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Reidbuilt Homes Edmonton Open 2014
25-30 Nov, Canada, $35k

30-Nov, Final:

[2] Simon Rosner 3-2 [1] Tarek Momen
           11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6 (86m)

Rosner foils top seed Momen in final
by Tom Bedore

In front of a capacity crowd at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Alberta, Simon Rosner upset #1 seed Tarek Momen in a thrilling 5 game final that lasted nearly 90 minutes.

Rosner took the early lead in game one but neither player could take more than a 2 point lead until the mid-point of the game when Rosner pressured Momen into making an unforced error to go up 6-4. Some explosive rallies followed. The Rosner supporters in the Edmonton crowd encouraged him on when he got his first match ball at 10-8 & he made no mistake in winning the next rally and the game 11-8.

In game 2, Momen came out strong & forced Rosner to every corner of the court to the gasps of the crowd. Rosner hit 3 into the tin & then missed a routine length shot to give Tarek a 6-1 lead. It was evident at 7-1 Tarek was going to win this game despite Rosner winning a couple of points to bring the score to 3-7. Momen needed 2 game balls to win the game 11-4 & tie the match at 1-1.

Momen picked up where he left off in game 2 winning the first 3 points, the last one on a stunning rally where both players put on an amazing exhibition of speedy retrieval. After winning the next point, Rosner tried to relieve the pressure by hitting high lobs on the forehand side but Momens's athletic ability to jump & smash them down to the front right corner enabled him to jump out to an 8-1 lead. At 2-10 Rosner saved 5 game balls. The last one was absolutely brilliant to get to 6-10, than a no-let on Momen made the crowd believe Rosner had a chance to salvage this game. But Momen relied on a perfectly placed drop shot glued to the backhand wall to win the game 11-7.

The crowd gave both players a standing ovation at the start of game 4, letting them know how they appreciated the high level of squash. At 2-2, Momen got a no-let call to give Rosner his first lead since the first game. This gave him the incentive to increase the lead to 4-2. But again Momen redoubled his efforts to tie it up at 4-4. Rosner fought bravely to take the lead again at 5-4. Again Momen stretched him with his combination of boasts & drops to level the score at 5-5. Ever so slightly, Momen was starting to walk away with the match. At 9-6 Momen, it looked like there was no way Rosner could come back against the #1 seed.

But Rosner would not give in & hit some perfect shots to go ahead 10-9. Momen then won a stroke against Rosner to tie it at 10-10. Momen won another game ball at 11-10. After a number of collisions, Momen complained to the refs that he should have been awarded a stroke. He felt the refs were being influenced by the crowd that was clearly favoring Rosner. On the next rally, Rosner was awarded a stroke to win the game in extra points 13-11.

The final game had all the drama that you would expect from a meeting with these 2 players. Momen & Rosner are so close in so many aspects of their games, neither player could orchestrate a significant lead until 2 tins by Momen, gave Rosner a 6-3 advantage. Momen finally was able to win the next point to bring it to 4-6 but Rosner, as he has done all week at critical junctures, increased the pressure & jumped out to a 7-4 lead. Momen showed more frustration when he was given a no-let as he ran into Rosner's back to give the German an 8-5 lead. Again Momen forced Rosner to go for a volley that went out of court.

Both players were taking a beating as they continued to run into each other. Momen got a no let call on a great length shot by Rosner to give him the 9-6 lead. The let calls continued until Momen hit one out to give Rosner a match ball. He worked Momen into a bad position and received a stroke call to win the game 11-6 & the match in five.

Both players were appreciative of the Edmonton crowd & Rosner applauded the tournament organizers: "this was a well-run tournament with a number of innovative events including the lightning round & half mile sprint. The weather was cold but the crowds were warm and the players appreciated it."

 

Draw & Results

Edmonton Open 2014
25-30 Nov, Canada, $35k
Round One
27 Nov 
Quarters
28 Nov
Semis
29 Nov
Final
30 Nov
[1] Tarek Momen (Egy)
11-9, 7-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3 (75m)
[Q] Deigo Elias (Per)
[1] Tarek Momen
11-6, 14-12, 11-5 (42m)
Eddie Charlton
[1] Tarek Momen

11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (34m)

[4] Adrian Waller

[1] Tarek Momen

 

11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6 (86m)

 

[2] Simon Rosner

Eddie Charlton (Eng)
11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (37m)
[wc] Dane Sharp (Can)
[8] Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5 (93m)
Rex Hedrick (Aus)
Rex Hedrick
11-6, 12-10, 12-10 (57m)
[4] Adrian Waller
[4] Adrian Waller (Eng)
11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (41m)
Chris Gordon (Usa)
[LL] Carlos Cornes (Esp)
 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (29m)
[3] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
[3] Nicolas Mueller
11-6, 11-7, 15-13 (43m)
[6] Tom Richards
[3] Nicolas Mueller

11-3, 11-6, 2-11, 11-7 (50m)

[2] Simon Rosner

[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (Eng)
11-8, 11-13, 11-4, 11-2
[6] Tom Richards (Eng)
[Q] Arthur Gaskin (Irl)
11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7
[7] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
[7] Henrik Mustonen
 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (31m)
[2] Simon Rosner
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
 11-4, 11-5, 11-2
[2] Simon Rosner (Ger)
26-Nov, Qualifying Finals:

