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Comfort Inn Open 2011
11-16 Jan, North Vancouver, Canada, $35k
16-Jan, Final:

Paul Marley reports

Daryl Selby claimed his second Comfort Inn Open title in three years and his tenth PSA win as play concluded this afternoon in the 2011 Comfort Inn Open, presented by Odlum Brown and the Evergreen Squash Club. All matches were played at the Evergreen Squash Club on Vancouver’s North Shore.

The contrasting styles of the players was compelling as Selby, from England, employs a solid conservative game built on what must be a world class cardio system which one would think would have contributed to his rise from #33 in the world, when he won this event in 2009, to his current #10 ranking. Ashour, a product of the very productive Egyptian squash machine, is the flashier of the two as he possesses what some consider the best hands on the pro tour. His fitness has always been a question mark but he indicated he has committed himself to an arduous fitness program, the results of which were serious tested today in this 59 minute match.

This was a thrilling match that seemed to turn on who was going to have the best unforced error (UFE’S) to winning shot ratio – as if such a statistic is ever kept. Selby made no UFE’s in the first game and won 11-6 as Ashour made five UFE’s. Curiously, Ashour kept his UFE count about the same in the second and third games but his dazzling array of shots were finding the nick. So he narrowly won the second game in overpoints and the third game 11-9. If he keeps this up he wins. But he kept his UFE’s at five in the fourth game and even though Selby committed a match high five UFE’s, Ashour’s winning shots were not finding the mark as Selby squeaked a crucial overpoints win. The fifth saw Ashour’s UFE’s skyrocket to eight and Selby took the game 11-5 and the match 3-2.

It was a thrilling match to watch and it was played with a sense that both players enjoyed the experience and respected each other while playing their hearts out. As well, it must be said again that Selby showed incredible sportsmanship as at least five times in the past two matches he has made a call on himself or overturned a referee’s decision. One of these times was late in third game today when the score was 8-7 in his favour and he called a “double bounce” on himself. He eventually lost the game 9-11. It’s wonderful to see world class sportsmanship by a world class athlete as it is great modeling for our squash community.

We will be watching both players over the coming months to see how they build on their success this afternoon. Selby seems ready to reclaim his spot within the top ten and Ashour seems on the verge of entering the top ten. Selby was very complimentary to his opponent during his post-game remarks saying he believes that Ashour, who has always had the skill, now seems to have the fitness to be a contender for a top ten ranking. So today it seemed he passed the fitness test. Now he must work on minimizing his UFE’s

Comfort Inn Open 2011
11-16 Jan, North Vancouver, Canada, $35k
Round One
13 Jan
14 Jan
15 Jan
16 Jan
[1] David Palmer (Aus)
11-6; 11-3; 11-7 (35m)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
[1] David Palmer
11-3; 11-6; 11-4 (31m)
[Q] Jorge Ferreira
[1] David Palmer

15-13; 15-13; 11-2 (49m)

Hisham Ashour

Hisham Ashour

11-6; 10-12; 9-11; 12-10; 11-5 (59m)

[2] Daryl Selby

[Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
11-5; 11-9; 11-9 (41m)
[Q] Jorge Ferreira (Mex)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
 11-5; 11-9; 11-3 (35m)
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
Hisham Ashour
11-3; 11-9; 6-11; 11-6 (46m)
[4] Shahier Razik
Martin Knight (Nzl)
7-11; 11-6; 11-6; 11-7 (60m)
[4] Shahier Razik (Can)
[3] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11-7; 14-12; 9-11; 11-13; 11-6 (90m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
[3] Olli Tuominen
11-3; 11-3; 11-3 (35m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
[3] Olli Tuominen

11-5; 11-6; 9-11; 7-11; 11-6 (75m)

[2] Daryl Selby

[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
5-11;11-7; 11-7; 6-11; 11-5 (101m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
[Q] Cesar Salazar (Mex)
11-6; 11-9; 13-11 (50m)
Stéphane Galifi (Ita)
[Q] Cesar Salazar
11-8; 11-4; 11-8 (47m)
[2] Daryl Selby
Robin Clarke (Can)
11-8; 11-7 rtd (20m)
[2] Daryl Selby (Eng)
2010 Event

