Oregon Open 2015 31
Jan - 06 Feb, Portland, Usa, $15k
06-Feb, Final: Meguis wins all-Egyptian final in Portland Mauricio Sanchez reports
The were was great expectation for the all-Egyptian final between
Omar Abdel Meguid and Karim Ali Fathi at the Multnomah
this week these players had demonstrated why they were the two top
seeds of the tournament. Omar possesses a powerful physique with a
lethal combination of delicate touches in the front area of the
court. On the other hand, Karim is extremely agile and builds points
beautifully before going for his attacks. It was a great match-up of
power vs resistance that kept the Portland crowd gasping in
disbelief for the precision and athleticism of these players in this
the first game, Karim started playing very tight rails and was able
to establish a quick lead at 5-0. He was making sure to go around
Omar in order to keep continuous rallies. Omar was not able to find
his rhythm in this first game and reserved energy for what was to
come. Karim took the first blood 11-3.
But the pressure of being one love down gave Omar the focus he
needed. He has the ability to hit an extra gear whenever he finds
himself in difficult situations. Omar was stepping up in every rally
and volleying more and more. The powerful attacks were able to break
the movement of Karim and Omar took the game 11-5.
one all, everyone in the crowd was wondering if Karim's resistance
or Omar's finesse would prevail. The rallies were incredibly
disputed and for the first time in the tournament the relaxed
attitude of Karim seemed to go into lapses of tension. At 5-3 we saw
the rally of the match in this game with both players reaching
unbelievably difficult shots and attacking millimeters from the tin.
But not surprisingly, as it is the case in some of the most disputed
rallies in Squash, the magnificent rally ended in a let. Karim was
able to put a lot of work into Omar's legs and he seemed to have the
momentum in his favor by taking the third game 11-8.
In the fourth game, Omar was again able to go into his
characteristic second gear and started dominating the rallies.
Omar's powerful physique contrasts his delicate touch but it creates
a special effect that is difficult for his opponents to decipher.
Even though Karim was still running for every shot Omar would found
a way to finish most rallies to level the match at two-all.
the last game, both players decided to start hitting the ball even
harder and running for everything, clearly pushing themselves to the
limit. It was very close all the way to five-all until Omar found
some magical touches and was able to create a lead to take the match
The avid Squash fans received the new champion with raucous
applause. In his third final in the Oregon Open, Omar was finally
able to take the title. He is very popular in the Oregon circles and
he graciously returned the compliment to his fans.
When asked what he liked the most about Portland without hesitation
he responded "the crowd". It was an incredible week of Squash in the
Pacific North West and Squash enthusiasts were treated to a great
final by these Egyptian Squash magicians.
Open 2015 31
Jan - 06 Feb, Portland, Usa, $15k
Julian Illingworth 3-0 Will Gruner
11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (37m)
Valentino Bong 3-0 Nicolas Talbot
11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (42m)
Faraz Khan 3-0 Imael Fafez
13-11, 11-8, 11-9 (44m)
Vikram Malhotra 3-0 Sunny Seth
11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (50m)
Mathias Tuomi 3-1 Salim Khan
11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 (56m)
Sean Conroy 3-1 Mauricio Sánchez de la Paz 11-7, 11-4,
9-11, 11-6 (65m)
Charlie Johnson 3-0 Alex Spiro
11-2, 11-2, 11-2 (25m)
Adeen Idrakie 3-2 Yehia Essam
11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (60m)
05-Feb, Semis: It's an all-Egyptian final in Portland Mauricio Sanchez reports
An all-Egyptian final was set in Portland as top seeds Omar Abdel
Meguid and Karim Ali Fathi both came from a game down to
win their semi-finals.
Meguid was able to win against the fit
German Raphael Kandra. This match was 75 minutes of intense Squash
but also some very contentious decisions. Julian Illingworth, the
ref of the match, was definitely relieved once the match was over.
The towering Egyptian has great ball control and imposes himself on
Even without trying, his physicality is something that his opponents
have to be aware of. Raphael Kandra was perhaps too focused on his
opponents movement and at times seemed to lose his focus. Even
though the match was choppy at points, the Portland crowd was
entertained with amazing shots, athletic.
In the second semifinal Fathi was able to contain the relentless
attacks of Vikram Malhotra. The former Trinity number one was able
to once again surprise the higher seed in the first game but this
time it was Karim Ali Fathi who had all the answers and was able to
advance to the final.
