Gaskin Gets Irish Eyes Smiling

Wild card Arthur Gaskin produced unexpected home interest in the quarter-finals of the Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open after ousting higher-ranked Egyptian Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in the opening round of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 squash event at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin.

Dublin-born Gaskin, ranked 96 in the world, reached more than 50 places above him to topple the highest-ranked non-seed in the draw 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in 51 minutes.

"I knew what to expect," said the delighted 28-year-old afterwards. "He plays a good tempo, has a good rhythm and length. My plan was to stay in front of him and be positive, after all I had nothing much to lose. I believed in myself - I knew I had a chance if I played well, although facing such opposition you also know you can lose just as easily.
"I had a game-plan from the start and, what should I say, it worked out to perfection. There was a crucial period in the third when I was 5-3 up. We had about seven or eight lets in a row and I knew if I won that point and went up 6-3, it would give me a mental boost. At that point I was starting to hurt, so that point really was important, and luckily I got it.

"This is a great result for me, really good, and hopefully this marks a bit of a bounce-back. I haven't had a great season so far, so I'm just over the moon.

"Up next is Chris Gordon, who is playing really well at the moment. I played him in Ecuador, I think, eight years ago, so that's not much to go by, but I'll just go in the court, with my game plan, and play my best in front of a great home crowd!"

American Christopher Gordon continued his stunning run of form of late by causing the event's first seeding casualty. The newly-crowned US National champion, ranked 54 in the world, despatched experienced Canadian Shahier Razik, the fourth seed, 11-2, 11-8, 13-11 in 65 minutes.

A pair of qualifiers also survived the first round: German qualifier Jens Schoor, the 25-year-old world No82 from Koblenz, beat England's Charles Sharpes, ranked 16 places higher, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7 in 64 minutes.
"Well that was an awful performance, so flat and lethargic on there," tweeted a despondent Sharpes later. "My inconsistency is ridiculous at the moment."

It took Frenchman Lucas Serme 63 minutes to become the second qualifier through to the last eight following an 11-13, 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-3 win over Pakistan's Nasir Iqbal.

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 15 Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open, Dublin, Ireland
1st round:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (66m)
[Q] Jens Schoor (GER) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 12-10, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7 (64m)
[Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 11-13, 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-3 (63m)
[3] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (57m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt [4] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-2, 11-8, 13-11 (65m)
[WC] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (51m)
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 14-12 (61m)
[2] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [LL] Johan Bouquet (FRA) 11-9, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7 (48m)

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Q] Jens Schoor (GER)
[3] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA)
Christopher Gordon (USA) v [WC] Arthur Gaskin (IRL)
[2] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Shaun le Roux (RSA)
 
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