Edinburgh squash player Doug Kempsell has been reflecting on his stunning end to 2016 and outlining his plans for the New Year after winning back-to-back tournaments in France and Germany in the past three weeks.
The 23-year-old claimed his fourth PSA title in Niort last month and added his fifth at the Christmas Challenge in Berlin last weekend.
Kempsell was seeded seven there but opened up the draw by stunning English top seed Adam Murrills in the quarter-finals. “I’d never played him before, but I thought it was a match I could win,” said Kempsell. “I also knew it could give me a good route through to the final. You can’t get much closer than 12-10 in the deciding game, but it was pleasing to win it in such a tight finish.
“The semi (against Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann) was the next day, but mentally I didn’t find it too difficult. My body didn’t feel too bad either, so I felt good physically and won in four games.
“I don’t know why they played the final on the same day as the semi, but that suited me better than the other guy (Jordanian qualifier Mohammed Al Sarraj) because I got the feeling that he was pretty tired. I’d also beaten him in the semi-final in Niort last month, so I knew him and his game very well. I came out firing and played really well in the first two games. The physical toll affected him in the fourth game and I went on to win 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9.
“This has been my best-ever end to a year. I’ll probably be up to around 110 or maybe higher in the January world rankings, but I’m looking to get back in double digits again as soon as possible.
“I’ll have a couple of weeks break over Christmas and get back to playing again in January. I’m planning a big push to get back in the top 100 and I’ve got a busy schedule with the Edinburgh tournament in January, then the Scottish Championships and the British Nationals. Before you know it, it’s the European Team Championships again in May.”