Financière Banque Nationale 2014
19-24 Oct, Montreal, Canada $35k
 Mathieu Castagnet [Fra) 3-1
 Miguel Rodriguez (Col)
11/7, 14/12, 9/11,
Marathon man Matt claims biggest title yet
Mathieu Castagnet claimed the biggest title of his career to date as
he won yet another marathon match to overcome Miguel Rodriguez 13/11
in the fourth after 100 minutes.
Castagnet's four matches on the way to the title comprised 17 games
at an average of over 22 minutes each !
"I can't believe I won and got the title," said Castagnet
"I have to give huge thanks to all my sponsors and my staff for all
the support they give to me. I'm looking forward to celebrating this
win back in Marseille."
Vadim di Pietro reports
Only 6 ranking spots separate the two
finalists, but Miguel Rodriguez almost never loses to a player
outside the top 8 and Castagnet faced a number of grueling matches
to get to the finals, including an epic 127 minute quarterfinal.
Rodriguez raced out to a 5-1 lead and everyone at the historic
Montreal Forum thought we were in for a quick night. But Castagnet
is a fighter and had other plans for the capacity crowd. He dug in,
played patient rallies and waited for the Columbian to misfire. The
strategy worked and the Frenchman won 9 of the next 11 points to set
up game ball, which he quickly converted to take the first game
Rodriguez made a conscious effort to extend the rallies in game two.
Unfortunately for the Columbian, Castagnet was ready to play out
10-minute rallies like they were going out of style. Indeed, almost
every rally is now lasting between one and two minutes. Some longer.
Castagnet is playing zero attacking shots and calmly waiting for the
Columbian to tin. The strategy is still working and the Frenchman
earns himself 2 game balls at 10-8. But Rodriguez saves those two
and pushes the game to 12-all. An error gives Castagnet another game
ball, which he converts on a tight counter drop.
Game 3 was an entirely different affair. Castagnet starts attacking
early, perhaps because he is tired, or because he has a flight to
catch in about an hour. In any case it’s not working and he is
hitting tin after tin, and probably thinking to himself “this is why
you shouldn’t attack!”. But the Columbian is also having a lot of
interaction with the tin, and the game remains tight.
At 9-all Castagnet misses a rare counterdrop handing the Columbian
his first game ball, which he converts on a wild boast. After
winning game three the Columbian threw his racket into the
backcourt, not something you usually see after a player wins a game.
It just goes to show how frustrating it can be to play a patient
retriever like Castagnet.
In game four Castagnet returns to his patient self, playing skin
tight length and is rewarded with a 6-2 lead. But now the Columbian
is desperate and goes on overdrive, routinely smashing himself into
the back glass wall retrieving Castagnet’s dying length, and claws
his way back to 5-6. But the Frenchman is too sharp and is now
mixing in patient play with well-timed attacking winners. 10-6 to
Castagnet and 4 match balls for the trophy.
But Castagnet tins and 2 Rodriguez winners later and we are at
10-all and the crowd goes nuts. Another Castagnet error gives
Rodriguez game ball. This is not the first time the Frenchman has
blown match balls in a final.
the match Castagnet admitted thinking to himself “if I lose this
match I will stop playing squash.”
Not ready to look for another job yet, however, he dug in and
saved that game ball. He set up another match ball with a soft
forehand volley winner. Good pressure on the next point forced
Rodriguez to hit out of court and the Frenchman let out a
well-deserved shout of joy.
Congratulations to Mathieu Castagnet for an incredible week of
squash and winning the Groupe Financière Banque Nationale Montreal
Je suis très heureux d'avoir remporté ce tournoi PSA $35K de
Pour être honnête, je n'arrive toujours pas à realiser !!
Les 4 matchs ont été très intenses sur les plans mentaux et
physiques. Je pense sincèrement prendre un peu de repos avant
d'optimiser pour les championnats du Monde au Qatar.
Cette concrétisation est due en grande partie à mon Staff de qualité
et je souhaite les remercier. Le travail paye toujours !
Merci à mes sponsors (Craft, Salming, Ashaway, Black Knight,
sportfun, Idea et Leclerc sport) pour leur soutien au quotidien
ainsi qu'à Thierry Jung du squash club de Mulhouse.
Merci aux personnes qui me soutiennent, ma famille, mes amis et
Merci à Yvon, aux bénévoles et aux sponsors du tournoi gestion de
patrimoine de Montréal !