[2] Jamie Haycocks (Eng) 3-1 Shahier Razik (Can)    11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (51m)
[4] Arthur Gaskin (Irl) 3-1 Carlos Cornes (Eap)     11-13, 11-4, 11-7, 14-12 (55m)
[3] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 Andrew Schnell (Can)                11-6, 11-6, 12-10 (37m)
[1] Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-0 Mike McCue (Can)               11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (42m)


25-Nov, Qualifying Round One

[1] Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-1 Reuben Philips (Eng)  10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (62m)
Mike McCue (Can) 3-1 Matthew Serediak (Can)        11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4 (49m)
[5] Andrew Schnell (Can) 3-0 Adrian Devries (Can)            11-5, 11-1, 11-2 (17m)
[3] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 Graeme Schnell (Can)                  11-5, 11-2, 11-8 (33m)
[4] Arthur Gaskin (Irl) 3-0 Pete Goodings (Eng)                  11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (21m)
Carlos Cornes (Esp) 3-0 [7] Shahjahan Khan (Pao)                    11-6, 11-4 (48m)
[2] Jamie Haycocks (Eng) 3-0 Blake Reinson (Can)             11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (22m)
[6] Shahier Razik (Can) 3-0 Rodrigo Pezzota (Arg)            11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (70m)
29-Nov, Semis:
by Tom Bedore

A rematch of the top two seeds in the 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open was set tonight in Edmonton, Canada before a packed crowd at the Royal Glenora Club. Tarek Momen and Simon Rosner proved they deserved their top billing with domination over both their opponents.

Tarek Momen bt Adrian Waller

Tarek Momen's display of perfect drop shots, length shots & well-disguised half-court boasts was more than enough to keep the big Englishmen, Adrian Waller off balance throughout most of the match. Momen started the first game with an early lead at 3-1. Then a couple of uncharacteristic unforced errors from Momen gave the Englishman his first lead at 5-4.

Whenever Waller looked like he might jump out to a 2 point lead, Momen would prevent it with another great combination of boasts & drops. After an unforced error by Waller to get his first game ball, Waller hit one into the middle, Momen asked for a let & to the frustration of Waller, he was awarded a stroke & the game 11-8.

It's so very difficult to get Momen into a position where he looks uncomfortable. Waller pressed him at the start of game 2 with some dying length on his rail shots & some high lobs that Momen had to go to the back of the court to retrieve. Momen weathered the storm of Waller's early onslaught & then turned up the heat to go up 6-1. Momen forced his opponent to do too much & the errors starting coming . As this game wore on, Momen seemed to capitalize on anything remotely loose from Waller & easily won this game 11-3.

In game 3, Momen put the pressure on Waller and he hit a number of unforced errors giving Momen a 7-2 lead. It looked like it was going to be over quickly when Momen got his first match ball at 10-3 but with the crowd cheering him on, Waller put together a string of 5 consecutive points. It wasn't enough, & Momen won the third game 11-8 & the match in just 34 minutes. The #1 seed in the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open did not lose a game after his opening round in the tournament.

After the match, Momen said: "I felt lucky tonight as I've played Waller a number of times. Tonight, he made more errors than I would expect from him."

Simon Rosner bt Nicolas Mueller

Rosner and Mueller are training partners and best of friends but on court it's all business. Both players move with incredible speed, but it's Rosner who hits with formidable pace never giving his opponent time to prepare for the next shot. It didn't take Rosner long to jump out to a 7-2 lead. Despite being training partners, Mueller seemed to be finding it difficult to read what Rosner had coming next & before long a few unforced errors starting showing up in Mueller's game which is all Rosner needed to win the first game 11-3.

Rosner is explosive in nearly every aspect of his game.....his movement, his shots. It seems impossible to get the ball by him. He only took about 4 shots off the back wall. Finally at 1-5, Mueller was able to move him enough to get a winner off a perfect drop shot into the front corner. But then once again, the big German turned up the pressure & steamrolled to a 11-6 victory in game two.

Game 3 was a bit more unpredictable. Rosner turned up the heat with incredible pace but Mueller was able to read him better. He finally beat him on a length shot to tie it up at 2-2 & the crowd came to their feet. Mueller won the next rally on a stroke against Rosner & Mueller had his first lead of the game. He followed that up with a winning rail shot up the backhand wall that Rosner couldn't remove from the wall. Then a couple of perfect drops and another stroke against Rosner, and Mueller finally was controlling the game. After hitting the tin 3 times in a row, Rosner conceded & hit the serve directly into the tin to give Mueller the game 11-2.

In game 4, with the Edmonton crowd behind him, Mueller came out strong, weathering the onslaught of Rosner's renewed focus. After trading called strokes against each other , Mueller clipped the top of the tin to allow Rosner to tie the game at 2-2. A called stroke against Rosner followed up by an unforced error gave Mueller the lead again at 4-2. After a stroke called against Mueller that the crowd thought was incorrect, Mueller hit the tin on the next ball & the game was tied at 4-4. Then another tin & a stroke against Mueller & Rosner had the first lead of the game.

