallows (Eng) beat (Q) Ondrej Uherka (Cze) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 (25m)
(4) Joshua Masters (Eng) beat Edmon Lopez (Spain) 3-2: 11-7, 4-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6 (70m)
(8) Kristian Frost (Den) beat (Q) Rui Soares (Por) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (50m)
(7) Aqeel Rehman (Aust) beat Mark Fuller (Eng) 3-1: 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9 (47m)
(2) Todd Harrity (USA) beat (Q) Miles Jenkins (Eng) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-6 (40m)
By ALAN THATCHER
Local hero Josh Masters battled through a severely testing first round encounter with Spain’s Edmon Lopez to reach the quarter-finals of the Select Gaming Kent Open, presented by First Business Finance, at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.
Number four seed Masters trailed by two games to one after losing a third-game tiebreak, but regained his focus to dominate the fourth.
Lopez started strongly in the fifth and, at 5-3, things looked dangerous for Masters. However, in front of a supportive home crowd, he put together a phenomenal spell of controlled, attacking squash.
Lopez was sent from corner to corner as Masters stepped up the pace and slotted a succession of high-quality winners to win the match in 70 minutes, the longest first round tussle by some margin.
In the quarter-finals Masters meets Danish number one Kristian Frost, who ended the hopes of talented Portuguese qualifier Rui Soares.
The top three seeds, Joel Makin, Todd Harrity and Richie Fallows, all advanced without dropping a game.
Makin and Fallows achieved quick victories over wild card Daniel Poleshchuk and Ondrej Uherka respectively, while Harrity labored in mid-match against Miles Jenkins.
Harrity led 8-1 in the second game but a lapse of concentration and confidence allowed Jenkins to hit back and hold game ball at 10-9. Jenkins was enjoying an impressive spell but Harrity managed to finish strongly to win it 12-10.
He was ahead all through the third game and clinched it 11-6. He now meets Austrian number one Aqeel Rehman, who saw off England’s Mark Fuller 3-1 in 47 minutes.
Adam Murrills impressively overcame Pakistan’s Asim Khan in straight games and meets Fallows for a place in the semi-finals.
Two English hopes fell by the wayside as qualifier Connor Sheen made too many mistakes against Jan Van Den Herrewegen, blowing an 8-1 lead in the first game, while Mark Fuller lost a sporting and entertaining encounter against Austria’s Aqeel Rehman.
(Friday June 16)
(1) Joel Makin (Wal) v (6) Jan van den Herrewegen (Bel)
(3) Richie Fallows (Eng) v (5) Adam Murrills (Eng)
(4) Joshua Masters (Eng) v (8) Kristian Frost (Eng)
(2) Todd Harrity (USA) v (7) Aqeel Rehman (Aut)
ALAN THATCHER’S Tues Report
The 2017 Select Gaming Kent Open began with a bang at The Mote Squash Club as the hosts’ leading players battled with visiting professionals.
A dozen Mote members pitted their skills against the visiting stars and, despite some valiant attempts by the locals, it was the pros who finished top of all four round robin groups.
Tom Hazzard was the most successful of The Mote players with three wins in his box but he came unstick against Manchester ace Julian Tomlinson.
Ryan Duke came closest to taking a game off one of the pros when he took Tiago Goriely to a lengthy tiebreak but the Belgian squeezed home 18-16.
James Wyatt beat Mote club champion Darren Heathfield but it wasn’t the result that ruined his birthday, it was twisting his ankle which meant he was unable to complete all of his matches.
Brazilian Vini Rodrigues was the outstanding player and he carried that form through to Monday’s qualifying finals.
He beat Tomlinson in straight games and then watched as Goriely beat Wyatt 3-1 in a hard match and then had to get ready for the final qualifying play-off in 45 minutes.
Rodrigues powered past a tired Goriely 3-1 to book his place in qualifying and almost sprang a surprise when he came up against Portugal’s Rui Soares on Monday.
After losing the first two games, Rodrigues fought back to take the match to a fifth game, but Soares squeezed home 11-7.
