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28 May 2024

Parker Leads English Charge In Madeira

24 Jul 2015

Leicester teenager George Parker led a quartet of English players through to the quarter-finals of the Madeira International Open after sweeping past Remo Handl of Switzerland in straight games.

The third seed, who triumphed at the European Junior U19 Championship in March, needed five game balls to take the opening game, but eased through the next two untroubled to record a 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 success at the PSA M5 squash event in Canico, Portugal.

The victory was the first by the world No.113 since losing the final of the Kent Open last month. Parker was also joined in the last eight by Mark Fuller, Lyell Fuller and Joe Green to cap a successful day for the English contingent.

There was heartbreak, however, for Irish qualifier Brian Byrne, who fell to top seed Alejandro Garbi Caro in four games at the Onda Revital Club.

The 32-year-old from Castellon admitted he "did not expect such a tough match" against Byrne, who is ranked 318 places below the Spanish number three in the PSA World Rankings.

The Dublin-based deputy head teacher briefly threatened a major upset after taking the second game, but Caro regained the initiative to triumph 11-2, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7.

"The match was reasonably close but the games just ran away from me at around five all in the third and fourth games," lamented Byrne afterwards. "I think I pushed him hard but his experience probably made the difference in the end."

The world number 110 will take on Green for a place in the last four, after the seventh seed outgunned fellow compatriot Sam Ellis in straight games.

Ellis, who was the top qualification seed, struggled to keep the ball out of the tin for much of the match and eventually succumbed to an 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 defeat in just over half an hour.

Green said: "I have made three quarter finals in a row now and overall, I am probably playing some of my best squash. It will be a tough game [against Caro] and he will be a heavy favourite. He is definitely beatable, though, and I think I can cause him plenty of problems."

In the bottom half of the draw, fourth seed Mark Fuller brushed aside Spanish qualifier Pascal Gomez 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 to book an all-English clash with unrelated compatriot Lyell Fuller.

Lyell also advanced with relative comfort against home favourite Claudio Pinto 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 and has already set his sights on avenging a four game loss to Mark at the Brest International Classic earlier this year.

"I had a close match with Mark a couple of months ago, so I will definitely be looking for a bit of revenge," declared Lyell. "I have been knocked out in too many quarter finals recently, but I have been training really hard and I feel pretty confident about the state of my game."

Meanwhile, second seed Jan Koukal secured a safe passage through to the quarter final stage following an 11-9, 11-9, 11-3 victory over Joeri Hapers of Belgium.

Next up for Koukal, who is looking to tie Nick Matthew and Amr Shabana on 33 PSA World Tour titles, is Portuguese number one Rui Soares, who battled past Tom de Mulder 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5.

Tristan Eysele completed a clean sweep for all the seeded players after overturning a 2-1 deficit to prevail 11-3, 3-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 against Egyptian qualifier Omar El Tahry.

The South African eighth seed, who is rewarded with a last eight clash against Parker, was indebted to fellow competitor Byrne, after snapping the strings on two different rackets midway through the second game.

Armed with Byrne's spare racket, while his wife fetched another from their hotel room, Eysele returned to the court and attempted to quell El Tahry's impressive shot-making at the front of the court.

El Tahry, who studies mechanical engineering at Plymouth University, was winning plenty of admirers with a number of deceptive drops and nonchalant flicks, but Eysele managed to wrestle control back to deny the 18-year-old a maiden quarter-final appearance in only his second PSA tournament.