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ReidBuilt HomesEdmonton Open 2013
26-Nov to 01-Dec, Canada, $15k
01-Dec, Final:
Marwan the Third in Edmonton

The top two seeds in the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open Pro Squash Tournament put on a thrilling final in front of a sell-out crowd at the Royal Glenora Club.

Karim Ali Fathi jumped out to an early lead with major pressure from the first serve of the game. But Marwan Elshorbagy, the World Junior Champion from 2011 & 2012, showed the crowd the many reasons he's been able to skyrocket up the PSA rankings.

Despite Fathi's incredible pace, Elshorbagy never seemed hurried. His ability to seemingly slow time down, neutralized Fathis's pace & in less than 15 minutes, Elshorbagy had won the first game 11-5.

In the second game, Elshorbagy jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Then Fathi turned up the pace again & tied the score at 2-2. It was a see-saw battle for the next few points as both players really started fighting for the T. Elshorbagy went up 7-5 with a couple of amazing fakes sending Fathi the wrong way way to win the first one & then faking the shot & forcing Fathi into a stroke position. But Fathi would not give up. He stormed back with a perfect drop shot & then a rail shot that was so glued to the sidewall, Elshorbagy could not scrape it off.

At 8-8, Elshorbagy won an incredibly long rally with a perfect winner into the nick & with one more rally, he has game ball. But Fathi will not give in. He ties the score & then with a no-let call to Elshorbagy, it is Fathi's turn for game ball. The next rally is 53 shots. Elshorbagy ends it with a perfect reverse boast & ties the game at 11-11.

After a couple of rallies ending on let calls, Elshorbagy is back to game ball at 12-11. On the next rally, Fathi ends it with a smash from the back of the court into the tin. Elshorbagy wins it 13-11.

There was lots of fireworks in the opening points of the third game as the game came outside the court several times when both players disputed calls by the referee. Fathi thought 2 balls by Elshorbagy were down but he was given a let on both of them. Elshorbagy complained to the ref that Fathi is blocking him. The crowd seems to favor Fathi. The bumping continues. At one point, Karim Ali Fathi seems totally frustrated with Elshorbagy's aggressive play. He comes out of the court & yells at the referee from Quatar in Arabic.

At 4-4, Elshorbagy hits a drop shot into the nick for the lead. Karim replies with his own perfect drop shot but then follows it with an unforced error and the game is tied again at 6-6. They continue to trade points until finally Fathi has game ball at 10-8. After a let call, Karim hits a tight drop shot & Elshorbagy replies with a drop that hits the top of the tin. Game to Fathi 11-8.

At the start of game 4, the referee warns both players that conduct strokes will be awarded if the aggressive behavior continues. Fathi seems to have gained some new strength from the victory in the third game & wins the first 2 points quickly. But Elshorbagy replies with 8 straight winning rallies to take a commanding lead of 8-2.

Fathi finally gets the serve back at 3-8 but Elshorbagy continues his demonstration of near-perfect execution. In short order, he has won the game 11-4, the match 3-1 & the title of ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open Champion.

After the game, Karim Ali Fathi said: "I played well but the legs went at 2-2 in the fourth game." I asked him how he was able to continue on in the match. His reply: "like Rafa Nadal said in his book you have to endure the pain. These people don't come to see me quit." Fathi proved even in defeat, he is a champion.

It was Elshorbagy's third PSA title. It he continues at his current rate, he will soon be in the Top 10 in the world. There's no time to celebrate though, as Marwan heads straight off to Hong Kong where he plays in the first round on Tuesday ...



Very happy to win my third PSA title here in Edmonton..

It was the toughest match I have ever played. I knew it would be. Karim & I have been playing each other since we were young. He is a great player.

I stuck to my game plan for most of the game. I did lose focus late in the third game but was able to come back strongly in the fourth.

It's been a great two weeks for me in sky open and here, happy to be playing well again. All credit to my mother, father and brother who has been helping me a lot in the last period. My Mother never played squash but she knows the game well.

Also thanks to Tom Patrick and Richard Allison who I have working with since the summer.

Anyway no time for celebration as I'm waiting for my flight now to Hong Kong !

