Merrill Lynch Cambridge Cup 2014
04-06 March, Toronto
Mohamed Elshorbagy bt Amr Shabana 11/4, 11/3,
Shorbagy steams to second
Cambridge Cup title
Chris Hollow reorts
The draw complete, the fans in the building, the time that
we were all waiting for was here: Finals Night! After being
treated to an entertaining 7/8 match won by Peter Barker
over Cam Pilley, the battle for the title of Cambridge Cup
champion was set to unfold.
The usual suspects could be found in their regular seats
along the glass; long-time tournament supporters Joe
Mercurio, Vance Cooper and Mike Capombassis. They were here
to see a rematch of last year's electric final between the
old and new guards of Egyptian squash as Amr Shabana and
Mohammed El Shorbagy were to battle out for the right to
hoist the Cambridge Cup (again).
The match started with a bang. Shabana slotted a cross-court
winner from the back left corner that never went above knee
height to go up 1-0. And that would be about as good as it
got for him on this evening. It was all downhill from there,
as they say.
Obviously a bit beat-up from his long five-gamer against
Laurens Jan Anjema, he came out a step slower than his young
counterpart. He fell behind quickly to 7-2 where Shorbagy
would give a sign of things to come with a beautifully
constructed rally that would eventually flat-foot Shabana on
the tee as the defending champion feathered in a backhand
straight drop from just in front of the tee. The game would
end 11-4 Shorbagy in just 8m.
Shorbagy jumped out to 3-0 in game two on an air-tight
straight forehand length that Shabana couldn't claw off the
glass back in the deep blue ocean that is the Cambridge Club
back-right corner of the glass court. Shorbagy raced out to
a 7-3 lead at which point Shabana looked skyward and mumbled
"Thanks LJ", crediting yesterday's opponent for his heavy
legs. Game two to Shorbagy 11-3.
would do his best to stay in the fourth. At 2-1 up, it was
the first lead he'd had since 1-0 in game one. Seemingly
answering the call of the Cambridge faithful urging him on,
he'd keep it close all the way up.
"I'm doing my best." he replied. He earned a game ball at
10-9 but a determined Shorbagy refused to let up on the
elder statesman. 10-10 went to 11-10 and, despite a valiant
effort by Shabana on match ball, Mohammed El Shorbagy
finished him off 12-10 to win in straight sets. In joining
Ramy Ashour as the only 2x Cambridge Cup champion he would
deny Shabana entry to the same club.
In closing, Shabana promised to train even harder and keep
the heat on the youngster eleven years his junior.
Thanks to all our sponsors Merrill Lynch Bank of America,
Cooper Mediation, Bar Mercurio, City Stone and Polar
Securities for their continued support of this great event.
See you in 2015!
3rd/4th: Borja Golan bt LJ Anjema 3-1
For a 3rd year in a row, the Georgetown Racquet Club, was
pleased to host a match in the Cambridge Club Cup
Tournament. This year it was the 3 /4 match and the
competitors were Borja Golan (3rd seed and #6 in world) vs
Laurens Jan Anjema (LJ) (7th seed and # six 16 in world).
had a significant upset win in the first round defeating the
number one seed Greg Gauthier (world #1). Borja defeated the
#6 seed Simon Rosner. The players have met several times in
the past with Borja securing the edge in their series. A
crowd of 80 people came out to watch some stellar squash.
True to form, Borja played the match with surgical
precision. With utmost patients, he executed precise drops
that refused to rise more than centimeters above the floor
and responded to LJ's hard-driving shots with soft hands and
incredible gets. Borja has a reputation for holding both his
forehand and backhand shots making him one of the most
deceptive players on the tour. Even under pressure from LJ,
Borja was able to execute volleys with immaculate precision
keeping the pressure on LJ. Though close, Borga squeaked the
LJ came out swinging in the second game. His amazing
lightning quick reflexes allowed him to play with flair and
bravado on most of his shots. His quick flat drive gave
Borja little time to retrieve the shot. Though the game was
even closer in score, Borja was able to fight back and take
the second game.
Somehow LJ found new energy for the third game. He kept the
error count down, used his reach to take every microsecond
off Borja’s shots. His lobs were flawless keeping Borja in
the backcourt and then with amazingly soft hands, found many
nicks. LJ took the third game.
renewed determination Borja was focused and dedicated his
concentration to make a shots tighter, deeper and shorter.
Famous for his quickness and balance, he was not only able
to retrieve shots, he made them almost impossible to return.
With new rhythm, holding his shots until the last moment and
then snapping his returns, he forced just too many errors
from LJ taking the fourth game 11-8.