12-Jan, Qualifying Finals:

Jorge Ferreira (Mex) bt Alan Clyne (Sco)                           11-3; 11-8; 11-5 (37m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) bt Laurence Delasaux (Eng)     11-4; 11-8; 16-18; 11-4 (76m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Andrew McDougall (Can)                         11-9; 11-5; 11-9 (44m)
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt Gilly Lane (Usa)                  11-7; 11-9; 6-11; 11-5 (70m)

11-Jan, Qualifying Round One:

Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Justin Todd (Can)                       11-8; 11-8; 8-11; 11-6 (55m)
Jorge Ferreira (Mex) bt Christopher Gordon (Usa)      11-9; 11-2; 9-11; 11-5 (42m)
Laurence Delasaux (Eng) bt Eric Galvez (Mex) 7-11; 12-10; 1-11; 11-7; 11-7 (68m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) bt Thomas Brinkman (Can)                11-6; 11-8; 11-9 (25m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Matthew Karwalski (Aus)            12-10; 7-11; 11-3; 14-12 (52m)
Andrew McDougall (Can) bt Dane Sharp (Can)  9-11; 6-11; 11-6; 11-7; 11-3 (78m)
Gilly Lane (Usa) bt Tyler Hamilton (Can)                            11-6; 11-6; 11-1 (23m)
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt Matthew Serediak (Can)  12-10; 17-11; 11-3; 11-3 (42m)
15-Jan, Semis:

Paul Marley reports

A major upset occurred in the semi-finals today of the 2011 Comfort Inn Open, presented by Odlum Brown and the Evergreen Squash Club, as Egyptian Hisham Ashour upset the heavily favoured David Palmer of Australia 3-0. The tournament is being played at the Evergreen Squash Club on Vancouver’s North Shore.

But the day started with a fabulous match pitting #2 seed, Daryl Selby, against, #3 seed, Olli Tuominen. Although the ranking difference was substantial, #10 vs #22 respectively, one had the feeling that the match could be tight. But the first two games were easily won by Selby as he seemed to effortlessly glide around the court piling up the points for an 11-5, 11-6 two game lead. But, as he indicated in his remarks after the match, he seemed to take his foot off the gas and Olli worked extremely hard to even the match 2-2. But, just as quickly as Selby seemed to back off a bit, he regained his focus and won the fifth 11-6 for a 3-2 victory to book his place in the final as he attempts to win his 2nd Comfort Inn Open title in three years.

It must be said that three different times in the match Selby showed wonderful sportsmanship and the gallery rewarded him with appreciative applause each time.

The second match was eagerly anticipated due to the contrast in styles as Palmer features a hard hitting game versus the touch oriented play of Ashour. But the fact that Palmer was seeded #1 and Ashour was unseeded gave little indication of things to come. As someone once said, “they play the games for a reason”. The first game was a 39 minute affair that saw Ashour edging Palmer 15-13 in a match that degenerated as both players seemed puzzled by some of the refereeing decisions. But Palmer was particularly upset. It seemed evident that his focus was compromised but he put in a sterling effort in the second game which also went to overpoints. But Ashour prevailed once again and now he was now full of confidence. The match concluded with a relatively easy 11-2 win and a 3-0 victory for Ashour.

The final should be a beauty. Both players are assured of having their names carved into the PSA plaque that is displayed beside the showcourt. The only matter to be decided is the order in which the names are recorded.

14-Jan, Quarters:

Paul Marley reports

The quarter final round of the 2011 Comfort Inn Open, presented by Odlum Brown and the Evergreen Squash Club, was played this evening at the Evergreen Squash Club on Vancouver’s North Shore with the four higher ranked players advancing to tomorrow’s semi-final round but one seed, a very popular one at that, fell by the wayside.


The process the PSA uses in establishing the draw is that the highest four ranked players in December, when the draw is made, are seeded in the first four places. But the tournament is played in January when another ranking period has passed.

