King In Double Gold Bid In Delhi
Nick Matthew and New Zealander Joelle King will be going for
double gold in the Commonwealth Games Squash
Doubles finals after both survived arduous semi-finals at the Siri
Fort Sports Complex in Delhi today.
the world No2 from Sheffield who won singles gold for the first time last
week, partnered Adrian Grant to an 11-10, 11-9 win in 65 minutes over
fourth-seeded Australians Ryan Cuskelly & Cameron Pilley in
the Men's Doubles semi-finals.
Joelle King, the world No24 from Cambridge, had to play three matches
today. After first winning her Mixed Doubles quarter-final with
Martin Knight, the 22-year-old paired up with Jaclyn Hawkes to
upset Australia's No2 seeds Lisa Camilleri & Amelia Pittock
5-11, 11-5, 11-5 in a Women's Doubles semi - then immediately
afterwards linked back with Knight in their 11th-seeded Mixed partnership to
see off the third-seeded Malaysians Nicol David & Ong Beng Hee
11-7, 11-10 in 53 minutes.
hungry" was the Kiwi's immediate response when asked by an NZ TV crew how
she felt after her second triumph! "I haven't eaten for a long time."
describing the match, King said: "It was pretty neck-and-neck - but we both
played pretty good squash out there today.
That would be amazing - and it would be pretty surreal."
was also how Knight described the dying minutes of the match: "That last
rally was surreal - it seemed to go on forever. I'm just so happy to be in
the final. I can't keep the smile off my face.
our second event together," continued the Wellington-born 26-year-old,
ranked 44 in the world. "But we know each other really well, and hopefully
we can keep this going."
claiming their surprise place in the Women's final - after which Joelle
King had to rush off to prepare for the immediately-following Mixed semi
- an exuberant Jaclyn Hawkes spoke for the pair: "The match was
really tough - we had to keep our heads. Our coach Anthony Ricketts
gave us some good advice after the first game - we had to get a better
width, and this put them under pressure."
No14 from Auckland was asked how good it was to beat the Aussie pair? "We
don't want to beat anyone more than Aussies," said Hawkes.
And on the
certainty of a medal, the 27-year-old gushed: "I'm so happy! This is what
we've been training for for the last four years. We've been funded and
everything we've been working for is this - this is the pinnacle for us."
who suffered an illness setback last month, has been improving each day
since arriving in Delhi. He and Adrian Grant are seeded to retain the
Men's Doubles gold medal for England, after Peter Nicol & Lee
Beachill won the title for the second time in a row in 2006 - when Nicol
also clinched the singles gold.
a second gold medal is going to be incredible," said 30-year-old Matthew.
"What Peter Nicol achieved last time was massive.
seeds and we earned that billing. Yesterday was good - the Malaysians pushed
us hard and we took a lot from that match.
was brilliant," added the Yorkshireman. "He was definitely my 'man of the
Left-hander Grant, going for his maiden Games medal, is keen to help his
partner: "I want to give him the chance to get a second gold medal.
underestimate anybody in doubles," explained the London-born world No14 when
asked how he viewed his opposition in the final.
favourites will meet Australia's second seeds Stewart Boswell &
David Palmer, who ended the run of Scottish outsiders Alan Clyne
& Harry Leitch, the fifth seeds who ousted England's No3 seeds
Peter Barker & Daryl Selby in the previous round.
the world No19 from Canberra, is celebrating his third successive appearance
in the Men's final, but looking for his first gold medal. Palmer, a former
world number one, is also after his first gold - but is certain to win a
record-equalling sixth Games medal, with one silver and four bronzes already
in his collection.
to know that I'm going to get some kind of a medal," said Palmer after the
pair's 11-10, 11-6 win in 73 minutes over the Scots. "So far, it's been a
great doubles week for me."
to comment on the Scottish pair - featuring Clyne, a full-time player ranked
50 in the world, and unranked Leitch, a Cambridge University graduate
studying for a PhD in developmental and embryonic stem cell biology - Palmer
said: "They've obviously put in a lot of work - they play a style that's
difficult to beat.
boundless energy - and are obviously up for it. We had to nullify that. It
was nice that we were able to get a few points' lead each game - playing
catch-up is hard in doubles," explained the 34-year-old from New South
UK-based former world No4, said: "It's good to be in my third final - but
this time I want to win!"
and Alan Clyne were clearly disappointed that their gold campaign had
come to an end: "They won the crucial points today," said 25-year-old Leitch.
