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Austrian OIpen 2010
04-07 Mar, Salzburg, $xk

07-Mar, Final:
Ford stops Torricini in Salzburg
Rehan van der Merwe reports

Ben Ford was in control of the final in Salzburg as he ended the run of Andrea Torricini with a well controlled 11/9 11/5 7/11 11/6  win in 56 minutes.

Andrea was perhaps a tad too nervous in the beginning as he tried to apply the same gameplan as against Kandra yesterday, but Ben was much too controlled and straight and forced Andrea into risking too much and making errors.

Only after the second game did Andrea get more relaxed and was he able to apply his own pressure, working hard to run down everything, and Ben (who had switched rackets, having broken all his strings) not being able to counter effectively. Ben came out firing in the fourth and was well in control, going for, and pulling off more and more shots.

Well done to Andrea Torricini for a magnificent weekend, and well done to Ben Ford for such a good win.

Ben dedicates his tournament win to his late father-in-law who passed away 6 weeks ago.
Austrian OIpen 2010
04-08 Mar, Salzburg, $3k
Round One
05 Mar
06 Mar
06 Mar
07 Mar
[1] Ben Ford (Eng)
 8/11 11/7 11/8 12/10 (70m)
[Q] Rudi Rohrmuller (Ger)
[1] Ben Ford
11/7 9/11 11/5 11/5
[6] Klemem Gutman
[1] Ben Ford

11/8 3/11 11/8 13/11 (48m)

Luca Mastrostefan

[1] Ben Ford

11/9 11/5 7/11 11/6 (54m)

[7] Andrea Torricini

[6] Klemem Gutman (Slo)
2/11 11/7 12/10 11/8
[Q] Petr Martin (Cze)
[3] Aqeel Rehman (Aut)
11/9 11/9 11/5 (39m)
[Q] Adam Fuller (Eng)
[3] Aqeel Rehman
11/8 14/12 11/8
Luca Mastrostefano
[5] Andrea Bianchetti (Ita)
11/7 11/8 11/4
Luca Mastrostefano (Ita)
Marcus Greslehner (Aut)
11/4 13/11 11/6
[7] Andrea Torricini (Ita)
[7] Andrea Torricini
11/5 11/6 11/0
[4] Rory Pennell
[7] Andrea Torricini

11/2 11/3 11/12 11/3 (51m)

[8] Raphael Kandra

Stefan Brauneis (Aut)
11/2 11/7 11/6
[4] Rory Pennell (Eng)
[Q] Martin Mosnik (Slo)
11/6 11/9 11/7 in 39
[8] Raphael Kandra (Ger)
[8] Raphael Kandra
12/10 11/5 11/13 11/9
[2] James Snell
Jakob Dirnberger (Aut)
6/11 6/11 11/4 11/6 11/4
[2] James Snell (Eng)
04 Mar, Qualifying:

Martin Mosnik bt Rozie Langus               11/3, 11/6, 11/6 (31m)
Adam Fuller bt Peter Kviecinsky          
  11/6, 11/7, 11/7 (27m)
Rudi Rohrmuller bt Ondrej Ertl               11/5, 11/8, 11/8 (37m)
Petr Martin bt Mick Biggs              
11/3, 9/11, 11/8, 11/3 (33m)

Round One:
Rozie Langus bt Christian Coufal           11/5, 11/7, 11/7
Adam Fuller bt Lukas Gnauer                11/2, 11/2, 11/6
Rudi Rohrmuller bt Martin Tollich           11/1, 11/1, 11/5
Mick Biggs bt Rehan van der Merwe      11/9, 15/13, 11/5

06-Mar, Semis:
The "old gits" make the final
Rehan van der Merwe reports

Ben Ford was first up take up a place in the finals. Luca got off to a good start, winning the first game to 8, but seemed visibly not concentrated and tired in the second, giving it all back for only points.

Luca was back in control in the third as Ben made some errors, but he drew tired as Ben consolidated from 8/5 onwards taking 6 in a row - Ben 11/8. Fourth was a humdinger, never much in it with some close calls on both sides towards the end, as both had chances to clinch the game, but Ben took control of the last points and closed out 11/8 3/11 11/8 13/11 in 48 minutes.

