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Emerson Racquet Club
15-18 Jan, St Louis, Usa, $10k
18-Jan, Final, Tim Kelley reports:
Iqbal takes St Louis title

[1] Nasir Iqbal (Pak) bt [2] Raphael Kandra (Ger)
         11/9, 14/16, 11/7, 11/2

Game #1 went to Iqbal 11-9. The Pakistani's reaction time was simply amazing. Kandra had dug himself a hole of 7-1 and fought back staying in point for quite a long time. Earlier on the only points he got were on unforced errors by Iqbal. Game point was an outright winner for Iqbal dead right left corner from deep with a blazing forehand kill.

Game #2 was won by Kandra 16-14. The German hit a reverse drop from his forehand side for the match winner. The winner in the rally before was straight and had Iqbal on his heels so he did well to mix it up. Both varied their shot selections and the pace which just added to the delight of the Racquet Club crowd who were also hosts to members of a couple Louisville clubs who were in town for an annual grudge match with them coinciding with the pros' tournament.

Game #3 saw Iqbal come back to his winning ways with a 11-7 outcome. This game was just as exciting as the other two. The difference seemed to be that the Top Seed Iqbal cut down on his unforced errors. The two have been thrilling the huge throng with their physicality and accuracy.

The match was won by Iqbal in the end with an 11-2 Game 4 thrashing. Kandra, who had endeared himself to the Racquet Club throughout the tournament and was a model of one with temperament, had trouble regaining his composure after a couple stroke calls that did not go his way. He even received a warning from the referee as he confronted him civilly, but did mention something about rubbish. Again, it was an excellent match overall and both left It all on the floor . The Emerson Racquet Club Pro Series Winner, Nasir Iqbal, kneeled down and kissed the hardwood after his victory.

Emerson RCP  2014
15-18 Jan, St Louis, Usa, $10k
Round One
15 Jan 
16 Jan
17 Jan
18 Jan
[2] Raphael Kandra (Ger)
115, 11/7, 11/5 (25m)
Fred Reid (Can)
[2] Raphael Kandra
12/10, 12/10, 12/10 (70m)
[7] Syed Bukhari
[2] Raphael Kandra

11/7, 12/10, 6/11, 11/9 (58m)

[4] Abdullah Al Tamimi

[2] Raphael Kandra


11/9, 14/16, 11/7, 11/2


[1] Nasir Iqbal

[7] Syed Bukhari (Pak)
  9/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/7 (51m)
Baba Tunde Ajaqbe (Ngr)
[8] Geoffrey Demont (Fra)
11/4, 11/5, 11/8
Alejandro Garbi (Esp)
Alejandro Garbi
12/10, 11/4, 11/7 (47m)
[4] Abdullah Al Tamimi
[4] Abdullah Al Tamimi (Qat)
11/4, 11/7, 12/14, 11/5 (41m)
Mike Puertas (Usa)
James Huang (Tpe)
11/5, 3/11, 2/11, 11/9, 11/1 (46m)
[3] Arturo Salazar (Mex)
[3] Arturo Salazar
11/4, 11/9, 11/5 (31m)Reiko Peter
[3] Arturo Salazar

 11/7, 11/9, 11/5 (30m)

[1] Nasir Iqbal

Reiko Peter (Sui)
9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (58m)
[5] Lewis Walters (Eng)
Matthew Serediak (Can)
11/1, 11/4, 11/3 (30m)
[6] Sebastiaan Weenink (Ned)
[6] Sebastiaan Weenink
11/9, 11/7, 12/10  (45m)
[1] Nasir Iqbal
Karamatullah Khan (Pas)
11/7, 11/3, 11/1 (24m)
[1] Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
17-Jan, Semis, Tim Kelley reports:
Top seeds through to St Louis final

After taking the first two games, 23 year old German Raphael Kandra seemed to be on the run in much of Game 3 & 4 as Abdullah Al Tamimi gained momentum in the match. However, the turning point seemed to be when Kandra speared a ball deep on his backhand side hitting 3/4 of the glass with his racquet for an outright winner.

The No. 4 Seed Tamimi turned to him in disbelief. The lightning speed and trickery of the 19 year old from Qatar only got him so far and he seemed to shoot unnecessarily after Kandra's most amazing get. Not only did Kandra overcome the 3-7 deficit in Game 4, but additionally a call at match point where he appeared to hit a clear winner, but a let was granted.

Kandra was steady with his strokes and temperament and that seemed to be the difference. Both players had to be bandaged up during the course of the match. Tamimi had an abrasion on his leg prior to match ball that drew blood and Kandra had to be mended on his hand and leg. These dings were very minor and he will be good to go in the finals tomorrow evening at the Racquet Club of Saint Louis.

The second match of the evening was a "chopping" as RC's Head Pro Michael Puertas commented. In a stretch of 30 minutes the Pakistani Nasir Iqbar knocked out the No. 3 Seed Arturo Salazar in three games.

