12:18 am
14 Jun 2024

Selby Sinks Barker In First Nationals Upset

12 Feb 2010

Daryl Selby celebrates his triumph

After four days of action in the British National Squash Championships, sixth seed Daryl Selby produced the first upset when he beat close friend and fellow Essex man Peter Barker, the No2 seed, tonight in a four-game quarter-final at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

The pair lined up for a place in the semi-finals only days after 27-year-old Selby scored a notable upset over world No7 Barker in a PSA Tour event in Canada. And, in a 33-minute first game, the world No15 took Barker to a tie break, saving a game ball before clinching the game 14-12.

Selby took the second to extend his lead - but left-handed Londoner Barker battled back to reduce the deficit by winning the third.

Barker won six points from 2-8 down in the fourth, but Selby held off the challenge to win 14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 in 60 minutes to earn his first Nationals semi-final berth.

"It means a lot to me that I can beat someone who's world number seven," said a delighted Selby afterwards. "But it's a shame that we got drawn together - off-court we're such good friends.

"The first game was crucial and I managed to get two decent shots to win it. I think he got a bit frustrated in the second after losing the first - then he caught me off guard in the third," added Selby.

"In the fourth I got a little nervous at 8-2 up - and thought 'surely I can't lose it from here!'

"It's the first time I've come into this event genuinely believing I have an outside chance of doing well.

"And it's always a good crowd here - appreciative of squash. It's a joy to play in front of this home crowd.

"Winning this title would be more of a dream than anything else - but if I did, it would be the biggest achievement in my career," concluded Selby.

Showing no signs of ill effect from his recent shoulder injury, third seed James Willstrop earlier cruised into the semi-finals after a straight games win over Joey Barrington, the seventh seed from Somerset.

Winner of the premier domestic title in 2007 and 2008, the 26-year-old Yorkshireman was in full control for most of the match, wrapping up his 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 victory in just 38 minutes.

It was only five days ago that Willstrop was forced to retire from the final of the Swedish Open after sustaining an injury which ultimately manifested itself in his shoulder.

"I feel good - there were only a few minor confidence issues to deal with over the first part of the week," said Willstrop after his third straight games win in the event. "Whatever I did in Sweden, the body was completely out of kilter.

"Joey's very tough, and fetches everything back so he's difficult to play. And he's a good sport too," added the world No6 from Pontefract.

Willstrop won his two Nationals titles on the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre - where he also reached the final of the British Open last year. "I feel very at home here - Manchester's been a great servant to the sport and it's great to be back.

"There are a lot of Pontefract supporters here too which is fantastic - just like the old days. Let's hope they stick around for the weekend."

In the opening women's quarter-final, fourth seed Laura Massaro took on Sarah Kippax, the seventh seed from Cheshire who has not beaten the world No9 from Lancashire in 10 meetings since their junior days in 2001.

But Chester-born Kippax recovered from a game down to win the next two games - her first ever pair against Massaro - to lead 2/1.

Massaro, bidding to reach the semis for the fourth year in a row, regained her composure to wrest back the fourth and five times clawed back leads by Kippax in the decider before winning 12-10, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7 in 60 minutes.

"I don't know what happened - my brain went," said the shell-shocked 26-year-old from Preston afterwards. "But Sarah's playing really well - it's the best she's ever played against me."

Massaro arrived in Manchester after two successive Tour defeats to lower-ranked Egyptian Raneem El Weleily.

"I had a couple of bad losses recently, so I was a bit flat," explained the fourth seed. "I was 9-5 up tonight in both games and she caught up, and then went 2/1 up - and I thought 'here we go again'!

"She made me feel I didn't have any rhythm. I just had a really bad day - I'm really disappointed as I've been working at trying to think about playing and enjoying it. I feel emotionally as if I've lost."

Later, second seed Alison Waters claimed the last semi-final slot in the women's competition when she defeated Warwickshire's Emma Beddoes, the eighth seed from Nottingham, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 in 28 minutes.

Londoner Waters is flying high after picking up two WISPA World Tour titles in a row over the past two weeks in the USA.

"I can't complain," said the 25-year-old world number five. "I had a good couple of weeks in America. I was seeded one in both events, but it was still tough - and my goal was to win both.

"I'm not going to step off when I play Laura tomorrow. Being in the Nationals semi-finals is always a big occasion," said the 2008 champion who is hoping to be in the final for the fifth time in six years.

RESULTS: British National Squash Championships, National Squash Centre, Manchester

Men's quarter-finals:
[3] James Willstrop (Yorks) bt [8] Joey Barrington (Somerset) 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (38m)
[6] Daryl Selby (Essex) bt [2] Peter Barker (Essex) 14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 (60m)

Women's quarter-finals:
[4] Laura Massaro (Lancs) bt [7] Sarah Kippax (Cheshire) 12-10, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7 (60m)
[2] Alison Waters (Middx) bt [8] Emma Beddoes (Warwicks) 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (28m)