Edmonton Open 2013
26-Nov to 01-Dec, Canada, $15k
Round One
28 Nov
Quarters
29 Nov
Semis
30 Nov
Final
01 Dec
[1] Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
8/11, 11/6, 11/7, 11/4 (44m)
Dane Sharp (Can)
[1] Marwan Elshorbagy
11/3, 11/6, 11/1 (32m)
 Declan James
[1] Marwan Elshorbagy

5/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/5 (57m)

[3] Martin Knight

3rd PSA title
 for Marwan

[1] Marwan Elshorbagy

 

11/5, 13/11, 8/11, 11/5 (69m)

 

[2] Karim Ali Fathi

Declan James (Eng)
10/12, 11/6, 11/1, 11/5 (74m)
[Q] David Letourneau (Can)
[LL] Fred Reid (Can)
11/5, 11/9, 11/9 (26m)
[Q] Scott Arnold (Aus)
[Q] Scott Arnold
8/11, 11/5, 11/6, 11/9 (41m)
[3] Martin Knight
[3] Martin Knight (Nzl)
11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (22m)
Lewis Walters (Eng)
 Farhan Zaman (Pak)
11/3, 11/7, 11/5 (26m)
[4] Alfredo Avila (Mex)
 Farhan Zaman
11/3, 12/10, 11/6 (39m)
[Q] Carlos Cornes
 Farhan Zaman

11/5, 7/11, 11/6, 11/6 (47m)

[2] Karim Ali Fathi

Arturo Salazar (Mex)
5/11, 11/9, 13/11, 11/7 (38m)
[Q] Carlos Cornes (Esp)
Peter Creed (Wal)
11/8, 11/6, 11/5 (21m)
Graeme Schnell (Can)
Graeme Schnell
6/11, 11/7, 11/9, 11/8 (49m)
[2] Karim Ali Fathi
 [Q] Andrew Schnell (Can)
10/12, 11/9, 11/9, 11/8 (71m)
[2] Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)

27-Nov, Qualifying Finals:

Scott Arnold (Aus) 3-0 Thomas Brinkman (Can)           11/5, 12/10, 11/3 (22m)
Andrew Schnell (Can) 3-0 Mike McCue (Can)                 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (43m)
David Letourneau (Can) 3-0 Fred Reid (Can)                12/10, 11/7, 11/3 (23m)
Carlos Cornes (Esp) 3-1 Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)   11/5, 11/7, 9/11, 11/9 (55m)

26-Nov, Qualifying Round One:

Thomas Brinkman (Can) 3-1 Nick Sachvie (Can)   12/10, 7/11, 11/9, 11/3 (41m)
David Letourneau (Can) 3-0 Adrian Leanza (Usa)   11/2, 11/5, 11/5 (26m)
Carlos Cornes (Esp) 3-0 Matthew Serediak (Can)   11/5, 11/5, 3/0 rtd (20m)

2012 Event  |  2011 Event  |  2010 Event  |  2009 Event

30-Nov, Quarters:
The Eygptians Power through


In the quarter-finals of the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open, the 2 Egyptians showed why they are seeded #1 & #2 in this tournament.

Marwan Elshorbagy stormed past England's Declan James in the first match of the night in 32 minutes: 11-3, 11-6, 11-1.

Marwan felt he played much better than in his first round match the previous night as he became more comfortable with the courts. The Egyptian felt he had better focus tonight because he needed to: "Declan is a very good player. I needed to stay focused. I was able to do that & I think Declan found it difficult to play his game."

The second match of the night was bound to be a good one with 2 veterans of the PSA tour with plenty of history on court, Australia's Scott Arnold & New Zealand's Martin Knight. They've known each other for 10 years. Their most recent match was a week ago in the quarter-finals in Saskatoon.

 Knight was able to beat Arnold in 3 straight games, a match that Knight knew Arnold would not be happy with because of unforced errors. Knight said: "last week's victory almost seemed like a curse because I knew he would be much tougher tonight as he's such a mentally strong competitor. I have a lot of respect for Scott.

Sure enough, Arnold came out strong in the 1st game winning it 11-8. The Aussie really controlled most of the rallies with Knight just barely able to retrieve most balls. If you didn't know that the Kiwi was ranked well above the Aussie, you would think that there was no way Knight could beat him.

In game 2, Arnold picked the pace up from the first rally but Knight kept frustrating him with his amazing retrieval ability. That was the essentially the story of the rest of the match. Arnold would make what seemed like the perfect shot but Knight somehow would always retrieve one more ball. Knight was able to win the next 3 straight games 11-5, 11-6 & 11-9 to get a berth in tomorrow's semi-finals against the #1 seek Marwan Elshorbagy.