These players espoused the values of true competitors,
respecting each other's shot-making abilities, skills and
strategies…. they did not attempt to gain points from
unnecessary let calls. Each one would go out of their way to
play the ball when they could have easily called for lets
and, in many cases, granted a stroke. Their focus,
dedication and sense of humor on the court were appreciated
by the whole audience.
Though they had to get back to the wind-up dinner at the
Cambridge Club, they kindly fielded many questions from the
audience giving the attendees an idea how intense they train
to perform at the highest levels possible.
Many thanks for to Shahier Razik for arranging the
Tournament and allowing the GRC to host this 3 /4 match.
Simon Rosner bt Gregory Gaultier 3-2
What a match! Gaultier coming off a Championship in the
Windy City testing out Rosner's patience early, which was a
test that Rosner Aced in the end. The pace was high and the
gets unbelievable. Pick-ups from everywhere and Gaultier
managed to orchestrate a jumping through legs shot while he
was at it followed by a well warranted roar from the crowd
in the first.
Rosner took the 2nd and 3rd in phenomenal fashion. Dying
length with jumping nicks from the forehand and backhand
thrown in for flavour.
Gaultier Battled back taking the 4th in true grinders
fashion with flashes of the 7 days of pro squash setting in.
Rosner, closed it out in the 5th 12-10 with Gaultier not
trying to give an inch. A roll out nick off Rosner's
forehand and the match was over by the worthy German victor.
Classy match from the start with Ooo's and Aaahhh's from the
crowd throughout. Amazing to watch and a great treat once
again for the Cambridge Group of Clubs hosting squash
Barrie Athletic Club:
Whoa, what a night!
The Barrie Athletic Club was proud to host the second round
consolation match between Peter Barker and Gregory
Gaultier, a match that they weren’t expecting at the
start of the 2014 Cambridge Cup. Both players were odds on
favorites to win their first round match but that’s squash
and the Barrie fans were ecstatic about getting Gaultier
back to Barrie where he has wowed the crowd many times
before. It was Peter Barker‘s first trip to Barrie and it
didn’t take him long to get the attention of the partisan
For some reason a small contingent of Collingwood players
that made the trip to Barrie took Barker as their man and as
the match wore on they were pushing him to keep pace with
the higher ranked Gaultier.
Right from the start Barker felt the support and volley
lobed his way to a 12-10 victory in the first game. Gaultier
feeling that maybe this was going to be another off night
came out strong in the second and although he dominated most
rallies, he barely snuck through with an 11-9 victory.
Third game was more of the same with some incredible gets
and unbelievable rallies, the lead changed hands 12 times.
With the crowd on the edge of their seats, both players kept
returning unreturnable balls, the crowd went crazy. Game to
It was hard to tell who was more tired, both players having
gone all out in the first two games. Gaultier seemed to gain
strength from the crowd as he made some of his trademark
“what the heck was that shots” and got the fans on his side.
He rolled to a 6-3 lead before the Collingwood contingent
pushed Barker to fight back. At 10-10 one error by Barker
and one backhand reverse volley drop to the nick by Gaultier
and game over 11-9.
By this time both players are showing signs of fatigue, but
pumped by the crowd and don’t want to lose, game on. Once
again it’s a see-saw battle with both players alternating
between retrieving and attacking. Gaultier seems to have
found his rhythm and starts hitting consistent length mixed
with brutal drops, Barker keeps coming back for more and
finally forces the odd mistake by the Frenchman. At 11-10
the crowd is convinced they’re going to game five, but a tin
by Barker makes it 11 all and fives swings later we have our
winner Gaultier 13-11. Match to Gaultier 3-1
[ * reading the text it looks like 4-1 to us, but what the
Many in the Barrie crowd that have been to most of the
Cambridge Cup matches from years past and other world class
matches held at the club ranked tonight’s match as one of if
not the best they have ever seen. It was a combination of
the intensity and desire to win along with the natural
ability to perform and entertain that made it such a special
Thanks to Carter Robitaille and Jaryd Osborne, two of
Canada’s top juniors for putting on a terrific opening match
and getting the night off to a good start.
A Special thanks also to Krown Rust Control, the local
Sponsor that made it possible for Barrie to host such an
Mohamed El Shorbagy 3-1 Borja Golan
11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9
Amr Shabana 3-2 Laurens Jan Anjema
11-13, 11-5, 12-10, 18-20, 11-7
Simon Rosner 3-1 Cameron Pilley
11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8 (44m)
Gregory Gaultier 3-1 Peter Barker
10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 13-11 *
Shorbagy bt Borja in a tough 3-1 and Shabana bt LJ 3-2 in a
thriller to set up a repeat final from the 2013 Cambridge
by Cambridge Club
Squash Reporter Chris Hollow
First up on centre court was another all-lefty affair
between 2010 Cambridge Cup champion Amr Shabana and
giant-killer Laurens Jan Anjema, the big Dutchman
having secured his spot in the semis with an upset victory
over number one seed Gregory Gaultier the night before.
