Qualifier Round 2 action
(Input from Thomson Chew)
Photos from the Qualifiers (by Mithun Mukherjee)
Match 1: Ryan Donegan (USA) played Scott Fitzgerald (Wales) to a 3-1 win. The final scores were 11-6, 11-4, (9-11), and 11-8.
Game 1 saw Ryan controlling the T and using good width and tight rails to work Scott around the court. The use of tight drops to the backhand side earned Ryan many points as Scott arrived too late to retrieve them.
Game 2 saw much of the same tactics as game one. Ryan kept the balls deep on Scott, adding well hit cross courts and deception to keep Scott off balance. Several errors by Scott gave Ryan enough room to relax and close out the game with a nice front left wall drop into the knick.
Game 3 started with Ryan under the pressure from Scott. Scott used deeper cross courts to pull Ryan back and to force weaker returns. Both players used their tight drops to end long points. With the score at 8-8, Scott earned a stroke against Ryan. The next point ended in a let after a long rally with both players making great retrievals from awkward positions in the court. At 9-9 both players were looking tired and several lets follow as each player cleared slowly. Ryan contested two lets, requesting that they be strokes, but to no avail. Scott had game ball at 10-8, but Ryan responded with a well timed backhand drop into the knick to get to 9-10. At the second game ball Scott finished the point with a nice fake and drop shot into the left hand knick to win 11-9.
Game 4 started fast with both players trading serves after long points. At 6-7, Scott kept the pressure on Ryan with deeper rails and cross courts, forcing errors from Ryan. At 8-8, Ryan completed the point with a terrific cross court volley knick. At match ball Ryan droped the ball to the front left corner for the winner and a trip to the first round Friday night.
Match 2: Imran Khan (PAK) handled Yasunori Ishiwata (JPN) to a 3-0 win by playing mostly error-free games. The scores were 11-2, 11-7, and 11-1.
Imran controlled the T and worked Yasunori around the court with tight rails and cross-courts. Despite some great retrieving by Yasunori, he could not overcome Imranâ€™s better court positioning and shot making. Imran, a familiar player to the local crowd, earns his spot in the first round Friday night.
Match 3: Neil Hitchens played Brendon Bascom (USA) to a 3-0 win. The scores were 11-6, 11-6, and 11-2.
Game 1 saw the local favorite, Brendon, start off slowly against the Englishman. He could not keep up with the constant pressure from Neilâ€™s cross courts and rails. Several errors placed Brendon behind, allowing Neil to control the pace of the game and push Brendon into compromising positions that led to loose returns and a few tins.
Game 2 saw a similar game plan from Neil. He controlled the ball and kept Brendon moving around the court. The game ended quickly with Neil coming out 11-6.
Game 3 showed Neil starting off fast and cruising to a six point lead before Brendon picked up two points. The continued errors from Brendon and the precise drops and effective use of the boast from Neil led to an 11-2 win and a place in the next round Friday night.
Match 4: Joan Lezaud (FRA) defeated Takehide Hota (JPN) 3-0. The score were 15-13, 11-4, and 11-7.
Game 1 was well played by both players, but Joan proved the stronger of the two with his hard, tight rails, wide cross courts, and excellent retrievals from the back and from the front of the court. Each player traded rails and cross courts, working each other front and back. At 8-8 Takehide hit a nice tight drop that left Joan scrapping the side wall. A great rally follows with Joan winning it to tie the score 9-9. Both players exchanged points through 13-13 until Joan completed the game by winning the next to points.
Game 2 showed Joan come out with steady pressure on Takehide. He jumped to a 7-3 lead. Following several unforced errors from Takehide, Joan cruised to a comfortable 11-4 win.
Game 3 began with Joan controlling the T and moving Takehide around the court. At 5-3 Joan crushed a volley into the knick to go up 6-3. Takehide gets close at 5-7 with a backhand volley kill into the knick. After trading the next few points, Joan has match ball at 10-6, but he tins his rail. Takehide serves in but ends up hitting the tin on his next shot, giving the match and a place in the next round to Joan.