Walker Strides Into Wolverhampton Semis

4 Oct 08

Rising UK squash star Alister Walker scored an impressive upset over fourth-seeded Frenchman Renan Lavigne in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Wolverhampton Open to progress to the last four of the $30,000 PSA Tour event in its third year at Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in Wolverhampton, England.

The 26-year-old from Leeds outplayed his French opponent with a combination of high tempo length, subtle changes of pace and attacking angles and drop shots to record a memorable 16-14, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4 victory which will see the England No6 continue his climb up the world rankings.

"I felt really strong today," said the Botswana-born world No27 after his 75-minute win. "Apart from the second game, when I lost a little focus, I was really pleased to win against an opponent who has so much experience. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum going against Adrian (Grant) tomorrow in the semis."

Fellow Englishman Adrian Grant, the No1 seed in the UK's biggest club-based squash championship, overcame compatriot and local favourite Jonathan Kemp in the longest match of the evening, winning 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 14-12 in a 92-minute match punctuated with lets and repeated challenges to the referee.

Second seed Laurens Jan Anjema, of the Netherlands, fought back from a first game deficit to record a hard fought 78-minute 11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-2 win over a determined and often inspired Stephen Coppinger of South Africa.

The final match of the evening saw Pakistan's unseeded Aamir Atlas Khan clinch the remaining semi-final place. The 18-year-old from Peshawar, who upset third-seeded Australian Cameron Pilley in the opening round, defeated Pakistan-born New Zealander Kashif Shuja 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-6 in a high quality and entertain 53-minute encounter.

Quarter-finals:
[1] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [6] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 14-12 (92m)
[8] Alister Walker (ENG) bt [4] Renan Lavigne (FRA) 16-14, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4 (75m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Kashif Shuja (NZL) 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-6 (53m)
[2] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-2 (78m)