9:08 am
24 Jul 2024

Hosts Scotland Defy Seedings To Make Men's World Doubles Semis

8 Apr 2022

WSF World Doubles Squash Championships hosts Scotland captured the headlines after their two men's doubles pairings of Alan Clyne & Douglas Kempsell (the No.5 seeds) and Greg Lobban & Rory Stewart (the No.6 seeds) both overcame higher-seeded opponents to reach the men's semi-finals in Glasgow against the odds.

Despite both Scottish teams topping their groups on Day 2, each had to navigate tricky last 16 matches earlier in the day to reach this evening's quarter-finals, with Clyne and Kempsell beating Australia's Rhys Dowling and Rex Hedrick 2/1 in 79 minutes and Lobban and Stewart overcoming Hong Kong's Tsz Kwan Lau and Henry Leung by the same scoreline in 47 minutes.

Clyne and Kempsell faced another Australian pair in the quarter-final: No.3 seeds Zac Alexander and Ryan Cuskelly. In the match of the tournament so far, the tie swung back and forth as Australia responded to Scotland's heavy first game win with an 11/8 win in the second. With the scores at 10/10 in the decisive third game, both sides knew that a single mistake would prove fatal. To the joy of the home fans, Scotland held their nerve, with Kempsell finishing the match with a powerful backhand between Alexander and Cuskelly.

Speaking after the match, Clyne said: "That was an unbelievable match, the quality that Douggie produced was great and I was happy with the way I played as well. We played some great doubles, but we had to against them! They're one of the top pairings in the world and we haven't had an easy draw. The Australians were unbelievable and I was so pleased with us."

Kempsell added: "A lot of things were going through my head at 10-10. That's the first time I've been in that position at such a crucial point. You're constantly thinking 'don't make mistakes, don't make mistakes,' but you still have to be positive. I think we did that, and it paid off in the end."

Both Scottish teams will face English opponents in the semi-finals, with Clyne and Kempsell taking on No.1 seeds Declan James and James Willstrop, and Lobban and Stewart playing No.2 seeds Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller, who beat Wales and Malaysia, respectively.

In the women's event, the group stage came to an end as New Zealand's top seeds Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy and England's No.2 seeds Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters topped the two groups.

Reflecting after an impressive 2-0 win over Malaysian No.4 seeds Rachel Arnold and Sivasangari Subramaniam that ensured New Zealand would end the group stage unbeaten, King said: "I think today is the most pleased I've been with all my partnerships. Over the last couple of days with Paul [Coll, King's mixed doubles partner], I had been a little flat and without the intensity we like to play at but we started off well today with Amanda and then got better with Paul and we finished very well. I'm very pleased to have topped the group, but now it's the business end of the tournament and we just want to keep going with this momentum!"

New Zealand's opponents in the semi-final will be No.3 seeds Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik, who, despite a defeat to England in their final game, were able to qualify in second place.

Pallikal-Karthik, who has returned to squash after giving birth to twins late last year, said: "It's a nice feeling to be back in the semi-finals. The job's not done yet, obviously, but we're happy to be there and hope we can do well tomorrow. Because of COVID and me being away, Joshna and I have not had as much match-play as we would have liked, but we're getting better with each match and hopefully we can do well tomorrow and make it to the final."

Perry and Waters, meanwhile, will play Arnold and Subramaniam in the other semi-final.

In the mixed doubles, the group stage of which concludes on Day 4, there were wins for Scotland, Malaysia, Wales, India, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong, with the 2/1 win for Hong Kong's Max Lee and Liu Tsz-Ling over South Africa's Christo Potgieter and Cheyna Wood the pick of the bunch.

Day four of the WSF World Doubles Squash Championships gets underway on Friday in Scotstoun Leisure Centre, Glasgow and will be streamed live on Youtube, the WSF and Scottish Squash Facebook pages and on the Olympic Channel. In addition, BBC Sport and iPlayer will stream the 18:45 women's semi-final, the 19:30 men's semi-final and the 20:15 mixed semi-final.