Montreal Open 2016
01-06 Mar, Club Sportif MAA,
Montreal, Canada, $35k
 Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
3-11, 18-16, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (97m)
Farag wins marathon all-Egyptian final
Runa Reta reports, photos by Trevor Bowes
In front of a sold out crowd of squash enthusiasts, the finals
of the 2016 Montreal Squash Open featured two Egyptians, who
were also the top two seeds of the tournament: Karim Abdel Gawad
against Ali Farag.
off with a nice fluid rhythm, both players were moving around
each other with ease, and playing through any small
It was Karim Abdel Gawad though that came out of the gates
stronger, showing off his incredible dexterity and rushing out
to an early lead. Ali Farag was not quite finding his length and
any opening or loose ball was being severely put away by the
"baby-faced assassin". With each rolling nick and crowd-gasping
winner, Gawad’s confidence grew along with the scoreline.
Catching Farag on boasts, volley drops, cross-court nicks
(basically any attacking shot you can think of), the #7 in the
world Gawad had a dream start to the match, taking the first
We all assumed that the feisty Farag would come out storming in
the second, and even though he started hitting his marks much
better, it was still Gawad who was red-hot with the racket.
Every time a tiny opening was given, "The Assassin" schooled the
Harvard graduate with lethal attacks to the front. By the time
Gawad eased to 6-2 and then 9-4, Farag was red in the face with
frustration. A series of anguished yells seemed to galvanize the
younger Egyptian however, and slowly he started to find his way
into the game, clawing his way back to 7-9.
And then, refereeing mayhem ensued. It started with a few
points, where both players had to politely explain the rules to
the 3 referees. Then Gawad was given a no let on a simple let
call (makes a joke and keeps it classy).
Then Farag gets awarded a let off of Gawad’s winning drop into
the nick (starting to get mildly irritated). THEN a questionable
stroke against Gawad that brings Farag to 10-9, and Gawad is now
as unsettled as you will ever see him (still, very mild). From
this point forward, both players unfortunately started to call
lets on any given opportunity and it became a Russian roulette
of what calls they would receive.
one point, when Gawad finally got a call that went his way, the
central ref (perhaps out of subconscious guilt) called “game
Gawad”… it was in fact 10-all. To make a long story short, the
end of the second game was heavy on let calls, but still
featured some incredible grit and determination from both
players – particularly Farag, sensing he needed to snag this
second game if he were to have a chance. Going neck and neck
from 10-all right through to 16-all, Farag took the second game
with a beautiful forehand volley drop, and then turned to the
crowd with clenched teeth (which I assumed to mean “game on!”
and not “look at my teeth!”)
The third game featured some odd dynamics between the two
Egyptian friends and roommates. At times it was incredibly
amicable, both looking like brothers playing a Sunday afternoon
friendly (at one point Farag was actually massaging Gawad’s calf
after they ran into each other!), and at other moments, they
complained vehemently about each other when calls didn’t go
their way… ah what mind games! Anyway, aside from all the
antics, Farag - who is the most feared and in-form player on
tour at the moment – returned with a very focused strategy: hit
everything high and straight.
And boy did this start to work. All of a sudden, Gawad was being
drawn into long rallies with few opportunities to shoot, and
when he did attack, it was from up high and after 10-15 shots
rather than off the 4th or 5th shot. Errors, frustration and a
bit of fatigue started to creep into Gawad’s seemingly
impenetrable game, and Farag’s dogged determination helped keep
the score close at 8-all.
But again, some dicey refereeing calls played their part to push
Gawad to game ball (Farag used his newly learned French to
scream “mon dieu!” in response to a call at one point) and the
game ended 11-9 in Gawad’s favor off of a no-let decision.
series of long exchanges in the 4th game showed that Farag was
determined to stick with his game plan, and it paid dividends;
he gained the upper-hand of most exchanges, taking an important
6-3 lead. Gawad, however, responded with some beautiful touch
shots of his own, bringing the scoreline back to 5-6. Staying
the course like a player wise beyond his years, the gazelle-like
Farag continued to keep the ball high and tight, and a series of
brutally long rallies pushed the 23-year-old to take the game at
11-6, aided by 3 errors from the fatiguing Assassin.
In the final game, many questions hung in the air… Could Farag
stick to his disciplined game plan? Would Gawad have enough left
in the tank to close it out?
Two early errors from Farag and two lovely winners from Gawad
put the latter ahead 4-1 quite quickly; he was clearly pushing
for the finish line. But Farag was having none of it. Hanging in
with some incredible retrievals and inconceivably tight balls,
the feisty Farag caught up and stayed close. In the meantime,
Gawad started taking longer and longer in between points and was
looking visibly drained.
At 5-all, Farag hit a severely low cross court that Gawad dove
for and ended up sliding into the wall, catching his shoulder.
Perhaps hoping that the brief stoppage would give him a short
respite, it was of no use.
The following rallies continued at a furious pace while Farag’s
physical demeanor remained sprightly. Even as the points were
nail-bitingly close up until 7-all, the writing was on the wall;
Gawad had run out of steam and Farag – who had clearly done his
physical homework over the December break – was pulling away.
got to 10-7 and on the first match ball opportunity, finished it
off with a backhand drop that even the rapid Gawad couldn’t
quite get his racket on.
Both Egyptians exited the court to a standing ovation from the
appreciative crowd. It was a delightful and thrilling end to a
great event, and a class act from two incredibly talented and
Montreal Open 2016
Montreal, Canada, $35k
 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
7/11, 11/6, 11/1, 11/6 (42m)
[Q] Chris Gordon (Usa)
 Karim Abdel Gawad
11/9, 20/18, 11/7 (37m)
Tsz Fung Yip
 Karim Abdel Gawad
11/8, 11/7, 11/9 (39m)
 Tom Richards
 Karim Abdel Gawad
3/11 , 18/16 , 9/11 , 11/6 , 11/7 (97m)
 Ali Farag
 Adrian Waller (Eng)
12/10, 3/11, 8/11, 12/10, 11/7 (74m)
Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg)
 Alfredo Avila (Mex)
11/9, 11/9, 11/6 (40m)
[Q] Todd Harrity (Usa)
[Q] Todd Harrity
11/3, 9/11, 11/5, 11/6 (43m)
 Tom Richards
 Tom Richards (Eng)
11/5, 11/5, 11/6 (25m)
[wc] David Baillargeon (Can)
Lucas Serme (Fra)
12/10, 11/6, 11/9 (60m)
 Gregoire Marche (Fra)
 Gregoire Marche
11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (49m)
 Leo Au
 Gregoire Marche
11/4, 11/3, 11/2 (41m)
 Ali Farag
[Q] Chris Binnie (Jam)
11/9, 9/11, 12/10, 11/4 (53m)
 Leo Au (Hkg)
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
11/6, 11/6, 11/7 (35m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
 Nafiizwan Adnan
11/9, 14/12, 7/11, 13/11 (60m)
 Ali Farag
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (50m)
 Ali Farag (Egy)
02-Mar, Qualifying Finals:
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-0
Mike McCue (Can)
11/2 , 11/3 , 11/5 (29m)
Chris Gordon (Usa) 3-0
Joe Chapman (Bvi)
11/5 , 11/8 , 11/7 (37m)
Chris Binnie (Jam) 3-1
Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) 7/11, 11/9, 11/2, 11/9
Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-1
Joel Makin (Wal) 11/8, 9/11,
11/7, 11/8 (102m)
01-Mar, Qualifying Round One:
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-0 Thomas King (Can)
11/3, 11/2, 11/9
Mike McCue (Can) 3-0 Sebastien Boucley (Can)
11/7, 11/2, 11/3
Joe Chapman (Bvi) 3-0 Tommy Scott (Can)
11/6, 11/3, 11/6
Chris Gordon (Usa) 3-0 Jason Delierre (Can)
11/6, 11/6, 11/5
Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) 3-1 Joeri Hapers (Bel) 11/5,
11/8, 9/11, 11/5
Chris Binnie (Jam) 3-0 Sam Gould (Usa)
11/3, 11/7, 11/5
Joel Makin (Wal) 3-0 Lewis Walters (Jam)
11/8, 11/2, 11/5
Shawn Delierre (Can) 3-0 David Phillips (Can)
15/13, 11/9, 11/8
 Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
3-11 , 18-16 , 9-11 , 11-6 , 11-7 (97m)
Top seeds through to all-Egyptian final
Runa Reta reports
The first semi-final match of the afternoon featured the in-form
baby-faced assassin (Karim Abdel Gawad) against the
Ginger Ninja (Tom Richards) - a name that I have just
trademarked, before either PJ or Joey from PSA TV can get to it!