The first game was fairly conservative in the early going,
the players opting for sensible shots and longs rallies.
Shabana will be Shabana however, pulling out the full-swing
complete miss fake at 8-9, freezing Anjema on the tee while
he feathered in a straight-drop winner on his second swing.
Shabana would go on to lose in extra points 13-11 in a long
first game .
Shabana looked to be on auto-pilot in game two, running away
with it 11-5 in just under 9m. Merrill Lynch Bank of
America's Mike Capombassis appeared to be suggesting a game
of three-way when the players returned, joining them on
court. His offer was politely declined.
LJ put his incredible reflexes on display down 5-7 in game
three. He'd set up shop in front of the tee-line right
behind Shabana, ready to cut-off the straight drive. When it
came cross court he switched up and somehow still got a
racquet on it, finely slicing it just above the tin. It got
an eye-brow raise from Shabana and a hearty round of
applause from the crowd. "Never a doubt," he joked. They'd
exchange cross-court forehand nick kills to go to 10-8 and
despite pulling it back to 10-10, Anjema lost the third
An absolute barn-burner of a fourth game had the guys
clawing tooth and nail, requiring 20 points to settle it
with Anjema finally coming through 20-18 to set up the
It's game fives like this where Shabana shows why he's a
four-time World Champion. He turned up the heat on the
Dutchman with relentless combos of length and attacks. He'd
go ahead 9-6 and never look back, sealing it with a
bread-and-butter backhand straight drop 11-7.
Match to Shabana 11-13, 11-5, 12-10, 18-20, 11-7 (65m)
second match of the evening pitted defending champion
Mohammed El Shorbagy against emerging star Borja
Golan. They took the court at 7:33p to decide who would
face Shabana in the final.
This match took a different tone than the first with the
players hitting at a very fast pace right from the get-go. A
huge rally at 5-2 Shorbagy ended in a let but had the
Spaniard taking hard breaths as he regrouped in the service
box to receive. Shorbagy unleashed one of his cross-court
kill speacials to go to 7-6. Not to be outdone, the Spaniard
recreated the shot on the following serve getting a good
rise out of the crowd. Knotted at 7-7, it was all Shorbagy
down the stretch, taking game one comfortably 11-7.
The young Egyptian opened the second by continuing where he
left off in the first, racing out to 5-1 lead. The cries of
encouragement came from the crowd in Golan's native tongue.
"Vamos! Vamos!" rained down from the gallery as Borja gave
himself a stern talking to. Despite a semi-toasted Peter
Ellis ensuring the Spaniard it was "his time," Shorbagy
would go another 11-7 win in game two.
Realizing that he had to do more if he was to stand a
chance, Golan opened the third game playing extremely tight
squash up and down the walls. He'd let an early lead slip
into a tie at 4-4. "Ariba! Ariba!" he yelled, amping himself
up for a stretch run. He held a narrow lead through the game
but a stalwart Shorbagy would capitalize on a couple of
loose errors in the business end and force extra points. Up
to the challenge, Golan squeezed an error with a tight
backhand drive that Shorbagy couldn't scrape off the wall.
Game to Golan 12-10.
comeback was short-lived. Shorbagy showed off the skills
that have catapulted him into fourth in the world rankings.
Unlike the crowd, it didn't appear as though he wanted to
see a fifth game. Slotting winners from everywhere, the
Egyptian was setting them up and knocking them down. He was
just too strong for the Spaniard, maintaining a 3 point lead
for most of the game and finishing 11-9 to set up a rematch
of last year's Cambridge Cup final against Amr Shabana.
Match to El Shorbagy 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9 (45m)
The crowd at White Oaks was treated to a great match up of
skills between Simon Rosner and Cameron Pilley, with
both players exhibiting a fantastic array of shots and
retrievals. A fifth game seemed imminent, but Simon closed
off the recorded match in fashion
Top seed tumbles in Toronto
The quarter-finals of the 2014 edition of the Cambridge
Cup took place at three Toronto Clubs and produced one
big upset ...
Laurens Jan Anjema bt Greg Gaultier 11-6,
9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (52min)
LJ upsets top seed at the Parkway!
Gregory Gaultier, coming off a major win in Chicago, had
a slow start and a pumped up LJ took full advantage of
the first game and eventual match. The court coverage of
both players was phenomenal.
In spite of Gaultier's superb shot making it was not
going to stop a determined LJ from closing the match in
four. The long week for Gaultier in Chicago looked like
it may have taken a toll on his body.
