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Nathan Lake in action

GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic Day One: Player Reaction

Round one of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic 2022 gets underway today from London's East Wintergarden.

Opening up the day's play will be wildcard Josh Masters making his Canary Wharf Classic main draw debut against France's Victor Crouin.

An exciting round of fixtures also features former World No.1 James Willstrop taking on the 'Colombian Cannonball' Miguel Rodriguez. As well as in-form Nicolas Mueller, who faces Aguste Dussourd.

Play begins at 14:00 (GMT) live on SQUASHTV and you can also stay up-to-date with all the live scores from the tournament here.

Order of play

Order of play

Crouin opens day one with a win

Victor Crouin celebrates his win

The opening match of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic was between Wildcard Josh Masters and France’s Victor Crouin.

Crouin recently won the 2022 College Squash Association (CSA) National Collegiate Individual Championships held In Philadelphia and continued that form into his match today.

After a strong start from Masters, leading 6-0, the young Frenchman started to settle in the match and pile the pressure on Masters. After saving three game balls, Crouin forced a tiebreak in the first game and confidently took it 12-10.

The second game was all about Crouin as the World No.21 went from strength to strength, twisting and turning the tall frame of Masters and not allowing the Englishman to make any headway whatsoever. Crouin comfortably booked his place in the second round, winning 11-2 to seal a 2-0 victory.

Crouin had this to say about his performance:

“I just reminded myself that it was best of 3 and I need to wake up and start to produce some squash because he was out playing me in these first 6 points. I’m happy that I came back and won that first game which was crucial.

“I felt at the end of the first game he started to rush to the front so I thought he was getting tired and I need to push through that first game and not worry about the result. To come out tough in the second game and winning the first was a bonus and just play my squash.

“It’s my first time here at Canary Wharf, it's amazing to have the crowd so close to the court and today I felt that atmosphere. I’m really happy to play the World No.1 tomorrow, I've played him too many times recently, I haven't been able to get a game off him yet but hopefully if I can get one I can get two or three more.”

Result
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt [WC] Josh Masters (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-2 (21m)

Rooney wins on Canary Wharf Classic Debut

Patrick Rooney

Appearing in his first Canary Wharf Classic, England’s Patrick Rooney claimed a debut victory over Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini to advance to the second round.

After a nervous start from the Englishman, Rooney started to settle into the match and by using his trademark wingspan, took time away from the Egyptian and gained control of the T. He took the first game 11-8.

A confident start in the second game earned Rooney a 7-2 lead and he looked sure to storm through the rest of the game to victory. ElSherbini came back however and with help from some Rooney errors, got back to 10-9 to give himself a lifeline in the game. Rooney was not to be denied however as an ElSherbini error handed Rooney his place in the second round.

“I was quite nervous, it’s my first time playing here,” said Rooney.

“It’s a tournament I've always watched. The crowd always looks good but those first four points I was shaking a lot, so once I got over that I started playing and once I did I played well, glad that I could in the end.

“The backhand is one of my strong areas. Some go in and they're winners and some go in the tin, which is usual for me. I had to really concentrate to get those up and this court takes a nice ball in short so that helped me today.

“Mazen is decent, isn't he? I've never played him before and I like watching him, I’ll try and take the ball in before he does, to get in his head.

“Been practising on a singles court for doubles, it’s good for developing skills, I'm not the best at doubles really, but Camps believes in me.”

Result
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (29m)

Waller wins all-English battle

Adrian Waller & George Parker

An all-English battle was up next at London’s East Wintergarden as Adrian Waller took on George Parker for a place in round two.

A very tightly contested match was full of quality squash throughout. Waller using his trademark hold to control the movement of Parker earned him three game balls at 10-7 to take a crucial first game. Parker managed to force a tiebreak but that wasn't enough to deny Waller talking the game 12-10.

Another quality game followed as both players battled for the middle of the court. Parker channelling his aggression into his shots was testing the movement capabilities of his older opponent. Waller managed to pull ahead at 10-9 and set himself up with a chance to take the match, which he took at the first time of asking to secure his place in the next round.

Waller had this to say after his match:

“I know George well, we practice and train together. I knew what to expect, neither of us really got more than two points ahead of each other at any stage. It became a match where neither of us let each other settle, best of three kind of does that to you as well, we don't want to let the other player settle, I just managed to find those important shots at the crucial times today.

