Queensland’s Sunil Seth stunned New Zealander Chris Lloyd as the first round of qualifying for the HI-TEC Australian Open began in Canberra on Sunday.
Playing the first match of the day, world number 321 Seth outplayed Lloyd, a player ranked 178 places above him, to win in four games 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7.
Seth spent over a year in England in 2011-12 and has only recently moved back to Australia to play on the Australian Squash Tour. He said the move back had unsettled him, which had resulted in a series of disappointing results, and he said his win over Lloyd was just the tonic he needed.
Seth was in control for most of the first two games, jumping out to big leads and holding off fight backs from the New Zealander as Lloyd struggle to cope with his pace around the court.
Seth suffered from nerves in the third game as Lloyd lifted, but he recovered to take the fourth relatively comfortably.
“I haven’t won a lot of matches lately, there’s been a lot of change coming back home from England – I’m just trying to get used to it again,” Seth said. “But finally I’ve won a match so I’m just happy that I won.”
He said he became nervous in the third as he thought about the win: “Because I’ve lost so much this year I got a bit nervous and started doubting myself.”
Seth now takes on Adelaide’s Justin Beard, who crushed Brisbane’s Josh Stack-Masula 11-4, 11-6, 11-6.
The two Scotsmen in action, Greg Lobban and Kevin Moran, both enjoyed straight games wins, Lobban over Japan’s Ben Takamizawa-Harris 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 and Moran over dangerous Egyptian Tarek Salah Shehata 11-9, 11-7, 11-6.
“I’m feeling more relief than anything because I played him in Sydney and I just beat him 3/2 and it was really tough.” Moran said. “I was just looking to take the experience away from that match and work out a game plan. I managed to do that and I’m happy to get the win — because I played him before I knew exactly what to do against him.”
Moran has a second difficult match on Sunday against Argentina’s Gonzalo Miranda, who impressed in his 11-9, 14-12, 11-5 win over New Zealand’s Joseph Watt.
“It was a tough draw, one of the toughest draws that I could have had,” Moran said about playing Shehata and Miranda. “It doesn’t get any easier tomorrow. I played Gonzalo in Tasmania and I lost quite a close match three-love. But there’s no pressure on me tomorrow, all the pressure’s on him.”
Corren was in outstanding touch in the first two games only for Song to storm back and win the third in extra points. But the 38-year-old used all his experience to dominate the Korean in the fourth and take the match in 36 minutes.
“I’ve had a very, very difficult six weeks injury-wise and it’s good to get through a match relatively pain-free, it’s a good result,” he said. “Some really positive things have happened to me with the AIS, I couldn’t be happier, I almost feel like a kid in a lolly shop.
“I’m trying new things when I play because I’m still trying to get better as a player and now I have the back-up and resources to make that happen.
“It’s just going to take time but it’s definitely heading in the right direction.”
The Tasmanian, who now is head pro at the Willoughby club in Sydney, was in total control as he moved into a clash with local favourite Josh Larkin.
“I don’t really have any pressure on me, I am relaxed,” he said. “Obviously now not being a full time player my expectations aren’t the same as they were.
“The pride is still there, I’m not going to deny that, but at the same time I’m just going out there and enjoying it now, every time I walk on court now I want to enjoy it, rather than be too tense or think ‘I have to win this match’.
“If I play well, at the end of the day it will come. Of course it would be great to qualify for the Australian Open but at the end of the day it’s not the be-all and end all for me. If I go out there and play well, I give myself a chance.”
Other winners included top ranked qualifier Dick Lau from Hong Kong, popular New Zealander Kashif Shuja, recent Tasmanian Open winner Aqeel Rehman of Austria and Australian duo Jamie McErvale and Nathan Stevenson.
Men’s Qualifying Round One:
Dick Lau (Hkg) bt Thomas Calvert (Hkg) 11/7, 11/7, 11/5 (18m)
Paul Coll (Nzl) bt Luke Sims (Aus) 11/0, 11/7, 11/7 (24m)
Mahash Mangaonkar (Ind) bt Lance Beddoes (Nzl) 11/6, 11/9, 11/5 (36m)
Aqeel Rehman (Aut) bt Josh Southwell-Nobbs (Aus) 11/6, 11/9, 11/8 (35m)
Gonzalo Miranda (Arg) bt Joseph Watts (Nzl) 11/9, 14/12, 11/5 (40m)
Kevin Moran (Sco) bt Tarek Salah Shehata (Egy) 11/9, 14/12, 11/5 (39m)
Joshua Larkin (Aus) bt James Skiffington (Nzl) 11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (22m)
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus) bt Matthew Brindle (Aus) 11/1, 11/2, 11/0 (15m)
Kashif Shuja (Nzl) bt Daniel Wright (Aus) 11/6, 11/2, 111 (19m)
Nathan Stevenson (Aus) bt Daniel Jones (Aus) 11/6, 11/2, 11/1 (16m)
Sunil Seth (Aus) bt Chris Lloyd (Nzl) 12/10, 11/8, 5/11, 11/7 (42m)
Justin Beard (Aus) bt Joshua Stack-Masula (Aus) 11/4, 11/6, 11/6 (13m)
Evan Williams (Nzl) bt Rhys Dowling (Aus) 11/2, 11/7, 11/4 (21m)
Jamie Mcervale (Aus) bt Wesley Cusick (Aus) 11/8, 11/1, 11/5 (26m)
Greg Lobban (Sco) bt Ben Takamizawa Harris (Jpn) 11/7, 11/5, 11/7 (23m)
Mike Corren (Aus) bt Song Young Kim (Kor) 11/4, 11/6, 10/12, 11/6 (36m)