So, in our first match, the #4 seed and world ranked #24, Canadian Shahier Razik, played unseeded, against world ranked #18, Hisham Ashour of Egypt, who had improved his ranking from #29 in December.

Another oddity of this matchup is that the two players have known each other since they were young boys growing up in Cairo, Egypt, where Razik was born. The final interesting point of this matchup is the contrasting nature of their styles, with Ashour being an outstanding touch player and Razik being the indefatigable “energizer bunny” who is like a human backboard.

With the crowd and the enormous “Go Canada Go” Olympic banner on a side wall trying to spur Razik on, he got off to his trademark slow start losing the first game easily at 11-3. The second game was much more competitive but Ashour started to show the gallery some of his dazzling shots and took the second game 11-9 for a 2-0 lead. The third was all Razik 11-6 but Ashour took command of the fourth to win the game 11-6 and the match 3-1. The crowd gave both players a thunderous round of applause both for Ashour’s breathtaking skills and the warm feeling that Razik has built up in his four appearances in a PSA event, including his 2007 Championship, at the Evergreen Squash Club.

The other three matches went true to form with all matches ending in a 3-0 result. Olli Tuominen had a fairly easy time with, Miguel Rodriguez; Daryl Selby was somewhat extended by upcoming Mexican star, Cesar Salazar; and David Palmer had little difficulty with qualifier Jorge Ferreirra.

It must be noted that the galleries for the past two evenings are the biggest the Evergreen Squash Club has ever seen for this stage in the tournament in the event’s seven year history. The semis and the finals are highly anticipated and record breaking crowds are expected. The squash enthusiasts are in for a marvelous treat this weekend!!!!

Seeds in good shape at Evergreen
Paul Marley reports

The first round of the main draw of the 2011 Comfort Inn Squash Championships, presented by Odlum Brown and the Evergreen Squash Club, was played this evening at the Evergreen Squash Club in North Vancouver with all seeds prevailing but there were some notable struggles.

Two of the seeds, Shahier Razik and Olli Tuominen were forced to stay on the court for 60 and 90 minutes respectively as their opponents, Martin Knight and Julian Illingworth provided stiff competition.

But the longest match of the evening saw Miguel Rodriguez prevail over Canadian hope, Shawn Delierre, in 101 minutes. Delierre overcame a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth game but the hard work of two days of qualifying may have taken its toll as Rodriguez took the match with an 11-5 final game

There seemed to be a unanimous observation that Hisham Ashour has the sweetest pair of hands ever seen in Vancouver, and possibly, according to one highly ranked pro, on the entire PSA tour.

His dazzling array of shots made life very difficult for his younger and very talented opponent, Arturo Salazar, but provided many moments of disbelief and joy amongst the sizable and appreciative gallery. We are already anticipating the match of contrasting styles tomorrow as the flashy Ashour clashes with the marathon man, and Canada’s lone hope remaining in the tournament, Shahier Razik.

Although Robin Clarke had to retire after two games, he sprinted out, most impressively, to a 7-1 lead in the first game only to see the world ranked #10 Daryl Selby step up the pace and widen the court to eventually reel him in for an 11-8 victory. One could see that Clarke was struggling and an angry stomach forced him to retire.

And the final match of the evening featured the #1 seed, David Palmer, and he showed the gallery why he has been such an accomplished player over the past decade. It was all Simpson could do to hang on as Palmer thoroughly dominated the match with his combination of pace, length, deception and the ability to continually search for the nick.

The big man moves like a cat and seems to know where the ball is going before it’s even struck. It was a treat to watch.



Paul Marley reports

The qualifying rounds of the 2011 Comfort Inn Squash Championships, presented by Odlum Brown Limited and the Evergreen Squash Club, were concluded this evening at the Evergreen Squash Club in North Vancouver with the Mexicans being so happy we think they went searching for a pińata.

