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Dayton Open 2012
05-10 Nov, Dayton, Ohio, Usa, $35k
10-Nov, Final:
Borja bags Dayton title
Charlie Johnson reports

After last night's tow hour marathon match to defeat world # 10 and EBS Dayton Open # 1 see Omar Mosasad of Egypt, everyone in tonight's packed gallery at the Dayton Squash Center knew that world # 18 Borja Golan of Spain was focused on the ultimate prize: champion. Last year's EBS Dayton Open champion and current world # 12 Alister Walker of Botswana (# 2 seed) found out the hard way how truly focused the Spaniard was when he went down in three straight games in 44 minutes.

The enthusiastic crowd thought they were in for a long evening when the first rally of the match was a 50+ exchange that ended with Walker hitting the tin.

Golan went on to run off 5 straight long rallies to take a 6-0 lead and Walker seemed like he couldn't find an answer to the Spaniard's quick anticipation and attacking style of play. Walker finally won a rally off a brilliant forehand crosscourt nick kill shot to get in the match at 1-6 but if it was going to take 10 more of those to win this first game, with the way Golan was playing the odds were not good.

Golan stymied Walkers gasping effort to come back in this first game and won 11-5 in 14 minutes. Walker won the first rally of the 2nd game and looked be set to try and get back in this but Golan traded 2 for 1 incredible and often long rallies , winning 11-6, and after this 15 minute game, the Spaniard was one more game from the prize.

Eerily similar to a line from the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator where the Spaniard Maximus says "people should know when they are conquered" at the awesome beginning of that movie, one wondered if Walker had it in him to come back again from an 0-2 deficit and fight for 3 more games in the "coliseum" that is court 4 at the Dayton Squash Center and the intimate crowd, many of whom were cheering for the underdog Golan.

A repeat of the previous two night's comebacks was not in the script for this movie, however, as Golan maintained control of almost every rally and although last year's EBS Dayton Open champion Walker tried to fend off the inevitable, Golan was dominant in this final game as he had been the entire match as he swept on to collect his 27th PSA title.

Afterwards, Walker said: "He was just on the ball so fast all night, hitting REALLY good shots and super tight drives on the backhand wall that had me under pressure in every rally all night long. Maybe I had just a little too much squash this week that kept me from being able to deal with his attacking style."

After the match, both players were gracious in wishing each other the best for the rest of the season and thanking the sponsors and tournament promoter Charlie Johnson of cjsquash.com.

Last year's champion passed off the EBS Dayton Open to the 2012 champion and Golan will have his name added to an illustrious list of winners for this 10 year old event.


Dayton Open 2012
05-10 Nov, Dayton, Ohio, Usa, $35k
Round One
07 Nov  17.00-20.00
08 Nov
09 Nov
10 Nov
[1] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
8/11, 11/6, 11/5, 14/12 (49m)
Zac Alexander (Aus)
[1] Omar Mosaad
8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (42m)
Mathieu Castagnet
[1] Omar Mosaad

8-11, 11-5, 8-11,
11-6, 15-13 (128m)

[4] Borja Golan

[4] Borja Golan


11-5, 11-6,
11-6 (44m)


[2] Alister Walker

Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
11/13, 11/7, 11/7, 11/4 (108m)
[Q] Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/5, 11/8, 11/7 (40m)
 Aurangzeb Mehmund (Pak)
Marwan El Shorbagy
11-1, 11-8, 11-3 (37m)
[4] Borja Golan
[4] Borja Golan (Esp)
11/7, 11/1, 11/5 (30m)
Siddharth Suchde (Ind)
 Shahier Razik (Can)
9/11, 11/2, 11/2, 11/6 (43m)
[3] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
[3] Cameron Pilley
 13-11, 8-11, 11-9,
6-11, 11-9 (89m)
Ryan Cuskelly
Ryan Cuskelly

12-10, 11-8, 7-11,
11-3 (59m)

[2] Alister Walker

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/5, 11/7, 8/11, 11/6 (52m)
[Q] Yasir Butt (Pak)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/9, 11/9, 11/6 (34m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (Fra)
[Q] Gregoire Marche
4-11, 11-3, 8-11,
11-2, 11-7 (68m)
[2] Alister Walker
[Q] Cesar Salazar (Mex)
9/11, 7/11, 11/0, 11/7, 15/13 (88m)

[2] Alister Walker (Bot)
06-Nov, Qualifying Finals:

Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-1 Shawn Delierre (Can)       11-13, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (76m)
Yasir Butt (Pak)
3-2 Christopher Gordon (Usa)    8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4, 11-9 (83m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) 3-1 Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)         9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-4
Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 3-1 Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)      11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 (72m)

05-Nov, Qualifying Round One:

Gregoire Marche (Fra)  bye
Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-0 Shahjahan Khan (Pak)          11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (47m)
Christopher Gordon (Usa) 3-0 Henrik Mustonen (Fin)       11/4, 119, 11/7 (48m)
Yasir Butt (Pak) 3-2 Martin Knight (Nzl)     7/11, 11/2, 10/12, 14/12, 11/7 (82m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) 3-0 Keith Pritchard (Can)          11/7, 11/4, 11/0 (22m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) 3-1 Matthew Karwalski (Aus) 11/8, 11/6, 8/11, 11/9 (33m)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 3-1 Olivier Pett (Eng)       11/6, 11/3, 4/11, 11/1 (42m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) 3-0 Joe Lee (Eng)

2011 Event | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 |

09-Nov, Semis:
Golan outlasts Mosaad to make Dayton final
Charlie Johnson reports

Fourth seeded Spaniard Borja Golan beat top seed Omar Mosaad in a 2 hour match! crazy stuff with a packed house and incredible points. Omar seemed a big flat when it really mattered, and Borja has played inspired squash all week.

Second seed Alister Walker finally won a match in under 5 games! He went overtime to win the first game against Ryan Cuskelly, fought hard to keep control and win game two, saw game three3 go to the Australian 11-7 due to a lapse in concentration, but then Walker poured in on to win 11-3 in the fourth, winning 7 straight rallies to take the match.

08-Nov, Quarters:
Cuskelly ousts Pilley as Walker survives again
Charlie Johnson reports

Three of the four seeds will contest the Dayton Oen semi-finals after tonight's quarter-finals at the Dayton Squash Center in Ohio.

In the first match, # 1 seed Omar Mosaad won 3-1 over Mathieu Castagnet in 49 minutes after a 15 minute delay when an accident gave the frenchman a severe cut to the lip in the fourth game of the closely contested match. Castagnet came back on court down 8-10 match ball to compete, won an incredibly long rally but then succumbed to lose 9-11. A local doctor and friend of squash then took him to hospital and got his lip stitched up and brought him back to the club. The Cincinnati/Dayton squash community is close and it was great to have the support on hand.

It took Spain's Borja Golan only 37 minutes, the night's shortest 1/4 final match, to dispatch Egyptian Marwan El Shorbagy and move on to the semi-finals. Like last night, Golan dominated the front of court and controlled most rallies.

For the first time ever, Australian countryman Ryan Cuskelly defeated # 3 seed Cameron Pilley 3-2 in 89 minutes. It was a great match and much appreciated by the packed gallery.

"Bad day at the office," tweeted Pilley.

Thinking this would be the only 5 game, long match of the night, the crowd gathered behind the stadium court to see how the # 2 seed Alister Walker would fare after last night's long match.

2011 Dayton Open champion Walker, as he did last night, once again managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as he came from 2-1 down to beat French qualifier Gregoire Marche in 68 minutes , and he now faces the "primed" Cuskelly in tomorrow's semi-final.

Should be a great day of squash in Dayton!


07-Nov, Round One:
Long matches now the norm in Dayton
Charlie Johnson reports

It was a long but exhilarating night of squash at the first round matches of the 2012 EBS Dayton Open. A packed gallery on hand witnessed some of the best squash played in the 10 year history of this event that has names like Nicol, Darwish, Lincou, Gaultier, White, R. Ashour, and last year's champion Alister Walker on the champion's trophy.

World # 10 and the top seed Omar Mosaad of Egypt took the stage first and set the tone for the evening as it took him 49 minutes to take care of business against Zac Alexander of New Zealand ranked 36 in the world. Mosaad, who recently reached the finals of the finals of the International 70 event in Mexico City, seemed no worse for wear from that bruising tournament and played his usual very controlled game. Alexander, who was in Dayton last year, prevailed in the first game playing a similar steady but physical game, lost the next two games, and then fell victim to Mosaad's steady play in overtime (14-12) in the 4th game.

The 49 minute 3-1 win of Mosaad, as good a match as it was, paled in comparison to France's Mathieu Castagnet's 3-1 victory over Campbell Grayson of New Zealand that took 108 minutes! The 40 minute first game exhibited to the packed gallery that this was a war and qualifier Grayson took the first game 13-11. Castagnet said "we both played a very physical first game and he pushed me very hard. He had good attacking shots to the front and he seemed very focused."

