S A National Squash Championships – round 1

Wanderers Club, Johannesburg
Top seeded Steve Coppinger started off his defence of the S A Nationals Men’s Squash with an easy straight game victory over Sheldon Erasmus when the first round was played at the Wanderers Club on Monday evening. The other top seeds Clinton Leeuw , the second seed, Rodney Durbach and Thoboki Mohohlo, the three and four seeds,  also had relatively easy wins against Pano Hadji , Mick Gouweloos and Charl Fourie respectively.
Wits student, Paul Cresswell,  caused a major upset when in a  tough five game tussle he edged through 13-11  in the decider against seasoned campaigner Adrian Hansen of Kwazulu Natal.
Left handed Cresswell took the first game 11-7  before losing the second 11-9. Hansen a former National champion, pocketed the third game also 11-9 and notched up a 3-1 lead in the fourth game. Cresswell retrieved strongly to take a 5-3 lead only to trail 5-8. Levelling at 8 points each, he won the fourth game on his first game point at 11-8. Points seesawed in the fifth game with Cresswell holding match point at 10-9 .Desperate play by Hansen saw him level at 10-all and hold match point at 11-10. A series of lets followed which eventually saw Cresswell saving the match point  and he pocketed the next 3 points and the game to take the match 13-11.
Western Province’s Rudi Willemse had to pull on all his experience to survive his encounter with 18 year old Dylan Groenewald of Easterns. Willemse  won the first two games 11-6  11-6 only to see Groenewald up his performance and unleashing some attacking drives interspersed with accurate drops and volleys, he raced through the next two games dropping only 7 points to level the match at two games each.  Willemse led 3-1 and 8-5 in the decider and although Groenewald clawed back to 7-8 Willemse was able to seal the victory at 11-7.
The second round on Tuesday 6th August will see all the top seeded players in both the women’s and men’s sections in action.       

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