Jorge Ferreira was the first Mexican searching for a spot in the main draw and was, on a rankings basis, a substantial underdog against the talented Scot, Alan Clyne. The game was punctuated with agonizingly long rallies which didn’t seem to favour either player but kept the gallery wonderfully entertained. The world ranked #97 Ferreira just seemed a little quicker and, maybe a little steadier as he prevailed 3-0 against his world ranked #53 opponent.

The second Mexican to enter the court was Cesar Salazar who is world ranked #60. His higher ranking twin brother, Arturo, is waiting for him in the main draw. His opponent, the world ranked #66 Englishman, Laurence Delasaux, seemed to have a little difficult getting started and quickly found himself in deep trouble being down 2-0. In the third Delasaux stepped up his game to Salazar’s level and they concluded a magnificent game in Delasaux’s favour 18-16.

This game also included a brief injury timeout as Salazar needed a substantial looking bandage to stop the bleeding from his right knee as a result of a sprawling attempt to save a point late in the game. The fourth game was all Salazar as he dispatched his opponent 11-5 for a 3-1 victory. It would be magic if the Salazar’s met in the main draw but they both would have to make the final for this dream to come true.

So, three Mexicans are in the final sixteen. Bring out the mariachis.

The third match of the evening featured Canadian, Andrew McDougal, against Max Lee from Hong Kong. Although Lee won the match 3-0 and deserves full credit for the win, it was not easy. As the score indicates, McDougal was very competitive and should be very pleased with his effort particularly given the fact that Lee is 36 ranking points ahead of him.

The final match of the day also featured a Canadian, Shawn Delierre, but this time the result was more pleasant for the home crowd. With a massive “Go Canada Go” banner in the spectator area offering inspiration to the local boys, the home crowd was ever hopeful that Delierre could overcome his talented American opponent, Gilly Lane. This 70 minute match was a beauty as it see sawed back and forth with Delierre prevailing in four. The crowd probably assumed that the blazing red banner had something to do with Delierre’s success but he confessed he didn’t even know it was there.

So, three Canadians are also in the final sixteen. But the opposition stiffens up substantially starting with tomorrow’s first round main draw matches. David Palmer, a two time World Champion and four time British Open Champion, makes his Vancouver debut.

And, Daryl Selby, the 2009 Comfort Inn Champion makes his return to Vancouver. He won the 2009 title when he was ranked 33rd in the world and has spent most of 2010 ranked at #9 in the world which is a remarkable achievement is such a short period of time.

The Vancouver squash community is buzzing with anticipation!!!!



Paul Marley reports

A wonderful evening of squash was featured in the opening round of qualifying play at the $35,000 2011 Comfort Inn Squash Championships, presented by Odlum Brown Limited and the Evergreen Squash Club, being held at the Evergreen Squash Club on Vancouver’s North Shore.

The purpose of the qualifying rounds, which conclude Wednesday evening – main draw play starts on Thursday - is to determine which four qualifiers, in a sixteen player draw, will advance to the main draw joining the already pre-determined twelve participants.

In the past six years of this event, the first round of the “qualies” is usually pretty dozy as the more seasoned PSA players feast on the few locals who are given a chance to participate. But not this year as the increased prize money drew such a strong, deep field that no locals had a chance to participate.

A few highlights of the evening:~

- Fate of the seeds – seven of the eight top seeds went through safely with only Christopher Gordon of the USA going down in four games to Jorge Ferriera of Mexico.

- Fate of the Canadians – only Shawn Delierre and Andrew McDougall carry Canada’s colours into the final qualifying round as five Canadians met defeat.

- Longest matches – two unusually long matches for this opening round saw Andrew McDougall (CAN) come from a 2-0 deficit to win over fellow countryman Dane Sharp (CAN) in 78 minutes and Laurence Delasaux (ENG) overcame Eric Galvez (MEX) in a thrilling 68 minute match.

In addition to the 28 professionals from 12 countries, over 150 amateurs start play tomorrow evening.

For the professionals, play continues tomorrow at 6:00pm at the Evergreen Squash Club in North Vancouver with four matches concluding the final round of qualification play.


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