Knight spoke about his respect for Elshorbagy: "he has great ball control. I can't be lose or he will take advantage of any slight mistake & I must take the ball early." The ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open is Knight's 11th tournament in 13 weeks on the road but he loves it: "It's tough if you're not playing well....you're away from home and family & friends but when you're playing well, it's the best life. " Knight went on to say, he has a soft spot for Canada: it's my favorite country because the people are so welcoming, genuine & enthusiastic."

Pakistani's Farhan Zaman also loves to play the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open. The Edmonton crowd loved him last year & cheered him on to victory tonight over Spain's Carlos Cornes in three straight games: 11-3, 12-10, 11-6.

The Spaniard has won a lot of supporters in his 2 victories in qualifying earlier in the week. But he seemed overwhelmed by the creative shot-making of Zaman who jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first game before Cornes was able to claw back into the game. Farhan's explosiveness almost ended the match in the first as his follow-through was a bit excessive & smashed the Spaniard in the face, just below the eye.

After an injury time-out, play resumed. Cornes certainly put up a good fight but was no match for the amazing touch of Zaman. Farhan love's the courts at the Royal Glenora.

He said: "they're slow & not bouncy. Your dropshot doesn't come back." Zaman is excited to be in the semi-final knowing he'll be playing in front of one of his biggest influences, former World #1, Jonathan Power who is here in Edmonton to support the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open.

The final match of the night featured the last Canadian standing, Graeme Schnell from Calgary. He was up against the #2 seed in the tournament, Egypt's Karim Ali Fathi. Schnell's brother Andrew had been eliminated from the tournament the previous night by Fathi in a close 4 set match.

Schnell was well-prepared for this meeting and seemed to be in control of most of the first game. At 9-7, Fathi looked like he was injured as he didn't make an attempt on a couple of shots.

In an interview after the game the Egyptian mentioned that he did have a problem with his knee. He decided he was going to have to start hitting tighter length on the backhand so he wouldn't have to run so much.

It worked in the second game, despite the Calgarian going on the attack whenever he had an opportunity. But the great dying length by the Egyptian proved to be too much for Schnell who lost that game 11-7. At 3-3 in the third game, the rallies started getting longer. Schnell was able to win 3 in a row & took a 6-3 lead.

Fathi then turned up the pressure &fought back to 5-6. The constant deep pressure from Fathi forced 2 errors from Schnell. That combined with a couple of incredibly deceptive flicks from the Fathi racquet & Fathi was at game ball. After 50 shots apiece, the Egyptian hit a classic backwall nick to win the game 11-9.

Schnell refused to give up & once again came back strong in the fourth game but Fathi was able to win the game 11-8 & the match. The Egyptian heaped praise on Schnell: "Graeme is fit & strong, mentally tough."
   
 
Round One in Edmonton

There were plenty of upsets in the first round of the PSA $15k Edmonton Open in Canada as two qualifiers made it through to the quarters, the third seed didn't, and Graeme Schnell carried home hopes into the last eight.

Only one Canadian was left standing after the first night of play in the main event of the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Pro Squash Tournament. Calgary's Graeme Schnell who received the "wild card" into the main event upset Peter Creed, the #1 player from Wales in straight games: 11-8, 11-6, 11-5. The two had met only once before in Calgary in Schnell's very first PSA event. The Welshman won that one handily, so Schnell knew he had his hands full. Like his younger brother Andrew, Graeme can shoot & it worked well last night. After taking a 2 games lead, Schnell came out flying. At 9-4, Creed was so frustrated he snapped his racquet in half. He won the next point with a new racquet but it was not enough to stop the relentless attacking of the Calgarian. Schnell commented after the game: "I love playing the Royal Glenora. It's my favorite court outside of Calgary. I've been playing here since my junior days & have lots of supporters."

Graeme's younger brother Andrew Schnell was not as fortunate in his match against the #2 seed in the tournament, Egypt's Karim Ali Fathi who is currently ranked #41 in the world. Fathi has won several PSA tournaments this year including the Saskatoon Pro Tournament last Sunday so Schnell knew he had to play his best. The first game was close throughout. At 10-8, Fathi was serving for the game. But Schnell then put on an amazing demonstration of tight length & perfect drop shots to come from behind & win the game 12-10. The second game was a see-saw battle with no player able to get more than a point ahead of the other until Schnell went up 9-7. However, Fathi responded by winning the next 4 points & the game 11-9. With the support of the Edmonton crowd, Schnell fought to the finish of the next 2 games but was unable to finish, losing the next 11-9, 11-8.

The tournament's main event began last night with a hard-fought battle by Canada's highest ranked player in the tournament, Dane Sharp, against the #1 seed, Marwan Elshorbagy. Egypt has a history of great squash players & Elshorbagy appears to be the next Egyptian who could well become world champion. He was the world junior champion in 2010. Since turning pro, he has moved up the PSA rankings rapidly to a current ranking of #32 in the world. Toronto's Sharp was not intimidated by his Egyptian opponent. He came out strong & won the first game 11-8. The Canadian crowd at the Royal Glenora were hoping for an upset but it was not to happen. Elshorbagy won the next 3 games 11-6, 11-7, 11-4.

The next match featured another Calgarian who has had a great run this week in the qualifying of the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Pro Squash Tournament. Dave Letourneau was up against England's Declan James. Both players cover a lot of court as 2 of the bigger players in the tournament. It was a difficult match for the referee as there was a lot of bumping & questionable calls. Letourneau was the better of the two in the first game & won it 12-10. Despite an excellent effort by the Calgarian, James was able to win the next 3 games 11-6, 11-1, 11-5.

Toronto's Fred Reid won the "lucky loser" spot on Wednesday night. He faced Australia's Scott Arnold who raced through 2 opponents in the qualifying earlier in the week. Reid played really well at times but then fell victim to a rash of unforced errors. Arnold won the match in 3 straight games.

The veteran Martin Knight from New Zealand was just too precise in shot selection & execution for his young opponent from Nottingham, England, Lewis Walters. In the first game, the Kiwi showed the importance of taking the ball early to keep the pressure on. Knight rolled to a relatively easy win in the match: 11-4, 11-5, 11-3.

One of the most highly anticipated matches of the evening featured Pakistan's Farhan Zaman against the higher-ranked Mexican, Alfreda Avila. Farhan won the Edmonton crowd over last year at the ReidBuilt Homes tournament with his electrifying style of play. Both players put on an amazing demonstration of deception, pace & speed but it was the Pakistani who prevailed winning 3 straight games: 11-3, 11-7, 11-5.

It was not a good night for the Mexicans as the highly regarded Arturo Salazar was defeated by a qualifier from Spain, Carlos Cornes . Salazar came out strong in the first game & won it 11-5. Cornes has shown the Edmonton crowd all week that he will never give up. The next 3 games were highly contentious. It was definitely a "bump n grind" affair. Cornes is a fighter & would not go away winning the next 3 games & the match: 11-9, 13-11, 11-7.

The quarter-finals are on tonight at the Royal Glenora featuring the Aussie Scott Arnold against the Kiwi Martin Knight, Canada's Graeme Schnell will take advice from his brother Andrew as he now faces the Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi, England's Declan James gets the #1 seed Elshorbagy & what could be a game filled with firework's, the qualifier from Spain, Cornes against the crowd favorite, Pakistan's Farhan Zaman. 
 
28-Nov-2013, Qualifying finals
Alvin Thomas Reports

Last night Edmonton squash fans were treated to some exceptional squash in
the final round of qualifying for the main event of the 2013 ReidBuilt Homes
Edmonton Open. The first match was never in any doubt as the #1 seed in
qualifying, Australia's Scott Arnold defeated Canada's Thomas Brinkman 3-0
in less than 30 minutes. In the modern game of scoring a point on each
rally, it is so important to win crucial rallies. Brinkman was unable to win
the second game despite pushing Arnold to extra points, losing it 12-10 in
the tiebreaker.

The next match was an all-Canadian battle between Calgary's Andrew Schnell & Mike McCue from Ontario. Schnell who is known for his excellent shot-making was stymied in the first game by the hard-working McCue who has a reputation for never giving up. Schnell was able to win the match 3-0 but it took 45 minutes. American Adrian Leanza who was defeated by Schnell in the previousnight of qualifying, was impressed with Schnell's ability to control the T, always staying in front of his opponent, looking for opportunities to use
drop shots into the front corners.

