It was a day of upsets in round two of the Northern Joe Cup in Manchester yesterday as seven seeds failed to progress to the quarter finals.
In the men’s draw it was 34-year-old Brazilian Vini Rodrigues who provided the biggest upset, beating No. 2 seed Lwamba Chileshe in an hour-long battle. Rodrigues took the first two games to give himself a commanding lead, but the New Zealander fought back to level the match 2-2, before Rodrigues capitalised on some errors from Chileshe in the fifth game to take the match 3-2 and progress to the quarter finals.
The London based coach, Rodrigues had this to say about his performance: “I was just feeling confident about the training I have been doing lately. So, I just wanted to go on court and play my game. I tried not to think about the seeding and just play the best I could.” Rodrigues will now face Englishman Harry Falconer, who defeated wildcard Isaac Rawcliffe in three comfortable games.
The longest match of the day was between No.4 seed Curtis Malik and Stuart Macgregor, with the latter reigning victorious in an 82-minute affair. The flow of the match was affected by decisions throughout but there was no shortage of quality on show as well from both players. Pleased with his win, Macgregor is looking forward to his next match today: “It was a rocky start, I was feeling a bit nervous, but I settled into the match and managed scrape the win in the end. I’m feeling good for tomorrow and looking forward to playing again.”
Macgregor has set up a last eight clash with another surprise quarter finalist and local player Lewis Doughty. Doughty defeated No.7 seed Joel Arscott of New Zealand 3-1 in 61 minutes. Doughty said afterwards how pleased he is with his game at the moment and expressed the advantage of being a local player: “I’ve been happy with my performances lately and that really helped me today, even after losing the first game I felt confident in my game plan and was able to dig in when it got tight at the end.
“I’m really happy to be into the quarters, I grew up playing here and it’s always nice to see familiar faces, and have a bit of support in the crowd!”
On the women’s side, it was a double English delight as both Saran Nghiem and Katie Wells upset the seedings to progress to the quarter finals. Nghiem got her revenge on No.7 seed Torrie Malik, as Malik beat Nghiem in the English Junior Championships final last week. Malik managed to level the match 2-2 after finding herself two games down, but it was Nghiem, playing in familiar territory at Cheetham Hill Squash Club, who came out on top.
Saran Nghiem in round one action
“Obviously it was tough to lose over the weekend in a big event, so I knew this time I had to be even more up for it and I’m glad I got the chance to play her again so soon,” said Nghiem. “I’m over the moon to get the win, I just lost to her 4 days ago so to come back feels amazing, especially at my home club. I’m ready for another hopefully good game tonight”.
A quarter final match up with No.1 seed Cristina Gomez awaits the Manchester player after Gomez wasted no time in dispatching wildcard Amy Royle in just 15 minutes, 11-5 11-3 11-0.
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Results – Men’s second round: Northern Joe Cup 2021 –
 Nick Wall (ENG) bt Ben Smith (ENG) 3:0 13-11, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
 Miles Jenkins (ENG) bt Paul Gonzalez (FRA) 3:0 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 (37m)
Lewis Doughty (ENG) bt  Joel Arscott (NZL) 3:1 6-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-8 (61m)
Stuart Macgregor (ENG) bt  Curtis Malik (ENG) 3:2 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (82m)
 Charlie Lee (ENG) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 3:0 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (30m)
Perry Malik (ENG) bt  Sean Conroy (IRL) 3:0 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
 Harry Falconer (ENG) bt [WC] Isaac Rawcliffe (ENG) 3:0 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (23m)
Vini Rodrigues (BRA) bt  Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) 3:2 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 12-14, 11-3 (60m)
Results – Women’s second round: Northern Joe Cup 2021 –
 Cristina Gomez (ESP) bt [WC] Amy Royle (ENG) 3:0 11-3, 11-5, 11-0 (15m)
Saran Nghiem (ENG) bt  Torrie Malik (ENG) 3:2 11-7, 11-1, 6-11, 6-11, 11-2 (45m)
Elise Romba (FRA) bt  Celine Walser (SUI) 3:0 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 (25m)
 Georgia Adderley (SCO) bt Sanne Veldkamp (NED) 3:0 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (23m)
Katie Wells (ENG) bt  Ali Loke (WAL) 3:0 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 (28m)
 Grace Gear (ENG) bt Lea Barbeau (FRA) 3:0 11-8 11-8 11-3 (21m)
 Alicia Mead (ENG) bt Sofia Mateos (ESP) 3:0 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)
 Lily Taylor (ENG) bt Asia Harris (ENG) 3:0 12-10, 13-11, 11-9 (29m)
Draw – Men’s Quarter Finals:
 Nick Wall (ENG) v  Miles Jenkins (ENG)
Lewis Doughty (ENG) v Stuart Macgregor (ENG)
 Charlie Lee (ENG) v Perry Malik (ENG)
 Harry Falconer (ENG) v Vini Rodrigues (BRA)
Draw – Women’s Quarter finals:
 Cristina Gomez (ESP) v Saran Nghiem (ENG)
Elise Romba (FRA) v  Georgia Adderley (SCO)
Katie Wells (ENG) v  Grace Gear (ENG)
 Alicia Mead (ENG) v  Lily Taylor (ENG)