Arthur Curran reports
Today we started again at the Squash Club in Zinacantepec, with three matches of the men’s first round.
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) beat [Q] Olli Tuorminen (FIN) 18/16, 11/5, 7/11, 13/15, 11/3. 61mins.
We started off today with what promised to be a close and exciting encounter and that is what it proved to be. The first game was so close all the way through until Nicolas got game ball at 10/9, but even that was nowhere near the end, as both players fought tit for tat and eventually the game finished at 18/16 in favour of Nicolas. The second game started very much in favour of Nicolas as he took a 7/2 lead then finished the game off at 11/5.
Third game was very even before Olli took a 8/6 lead then finished off to win the game 11/7. In the fourth Nicolas raced into a 6/1 lead hoping to get the match finished off, but Olli fought back to lead 8/7, and got to game ball at 10/9. Nicolas levelled and got to match ball at 11/10 but could not hold out the brave fight of Olli as he took the game 15/13 and the match into a decider. However it seemed that the fight back had taken too much out of Olli as Nicolas coasted through the final game to take the game in just two hands 11/3, and the match 3 – 2.
Simon Rosner (GER) beat [Q] Chris Simpson 11/13, 11/6, 11/8, 8/11, 11/7. 64 mins.
Another up and down 5 setter was now on the cards, although you would not have expected with Simon cruising into a 10/4 game ball lead, but Chris was not giving up and fought back to level then got game ball himself at 11/10. Simon saved that game ball but Chris served out to take the game 13/11.
The second game was very level up to 5/5 but then Simon took the initiative to take the game 11/6, and silimarly took the next 11/8. Chris was just not giving up and despite being 7/8 down, went on to take the game 11/8. With Chris visibly tiring in the fifth Simon took an 8/5 lead and despite Chris pulling back three points he went on to take the game 11/7 and the match 3 -2.
Omar Mossad (EGY) beat (WC) Alfredo Avila (MEX) mins.
Although Omar was the huge favourite to win this battle of David and Goliath he had to work very hard to overcome not only a very worthy opponent but also the huge partisan crowd in favour of their local hero. Despite the huge difference in height, weight and experience Alfredo fought very bravely but could not stop Omar taking the match 3 – 0.
Then we took a trip into the centre of Toluca for the remaining matches on the glass court.
 Peter Barker (ENG) beat [Q] Marwan El Shorbagy 11/5, 6/11, 11/6, 6/11, 11/4. 61 mins.
Borja Golan (ESP) beat  Amr Shabana (EGY) 11/9, 7/11, 11/9, 5/3 Shabana Ret’d. 48 mins.
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) beat [Q] Saurav Ghosal 11/1, 11/8, 6/11, 11/9. 71mins.
 Karim Darwish (EGY) beat Alister Walker (BOT) 11/5, 13/11, 12/10. 36 mins.
Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) beat Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11/8, 11/9, 11/4. 35 mins.
Women’s Round One
Today starts what is definitely going to be THE LONGEST DAY (was that not a film title many years ago?) We start at the club in Zinacantepec early for the women’s first round matches, which were reshuffled to cover the withdrawal of firm favourite and Mexico’s squash princess Samantha Teran through injury, a couple of the girls withdrawing because of the travelling difficulties, and three of the girls who bravely weathered the storms in New York and finally arrived here only late last evening, all of which gave two more Mexican players into the first round as lucky losers, which actually left 7 of the 8 first round matches with one Mexican player in each, which fetched a huge crowd to this lovely but rather small club to cheer on all their compatriots.
 Samantha Cornett (CAN) beat [Q] Montserrat Castellanos (MEX) 11/6, 11/2, 11/7. 19 mins.
First up brought young Montserrat, a firm favourite of the crowd, up against still young but very experienced Sam Cornett from Canada. Despite a great display by Montse the vast difference in experience showed as Sam comfortably took the match in three games
Nicollette Fernandez (GUY) beat Nayelly Hernandez (MEX) 11/4, 11/5, 11/5. 17 mins.
Although Nayelly is vastly experienced and a firm favourite here in Mexico, she came up against another very experienced player in Nicolette Fernandez from Guyana, who is really shooting back up the rankings after a long injury layoff, and the figures above show just how much the difference is in class from the lovely Nicolette, as she cruised comfortably into the quarter final.
 Thaisa Serafina (BRA) beat Zephanie Curgenven (ENG) 11/8, 11/9, 10/12, 8/11, 11/9. 38 mins.
The higher ranked Thaisa eventually overcame the brave battle by Zephanie, lower ranked but mainly because of the fact that she has not played much recently because of injury. The first two games were so very close with Zeph saving one game ball in the first and two in the second but still to lose them. Had she been able to curb the mistakes she was making she could quite easily have won these games. However Zeph played on bravely and despite Thaisa taking a 9/5 lead, she fought back to 9/9, Thaisa got match ball at 10/9, but there was no stopping Zeph as she pulled through to win the game 12/10. The fourth started very evenly up to 8/8, but then with Thaisa appearing to tire Zeph took control and won the game 11/8. The decider started with Thaisa taking a 6/2 lead, Zeph pulled back to5/6, Thaisa moved to 8/5, Zeph again pulling back to level at 8/8 and 9/9 but her recovery was not quite completed as Thaisa bravely took the last two points to take the game at 11/9 and the match 3 – 2. A great match from two very good players, played in a great spirit.
 Lauren Briggs (ENG) beat [Q] Karla Urrutia (MEX) 11/9, 11/7, 11/3. 19 mins.
This was another match pairing up a very experienced player in Lauren with another upcoming young player from Mexico Karla. In both the first and second games Karla managed with some great squash to keep the scores very close, but Lauren’s experience pulled her through to take both of the games. Lauren appears to be playing at a much better level these days, as a consequence of moving full time to train in Amsterdam with Nicol under Liz Irvine, and this showed as she eased through the third game for a comfortable win and a place in the quarter finals later today.
 Sarah Jane Perry (ENG) beat [LL] Ivonne Diaz (MEX) 11/8, 11/2, 11/7. 19mins.
 Siyoli Waters (RSA) beat [Q] Graciela Lopez (MEX) 8/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/4. 30 mins.
 Line Hansen (DEN) beat [LL] Karina Heredia (MEX) 11/3, 11/5, 11/2. 13 mins.
 Kylie Lindsay (NZL) beat [Q] Diana Garcia (MEX) 16/14, 5/11, 12/10, 7/11, 11/3. 46 mins.
Unfortunately because matches were being played on two courts I was unable to watch any of the above, except the last few points of the final game between Kylie and Diana, but what I did see and judging from the scores it must have been one heck of a match, as indeed did the match between Siyoli and Graciela.
Despite the Mexican people coming out in huge numbers, even to this small club, and giving all their players absolutely wonderful support, all Mexican presence has not been cleared as we come to the quarter finals. Two of these will be played later today at this club and the other two will be played between the Men’s Quarter Finals tonight on the Glass Court.