It was a day of surprises at the Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open, with the crowd at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club seeing an abundance of upsets, including the top seed in the men’s draw being knocked out of the Challenger 30 level competition on quarter finals day.
The biggest of those surprise results saw Scotland’s Alan Clyne take out England’s Patrick Rooney, the top seed for the men’s event, in a five-game battle, in one of three contests featuring players from both of the British nations.
Clyne, the World No.48, started strongly and took the first game to the loss of just three points but Rooney, who reached the semi-finals of the Manchester Open last week, came fighting back to take the second game. The same pattern followed across the next two games, with Rooney saving match ball in the fourth game.
After winning the fourth on a tie-break, Rooney started the fifth well, but a run of points for the Scotsman took his into a lead that he would not squander. As the Englishman seemed to tire, Clyne continued to push, and won the deciding game 11-5 to book his spot in the semi-finals of the competition. He will now face Frenchman Auguste Dussourd, the No.5 seed, in the last four, after he got the better of compatriot and No.3 seed Lucas Serme.
Both of the other England-Scotland matches in the men’s also went to five games, with the higher seeds both securing wins. The first saw Greg Lobban, the No.4 seed, come back from 2-1 down against No.6 seed Declan James to advance. He will now face England’s George Parker in the semis, after he got the better of Rory Stewart in the last match of the night.
There were also some surprises in the women’s event, with England’s Grace Gear, who was unseeded for the tournament, taking a surprise win for the second day in a row. After beating Czech No.1 Anna Serme on day two of the competition, the young Englishwoman overcame Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold in the quarter finals. She took both of the first two games on tie-breaks, before going on to beat the No.4 seed 3-1. She will now face top seed Emily Whitlock in the last four on Friday.
The other semi-final in the women’s draw will see the adopted home favourite, Alexandra Fuller, take on No.2 seed Tinne Gilis. The South African, who now resides in Dublin and trains at the Fitzwilliam Club, overcame No.3 seed Lucy Turmel in a tough, 44-minute, three-game battle.
Fuller won the first comfortably 11-4, but saw the second game go on for over 20 minutes, with 34 points being played. Both players had several game balls, but it was eventually the South African that claimed it 18-16. The same happened in the third, and again it was Fuller who was able to come through it, winning it 12-10 to take the match in there and advance to the last four. She will face Belgium’s Tinne Gilis, after she defeated Australian Jessica Turnbull in straight games.
The semi-finals of the Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open take place on Friday, April 22, with action starting from 17:00 (GMT+1). All of the action will be streamed live from the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club on SQUASHTV.
Men’s Quarter Final Results: Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open
 Alan Clyne (SCO) bt  Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 (55m)
 Auguste Dussourd (FRA) bt  Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (47m)
 Greg Lobban (SCO) bt  Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 (78m)
 George Parker (ENG) bt Rory Stewart (SCO) 3-2: 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (67m)
Men’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Friday, April 22
 Alan Clyne (SCO) v  Auguste Dussourd (FRA)
 Greg Lobban (SCO) v  George Parker (ENG)
Women’s Quarter Final Results: Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open
 Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt  Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 16-14, 11-9 (43m)
Grace Gear (ENG) bt  Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-1: 12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9 (38m)
 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt  Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 18-16, 12-10 (44m)
 Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Jessica Turnbull (AUS) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (24m)
Women’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Friday, April 22
 Emily Whitlock (WAL) v Grace Gear (ENG)
 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v  Tinne Gilis (BEL)