“We were playing good squash, thinking each other out, it's not always apparent with the subtleties, both of us were asking each other a lot of questions, that made it more edgy, neither could really control the tactics, high-quality match overall

“I played Yow here last time, and then Chicago in the summer and last week, and was supposed to be this week again. We had a laugh about it but it would have been nice to play him again to try and get the bragging rights.

“During the lockdown, we've been practising a lot of doubles preparing for commonwealths, we've been putting a lot of hours in with the England set-up and with our coaches, we've prepared the best we can, putting in more hours than even our singles because we get that time anyway with playing PSA still. We're still putting in work now about combinations and tactics, and having good conversations about it as a team, there's some good thinking going on there and we should be good to go in a few weeks up in Glasgow.”

Result
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt George Parker (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-9 (35m)

Rodriguez beats Willstrop to book second round place

Miguel Rodriguez

Closing out the afternoon session, the Canary Wharf Classic crowd were treated to another quality match between two modern legends of the game, Colombian Miguel Rodriguez and former World No.1 James Willstrop.

The tactics of Rodriguez were apparent from the start of the match, extending the rallies and forcing Willstrop deep into the back of the court, forcing the Englishman to attack the front corners from more difficult positions. Rodriguez took a tight first game 11-9.

The second game followed a similar pattern, Rodriguez playing straight and accurate squash whilst Willstrop looked for his opportunities to move the speedy Colombian. A few errors came from the racket of Willstrop at crucial times in the game and partnered with the relentless pressure from Rodriguez earned the Colombian a win over the four-time event champion and a place in round two.

“It was fantastic, I enjoyed it a lot,” said Rodriguez.

I'm happy with my performance. He was playing very offensive, I was very tempted to go for shots but last week he was playing very well in the front so I had to keep him in the back I had to dig deep in the first game and it was really big and got more confident from there.

“I love to come to this tournament, I love the atmosphere and thank you all for coming.”

Result
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 2-0: 11-9, 12-10 (33m)

2016 Champion Castagnet Rolls back the years

Castagnet celebrates his win

2016 Canary Wharf Champion Mathieu Castagnet was back in action as he faced Malaysian No.1 Eain Yow Ng for a place in the second round.

A vintage Castagnet display was showcased in the first game as the Frenchman used his movement to counter-attack Yow’s offensive play and make the game very physical and tough for his opponent to utilise the front of the court.

After Castagnet took the opening game 11-8, Yow responded. The Malaysian was able to use a range of heights and paces to disrupt the rhythm that Castagnet had settled in to and looked confident as he equalised 11-3.

But the determination of Castagnet that has served him so well throughout his career was spurring the Frenchman on. In a topsy-turvy third game, a tiebreak decided the match. Despite disagreeing with some of the referee’s decisions, Castagnet was able to find a fortunate bounce in the back right corner to seal his place in the second round 14-12 in 66 minutes.

With 29 places between the two players in the rankings, Castagnet was delighted with his win as he spoke after the match:

“I think I have a day off tomorrow, I will probably have an ice bath and stretch and have a lot of protein and try to relax and enjoy this win.

“The only thing I felt at the end, maybe the ref was stressed, he doesn't want to give me a stroke, I was just thinking I am going to retire from the PSA World Tour soon and my biggest success has been here at the canary wharf classic and my only thoughts were to keep going and play one more match because I will never be back playing here again.”

Result
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 2-1: 11-8, 3-11, 14-12 (66m)

Mueller’s purple patch continues

Nicolas Mueller celebrates his win

After a great run in the recent Optasia Championships last week Swiss No.1 Nicolas Mueller returned to action as he took on Frenchman Auguste Dussourd in his opening match of this year’s Canary Wharf Classic.

True to his name, Mueller was out like a rocket in the first game picking up where he left off in Wimbledon and was firing the ball short with great accuracy to move the Frenchman into all four corners of the court. Mueller took the opening game 11-1.

A complete turnaround unfolded in the second game as Dussourd motored through from 4-4 to 9-4, using his movement to jump onto some loose attacks from Mueller and test the movement of the Swiss No.1.