Mueller hit another tin & Rosner was in control. After a stroke was called against Rosner, Mueller started controlling the play moving Rosner around & looking much more relaxed. Rosner was given a no let & Mueller had tied it up at 7-7. Rosner again turned up the pace obviously not wanting it to go to 5 games & was able to win the fourth 11-7 and the match in four. After the match both players paid tribute to the capacity crowd at the Royal Glenora.

Rosner commented: "It was great to play in front of so many squash fans even though you seemed to be cheering more for my opponent." When asked if he was ready for his battle with the #1 seed Tarek Momen after losing to him in Hong Kong, Rosner replied: "I lost 11-8 in the fifth. It was close. I will be ready for tomorrow."

The stage is set for a rematch between Tarek Momen and Simon Rosner. Going into that quarter-final match in August at the Hong Kong Open, both players knew the winner would move into the top 10 in the world. These two have been close all year. Momen is ranked #9 in the world, Rosner #10. It will be a dramatic final.

 

Draw & Results

28-Nov, Quarters:
by Tom Bedore

The top four seeds advanced to the semi-finals without dropping a game at the Royal Glenora Club tonight at the 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open.

Tarek Momen bt Eddie Charlton

After being down 2 games to 1, the night before against Diego Elias, Tarek Momen seemed determined to not put himself in any danger of being eliminated prematurely from the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open. He dispatched Eddie Charlton in 3 straight games but it wasn't easy. Momen started strong in game 1 with his trademark collection of boasts & smashes to the front corner to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Charlton started to read him better & won the next 3 points. The Egyptians are famous for their tricky shots upfront but Momen has the ability to hit dying length which won him a couple of points in the middle part of the first game. He just needed one game ball to win the first game 11-6. Even when Charlton seemed to have a chance to put pressure on Momen, the speed of the Egyptian got him back into the match. After an extremely long rally with very high quality shots won by Momen, he indicated a broken string. Charlton took advantage of Momen's new racket & won the next 4 points. Unfortunately for Charlton, on the next rally, he hit a lob that just barely hit the line to give Momen a game ball.

This time Charlton would not give in & fought back to tie it at 10-10. He started moving Momen & won his first game ball. He lost his chance to win the game when he was given a no-let. Both players hit a couple of tins as they tried to force the win. After a couple of lets called, Momen hit a cross-court into the back-wall nick. After another let call, Momen worked Charlton into the back corner & hit a perfect drop-shot into the front left corner nick to win the game 14-12. Charlton was obviously frustrated to lose game 2 after squandering a game ball & never came off court between games. He did get the lead briefly at the start of the third but then Momen took over & won 11-5 & the match in 3 straight games.

Adrian Waller bt Rex Hedrick

Viewing from outside the court, you would guess this was a mismatch with the giant Adrian Waller up against the diminutive Rex Hedrick. At times Waller didn't seem to have to leave the T as his huge wingspan was able to cut off most shots from the speedy Australian Hedrick. For a big man, Waller moves very well. But Hedrick had a game plan that started working for him. Hit good length & force the Englishman off the T. Hedrick led throughout the early part of the first game. At 6-6, Waller was finally able to get the lead with a couple of unforced errors from Hedrick & a nice mix of drops & dying length to give him his first game ball at 10-6.

Waller made no mistake with his game ball. He hit a drop shot into the front right corner that was glued to the side wall & left nothing for Hedrick to return. Whenever Hedrick was caught behind the big lefthander it was extremely difficult to see what was coming. After a series of let calls in which Hedrick couldn't get through Waller to the ball, Waller rolled off 5 straight points to lead 5-1. Whenever Hedrick hit anything slightly loose in the back corner, Waller made him pay. At 7-4 Hedrick collided with Waller & appeared in some discomfort. He asked for a let & didn't get it.

Hedrick's Canadian supporters provided some vocal support & it may have worked as he tied the score at 8-8 with some dying length shots. Waller hit a couple of unforced errors to give Hedrick his first game ball. He couldn't convert but Waller made no mistake when he got his chance. He ran Hedrick ragged from side-to-side until eventually Hedrick couldn't reach the ball, giving Waller the second game in an extra point. Hedrick showed a lot of grit at the start of game 3. He really picked up the tempo right from the start & jumped out to a 5-1 lead. But then Waller came right back using straight length to send Hedrick to the back corner followed up by well-executed drop shots. Waller continued to send Hedrick flying around the court but Hedrick would not give in despite being stretched to the limit. With a match ball, Waller hit a loose ball & Hedrick got the stroke.

At 10-10, Waller got a let ball after breaking his string. On the next rally, Hedrick went flying through the air after tripping over Waller. He got a let call. Waller made no mistake when he got his match ball but full marks to the very gutsy Rex Hedrick who showed amazing resilience throughout the match.

Nicolas Mueller bt Tom Richards

Both Mueller and Richards play textbook squash. This game was a beautiful exhibition on how the game of squash is supposed to be played. Mueller won the match in 3 straight games in 43 minutes but it was intense squash played at the highest level.

