Show of strength allows Clyne to secure a semi-final place
Alan Clyne last night avenged the defeat of his Commonwealth Games team-mate Kevin Moran by eliminating Germany’s Raphael Kandra from the BE Personnel Loch Ness Challenger tournament in Inverness to claim his place in the semi-finals,
Scotland’s leading player, who went into this event as the top seed, was too strong for Kandra. The latter had been part of the Germany side which beat Scotland in the third-place play-off at this European Team Championships.
Clyne claimed the opening game by a commanding 11-5 margin and, although it ultimately took him 50 minutes to subdue his opponent, he went through in straight games, claiming each of the next two 11-8.
Significantly, while Kandra defeated Moran in a hard-fought tie in the first round proper the previous evening, Clyne had drawn confidence from the way his younger colleague had performed, not only against the sixth seed – the German is 82 places above Moran at No.59 in the world rankings – but also in getting through qualifying to earn his place in the main draw.
“Kevin had a really good win in qualifying as well, a 3-0 upset [against world No.121 Chris Fuller] and he played really, really well,” said Clyne. “Raphael’s a really good player too so, while I didn’t see that match [between Moran and Kandra], it was another indication of how well Kevin is playing that he pushed him close. It shows that, as a team, we seem to be doing something right.”
The Scot now meets Mahesh Magonakor in the first of tonight’s semi-finals after the 20-year-old from Mumbai out-battled Jaymie Haycocks – himself a much more experienced English opponent who had gone into the event as the No.4 seed – and twice came from behind in a ferocious 83-minute encounter to win 11-13, 11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6.
Meanwhile, Steve Finitsis, the third-seed from Australia, also had a tough quarter-final but managed to fend off Egypt’s Zahed Mohammed, winning 11-6, 12-10, 11-13, 11-7 in 73 minutes.
The performance of the night, though, came from another of Clyne’s team-mates: Inverness-born Greg Lobban. He claimed a second successive win over a higher-ranked opponent by eliminating Joel Hinds, the seventh-seeded Englishman.
He had been well on top when Omar Abdel Aziz, the second seed, had hobbled out of their first-round tie after the previous night and the Scottish No.2 thrashed Hinds 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 in 43 minutes to earn a semi-final meeting with Fintisis.