Banque Nationale 2014
19-23 Oct, Montreal, Canada $35k
 Borja Golan
11/4, 11/2, 11/5 (23m)
[Q] Shahier Razik (Can)
 Borja Golan
11/7, 11/7, 11/6 (44m)
 Grégoire Marche
 Borja Golan
11/6, 11/6, 10/12, 11/13, 11/4 (107m)
 Miguel Rodriguez
 Miguel Rodriguez
11/7, 14/12, 9/11, 13/11 (100m)
 Mathieu Castagnet
 Grégoire Marche
11/7, 11/5, 11/8 (34m)
[wc] David Baillargeon (Can)
 Alister Walker (Bot)
14/12, 11/8, 9/11, 11/8 (90m)
[Q] Diego Elias (Per)
[Q] Diego Elias
11/2 11/7 , 11/8 (33m)
 Miguel Rodriguez
 Miguel Rodriguez
11/8, 11/3, 11/6 (30m)
Shawn Delierre (Can)
Martin Knight (Nzl)
9/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/4 (67m)
 Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
 Mathieu Castagnet
9/11, 12/10, 17/15, 14/16, 11/1 (129m)
 Mathieu Castagnet
11/8, 6/11, 11/7, 12/10 (85m)
 Cameron Pilley
6/11, 11/7, 11/7, 7/11, 11/3 (70m)
 Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
[Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
14/12, 11/1, 11/8 (40m)
 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 Cameron Pilley
13/11, 13/11, 11/9 (61m)
 Daryl Selby
[Q] Dane Sharp (Cam)
11/8, 11/4, 11/4 38m
 Daryl Selby (Eng)
20-Oct, Qualifying Finals:
Shahier Razik 3-2 Chris
Gordon 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5
Dane Sharp 3-0 Joe Chapman
11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (51m)
Diego Elias 3-0 Matt Serediak
11-4, 11-7, 12-10 (28m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan 3-1 Hussein Barakat 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-3
19-Oct, Round One:
Chris Gordon 3-0
11/7, 11/5, 11/5 (27m)
Shahier Razik 3-0 Calvin Wren
11/3, 11/7, 11/4 (23m)
Dane Sharp 3-0 Michael Mehl
11/7, 11/3, 11/2 22m)
Joe Chapman 3-2 David Phillips
12/10, 6/11, 8/11, 11/3, 11/8 (49m)
Diego Elias 3-1 Otsbye
11/6, 11/7, 9/11, 11/0 (31m)
Matt Serediak 3-0 Maxime Blouin
11/3, 11/2, 11/4) (22m)
Hussein Barakat 3-2 Wilson
11/7, 9/11, 11/8, 6/11, 11/7 (59m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan 3-1 Maxym Leclair
7/11, 11/5, 11/5, 11/5 (37m)
Eric Dingle reports
Borja Golan v Miguel Rodriguez
The first semi-final match of the night was between the tournament`s
first seed Borja Golan of Spain and third seed Miguel Rodriguez of
Colombia. Both players had fairly comfortable wins in the
quarterfinals, and it was clear from the get go that they were both
prepared for a long, grueling match. The first game featured long
rallies with neither player willing to make an error. Several
rallies had the players battling at the front repeatedly hitting
counter drops and showing off their excellent touch. Rodriguez,
however, came out on top 11-6 the difference being made by a few
The second game started with Rodriguez on a role making winners in
all corners of the court on his way to a 5-1 lead. Golan let out
several cries of frustration at the Colombian`s shot making and
persistent gets. This seemed to push the Spaniard to tighten his
game, as he went on to make 3 backhand drop winners on his way to
nearly leveling the game 5-7. Rodriguez countered this with two
dying length winners to extend his lead and then unforced errors on
both sides gave him a 10-6 lead and game ball. He only needed the
one chance as he went on to win the second game 11-6.
Golan started the third game in control. He had his opponent moving
all over the court and struggling to make gets as he took a 3-1
lead. Rodriguez powered through the barrage though, and, with a few
winners paired with a few errors by Golan, evened the game at 5-5.
Both players had stayed away from making risky drops at this point,
and the rallies were long battles to the back with the occasional
boast. The players then traded the next 4 rallies going 6-6 and 7-7,
but Rodriguez then pushed ahead 9-7 with an unforced error and a
winner. Golan was desperate at this point, and he was audibly trying
to pump himself up to say in the game. Again this worked for him as
he forced an error and hit a winner both in the front right hand
corner to even the game at 9-9. T
his brought the game to a very important rally, and Golan showed his
experience putting Rodriguez under immense pressure and then finally
hitting a backhand volley drop into the nick to take the rally,
preventing his opponent from getting a match ball. 5 straight lets
followed with Rodriguez making some incredible gets to stay in the
rally and finally hitting a perfect backhand drop to even the game
at 10-10. After several more lets and arguments with the refs, Golan
managed to put in two quick winners to force a deciding fifth and
win the third game 12-10.
