Eamonn Coghlan, the three time Irish Olympian and former World Champion over 5000 metres, took time out of his busy schedule as Irish Senator, to back Squash’s bid for inclusion into the 2020 Olympics. Coghlan was supported by no-one other than Aisling Blake, the current world number 23, reigning Irish champion and President of the Women’s Squash Association.
And while there were no Irish players in action today, the outcome of two matches was to determine who both Madeline Perry and Aisling Blake were to face tomorrow when the main draw begins. Perry will be facing Mariam Metwally, the young Egyptian who caused the upset of the day by beating top qualifying seed Gaby Huber 3:0 in 38 minutes. While Madeline Perry is 65 positions ahead of Metwally in the current world ranking, the impressive result gives Madeline reason to be cautious. Aisling Blake on the other hand will face Deon Saffrey, after the Welsh number two beat Austrian number one Birgit Coufal.
There were no upsets in the men’s qualifying today, but plenty of close calls. Malaysian Ivan Yuen took five sets to overcome Alejandro Garbi Caro of Spain, while Lucas Serme took two minutes longer to beat Joel Hinds by three games to two. Serme found himself two games down, and after winning the third 11:9, took control of the match. At 9:10 down in the fifth Jens Schoor of Germany endured some nervous moments when his talented opponent Alex Phillips was hitting winner after winner, but Schoor strung together three points to take the match 3:2. The evening ended with style when young Zahed Mohamed took to the court against Johan Bouquet, giving the crowd and his opponent a lesson in Egyptian Squash. Bouquet will not have minded losing as he drew the lucky loser spot, after Mark Krajcsakpulled out of the main draw.
The main draw begins tomorrow at 2pm at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. Entry to all matches is free, just aertv.ie’s free online streaming (from Thursday).