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Joel Makin

Channel VAS RD2: Makin Grinds Down Castagnet to Reach Quarters

Wales’ World No.12 Joel Makin overcame a tough competitor in France’s World No.28 Mathieu Castagnet to secure a place in the quarter finals at the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill.

Makin, who is in the best form of his career after reaching the semi-finals of the CIB Egyptian Squash Open last month, continued that fine run of form in the opening two games as he was error free to not allow Castagnet any time to settle into the match.

The 25-year-old Welshman continuously put work into the legs of Castagnet and forced him to produce errors to take a 2-0 game lead with the 33-year-old looking down and out at the end of the second.

However, a more relaxed manner from Castagnet saw him fight back in the third, producing a more tactically astute game plan to utilise his skills and experience as Makin suffered a passive spell in the match to allow him a way back in, which he took claiming the third.

Makin tried to get back to the tactics that were serving him well in the opening two games as he began to stretch Castagnet around the court again, but the former World No.6 continued to stick with him until, with the scores tied at 6-6, Makin was able to make the break to claim the victory.

He will take on New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll for a place in the semi-finals tomorrow.

“I’ve tried to add a bit more variation to my game and be a bit more severe on the short balls,” said 25-year-old Makin.

“Like Mathieu started to do to me today, he slowed the pace down and really got control of the game to get me stuck behind, so I had to get back in front and inject a bit more pace and be a bit more severe going short.

“In the third, I think he changed his game. The first two games suited me fine, we have a similar type of game, as in we like to work the ball hard, take the middle and volley. In the first game I managed to play the way I wanted, he was staying with me but maybe I was a bit more solid and severe.

“The ball softened quite a lot in the third and he took full advantage of it, using his skills that I couldn’t match at that point, I got back to controlling it in the fourth and I always like fluid hard rallies. If others will want to break the pace up, talking with the referee, asking for the court to be clean, I like to keep it going and today, it was a great fluid match, and I think that’s what people want to see.

“I played and lost against Paul a couple of times, in the British Open in the first round – that was a long hard match. We have played a fair amount recently and if I want to reach the top eight, that’s the kind of matches I will need to start winning.”

[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 (61m)

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