Charlottesville Open 2015
13-19 Oct, Usa, $35k
Coppinger claims Chatlotteville crown
Top seed Steve Coppinger
took the $35k title with a 11/8, 8/11, 11/7, 11/3 win over Ryan
Cuskelly, collecting his 9th career PSA title.
"Very happy with my week in Charlottesville," said Coppinger. "Ryan
has also been playing great squash and made it very difficult in the
final. Thankfully I had a bit more left in the tank and was able to
pull away in the end.
"Huge thanks to all, especially the crazy South Africans (my family
included) who stayed up till the early hours to follow on the live
Cuskelly & Coppinger through to final
Straight game wins for Ryan Cuskelly over Ali Farag and
Steve Coppinger over Campbell Grayson and the final i set in
Farag takes out top seed
Quarter-finals at the Boar's Head Club in Charlottesville started
with two 'local derbies' which both produced upset results as
Ryan Cuskelly and Ali Farag advanced to the semi-finals
on five-setters. Second seed Steve Coppinger had no such
troubles as he won in straight games, and unseeded Kiwi Campbell
Grayson ended home hopes as he beat US qualifier Chris Gordon.
Mark Allen reports:
Cuskelly wins all-Aussie battle
A hot and sticky day made for a long and physically tough battle
between the two Australians. With little reward for taking the ball
in short it was a long and scrappy affair, punctuated by plenty of
lets and strokes (going in both directions).
Pilley looked like he’d done enough to secure the victory with two
match balls in the fourth, but couldn’t finish on either. He had
another couple in the fifth too, but it was Cuskelly who took the
match, and with his first opportunity.
It was a harsh finish for Pilley, with a stroke against for 9-10,
followed by a no let at 10-all, and followed by another stroke
against on match point – after battling hard for over 110 minutes it
was a very unfortunate way to end.
Farag wins Egyptian matchup
Another tight match, this time 13-11 in the fifth game, and ending
on a stroke just like the first match! Throughout the match Gawad
was always pressing forward and so strong around the center of the
But Farag absorbed so much of what was thrown at him, and landed
plenty of effective counter punches to always keep himself in
contention. You could tell the two of them have been competitors for
years; it was tight all the way without either play ever edging more
than 3 points in front of their opponent from start to finish.
Gawad had three match balls and a strong opportunity to finish on
the third one of them, but his short ball into the front right off a
poor serve return from Farag clipped the tin by millimeters. Farag
then took the next two points to close out the match.
Coppinger beats Clyne
Second seed Steve Coppinger came through 3/0 in 49 minutes and
always looked the likely winner. His line and length into the back
two corners of the court was superb tonight, hitting hard and low,
barely clipping the side wall, and hardly ever over hitting – not an
easy thing to do on this hot glass court at UVa. As a result Clyne
struggled to get any kind of foothold in the match, and became
On this form Coppinger looks favorite for the tournament, but
tomorrow is always another day ...
Grayson beats Gordon
In the final match of the day Campbell Grayson, unseeded the New
Zealander who had beated the fourth seed in the previous round,
ended home interest as he beat qualifier Chris Gordon in four games.
13-19 Oct, Usa, $35k
 Karim Adbel Gawad (Egy)
13/11, 11/2, 6/11, 11/5
[wc] Joe Chapman (Bvi)
 Karim Adbel Gawad
8/11, 14/12, 12/10, 5/11, 13/11
11/7, 11/9, 11/8 (41m)
 Ryan Cuskelly
 Ryan Cuskelly
11/8, 8/11, 11/7, 11/3
 Steve Coppinger
 Cesar Salazar (Mex)
11/7, 10/12, 11/8, 11/6
Ali Farag (Egy)
 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/7, 11/9, 11/7
Shahier Razik (Can)
 Ryan Cuskelly
12/14, 11/5, 8/11, 15/13, 12/10
 Cameron Pilley
 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
9/11, 11/3, 11/2, 11/5
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11/6, 8/11, 11/9, 11/7
 Alister Walker (Bot)
8/11, 11/2, 11/7, 11/2
[Q] Chris Gordon
11/9, 11/8, 11/5 (62m)
 Steve Coppinger
Chris Gordon (Usa)
11/8, 9/11, 4/11, 11/9, 11/9
 Tom Richards (Eng)
Todd Harrity (Usa)
11/6, 9/11, 11/9, 11/4
 Alan Clyne (Sco)
 Alan Clyne
11/7, 11/1, 11/4
 Steve Coppinger
Alfredo Avila (Mex)
11/8, 11/4, 11/3
 Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
14 Sep, Qualifying Finals:
Shahier Razik (Can) 3-1
Mike McCue (Can)
6/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/2
Todd Harrity (Usa) v
Amaad Fareed (Pak)
11/5, 12/10, 9/11, 11/3
Arturo Salazar (Mex) 3-0
Eric Galvez (Mex)
11/9, 11/2 rtd
Chris Gordon (Usa) v
Lewis Walters (Jam)
11/9, 11/8, 5/11, 9/11, 11/6
Qualifying Round One:
Shahier Razik (Can) 3-0 Ben Coates (Eng)
11/4, 13/11, 11/3
Mike McCue (Can) 3-0 Mason Blake (Usa)
11/5, 11/6, 11/6
Amaad Fareed (Pak) 3-0 Maxwell Novick (Usa)
11/3, 11/3, 11/6
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-0 Stephen O'Dwyer
11/3, 11/1, 11/5
Eric Galvez (Mex) 3-0 Reuben Phillips (Eng)
11/6, 11/5, 11/6
Arturo Salazar (Mex) 3-0 Patrick Chifunda (Zam) 11/4,
Lewis Walters (Jam) 3-0 James Bamber (Eng)
11/5, 13/11, 11/6
Chris Gordon (Usa)
16-Sep, Round One:
Seeds suffer in Charlottesville
After a rest day following completion of qualifying, round one got
under way at the Boar's Head Club in Virginia, where the crowd
quickly saw two big upsets.