Rodriguez regained his form at the start of the forth game shooting
quickly out of the gate to go up 4-0. Golan again had to make an
early comeback to make sure he would remain in the match, and he
succeeded with some excellent length and winners to close the gap
and even the game at 7-7. It was at this point that Golan made two
uncharacteristic errors to give Rodriguez the 9-7 lead. Golan saved
one rally with a skillful winner, but Rodriguez replied with a dying
length in the forehand back corner to take the game to 10-8 and
double match ball. Golan saved one match ball with a talented
backhand hold drawing Rodriguez to the front left while the ball
went to the back right, and he saved a second match ball with a low
Rodriguez countered with a backhand crosscourt drive into the nick
to earn a third match ball at 11-10. Golan saved the third match
ball with a tight forehand length forcing Rodriguez to hit out of
court. A tight backhand drop then put Golan up 12-11 with his first
game ball. Golan made sure that the rally was his as he moved
Rodriguez around forcing him to make diving gets and eventually
making a forehand drop winner to even the match at 2-2.
In the final game, Rodriguez reverted back to his earlier game
making skillful short shots that gave him a quick 4-0 lead. Golan
was really trying to stay in it, but most of the rallies weren't
going his way and he made his frustration clear with several yells.
Rodriguez was progressing smoothly through the game, and after
hitting another winner to go up 8-1, he finally showed some
expression with an excited fist pump.
It was here that Golan started to mount a come back. He started to
move Rodriguez around the court more, and his aggressive shots were
forcing the Colombian to make some demanding gets. He made his way
back to 8-4, and it looked like he had the momentum in his favor,
but then he made an unforced error that gave the momentum back to
Rodriguez. Two quick points later and the Colombian had the game
11-4 to win the match 3-2 in 107 minutes of enticing squash.
Cameron Pilley v Mathieu Castagnet
The second semifinal of the night was between Cameron Pilley of
Australia and Matthieu Castagnet of France. Pilley had a short
quarterfinal compared to Castagnet who's had an over two hour long 5
game match against Alan Clyne. Castagnet, however, looked pretty
fresh in the first game controlling the T and most of the rallies.
The players traded points with pretty consistent but not overly
flashy squash until 7-7. Then Castagnet made three quick rallies to
go to 10-7 and have three opportunities to win the first game.
Another error from Pilley was enough to give the Frenchman a 1-0
Hard hitting Pilley was eager to come back in the second. They
traded points back and forth to 2-2, and then Pilley began to pull
away eventually taking a 7-2 lead. Castagnet, not ready to give up,
then played three tenacious rallies coming back to 7-5.
Unfortunately his fatigue was starting to catch up to him and he
made two straight unforced errors to go down 9-5. They traded the
next two rallies giving Pilley a 10-6 lead and several opportunities
to claim the game. He took the next rally and evened the match at
Pilley started the third game with a good showing of touch making
winners in both the front and the back and forcing Castagnet to make
errors. He took a quick 4-0 lead. Castagnet turned things around
with a few hard fought and long rallies, and just as quickly he had
tied the game up at 4-4. In the words of Michelle Craig, "the tables
have turned." The Frenchman continued his streak making another two
points to lead 6-4.
Pilley countered by pushing Castagnet around the court and making an
awkward drop winner and backhand kill to tie the game at 7-7.
Castagnet showed his experience holding for three straight points to
put the pressure on and go to game ball 10-7. Pilley made another
unforced error to close out the game for Castagnet and give him a
The start of the fourth game was all Pilley, either making a winner
or an error, with Castagnet just keeping the rallies going. This
resulted in a pretty even spread of rallies all the way to 6-6. They
traded a few more until Castagnet forced a no let, and then a mis-hit
from Pilley on a tight backhand length gave Castagnet a 9-7 lead.
Pilley earned the next point with a well placed backhand drop, but
then he hit a backhand cross court lob out of court on the next.
Castagnet had a 10-8 lead and double match ball, but Pilley didn't
He won a short rally to save one, and then a perfect forehand cross
court into the nick saved the second. Then, of course, he made
another unforced error to give Castagnet another match ball.
Castagnet was eager to finish the match, and he finally made a great
winner faking forehand cross court and putting the ball in the back
right corner. He showed his happiness with a big fist pump.
