Scotland’s World No.21 Greg Lobban overcame England’s World No.52 Richie Fallows by an 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 margin at the Manchester Open.
The two British players last played each other two years ago in Qatar, where Lobban took a 3-1 victory in just under an hour. It was more straightforward for the Scot this time around, however, as he kept in control at the National Squash Centre.
It was a stop-start affair, with neither player able to truly express their dominance in the match, but it was Lobban who showed his mental strength to book his place in round two, while Fallows allowed too many errors to affect his game plan.
Lobban will face the winner of Tom Richards v Joel Makin, which will take place on court three later today.
“I think scrappy is a fair assessment of it,” said 28-year-old Lobban.
“50% of points were made on decisions, I kind of expected it to be like that but I knew that if I kept control and stayed strong with my mentality then I could come through that one and I’m pleased to get the win in three.
“If this tournament had have come two or three weeks ago then I don’t think I would have been ready. I felt fit, but the squash movements are so different to what we would do out running or cycling. It takes a while for your body to get out of the stiffness, but now I think I feel ready and you can expect all the professionals to be fit going into it.
“I think my mentality was really good. With the stoppages and stuff that would have bugged me in the past, but I feel I’m a lot stronger now, it’s one area that I really dug into in a lot of depth during the lockdown and I think that was the strongest part of my game today.”
 Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (38m)