Show of strength al­lows Clyne to se­cure a semi-fi­nal place

The Herald - Herald Sport - - UPDATE -

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.

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