3:02 pm
25 May 2024

Daryl Downed As Wildcard Wall Makes British Open R2

17 Aug 2021

English wildcard Nick Wall caused the biggest upset on the opening day of the Allam British Open when he took out compatriot Daryl Selby, the former world No.9, to reach the second round of the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the Allam Sport Centre in Hull.

The 21-year-old world No.146, competing in the main draw of the prestigious tournament for the first time, showed his skill on the big stage as he came from a game down against the experienced 38-year-old Selby to win 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 in 61 minutes.

Yorkshireman Wall will face the challenge of Egypt's world No.5 Marwan Elshorbagy in the second round.

"Just an amazing experience to be here, to be given the opportunity and to play a legend like Daryl," said Wall in his post-match interview. "He is someone I have always looked up to.

"We [with coach, Nick Matthew] spoke a lot before the tournament. It has been a tricky few months for me and the preparation has not been ideal. I have done what I can, and that is what he asked of me. Luckily, I have been able to get myself fit enough to get here, which was the first thing I wanted to do. Then, to win against Daryl, that is just great.

"[It is a] great opportunity to play someone like Marwan, one of my favourite players, and I am sure I will learn a lot from that match."

Wall will be joined by compatriot George Parker in the second round after he overcame wildcard Sam Todd in straight games to claim his first ever win at the British Open.

Todd, 18, showed his class in a confident start to proceedings to go 7-5 ahead, but the superior experience of Parker saw the older Englishman play the key rallies better and he came back to take the opener.

Todd refused to be overawed by the occasion in the second game and continued fighting in the third to force his opponent to a tie-break. But the teenager was unable to extend the match to a fourth game as Parker completed an 11-7, 11-7, 13-11 triumph in 43 minutes.

"He's got nothing to lose and he makes you very edgy," said Parker. "You don't want to put the ball in spots around the middle, and if you overhit at the back he is dangerous. On a court like this, he can reel two or three points off really quickly, so that made me really edgy to start with. I tried to keep the ball straight and deep as much as I could, pin him in the back and hope for an error. He is a dangerous player, he's going to be very good."

Next up for Parker is a second-round clash with Egypt's CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner Mostafa Asal which promises plenty of fireworks.

"It will pretty much be similar, but on a better level to Sam," said Parker.

"Anywhere around the middle he is going to stand on it and hit a perfect length. You've got to be wary where you put the ball with players like that, but when you're scrambling sometimes you can't help but put it there, and that's why he is dangerous.

"I've played a lot of games, I played two in Manchester and now this one in Hull, so I'm sharp. I've got a four-week break after this, so I have nothing to lose going forward. It's sort of my final tomorrow, like it was Sam's final today, so I'll give it everything and see what happens."

The longest match of the day went to France's Lucas Serme and Switzerland Dimitri Steinmann who battled it out for 100 minutes on the side courts at the Allam Sport Centre at the University of Hull.

It was the Frenchman who was able to get over the line though and booked his place in the second round, where he will come up against compatriot Baptiste Masotti following his assured 3/1 victory over England's Joshua Masters on the glass court.

Meanwhile in the women's draw, it was almost joy for another wildcard in Georgina Kennedy as she fought back from two games down against Malaysia's Sivasangari Subramaniam in the first match of the day on the glass court.

It couldn't have been any tighter between the two players with three of the games going to tie-breaks. However, it was the Malaysian that had enough in the tank to take the win in five and book her place in the next round where she will face USA's Amanda Sobhy, who she memorably beat the last time the two played at the 2019-20 PSA World Championships.

"She is better than what she is ranked but I am just relieved to get through the first round," said Subramaniam.

"I knew it would be a tough match, Gina is a tough player. I knew I had to push hard and take the lead because she is really fast, so definitely I will have to recover well because this was a long match and I hope to come back fresh tomorrow."

Fellow wildcard Katie Malliff also put up a tough fight, but it was not enough to prevent USA's Haley Mendez - who was celebrating her 28th birthday - from getting the win as she held off a comeback from the brave English teenager.

It turned out to be a good day for British trio Lucy Turmel, Jasmine Hutton and Emily Whitlock will also bolster the home hopes in the second round as they claimed respective wins over Switzerland's Cindy Merlo, France's Enora Villard and Finland's Emilia Soini.

Welshwoman Whitlock continued the strong form that saw her reach the semi-finals of the Manchester Open last week as she downed Soini 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 to set up a mouth-watering battle with compatriot Tesni Evans in the next round.

"It's been difficult with the long day yesterday in my room and the really late practice," said Whitlock.

"I felt okay this morning, but I wish I played an hour earlier. I don't feel too bad, it's fine but it's just starting again on a new court at a new tournament, and it's actually really dead. She's firing in these boasts, and I'm having to run a lot, but it's all good, there are worse problems in the world.

"It's not on the glass court [against Evans], but it should be a good game either way, so I'm looking forward to it.

"I feel like we play a similar game, but who knows. It's a new court, a new match, a new day, so it's anyone's. The strength and depth of the tour is so strong and it's a new day tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes."