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Rocky Mountain Open 2011
14-19 Mar, Alberta, Canada, $35k
19-Mar, Final:

David Palmer (AUS) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
         11-7, 5-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6

Palmer wins a thriller in Calgary
Gary Park reports

Two of professional squash’s physical heavyweights turned on a display befitting the top rung, going the distance in the final of the Calgary Winter Club’s $35,000 Rocky Mountain Open.

The clash of one-time training partners ended with former world No. 1 and World Open champion David Palmer eking out an 11-4, 5-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 win over Dutch star Laurens Jan Anjema.

Making a crucial change of pace when the pressure came on around mid-match, Palmer (6ft 2in and 180lb) showed his experience in unseating tournament top seed LJ (6ft 2 ½in and 190lb).

In what he described as a “very tough five games,” Palmer quickly put LJ to the test, gaining the edge in a series of tough rallies, stretching his opponent to the limit.

“To be honest, I thought I did enough to damage him for the whole match,” Palmer said. “But halfway through the second game he really stepped it up.”

LJ took advantage of a lively ball to tip the balance in the second and third games, while Palmer conceded he was trying to “stay calm and hang in.”

Calling on his long experience at the top, the Australian slowed the momentum in the fourth game and “got a bit more reward for my shots, forcing mistakes with a few nice drops and volleys.”

Making a strong start in the decider, Palmer gradually took the upper hand and LJ “finally made a few errors and gave me a few points.”

He had the added satisfaction of making a strong recovery from an ankle injury two weeks ago in the North American Open in Virginia, but, at the age of 34, he views 2011 as probably be last year on the PSA tour.

For now, Palmer’s sights are set on the Australian Open in August and the World Open in Holland at the end of October.

“I feel I’m still competitive and able to beat guys in the top 10, but it’s getting tougher. The game is faster and more attacking,” he said.

LJ set aside his own disappointment to salute Palmer. “He’s mentally and physically one of the strongest players in the world, still,” he said “ I really wanted to win, but at the same time I’m playing David Palmer, who goes about his career in squash with a single-mindedness which I really respect.”

Rocky Mountain Open 2011
14-19 Mar, Alberta, Canada, $35k
Round One
16 Mar
17 Mar
18 Mar
19 Mar
[1] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (33m)
Stéphane Galifi (Ita)
[1] Laurens Jan Anjema
11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (48m)
Ryan Cuskelly
[1] Laurens Jan Anjema

11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11

[3] Omar Mosaad

[1] Laurens Jan Anjema

1-7, 5-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6

[2] David Palmer

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (45m)
Andrew McDougall (Can)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 14-12 (76m)
Alister Walker (Eng)
Tarek Momen
11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9 (68m)
[3] Omar Mosaad
[Q] Jan Koukal (Cze)
1122, 11-9, 11-3 (33m)
[3] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
[4] Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11-9, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 (42m)
[Q] Zac Alexander (Aus)
[Q] Zac Alexander
11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (38m)
Nicolas Mueller
Nicolas Mueller

9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-4

[2] David Palmer

Adrian Grant (Eng)
11-13, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
Shahier Razik (Can)
11-8, 11-4 rtd (41m)
[Q] Robbie Temple (Eng)
Shahier Razik
11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
[2] David Palmer
[Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (37m)
[2] David Palmer (Aus)
2010 Event

Qualifying finals:

Zac Alexander
(Aus) bt
Gilly Lane (Usa)                     11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (36m)
Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Rafael Alarcon (Bra)              11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (47m)
Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Graeme Schnell (Can)                 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 (29m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Andrew Schnell (Can)          6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (47m)

First Round Qualifying
Zac Alexander (Aus) bt Arturo Salazar (Mex)           4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (31m)
Gilly Lane (Usa) bt Bradley Hindle (Mlt)          6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (40m)

Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Scott Arnold (Aus)                     12-10, 11-4, 11-6 (73m)
Rafael Alarcon (Bra) bt Martin Knight (Nzl)     11-6, 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 11-4 (53m)

Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Robin Clarke (Can)        8-11, 11-2, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5 (52m)
Graeme Schnell (Can) bt Gavin Lee Perrett (Eng)            11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (25m)

Andrew Schnell (Can) bt Colin Whitney (Irl)                   11-7, 11-1, 11-7 (18m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Henrik Mustonen (Fin)                     11-2, 11-6, 11-8 (27m)

18-Mar, Semis:
Top Seeds to contest Calgary climax

The top two seeds Laurens Jan Anjema and David Palmer will contest the final of the Calgary Winter Club Rocky Mountain Open after surviving four-game semi-finals.

Event favourite Anjema, the Dutch national champion from The Hague, dropped the third game against third seed Omar Mosaad but bounced back to beat the world No16 from Egypt 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11.

Anjema, ranked 12 in the world, will be making his 26th appearance in a PSA Tour final.

Veteran Australian Palmer showed that he is still a major force when he battled back from a game down, then survived two testing tie-break games before marching on to overcome Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-4.

Mueller, the 21-year-old world No35 from Zurich, became the only unseeded player to make the last four after a breakthrough first round victory over England's world No18 Adrian Grant.

But the experienced Palmer, the 34-year-old four-time British Open champion and twice World Open champion was too strong for the rising Swiss star - and now extends his record as the current player with the most appearances in PSA finals.

Palmer, the second seed from New South Wales but now based in the USA, will be making his first Tour final since August 2009 - but the 54th of his illustrious career.

Zac Zaps Ashour In Rocky Mountain Upset

Australian qualifier Zac Alexander produced the biggest upset on the opening day of main draw action in the Calgary Winter Club Rocky Mountain Open when he beat Egypt's No4 seed Hisham Ashour to secure an unexpected place in the quarter-finals.

The 22-year-old from Brisbane, who took out two higher-ranked players to survive the qualifiers, recorded one of the biggest wins of his career when he recovered from 2/1 down to beat Ashour, the world No17 from Cairo, 11-9, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 42 minutes.

Alexander, ranked 64 in the world, now faces unseeded Nicolas Mueller. The Swiss number one, ranked 35 in the world, also scored a significant upset by beating England's world No18 Adrian Grant 11-13, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5. The left-hander from London had arrived in Calgary fresh from success at the Manitoba Open in Winnipeg.

It was a bad day for Englishmen following two further defeats. In his first appearance in Canada since relocating to New York at the beginning of this year, world No19 Alister Walker failed to capitalise on a two-game lead against Tarek Momen and, in a 76-minute marathon, went down 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 14-12 to the Egyptian ranked nine places below.

And London-based qualifier Robbie Temple was forced to quit after two games against Shahier Razik as the Canadian No1 marched into the quarter-finals after his 11-8, 11-4 rtd win.

The event's top two seeds claimed their anticipated quarter-final berths after straight games wins. Dutch favourite Laurens Jan Anjema eased to an 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 victory over Italian Stephane Galifi while US-based Australian David Palmer, the No2 seed, defeated Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne 11-9, 11-7, 11-7.


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