In the third match of the night, Dave Letourneau from Calgary picked up
where he left off the previous night. Letourneau uses his big wingspan to
great effect in combination with his excellent movement which made it
extremely difficult for fellow Canadian Fred Reid. The second game was
definitely the best with both players showing their amazing touch. Reid got
close but lost 12-10 in the tiebreaker. At 5-3 in the third game, Letourneau
tightened the screws on Reid with a nice mixture of tight length & precise
dropshots. That combined with a rash of unforced errors from Reid enabled
Letourneau to win the match 3-0.

The final match of the night was definitely the best, a 55 minute display of
the best squash witnessed in Edmonton since last year's tournament. Unseeded Spaniard, Carlos Cornes defeated the #2 seed in qualifying from Qatar, Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in 4 games.

The young Tamimi was the crowd favorite. Tamimi is only 18. He was one of the top soccer players in his home country of Quater & at a very young age has become his country's top squash player. One of his coaches is the legendary Geoff Hunt, who was famous for his shotmaking.

Tamimi has some of the most amazing shots in squash but Ribadas's fiery desire to get to every ball made the difference in the end. Both players demonstrated amazing agility & flair in both retrieving and unpredictable shots.

 The first 2 games were full of fireworks with Ribadas disagreeing with many calls by the referee. Cornes won the first 2 games 11-5, 11-7. Tamimi started the third game with a more traditional patient squash style & it seemed to work for him as he won 11-9. The momentum seemed to have shifted to Tamimi as he jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth game. Ribadas relied on his consistent retrieving & a few unforced errors from Tamimi to claw his way back into the game. It was a see-saw battle with an ending that was fitting. The final rally went on forever with a never-ending display of incredible retrieving & shot-making.

Ribabas won the final point on a called stroke by the referee, much to the
chagrin of the hometown crowd who wanted more & definitely did not want to
see Tamimi eliminated from the tournament. Both players were given a
standing ovation.

The first round of the main event starts tonight with 8 matches at the Royal
Glenora beginning at 6pm with the 1 seed in the tournament, former World Jr
Champion & currently ranked #32 in the world, Egypts's Marwan Elshorbagy. He will face one of Canada's rising stars, Dane Sharp. Fred Reid, who was defeated by Dave Letourneau but won a second life in the tournament last night as he was picked the "lucky loser" in the main draw will play Australia's Scott Arnold. The other matches tonight feature England's Declan James against Dave Letourneau, England's Lewis Walters vs Martin Knight from New Zealand, Mexico's Alfreda Avila playing last year's crowd favorite from Pakistan, the amazing Farhan Zaman, Mexico's Arturo Salazar against the Spaniard Rabidas, Welshman Peter Creed against Calgary's Graham Schnell & Graham's brother Andrew plays the #2 seed from Egypt Karim Ali Fathi.

 
Under way in Edmonton

The 2013 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open kicked off last night with the first round of qualifying featuring two of Canada's top squash players: Thomas Brinkman & Nick Sachvie.

Brinkman used some excellent shot-making to win a very tough first game 12-11. Brinkman started strong in the second game but slowly Sachvie was able to gain the momentum with some flashy retrieving & win the game 11-7.

Sachvie came out strong in the third & looked like he would coast to an easy victory but stalled out at 7-3. He was hit in the nose by Brinkman and took a 2 minute time out. Sachvie was not able to regain his composure & Brinkman took advantage of it winning 4 straight points & coasting to a 11-9 victory.

Brinkman continued his winning ways in the 4th despite Sachvie's strong effort to get back in. Brinkman won the match with a 11-3 victory in the fourth game.

Next match up was Calgary's Dave Letourneau against Adrian Leanza from the United States who is currently the #5 player in America. Leanza recently moved to Toronto to train at Jonathan Power's National Squash Academy.

Unfortunately, he was no match for the shot-making Canadian as Letourneau easily disposed of the American in 3 straight games in less than half an hour.

The next match was even shorter as Canada's Matthew Serediak defaulted after the second game due to back spasms. His opponent was one of Spain's best squash players: Carlos Cornes.

Serediak was never able to get comfortable in the match as Ribadas displayed excellent form both with terrific shots & effortless retrieving winning both games 11-5, 11-5.

Tonight Brinkman will face the #1 seed in the qualifying tournament, a veteran on the pro tour, Australia's Scott Arnold. The second & third match will be all-Canadian affairs featuring Mike McCue from Ontario & Calgary's Andrew Schnell, followed by Fred Reid from Ontario against Calgary's Dave Letourneau.

The final match of the night will feature the Spaniard Cornes against the #2 seed from Qatar, Abdulla Al Tamimi.
 
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