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> Round 3 Outlook by Dan Kneipp

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Round
Three and Beyond: The Matchups

by Dan
Kneipp
, Team
Kneipp report index

All content © 2003 Squashtalk

Dec 17, 2003,
Lahore, Pakistan — [second round report;
complete results]

Fitness
isn’t just about the player that has done the most amount
of court sprints and can lunge the most. There are many different
types of fitness including staying injury free, being mentally prepared,
eating well and being motivated. The contrast between the first
big tournament of the year and the World Open helps emphasise how
hard it is to stay at peak physical fitness throughout the year.

At
the Tournament of Champions the top 8 seeds all progressed through
to the quarter finals. That will be impossible here in Lahore. The
seeding minefield has meant that for the third round, the round
of 16, nearly half of the player seeded to be here are already on
their way home. This has meant the tournament is wide open. Here
is how the situation looks for the remaining 16 men.

The
1st Quarter

[30]
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) v [10] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
[7] Karim Darwish (EGY) vs [21] Olli Tuominen (FIN)

Davide Bianchetti, giant killer

One
of these blokes will progress through to the semi finals of the
World Open. None of them were expected to. Bianchetti is a great
player and caused the early demise of Peter Nicol, but if he can
create another upset it will add even more weight to an impressive
tournament. Gaultier and Darwish are obviously expected to make
the next round, but upsets have riddled the first two rounds and
obviously won’t stop now. Bianchetti has beaten Gaultier before,
but it was back in 2000. Tuominen hasn’t beaten Darwish before.

Gaultier,
Darwish and Tuominen have all had a great year on the tour.

The
2nd Quarter

[3]
David Palmer (AUS) vs [9] Amr Shabana (EGY)
[5] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) vs [20] Mohammed Abbas (EGY)

Will Palmer and Ricketts meet?
(photo © 2003 Debra Tessier for Squashtalk)

This
is the quarter that is the most sane. There is only one seeded player
missing from here (Abbas accounted for Simon Parke), but there is
a doubt on Palmer’s fitness. Normally Palmer and Ricketts
would be the stand out players to progress through to the quarterfinals,
but there is more to the situation. If Palmer’s leg is bothering
him and he has problems lunging he will have a lot of trouble with
Shabana. You can’t play him and not do a lot of lunging and
sudden changes. Shabana is spectacular at holding the ball and slapping
nicks – a style of play that can’t be overcome without
good physical movement.

Ricketts’
progression through to the quarters wouldn’t be riddled with
doubt, except at the most recent tournament he lost uncharacteristically
early to Abbas, his upcoming opponent. Although this quarter has
only had one upset so far, the prospect of further losses against
the seeding will make for entertaining squash. Even if the games
go with the seeds it will be great squash.

The
3rd Quarter


[25] Renan Lavigne (FRA) versus [19] Nick Matthew (ENG)
Tommy Berden (NED) versus [4] Thierry Lincou (FRA)

Like
the 1st quarter, this is a crazy mix of non-seeds. Lincou is the
only player that was expected (on paper) to have reached this stage.

Lavigne
upset Mark Chaloner, a player ranked only a few places ahead of
him. This wasn’t such an enormous upset. Matthew took out
Ong Beng Hee, a player whose recent bad form, compared to Matthew’s
good form, meant this upset wasn’t so surprising. Berden took
out Martin Heath and then a Pakistani qualifier in the 2nd round
to create the trio of upstarts in the last 16. Lincou is the only
player who is supposed to be here and it will take a very impressive
performance from one of the other blokes to prevent him from making
the semi finals.

The
4th Quarter

[23]
Nick Taylor (ENG) vs [8] Lee Beachill (ENG)
[11] Joseph Kneipp (AUS) vs [2] John White (SCO)

Can the Kneipps come up with
the formula to outfox McWhitey?
(photo
© 2003 Fritz Borchert for Squashtalk)

This
is the other quarter that has a semblance of normality. Nick Taylor
is the only player present against the seeding, taking out Graham
Ryding to earn his spot. He now faces Lee Beachill, the inform player
at the moment, and surprisingly a player that he hasn’t faced in
PSA over the past five years.

This
quarter presents a very interesting scenario. For argument sake
let’s presume (because of seeding) that Thierry Lincou makes
the semifinals in the 3rd quarter, and becomes the player either
Taylor, Beachill, White or Kneipp meet in the semis. Lee Beachill
hasn’t played Taylor in five years in PSA, has beaten John White
before, but hasn’t beaten Kneipp (out of only one encounter) or
Lincou before. Despite this if he makes the final of the World Open
from here it won’t be a shock considering his recent win in
Qatar. John McWhitey has beaten Joe Kneipp, Lee Beachill and Thierry
Lincou. If he makes the World Open final it will be for the 2nd
time in a row and won’t be a huge surprise. Joe Kneipp has
beaten John McWhite, Lee Beachill and Thierry Lincou before, so
theoretically he can also make the final of the World Open, but
it will be a big surprise. Nick Taylor hasn’t beaten Beachill, Kneipp
or Lincou, but has taken McWhitey out. If he makes the final it
will be amazing.

Like
the other three quarters these matches should be bloody interesting,
as we get closer to this year’s World Champion
.

2nd
round results:
[25] Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt [16] Mark Chaloner (ENG) 17-16, 15-9,
13-15, 15-10 (71m)
[19] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [6] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 15-13, 10-15,
3-15, 15-12, 15-5 (67m)
Tommy Berden (NED) bt [Q] Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) 12-15, 10-15,
15-6, 15-13, 15-9 (106m)
[4] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [18] Omar Elborolossy (EGY) 15-9, 15-12,
15-7 (49m)
[23] Nick Taylor (ENG) bt [14] Graham Ryding (CAN) 15-12, 15-6,
15-9 (45m)
[8] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 15-5, 15-7, 15-6 (26m)
[11] Joseph Kneipp (AUS) bt [17] Alex Gough (WAL) 15-7, 15-12, 10-15,
15-7 (66m)
[2] John White (SCO) bt [Q] John Rooney (IRL) 15-13, 15-6, 15-12
(36m)