"Match of the night" was as surprising, as it was entertaining. Raphael Kandra was perhaps favourite against Andrea Torricini, having won their last encounter, but Andrea came out firing and cutting of Raphael's open game, slotting any cross that came his way into the straight front. First set was quick and simple 11/2.

The anticipation was that Raphael was gonna "wake up" in the second, but try as he may, Raphael could find nothing to unsettle the on-fire Italian as he raced to a 11/3 second set. The only hope for Raphael came in the third as, with 5 mathballs in hand, Torricini suddenly made mistake and boosted Raphael's confidence to attack a bit more and take it 12/10. Fourth set was back to business again as Andrea raced to a 5-0 lead and then to his 11/2 11/3 11/12 11/3 victory.

Credit to Raphael who fought all the way, keeping them in court for 51 minutes, but congratulations to Andrea for a magnificent performance.

Final tomorrow at 14h00 is between the "old gits" Ben Ford (34) and Andrea Torricini (33). It is sure to be a great match - power and control v speed and amazing fitness. Andrea has not met his limits yet, so will be running like the wind again tomorrow, but Ben will certainly be up with a plan to counter the Italian Express. I can't wait!

"I had to win!! I am from southern Italy - I can't drive in this snow, so I have to stay another day."


06-Mar, Quarters:
Luca takes out home hope Aqeel
Rehan van der Merwe reports

First on court was the much anticipated match between local Aqeel Rehman and Luca Mastrostefano. Luca, working hard, took the first two games, closely matched. As the third hard set went on, one could feel the tension rising as, more arguements occurring and the crowd getting more and more involved to carry their players to the next round. Luca, getting tired, was grooving the rallies, with Aqeel frantically scurrying to stay in the match. Luca kept the pressure and his cool, clinching it 11/8 14/12 11/8 in just short of an hour.

Meanwhile, more subdued than yesterday, Ben Ford was playing his way past Klemen Gutman. Although Ben made some errors he never seemed under pressure, angling his opponent out of the match 11/7 9/11 11/5 11/5.

Quick and easy was Andrea Torricini's match against Rory Pennell. He upped his game conciderably since his game yesterday and was not only running well but finding good touch as well. A 23 minute win: 11/5 11/6 11/0.

Match of this round was, as expected Raphael Kandra upsetting second seed James Snell. James still seemed to having nightmares of his firstround match. First set was a very closely matched 12/10, but then Raphael dominated and gave James very little to work with, up to matchpoint 10/6 ... James won it 13/11 as Raphael's hand got a bit weak. There was a moment of the same as Raphael sprinted to more matchpoints in the fourth, again 10/6 ... this time Raphael rapped it up 11/9 with some awesome fetching from both players. A 75 minute marathon 12/10 11/5 11/13 11/9 to the delight of the crowd.


05-Mar, Round One:
Only one surprise in Salzburg
Rehan van der Merwe reports

First match on maincourt was Rudi Rohrmüller challenging Ben Ford, first seed. Ben arrived only later in the afternoon, and seemed a bit out of sorts in the first game. Rudi, playing his normal physical game, was getting into his Ben head at the start, getting him frustrated and arguing with the Ref. From the second game onwards Ben was much more collected and stayed in chirpy control until he lead 10-6 math ball in the forth at which point Rudi fought back patiently to 10-10 before Ben wrapped it up. Ben closing out, rather uncomfortably at times, but convincingly 8/11 11/7 11/8 12/10 in 70 minutes.

Meanwhile on the next court Klemen Gutman beat Petr Martin 2/11 11/7 12/10 11/8. Petr was quick as ever, leaving Klemen somewhat dumbfounded at times with his court coverage. Petr seemed in control of the points, but somehow couldn't convert.

In the only upset of the day, Luca Mastrostefano convincingly beat fellow Italian Andrea Bianchetti 11/7 11/8 11/4. The former world no. 84 always seemed in control and closed the points out, seemingly at will.

