Seeds five and six fall; Tuominen gets a scare from retired pro Wellings
Birmingham, Mich. – A feisty old dog, a persistent qualifier, and a marathon upset provided color to the opening round of play at the 2010 Motor City Open presented by Suburban Volvo. On a day that top seeds Karim Darwish and Thierry Lincou cruised, a packed house at the Birmingham Athletic Club cheered on local club pro, Julian Wellings, a retired, ex-World #46 who gave #4 seed Olli Tuominen all he could handle. Qualifier Ryan Cuskelly surprised the current World #40, and Mark Krakcsak crafted a two-hour, come-from-behind upset of the #6 seed.
In all, eight players advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal and a shot at a $40, 000 purse and Rolex watch from Greenstone Jewelers.
Showing flashes of the pro career that took him to the Top 50 ten years ago, Wellings – who now spends his days building one of the finest U.S. junior programs at the MCO’s host club north of Detroit – split the first two games against Tuominen, who won this tournament in 2008.
“Julian played pretty well, actually,” Tuominen said. “He still has it, and hit a lot of great shots and surprised me many times.” The fitter Flying Finn survived the early scare and went on to defeat Julian in four games, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6.
Qualifier Cuskelly (world #54), of Australia, proved that he had every intention of sticking around awhile after getting a birth in the main show. He was the only qualifier to move on as he quickly dispatched fellow Aussie and world #40, Aaron Frankcomb, 12-10, 11-3, 11-2.
The match’s start time was delayed over an hour because of the long five-game match prior between the Egyptian Reda and Hungarian Mark Krajcsak. Reda, the tournament’s #6 seed and world #33, built a two-game lead, but Krajcsak came all the way back to win 16-18, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8.
“I was two-love lead in the beginning,” Reda said of his match in which all but the final game required a tiebreaker. “Then, I had 10-8 match ball and the next one 10-6 match ball, but I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t finish the games today. Mentally I wasn’t there at all. He was more prepared than me and was doing more than me, so he deserved to win.”
“This was my toughest so far,” said Krajcsak, who fell behind in the final three stanzas – 5-3, 5-2, 5-2 – only to work his way back and win each. “It was very long, very intensive and there was nothing between us. I think I was just a little fitter in the end.”
“I’m coming from Hungary, which is a small country with not too much squash there,” Krajcsak continued. “I’m much better than all the other Hungarian players, so when they go ahead (in the match), I can still come back. That’s when I work hard. I think I just get used to it, and when other players are leading, I can work hard to come back.”
Where Reda was an upset victim, fellow Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz (world #38) escaped an upset against Yasir Butt (world #55) after falling behind 0-2 in another five-game thriller: 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 20-18, 11-3.
“I got so many match points, but couldn’t make it,” Butt said of games three and four. “In the third game, I lost concentration, and when I got match point, I should’ve gone for the attack, but I was playing defensive.”
It was the fourth game that proved decisive. The grueling, 20-point game exhausted the Pakistani and left him with little fight. The result was an easy 11-3 finale for Aziz.
In another first round upset, England’s Chris Ryder downed the #5 seed – and the tournament’s top-ranked American – Julian Illingworth 11-4, 11-9, 11-7. Mohd Azlan Iskandar defeated Campbell Grayson 11-2, 11-5, 11-6. Top seed and World #5 Karim Darwish dispatched Alan Clyne 11-9, 11-7, 11-4. And World #9 Thierry Lincou, seede second, defeated qualifier Scott Arnold 11-5, 11-3, 11-6.
Friday results, First Round:
- Tuominen (FIN) def. Wellings (ENG) 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6
- Cuskelly (AUS) def. Frankcomb (AUS) 12-10, 11-3, 11-2
- Krajcsak (HUN) def. Reda (EGY) 16-18, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8
- Aziz (EGY) def. Butt (PAK) 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 20-18, 11-3
- Ryder (ENG) def. Illingworth (USA) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7
- Iskandar (MAS) def. Grayson (NZL) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6
- Darwish (EGY) def. Clyne (SCO) 11-9, 11-7, 11-4
- Lincou (FRA) def. Arnold (AUS) 11-5, 11-3, 11-6
Saturday’s Quarterfinal match schedule:
- (1) Karim Darwish v. Mark Krajcsak, 4:00
- (4) Olli Tuominen v. Omar Abdel Aziz (7), 4:30
- (2) Thierry Lincou v. Ryan Cuskelly (Q), 5:00
- (3) Mohd Azlan Iskandar v. Chris Ryder, 5:30