Day Three, Last Sixteens

The squash competition starts to get serious on Day Three with, for the most part, the top sixteen seeds battling it our for places in the quarter-finals.

There were two significant upsets as Scotland’s Rory Stewart beat 3/4 seed Patrick Rooney and Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold ousted women’s 5/8 seed Tesni Evans.

Stewart stuns Rooney as Quarter-Finalists are decided

Scotland’s 9/16 seed  seed Rory Stewart delivered the shock of the tournament so far as he produced a stunning comeback to knock out England’s 3/4 seed Patrick Rooney 3-2 and set up a quarter-final against defending champion James Willstrop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rooney went into the match with a 3-0 head-to-head record over Stewart, with their most recent match a straight-games victory for the Englishman in the PSL Cup in May. The Scotsman deservedly took the first game 12-10. Rooney improved in the second game, levelling 11-7 before edging in front with a fiercely contested 12-10 of his own.

Rooney made a confident start to the fourth game and must have thought he had one foot in the quarter-final when he raced into a 7-0 lead, but Stewart fought back and saved four match balls forced the match into a fifth game 13-11.

Stewart then put together another spectacular scoring blitz to race from 4-3 down to an 11-4 win after a brief wait for a video review to confirm his win.

“I’m delighted,” Stewart said afterwards. “To be honest I’d have said to myself I was probably getting beaten and to do anything more than that, I’d be happy to accept as a bonus. I definitely felt the tension. I think [my Scotland teammates] probably all thought I was 7-0 down. My ranking is lower than Patrick, but on a glass court I can pull off wins like this. There are a lot of Scots here and I’m glad they got to see this!”

Despite Rooney’s loss the England team may reflect on the day as being a positive one overall after the other five members of their contingent recorded wins to reach the quarter-finals.

3/4 seed Georgina Kennedy despatched Canada’s Nicole Bunyan while James Willstrop capped his 200th England appearance with a comfortable win over Pakistan’s Nasir Iqbal.

Reacting after her 11-3, 11-1, 11-3 win, Kennedy said: “It’s crazy, I’ve said a few times that it’s been a dream since I was a girl to compete with Team England and just to be here is a life goal achieved. “But now, after the successful year I’ve had, my perspective has changed. I don’t want to just show up. I want to reach the podium. I’m so lucky to play on this glass in front of an amazing crowd.”

Earlier in the day top seed and Paul Coll avoided suffering a similar fate to Rooney when he fought back from a game down against spirited Welshman Emyr Evans, saving a game ball in the fourth to avoid the need for a decider, setting up a quarter-final match against England’s Adrian Waller, who brushed aside Jamaica’s Christopher Binnie 3-0.

“I think Emyr did really well. He put in a great performance and should be proud of himself today, he really made me work for it,” Coll said.

Elsewhere, India, Malaysia and Wales sent two players each into the quarter-finals.

For India, men’s 3/4 seed Saurav Ghosal and women’s 3/4 seed Joshna Chinappa put in assured performances to put away Canada’s 9/16 seed David Baillargeon and New Zealand’s Kaitlyn Watts, while Malaysia’s 9/16 seed Rachel Arnold upset Wales’ 5/8 seed Tesni Evans to join compatriot and 5/8 seed Eain Yow Ng in the quarters after he beat Canada’s Nick Sachvie.

There was consolation for both Wales and Canada, though, after Welsh No.2 seed Joel Makin and 5/8 seed Emily Whitlock progressed through to the quarter-finals, while Canada’s 5/8 seed Hollie Naughton beat Malaysia’s 9/16 seed Aifa Azman for a second-successive 3-0 win.

Completing the draw is women’s top seed and defending champion Joelle King, who will play England’s 5/8 seed Lucy Turmel, and Scotland’s 5/8 seed Greg Lobban, who beat Malaysia’s 9/16 seed Ivan Yuen in a see-saw encounter.