Jakob Dirnberger did well to extend James Snell to five sets. James opened the court up too much in the beginning, but took back thorough control of the match from the third onwards winning 6/11 6/11 11/4 11/6 11/4.

Wildcard Marcus Greslehner, top Austrian Junior and PSA newcomer took on Andrea "The Indian" Torricini. Although Greslehner had 4 game balls in the second, the Italian runner, although not finding his mark today, always seemed like the easy winner moving the youngster into desperation. 11/4 13/11 11/6.

Aqeel Rehman had to work hard to beat Adam Fuller's soft hand in three sets. The local crowd was delighted as Aqeel, despite making some errors, kept control over Adam, who seemed to exercise the wrong options when it came to making the points. Aqeel ran out the winner with 11/9 11/9 11/5 in 39 minutes.

Raphael Kandra's agility and court craft was always too much for Martin Mosnik. Martin put in the miles, Raphi took the points. 11/6 11/9 11/7 in 39 minutes.

Last match on was Rory Pennell vs Stefan Brauneis, Pennell not taking any trouble 11/2 11/7 11/6.

Tomorrow morning's most anticipated match will be Raphael Kandra, fast improving German youth against James Snell, second seed and hoping to improve a rather lacklustre game today - both fit, both quick, but with different styles of play. Rahpael will be trying to use his racket skills to open up the court, James will be keeping it tight and straight. Sure to be a cracker.
Rohrmüller muscles into
first PSA main event

Rehan van der Merwe reports

Rudi Rohrmüller, 18 year old German hopeful, powered his way passed Ondrej Ertl to make it into the main event in his first PSA Open event. From the start he overpowered the quick-footed Czech player, who could hold his own in the second, but at a severe physical cost. As Ertl grew tired he grew more and more frustrated with the strong boy's physical presence, and could not penetrate any more - a straight forward 3/0 for Germany.

Martin Mosnik had no trouble beating past his Slovenian countryman Rozle Langus 11/3 11/6 11/6.

Petr Martin dominated Mick Biggs throughout. The speedy Czech dropped the second, but always seemed in control. 11/3 9/11 11/8 11/3.

Match of the day belonged to Adam Fuller and Peter Kviecinsky. Although Adam won 3/0, leading pretty much from start to finish, Peter was fighting all the way, trying to match Adam on every rally. In the end Adam's soft hand and good court coverage was too much and he cruised to a 11/6 11/7 11/7 victory in an entertaining match.

Highly anticipated is tomorrows match between Aqeel Rehman, local favourite, and Brit Adam Fuller. Locals would be rooting hard for Aqeel, but Adam will be keen for an upset.

Under way in Salzburg

Rehan van der Merwe reports

The Austrian Open Qualifying is underway. The locals were trying to upset Rozle Langus, Adam Fuller, Rudi Rohrmüller and Mick Biggs in the first round before spots in the main draw are up for grabs this evening.

No surprises as all the Pro's go through without the loss of games. The only game that got close to anything was Rehan van der Merwe, the local coach, taking advantage of the homecourt advantage before Mick Biggs closed out comfortably in the end: 11/9 15/13 11/5.

Rozle Langus had to work a bit as well against Christian Coufal, but still took it comfortably 11/5 11/7 11/7. Adam Fuller and Rudi Rohrmüller were very dominant against Lukas Gnauer and Martin Tollich respectively, giving away only a few points each.

So on to the last qualifying round. A match that I am looking forward to is German junior player Rudi Rohrmüller against Czech Ondrej Ertl. Rudi has made a big impression on the Junior Circuit and would be working hard as ever to get into the main event.

The Austrian Open was run as the Salzburg Open in the past and got the nod to get the national Title for 2010.

Ben Ford is favourite to take the title ahead of James Snell. Locals will be rooting for 3rd seed Aqeel Rehman, the Manchester based Salzburger. Aqeel has made the Semi-final in his last two apearances here and will be hoping to go better this time round ... no pressure mate!

Also closely watched will be Raphael Kandra. The young German will be keen to prove that he can play well above his PSA ranking of 184.




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