2015 Men's World Championship Bellevue - Day TWO
Framboise Gommendy and Matthew Lombardi report ...

Kristian Frost 3-0 Lance Beddoes (Nzl) 11-4, 12-10, 11-1 (37m)

Short Affair

Just to give you an idea. LJ was up 4/1 when the first game of Kristian finished… Kristian was dominating the rallies pretty well, Lance didn’t do much wrong though, but just maybe not enough variation in his shots, and Kristian controlled the shots, literally.

Second, longer rallies, more battles out there, and close game really, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9.. Game ball Kristian, who finally will take the game 12/10 and a good mental and physical advantage on the Nzl that just didn’t have much left in the last game…

I felt a bit tense in the second game, because he’s got good hands, I didn’t know where the ball was going, so I tried and made the rallies longer.

In the 1st and 3rd, I hit good targets at the back, and took the opportunities I created at the front. But he was holding the ball pretty well, good trickle boast and I had to keep alert.

I played the Worlds in Saudi, Qatar, Manchester, this is my 4th, and I ALWAYS drew a top 10 player. Let’s see what happens here…

Henrik Mustonen (Fin) 3-1 Nathan Lake (Eng) 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3 (52m)

"It was quite a tactical match, lots of long points, lots of height and angles at medium pace. He was hitting very accurate shots, forcing me to increase my accuracy, which is always dangerous. I could sense he was tired at the end of the third game, and he was really fighting for it. I increased the pace, tried to make him work harder, and by the fourth he was definitely low on energy.

"Two year's ago I made it to the final 16 of the WC. This year I hope I can repeat the performance and take it further. I believe it would be the best result ever for a Finnish racquet sport player"

Henrik Mustonen

Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) 3-1 James Huang (Tpe) 11-3, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 (59m)

The Ref did get a few right …

Ok, it could be me but… our ref managed to get a few right. That’s the best I can say for that one… Both got some weird ones, I have to say, but the “I’m taking my opponent with me to the ball and getting a stroke for it” happened a few times… Bless him…. But what do I know…

Moving on. I just enjoy the game of James from Taiwan (sorry, yesterday, I labelled him HK), I enjoy his spirit, his strength, his style of game. He is not young, 30, although he looks 12, but it’s a shame we don’t see him more often on the tour!!!

As for LJ, what a pleasure to see him back on the Tour after some pretty bad time off due to injury. He is as powerful, determined and passionate as ever, and he won this match by overpowering his opponent, but amazing rallies, fast and furious, even if the first game was gruellingly slow and hurt quads/legs for sure…

He is good. I mean… He is good…. I knew he took a game out of James in China, but as James lost early in that tournament, I thought maybe James was not at his best. But he is good…

I certainly didn’t underestimate him. You cannot do that, especially not in the qualifying for the Worlds. Whoever you are playing.

When players have never played me, they are surprised in the first game by my pace, so I normally take the first game easy [still, 11/3 for 14m!!!!] but then they get used to it, it normally helps to win the second one! In the 3rd and 4th, I started to play a bit slower, and a bit smarter – I hope!

But for now, we’ll have to deal with the consequences of the draw…

Peter Creed (Wal) 3-1 Chris Gordon (Usa) 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5 (84m)

Gordon tried to set a fast pace, but ltimately Creed was just too quick, making impressive retrievals and counterattacks. It was a physical, streaky match that included many dives and one stoppage for a blood injury (a cut on Creed's hand).

"It was a tough battle, a little scrappy, but we've known each other for 15 years and are good friends. In the first two games I found my length and kept him behind me, but I just didn't do that in the third, and he took advantage. When I was down 8-3 I decided I'd see if I could get back in it by shooting, but it didn't work. In the fourth I got back to hitting higher length, and as soon as I did that I had more success.

"This is my fourth time in the World Open. I live near Bristol and I've been training with the Elshorbagys -- hitting with Mohamed three times a week and Marwan twice. They've been keeping me sharp."

Peter Creed

Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-1 Shehab Essam (Egy) 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 (59m

To overcome his abilities today, I had to send him on log rallies, and I could, because nowadays, I believe in myself, thanks to my losses actually, not just from my wins, I got a lot of fitness, a lot of heart….

I was happy to go for it, because as you make the rallies longer, and you just pick up everything, they’ve got to go finer and finer, and I forced a few errors out of him… But he is talented, fast and witty! And when that Egyptian Steamroller gets under way, with their way of coaching, so many people around them….

So I just stayed as calm as I could, I didn’t yell, I didn’t attract attention on me, I closed the box down, put my head down, and just carried the torch for Canada into the World Champs…

Karim El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 Rex Hedrick (Aus) 12-10, 11-9, 11-8 (64m)

After coming back from 6-9 in the first game, El Hammamy was never behind for the rest of the match. He didn't run away with things, but he was able to settle into the deadly casual Egyptian style, and Hendricks was never able to get him out of his comfort zone.

"He plays like me, very fast. We had long, tough rallies, and especially at the beginning we were trying to outguess each other. I lead all the way in the second and third games, which helped keep me comfortable on court. I think I used height well today. It gave me time to catch my breath, but I was also able to use height as an attacking shot."

