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22 Apr 2024

Charlie Lee Upsets Rooney To Reach Maiden British Nationals Semi

18 Aug 2023

Seventh-seeded Englishman Charlie Lee earned his place in the semi-finals of the British National Championships for the first time in his career after he upset No.3 seed Patrick Rooney in a five-game battle at St George's Hill Lawn Tennis Club in Weybridge.

It was an even contest which saw Lee come back from 2/1 down to secure a 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory following 56 minutes of action. It sets up a semi-final clash with defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy. Lee will hope to replicate the performance that saw him beat the former world No.1 in the second round of March's Optasia Championships.

"It's a nice stage to reach," said Lee afterwards.

"It was a weird match today. I don't think either of us were at our best today, but sometimes that happens. It was nice to come out on top, especially after being down 2/1, so now it's about preparing tomorrow for Mohamed and to try and keep winning.

"I like to draw on my positives and take confidence from what I know and my strengths. I'm going to take each match at a time, each point at a time. You go in and it's a completely new day against a top quality player."

ElShorbagy booked his last four berth courtesy of an 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 win against Welsh qualifier Emyr Evans.

"I think it was a very good battle," ElShorbagy said.

"He's quite skilful and he can take you by surprise by the way he attacks because he doesn't really attack straight from the return of the serve. He is always playing at a medium pace and then he just surprises you with an attack, so it made it very confusing at times, but I'm glad to win and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

No.2 seed Joel Makin and No.4 seed Adrian Waller will go head-to-head in the other semi-final, a repeat of the 2021 title decider, which Makin won.

Makin, the world No.10, overcame No.10 seed Joe Lee in a scintillating 11-2, 11-3, 11-0 victory.

"Me and Adrian [Waller] have played a lot over the last couple of years," Makin said.

"I rate his squash highly and I've just got to use my advantages and play the match on my terms. If the match is played on his terms he is a very dangerous player. I know what he can do, but I want to play the match on my terms, disrupt him and unsettle him as much as possible."

Waller got the better of fellow Englishman Nick Wall in straight games.

Meanwhile, defending women's champion Jasmine Hutton came back from match ball down to upset fourth seed Emily Whitlock in a gripping five-game contest.

World No.23 Hutton is ranked just one spot below Whitlock in the PSA World Rankings and comes into this event as the reigning champion following her win over Lucy Beecroft in last year's final.

It was a captivating contest in front of a packed house, with momentum ebbing and flowing throughout the 69-minute match. With the score locked at two-all, Hutton had two match ball opportunities, but was unable to capitalise as Whitlock came back to level. The Welshwoman then had a chance of her own, but Hutton fought on, eventually closing out a 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11 victory.

"I feel really relieved," said Hutton.

"I felt I played well in patches, but it wasn't consistent enough, there were some errors at critical points, especially at 10-8 up in the fifth, so I was really proud to come through in five because she threw everything at me."

Top seed and 2021 runner-up Georgina Kennedy awaits Hutton in the last four after the world No.10 saw off the threat of Scotland's Georgia Adderley, winning 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 in 32 minutes.

"I didn't have my usual advantage over Georgia, because I usually feel like I can physically dominate my opponents, but Georgia has the exact same assets as I have," Kennedy said.

"She gets back some unbelievable balls, she's very deceptive as well, so it is very difficult to win rallies against her. I knew today would be a good test to see whether my short game would live up to when I have been practising, and it did. I feel like I made few errors and I feel like I made her do lots of work."

The other women's semi-final will see three-time champion Sarah-Jane Perry take on two-time winner Tesni Evans following respective wins over No.7 seed Katie Malliff and No.6 seed Lucy Turmel.