Tomorrow without a doubt we will have an entertaining Egyptian
battle with tons ofknicks and inconceivable gets
04-Feb, Quarters: Vikram Malhotra unstoppable in Portland Mauricio Sanchez reports
The Portland crowd was once again treated to a superb night of
Squash, as the top three seeds were joined by a qualifier in the
The first match of the night was a five-game battle between
Raphael Kandra vs Abdullah Mohd Al Tamini. The Qatari started
and won the first game furiously, attacking with vicious angles and
precise length. But Kandra responded with preternatural poise and
composure, hardly a tin to his name for the rest of the athletic
The match was an exhibition in momentum, with Abdullah
rattling off a series of points only to be stymied by a run from Kandra until it was over after minutes 75 minutes for a win for the
In the second match of the night Omar Abdel Meguid, the
number one seed of the tournament, seemed to struggle to find the
balance in his game in the first part of the match. Even though
Meguid won the first game, Salazar was able to get him him moving in
the wrong direction several times and was able to clinch the second
But Meguid seemed to hit second gear on the third game and at
9-0 up it seemed like a bagel was in the horizon. Salazar was able
to score a point but ultimately lost that game and the match after
In the third match there was a lot of history between
Trinity's Vikram Malhotra '12 and Princeton's Todd Harrity
'13. They both had played several times in intercollegiate
encounters and there were several Trinity and Princeton alumni in
the crowd anxious to see this match.
Vikram has been playing and
incredibly effective and attacking style of squash. And tonight he
used that same formula against Todd. The Princeton alumni struggled
to find his usual precise and errorless Squash. Vikram took full
advantage of it and after 48 minutes was able to get another win
against his Princeton nemesis.
The last match was one of youth vs experience. Eric
Galvez is a 6-time Mexican National champion and has won gold in the
Pan-American games. His ball control is sublime but tonight Karim
Ali Fathi was able to expose his movement. The three games were
very similar with both players exchanging knicks and elaborate
movements across the court. But in all of them Karim Ali Fathi had
an extra bit of energy enough to close the match in three straight
03-Feb, Round One: Round One in Portland Mauricio Sanchez reports
After a rest day the action resumed at the Multnomah Athletic Club.
The Portland crowd was anxious to see the top seeds play and they
were not disappointed. The Squash fanatics in the American North
West were treated to a great of display of skill and athleticism by
some of the best squash players in the world.
the first day of the main draw we saw most of the top seeds impose
their status and game style against their opponents. The Mexican
player Arturo Salazar controlled his match with metronomic
precision against American Wildcard Sam Gould with a three to zero
He will be facing Omar Abdel Meguid who, in a similar manner,
imposed his mix of power and finesse against Adeen Idrakie to
advance comfortably into the quarterfinals round.
Al Tamini, coached by the Squash Legend Geoff Hunt, also had too
much variety in his attack shots against Joe Chapman and won his
match in three straight games.
Kandra, who is currently in great form after his win in Calgary,
faced considerable opposition from Shahjahan Khan. All of the games
were very well contested, with amazing gets from both players and
precise shots to all four corners. Nonetheless, the German's
experience made a big difference in the important points and he was
able to win three sets to zero.
Vikram Malhotra pulled the biggest upset of the night by
defeating Christopher Gordon in a five-game battle. The former
Trinity number one player had showed great form in the qualifiers
and he continued with his aggressive style of play and powerful
Gordon is a veteran in the PSA tour and was able to establish a lead
of two games to one in the beginning. Nonetheless, Malhotra pushed
himself and was able to create a fantastic comeback to win the match
in five games. He is definitely the dark horse of the tournament.
will relive some of his college years when he plays tomorrow against
his former Princeton nemesis Todd Harrity. Harrity looked
very focused during his match against Valentino Bong and seems to be
ready to keep improving his ranking by obtaining a good result at
the Oregon Open.
finalize the night we had Karim Ali Fathi win his match
against 9-time US National Champion Julian Illingworth.
Illingworth seemed to still be recovering from his qualifying
matches but gave it a good push in front of his local crowd. But Ali
Fathi was just too precise in his attacks and was able to make it to
the next round in only twenty five minutes.
He will be facing the quick and stocky Mexican player Eric Galvez
who dominated his match against Matias Tuomi with excellent low
kills and a high pace in three straight games.
Tomorrow we will have some very interesting match-ups in the
quarters and it promises to be an exhilarating night of Squash at
the Oregon Open 2016.
01-Feb, Qualifying Finals: Qualifying complete in Portland Mauricio Sanchez reports
Qualification day two is over and the qualifiers that will
participate in the main draw have been decided. Since Shaun Le Roux
had to pull out form the tournament due to the injury he sustained
in Calgary we had a lucky loser that was also able to make it to the
In the first match of the night we saw Vikram Malhotra follow
up on his great form from last night. He is playing a very
aggressive and attacking style of Squash and will definitely be a
dangerous opponent in the main draw. He defeated Ismail Hafez in
three straight games and will be fairly fresh for his match
The second match was a more closely contested battle. It was a match
of experience vs youth. Both players had a fairly similar style
moving efficiently on court and making minimal errors. But on this
occasion it was the experience of the Finish player Matias Tuomi
who prevailed. He was able to secure his place in the draw by
beating the Irishman Sean Conroy three games to one.
