Richards Removes Home Hope In Canberra
Third-seeded Englishman Tom Richards ended local hope Ryan Cuskelly’s bid for success in the Hi-Tec Australian Open when he beat the Australian in four games in today’s second round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event in Canberra.
After sharing the opening two games at the Royal Theatre, the world No16 stepped up his game to overcome Cuskelly 11-7, 9-11 11-4, 11-4 in just over an hour.
Cuskelly was matching it with his higher-ranked opponent for the first two games, but when Richards changed his game plan at the start of the third, the Englishman was able to take control over his increasingly frustrated opponent.
“He was playing really well at the end of the second, hitting nicks and winners, so I went back to basics,” Richards said. "I decided to be patient and wait for the best for the best opportunities to go in and attack.
“I knew on paper that Ryan was one of the toughest players to draw in the second round, so I was mentally prepared for it tonight.”
The 26-year-old from Surrey will now play Scotsman Alan Clyne, who survived a war of attrition with New Zealand’s Martin Knight to win 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11 in 83 minutes.
Clyne and Knight were evenly-matched throughout and the New Zealander had three game points to make it two games apiece. But Clyne battled back to save all three then take the match in a tie-break.
Second seed Omar Mosaad was also taken to four games by Czech Jan Koukal. After winning the first two games relatively comfortably, the world No12 from Egypt had to hold off an inspired fight back from the Czech and was lucky not be taken to five games by an opponent ranked 38 places lower.
Mosaad now takes on Malaysia’s Ong Beng Hee, who was the first man through to the quarter-finals when he beat Egyptian teenager Amr Khaled Khalifa 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7.
The former world No7 was able to subdue the shot-making of 19-year-old Khalifa to wrap up well-deserved victory.
“I was pretty confident going into the match,” said the Penang-born 32-year-old. "After my performance yesterday I felt pretty good on court – I’m feeling a bit more comfortable as the days go by but I think the pressure was still on me today because I was playing an extremely talented young Egyptian.
“He’s only 19 years old and absolutely talented with his racquet, so skilful. I think my experience got me through, especially on the bigger points so I’m quite happy with my performance.
“It’s a long time since I’ve been in the quarter-finals of a major event – I’m very pleased.”