With the singles medals decided, it’s on to the Doubles, with pool matches in the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed events, and with action taking place on the wider courts with the new 13-inch tin it promised to be great fun.
Gold Medal Star David Recovers In Doubles Debut In Glasgow
After Monday’s exhilarating climax to the Commonwealth Games Squash singles action in Glasgow, players from 25 nations switched to doubles squash at the Scotstoun Sports Campus in Scotland’s largest city.
Overnight, the venue’s squash courts, including the spectacular all-glass showcourt, were converted to 27 ft wide doubles courts (six feet wider than for singles) – incorporating, for the first time at the Games, a lower, 13-inch, ‘tin’.
Both singles gold medallists were in action: Men’s winner Nick Matthew, the 34-year-old world No2 from England, successfully began the defence of his Men’s Doubles gold medal with partner Adrian Grant, comfortably winning both Pool matches.
But Nicol David – the Malaysian who, like Matthew, successful retained the singles title she won in 2010 in Delhi – suffered a scare in the Women’s Doubles when a game behind and 5-0 down in the second against unseeded underdogs Megan Craig& Kylie Lindsay, of New Zealand.
At 10-all – game-ball for the fourth seeds but match-ball for the Kiwis – David’s partner Low Wee Wern struck a ball which died in the back wall nick to win the game.
The Penang pair went on to clinch the match 7-11, 11-10, 11-6 in 42 minutes.
“The shot came at the right time,” said Wee Wern. “I’ve been trying that all match and it worked.
“They’d had a bit more practice over the last two days – when Nicol was a bit busy!”
When asked to sum up the match, David said: “It was close! We’ve got a good partnership – and we’d played them before so we knew what they were like.
“I had a quiet celebration last night – I had to get ready for this.
“Doubles is a bit different from singles – and you could see that in the first game – but it’s a nice feeling playing doubles. It’s all about putting tactics together.”
“We’ve not had a lot of practice because of my injury – and I need to give a big shout to England team-mate Tom (Richards) who stepped in and really helped Adrian get the competition he needed,” said Matthew. “It was really strange watching them practise while I was recovering.
“It felt like I had a hangover when I woke up this morning – which I didn’t – and I’m now feeding off Adrian’s energy. He’s so keen.
“Anything can happen in doubles, for sure. In Melbourne, we thought our singles strength would carry us through, but it didn’t, and we learnt from that.”
Matthew had earlier described the previous day as ‘the best sporting day of my life’: “It was pretty emotional, there’s not been much time for it to sink it as it was straight back to doubles.
“I think I will really digest it next week. I’ve got to have the mentality that the job is not done, it’s only half way done.”
Grant added: “What Nick achieved was fantastic – both for him and for the sport.”
Squash legend David Palmer finally made his Glasgow 2014 debut – lured out of retirement to make a fifth successive appearance in the Games for Australia. The 38-year-old former world No1 and world champion opened his campaign in the men’s doubles, partnering world No20 Cameron Pilley and bidding for a record seventh medal, but a first gold.
“It feels special being here,” said Palmer. “After watching all the matches all week, it’s great to get onto the court.
“I wanted to play with Cameron – I think we match each other well. His style is perfect for us and he’s done really well here this week in the singles.
“I’m here trying to win medals for Australia – I’ve got three matches today, but I’ve prepared for it. I’m missing that gold medal – I came close in Delhi.”
In commenting on the new doubles format, Pilley added: “I think the new format is good – before, it wasn’t exciting but now it’s good for the crowd. It’s now really exciting and more attacking. I think it’s here to stay.”
England pair Daryl Selby and Sarah Kippax also made their 2014 Games’ debuts after supporting their team-mates through the singles. The duo despatched Trinidad & Tobago’s Kerrie Sample & Colin Ramasra 11-1, 11-4.
“Sarah and I came together quite late as a pair, but we know each other well and have forged a good partnership,” said Selby. “We’re seeded six, so not expected to medal, so if we do it will be a massive bonus.”
On comparing the two disciplines, Selby continued: “I’ve always enjoyed playing doubles but we just don’t play it enough for it to be something that I am 100% confident in my ability in.
“With singles, I go on court and I know what I’ve got to do – the tactics are sorted beforehand and it’s automatic. It’s like driving a car, you don’t think about it.
“But in doubles, it’s still squash – but it’s like driving a lorry instead of a car! You don’t do it very often, and you are manoeuvring something that you are not 100% comfortable with.”
The only significant upset of the day came in the men’s doubles where Welshmen Peter Creed & David Evans, the No10 seeds, beat Indian pairing Saurav Ghosal & Harinder Pal Sandhu, seeded seven, 11-8, 11-3.