3:18 pm
20 Jun 2024

White Waltzes Into British Open Second Round

2 Nov 2004

Nottingham's top-ranked player John White barely raised sweat at Nottingham Squash Club today as he cruised into the second round of the Harris British Open Squash Championships in just 15 minutes when opponent Mansoor Zaman conceded the match after two games.

"I'm delighted to be through, of course, but I could have done with a bit more of a workout," said the sixth seed, who had double reason to celebrate when he discovered that he had jumped from seven to five in the November Dunlop PSA World Rankings.

Zaman, the Pakistan No1, later admitted that he had not been feeling well for the past two days, with sinus problems leading to nausea and stomach pains. "He hardly went for the ball in the second game, and after two points in the third said he couldn't go on," said White, the Australian-born Scottish No1 who made Nottingham his home four years ago.

White now meets Australia's No11 seed Anthony Ricketts on the all-glass court at the Albert Hall in Nottingham, where the Harris British Open action moves to from Tuesday evening. "It's more than 48 hours before I play Anthony - so I now need to do something to get the body into a competitive mode," added White.

Ricketts, who upset White at the same stage of the tournament last year, beat English qualifier Stacey Ross 11-9 11-3 11-9 in 45 minutes to reserve his second round slot.

There was local disappointment later when Nottingham favourite Simon Parke toiled for 89 minutes against tenth seed Adrian Grant before going down to the Yorkshire-based Londoner 7-11 11-9 11-10 4-11 11-9. Parke, the former world No3 who has battled against testicular cancer and ankle surgery to fight his way back to the world's top 24, was eager to make his mark in his hometown after a run of good results including a place in the final of the English Open in August and the quarter-finals of the US Open in September.

Grant, the first black player to play for England at senior level, was celebrating his first appearance in the first round of the British Open after four attempts to qualify. The left-hander now meets France's No2 seed Thierry Lincou who defeated Pakistan qualifier Shahid Zaman 11-7 11-10 11-9 in 44 minutes.

It was a good day in Nottingham for Malaysia: Unseeded Mohd Azlan Iskandar upset Lincolnshire's 15th seed Mark Chaloner 11-7 11-4 6-11 11-8 in 58 minutes to claim one of the best wins of his career. The 22-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, born in Sarawak, has been training for three years with Peter Nicol's coach Neil Harvey and making steady progress up the world rankings.

Iskandar now meets Sheffield's fourth seed Nick Matthew in the next round after the Yorkshireman - one of three in the men's last sixteen - beat Italian No1 Davide Bianchetti 11-9 11-10 11-4 in 62 minutes.

"I felt good about today's win," said Iskandar. "I'm now looking forward to playing Nick, who I took to five games in the Tournament of Champions in New York the last time I played him."

Malaysian Sharon Wee became the only qualifier to survive the first round when she pulled off a significant upset in the women's event to beat England's sixth seed Fiona Geaves in straight games. Geaves, remarkably celebrating her 21st successive appearance in the event, injured her knee in a match against Wee in the Monte Carlo Classic last month and, while undergoing physiotherapy treatment for her injury, has not been on court once since.

"My knee was fine today, but I just wasn't match fit," said the 26-year-old from Gloucester after her 10-8 9-0 9-6 defeat in 29 minutes.

A jubilant Wee, who has just moved to Antwerp in Belgium, added: "Fiona is the highest-ranked player I've ever beaten, so I am extremely pleased with my result today."

There was a remarkable upset elsewhere in the women's event when unseeded English player Laura-Jane Lengthorn fought from two games down to beat Ireland's in-form 15th seed Madeline Perry 6-9 5-9 9-6 9-0 9-0 in 52 minutes.

"I decided not to play my normal conservative game today, and be a bit adventurous and take risks," said the 20-year-old from Preston in Lancashire. "But after two games, I realised that wasn't working, so I resorted to my usual style - and it clearly took Madeline by surprise, and suddenly I was back in the match.

"I can't really describe what happened in the last two games - but I'm thrilled to be through, especially as it's my 21st birthday tomorrow," added the surprise second round player, who now meets England's 5th seed Linda Elriani, from Eastbourne in Sussex, for a place in the quarter-finals.

Men's 1st round:
[14] Graham Ryding (CAN) bt [Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (33m)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Alister Walker (ENG) 11-7, 11-10 (3-1), 6-11, 11-4 (48m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [15] Mark Chaloner (ENG) 11-7, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 (58m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-9, 11-10 (5-3), 11-4 (62m)
[11] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [Q] Stacey Ross (ENG) 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (45m)
[6] John White (SCO) bt Mansoor Zaman (PAK) 11-7, 11-3, 2-0 ret. (15m)
[10] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Simon Parke (ENG) 7-11, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0), 4-11, 11-9 (89m)
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Shahid Zaman (PAK) 11-7, 11-10 (2-0), 11-9 (44m)

Women's 1st round:
[9] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Carla Khan (PAK) 9-4, 6-9, 8-10, 9-5, 9-6 (71m)
[Q] Sharon Wee (MAS) bt [6] Fiona Geaves (ENG) 10-8, 9-0, 9-6 (29m)
[14] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Annelize Naude (NED) 3-9, 9-6, 9-5, 2-9, 9-7 (70m)
[4] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [Q] Rebecca Botwright (ENG) 9-2, 9-4, 9-4 (19m)
Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) bt [15] Madeline Perry (IRL) 6-9, 5-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-0 (52m)
[5] Linda Elriani (ENG) bt Alison Waters (ENG) 9-5, 10-8, 9-6 (49m)
[13] Shelley Kitchen (NZL) bt Tegwen Malik (WAL) w/o
[2] Cassie Jackman (ENG) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 9-2, 9-2, 9-6 (28m)