8:47 am
21 Jun 2024

Barker Battles Into Second Round In New York

21 Feb 2005

England's Peter Barker became the only qualifier to claim a place in the second round of the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions in the USA when he upset Ong Beng Hee, the 16th seed from Malaysia, 11-6 11-8 8-11 11-8 in the opening round of the prestigious PSA Super Series event at Grand Central Terminal in New York.

The 21-year-old left-hander from Essex played a poised game, hitting the ball to good length and forcing his opponent to the back of the court during the 69-minute clash. Asked what it was like to win on the court in Grand Central terminal on his very first trip to New York City, Barker needed just one phrase to sum it up: "Mind blowing!"

Barker will now face compatriot Peter Nicol. The title-holder, who is looking to win his fourth crown, delighted the capacity crowd with a clinical display of technique, focus and determination as he eliminated Pakistan's Shahid Zaman 11-4 11-3 11-1 in 31 minutes of play. Nicol, who until this past October had been world No1 for all but 15 months out of the past five years, had lost to Zaman twice in practice and once in an exhibition.

"When I play the first three or four points of a match the way I did tonight, I know it is going to be a good night for me," said Nicol.

Second-seeded Englishman Lee Beachill took just 22 minutes to send qualifier Mohamed Essam A Hafiz packing. "I am feeling quite good," said the man who is England's best player after his 11-5 11-4 11-5 victory over the Egyptian. "I feel that I have trained well and that I'm taking advantage of that in match play."

Beachill will next take on Canada's Graham Ryding who defeated Australian qualifier Cameron Pilley in three hard-fought games. "It was little tougher than I expected," said the 29-year-old from Toronto. "I am pretty happy to get that under my belt."

Ninth seed Amr Shabana gave up the first game to English qualifier Bradley Ball. "He is a hard-hitter and I didn't have my feet under me in the first game," said 2003 world champion Shabana. "But I kept my cool and stayed focused." The Egyptian secured the match in overtime in the fourth.

Shabana's countryman Karim Darwish was not so fortunate; the eighth seed was taken out of the championships by Finland's Olli Tuominen. "Darwish is very talented in the front of the court so I wanted to get him to the back of the court and make him nervous," said the unseeded 25-year-old from Helsinki after his 4-11 11-8 11-8 11-8 upset.
Fifth seed James Willstrop, who made a noteworthy debut at the 2004 Tournament of Champions with a quarterfinal finish, secured his place in the second round with a workmanlike victory over Mohd Azlan Iskandar. Willstrop will next meet Australia's Anthony Ricketts, who stopped the talented young Dutch qualifier Lauren Jans Anjema. "I lost my confidence a bit early in the year and it feels good to have it back," said Ricketts. "And I really like playing for the New York crowd - they are noisier than most of the crowds we play for and that really gets the energy up."

In the women's WISPA Gold event, two English players made it though to the first round after straight games triumphs in the qualifying finals: Stephanie Brind beat US champion Latasha Khan 9-1 9-1 9-1 to set up a first round clash with top seed Rachael Grinham, the world No1 from Australia who is making her WISPA World Tour debut this year.

The other English qualifier Alison Waters maintained the good run of form which saw the 20-year-old reach the British National Championships final at the beginning of the month - then pick up her maiden WISPA title at the Southport Open last week. Waters despatched compatriot Laura-Jane Lengthorn 9-3 9-8 9-6 in 46 minutes and now faces fellow Englishwoman Rebecca Macree, the sixth seed, in a re-run of their recent British nationals' semi-final!

Men's 1st round:
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Renan Lavigne (FRA) 11-2, 11-8, 11-4 (34m)
[15] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Simon Parke (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
[7] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (30m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt [13] Adrian Grant (ENG) 8-11, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-6 (72m)
[4] David Palmer (AUS) bt Mark Chaloner (ENG) 10-11 (0-2), 11-10 (3-1), 11-6, 11-8 (69m)
Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [14] Joseph Kneipp (AUS) 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 7-11, 9-11, 11-10 (3-1) (89m)
[6] Jonathon Power (CAN) bt [Q] Rodney Durbach (RSA) 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (42m)
Dan Jenson (AUS) bt [11] John White (SCO) 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9 (75m)
[10] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-3, 11-9, 11-7 (41m)
[5] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (53m)
[Q] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [16] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 (69m)
[3] Peter Nicol (ENG) bt Shahid Zaman (PAK) 11-4, 11-3, 11-1 (31m)
[9] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Bradley Ball (ENG) 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-10 (3-1) (48m)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [8] Karim Darwish (EGY) 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (49m)
[12] Graham Ryding (CAN) bt [Q] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-9, 11-10 (3-1), 11-8 (59m)
[2] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [Q] Mohamed Essam A Hafiz (EGY) 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (22m)

Women's qualifying finals:
Stephanie Brind (ENG) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 (15m)
Pamela Nimmo (SCO) bt Carla Khan (PAK) 4-9, 10-9, 10-9, 9-7 (62m)
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) 9-3, 9-8, 9-6 (46m)
Annelize Naude (NED) bt [6] Rebecca Botwright (ENG) 9-7, 9-6, 9-6 (53m)