Pilley downs Selby
No joy for yesterday's giantkillers as Diego Elias was beaten by
Miguel Rodriguez and Alan Clyne lost out in a 129-minute battle
with Mathieu Castagnet. Top seed Borja Golan beat Greg
Marche in straight games while Cameron Pilley surprised
second seed Daryl Selby.
Vadim Di Pietro reporting
Match 1: Castagnet v Clyne
took 3 lets and 6 minutes to get the first point on board and we
knew we were in for a marathon match.
With Popeye-like forearms one might expect Clyne to crush the ball
at every opportunity. But his greatest weapon was his feather-soft
counter-drop. Time and again he caught the Frenchman off-guard at
the front, which was the difference in a tight first game to Clyne
Game 2 was even tighter than the first. But Castagnet was now
anticipating the Clyne tight counter-drops, and feathering in his
own even tighter counter-counter drops, much to the amazement of the
crowd. Game 2 to the Frenchman 12-10.
Games 3 and 4 followed the same pattern with 90% of the points being
decided in the drop, counter-drop routine. Castagnet took a dramatic
game three 17-15, to take a 2-1 lead, while Clyne took game four
16-14, but not before saving 3 match balls. On more than one
occasion the Frenchman thought he had won the match, only to hear
the referee call a "yes let".
two hours of play Castagnet looked exhausted and Clyne looked fresh
heading into the fifth game. But looks can be deceiving, and to
everyone’s surprise Castagnet ran away with the fifth 11-1.
After winning the match in 129 minutes he collapsed down in the
middle of the court for a few minutes to enjoy a well-deserved rest,
which he will certainly need for his semi-final match tomorrow.
Match 2: Selby v Pilley
much between these two, with both playing to their strengths: Pilley
hitting hard, low, dying length, and Selby patient, retrieving
(including a few spectacular dives and recoveries) and looking to
counter-attack off loose balls. Pilley’s offense gets the better of
Selby’s defense in the first two games, just barely, 13-11 and
takes a lot of energy to hit as hard as Pilley does, and the fatigue
starts to show in game three as Selby builds a small lead. Pilley
desperately wants to avoid going to a fourth and fifth game against
the super fit Selby. A few Pilley dying lengths later and game three
is tied at 9 all.
After some incredible retrieving by Selby, Pilley finally sets up
match ball with yet another dying length. A Selby's tin hands the
victory to the Australian three games to love.
Match 3: Rodriguez v Elias
first few rallies were pretty evenly played out in the back of the
court, but Miguel quickly imposed his game plan by mixing up his
attacking shots to the front and getting very quickly on the ball,
leaving Diego unable to get into his rhythm. Miguel kept showing the
crowd his amazing hands and took a 9-2 lead. The game ended on two
unforced errors from Diego.
The second game started the same way, as Diego seemed already
frustrated by Miguel’s quickness and great hands. Miguel kept
varying the attacking shots leaving Diego often moving in the wrong
direction. At 4-1, Diego started focusing more, imposing longer
rallies and closing out the court and got back to 7-7. The next few
rallies saw Miguel diving around the court and retrieving some
amazing shots by Diego, leaving the youngster probably a little
quizzical as to how to win the rallies! Miguel wins the second 11-7.
third game was very similar in style. Diego was moving Miguel around
the court as best as possible, but Miguel was reading the play
extremely well and was on the ball almost as soon as Diego hit it.
The points were very fast pace with many volleys and few exchanges
in the back and went back and forth to 8-8 with a few unforced
errors from both players trying to end the rallies too quickly.
Then the rallies became the longest of the match, with little shots
played to the front but Miguel finally finished the match with a
perfect dying length at the back. Very good show from world junior
champion Diego Elias, but Miguel Rodriguez was just too quick and
accurate for the rising Peruvian today.
Geneviève Lessard reporting
Match 4: Marche v Golan
last match of the night was between Gregoire Marche and last year’s
winner Borja Golan. The first game was quite different from the
previous, and up to 5-5, both players were patient, consistent and
waiting for any opening from the other. Very few shots were played
at the front but the pace was pretty high.
During a quick lack of focus, Gregoire gave two lose shots to Borja
who put them away nicely with a kill and a drop. He then came back
strong and extended the next rallies, with a few more lets being
called, but Borja closed out the game after an unforced error from
Greg and a perfect tight dying length on the backhand side. Borja
takes the first 11-7.
Not much between the players in the second game, both playing a
similar game plan. Up to 7-6 for Borja, points are won back and
forth after very long rallies, on few errors and few shots put away
after a lose one.
