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Madeira Madness as Qualifiers Send Seeds Tumbling

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Unfancied Englishman Luke Parker’s fairytale run at the Madeira International Squash Tournament continued as he battled past seventh seed Ben Coates 13-11, 12-10, 11-6 on a day of huge drama in the first round of the PSA M5 event in Canico, Portugal.

Parker was in a celebratory mood and struggled to comprehend making the last eight in only his second-ever PSA tournament.

“It’s definitely one of the best wins I’ve had,” said Parker.

“I was 10-8 down in the first and second games so he could easily have been 2-0 up. I’m rarely in a situation where I expect myself to win. I’m quite honest about that but I felt like I was fitter and quicker than Ben.

“I’m in a fortunate position that I’ve got absolutely nothing to lose now.”

As many as five seeds were ousted from the tournament, with three qualifiers booking their place in the quarter finals. The biggest scalp saw second seed Carlos Cornes Ribadas bow out 11-13, 11-4, 12-10, 11-8, at the hands of Parker’s countryman, James Peach, in an fiercely-contested encounter at the Onda Revital Club. The Spaniard, who received a conduct warning in the fourth game, was left to rue several unforced errors as Peach revelled in the biggest of his young career.

In the top half of the draw, Patrick Rooney and Adam Auckland also upset the seedings to set up an all-English clash in the quarter finals. Auckland, a former world number 105, saw off Irish No.2 Sean Conroy 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-2, before Rooney overturned a 2-1 deficit to send fourth seed and Portuguese number one Rui Soares crashing out 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3.

Disappointment soon turned to ecstasy for the patriotic home crowd, however, as local favourite Claudio Pinto romped past American fifth seed Sam Gould to set up a last eight showdown with Peach.

In the longest match of the day, Welsh eighth seed Emyr Evans repeated his 3-0 victory over Karl Finch at the Northumbria Open in March, while Egyptian Shehab Essam endorsed his No.1 seeding with a comfortable straight games win over Spanish qualifier Pascal Gomez. Third seed Edmon Lopez Moller completed the quarter-final line-up after eliminating Pedro Damaso by the same scoreline.

Results – First Round: Madeira International Squash Tournament 2016
[1] Shehab Essam (EGY) bt [Q] Pascal Gomez (ESP) 3-0: 11-8 11-8 11-2 (32m)
[8] Emyr Evans (WAL) bt Kyle Finch (ENG) 3-0: 11-8 11-6 11-7 (59m)
[Q] Adam Auckland (ENG) bt [6] Sean Conroy (IRL) 3-1: 11-7 8-11 11-8 11-2 (43m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt [4] Rui Soares (POR) 3-2: 11-6 6-11 9-11 11-3 11-3 (41m)
[3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP) bt [WC] Pedro Damaso 3-0: (POR) 11-5 11-5 11-2 (23m)
[Q] Luke Parker (ENG) bt [7] Ben Coates (ENG) 3-0: 13-11 12-10 11-6 (27m)
Claudio Pinto (POR) bt [5] Sam Gould (USA) 3-0: 11-4 11-3 11-4 (25m)
[Q] James Peach (ENG) bt [2] Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 3-1: 11-13 11-4 12-10 11-8 (49m)

Draw – Quarter Final
[1] Shehab Essam (EGY) v [8] Emyr Evans (WAL)
[Q] Adam Auckland (ENG) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
[3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP) v [Q] Luke Parker (ENG)
Claudio Pinto (POR) v [Q] James Peach (ENG)

By Michael Catling

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