These 2 players move so efficiently around the court, it's like watching a mirror image. Although Richards has spent time at #12 in the world, it was Mueller who was able to apply the most pressure as game one wore on. At 7-2, it looked like Mueller would coast to a quick victory in the first game but after an incredibly long rally, Richards came out on top with a brilliant drop shot. Mueller then went ahead 10-5 with dying length to the back corner & made no mistake on his first game ball.

These 2 players are a great example of fair play & as Nicolas said after the match, he felt: "that's how squash should be played. Play tough & hard but always be fair. That's how he plays the game as he's been inspired by his countryman Roger Federer.". At 6-6 in the second game, a 55 shot rally won by Mueller may have taken too much out of Richards. He continued to play brilliantly but the deft hands of Mueller sending him to every corner of the court eventually wore him down. His frustration at the end of it was very evident. Visibly distressed at dropping the second game, Richards came out strong & jumped out to a 5-1 lead in game 3.

At 10-10, Richards made an amazing get in the back court. Both players somehow summoned themselves onto a higher level as they fought to win the third game in extra points. The packed house at the Royal Glenora was on their feet for most of the last 10 minutes of the game realizing they were witnessing something very special in these 2 players when finally Mueller cemented the victory with a 15-13 win of game 3.

Simon Rosner bt Henrik Mustonen

Henrik Mustonen had looked very fit & strong in his opening match Thursday night but Germany's Simon Rosner would give him little chance to advance to the semi-finals. The Finn was not intimidated by the big German but eventually the pace of Rosner's balls, who is one of the hardest hitters in the game, was just too much for him.

In addition to his pace, Rosner has great anticipation & started controlling the rallies & keeping the Finn off balance. At 8-3, it looked like Rosner would run away with it but the Finn came back with a couple of winners. But again Rosner upped the pressure & made no mistake on his first game ball, forcing Mustonen to barely hang on until Rosner finally hit the winner.

Rosner continued his relentless pressure jumping out to a 6-1 lead in the second game. Mustonen was able to hit some beautiful drop shots, plus a Philadelphia, but nothing seemed to give him any sustained opportunity. The Finn was game to go but Rosner jerked him around the court so much, the end was inevitable. Rosner wins it in 3 & advances to the semi-finals to play his training partner Nicolas Mueller Saturday night.
 

Draw & Results

27-Nov, Round ONE:
by Tom Bedore

There were some close calls but no major upsets in the first day of the main draw of the 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open.

Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2 Diego Elias (PER)

At the start of this match, the question on everyone's mind was "how good is this kid" in reference to the current World Junior Champion, Diego Elias. He took out both Schnell brothers in straight games in the qualifying but how would he do against a top 10 player.

Momen jumped out to a 3-0 lead & then 6-2. Elias seemed to struggle with Momen' pressure but it didn't take him long to figure it out. Diego roared back to 6-6 before Momen was able to beat him with dying length. At 8-8, Momen used his perfect length to get a game ball at 10-8. That's when the pace went to a new level with Momen winning the final rally on a perfectly executed cross-court.

In game 2, Elias jumped out to a 3-0 lead. It's very difficult to send Elias the wrong way but Momen holds so effectively, he was able to do it several times to bring the game to 5-5. Momen hit the very top of the tin in 3 successive rallies to give Elias an 8-5 lead. At 9-5 after winning a brilliant rally, Elias hit the top of the tin to give Momen a chance to get back into the game. But after a 30 shot rally that ended in a stroke call against Momen, Elias had his first game ball at 10-7.

After an amazing exchange in the front left corner, both players executed tighter & tighter drop shots until the Peruvian was able to get one to roll-out for the winner. In game 3, Elias came out with more confidence & used some trickery to win the first 2 points. As the match progressed, Elias continued to gain confidence & climbed to a 4-1 lead.

But Momen, the great fighter that he is got the first game ball. Both players were visibly tired with sweat-drenched shirts & breathing heavily. After a let ball in which, Elias thought he won the point, he made no mistake on the next one & won the game in extra points 12-10. He now had a 2-1 lead on the #1 seed. Game 4 started with a collision in the first rally at the T with both players falling. Elias appeared to clip the calf of Momen. Elias jumped to a 4-0 lead & it looked like the collision may have impacted Momen's play.

Both players have such perfect drop shots, it was surprising to see shots clip the tin. Elias hit a couple more tins than the Egyptian & Momen was able to take a 7-5 lead. Momen then seemed to sense his opportunity & he made no mistake. One game ball appeared to be won but the Elias ball called out was appealed & overruled by the 3 man referee system. Momen made no mistake on the next one & won 11-5.

In game 5, the experienced Egyptian turned up the pressure from the opening rally, controlling the T & putting too much pressure on Elias & in the process gaining a 3-0 lead. But the Peruvian fought back & won the next 3 points. But that was all the young Peruvian would be allowed. Momen wins game five 11-3.

Eddie Charlton (ENG) 3-0 Dane Sharp (CAN)

Eddie Charlton has had Dane Sharp's number defeating the Canadian in all 3 of their previous meetings. Tonight was no different as Charlton jumped out to a relatively easy 4-0 lead before Sharp won his first rally. Sharp followed that up with 4 straight points of his own but Charlton was able to maintain his steady play to close out the first game 11-6.

