12:03 pm
16 Apr 2024

Kemp Captures First Seed Scalp In Bermuda World Open

26 Nov 2007

On the opening day of main draw action in the Endurance World Open in Bermuda, it was English qualifier Jonathan Kemp that caused the first upset when he defeated Malaysia's 15th seed Ong Beng Hee in the first round of the $175,000 flagship PSA Tour squash event in the island's capital Hamilton.

The Opening Ceremony had all the pomp and ceremony that the tiny British colony could muster, with a Proclamation from the City of Hamilton Town Crier, stirring music provided by the Band of the Bermuda Drum Corps - and Bermuda's Premier and Minister of Tourism, Dr The Hon. Ewart F Brown formally declaring the Championships open.

After winning the first two games against Beng Hee, the 27-year-old world No18, Kemp eased back and started to make careless errors, going for tight shots. The 26-year-old from Telford in Shropshire went down 0-7 and started to get back into the game, pulling back eight points before dropping the game.

But Kemp, who in three previous World Open appearances had never before progressed beyond the first round, regained his authority to record a notable 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4 victory in 49 minutes.

"Bengy and I are good friends and we train together a lot - it sort of felt like a practice match," explained the jubilant England No6 afterwards. "I managed to keep up the pace while he was a bit sluggish. In the first game it was tough - nip and tuck all the way until 8-8 and then I managed to put it away. The second was still tight but I was always just ahead. I think the pace made the difference. I tried to play as fast as I could and keep him behind me."

Kemp, the only qualifier to survive the first day of first round action, will now face former champion Thierry Lincou, the fifth-seeded Frenchman who beat sole US representative Julian Illingworth.

"I had a knee operation last summer and I'm just beginning to get back into the shape I was in before the injury," Kemp continued. "Right now I feel fantastic. I have a day off and then play Thierry. Being in the last 16 of the World Open and playing Thierry: That's why we play squash!"

Illingworth, a qualifier, put in a courageous performance against the experience Lincou. The first US player to appear in a World Open, 23-year-old Yale graduate Illingworth took the third game against the former world number one before Lincou ultimately prevailed 11-5, 11-3, 5-11, 11-0 in 42 minutes.

"In the third game, it was a lot more him than me," said Illingworth, the three-time US champion. "I got into it, got my confidence up, a few shots came off - and we had a few not so tough rallies so I was able to start running again. He started to pull back but I managed to put it away.

"He's physically strong, and he's very good at just bumping you a little bit. I've only played two in the top ten - him and (David) Palmer - and they both play the same way. I was satisfied with my performance. It's always good to play these guys. It's my first time in Bermuda and it was great to qualify. Everything else was gravy. Overall, I'm very pleased."

Later, on the all-glass show court, veteran Welshman Alex Gough pulled off another impressive upset when he beat England's Lee Beachill, the eighth seed and runner-up to Lincou in 2004. Gough, the 36-year-old British Open O35 champion playing in his tenth World Open since making his debut in 1996, twice came from behind before recording his notable 4-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4, 11-5 triumph in 74 minutes.

"Lee normally gets into a groove before attacking like he did in the first, and I got a bit panicked," conceded Newport-born Gough later. "I knew he was still carrying an injury and I had it on my mind for the first three games, then I starting hitting better length and keeping him out of the middle. Once I was able to move him around I could finish the rally.

"It's not like him to make so many errors at the end of a match. I've had a good couple of weeks training and got myself a little bit fitter. Now I'm looking forward to Tuesday."

Gough will face Egypt's Wael El Hindi, the ninth seed who saved match balls in the fourth and fifth games before coming through the longest match of the day against qualifier Eric Galvez. The 24-year-old from Puebla, who became the first Mexican to reach the main draw of a World Open, twice led the experienced Egyptian before El Hindi prevailed 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (3-1) in 99 minutes.

1st round (top half of draw):
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Renan Lavigne (FRA) 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 (54m)
[10] Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt James Stout (BER) 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (25m)
[5] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-5, 11-3, 5-11, 11-0 (42m)
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [15] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4 (49m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (24m)
[11] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [Q] Bradley Ball (ENG) 8-11, 11-8, 11-10 (3-1), 11-5 (76m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt [8] Lee Beachill (ENG) 4-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4, 11-5 (74m)
[9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [Q] Eric Galvez (MEX) 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (3-1) (99m)