Clyne Over Rodriguez on Day One of Swedish Open by Sean Reuthe
February 2, 2017
- All but one of the top eight seeds on the opening day of action at
the 2017 UCS Swedish Open made it to the quarter-finals unscathed, with
former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez being the only seed to miss
out after he fell to Scotland’s Alan Clyne in Linköping.
Clyne, the World No.34, was without a win in his last three PSA World
Tour events, but recovered from a game down to win in four, ending a
six-match losing streak against World No.13 Rodriguez to move into the
last eight of the Swedish Open for the first time.
"Miguel was playing well at the start and he wasn’t letting me off with any loose balls," said Clyne.
"Gradually, we had some really tough rallies in the second. That was a
really important game and I was glad I managed to sneak that. After
that, I came out pretty well and I was happy with the way I managed to
finish it off against a player like Miguel.
"We’ve had some close matches before. I watched the last match we
played, which was in Colombia and was 3-2, and I felt like I had a
really good chance to win that. I felt like I knew how to win, I just
had to execute it and thankfully I did that."
Defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad got his 2017 campaign off to a
winning start after he swept past Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan in
Gawad, the current World Champion who is looking for a fourth
successive PSA World Tour title, came up against a resilient Adnan in
the opening game as both players traded points on the penultimate match
of the evening, with Gawad eventually taking it for the loss of eight
It was all one-way traffic in the second as Gawad dropped just four
points en route to doubling his lead. Adnan battled back in the third,
with some consistent play seeing him wrack up a series of points
against the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’, but Gawad held him off to take it
11-9 and move into the last eight, where he will face Australian No.1
"I enjoy playing here so much, it’s one of the best courts and best atmospheres," said World No.2 Gawad said.
"It’s amazing to play here. I enjoy my squash so much on this court and in front of this crowd.
"I watched Nafiizwan play over the past few tournaments, he has beaten
some very tough players and he is one of the top players also, so he’s
very tough to play and I am glad to get through to the quarters with a
Pilley secured safe passage through to the quarter-finals thanks to a 3-0 win over Welsh qualifier Joel Makin.
The tall World No.17 dominated the centre of the court throughout and
was clinical as he capitalised on any loose shots from Makin to build
on early leads in games one and two to go 2-0 up. Makin started the
better of the two in the third game and he dug in and began to build up
a series of points, only to see Pilley shut up shop and see out the win
by an 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 margin.
"It was tough out there, Joel picks up a lot of balls that you feel would win the rally two or three times," Pilley said.
"I had to play some quality straight hitting to keep him from using his
speed and using the angles, and I was able to do that for most of the
match. He got stuck in there in the third, started to play some really
good squash, so I had to knuckle down and try to close it out in three."
World No.3 Gregory Gaultier put any worries about his fitness to bed as
he opened up his Swedish Open campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 win
over qualifier Joe Lee setting up a quarter-final clash with Egypt’s
Gaultier struggled with a glute injury in the latter stages of last
month’s Tournament of Champions, but was exquisite as he dismantled
Lee, playing a free-flowing style that saw him at his very best as he
countered and controlled the court, picking out winner after winner
with effortless ease.
“Today I was moving well, I didn’t come here last year and I was gutted
because I had an injury that kept me away for a long time,” said the
Frenchman who has won this title twice.
“I started mentally fresh again this year. I’m very motivated here, I
played well in New York and I’m in a good mood, so I am hoping to play
Gaultier’s compatriot, Mathieu Castagnet, made his return from a
three-month injury lay-off with a 3-1 win over tournament wildcard
Rasmus Hult, and he will meet Clyne in the last eight.
England’s Daryl Selby and German No.1 Simon Rösner were the other
winners on day one after they beat Omar Abdel Meguid and Adrian Waller,
respectively, and they will face off for a place in the last four.
Draw - Quarter-Finals: To be Played February 3rd
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)