Game 2 was closer with Sharp really working hard to solve the smooth-playing Englishman. After a punishing rally won by Charlton to move the score to 9-6, Sharp barely clipped the top of the tin with a drop shot & Charlton had game ball. He needed 2 to win the game 11-7. In game 3, Charlton jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead & Sharp looked tired but he kept fighting. At 7-3, a stroke against Charlton gave Sharp an opportunity to get back in but that appeared to give Charlton more incentive & he closed it out quickly from there, winning the third game 11-4 & the match in three games.

 Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-2 Campbell Grayson (NZL)

These 2 players are only a few ranking positions apart & it was evident throughout the match. Neither could get a significant lead in the first game. Grayson finally pulled out the win 11-9. Hedrick fought back effectively in the second game & held the lead throughout most of it to win 11-6. Grayson jumped out to 6-1 lead in the third game & closed it out with an 11-5 victory. Grayson started looking tired in the middle part of game 4. Hedrick recognized his opponent's exhaustion & really started putting pressure on him which worked as he coasted to an 11-6 win.

In game 5, Grayson got the first point but no one could advance past that for the first 5 minutes with numerous let calls. Grayson won one more to go up 2-0. Hedrick fought back & won the next 3 points & then Grayson cramped up badly in his left calf. You could see the huge bulge in his calf. He took a full 2 minute time out to work it . When he returned Hedrick used the opportunity to work his wounded opponent. After winning a quick first point, then a couple of lets, Hedrick went up 4-3 & eventually won game five 11-5.

Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0 Christopher Gordon (USA)

Both players have huge wingspans & cover the court efficiently for big men. Gordon had his best chance in the second game when he had one game ball that he was unable to convert into a winner. Waller, seeded 4 in the tournament made no mistake when he had his chance & won game two 12-10. Waller got the jump on Gordon in game 3 & it looked like he might walk away with it at 3-0. The American threw everything at him but it was not enough & Waller won the third 11-7 and the match in 41 minutes.

Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0 Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)

The two Englishman were close for the first half of the game but the veteran Richards with his great anticipation took control at 6-1 and eventually won the first game 11-8. In game 2, Haycocks turned up the pressure & jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Richards dealt with the heat well but it was enough to give Haycocks game two in extra points, 13-11. That was about it for Haycocks as Richards was able to win the next 2 games & the match in four games.

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0 Carlos Cornes (ESP)

Cornes was defeated the night before in a battle with Ireland's Arthur Gaskin. He found himself back in the draw when he was given the "lucky loser" spot in the main draw. His opponent, Nicolas Mueller was not at his best in the match but it was good enough to defeat the fiery Spaniard in 3 straight games.

Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 3-1 Arthur Gaskin (IRL)

Other than Diego Elias, Arthur Gaskin was the only qualifier who looked to have a chance to upset their main draw opponent. The first game was close but Gaskin trailed throughout & Mustonen won it 11-6. Gaskin came out flying in the second game & won it handily. The next 2 games were close but early in the fourth game Gaskin jammed his foot which definitely had an impact on his play going forward & Mustonen won the match in four games.

Simon Rosner (GER) 3-0 Shawn Delierre (CAN)

Delierre played well in the early part of the first two games but otherwise, the match as controlled by Rosner. The hard-hitting Rosner seemed to be able to read Delierre's variety of shots and was seldom off balance.

With the Canadian crowd urging Delierre on in game 2 at 4-4, he showed some gutsy play but Rosner's powerful pace & great movement was too much for Delierre. Rosner won the match in three straight games.
 

Qualifying Finals:
by Tom Bedore

Jamie Haycocks bt Shahier Razik

Some intense drama tonight at the 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open Squash Tournament.

With the pro-Canadian crowd behind him, Canada's current national champion Shahier Razik did his best to control the pressure of the #2 seed of the qualifying tournament, England's Jaymie Haycocks. Unfortunately for the Canadian fans, Haycocks jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first 10 minutes . Haycocks precise drop shots & ability to hold his shots put Razik under too much pressure. At 3-9, Razik fought back to win a couple more points but it wasn't enough & Haycocks closed out game one with a score of 11-5.Razik seemed to come out with new-found determination in the second game. His drop shot was precise & gave him a 3-1 lead.

Haycocks continued to be relentless & jumped out to a 5-3 lead and eventually the game 11-8. In game 3, Razik was starting to get rewarded for his precise play to move into a 4-1 lead. But Haycocks roared back with excellent anticipation & perfect drop shots to tie it at 5-5. Razik summoned more resolve and finally won a game ball at 10-7 by forcing an uncharacteristic error from Haycocks and then won the game. The fourth game was very tight until Haycocks was able to get some momentum to jump out to an 8-4 lead. Razik fought back but it was not enough as Haycocks was able to close out the match with an 11-8 victory.

Arthur Gaskin bt Carlos Cornes

Carlos Cornes & Arthur Gaskin previous meeting in Gaskin's home country of Ireland in April of this year had a lasting impression on both of them.

