Grand Prix Finals – Day One

The Reliable Networks Grand Prix Finals, featuring the top points earners from the regular BSPA season, got under way at the Roehampton Club with four Men’s quarter-finals and two women’s semi-finals.

The top seeds were both made to worth for a berth in next round.

In the men’s event World no.11 Daryl Selby looked to have weathered the storm having nicked the first against Chris Fuller and then opening up a two game lead. However, the Nottingham based youngster had other ideas as he capitalised on Selby taking his foot off the gas in the third to pull one back.

England international Selby then steadied the ship and efficiently closed out the match in four to take up his semi-final berth. He will play Eddie Charlton who saved three game balls in the first against Ben Coleman but was quickly back on the ropes as Coleman levelled it at one a-piece. Unperturbed the fourth seed regained control of the match and worked Coleman from corner to corner eventually also coming though in four.

Earlier in the evening the longest match of the night put paid to the schedule as third seed Chris Simpson battled to contain the exuberant Joel Hinds, fresh from winning a PSA title in Paris as a qualifier.  Simpson twice found himself behind aft er squandering a healthy lead in the third, and again made life hard for himself as he allowed Hinds to build up a head of steam in the fifth.

A clinical forehand drop at 8/10 saved one match ball, and a dive just secured a let and saved another at 9/10 as Hinds continued to attack the front of the court, saving a match ball himself with a spectacular cross court nick.

However, eventually it was Simpson who prevailed to set up a clash with second seed Adrian Grant. Reliable Networks Grand Prix winner Andy Whipp & Grant entertained the crowd with some fast and furious rallies. Grant, World no.22, opened up a two-game lead but as is his trademark he kept the crowd entertained, dropping the third before closing out the fourth to complete the top seeds’ progress  to the semis.

The women’s semis also saw the top seeds progressing but in completely different styles.

Emma Beddoes made short shrift of Nada El Kalawaay as the England junior international found the tin on too many occasions to trouble her senior counterpart.Top seed Sarah-Jane Perry may have come off the back of a successful Allam British Open, where she knocked out World no.7 Low Wee Wern, but Lisa Aitken was clearly undaunted as she took the match to Perry.

Having secured first and then been edged out in the second, Aitken stormed back to take the third using clinical two wall boasts and cross-court flicks to unsettled her more illustrious opponent. However, Perry has clearly gained much from her recent successes and part in the senior England set-up and didn’t panic. She took control of the rallies early in the fourth and ensured that Aitken never gained sight of the finish line to take the match in five and set up a clash with Beddoes in Thursdays final.

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Men’s Quarter-Finals:

[1] Daryl Selby bt Chris Fuller 13/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/4
[3/4] Eddie Charlton bt Ben Coleman 12/10, 6/11, 11/5, 11/4
[3/4] Chris Simpson bt Joel Hinds 8/11, 11/4, 10/12, 11/3, 14/12
[2] Adrian Grant bt Andy Whipp- 11/5, 11/7, 6/11, 11/8

Women’s semi-finals:

[1] Sarah-Jane Perry bt Lisa Aitken  7/11, 11/7, 3/11, 11/5, 11/7
[2] Emma Beddoes bt Nada El Kalawaay  11/4, 11/5, 11/3

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