"But the dream is still alive for us - we're ready for tomorrow."
Inverness-born Clyne added: "We came here for a medal - and we've still got
last-minute pairing Jenny Duncalf & Laura Massaro were the
first to claim a final place. The third seeds, brought together when
Duncalf's original partner Alison Waters was forced to withdraw with
an Achilles injury, recovered from a game down to upset top-seeded
Australians Kasey Brown & Donna Urquhart 6-11, 11-5, 11-4 in
58 minutes in the first Women's Doubles semi.
it's our first tournament together, we felt quietly confident," said Duncalf,
winner of a silver medal in the singles. "Any of us could have played
pressure was on them, as the top seeds. We improved as the game went on. In
doubles, you have to be ever so consistent in what you do," added the world
No2 from Harrogate.
as we won, I went a bit goose-pimply!"
explained the depth of their friendship: "We've played each other since we
were 14 - we know each others' personalities so well," said the 26-year-old
me a game to settle down. But at 4-1 in the third, I thought 'we can win
amazing to think I've got a medal."
Hopes of a
double gold for women's singles winner Nicol David ran out in the
world number one from Malaysia's second Mixed Pairs match today. After
beating the hosts' last remaining medal hopes Joshna Chinappa &
Saurav Ghosal in three close-fought games, David and Ong Beng Hee
went down to Kiwis Joelle King & Martin Knight in the semis.
play as well as we could," said Beng Hee, a former world No7 from Kuala
Lumpur, "We had a hard match this morning and didn't have enough time to
recover. We had a terrible start in the first game."
added: "Everything went their way really - we did what we could.
disappointed - especially as we know we can play better."
their earlier quarter-final match, in which the Indian 2010 Commonwealth
Games squash campaign finally came to an end, Saurav was unable to be
upbeat: "Right now, there are no positives," said the Kolkata-born
24-year-old world No26 - India's highest-ranked player of all-time. "At the
end of the day we lost - and we haven't got a medal.
short of a medal is not good enough."
India's national coach, took a broader view: "We had certainly set our hopes
on winning a medal, but I feel we've got a lot of positives out of the
event. I'm quite pleased with the results - and it's been a great two weeks
for Indian squash.
losing Dipika (Pallikal) was certainly a major blow," added Poncha,
referring to the 19-year-old world No33 who was forced to withdraw from the
entire competition after being struck down by a fever.
match on the all-glass show-court at the Siri Fort complex produced another
Australian bid for gold when top seeds Kasey Brown & Cameron
Pilley beat compatriots Donna Urquhart & David Palmer, the
No8 seeds, 11-10, 11-10 in 68 minutes to set up a Mixed final against New
Zealand's 11th seeds Joelle King & Martin Knight.
Clyne & Leitch Down Barker & Selby In Delhi Shock
& Harry Leitch pulled off a major upset on the first day of knockout
action in the Commonwealth Games Squash Doubles when the Scots
downed England's third seeds Peter Barker & Daryl Selby in
straight games to reach the Men's Doubles semi-finals for the first
time at the Siri Fort Complex in Delhi.
the world No8 who won the singles bronze medal last week, and his Essex
close friend Selby, ranked 10 in the world, were highly regarded as doubles
medal prospects in the Indian capital.
Scotland - which boasts only one doubles court, off the Scottish coast on
the Shetland Islands - has targeted doubles as its specialist area. Unranked
Leitch, a postgraduate medical student at Cambridge University, and Clyne,
the world No50 from Inverness, showed this conclusively as the pair carved
up the experienced Englishmen 11-7, 11-7 in 69 minutes.
is so different from singles - and we've worked really hard on it," said an
ecstatic Leitch afterwards. "We fight for each other - and as I don't play
full-time, maybe I just want it more than the others.
get to the quarter-finals, it's tiny things that make the difference," added
the Edinburgh-born 25-year-old who is studying for a PhD in developmental
and embryonic stem cell biology.
does this win rate amongst his career squash successes? "This is it. The
highlight before was making the quarter-finals with John White in
2006 - so this surpasses that!
consider myself very lucky that I get his opportunity to play for Scotland,"
It was a
crestfallen Barker who tried to describe what had happened: "It's not squash
- it's a totally different game. Technique doesn't come into it - especially
on these courts," said the 27-year-old left-hander.
perfected the art of playing doubles. It's frustrating, and embarrassing, to
didn't make any errors - and forced them out of us. It's disappointing as I
think we'd been playing alright."
second-seeded English pair Jenny Duncalf & James Willstrop
made up for the disappointment of a shock Pool loss by beating Guernsey duo
Zephanie Curgenven & Henry Birch 11-4, 11-2 to earn a place in
the quarter-finals - where they will face the top-seeded Australians
Kasey Brown & Cameron Pilley.
