Twenty-seven-year-old French World No. 23 Mathieu Castagnet, from Aix-En-Provence, pulled off one of the upsets of the opening day at the 2014 Allam British Open in Hull, beating Spanish World No. 7 Borja Golan in a dramatic 3-2 contest.
In a back-and-forth battle, Castagnet opened up an early one game lead before falling behind 2-1. He restored parity to force the match into a deciding fifth game and sealed the victory with in a tense 11-6 game, after being forced off the court to receive medical attention following a collision which left him bloodied on the eye.
It was an incident which visibly spurred on Castagnet, as he returned to the court pumped and quickly established a 10-5 lead, before eventually seeing the match out 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 1-11, 11-6.
“It’s the first time I’ve reached the second round of the British Open so I’m really happy and even more so to beat someone who is in the top ten in the world as well, ” said Castagnet.
“I think Borja was a little bit tight and nervous today and I’m just delighted to win the five matches.
“I’ve been used to having to go off court and back on recently as I got five stitches during the French national championships and 12 stitches in a recent PSA event so I was able to stay focused and start again at 100 per cent.
“I’m really happy to be coming back on Wednesday, first thing I need to do is change my flight and then I will prepare myself as best I can for the next match.”
English squash World Champion Nick Matthew got his 2014 Allam British Open title challenge off to a winning start, dispatching compatriot Joe Lee 3-0 in his first round match at the KC Sports Arena in Hull.
Thirty-three-year-old Matthew from Sheffield, a three-time British Open champion, won 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 and will now take on World No. 10 and fellow English Commonwealth Games hopeful Daryl Selby in the second round on Wednesday as he bids to win the ‘Wimbledon of squash’ for a fourth time.
Essex native Selby booked his place against Matthew with a 3-1 win over Indian national champion Saurav Ghosal while their was further success for the host nation as Londoner Adrian Grant, World No. 24, booked his second round place at the expense of Hong Kong’s Leo Au.
“Joe showed that his all round game has improved recently and he really opened my lungs today, ” said Matthew.
“He hit some great shots and when I relaxed he was on it so I’m really pleased to get through that as it could have got ugly after the first game.
“I’ve got a day off tomorrow which I’ll make the most of and it’s nice to have the luxury of going home to Sheffield during this event.
“I’ll go home and prepare for Wednesday and I’m excited to see this venue full later this week. It’s great to be playing in Yorkshire so I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Saffery & Evans Produce Historic Welsh Double in Hull
Report and images courtesy of the Women’s Squash Association.
There will be double Welsh interest in the main draw of the Women’s British Open for the first time this millennium after Deon Saffery and Tesni Evans both survived today’s qualifying finals of the 2014 Allam-sponsored event at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre in Hull.
Deon Saffery produced the day’s biggest upset, fighting back from two games down to beat Ireland’s world No. 31 Aisling Blake 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 in fifty-one minutes.
Welsh champion Saffery, ranked fifty-two in the world and the lowest-ranked player to make the main draw, is rewarded with a first round meeting with Omneya Abdel Kawy, the No11 seed from Egypt.
Twenty-one-year-old Tesni Evans will also be celebrating her maiden appearance in the historic championship’s main draw after defeating thirty-year-old New Zealander Kylie Lindsay 11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 11-4.
Evans, ranked thirty-two in the world, will line up against Indian number one Dipika Pallikal, the world No. 10.
A pair of Egyptians also prevailed in the qualifiers: sixteen-year-old Nouran Ahmed Gohar was successful at her first attempt, beating Japan’s twenty-four-year-old Misaki Kobayashi 11-8, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6 – while Heba El Torky earned her second appearance in the first round after surviving the day’s longest battle.
The 23-year-old from Alexandria fought for ninty-five minutes to overcome Mexico’s former world No. 11 Samantha Teran 11-8, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11. El Torky will now line up against favorite Nicol David, the world No. 1 from Malaysia bidding to win the title for a fifth time.
There were additional qualifying wins by Australian Donna Urquhart, Canadian Samantha Cornett, Malaysian Delia Arnold and Siyoli Waters of South Africa.