Karim El Hammamy

Farhan Zaman (Pak) 3-2 George Parker (Eng) 11-3, 10-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 (61m)

I didn’t see anything but the end of the 4th and the 5th. What a match that was. Intense, fair, brutal of energy and will out there. George, I discovered him in St George’s. I believe in him, in his talent. He’s used to have a bit of a temper I’m told, he worked on it very hard.

Farhan is one of the up and coming Pakistani. Now based in Boston, where he works with Shahid Khan, I saw that boy when he was the U15 British Open Junior a few years back. He is physically the opposite of Georges! Very small indeed! And sooo fast, sooo clever, I just enjoy watching him move around like the Flash!

The contrast between the two players made the show. One very fast, moving in zig zag, and able to hold and play flicks that truly twisted and turning the great reach/volleying ability that George displayed.

The English maybe paid in the 5th the hard work produced throughout the match, and got a bit frustrated at the end, as the two exited the court, a bit of words/pushing, for which George apologised later…

George is tall and I was trying to get him to the front corners and played as tight drop shots as I could. But he started to read my game much better in the second, so I tried and mixed my shots more in the 3rd.

In the 5th, I thought there is “no space for errors”, and I injected more pace in my game, he is taller, it was harder for him to follow that pace at that stage of the match maybe. He was playing well, and he was more patient than I was, and he was able to make me lose my patience, my game is to go for nicks and drop shots!!

I am so happy to get to the worlds! I want to thank my cousin Shahid Zaman in Boston who is helping me a lot with my game…

Charles Sharpes (Eng) 3-2 Steve Finitsis (Aus) 11-8, 13-15, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7 (84m)

"It was a close game. I was frustrated not to take the second -- I had four game balls, and if I had won that I think I could have won the match three-love. But credit to him, he fought back, he really got into the match and forced me to up my level.

"It was a good battle -- he's a very fair player. It's my fifth time qualifying for the World Open. I'm looking forward whatever is in store for me in the first round."

Charles Sharpes

Carlos Cornes (Esp) 3-0 Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (32m)

This was a major conflict in personalities, Azan moving slowly between points and looking not entirely happy to be there, Cornes bounding to the service box, eager to get on with things. After a contentious first game, Cornes was in command the rest of the way, though Azan made some spectacular, acrobatic retrievals.

"I had to really focus, which is not always my strong suit. Winning the first game gave me confidence, but I knew if I struggled with my concentration he'd be able to get back in the match.

"I want to thank two people. First Borja. We train every day together. He's my best friend and he was in my corner today. It's great to learn from a legend.

"The second person is my girlfriend back home. She's the one who's had to suffer with all my travel, and she's the one who's always there for me when I need someone."

Carlos Cornes

Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg) 3-0 Shahier Razik (Can) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (33m)

A pretty straight forward match that one, with “Vet” Shahier playing his tight and patient squash – the man is as fit as it comes at 37 – but maybe Yip was just a bit hungrier today. Nice rallies, tight and fair squash, but a Yip just too sharp and fast….

"I tried my best to keep the ball tight and the pace high, and that worked I guess.

I’m happy with the way I handled the mental and physical side of things, I stayed focused, didn’t let myself get distracted, kept my point of focus, and stuck to the plan, well, nearly all the times!"

Tsz Fung Yip

Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind) 3-0 Chris Hanson (Usa) 11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (32m)

An extremely pleasant match to watch, Hari the favourite being WR71, but Chris was not too far behind, WR84… The Indian seemed comfy out there fir the first game, really taking control 6/1, 9/2, 11/4, but the 2nd was much closer, with Hari up again 9/4, but with the young American finding his way back all the way to 10/9, that’s 6 points people. But Hari felt the danger, closed it down 12/10. Third was just a formality.

Nice to discover Chris Hanson, first time I saw him play, he is training with Rod Martin and playing day in day out with Ryan Cuskelly in the Lifetime Fitness outside NY. One to watch for the future.

In the second, 9/4, and I thought I just needed one good shot to finish, I played too many short shots, too much at the front from far too deep at the back. Basic error. At 10/9, I decided to go back to basics, and it worked fine from that point on.

He is lefthanded, it’s the first time I play him, it’s not that easy to read him, you have to be on your guard all the time and he was slicing the ball very well, and the shots would stick to the floor, very dangerous indieed.

I was very happy to take that second, because it was a big difference being 2/0 up instead of 1/1, not only it was a major confidence boost, but the match could have very easily turned round…

When I move, yes, I always try and stay on my toes! After I graduated from Dartmouth, I went full time pro in 2013, started from the bottom, and I have been working with Rodney Martin since then, two years now.

He told me it was going to take a little time, but I’m trying to gain experience and keep up with those guys’ pace.

I’m happy to start and play those bigger tournaments, even if it’s a different level. I’m working my way up, being able to train with Ryan is a major boost, not to mention he is a lefty too, and it’s so important to have somebody you can model your game upon.

Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Reiko Peter (Sui) 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (35m)

was 7/2 down in the first, and won the game 11/7, and managed to take the 7 next point in the 2nd game! It took me a little while to get used to his game, I knew he was dangerous in particular on his forehand, and I seemed to keep putting the ball into his racquet!

Once I started to explore the four corners, and got a better length, I gave myself more opportunities and it got a bit more comfortable. I also managed to expose his movement a bit.

In the third, I made the error of not stepping into another gear, but stayed at the same one than in the second. But he is a very dangerous player, if you put it anywhere near his racquet, all credit to him, he’ll put it away nicely.

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