"We had a
day together to regroup after the dent - but we don't take it as a dent,"
explained Willstrop, silver medallist in the men's singles event. "With all
our previous results, we've got a better record than anyone in this event.
We know we can beat anybody. We just want to put yesterday behind us and get
on with it."
Jenny, also the women's silver medallist, added: "We took a couple of things
from yesterday and worked on them. I'm feeling good - despite the fact that
this was my fourth match today!"
hopes are now resting exclusively on the shoulders of Joshna Chinappa
& Saurav Ghosal. The fourth seeds claimed a place in the last sixteen
of the Mixed event after a final qualifying round win over Scottish pair
Frania Gillen-Buchert & Alan Clyne - and were then handed a bye
through to Tuesday's quarter-finals.
stars will face Nicol David & Ong Beng Hee, the third seeds
from Malaysia featuring the women's gold medallist.
Nicol and Beng Hee is going to be a tough match - they are both very good,"
said Ghosal, the world No26 from Chennai who is India's highest-ranked
player of all-time. "It's going to be tough for us - we'll have to play
the hopes of India on us won't really change things - we want to win anyway.
There's pressure of course, but we're both used to it and are able to handle
it well. We can use the crowd support to our advantage.
here is the best I have ever seen anywhere - all the players are talking
about it, everyone is amazed," added the 24-year-old. "It'll make us play
better - it's going to make the occasion very special."
& Ong Beng Hee also suffered a surprise early pool defeat - but have
bounced to reach the last four as expected following their 11-7, 11-3 defeat
of England's Sarah Kippax & Adrian Grant.
it was tough on Nicol to have to play against the seeded Scots straight
after winning the gold medal, but she's got better now that we've got into
it," said Ong Beng Hee, the Penang-born world No17.
having great fun - and that's what it's all about.
got such speed and she hits the ball so well," added the former world No7.
"My job is to cover for her."
Zealand Pair Upset England In Mixed Doubles Qualifiers In Delhi
Australia claimed the most wins in today's second round of
Commonwealth Games Squash Doubles qualifiers, their six victories
were partially overshadowed by New Zealand pair Joelle King &
Martin Knight's straight games upset over England's No2 seeds
Jenny Duncalf & James Willstrop in the Mixed event at the
Siri Fort Complex in Delhi.
still feeling the effects of their earlier defeats in the singles finals,
silver medallists Duncalf and Willstrop went down 11-9, 11-5 in 35 minutes
as New Zealand celebrated a notable breakthrough win.
they didn't expect much after Melbourne," said Knight, referring to the
Australian Open Doubles championships in August, when the Kiwi
pair crashed out in the opening round - and Duncalf and Willstrop progressed
through to the final.
every match 2/1 there - but we were confident we could make it here," added
the jubilant Wellington-born 26-year-old.
continued: "After Melbourne, we went away and worked on a few things. We
both stepped up today - and kept each others' confidence up. We're
definitely very happy with that result."
looking weary from his arduous week so far in Delhi, was downcast: "We're
disappointed because we've worked hard at this. And we feel we were quite
means we'll have a harder route through to the final stages," added the
27-year-old world No4.
all over," Duncalf pointed out.
New Zealand suffered a mild setback when their fifth-seeded pair Jaclyn
Hawkes & Campbell Grayson were defeated 11-9, 11-4 by
lower-seeded Australian duo Donna Urquhart & David Palmer.
Melbourne event was again cited as the misleading factor: "We played four
matches there and lost three of them 11-10 in the third," said Palmer, a
bronze medallist in the Mixed event four years ago.
a big match for us - we were really up for it today, we both wanted to win.
We've worked a lot together in various doubles events recently. It would be
nice to do some damage here.