The crowd is getting into it with a few ahhhhs and oohhs during the
next long rally, which sees amazing recovery from Borja and a very
unforced error from Greg on the perfect opportunity to close the
rally. That seems to get in Greg’s head as he tins in the next rally
and follows with lose shots. Borja takes the opportunity and closes
the second game 11-7 to go up 2-0 in games.
starts the third with greater confidence, using a bit more accuracy
to the front, going for nicks and getting more quickly on the ball.
He gets up to a quick 5-2 lead, Greg now showing some frustration.
Then Greg got his mojo back and played some great rallies, but Borja
was now clearly quicker on the ball and his execution was slightly
better than Gregoire, making him run around the court a lot more and
going for risky shots. Borja wins the third 11-6 and the match 3-0.
21-Oct, Round One:
Elias and Clyne join six seeds in quarters
While the top four seeds all made it safely through to the
quarter-finals, Alan Clyne and Diego Elias both won marathon matches
against seeds to join the quarter-final fun ...
Jason DeLierre reporting
Coppinger vs Clyne
off the first round of the tournament here at the beautiful of venue
of the historical Montreal Forum, the first match of the afternoon
session pitted the tall South African Steve Coppinger against the
compact Scot Alan Clyne. This promised to be a touch match, both
players known for their physical strength. In the first game, Clyne
ran out to an early 4-0 after some good steadying rallies, before
Coppinger could assert himself to take his first point. Yet after,
Coppinger was a man on a mission, as he was slowly able to take
control of the 'T' and wouldn't let go, earning himself 7 straight
points with well constructed squash. Clyne was able to put up a
fight taking a few more points, but Coppinger kept his momentum to
finish the game strongly 11-6.
The second game started off much more evenly, players trading the
first few points in some very long rallies, neither player going for
too much but content settling into good fast-paced rhythm. There
wasn't much separating the two players, yet Clyne kept his nose
ahead for much of the game, never more than a couple of points
between them until 6-5. Then, Coppinger seemed to buckle a little,
giving away a few easy points as his concentration seemed to wane.
Trailing 5-9, he was able to pull a couple back, but Clyne gave a
push to close out the game 11-7.
The beginning of the third saw the players looking much more edgy,
characterized by back and forth quick winners and quick mistakes,
Coppinger making a few more of the latter as Clyne went ahead 7-4.
Towards the middle of the game, the rallies began lengthening a
little, the pace picking up and becoming more physical, though both
players known for their fairness playing through much of the
contact. Again though, Coppinger just couldn't seem to get
comfortable, again making silly mistakes and handing the game to
In the fourth, Clyne kept up his resilience, not giving away any
points and looking fairly comfortable playing tight squash and
retrieving as needed. Coppinger was visibly a little agitated,
trying to rile himself into better squash, and it actually started
to pay dividends as he was gradually able to speed up the pace,
coming back from 3-4 to lead 8-5. At last, it seemed that
Coppinger was finding the form that won him the first game, catching
Clyne off guard with deft unreachable volleys, winning 11-7 and
forcing a decider.
The faster pace kept up in the fifth, however Clyne was up for the
challenge this time, slightly faster in his movement, adapting to
Coppinger's new tactics. The pressure was taking its toll on
Coppinger, his agitation starting to show through again, but this
time for the worse as shots that were winning points in the fourth
were just clipping the top of the tin. Clyne would speedily run away
to 7-2, not showing any signs of slowly down. By the end, Coppinger
was clearly looking fatigued and frustrated, staying in the rallies
but not able to finish them anymore. Clyne would keep up his solid
play to complete the upset, defeating his higherranker opponent
Castagnet vs Knight
second match of the afternoon saw the younger french up-and-comer
Mathieu Castagnet against the veteran kiwi Martin Knight. The first
game started off at a medium pace, players moving the ball around
court well with little to tell them apart. Completely evenly
matched, the score steadily rising from 2-2, 4-4 to 6-6.
Castagnet seemed to impose himself a little more physically, his
bouncier more youthful movement affording him a little ascendancy as
he eased ahead 8-6. However, with his experience Knight kept his
cool and with few well-timed drops took the game 11-9.
The second game started much as the first, players trading good well
constructed rallies up till 4-4, neither making any errors, and
both usually winning the points on immaculate drop shorts from the
front. Each seemed unwilling to give their opponent an undeserved
advantage, which being so closely contested could have meant the
game. Knight managed to ease ahead to 7-4 and 85, yet Castagnet
rose to the challenge climbing back to 8-8, and looking more
confident and finished the game 11-9.
