Selby beats Walker in Hong Kong
Daryl Selby and Alister Walker, two of the closest-ranked players battling against each other in the first round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, duly produced the longest match on day one of the sixth PSA World Series squash event of the year.
Englishman Selby, the world No10 and highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw, dropped the first game to former England team-mate Walker, the world No12 who now represents Botswana, the country of his birth.
But Selby turned things round to open up a 2/1 lead before Walker fought back to draw level. And in the dramatic decider, it was the higher-ranked Englishman who ultimately prevailed, winning 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 in 95 minutes.
“Brutal match in Hong Kong first round against my good friend @alisterWALKER,” tweeted 30-year-old Selby later. “Proper battle and lucky to win it in the end. #toughdraw.”
Selby led a trio of Englishmen through to the last 16 round. Fellow Essex man Peter Barker, the sixth seed, had to fight back from a game down to overcome Egyptian qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6.
Later, defending champion James Willstrop, the world number one from Leeds, also had to recover from the loss of the first game before seeing off England team-mate Adrian Grant 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 in 73 minutes.
RESULTS: PSA World Series Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open
1st round (top half of draw):
1 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (73m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 (75m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (50m)
8 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-5, 14-12 (38m)
6 Peter Barker (ENG) bt [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (44m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8 (82m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 (95m)
4 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 (34m)