At the West of Ireland Open in Galway, Gaskin physically was not at his best. He had an injury. The Spaniard was able to dominate the Irishman in 3 straight games, 8, 7 &2. Tonight in the opening game , both players looked extremely determined. No one could get more than a 1 point lead until Gaskin went ahead 7-5 on a close drop shot to the front corner. Cornes thought it was down & complained to the ref. Finally play resumed after warnings to both players. Cornes fought back to 7-7.

From there on, the squash moved to a higher level as both players played exceptional squash. Still no one, could pull away. At 10-10, with Cornes serving after one let call, he finally won a game ball. Then more let calls until Cornes was given a no let. After much discussion with the ref, the game continued. The next rally was won by Cornes as he was awarded a stroke. On this game ball he made no mistake & won the rally & game 13-12. Gaskin complained to the ref about his opponent's play when the players exited the court.

In Game 2, the temperature continued to rise from the start of the game. Gaskin jumped out to a 2-0 lead & then 6-1. Then an unforced error by Gaskin gave Cornes the opportunity to get back into the game. He won the next point but Gaskin shot well to get up to 8-2. Off the serve, Cornes rolled one out in the front left corner. After a very long highly pressurized rally, Gaskin & Cornes traded points. Gaskin got his first game point at 10-4 & Cornes hit the top of the tin to give Gaskin the game. Game 3 was extremely close until the Spaniard once again seemed to control play with many amazing stretches to balls that appeared to be completely out of reach. At 4-1 Cornes looked in control but again Gaskin fought back. At 7-7, Cornes hit three tins in a row, the last one after a stunning rally that displayed the athleticism of both players. Gaskin made no mistake in closing it out on the next rally to win it 11-7.

In game 4, Gaskin took a 3-1 lead with a drop shot into the front right corner. Cornes was sure the ball was down but had to accept the refs call. Both players hit back-to-back unforced errors to bring the game to 2-4 with Cornes serving. At 7-7, Cornes used all of his size to craft the ball into the front right corner. The next rally, his ball was called down & it was 8-8. They continued to trade points until Gaskin found a way to get his first match ball. But Cornes would not give in. He hit a perfect shot into the front left corner to even it at 10-10. But Gaskin found a way to get another match ball at 11-10. Still not enough. The fighting Spaniard would not relinquish. Finally after nearly an hour of intense battle, the Irishman Gaskin found a way to defeat Cornes 14-12 in the fourth.

Diego Elias bt Andrew Schnell

History also existed in this match. Elias narrowly defeated Schnell at the Houston Open earlier this year, 11-8 in the fifth. The Canadian looked very determined. He came out on the attack & won a quick 2-0 lead but Elias showed why he's the current world junior champion. The Peruvian replied with 6 unanswered points. But Schnell somehow was able to summon enough strength to put extreme pressure on Elias with pace & perfectly executed shots to fight back to 5-6.

At 6-9, Schnell had Elias on a string but the impressive retrieval ability of Diego won him a game ball. After a quick exchange, Elias somehow caught Schnell flatfooted with a seemingly routine length shot that ended the game 11-6. In game 2, Schnell won the first point on a stroke but then hit the tin the next rally, followed by 2 called strokes against him. Unrelenting pressure by Elias quickly gave him another game ball. Schnell extended the game for 2 more points but a perfect drop shot by Elias into the front right corner ended the game. In game 3, Elias won the first point but a very determined Canadian won the next 4.

Elias slowly crept back in with a mixture of perfect execution & a couple of unforced errors by Schnell to move up 6-5. In what is considered the rally of the tournament to date, Schnell hit a perfect length shot to the back corner but fell in the process. It wasn't that concerning as the ball was almost dead in the back of the court. Somehow Elias flew back to retrieve the ball & hit a winner, with his opponent still lying on the floor. But Schnell refused to give up. The rallies were amazing at times with Elias eventually sealing the victory with a 12-10 win.

Shawn Delierre bt Mike McCue

Despite both residing in Eastern Canada, Delierre & McCue have only met once before with the victory going to the higher ranked and more experienced Shawn Delierre. So to no one's surprise, Delierre jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in an effort to prevent his opponent from getting comfortable.

McCue gamely fought back back to 3-8 with an unforced error into the tin by Delierre. But Delierre got a game ball on a no-let call to McCue. Credit to McCue, he did not give in but the hill was too big to climb & Delierre closed it out. In game 2, McCue seemed a little more comfortable in this game & played very well to keep it close. But again it seemed only a matter of time until Delierre would take control of the rally & he eventually went up to 8-4. But McCue refused to give in & hit a perfect roll-out into the front left corner. He would win only one more rally in the game before Delierre put it away 11-7.

In game 3, Delierre won the first point of the game but McCue followed up with a couple of perfectly place drop shots to go up 2-1. Delierre then turned up the pressure & won 3 points in a row. McCue then went back to his bread & butter, drop shots carved perfectly into the nick & won the next 3 points to go ahead 5-4. Then with some Delierre flicks that took McCue by surprise, the Quebecor won back the serve.

McCue, to his credit would not relinquish. He hit some tight rail shots to go ahead 7-5. Delierre then hit a couple of winners to draw even. McCue won back the serve but promptly hit one into the tin which gave Delierre the opportunity to close it out. Deliere uses some good length to win the next point & followed up with a perfect drop shot to win the game 11-9 & the match in 3.