The 25-year old from San Luis Potosi could not keep up with the fast and furious pace of Number 1 Seed Iqbar. Iqbar cut down on his errors and won three straight point s to win a critical Game 2. As Sebastian Weenink mentioned after the match "it is crucial to play all the way through to 11.

It remains to be seen if he will get to 11 tomorrow against the Number 2 Seed Kandra tomorrow night.

16-Jan, Quarters, Tim Kelley reports:
Top four through to St Louis semis

A crowd predominantly made up of Racquet Club members saw a very good and entertaining opening quarterfinal match as the Number 2 Seed Raphael Kandra swept by Syed Hamzah Bukhari from Pakistan 12-10, 12-10, 12-10.

The southpaw Kandra forced a critical stroke that was a framer by Bukhari before a long-taxing rally's end and more importantly on game point.

The 31 year old tried hard to shrug it off but to no avail as a questionable call (according to him) at 10-10 in the deciding game just made matters worse for him. In the end Kandra was therefore  more mentally fit.
The second match of the day had some pop, and especially towards the end as Spaniard Alejandro Garbi was unleashing his thunderous backhand. Some of it was frustration-induced as fourth seed Abdullah Al Tamimi (to quote Head RC Pro Mike Puertas) "had too many tools in his tool box."

He also forced Garbi to speak to himself, and the Spaniard got a talking to by the referee as he was not too kind to the walls, the floor, AND his racquet!

The crafty 19 year old from Qatar finished off Garbi in straight games 12-10, 11-4, 11-7 with his pin-point accuracy. Garbi also had a stroke called on him to make it 10-7 in the last game and all the barking in the park or on the court to the ref and himself wouldn't allow him past the tricky Tamimi, who simply had too many "tools" and too many tricks up his sleeve.

The Number 3 Seed Arturo Salazar knocked off the colorful and lanky Reiko Peter from Switzerland in 31 minutes 11-4-,11-9, 11-5.

Peter could not repeat his upset performance from the night before over Lewis Walters. Salazar went down to his knees late in Game 2 after getting a bit tangled up once again as it seemed that Peter wrapped around him somewhat as Salazar passed by. I think Peter questioned his antics as Salazar appeared to have wrenched his back when the score was 9-8 Salazar. Play was a little chippy, but the Mexican came through with steadier play sprinkled with some soft, angular drops as well.

In the final match of the day the No. 1 Seed Nasir Iqbal from Pakistan held true to his standing as he beat the Netherlander Sebastian Weenink in 45 minutes in three straight 11-9, 11-7, 12-10. Weenink fought hard, but could not overcome Iqbal's cunning play. Weenink had a must-make between the legs shot at match ball and survived to the tie-breaker, but in the end it was the Pakistani who took three close games.

Round One in St Louis

Switzerland's Reiko Peter made the perfect start to his New Year campaign when he upset fifth seed Lewis Walters in the opening round of the Emerson Racquet Club Pro Series, the first event of the 2014 US Pro Squash Series at The Racquet Club in St Louis, Missouri.

The unseeded 24-year-old from Lucerne recovered from a game down to beat US-based Englishman Walters 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 in 58 minutes to secure his unexpected place in the quarter-finals.

Peter will now take on Arturo Salazar, the No.3 seed from Mexico. The World No.78 from San Luis Potosi was taken the full distance by Taiwan's James Huang, ranked almost 50 places lower, before prevailing 11-5, 3-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-1.

There was a further upset in the top half of the draw where Spaniard Alejandro Garbi Caro defeated Geoffrey Demont, the No.8 seed from France, 11-4, 11-5, 11-8.

Caro progresses to face fourth seed Abdulla Al Tamimi - but the Qatari teenager needed 41 minutes to see off experienced Mike Puertas, the 45-year-old event promoter, 11-4, 11-7, 12-14, 11-5.

Lewis and Peter

US Pro Series kicks off in St Louis

The 2014 PSA US Pro Squash Series begins today when the Emerson Racquet Club Pro Series event gets underway in St Louis.

Sixteen players will compete for the first available points on the US Pro Series circuit which will see players from across the globe compete for a bonus prize fund which will be awarded when the series comes to a conclusion.

American No.1 Julian Illingworth won the inaugural PSA US Pro Squash Series in 2013, claiming the $5,000 top prize in the process and he’ll be looking to retain the title in what promises to be a hotly contested series from start to finish.

"The 2013 US Pro Squash Series was a great success and were delighted to see the series return in 2014," said PSA CEO Alex Gough.

"Squash has enjoyed a recent surge in enthusiasm across the United States and the continued growth of the US Pro Series gives the sport a great platform to maximise on the many opportunities associated with the US market."

US Squash Vice President Conor O’Malley said: “We were delighted with the response from the players for the 2013, and first, PSA US Pro Squash Series and we’re pleased to be continuing the event in 2014 and hope to build on that success.

“With even more tournaments involved this year, we will be taking world class squash to new markets and engaging new fans to watch the action unfold throughout the year.”

Walters aims to avoid
St Louis Blues

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