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Runa Reta and Shahier Razik
crowned national champions

CALGARY – Fourth-seed Runa Reta of Montreal completed a strong run at the Canadian squash championships on Saturday winning the women’s final over Alexandra Norman. Top-seed Shahier Razik of Toronto easily took the men’s crown.

In the women’s final, Reta defeated Norman, a British-born player who has lived in Montreal for the past three years, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4. One of Canada’s top player for many years, it is Reta’s first national senior title. She was seeded second last year and eliminated in the second round. She was second in 2007 and third in 2005 and 2006 despite being the top-seed those three years.

‘’It was a tournament I was starting to dread because of my disappointing performances,’’ said Reta. ‘’But I learned today that it’s a really nice title to have and I always felt it was one that was missing. This year I just tried to have some fun with it and not worry about the past.’’

Reta won the tournament in convincing style. In her four matches this week, she only lost two games. Another highlight, besides winning the final, was eliminating number-one seed Tara Mullins of Toronto in the semifinal.

On Saturday, she was facing an experienced player in Norman who lost last year’s final as well.

‘’I just focused on keeping the ball tight,’’ said Reta. ‘’My goal was to have an answer for anything she threw my way. I know she picks up a lot of balls and is very athletic so I wanted to make sure I was hitting it back at her very quickly. That strategy seemed to work.’

In the third place match, Mullins defeated Carolyn Russell of Vancouver 11-9, 7-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-9. Mullins three wins this week were in five games.

In the men’s final, Razik collected his third career national title beating third-seed David Phillips of Pointe-Claire, Que., 11-3, 11-7, 11-3. Razik lost only one game in four matches this week.

‘’I can’t complain about my performance this week,’’ said Razik, ranked 29th in the world. ‘’I started off a bit slow but once I got into gear I played well. I had a tough semifinal and today I was more relaxed and played well.’’

Matthew Giuffre of Edmonton won the third place match in a walkover as Jamie Crombie of Calgary withdrew due to injury.


Runa beats top seed in semis

CALGARY – Runa Reta of Montreal advanced to the final at the Canadian squash championships on Friday upsetting top-seed Tara Mullins of Toronto in four games while Shahier Razik of Toronto is headed to his fifth straight final in men’s play.

Reta, seeded fourth and a veteran international player, won the match 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 to return to the final at nationals after an early elimination last year. Reta lost the final in 2007 and was third in 2006.

Mullins was coming off hard matches in the second round and quarterfinal that both went the five-game limit. Meanwhile Reta had won her two previous matches in straight games.

In the other semifinal, second-seed Alexandra Norman of Montreal advanced to her second straight final defeating Carolyn Russell of Vancouver 11-9, 11-9, 11-3. Norman lost last year’s championship match to Alana Miller of Winnipeg who was unable to compete this year due to injury.

“I knew I was in for a hard match against Carolyn, she’s a very experienced player,” said Norman, who is originally from Sussex, England and has lived in Montreal for three years. “I played well and kept it simple. I stayed patient and shot well.”

On the men’s side, top-seed Razik defeated Matthew Giuffre of Edmonton 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8. Razik is vying for a third career national crown.

He’ll face third-seed David Phillips of Pointe-Claire, Que., who eliminated Jamie Crombie of Calgary in the other semi 11-3, 11-1, 11-4.

The women’s final goes at 3 p.m. (local time) on Saturday at the World Health Club and will be followed by the men’s final.

Mullins survives
another close battle

CALGARY – Top-seed Tara Mullins of Toronto overcame an 0-2 deficit in games to advance to the semifinals in women’s play on Thursday at the Canadian squash Championships. The competition is being held this week at the World Health Club.

Mullins defeated Canadian university champion Stephanie Edmison of Toronto 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 in her quarterfinal. Mullins also needed five games on Wednesday to eliminate Genevieve Lessard of Montreal in Wednesday’s second round.

The top-four seeds in the end all made it through to the semis. Number-two Alexandra Norman of Montreal defeated Samantha Cornett of Ottawa in her quarterfinal 12-10, 9-11, 11-8-11-5; number-three Carolyn Russell of Vancouver beat Kelsey Souchereau of Victoria 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 and number-four Runa Reta of Montreal took Miranda Ranieri of Waterloo, Ont., 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5.

The semifinal match-ups for the women are Mullins-Reta and Norman-Russell.

In the men’s quarterfinals, Calgarians Jamie Crombie and Graeme Schnell had a wild battle with Crombie needing extra points in the fifth and deciding game to complete a comeback from a 0-2 deficit. Crombie took the match 6-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 14-12.

In other quarters, top-seed Shahier Razik of Toronto defeated Matthew Serediak of Regina 11-3, 11-2, 11-6; fifth-seed Matthew Giuffre of Edmonton eliminated number-four Robin Clarke of Ottawa 11-7, 3-11, 11-4, 11-3 and third-seed Dave Phillips of Pointe-Claire beat Andrew McDougall of Calgary 11-7, 11-13, 11-2, 11-5.

Runa Reta and Shahier Razik at the official tournament opening ...

Russell continues comeback
in Calgary

CALGARY- With the effects from last year’s back surgery starting to subside, Carolyn Russell of Vancouver launched her pursuit Wednesday for the gold medal in the women’s open competition at the Canadian squash championships.

Russell, a five-time world championship team member and the Canadian champion in 2006, opened the tournament with a hard-fought 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 victory over Jaime Laird of Calgary.

“I was pretty happy with the way I played,” said Russell, seeded third. “Playing at altitude took some getting use to. I didn’t get a chance to practice this morning so my only warm-up was at game time. But I’ve had a pretty good season so far and I’ve set my objective at winning this tournament.”

After surgery on March 20, 2008, Russell was off the court until August. She was named to the Canadian squad for the world team championships and helped 10th seeded Canada to a ninth place finish which was four spots better than in 2006.

“I’m feeling very good but I’m still recovering,” she said about the back. “It’s a really long haul but I’m just finally to start really good and normal. I’m training very hard.”

In other key round of 16 matches, top-seed Tara Mullins of Toronto was extended to five games defeating Genevieve Lessard of Montreal 11-2, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4 while fourth-seed Runa Reta of Montreal defeated Nikole Todd of Regina 11-4, 11-8, 11-6. Second-seed Alexandra Norman of Montreal also advanced.

Defending champion Alana Miller of Winnipeg announced last week her withdrawal due to a leg injury.

Top-seed Shahier Razik of Toronto opened with a 11-6, 11-4, 11-2 win over Arjun Gupta of Toronto while Matthew Giuffre of Edmonton, seeded fifth, eliminated Dane Sharp of Ajax, Ont. Second-seed Shawn DeLierre of Brossard, Que., withdrew due to injury.

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