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Cameron Pilley 11-8,
12-10, 6-11, 12-10 (61min)
Shorbagy edges past Pilley
The Toronto Athletic Club hosted the quarter-final match
between world number 3 Mohamed Elshorbagy and world
number 15 Cameron Pilley.
Cameron started the match whacking the ball to back
corners and got off to a good start. By the midpoint of
the game Mohamed was used to the pace, found his rhythm
and started to dig into Cameron’s lead, which he
eventually overtook and earned the first game.
In the second game the TAC crowd was treated to
Mohamed’s full arsenal of shots (which included a few
between the leg drops into the nick) as he cut, and spun
the ball at will into the front corners.
Cameron put in a solid effort to weather the storm, but
came up just short losing the game 12-10. The third game
saw Cameron slam a few nicks of his own and
unfortunately for Mohamed the magic he had in the second
game wasn’t there and he lost the third 11-6.
Cameron continued with his winning form and held a 10-7
lead, but Mohamed wasn’t to be counted out. Slowly
Mohamed clawed back and eventually took the 4th game and
the match 3-1.
Borja Golan bt Simon Rosner
11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9 (44min)
Amr Shabana bt Peter Barker 11-7,
9-11, 11-6, 12-10 (46min)
Revenge for Golan, vintage Shabana
opening match of the Cambridge Cup saw two emerging
talents of the PSA Tour lock horns.
World number 11 Simon Rosner of Germany fell to Spain's
Borja Golan (WR#6) in a well-contested four games.
After showing signs of life in the third game, the
slimmed-down Rosner couldn't pull out the fourth getting
to 10-9 match ball down.
It was a solid victory for the higher-ranked Spaniard
and likely some sweet revenge after being bounced from
the second round of the Windy City Open in straight sets
by the German just days before.
He'll move on the semis to face a tough opponent in the
young Egyptian Mohammed El Shorbagy who advanced with a
3-1 'W' over Cameron Pilley.
The Battle of the Lefties would be fought on Centre
Court next with England's Peter Barker taking on 'The
Maestro', past-champion Amr Shabana. Enjoying a return
to form of late, the Egyptian would fire his way to a
3-1 victory over the Englishman.
Contrasting styles met head-on: Peter Barker the
consummate grinder and Amr Shabana's All-World hands.
Barker, somewhat resurgent himself following recent
injury woes, would do well to take the third and offer
some fierce resistance down the stretch in the fourth.
He'd show some good grit by fending off a couple of
match balls at 8-10 but he came out on the losing side
of an end-to-ender knotted at 10-10.
With beauty hold and a flash of the racquet The Maestro punched his ticket
to the semis with a backhand drop melting into the
WORLD'S BEST BACK IN TORONTO!
Toronto remains mired in one of the coldest winters on
record, the squash fan can look forward to some red-hot
action as the Fifth Annual Merrill Lynch Cambridge Cup
returns to the city March 4th-6th.
Last year's tournament saw a dizzying array of squash
royalty descend up on the city. With the world's number one
and two players in the fray along with a cast of squash's
brightest stars, it would be an up-and-coming member of the
Egyptian powerhouse, 22 year-old rising star Mohammed El
Shorbagy, who would raise the trophy in front of the
packed Cambridge Club crowd.
As has become tradition, this year's edition of the
Cambridge Cup features a star-studded line-up of PSA stars.
The number one player in the world is becoming a main-stay
at the tournament with Gregory Gaultier, who is set
to reclaim the number one spot in February, again confirmed
to bring his electrifying brand of squash to the Cambridge
Cup. Along with past champs Shorbagy and squash legend
Amr Shabana, this year's tournament promises to be
Boasting a purse of $60K in prize money, the best of the
best will be here with the following players confirmed:
1. Gregory Gaultier:
World #1, 4x World Open Finalist
2. Mohamed El Shorbagy:
World #3, World Open Finalist 2012
3. Borja Golan:
World #6, Windy City Open Champion
4. Peter Barker:
World #8, English National Team.
5. Amr Shabana:
World #9, 4x World Champion
6. Simon Rosner:
World #11, German #1,
7. Cameron Pilley:
World #14, World Record Holder for
Hardest Hit Squash Ball (282
8. Laurens Jan Anjema:
World #14, 6x Dutch National Champion
The Cambridge Club
will be the main venue for the event.
Matches will be spread across 7 Ontario venues with the
Cambridge Club being the main venue hosting 2 quarter finals
, semi finals, and finals. Venues include, Adelaide Club,
Barrie Athletic Club, Georgetown Racquet Club, Toronto
Athletic Club, and White Oaks Resort & Fitness Club.
Draw and Schedule