In the third, Castagnet once again started to impose himself
physically, with some of the pressure off of his shoulders relaxing
into his squash. He seemed the faster on court now, seeing and
taking the ball a little earlier and forcing Knight to run around
him. Though Knight was able to keep it close until 4-4, Castagnet
hardly seemed threathened and just kept upping his game to reel off
the next 7 points and take the game.
In the fourth, Castagnet maintained the confidence from the
preceding game, continuing to work his senior foe around court.
Knight no longer seemed able to keep up with the pace, and while
still fighting admirably, couldn't shake Castagnet from his comfort
zone. Racing ahead to 9-1, after a few more exchanges the frenchman
would take the game 11-4 and the match in four games.
Pilley vs Azan
hard-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley faced off against Malaysian
Muhamed Asyraf Azan. From the word 'go', the unorthodox Azan came
out firing, throwing in three straight winners to take the quick
lead. Always on the back foot, Pilley seemed completely caught by
surprise, a smile spread across his face for most of the game at the
unusal style of his opponent and some of the comments on court. Azan
continued his theatrical shotmaking throughout, but Pilley managed
to level the boat to push the game to a tiebreak, and after saving a
couple of game balls would steal the first game 14-12.
In the second, Pilley started finding his stride. No longer caught
off guard, he started picking up the tempo, tightening his game and
finding the corners to neutralize the Malaysian's awkward tactics.
At the same time, the wheels started to come off for Azan. His
initial surge of adrenaline wearing off, he committed far too many
mistakes, allowing Pilley to race away with the game 11-1.
The third was much more tightly contested, Azan opting for more
subdued tacticts, cutting out the extravagant shots and playing more
traditional squash, but still throwing in the occasional odd shot
when needed. Pilley maintained his solid gameplay, weathering the
storm to lead 7-5. Yet Azan managed to come back to tie up the game
at 7-7. After a few tough rallies, Azlan playing well, and leaving
the ball too loose around the middle, Pilley took advantage to block
his opponent out and volley in some hard straight kills. Finally,
after a mad scramble, Azan dove to the floor but could not retrieve
the final shot, Pilley finishing the game and match 11-8.
Selby vs Sharp
contrast to the last match, the players started off the first game
with good basic squash, feeling each other out and getting used to
the court. Sharp started well against the higher ranked Selby,
matching him length for length, and showing great touch hitting
perfect drops to finish rallies. Selby did not seem too fazed
though, keeping his casual disposition and working himself into the
match slowly. The score remained close throughout, Selby nonetheless
maintaining a slight edge, from 4-4 to 7-4 to 9-8. By the end of
the game though, the Englishman was moving less and less, settling
himself on the 'T' and forcing the Canadian to do most of the
running, and finishing strongly 11-8.
The second, began similarly to the previous game, good rallies with
a lot of attacking. Still the Candian was doing much of the chasing,
but he was staying in it and got his head in front 4-2. Just like
before though, Selby would keep tightening the noose, picking up the
pace at will to put his opponent under too much pressure. Not
looking overly troubled, he continued his gameplay without fault and
would take the next 9 points to take the game, Sharp running out of
breath and out of answers.
The pattern continued in the third, Sharp lengthening the court to
move his opponent off the 'T', and firing in quick winners to get
ahead 4-2. In much the same fashion though, Selby put his foot on
the pedal, changing gears to overtake his challenger. From then on,
he was always one step ahead, and in a carbon copy of the previous
game, taking control and winning next 9 points in a row to take the
game 11-4 and earn his place in the second round.
Michelle Craig reporting
Marche vs Baillargeon
start of the night session, we had crowd favourite David Baillargeon,
originally from Quebec City, now training in Montreal, taking on
Gregoire Marche. The mood was festive and supportive as lots of the
youngster's family and friends were here to cheer him on in his
biggest professional match to date.
Big cheers from the crowd started off the first game as David took
the first point on a tin-error from Gregoire. They continued to
trade points back and forth, with Gregoire making a few errors as
David put the pressure on him. Gregoire steadied, then started to
put the pressure on David, moving him around the court and changing
the pace to counteract David’s hard-hitting. Trying to do a little
too much, David made two unforced errors in a row and Gregoire went
up 7-5, on route to an 11-7 win in the first game.
The second game started off with Gregoire taking the first 6 points
quickly. Both players were putting in lots of effort and the floor
had to cleaned on more than one occasion due to their dives.
Gregoire was making a lot of winners and was looking more at ease
and relaxed than in the first game. A few errors by Gregoire and
David made a late-game comeback to 5-9 yet the Frenchman closed down
the court and took the second 11-5.