The third match of the night was between local star Julian
Illingworth against Valentino Bong. Even though Julian
has been focusing more on his duties as a coach and as a new dad
lately he still possesses the ball control of a former top 25 in the
world. In the first two games both players exchanged quick-fire
attacks. After two games it seemed that the match would continue to
be closely contested but errors started creeping into Julian's game.
After fifty minutes of attacking Squash, the stylish Malaysian
player was able get a three to one win over Portland's best Squash
The final match was perhaps on of the longest matches in the Oregon
Open's history. In the first two games Charlie Johnson was on
fire and completely controlled the 'T' with superb attacking shots.
But there seemed to be a turning point in the third game when the
English player broke his strings and didn't seem to move the ball
around the court as well as he was doing in the first two games. The
always serene looking Adreen Idrakie started prolonging
rallies and was barely making any errors. The fourth game proved to
be crucial as Adeen was able to edge it sixteen to fourteen and
looking the fresher of the two.
In the fifth game Charlie was able to level the match at seven all
but Adeen had a little bit extra energy left to take the last points
of the match after one hundred and twenty four minutes!
31-Jan, Qualifying Round One: Qualifying commences in Portland Mauricio Sanchez reports
It was a busy Sunday at the Multnomah Athletic Club with very
exciting matches in the qualification draw. The players are starting
to ease into the Squash Oregon Open and we are starting to see who
will be the real contenders for the main draw.
The day started with Jullian Illingworth imposing his
experience and finesse against local qualifier Will Gruner. Although
the former Williams player tried his best it was not enough to stop
Julian's precise attacks and the match ended 3-0 with Julian always
looking as the likely winner.
I the second match of the day, we saw Valentino Bong control
his match against up-and-coming American player Nicolas Talbot.
There is a strong Malaysian contingent this year in Portland as we
also saw Adeen Idrakie win a furious five-setter against 18-year old
Yehia Essam. This was probably one of the best matches of the
evening in which the focus and serenity of Adeen allowed him to edge
the final points of the match.
Another highlight of the evening was the match between Vikram
Malhotra and Sunny Seth. Vikram impressed the Portland crowd
with his powerful pace and sophisticated attacks. Vikram clearly
still carries all the experience he gained from playing number one
at Trinity College. He was able to defeat Sunny Seth in three
straight-games and will have to defeat Faraz Khan if he wants to
make it through the main draw.
perhaps the most endearing match of the evening was the match
between England's Charlie Johnson vs 13 year old
Portland-native Alec Spiro (. Even though it was clear that
Charlie would win the match, he was very gracious and showed young
Alec some of his most elaborate trick shots. Alec is well known for
chasing every ball, which he did in this match very much to the
crowd's delight, and perhaps in a couple of years he will be ready
to take the PSA tour in full force.
Qualifying Round One replays
You can start feeling the energy levels raising in Portland for the
Oregon Open 2016. All the Squash enthusiasts in the Pacific
Northwest are excited to be part of an exciting week of world-class
The Multnomah Athletic Club, on of the biggest and most prestigious
clubs in the US, will be hosting the event with players coming from
all over the world.
In the qualifying rounds there will be special interest in
Portland-based players Will Gruner, Julian Illingworth, and Mauricio
Sánchez de la Paz. With Julian Illingworth, the most successful
player in US Squash history, having the most realistic chances of
making it through to the main draw.
In the first-round the attention will center around American
standout players Todd Harrity and Chris Gordon. Todd Harrity
graduated from Princeton University in 2013 and has had a meteoric
rise in the Squash scene ever since.
The US Squash community is very excited about his continuous
progress. On the other hand, Chris Gordon is a veteran in the
professional tour and will attempt to impose his precise game
against stiff international competition.
The favorites to win the Oregon Open 2016 are Omar Abdel Meguid and
Karim Ali Fathi, seeded one and two respectively. With their
electric Egyptian style of play they will attempt to hold back
opposition from Germany's Raphael Kandra and South Africa's Shaun Le
Omar Abel Meguid (WR 32) is currently ranked higher than Karim All
Fathi (WR 43) but Karim Ali Fathi recently had a fantastic run
during the World Open beating Peter Barker and Fares Dessouki. If
they were to meet in the final, the Portland audience will certainly
will be treated to a fierce and jaw-dropping final.