Kent Open title sponsor Jonny Powell delighted the gallery with some outstanding shots against Birmingham-based Miles Jenkins and entertained the crowd before falling to an inevitable defeat.
The top seed in qualifying, South Africa’s Tristan Eysele, suffered a shock defeat as he lost in straight games to Belgian Joeri Hapers.
The main draw begins tomorrow night (Thursday), with the quarter-finals on Friday, the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.
Sunday also includes a special women’s open day and a top-class exhibition between British Under-23 champion Elise Lazarus, from Essex, against Kent’s number one Gina Kennedy (the US College champion.
Joeri Hapers (Bel) beat (1) Tristan Eysele (RSA) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-5 (48m)
Joeri Hapers produced the biggest shock of the day, beating beating No 1 qualifier seed Tristan Eysele 3-0, in a scintillating display of squash which time and time again left fellow players in a state of disbelief over his pick-ups and incisive shots under pressure.
Tues: Connor Sheen’s top tournament dining out tip;
“You don’t want a Domino’s pizza half way through a tournament” –
You want a Wagamama!”, he declares after putting out Curtis Malik. Taminder Gata Aura was in total agreement after beating Robie Downer 3-1 in 33 mins. “He’s right” said Taminder, “Domino’s Pizza is just too much, half way through.”
Is there something in this?
“Where are you off to lads? Wagamama?”
“No. There’s a really nice looking waitress working at Zizi’s. We’re off down there”
Qualifying Competition First Round:
Joeri Hapers (Bel) beat (1) Tristan Eysele (RSA) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-5 (48m)
(8) Miles Jenkins (Eng) beat (L) Jonny Powell (Eng) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (24m)
(6) Mark Broekman (Eng) beat (L) Rory Stewart (Sco) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (26m)
(3) Ondrej Uherka (Cze) beat Nick Mulvey (Eng) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-2 (37m)
(4) Connor Sheen (Eng) beat (L) Curtis Malik (Eng) 3-1: 11-8, 16-14, 7-11, 11-4 (41m)
Matthew Broadberry (Eng) beat (7) Ben Coates (Eng) 3-1: 11-3, 11-8, 11-13, 11-5 (37m)
Taminder Gata Aura (Eng) beat (5) Robert Downer (Eng) 3-1: 12-10, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8 (33m)
(2) Rui Soares (Por) beat (L) Vini Rodrigues (Bra) 3-2: 11-8, 11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7 (57m)
Qualifying Finals, Tuesday June 14, 2017:
Sheen v Broadberry (18.00)
Broekman v Uherka (18.50)
Gata-Aura v Soares (19.50)
Hapers v Jenkins (20.30)
The Draw is out!
KENT OPEN PRE-QUALIFYING COMPETITION, AT THE MOTE SQUASH CLUB, SUNDAY JUNE 11TH (2pm start).
FORMAT: Round Robin. Everyone gets 3 matches.
SCORING: Best of 3 games. PAR 11.
The four group winners go through to the semi-finals on Monday, starting at 7pm. Followed by the final.
Semi-Finals and Final are best of 5. PAR to 11.
Monday’s winner goes through to the PSA Qualifying Competition starting on Tuesday.
Main Tournament Draw Published
Men’s First Round draw (Thursday June 15, seeding position in brackets):
(1) Joel Makin (Wales) v Daniel Poleshchuk (Israel, wild card)
(6) Jan Van Den Herrewegen (Belgium) v Qualifier
(5) Adam Murrills (England) v Asim Khan (Pakistan)
(3) Richie Fallows (England) v Qualifier
(4) Joshua Masters (England) v Edmon Lopez (Spain)
(8) Kristian Frost (Denmark) v Qualifier
(7) Aqel Rehman (Austria) v Shahjahan Khan (Pakistan)
(2) Todd Harrity (USA) v Qualifier
First Business Finance , Blade Rackets and DWL have come on board as new Associate Sponsors as Select Gaming continue their Title Sponsorship of this popular annual event, which is one of the top six PSA world-ranking events in England.