I have teamed up well - she's a left-hander which works well. We struggled a
bit to start with, but we're really working well together now.
play doubles that often - but it's a medal," continued the 34-year-old from
Lithgow in New South Wales who has accumulated five medals in three previous
Games' appearances since 1998.
missed out on singles medals - so we'd like to get one back. I've had a few
down days since losing in the quarter-finals - but today was a turning
23-year-old Urquhart, a Games debutante in Delhi, at all overawed by former
world number one and two-time world champion Palmer when they first teamed
up? "I remember the first time we practised together - I felt so
intimidated. But now it's just Dave," explained the world No16 from Yamba,
went on to partner Kasey Brown in an 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 victory over
New Zealanders Tamsyn Leevey & Kylie Lindsay in the Women's
Doubles, while Palmer continued his Men's Doubles campaign with Stewart
Boswell, crushing Zambians Kelvin Ndhlovu & Ray Simbule
11-3, 11-9 in just 16 minutes.
rare experience of a defeat - in yesterday's first qualifying round of the
Mixed Doubles - Malaysia's proud new singles gold medallist Nicol David
was back in winning form after partnering Ong Beng Hee to an 11-3,
11-5 victory over Kenyans Khaaliqa Nimji & Hardeep Reel.
27-year-old world number one Penang, was 15 when she made her debut in the
sport's first appearance in the Games in her home country in 1998. But her
direct opponent Khaaliqa Nimji is still only 12 - and is not only the
youngest player ever to compete in the event's squash competition, but is
also her country's youngest senior champion, a title she won last year when
her partner delighted the crowd by keeping the rallies going - giving their
inexperienced opponents the chance to enjoy their court-time with two
you've got a 12-year-old on court, it's hard to attack her," explained
Ong Beng Hee, a one-time world No7, afterwards.
has good ball sense and hits it well," added David. "Getting this experience
at this age will be so useful to her."
significance of the third seeds' first win in the event, Beng Hee continued:
"Yesterday was a bad start for us. But Nicol had a busy build-up to the
event, with the worlds followed by five matches here to win the gold. She's
understandably a bit tired from that. But we're back on track today now."
asked if she was still on a high after her long-awaited singles triumph:
"It's a great feeling to have the gold medal. Winning it hasn't really sunk
in yet - I still can't believe it.
difficult to get into another competition so soon afterwards."
clearly enjoyed her unique opportunity: "It was a good experience - I've
learned a lot - but I've still got a long way to go.
"I hope to
make it back next time," added the Kenyan squash prospect.
another six times, probably," David chipped in!
Doubles last sixteen round line-up:
 Adrian Grant & Nick Matthew (ENG) v
 Robin Clarke & Shawn Delierre (CAN)
 Mohd Azlan Iskandar & Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v
 Gaurav Nandrajog & Siddharth Suchde (IND)
 Ryan Cuskelly & Cameron Pilley (AUS) v
Gye Duncan & Duncan Gray (NFK)
 Campbell Grayson & Martin Knight (NZL) v
 Philip Musonda & Lazarus Chilufya (ZAM)
 Alan Clyne & Harry Leitch (SCO) v
 Sandeep Jangra & Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND)
 Peter Barker & Daryl Selby (ENG) v
 Yasir Butt & Danish Atlas Khan (PAK)
 Lyall Paterson & Chris Small (SCO) v
 Michael Fiteni & Bradley Hindle (MLT)
 Stewart Boswell & David Palmer (AUS) v
 Aamir Atlas Khan & Farhan Mehboob (PAK)
Fortunes For Gold Medallists In Delhi
two new Commonwealth Games gold medallists suffered mixed fortunes in
the first qualifying rounds of the Doubles events when men's winner
Nick Matthew triumphed in just 16 minutes in the Men's Doubles
with England team-mate Adrian Grant, but Malaysian Nicol David
went down in straight games in the Mixed event with partner Ong
Beng Hee at the Siri Fort Complex in Delhi.
less than 15 hours after Matthew won his title on the all-glass showcourt
that he found himself beginning his second medal campaign on a conventional
glass-backed court at the Indian city's new sports complex.
30-year-old world number two from Sheffield took full advantage of the fresh
legs of partner Adrian Grant, the left-hander from London who was
playing his first match in Delhi. The experienced pair - winners of the
Australian Doubles Championship in August - cruised to an 11-1, 11-4 win
over Cayman Islands duo Malton Blair & Alexander Frazer, both
making their maiden appearance in the Games.
it," said Matthew after his brief encounter on the court. "We feel we've got
a good thing going - and hit the ground running. Adrian was buzzing and I
was feeding off his energy."
Games champion had enjoyed precious little time to celebrate his gold medal:
"After the medal ceremony I went straight back to the village where I had
something to eat, then chatted with the guys back in the room, then had
about five hours sleep, then got up this morning to be back here to play,"
explained the Yorkshireman who headed a 1-2-3 of Englishmen in the medals
ceremony. "We'll have to leave the celebrations until we're back home."
delighted to be playing after being forced to sit out the singles
competition: "I've been gearing up for this. It was good to see the guys
winning all the medals. The energy I had not competing, and also seeing them
on the podium, gave me an extra lift.