Easily the longest single game in the 10 year history of this event then lead to the longest match in the history of the event. Both players continued to have long punishing rallies, back and for games, but the next three went to Castagnet (11-7, 11-7, 11-4) that took another 68 minutes! Grayson said "that coming fresh from Mexico and altitude, we both seemed to be flying around the court the whole match" and there were numerous incredible retrieves that had the crowd gasping in exhaustion just from witnessing.

The toll from qualifying showed up in the 4th game and Grayson fell to the "relatively" fresh Frenchman.

After these two opening matches, wildcard entry 19 year old Aurangzeb Mehmund of Pakistan now based in Dayton, OH and training with Charlie Johnson, stepped on court to face world # 26 Marwan El Shorbagy of Egypt. Obviously Mehmund had the crowd support (see pictures attached) and the local touring pro acquitted himself well as it took 40 minutes for the Egyptian to beat "Ranga" (our nickname for him) 11-5, 11-8, 11-7.

While all the shouting and cheering was going on for "Ranga," on the other tournament court, the #4 seed Borja Golan of Spain (world # 17) took 30 minutes to dispatch world # 40 Siddharth Suchde of India in three straight games. Golan said "he felt very comfortable on these courts and I played a very controlled game" and although Suchde fought hard in the first game, losing 7-11, he just didn't have an answer for Golan's level of play.

Canada's Shahier Razik (world # 27) stepped on court with # 3 seed and world # 16 Cameron Pilley of Australia to a mixed bag of support. The host club, Dayton Squash Center, has many Canadian expatriates as members and Razik a favorite has been here before, BUT..... no one can beat Pilley's record 6 of 10 appearances at the EBS Dayton Open and they delighted the crowd with an excellent match.

Razik took the first game 11-9. "He came out running like lightning and I was a bit sluggish" said Pilley as Razik took the first game 11-9 but it looked like he knew the veteran Razik couldn't sustain the pace of play. Pilley dominated games 2 & 3 (11-2, 11-2) but in game four, Razik stepped it back up to the level of the first game and traded rally for rally until 6-all but Pilley realized he couldn't relax and pushed on to win the next 5 rallies.

Qualifier Yasir Butt of Pakistan (world # 61 and last year's finalist and local favorite) saw his successful run in Dayton end tonight against Australia's Ryan Cuskelly ranked world # 32. In another long (52 minutes) and heatedly contested match, Butt lost 1-3 to the determined Cuskelly who had to battle Butt and the crowd. Cuskelly took the first 2 games (11-5, 11-7), but Butt fought back to take the 3rd game 11-8 before falling 6-11 in the fourth.

The Butt match had most of the crowd's attention and missed the accompanying match where qualifier Gregoire Marche of France (world # 42) was placed against main draw player and world # 40 Chris Ryder of England. Evenly ranked, on paper this looked likely to be another long contest in a night of long matches. Although the games were close (11-9, 11-9, 11-6), the French qualifier won in three and moves on in the tradition of this tournament where at least one qualifier makes it through past the first round (some to finals: see Ramy Ashour and Yasir Butt).

Although the 2012 EBS Dayton Open had already witnessed a main draw match tonight that took 108 minutes, it was tonight's 88 minute final match between # 2 seed, last year's EBS champion, and world # 13 Alister Walker of Botswana against qualifier Cesar Salazar (world #52) of Mexico that thrilled the packed crowd.

Salazar had looked strong in the qualifying draw and continued his quick and aggressive play tonight and took Walker to a place that few top athletes can return from. Salazar was quick, Salazar was accurate, Salazar anticipated and he hit nicks almost at will. After the first two games, last year's EBS Champion Alister Walker, found himself down 2 games (11-9, 11-7) and facing a quick exit from Dayton. With a change of strategy, changing the pace, lobs from the front instead of drops, and better shot selection, Walker got himself back in the match winning the third game 11-0.

Now down 1-2, the # 2 seed had some soul searching to do. Salazar needed a rest in game 3, the change of strategy had worked, but with a 1-2 deficit, Walker still faced a challenge and although Walker was playing well, Salazar seemed to have an answer for every question on the court. What would game 4 produce?

Game 4 was almost a repeat of game 2 except this time Walker won. Salazar continued to try to "shoot" to victory and who can blame him as he'd played two matches prior to meeting Walker tonight. The tin, however, proved to be his enemy in this game as he had to risk the volley short from the back of the court due to fatigue. At the end of this game where now Walker had battled back from 0-2 to 2-2 veteran players sitting with me spectating said "he's done" - meaning Salazar.........far from the truth.