The crowd got behind David to start off the third game giving him a
little more energy and pizazz. And that worked as he won the first
two points! He continued his good fortune and after a frame drop
winner went up 5-4. However, Gregoire started to move him all around
the court and David's legs got heavier. Gregoire took the third game
11-8 and the match 3-0.
Eva Monson reporting
Golan vs. Razik
second match of the night’s event featured Golan the Spanish number
one and Razik the veteran Canadian. The first rally sets the tone
for the match – Golan in control - quick and to the point. Yes, the
tournament favorite came out strong and all business in the first
game. While the rallies did lengthen throughout the game, Golan kept
his play much in gist of Montreal’s fall weather forecast – clear
and crisp. Razik finally got on the board at 1-6 but it was short
lived due to an unforced drop into the tin. Golan, a forced to be
reckoned with, takes the first 11-4 as Razik looks uneasy on court.
To start the second game a soft front boast by Golan ends the first
rally just as quickly as in the first game. Keeping his command of
the game, Golan takes the first 8 straight points. Rasik’s
consistent length puts him on the board the next rally 1-8 and
follows up with an unbeatable boast 2-9, but it’s to little to late.
Stroke for Golan and then Rasik ends the game by sending a drive
into the tin 11-2 and looks in pain grabbing his left thigh.
The third game starts with some lengthier rallies, yet Golan remains
steady. He makes it look easy. Golan pushes some signature length
taking back to back rallies 8-3 and then 9-3. At 10-4 Golan finishes
it off with a backhand drop that is just too good to return. In the
end, this match came down to Razik’s injury keeping him from hurting
Golan’s control and consistency.
Michelle Craig reporting
DeLierre vs Rodriguez
one in Canada and Montrealer Shawn DeLierre was up against fast
Colombian Miguel Rodriguez in this seventh match of the day. The
style of play was much different than the previous match, with both
players playing a little less “up and down the wall” squash and more
attacking entertaining squash. The two played a very evenly matched
game and Rodriguez took the first game 11-8.
Rodriguez went out with lots of energy, and DeLierre with a bit
less, to start off the second game. Rodriguez went up quickly 6-0
with DeLierre getting his first point of the game after a long rally
where he moved Rodriguez all over the court. DeLierre kept hitting
loose balls that Rodriguez was putting away at will and was made to
run all four corners in most rallies. Rodriguez won the second game
DeLierre came out with a little more enthusiasm in the third game
and the two players traded points back and forth until Rodriguez
pulled ahead 7-5. They were both making each other work hard and
were forcing great gets at the front and the back of the court.
After a backhand error at the front, we could all tell that DeLierre
was getting a little frustrated. Rodriguez never looked back after
he broke away and ended up taking the game 11-6 and the match 3-0.
Elias vs Walker
game was highly anticipated, with Elias, current world junior
champion going up against the much more experienced Walker. The game
started off with very long rallies with both players being patient
and waiting for their opportunities. Elias went up 7-5 and after a
few let calls in one rally, it seemed as though both players were
getting a little heated. The style of play changed a bit in the
latter half of the game with more attacking shots from both players
who were fighting to control the T. Elias served for the game at
10-7 but let Walker get back to 10-10 with a crowd-gasping backhand
drop error. Yet Elias found again his resolve and took the first
The second game started off much quicker than the first marathon
game. It looked as though Elias was going to get off to a roaring
start but Walker came back to 5-6. The rest of the match was pretty
even with more interference than the first game. Elias won this one
pace was quicker and the shots more deceptive in this third game.
Walker was making Elias run much more and putting lots of pressure
on him. Elias broke his racket at 7-7 and after the change Walker
continued the pressure and kept going to win it 11-9.
A hard-hitting rally started off the fourth game with Elias winning
on a little trickle forehand boast. Walker then pulled away, moving
Elias around the whole court, forcing Elias to work very hard in
each rally. Their shots were very tight and especially low on the
drop shot. Elias hit Walker mid-rally at 7-7 and started to bleed
under his left eye leading to an injury timeout that lasted 20
minutes. Once they were back on court Elias stayed strong and won
that game 11-8 to take the match 3-1.
20-Oct, Qualifying Finals
Razik and Sharp boost
home interest in Montreal
Qualifying finals of the 2014 event in Montreal saw Dane
Sharp and Shahier Razik add to home interest in the PSA
$35k main draw. Also qualifying were Diego Elias and Muhd
Eric Dingle reports
Muhd Asyraf Azan 3-1 Hussein Barakat
Local player Hussein Barakat, a Concordia University student
originally from Egypt, earned his spot in the second round
qualifying with a first round win over 6th seeded qualifier Kale
Wilson. He faced Muhd Asyraf Azan of Malaysia in the first match of
the night. Azan’s first round match was characterized by ups and
down, making flashy winners followed immediately by unforced errors,
and he continued in the same vain against Barakat.