Nick's up for it just as much as I am," added the world No14, who celebrated
his 30th birthday this week in Delhi.
and Ong Beng Hee are no strangers to the Commonwealth Games
Mixed Doubles event having clinched the event's silver medal in 2002. But
the Malaysians met their match in Harry Leitch & Lisa Aitken
after the tenth seeds from Scotland pulled off the day's biggest upset with
a shock 11-9, 11-5 victory over the third seeds in 39 minutes.
David has held the world number one ranking for 54 months and her partner
was once No7 in the world, 25-year-old Leitch has never had a world ranking
and Aitken currently stands at 183 in the women's world list!
is a whole different ball game," explained David, the record five times
world champion later. "We've both had busy years (on the singles circuit).
about communication," David continued. "The first match is always difficult.
knew they'd been working hard.
has been very patient with me. We've now just got to focus on our next match
to make sure we get into the knockout stages."
Cambridge graduate who is now studying for a PhD at the world-famous
University, was confident that the pair would do well. "We've been
concentrating on doubles - it's so different from singles. We were confident
that we could compete with opponents like this.
rising star - she's going to be a great singles player."
Left-hander Aitken, a 20-year-old from Angus who was born in Dundee,
admitted that it was strange to be on court with a player like Nicol
David whom she has always looked up to.
been working on this for the past two years - and just had to put out of my
mind who our opponents were."
explained Scotland's doubles philosophy: "We're competitive in doubles
because we've got a young team," said the country's national coach. "Apart
from Alan Clyne, we're not competitive in singles yet - that will be
our focus for 2014.
three gold medals in doubles, it makes sense for us to target those - it's
more of an even game and we've worked hard at establishing our pairings:
mature players with younger players, where the chemistry is right.
have one doubles court in our country - it's in Clickamin on Shetland Island
- and some years ago we took a large squad there to find our best pairings.
Since then we have taken part in international doubles events in England,
Australia and India."
the day, Scotland again showed their doubles prowess when Lyall Paterson
& Chris Small upset local stars Gaurav Nandrajog &
Siddharth Suchde, the No8 seeds, 11-8, 11-8 in the Men's Doubles.
One of the
highlights of the match was the reaction from the jubilant and vociferous
crowd surrounding the all-glass showcourt: "The crowd were absolutely
sensational," added Flynn. "Their exuberance was overwhelming and made for a
similar response later when Nandrajog & Suchde returned to the showcourt to
beat Kenyans Hartaj Bains & Hardeep Reel 11-6, 11-9.
is unbelievable," said Indian National coach Cyrus Poncha. "I've
never seen this before at an Indian squash event. I'm absolutely thrilled
and delighted. This is truly a good sign for Indian squash."
good sign for Indian squash took place on one of the conventional courts
where the country's top two players Saurav Ghosal & Joshna
Chinappa took on Marlene West & Cameron Stafford of the
A queue of
spectators stretched around the vast concourse of the Siri Fort Complex,
desperate to get into the limited seating available for this popular mixed
Chinappa had been paired up less than 24 hours earlier, following the shock
withdrawal of top Indian star Dipika Pallikal, the 19-year-old world
No32 from Chennai who had been training for this event for some time with
Ghosal. The teenager, laid low with a high fever, represented one of the
host country's best medal hopes in the women's doubles event where she and
Chinappa were the second seeds.
Chinappa, each now only competing in one doubles event, took the first game
against the Cayman Islanders, but saw their opponents stage a remarkable
fight back to draw level. The local stars regrouped to close out the match
11-6, 9-11, 11-5.
"We were a
bit unsettled in the second game when our opponents switched over,"
explained Ghosal with his new partner after the game. "We made a few errors,
and they took advantage - but we did well to impose ourselves on the third
game and pull through."
last-minute change, Ghosal said: "Joshna's a really good player and we have
played before, even though not for some time. I knew what she was capable
of. It's just a matter of getting through the early rounds and getting the
we won, we won well - but we can produce better than that," added the world
No26 from Chennai.
withdrawal of her women's doubles partner, Chinappa said: "I'm very sad for
Dipika and hope she gets better soon. We were going for gold - which would
have been great for us and our country - but I'm now going to have to settle
for gold in the Mixed!
and I only had a short time to practice together before today - but lots of
time to talk, and that was very useful," concluded the 24-year-old from