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Birmingham 2022: Incredible comeback as Stewart downs Rooney

Scotland’s World No.66 and 9/16 seed Rory Stewart delivered the shock of the tournament so far as he produced a stunning comeback to knock out England’s 3/4 seed Patrick Rooney 3-2 and set up a quarter-final against defending champion James Willstrop.

World No.24 Rooney went into the match with a 3-0 head-to-head record over Stewart, with their most recent match a straight-games victory for the Englishman in the PSL Cup in May.

Today, though, Stewart was imperious. The Scotsman deservedly took the first game 12-10, with the World No.66 overpowering an out-of-sorts Rooney, who struggled for width.

Rooney improved in the second game, levelling with an 11-7 win, before edging in front with a fiercely contested 12-10 of his own.

With his tail up, Rooney made a confident start to the fourth game and must have thought he had one foot in the quarter-final when he raced into a 7-0 lead.

Incredibly, though, Stewart not only reeled Rooney in but, after saving four match balls, forced the match into a fifth game with a nerve-shredding 13-11 win.

Both players looked evenly matched at the beginning of the fifth game, which was as much about mental ability as physical and technical.

Stewart, however, then put together another spectacular scoring blitz race from 4-3 down to an 11-4 winner after a brief wait for a video review to confirm his win.

“I’m delighted,” Stewart said afterwards. “To be honest I’d have said to myself I was probably getting beaten and to do anything more than that, I’d be happy to accept as a bonus.

“I definitely felt the tension. I think [my Scotland teammates] probably all thought I was losing [when 7-0 down].

“My ranking is lower than Patrick, but on a glass court I can pull off wins like this. There are a lot of Scots here and I’m glad they got to see this!”

Despite Rooney’s woes, the England team may reflect on the day as being a positive one overall after the other five members of their contingent recorded wins to reach the quarter-finals.

3/4 seed Georgina Kennedy’s demolition of Canada’s Nicole Bunyan was perhaps the pick of the bunch, while Willstrop capped his 200th England appearance with a comfortable win over Pakistan’s Nasir Iqbal.

Reacting after her 11-3, 11-1, 11-3 win, Kennedy said: “It’s crazy, I’ve said a few times that it’s been a dream since I was a girl to compete with Team England and just to be here is a life goal achieved.

“But now, after the successful year I’ve had, my perspective has changed. I don’t want to just show up. I want to reach the podium.

“I’m so lucky to play on this glass in front of an amazing crowd.”

Earlier in the day, top seed and World No.2 Paul Coll avoided suffering a similar fate to Rooney when he fought back from a game down against spirited Welshman Emyr Evans.

Evans deservedly took the first game 11-8, but was met with a brutal response from the Kiwi, who restored parity with an 11-0 win in game two and then took the lead with an 11-5 victory in game three.

Evans, though, was not beaten yet. The Welshman battled well, impressing numerous times with a powerful backhand and had a chance to take Coll into a fifth game when he took a 10-9 lead in game four.

Coll, however, was able to rescue the situation, drawing level and then taking the match with a 12-10 win to set up a quarter-final match against England’s Adrian Waller, who brushed aside Jamaica’s Christopher Binnie 3-0.

“I think he did really well. He put in a great performance and should be proud of himself today, he really made me work for it,” Coll said.

Elsewhere, India, Malaysia and Wales sent two players each into the quarter-finals.

For India, men’s 3/4 seed Saurav Ghosal and women’s 3/4 seed Joshna Chinappa put in assured performances to put away Canada’s 9/16 seed David Baillargeon and New Zealand’s 9/6 seed Kaitlyn Watts, while Malaysia’s 9/16 seed Rachel Arnold upset Wales’ 5/8 seed Tesni Evans to join compatriot and 5/8 seed Eain Yow Ng in the quarters after he beat Canada’s Nick Sachvie.

There was consolation for both Wales and Canada, though, after Welsh No.2 seed Joel Makin and 5/8 seed Emily Whitlock progressed through to the quarter-finals, while Canada’s 5/8 seed Hollie Naughton beat Malaysia’s 9/16 seed Aifa Azman for a second-successive 3-0 win.

Completing the draw is women’s top seed and defending champion Joelle King, who will play England’s 5/8 seed Lucy Turmel after beating Scotland’s 9/16 seed Georgia Adderley, and Scotland’s 5/8 seed Greg Lobban, who beat Malaysia’s 9/16 seed Ivan Yuen in a see-saw encounter.

The quarter-finals of squash at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games begin tomorrow (01/08) at 12:00 (GMT+1). Click here for a list of broadcasters by country.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: Round Three – Men’s Results
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Emyr Evans (WAL) 3-1: 8-11, 11-0, 11-5, 12-10 (51m)
[5/8] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Christopher Binnie (JAM) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (35m)
[5/8] Greg Lobban (SCO) bt [9/16] Ivan Yuen (MAS) 3-2: 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (64m)
¾ Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [9/16] David Baillargeon (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-6 (38m)
[9/16] Rory Stewart (SCO) bt ¾ Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 12-10, 7-11, 10-12, 13-11, 11-5 (74m)
[5/8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (33m)
[5/8] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Nick Sachvie (CAN) 3-0:11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (38m)
[2] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [9/16] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (42m)

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: Round Three – Women’s Results
[1] Joelle King (NZL) bt [9/16] Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (30m)
[5/8] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt [9/16] Jessica Turnbull (AUS) 3-1: 11-1, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4 (40m)
[5/8] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt [9/16] Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 16-14 (31m)
¾ Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [9/16] Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6 (36m)
¾ Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [9/16] Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-0: 11-3, 11-1, 11-3 (22m)
[9/16] Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt [5/8] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 19-17, 11-7, 11-7 (34m)
[5/8] Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt [9/16] Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 11-3 (29m)
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [9/16] Chan Yiwen (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 13-11 (28m)

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: Quarter-Finals – Men’s Draw
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) v [5/8] Adrian Waller (ENG)
¾ Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [5/8] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[9/16] Rory Stewart (SCO) v [5/8] James Willstrop (ENG)
[2] Joel Makin (WAL) v [5/8] Eain Yow Ng (MAS)

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: Quarter-Finals – Women’s Draw
[1] Joelle King (NZL) v [5/8] Lucy Turmel (ENG)
¾ Joshna Chinappa (IND) v [5/8] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
¾ Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v [9/16] Rachel Arnold (MAS)
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [5/8] Emily Whitlock (WAL)

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