 

Day One of Qualifying
at 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open
by Tom Bedore

Shawn Deliere vs Reuben Phillips

In the opening match of the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open, Canada's Shawn Delierre, the #1 seed in the qualifying seemed a little sluggish after playing a near perfect tournament at the Saskatoon Open last week. He did not lose a game in the entire tournament in Saskatoon.

England's Reuben Phillips took advantage of some unforced errors and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Delierre regained his composure and quickly won the next 4 points with a nice mixture of soft length & tricky boasts to go up 5-2. But Philips was not about to give in to the tricky Canadian as he used a couple of winning shots & unforced errors by Delierre to claw back to 7-4.

At 9-9, after a long rally, the call was let ball. Then Phillips was able to throw a combination of cross-courts & beautiful drop shots to get his first game ball. At 10-10, Delierre showed that he can retrieve as well as shoot. He made some amazing gets but Phillips put too much pressure on him. With his second game ball both players seemed to be content to softly lob the ball up the backhand wall with each shot getting tighter & tighter until Phillips glued a rail shot up the backhand wall. Philips wins 12-10.

Game 2: After a couple of rallies that ended in lets, Delierre was able to extend the rallies & move the big Englishman around the court and quickly go up 3-0. But Phillips fought back to 3-3. At 4-4, the Canadian seemed to sense the urgency of not allowing Philips to take a lead in this second game. He reeled off 5 unanswered points with a varied combination of intelligent shots. Philips was having issues with the officiating. After losing the point at 9-5, Delierre quickly recovered to win the next 2 points to win the game.

Game 3: After a conduct warning because he was slow to return to court to start game 3, Phillips really put on the pressure to jump out to a 3-1 lead. According to most assessments from fellow PSA players watching the match, Phillips was playing the match of his life. But unfortunately for the Englishman, Delierre really starting putting extreme pressure on the Englishman with a combination of soft lobs up the backhand wall and perfect drop shots. He reeled off 9 straight points and won the game 11-4.

If Delierre had some jet-lag from Saskatoon, he seemed to get rid of it in game 4. At 3-3 both players started running into each other. The court seemed to shrink and the collisions seemed to help Delierre. Philips became frustrated with the officiating. A couple of unforced errors followed and the Canadian took a 6-3 lead. Delierre improved his movement as the game progressed. His game was just too good for Phillips. He won the game 11-5 to win the match in four games.

Michael McCue vs Matthew Serediak

Game 1: In the second match of the night, Michael McCue's aggressive attacking style proved too much for the higher ranked Matthew Serediak and he quickly jumped out to a 7-1 lead. Serediak dug deep at 1-10 with a nice mixture of incredible retrieving and well-placed drop shots and won the next 3 points. But it was not enough and McCue put him away to win the first game 11-4.

Game 2: Again McCue came out attacking and won the first 2 points quickly. McCue's execution seemed relentless & in less than 5 minutes, had a 7-3 lead before Serediak could stop the bleeding. But his recovery was short-lived and McCue quickly won the second game with a well executed drop shot.

Game 3: Serediak was not about to go down in 3. He jumped out to an early 5-3 lead in game 3 and then went up 8-5 as he seemed to have the solution to McCue's attacking shots. At 10-9, Serediak won the game on a stroke called after a loose shot by McCue.

Game 4: Winning game 3 seemed to give Serediak a real boost to start game 4. He won the first point on a very tough rally.

But McCue mentioned after the match: "he remembered being up on Matt 2 years ago at the Edmonton Open & was determined to not let it happen again." His surgically-administered drop shots were too precise for Serediak & McCue went on to win the game 11-4 and the match in four games.

Andrew Schnell vs Adrian De Vries

It can be very difficult for local players when coming up against seasoned PSA players. Local qualifier Adrian De Vries jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first game but couldn't withstand the onslaught of the pressure administered by Andrew Schnell. Schnell's speed, well-executed drop shots & perfect length were too much for Devries. Although De Vries played well in the first game, the match was over in 17 minutes with Schnell winning it 3-0.

Graeme Schnell vs Diego Elias

Game 1: Andrew Schnell's brother Graeme had a much more difficult opponent in the Peruvian sensation, Diego Elias, the current World Junior Champion. Graeme knew he would have to play his best squash to stay with Deigo. He did until 5-6 but then Diego's combination of perfect boasts and drop shots was too much for Schnell. Graeme is known for his shot making but nothing seemed to surprise the Peruvian. Elias won the first game 11-5.

Game 2: Graeme seemed to read Diego much better in this game but in addition to his superb shot-making, Diego is a great retriever. Shots that would be winners for Graeme against a lesser player seemed to cause Diego little discomfort. Occasionally he was able to confuse him but not enough to win the point. Diego marched out to a hard-fought 10-2 lead & the pressure never ended winning this one 11-2.

Game 3: The crowd was definitely hoping for an upset to see the brothers Schnell facing off tomorrow night in day 2 of qualifying. At 2-0, they had an incredible rally with Diego slipping & falling but making a perfect drop shot before he hit the deck. Down 0-3, Graeme really turned up the pressure & fought back to 2-3. But Diego's combination of relentless retrieving and perfectly executed shots was just too much. Even when Schnell seemed to be overpowering him with body shots, somehow Diego managed to get his racket on the ball & keep the rally going. Schnell fought to the end but 11-8 was the best he could do and the match was Elias's 3-0.