After being down 0-2 in games, now 2-all, # 2 seed Walker made some really bad unforced errors in game five to find himself down 1-8 in the 5th game. Turning to the glass back-wall at this point, he seemed determined to believe he could come back and you could see it in his eyes. Salazar, playing like a true champion all night, sensing this might be his moment to break into the elite tried to close. What happened over the next 13 minutes is the most intense 5th game of squash I've ever seen.

Walker faced 4 match points before he won 15-13.

06-Nov, Qualifying Finals:
Butt battles on in Dayton
Charlie Johnson reports

In an 83 minute, 5 game "battle of giants," Pakistan's Yasir Butt continued his success in Dayton at the EBS Dayton Open defeating Christopher Gordon of the USA. Last year, the Dayton Squash Center's "adopted" hero took only 3 games to earn a spot in the main draw and an eventual march to the finals against Alister Walker. Tonight was a different story and again the packed gallery witnessed an incredible display of squash and athleticism from both players.

The 18 minute first game set the tone for the match as it was apparent that both Gordon and Butt were determined to earn a spot in the main draw. With both players tall, both rangy, both willing to cut the ball off and attack the front, the crowd was treated to a great back and forth game that saw Butt victorious 11-8. In game 2 that seemed to be almost a rewind of the first, Gordon, who was urged on by his supporters in the crowd, turned the tables and won 11-8.

The important third game saw both players raise their game to an incredible level. Words can't describe the extraordinary and often long points displayed on the court, many ending in lets (much to the groan of the crowd and dismay of the players!), and after 23 minutes Butt took a 2-1 lead in the match winning 13-11 on a point that featured incredible retrieves and attacks from both players. The crowd roared, the players rested for 90 seconds, and they played on.

The game three win seemed to take a toll on Butt who had played the long 5 game match last night to get to this point and Gordon got back in the match winning game four 11-4. Gordon, refusing to acknowledge the fatigue he must have felt, stayed out front, took the ball early, and forced Butt to conserve energy on retrieving punishing attacks.

Over an hour after they started, Butt and Gordon walked back on the court right back where they started: even in game wins. This time, one game meant the match. Despite their obvious fatigue, the squash returned to the level of game 3 and for another 20 minutes they battled as before and thrilled the crowd point after point. At 9-all in the fifth, with both players giving 120% despite no gas in the tank, one spectating PSA player was heard to say "all this for $500 and 55 ranking points, now that's commitment" - the crowd obviously agreed! Although Gordon fought hard, Butt won back to back long rallies to take the match and enjoy the cheers of the crowd. Gordon's effort was also acknowledged and the American is playing some excellent squash at this point in his career. (photo attached, not sure of the quality as I took it myself!)

The match preceding the above mentioned Titanic struggle saw Qualifier # 1 seed Gregoire Marche of France, world # 42, take the court for the first time against Shawn Delierre of Canada. It took the Frenchman 76 minutes to take care of business in a match where Marche won 11-13, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6. Numerous points ended in "let" and had to be repeated which contributed to the length of the mach but this contest got the crowd "primed" for the rest of the evening.

The night's third match saw Mexico's Cesar Salazar, seeded # 8, upset the # 3 seed Aamir Atlas Khan of Pakistan in 4 games. The 52 minute match saw a tight two first games that the player's swapped, 11-9 for Khan and 12-10 for Salazar. In the third game, Khan made some unforced errors that gave Salazar the edge and he won 11-6. By game 4, Khan seemed to see the writing on the wall. He got down 0-4, won a long rally but then dropped 4 more straight to be down 1-8. After dropping 3 points, Salazar closed out the match and won 11-4 to advance.

The night's final match was anything but "anti-climatic" as #7 seed Campbell Grayson of New Zealand also advanced to the main draw by upsetting higher seed, # 2 seed Omar Abdel Aziz of Egypt. Continuing the night's precedence of long matches, it took Grayson 72 minutes to score the win 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8. The sponsors, patrons, and spectators who filled the Dayton Squash Center tonight got an incredible "dish" of squash served up right until the end of the "meal."

05-Nov, Qualifying Round One:
Yasir on a roll again in Dayton
Charlie Johnson reports

The 2012 version of the EBS Dayton Open got started with 7 qualifying matches tonight. Some were predictable, some were upsets, and one was incredible!

