5:35 pm
19 May 2024

Wildcard Panacek Stuns Khan In Giant German Open Upset

4 Apr 2024

With over 750 ranking positions separating the pair, tournament wildcard Marek Panacek pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever seen on the PSA Tour when he shocked world No.56 Faraz Khan on an action-packed opening day of the German Open in Hamburg.

The 21-year-old from the Czech Republic, ranked 813 in the world, played an attractive brand of squash, frequently deceiving his opponent in the front corner with clever holds and disguised drops on the glass court at the Sportwerk centre.

Khan was never far behind his opponent, but underdog Panacek consistently led the scoring throughout all three games, and the match ended on a mistake from Khan as Panacek collapsed to the floor in celebration of claiming his breakthrough win.

Speaking after the match, Panacek said, "It feels so special to me. I'm grateful to the promoters that I got the wildcard. I'm very happy with my performance and I'm grateful to anyone who played a big role in it. I respect [Khan] so much. I met him for the first time today. I didn't know him very well. I just went on court to enjoy and do my best as I always do. I'm super happy."

In the final women's match of the day, home favourite Saskia Beinhard came back from 2/0 down to claim victory over Egypt's Rana Ismail in a tense tussle that saw a tie break in the opening game, and a bagel in the fourth. The German struggled in the early phases of the match with Ismail consistently finding her lengths and putting the pressure onto the home favourite. The turning point in the match came in the third game as Beinhard, fought back against the 21-year-old to secure her first game of the match 11-9.

The fourth game was decisive with the German, supported by the full crowd, taking the game without any resistance 11-0. Ismail looked stunned by the sudden upturn in Beinhard's form and despite a stronger performance in the fifth game, the world No.64 pushed on to become the first German to win a match in the tournament.

"I'm feeling great," said Beinhard after the match, "I can't believe it at the moment, I actually don't know how I won that, but I'm more than happy that I did and I'm hyped to get back on court tomorrow. [The crowd] definitely pushed me. When I was 2/0 down I was just wanting to go back on the court and show what I can no matter if I win or lose - just give it one last push, show them that I can play great squash. Then they pushed me to the win, and I think that's great."

Tom Walsh defeated former world No.1 James Willstrop in an all-England affair on the traditional court. Willstrop started on form as he used his wealth of experience to maintain a lead over Walsh. Despite the younger Englishman bringing the match to a tie-break, Willstrop claimed the first game to take the lead in the match.

From the second game, Walsh's physical advantage over the 40-year-old began to become an increasingly pivotal factor, and the 24-year-old wore his opposition down in convincing 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 games to claim a place in the second round where he faces top seed Joel Makin.