The top seeds have safely made it through the opening night of the Fitzherbert Rowe Manawatu International Squash Classic. The SquashGym Club was a buzz on the opening night with players from Australia, Pakistan, Japan and New Zealand all taking to the court in the opening round.
The top two seeds Mike Corren (Australia) and Kashif Shuja (Palmerston North) are through to the quarter finals but Corren was pushed at times by Auckland’s Alex Grayson who managed to sneak a set of him. Grayson was offered a wild card by tournament organisers as he is on the comeback trail from a serious knee injury he suffered last year. He proved worthy of this pushing the tournament favourite for parts of the match. Shuja had an easier opening match defeating Lance Beddoes from Auckland in three straight sets.
Another Palmerston North player Joseph Watts is also through to the quarter finals after defeating Jamie Skiffington (Rotorua) in straight sets. Watts now plays top seed Corren in what should draw a big crowd tomorrow morning at his home Club.
Third seed Evan Williams (Wellington) was not troub led in defeating Palmerston North qualifier Regan Smith. Williams now comes up against Pakistani Naseem Khan who upset the higher ranked Luke Sims of Australia in straight sets.
Thursday night qualifier Mike Pittams (Auckland) al most pulled off an upset taking Australian Tim Cowell to five sets in the match of the round. Cowell was up two games to one but couldn’t close it out in the fourth with Pittams taking it 13/11.
With the match poised at 8/7 in the fifth Cowell was able to kick on and finish Pittams 11/7 to progress to the quarter finals.
The upset of round one was Christchurch qualifier Andrew Ellis defeating Japanese player Ben Takamizawa Harris who is ranked 199 in the world. Ellis defeated Pakistani Suleman Khan in qualifying on Thursday night and continued his good form to upset the much higher ranked Japanese player.
Tomorrow’s quarter finals get underway at 11.00am with the semi-finals tomorrow evening from 5.00pm.
Mike Corren (1) beat Alex Grayson 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5. 46 mins
Kashif Shuja (2) beat Lance Beddoes 11-7, 11-7, 11-7. 28 mins
Evan Williams (3) beat Regan Smith 11-6, 11-3, 11-9. 23 mins
Paul Coll beat Chris Lloyd (4) 11-8, 11-4, 11-7. 32 mins
Joseph Watts beat Jamie Skiffington 11-4, 11-8, 11-7. 25 mins
Naseem Khan beat Luke Sims (5) 11-8, 11-1, 11-5. 29 mins
Tim Cowell beat Mike Pittams 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7. 52 mins
Andrew Ellis beat Ben Takamizawa Harris 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6. 29 mins