A packed gallery saw 5 of 7 seeds playing tonight make it through to the finals of the qualifying draw that takes place tomorrow (4:00pm to 8:00pm). Shawn Delierre of Canada, seeded # 5, had the toughest match of these 5 survivors when he faced 17 year old Pakistani Shahjahan Khan now living in Seattle. It took the Canadian 47 minutes and 3 contentiously contested close games to subdue the young Pakistani 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 who had the support of the large crowd. Though losing in 3, it looked like Khan lacks only PSA match experience in order to start to succeed at this level. He got some tonight!

American Chris Gordon, fresh off a strong performance and win at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago, seemed in the top form as he defeated the # 6 seed Henrik Mustonen of Finland 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 in a 48 minute match. Gordon dominated the first game which was give and take until 4-all, then the American ranked # 68 in the world, ran off 7 straight points again Mustonen ranked 20 points higher at 48. This run featured great repeated retrieves by Gordon as the Fin tried to fight his way into the match and Gordon showed some incredible touch around the front part of the court. Mustonen raised his level of play in games 2 and 3 but Gordon was able to continue his dominance, relying on his tall stature to cut the ball off and control the front of the court.

Gordon moves on to tomorrow's qualifying finals and faces Yasir Butt of Pakistan who was tonight's "incredible" match scoring the other upset of the night over #4 seed Martin Knight of New Zealand. Butt, ranked world # 61 and last year's EBS Dayton Open's amazing "Cinderella" story coming through qualifying to finalist, defeated world #45 Knight in an 83 minute match that was one of the best matches in the 10 year history of this tournament.

Butt lost the first game of the match 7-11 that featured a lack-luster start in the first game where he looked like he wasn't ready to run and several unforced errors that cost him crucial points. Much to the delight of the large crowd, packed with Pakistani partisans, Butt rallied to dominate game two, winning 11-2.

The 3rd game took the match to a much higher level as both players traded long rallies featuring great retrieves and incredible shotmaking. Both contestants seemed to feel that the winner of this game had won the war. Knight prevailed 12-10 by shear determination not to give up and walked on the court for the 4th game with the 2-1 lead and a determination to finish the match off. The players traded punishing rallies until the point when Martin found himself up by 2 at 9-7 and seemingly in control over Butt who appeared to be running out of gas.

Last year's finalist was urged on by the cheering of the crowd and fought back to take the lead at 10-9 in this 4th game. Martin tied it at 10-all then gained match ball on an incredible point only to have Butt tie it at 11-all in what seemed like a stretch to fetch a drop shot front right that seemed to be the length of the court! Martin then won the NEXT point, on a long punishing rally, and again had match ball.

Much like Alabama over LSU (in American college football, this writer is from Alabama, I apologize for analogy) found a way to overcome adversity last Saturday night right at the end of a pivotable game, Butt dug deep and to the cheers of the crowd, won the next two points to tie and then win this 4th game.

70 minutes after they started, Martin and Butt stepped back on the court to decide this match. The squash skills did not seem to be too diminished by fatigue, points continued to be long and torturous for each player, but Martin had looked victory in the eye, blinked, and in this final game seemed unable to gain the upper hand.

It took Butt 13 arduous minutes to have his chance to stare victory in the eye but he did not blink and prevailed 11-7. After the cheers in the gallery died down, both players acknowledged the epic nature of their match to each other and the crowd and this match set the tone for what has started as great week of squash at the Dayton Squash Center.
Dayton Open Upgrades

The tenth anniversary of the first PSA event staged at the Dayton Squash Center in Dayton, Ohio, will be marked by the 2012 Dayton Open being upgraded to a PSA International 35 event.

"The Dayton squash community is pleased to elevate the 2012 Dayton Open to an International 35 event," said tournament promoter Charlie Johnson. "We will continue our tradition of providing excellent amenities for the PSA players in attendance and the raised status of this year's event exhibits our desire to return the Dayton Open to a premier men's tournament in North America."

The popular Ohio event boasts a distinguished list of former champions over the past decade - including world number ones Gregory Gaultier, Peter Nicol, Karim Darwish, Ramy Ashour, John White and Thierry Lincou.

Egypt's Omar Mosaad heads the high quality 2012 Dayton Open field. The world No11 from Cairo already has two titles under his belt this year - and arrives in Ohio direct from Mexico where he reached Sunday's final of the Abierto Mexicano unseeded.

Mosaad is expected to meet second seed Alister Walker, the New York-based world No12 from Botswana, in Saturday's final.

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