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14 Apr 2024

Simpson Celebrates British Open Qualifying Success

9 Sep 2009

Guernsey's Chris Simpson became the only Briton to survive today's qualifying finals of the internationalSPORTgroup British Open when he beat South African Stephen Coppinger at the Northern Club in Manchester to earn a place in the men's main draw of the world's oldest and most prestigious squash championship.

Three years after making his debut in the event with a wildcard, Simpson is delighted to mark his return to the British Open. But the Harrogate-based 22-year-old, who boasts a career-high world No38 ranking, had to overcome a scratchy first game before beating world No57 Coppinger 2-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in 55 minutes.

"In the first game, I didn't think I was even going to get a point," admitted Simpson. "He's a massive guy and so unorthodox - I simply couldn't read him in the first game.

"But after that, I settled down and managed to compose myself - and from then on I was always in front."

Simpson was surprised to find himself the lone Englishman to make the main draw through the qualifiers. "The standard is so high here - there could easily have been five of us through yesterday and Chris (Ryder) and Robbie (Temple) went close today," added the proud Guernsey man.

Ryder, from Leamington Spa, battled for 71 minutes before going down 12-10, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 to Pakistan's Yasir Butt, while Temple was unable to extend his opening game advantage against Renan Lavigne. The higher-ranked Frenchman eventually prevailed 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5.

"I should have been 2/0 up - I was 7-3 up in the second - but my lack of match fitness let me down," said Temple, the world No80 from Gloucester who is suffering with an ankle ligament injury. "Renan stepped up the pace, and I couldn't live with it."

Yorkshire's Fiona Moverley produced the only upset in the first round of the women's qualifiers event when she celebrated the best win of her career by beating India's world No35 Joshna Chinappa 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9 in 36 minutes.

"She's the highest-ranked player I've ever beaten," said the 22-year-old from Hull, ranked 16 places lower.

"I've only played her once before and she beat me comfortably. But I'm a lot fitter now and I felt a lot more confident that she'd make the errors before I did," said the British Under-23 champion. "I thought I had every chance of getting a result - but I didn't underestimate her."

Moverley will now play Line Hansen, the world No26 from Denmark who beat England's Nottingham-based Emma Beddoes. "I've got the confidence now, and have got nothing to lose," added the Humberside star. "I'm going to go out and enjoy myself, and will try not to give her too much respect."

Moverley will be joined in Thursday's qualifying finals by compatriots Dominique Lloyd-Walter and Sarah Kippax. Lloyd-Walter, the world No19 and highest-ranked player in the women's qualifying competition, survived an all-English clash with Rebecca Botwright, beating her Manchester-based opponent - ranked 156 in the world - 4-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5.

"I've worked hard over the summer and was really looking forward to the match with Becky," said the 28-year-old from Guildford. "I knew she'd been training hard and I never thought it would be easy."

Lloyd-Walter will face Canada's Alana Miller for a place in the first round. "To make the main draw would be fantastic," said the Middlesex player.

Miller took just 11 minutes to earn her place in the qualifying finals when Yorkshire's Lauren Siddall crashed out, lunging to take a ball and pulling a muscle in her upper right leg. The 24-year-old from Pontefract, ranked 39 in the world, was a game and 0-7 down to the Canadian, ranked 41 in the world, when she was forced to withdraw.

"I'm really disappointed - this is a big event," said Siddall. "But I didn't want to make it worse - particularly with the Worlds later in the month."

Siddall was a late entry to the qualifying draw after the withdrawals of a few higher-ranked players. "I was really lucky getting in, but my luck ran out today!"

Cheshire's Sarah Kippax won her first round match in the women's qualifiers, beating New Zealand's Kylie Lindsay 11-8, 11-4, 11-9. The Halifax-based world No24 is now just one win away from making the main draw of the British Open for the first time at her seventh attempt.

"The British Open is one of the biggest events on the Tour and I would love to qualify," said 26-year-old Kippax. "It would be lovely to play on the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre - but I don't want to hype it up."

RESULTS: internationalSPORTgroup British Open Squash Championships, Manchester

Men's qualifying finals:
Stephane Galifi (FRA) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 18-16, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 (74m)
Simon Rosner (GER) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 (78m)
Kashif Shuja (NZL) bt Mansoor Zaman (PAK) 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5 (40m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (132m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 2-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (55m)
Yasir Butt (PAK) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 12-10, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 (71m)
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Amr Swelim (ITA) 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 5-11, 12-10 (96m)
Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (48m)

Women's 1st qualifying round:
Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt Deon Saffery (WAL) 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9 (52m)
Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt Laura Hill (ENG) 11-8, 15-13, 4-11, 11-1 (32m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (26m)
Aisling Blake (IRL) bt Lauren Selby (ENG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (28m)
Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND) 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9 (36m)
Line Hansen (DEN) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 (47m)
Alana Miller (CAN) bt Lauren Siddall (ENG) 11-3, 7-0 ret. (11m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt Rebecca Botwright (ENG) 4-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (48m)