Carlos Cornes vs Shahjahan Khan

Game 1: There were a lot of fireworks in this match right from the start as we've come to expect from the fiery Spaniard Carlos Cornes. The rallies were long and many ended in contentious strokes. In addition, there was a lot of contact between players but also some great squash with some incredibly long rallies. The smaller Pakistani was unable to keep up with the more aggressive Spaniard who went on to win 11-6.

Game 2: More fireworks in game two but Cornes controlled the majority of the play. At 2-10, Khan fought back to 4-10 & then felt he should have won the next point on a stroke but it was not to be. They played a let & then to make matters worse for Khan, Cornes won the next point on a stroke.

Game 3: Khan seemed determined to fight back & take away control of the T from the Spaniard. Khan won the first point but then lost the next rally on a stroke. Khan then asked for a change of referee as he felt he was being treated unfairly. Both players came out of the court on the next call. After being warned by the referee to return to the court, both players seemed to regain their composure. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as Khan continued to disagree with the refs calls and lost the game 11-3 and the match 3-0.

Pete Goodings vs Arthur Gaskin

This match featured the new Head Squash Pro at the Royal Glenora, Pete Goodings against the fourth seed, Arthur Gaskin from Ireland. Goodings showed his ability to keep the pressure up early in the first game but Gaskin's nearly 10 years on the PSA tour was just too much game for Goodings who went down 11-4.

Game 2: Goodings showed lot's of variety in this game with a nice mixture of boasts, Philadelphia's , trickle boasts & deeper length but again it was not enough to keep up with the superior steady play of Gaskin.

Game 3: With the home court crowd cheering him on, Goodings jumped out to a 3-0 lead but couldn't withstand Gaskin's superb movement around the court and near-flawless shot-making. Gaskin wins the third game 11-6 and the match 3-0.

Blake Reinson vs Jaymie Haycocks

Game 1: This match featured another local qualifier Blake Reinson who has been grooving his game playing for Brown University in the Ivy League in the United States. Local fans were impressed with Reinson's high level game but Jamie Haycocks, the #2 seed in the qualifying executed a variety of shots beautifully and won the first game in 7 minutes.

Game 2: Haycocks continued his tight rail shots in game 2, followed up by some beautiful drop shots and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second game. He continued his relentless execution and looked like he would close it out quickly when he got to 10-5. But Reinson is a fighter. He was able to claw his way back in to bring it to 9-10. What followed next was a 42 shot rally won by Haycock's with a perfect drop shot into the nick.

Game 3: Again Reinson played well in game 3 particularly in the middle of the match. But just too much pressure by the #2 seed seemed to be the difference. Haycock won this game 11-4 and the match 3-0.

Shahier Razik vs Rodrigo Pezzota

Game 1: This match started with typical Shahier Razik squash, 40 shot rallies. Pezzota looked like he might have difficulty handling the long rallies & the 7 time Canadian Champion jumped out to a 6-3 lead. But Pezzota wouldn't go away. Despite a few loose balls by Pezzoto, he certainly showed a willingness to get to every ball. After several let balls at 8-10, Razik finally won the game with a perfect shot to the front corner into the nick.

Game 2: Pezzota had some nice flick shots & was able to send Razik the wrong way a couple of times early in game two & was able to get his first lead of the match when he went ahead 5-4. His forehand volleys into the front right corner were particularly effective. But Razik was able to slow things down once again with soft drop shots & lobs & win the next 2 points. At 8-6, Pezzota sent Razik flying to the back of the court. He appeared to go over on his ankle but apparently it didn't affect him as he won the next 2 rallies that were very long. Razik was then awarded a no let on a rail shot which gave Pezzota a game ball at 10-8 but after 2 no-let calls to Pezzota, Razik was able to win the game on a stroke. Pezzota left the court & was visibly upset with the last 3 calls of the game. He showed his frustration leaving the court.

Game 3: After regaining his composure, Pezotta did return to the court but requested a new referee. It was not to happen. Within less than a minute into game 3, Pezotta made 3 unforced errors. Pezzota tried to use his anger to work himself into the match including making a trip up to the front corner of the court to talk to himself between rallies. At 2-5, the Canadian crowd seemed to be trying to encourage Pezzota as they wanted more squash.

Pezzota responded with some well-played squash at 4-6. Unfortunately for the Argentinian, the rally ended in a no-let call to Pezzota. Again he came out of the court & pleaded with the referee to change the call. This was all Razik needed & he quickly took the lead again. At 6-8 Pezzota went flying through the air & somehow managed to get to the ball & hit a winner. After many collisions with Pazzota, the 37 year old Razik continued to play his game, now well into an hour despite the fact it was only the third game..

After a number of let calls at 7-8, Razik finally won the next point on a stroke. Again, there were a number of let calls at 8-9, 8 in total. If it had been a 5 game match it surely would have broken the record for the longest match in history.

Finally, Razik had a match ball at 10-8 and he made it count winning the game 11-8 & the match 3-0.

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