The first two games saw Barakat playing consistently with Azan
showing a seeming uncaring attitude towards the match, but his
deception and occasional tight length proved too much for Barakat
and he took a quick 2-0 lead.
In the third game, Barakat took a fast 4-0 lead with a couple
winners and a few favourable calls from the refs. Azan quickly
turned it around to come back to 5-5, but then dropped 3 straight
points with lazy errors, which he then followed with 4 straight
winners. Azan took it to match ball, but Barakat fought back to take
the game in extra points.
Azan finally started taking the match seriously, and took the fourth
game quickly 11-3 to finish the match 3-1.
Diego Elias 3-0 Matt Serediak
The second match of the night featured world junior champion Diego
Elias against Canadian PSA regular Matt Serediak. Elias started the
game with convincing skill, hitting three dying length winners on
his way to a 5-0 lead. Serediak fought back taking a few points
himself, but Elias didn’t give up the lead and took the game
Elias started the second game in much the same way taking a quick
4-0 lead. Serediak fought back again playing some solid rallies and
taking advantage of a number of unforced errors by Elias, coming as
close as 8-6. Elias, however, got back into his groove and finished
the game strong 11-7.
Serediak countered with a strong showing at the beginning of the
third. He made a number of key winners to take a 7-4 lead. Elias
wasn’t about to give up, and he confidently made his way back to
8-8. Serediak then won 2 long rallies to lead 10-8 and game ball.
Elias, showing his comfort under pressure, hit a perfect crosscourt
serve return winner into the nick to save one game point, and then
held for 3 more to close out the game 12-10 and the match 3-0.
Dane Sharp 3-0 Joe Chapman
Canadian team member Dane Sharp took on Joe Chapman of the British
Virgin Islands in the third match of the night. Sharp came out
swinging controlling the early rallies and leaving Chapman
frustrated to start the match down 6-1.
Chapman regrouped, rallying
to 6-7, with many rallies resulting in lets due to blocking and
pushing mostly initiated by Sharp. A few more long rallies, and
Sharp took the first 11-8.
The second started evenly with hard fought rallies on both sides,
but Sharp took control again edging away from a close 5-4 game. He
made 6 straight points to change what started as a close game to a
lop-sided 11-4 victory.
The beginning of the third saw both players making errors. Chapman
appeared more flat footed than in his previous tough match, and it
seemed like the constant interference created by Sharp was getting
to him. Once again Sharp pulled away mid game taking an 8-4 lead.
They traded a couple more points, but Chapman wasn’t able to come
back from the deficit, and Sharp took the third 11-6.
Shahier Razik 3-2 Chris Gordon
The final match of the night was between US national champion Chris
Gordon and Canadian PSA veteran Shahier Razik. The opening game was
very smooth with both players hitting tight length and skillful
While the game remained tight, Razik appeared to be in
controlling the T while moving Gordon to all four corners of the
court. The game ended rather suddenly with Gordon making 3 straight
errors to give Razik the 11-6 win.
The second game had Gordon showing more dominance winning several
long rallies and capitalizing on some uncharacteristic unforced
errors from Razik. There was quite a bit more interference than in
the first, with a lot of rallies ending in lets, and Gordon was
mostly coming out on top reaching an 8-4 lead.
The interference died
down, and Razik surmounted a come back to 8-9. This lead to an
important and impressive marathon rally that Gordon ended with a
deceptive forehand crosscourt winner and fist pump to go to game
ball. After Gordon received a tough no let to bring Razik within 1
again, he powered on with a low backhand kill to take the game 11-9.
Razik started the third game with several well-earned winners
leading 3-1 and then 6-4. Gordon then made 6 straight points to take
what would become an insurmountable lead of 10-6. He won the third
The players traded several drop winners to start the fourth leading
to 3-3. Razik capitalized on three more short winners and three
serve return errors by Gordon to take a 9-4 lead. He would take the
The match was turning into a marathon with Razik playing with a
controlled and slow pace and Gordon struggling to regain his earlier
dominance. Razik played flawlessly, moving Chris around the entire
court and taking a 6-0 lead. Gordon pushed back with three straight,
but Razik countered with 2 points of his own.
They traded two more
each to give Razik a 10-5 lead, and several opportunities to win the
match. Gordon then tinned a risky forehand crosscourt nick attempt
to close out the game 11-5 with Razik taking the 3-2 victory.