Mueller got back to work in the deciding game and was helped by some Dussourd errors to book his place in the second round. Mueller has set up an exciting rematch with Marwan ElShorbagy in the next round, Mueller recently got the better of ElShorbagy at the Optasia Championships and will be hoping for a similar performance.

“I had a few very nice evenings at the office last week in Wimbledon. I played very well with some very good squash, the conditions this week are quite different, last week it was very cold and dead, here it's pretty lively but I love the crowd here.

“Yeah it's going to be interesting playing Marwan again, obviously in a different format in the best of three which changes things but I'm ready to go.

“It's hard to say I liked the lockdown, but it was nice not travelling for a while. I took my road bike out and explored the Swiss Alps, which was painful at times but it certainly paid off for me.

“It was very uncertain for a long time and I was very keen when the doors opened again for international travel. I just love competing in front of a crowd it's much more fun than competing In front of an empty stand.”

Result
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 2-1: 11-1, 7-11, 11-3 (31m)

Masotti battles through to round two

Baptiste Masotti celebrates his win

One of the stars of 2021 Moustafa ElSirty made his Canary Wharf Classic debut in the penultimate match of round one as he took on fiery Frenchman Baptiste Masotti.

A nervy start from both players made for some scrappy rallies in the first game with Masotti trying to find his length to move the tall frame of the Egyptian. After a few referee disagreements from both players, the first game went the way of the Frenchman 14-12.

More decisions followed in the second game with Masotti unhappy with ElSirty’s movement coming out of his shot and made this clear to the referee. Masotti went about his business however and did well to keep his focus. The attacking abilities of the Egyptian were starting to trouble Masotti but it was the Frenchman who held his nerve better at the crucial moments and won 14-12 again to progress.

Masotti was very animated after the match and had this to say:

“I’m sorry guys, the match was awful, to be honest, he is playing well, but when he’s doing these kinds of things he will never be respected. You need to respect your opponent, I tried to play my best, I'm sorry for this awful match, I found a way to win, I won't have respect for him, he is a very good player but I can't respect what he is doing on court.

“I had an injury that put me out for six weeks in December, I'm struggling with my body at the moment, I had covid 10 days ago, I tried to get back in shape, I changed my racket as well and some of my team. I'm very happy, my best friend and his wife are here, my coach and my new sponsor so it's great support for me, I still love playing in front of you guys – don't drink too much.

“I was quite stressed on there, it's difficult for me to be well on there and find my best game. I tried to push and focus, I have some moments in the game where my mind is gone so I try hard to maintain my focus, I'm sure on Tuesday my game will be a lot better.”

Result
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Moustafa ElSirty (EGY) 2-0: 14-12, 14-12 (37m)

Big result for Lake ends day one

Nathan Lake

In the final match of the day, England’s Nathan Lake caused a huge upset as he beat World No.11 Gregoire Marche to progress to the second round of the Canary Wharf Classic.

Lake’s intensity was strong from the start. The Englishman pinned his French opponent in the back corners and carefully chose his opportunities to take the ball short, which he did with superb accuracy. After Marche mounted a comeback in the first game, it wasn't enough to deny Lake the opening game.

The end came quickly for Marche as Lake went from strength to strength and looked completely at home in front of the Canary Wharf crowd. Marche tried his best to break the rhythm of Lake by moving in front and volleying more but Lake was simply too strong on the night.

Lake won 11-9, 11-3 in 31 minutes to set up a second round clash with No.2 seed Mostafa Asal.

“It's great to play here,” said Lake.

“Tim kindly gave me the wildcard here about five years ago and that's really helped, just so I knew what to expect, really pleased with that and especially the second game

“The left-hand wall is a real advantage for me, with being a lefty, I really tried to keep it tight down there as much as I could and thankfully I did it well today.

“He’s great for the game, [Mostafa Asal] love him or hate him people, are talking about him so whatever your opinion I think he's good for squash.

“I played Gregoire in January, I lost in a close 3-2, I think with these guys, I will have seen a lot more of them than they have of me so I try to go in with a blank canvas and think about what I was trying to do, I tried to stay as calm as I possibly could and I'm glad I could manage my head today.”

Result
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 2-0: 11-9, 11-3 (31m)

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