Day Two, Men's Singles
Raj risks a long Saturday
Rajiv Ouseph’s bid to set a record of five
successive national men’s singles title carried him into
the final with two coolly taken wins which sandwiched a
curious attempt to make a name for himself as a doubles
England number one certainly looked a class above the
field as he overcame Neil White by 21-8, 21-8 in
the quarter-finals and Ben Beckman 21-18, 21-17
in the semis, but what happened in between brought the
day’s wriest remark.
It came from Carl Baxter, the friend and rival
whom Ouseph will meet in the final for the fourth time,
and who was as surprised as many others to see Ouseph
battling it out in partnership with Marcus Ellis.
They put up a spirited performance to take the
redoubtable Anthony Clark and Kristian Roebuck to
three games in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles,
leaving Ouseph with little time to get some food and
prepare to play Beckman.
expects Raj to win,” said Baxter after his 21-6, 21-14
victory over Toby Penty, the English junior
champion, perhaps even implying that Raj himself
expected it too.
“I shall keep him out there as long as I can - and maybe
that doubles will come back to haunt him,” Baxter added
with a grin.
Ouseph explained his decision to play two events, thus
risking a long Saturday, by saying: “There was a switch
and Marcus was left with no-one to play with and I
thought, well, why not.”
wondered though whether he calculated that by delving
into some of the fiery flat rallies and also the
subtleties of doubles he might help add valuable extra
nuances to his game now that an Olympic qualifying place
is looking almost within his grasp.
Baxter meanwhile showed that he continues to do well
since adopting a more relaxed approach over the last
three months, during which he has won the Canadian
international and reached the final of the Scottish
He won a quarter-final against the unseeded Jamie
Bonsels by 21-15, 21-14 before overcoming Penty with
something to spare by 21-6, 21-14 in the semis, even
though he didn’t feel especially great.
is what I was struggling with,” Penty admitted, perhaps
because some of his sting seemed to have been drawn by a
long match earlier in the day.
This saw Penty trail 10-12 and 15-16 in the final game
against Alex Lane, the European under 17 champion
from Devon, who covered the court with tremendous speed
and also prospered when the shuttle was coming at him
The fourth-seeded Penty tied the shuttle up at the net a
little more during the final few rallies when he rescued
himself against an adrenaline-filled opponent who was
getting more and more pumped up.
He finished it quickly, with a low serve which elicited
a lifted return that he buried instantly. Lane hurled
down his racket in fury, though on reflection he may
feel that his was an encouraging effort.