TODAY in Glasgow – Day NINE

Ten matches on the glass court, with all the players having medals in their sights. There was one significant upset, with – as far as the home crowd were concerned – the best being saved for last …

Men’s quarter-finals:

[1] Grant & Matthew (ENG) 2-0 [10] Creed & Evans (WAL) 11-9, 11-4
[4] Clyne & Leitch (SCO) 2-0 [6] Cuskelly & Karwalski (AUS) 11-7, 11-5
[3] Selby & Willstrop (ENG) 2-1 [11] Beddoes & Coll (NZL) 11-8, 6-11, 11-9
[2] Palmer & Pilley (AUS) 2-0 [8] Crawford & Lobban (SCO) 11-9, 11-5

Women’s semi-finals:

[1] Duncalf & Massaro (ENG) 2-0 [3] Beddoes & Waters (ENG)  11-7, 11-8
[5] Chinappa & Pallikal (IND) 2-1 [2] Brown & Grinham (AUS) 11-9, 7-11, 11-4

Mixed quarter-finals:

[1] Brown & Pilley (AUS) 2-0 [7] Landers-Murphy & Coll (NZL) 11-1, 11-8
[3] Grinham & Palmer (AUS) 2-0 [5] Pallikal & Ghosal (IND)  11-6, 11-9
[4] Waters & Barker (ENG) 2-0 [6] Kippax & Selby (ENG) 11-5, 11-7
[2] King & Knight (NZL) 2-1 [10] Chinappa &  Sandhu (IND) 7-11, 11-8, 11-6


Quick Reports

14CG26337First up was the men’s doubles, with England’s Daryl Selby and James Willstrop pushed all the way by giant-killing Kiwis Lance Beddoes and Paul Coll. After the first two games were shared the English duo kept ahead on the scoreboard in the decider, a tense game indeed.

“It was a war in all respects really, it’s just really intense and we had to hang in there and be tough, try and play our best squash and keep it together in a lot of momentum shifts,” explained singles silver medallist Willstrop.

14CG25993“They could have beaten us today and that is going to be able to happen every game, we know that. I can’t really explain doubles, it’s like a leveller with different angles. There is a whole different environment – but in badminton and tennis they have doubles specialists so it feels like a whole different sport to us.”

Willstrop’s partner Selby admitted: “James is a very good and calming influence on me – I wish I could have him with me in the singles. It works well for us. They are both very good doubles players – they moved us out of position a lot.”

14CG26529Coll was straight back on court for the next match, this time with Amanda Landers-Murphy as they took on mixed top seeds Kasey Brown and Cameron Pilley.

The Aussies dominated the first but the Kiwis rallied in the second, leading 7-5, but a few errors put the Aussies back in front and they closed it out to make it a good birthday for Kasey.

14CG26466 “It’s not a bad way to start your birthday. It’s great in front of all this crowd – I’m pretty happy at the moment.”

Pilley added: “We both gelled together really well then, especially in the first game. We just blew them away in the first and they warmed up in the second. But we managed to reel off about six points on the trot.”

14CG26808Top seeds and defending champions in the men’s, Nick Matthew and Adrian Grant, started will in both games against Welsh pairing Peter Creed and David Evans, leading 5-1 in both cases.

The Welshman fought back in the first, a mishit Grant winner edging the game 11-9, but couldn’t repeat the performance in the second as the Englishmen took it 11-4.

14CG27141Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro, top seeds in the women’s, led throughout their semi-final against fellow Englishwomen Emma Beddoes and Alison Waters.

The challengers came close to levelling in the middle of a second game that got a little bogged down in lets, but a couple of errors and winners put paid to that as Duncalf and Massaro guaranteed themselves a medal.

14CG27330The final match of the afternoon session was a fast-paced mixed match which saw second seeds Joelle King and Martin Knight come from a game down to beat Indian pairing Joshana Chinappa and Harinderpal Sandhu.

The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the decider, the Kiwis struck back to lead 6-3 but were pegged back to 6-all. King and Knight found five winners to finish the match off and move into the semis.

14CG27571The second session started with a straight-games won for experienced Aussies Rachael Grinham and David Palmer.

The third seeds were too crafty and strong for Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal in the first, and although the Indians rallied in the second they paid the price for leaving too many shots down the middle resulting in a series of costly ‘no let’ decisions.

14CG27402“We’re just happy to get through – we knew it was going to be tough, it was one of the hardest quarter-finals,” said Palmer. “Dipika’s very strong on the forehand and Saurav’s one of the best movers in the game. This is a critical day. Rachael has great touch down the middle of the court – her deception down the middle really worked.”

Grinham added: “Every time we get on this court it’s a great day. Each time I come into this arena, I get goose-bumps – it’s the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in. Doubles? I’m really loving it!”

14CG27913Fourth seeds Alison Waters and Peter Barker were generally on the front foot in their all-English mixed quarter-final against Sarah Kippax and Daryl Selby. The higher-seeded pair took the first comfortably enough and led 6-0 in the second.

A fightback from Kippax and Selby saw them level at 7-all but the last four points went to Waters and Barker as they went through to the semis.

14CG28202The crowd went wild as the first of the Scottish pairs appeared, Greg Lobban and Stewart Crawford taking on Aussie second seeds David Palmer and Cameron Pilley.

There was nothing to choose between them in an action-packed first game but the Aussies sneaked it 11–9 as Lobban’s crosscourt shot hit his partner. The second was level up to 5-all, but then the Aussies pulled clear to reach the semis.

14CG28685The second women’s semi produced an upset as Joshana Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal put out second seeded Aussies Kasey Brown and Rachael Grinham. The Indians edged the first, but a great start in the second was enough to see the Aussies level the match. In the thirds the Indian pair concentrated their efforts on Brown with Grinham hardly getting a look in, and it paid dividends as they ran out 11-4 winners to guarantee themselves a medal.

14CG28660“It’s historic that we’ve won a medal but we won’t be satisfied until we get the gold medal,” said Pallikal. “Every match is difficult but we have come this far and don’t want to give up. The English girls are number one but anything can happen in doubles.”

Chinappa explained the bond between the two: “Last Commonwealth Games, Dipika was sick and we had a really good chance. This time we were confident nothing would happen – we were fit and well and both of us were doing our respective training.

“We knew we would cause some upsets and it is fantastic for our Squash to finally get that first medal,” added the 27-year-old world No21. “Hopefully the government will help us more and promote the game more.

“The gold medal in any discipline is a fantastic achievement. This is our Olympics.”

14CG28818As far as the crowd were concerned the best was saved to last as Alan Clyne and Harry Leitch beat Aussies Ryan Cuskelly and Matthew Karwalski to put a Scottish pair into the semis.

Ferocious hitting from both teams, but Clyne’s solid defence and Leitch’s speciality attacks proved too much for the Aussie pair as the Scots pulled clear from the middle of both games to send the crowd into raptures.

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