New Zealand's Campbell Grayson beat fourth-seed Alister
Walker in four, and then American qualifier Chris Gordon came
from two-one down to beat Tom Richards, the fifth seed, in five.
was too good today. I had my opportunity in the third to go 2-1 up but
once that moment passed I was always behind" declared Alister
after the match.
A happy Campbell stated "Happy to win my
match today. Never easy playing against a good friend and we know
each others game well. I like the court conditions here and looking
forward to my match tomorrow against Chris."
Grayson and Gordon will meet for a place in the semi-finals, where
the winner will face either Steve Coppinger, the South
African second seed, or Scotland's Alan Clyne who ended the
hopes of home qualifier Todd Harrity.
There was a further upset in the evening session when Ali Farag
beat sixth-seeded Mexican Cesar Salazar in four games. Farag's
reward is a meeting with fellow-Egyptian top seed Karim Abdel
Gawad, who also advanced in four games as he beat wildcard Joe
"It was a good match for me and I'm happy to be competing with
the top guys," said Chapman. "Lots of positives to take away from
the match. Charlottesville did a great job with this tournament and
I'm looking forward to spending a few days seeing the city."
An all-Aussie quarter-final was set up as Cameron Pilley and
Ryan Cuskelly progressed at the expense of qualifiers Arturo
Salazar and Shahier Razik.
"Arturo can be a very dangerous player so I had to be mentally
prepared for a tough match," admitted Pilley. "He came out quite
strong in the first game and hit some quality winners and took me by
surprise. After losing the first game I had to up my game and
increase my sharpness. I managed to do that and turned the match
around to win 3-1."
"Very happy to start off the season with a 3-0 win against a
experienced player," said Cuskelly, "and really enjoying playing on
the glass court here in Charlottesville. Looking forward to the
Aussie battle tomorrow night against Pilley."
Draws & Results
Charlottesville Open Preview
by last year’s Champion, Alister Walker
the inaugural edition of the Charlottesville Open in 2013 the event
has continued to increase in prize money and standard of play.
The 2015 Open features a prize fund of $35,000, with a sunny
forecast for next year, when organizers hope to bring the event a
level up in status to a $50,000 PSA concern. It is an event that
already excites PSA players and, without a doubt, that will continue
to be the case.
The top two seeds in this year’s event are Egyptian
Gawad and Stephen Coppinger of South Africa. Both have
solidified their rankings in the world top 20 over the last couple
More experienced players on the PSA tour include
Anjema, who, for 12 months of his 14-year career, was ranked
inside the world top 10 and is the only player in the draw to hold
that honor. Third-seeded Cameron Pilley of Australia boasts a
career high ranking of #11 in the world; your correspondent, that is
Botswana’s Alister Walker, and Englishman Tom Richards
have both been ranked as high as #12.
While on paper it is hard to imagine the eventual champion would not
come from one of the six aforementioned names, there are no safe
bets on the current PSA tour; such is the standard and strength in
depth of the current game. With the exception of Gawad’s first-round
encounter, none of the players would be too surprised to find any of
the seeds toppled in the first round.
My pick for the most electrifying of the first round matches has to
be Coppinger facing the improving Australian Ryan Cuskelly,
who is more than capable of winning and going further in the draw.
The winner of that encounter will likely come through a grueling
physical encounter to face a fresh and tough-to-break Scot in
Alan Clyne in the quarterfinal stage.
Hugely athletic and technically gifted
César Salazar has
shown signs that he is taking positive steps to match his mental
prowess up to his natural talents. If head, heart, and physique come
together for Salazar, it could be a breakthrough season for the
Winning matches on the PSA tour takes steadfast resolve and he’ll
need to exercise all he can muster mentally to get past Harvard
graduate Ali Farag, who I would argue is the best player in
the history of U.S, college squash. This Ali-Salazar match is
probably my second-favorite of the first round match ups.
It would be safe to assume that the players who drew a qualifier in
the first round got away lightly, but I can assure you that is not
the case very often on the tour.
No. 1 qualifier Alfredo Avila
last month came through
qualifying in Bogota, Colombia to win a $50k event defeating top-10
players Peter Barker and Borja Golan en route to the title. Such a
stunning run is unlikely for him being away from altitude, but he is
certainly capable of an upset here in Charlottesville.
second and third qualifiers will be looking to demonstrate that they
are not out of their league on the University of Virginia show
court. U.S. number one Chris Gordon and National Champion Todd Harrity know the court better than most, and on home soil
with good support, both should come out guns blazing with nothing to
Karim Gawad is probably my favorite for the title but not by much.
In the past he has shown a tendency to tighten up against lower
ranked countrymen and he could face Ali Farag in the second round.
Gawad is approaching his peak years as a player and in order to
fulfill his substantial potential will have to grow out of that
Tom Richards has been showing signs of returning to form after a
couple of tough years and I would put him in with Laurens Anjema,
Cameron Pilley, and Alister Walker as the main contenders. While
accepting they could be upset in the first round, these experienced
campaigners have shown they can win these events, won’t be short of
confidence, and are keen to win more events before riding off into
Lady Luck will certainly have her say as we watch this exciting
event play out!