Selby produces big shock at St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic

Daryl Selby celebrates (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Daryl Selby celebrates (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com) - Credit: Archant

England’s Daryl Selby provided the biggest shock on the opening day of the 2020 St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic.

Mathieu Castagnet in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Mathieu Castagnet in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com) - Credit: Archant

Selby beat Welsh world number 10 Joel Makin in the first round of the tournament taking place in London's spectacular East Wintergarden.

It was the third time that the pair were meeting on the PSA World Tour, after facing off against each other twice in the space of six days in September 2016, and like the first two, this one went the way of the Englishman as well.

The two-game clash lasted more than 50 minutes, with both players producing sublime squash in a match that looked like it would never end.

After going 6-0 up in the first, Selby went on to take the vital opening game, but then found himself trailing heavily in the second with Makin ahead 10-5.

Greg Lobban in action at Canary Wharf (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Greg Lobban in action at Canary Wharf (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com) - Credit: Archant


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However, the Englishman saved seven game balls to come back and win it 15-13, taking the victory to set up a clash with world champion Tarek Momen in the last 16.

"I got off to a good start which is important in best-of-three, and I am not notoriously a good starter. It wasn't quick, as you would expect with someone like Joel. I felt like I played good squash, and I stuck to my gameplan quite well!" Selby said.

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"At the end of the day, I pulled out some shots at crucial times, especially in the second game. I had to be positive because there is no way you are going to out-manoeuvre Joel. He has earned his place in the top 10 and it is pleasing for me to get a win over a top-10 guy.

"I'm playing Tarek [Momen] and I played the world number one in Chicago last week, now the world champion this week. I might be coming to the end but I love testing myself against the best guys to see how close I can get, just constantly trying to push and finish strong."

There were a couple of other surprise results on the opening day, with Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet and Scotland's Greg Lobban earning victories over France's Gregoire Marche and Egypt's Mazen Hesham, respectively.

World number 22 Castagnet got the better of his compatriot on the glass court after battling through a lengthy first game, taking it after half an hour.

The second game was slightly more straight-forward, as he eventually came through to take the win, booking his place in the second round, where he will face world number one Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Lobban got the better of Hesham, who had pulled out of his third-round clash at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family in Chicago last week.

He was clearly not fully fit here, but the Scot pushed on to secure victory, booking his place against Karim Abdel Gawad on Tuesday.

"I didn't know which Mazen was going to turn up. I knew he was not 100 per cent, but for me, even Mazen at 50 or 60 per cent is a good win," said Lobban.

"You never know when he is going to roll out some winners, but I wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back to full fitness!"

Elsewhere, there were victories for the English pair of Declan James and James Willstrop, the Egyptian duo of Omar Mosaad and Fares Dessouky, and India's Saurav Ghosal, who all advance to the second round of the PSA Gold tournament.

St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic - first round: Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 2-0: 12-10, 11-8 (46m); Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 2-0: 11-7, 11-7 (25m); James Willstrop (ENG) bt [WC] Richie Fallows (ENG) 2-0: 11-5, 11-6 (21m); Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 2-0: 11-8, 15-13 (52m).

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