The remaining top seeds in the final qualifying round of the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill earned their place in the main draw of the PSA M100 tournament held in Weybridge, with three local players being casualties.
Number one qualifying seed Stephen Coppinger recovered from a game down to defeat Cheltenham-based Nathan Lake in his fixture at the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.
Lake had survived a 66-minute battle to upset Scotland’s Alan Clyne in the opening round of qualifying just 24 hours earlier, but after he took a one-game lead, Coppinger raised the pace to take the next three games in succession, sealing a 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 victory to set up a first round clash with second seed Omar Mosaad.
“I knew he was going to fight for the whole duration, so there was no surprise there,” said Coppinger.
“He was solid the whole way through, from the first point to the last one, and his intensity was great the whole way. In the first game, my two first shots were just perfect, and I just tried to reproduce them and got carried away. From the second on, I settled down and went for accuracy instead of just pushing for it.”
Frenchman Gregoire Marche and Enfield-born Adrian Waller played out one of the day’s most entertaining fixtures, with the former coming through in four to book his main draw berth. A fine start from World No.27 Marche saw him go a game ahead, only to see Waller level the scores in the second.
Unforced errors from the Englishman in the third then handed the momentum back to Marche though, and the 26-year-old closed out the fourth to take the match 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, ensuring he will take on Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez in round one of the main draw.
“In the second, we had a couple of hard rallies, and I just got a bit flat,” Marche admitted.
“I just lacked lucidity on there, he took a good lead, and I couldn’t come back in. After that, I was a bit more clever with my shots and made him do a lot of work, but most of all, I moved him back and forth, again and again, as he doesn’t enjoy that too much. I shortened the rallies as well, and I think that was the best way to beat him physically.
“I very rarely beat him, we didn’t play for a long time, so it was nice to play and beat somebody from my generation who I don’t have such a great record against, it proves once again that the work is paying off.”
Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller and Paul Coll of New Zealand are the other players to advance to the main draw after they rose to wins over England’s Charles Sharpes and Frenchman Lucas Serme, respectively.
Up next for Mueller is a meeting with former World No.1 James Willstrop, while the dangerous Max Lee lies in wait for Coll.
Results – Final Qualifying Round: 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill
 Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [L] Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-1: 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (50m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (59m)
 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 3-1: 4-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (41m)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt  Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 (59m)
Draw – First Round
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Borja Golan (ESP)
 Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Paul Coll (NZL)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
[WC] Joe Lee (ENG) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
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