Welsh squash ace Joel Makin on his way to victory.

Welshman Joel Earns Momentous Classic Squash Win

Welshman Joe Makin is through to the Canary Wharf Squash Classic quarter-finals in London.

Makin, from, Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, defeated Hong Kong’s sixth seed Max Lee 6-11, 11-6, 11-9 in 47 minutes to make progress.

He now plays New Zealand Paul Coll, ranked number four in the tournament, in the last eight.

Makin is through to the quarters for the first time and said: “I’ve been watching this tournament for years.

“It is one of the favourites for all the players and everybody enjoys it. 

“I wanted to get through a couple of rounds, I hadn’t done well in this tournament before, so I am really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Coll defeated England’s Tom Richards 11-4, 11-5. 

The pair had met in the quarter-finals of the Canada Cup exactly a week ago, with Coll winning that encounter in straight games too.

“We played each other last week, so I knew he liked to take it in fast, with lots of angles,” Coll said.

“I tried to stay up the court and cover those angles. We had some fast rallies last week as well, so I knew exactly what to expect. 

“I am happy with the way I adjusted and found my length on the court too.”

French World No.26 Mathieu Castagnet booked his place in the 2019 Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Classic quarter-finals after he caused a stunning upset against second seed Simon Rösner at London’s East Wintergarden.

A string of injuries have seen Castagnet slide down the rankings from a career-high No.6 ranking, but he rolled back the years with a fearless display against the German No.1 to claim his first win over Rösner at the seventh attempt.

All of those matches were played using a best-of-five games format, however the best of three format – which is being trialled in Canary Wharf for a second successive year – looked to play into his hands as he attacked well and used the lob intelligently to complete an 11-8, 3-11, 11-9 victory in 55 minutes.

“The first, and the last, time I beat Simon Rösner was when I was 16 or 17 years old,” Castagnet said.

“It was at the French Junior Open. Since then, in leagues, exhibitions, PSA tournaments, European Team Championships, all the time he beats me 3-2, 3-1, 3-0. 

“So when I reached my first match ball against him in the seniors, if I had to put the ball to the back of the court a thousand times, I would.

“I don’t know if we can say that in English, but he is like my ‘black beast’. 

“All the injuries I have had, it is such an amazing game for me today. I have so much respect for him and we are close friends, but I really enjoyed that moment because I worked so hard to be back at my best and to live that moment, it is something special to me, to be honest.”

Declan James celebrates victory against Welsh Wizards’ player Marwan ElShorbagy.

Egypt’s Fares Dessouky was on song in the opening game as he hit a series of thunderous shots into the nick and he went on to take the opener for the loss of just five points. 

The start of the second game was a scrappy affair as the video referee was called into action in the first four rallies of the game. Dessouky took a number of points in succession and he dropped just two points to close out the win in 25 minutes.

“I played good squash today, even my movement was quite good,” said Dessouky.

“I had an ACL injury so I had surgery in December [2017]. After that I had another small surgery, and I feel like I’m improving every tournament.”

England’s World No.20 Declan James claimed arguably the biggest win of his career as he upset Egypt’s World No.10 Marwan ElShorbagy.

Nottingham-based James had never been able to get the better of a player inside the world’s top 10 before and was appearing in the second round of the prestigious PSA World Tour Gold tournament for the first time.

But, in front of a packed and vociferous house at the East Wintergarden, the 25-year-old played some of his best squash to come back from a game down against last year’s semi-finalist ElShorbagy, who plays Premier League squash for Welsh Wizards. 

James edged it 7-11, 11-5, 11-9 in 45 minutes and celebrated with gusto after a pinpoint volley drop saw him convert the second of his match balls.

Canary Wharf Classic action: Paul Coll (white shirt) plays Joel Makin in the last eight.

“For me, it was more mental over anything else,” said James. “I have been saying for quite a few months now that I wanted to get that win over a top 10 guy. 

“I have made no secret about the fact that has been one of my main goals. I feel like this season, I have started to play at a level that is capable of contending with these guys, but I haven’t got over the line, so this means so much to me, it really does.

“It is just so exciting. I just remind myself every day of how fortunate I am to play squash for a living because it is not always fun when you’re training hard and you’re feeling tired. 

“I am just reminding every day to enjoy myself as much as I can because when I enjoy it, I play well, and vice versa, so I am literally just trying to enjoy every day on the court at the moment.”

2019 Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Classic quarter-finals:

[8] Ryan Cuskelly (Australia) won 2-1 v James Willstrop (England)  6-11, 11-5, 11-4 (42m)

[4] Tarek Momen (Egypt) won 2-1 v Raphael Kandra (Germany)  12-14, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egypt) won 2-1 v Borja Golan (Spain)  11-7, 9-11, 11-8 (48m)

Declan James (England) 2-1 [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egypt)  7-11, 11-5, 11-9 (45m)

[7] Fares Dessouky (Egypt) won 2-0 v Daryl Selby (England) 11-5, 11-2 (25m)

Mathieu Castagnet (France) won 2-1 v [2] Simon Rosner (Germany) 11-8, 3-11, 11-9 (55m)

[4] Paul Coll (New Zealand) won 2-0 v Tom Richards (England) 11-4, 11-5 (27m)

Joel Makin (Wales) won 2-1 v [6] Max Lee (Hong Kong) 6-11, 11-6, 11-9 (47m)

Quarter-final draw, matches to be played Wednesday: Mohamed ElShorbagy v Declan James (6.45pm); Ryan Cuskelly v Tarek Roman (6pm); Paul Coll v Joel Makin (8.45pm); Fares Dessouky v Mathieu Castagnet (8pm).

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