Both players came out flying in the first game,
with Richards matching Gawad's attacking style and showing that
he was ready to have a real go at his higher-ranked opponent.
Richards was the more successful of the two in the first half of
the game, closing down the court with good straight length,
while also staying positive and taking the ball in short
aggressively and holding the ball nicely. However, as the game
wore on, it seemed like Gawad was starting to warm up, and
several cross-court nicks and rapid counter-attacks served to
prove that point. Richards kept to his game plan, but at 8-7 up,
Gawad hit three trickle-boast winners in a row that left the
Ninja dumbfounded and unsure of how the scoreline had now turned
to 10-8. One last squeeze off of a good length from Gawad and
the first game was over just like that.
Gawad looked properly nimble and ready in the second game, using
his incredible movement around the court and variety of shots to
showcase why he is #7 in the world. Faced with an opponent that
was starting to read his holds and counter with added pressure,
Richards started to aim for tighter, lower shots, which resulted
in a number of balls clipping the tin. An unforced error off the
volley boast at 8-5 down led Richards to scream "STOP IT!" and
to remind himself to straighten up with his length. And while he
did manage to do so in the next few rallies, he did not get much
joy, only managing to get two more points on the scoreboard as
Gawad prevailed, 11-7.
In the third, Gawad looked as comfortable as ever, even while
Richards was still up for the fight. Aided by a slight dip in
concentration from the Assassin, the Ninja went up 6-3 and
finally looked as though he might get his teeth sunk into the
match. But once again, like a true champion, Gawad calmly clawed
his way back, defending well and hitting some incredible
counter-drops that left Richards flat-footed and understandably
irritated. To make matters worse, the straight hold down the
wall that was paying dividends at the start of the match were
now being picked off by Gawad... "SO FRUSTRATING" yelled
Richards at one stage - a sentiment we have all held on the
squash court before! Gawad made his way to 10-7 and closed out
the match with a shot so far behind him, neither the crowd nor
Richards could quite believe it.
The second semi-final featured the number 14 in
the world - Egyptian Ali Farag - against his friend,
Frenchman Gregoire Marche.
Feeling each other out a bit more than in the
previous semi, both players were hitting their marks and playing
some fantastic long rallies at the start. Staying neck and neck
until 4-all, Farag started to pull away, hitting incredibly
accurate straight lines and taking the ball in short with
confidence off anything slightly loose. To all those kids out
there who love the shot-making abilities of Egyptian players-
don't overlook how impeccably accurate they are with their
length to set up their shots! But back to the squash... Farag
pulled ahead at 4-all and didn't look back, taking the first
An unexpected nosebleed from the Frenchman before the start of
the second meant that there was a long pause before the match
resumed. Marche eventually returned looking a bit flat, having
lost some momentum from the injury time-out, while Farag
continued right from where he left off at the end of the first
game 3-1, 4-1, 5-1, 6-1 all the way to 9-1. All Marche could
manage was two points in this game and a handful of expletives
that the French-speaking crowd could all very well understand.
The last game was much like the first two: Farag started quickly
with a 3-0 lead and just didn't relent... his daddy long-legs
(seriously, this guy is 90% legs!) were carrying him from corner
to corner in one simple step, while making the court incredibly
large for the relatively quick Frenchman. With amazing court
sense and razor-like focus, Farag was in his zone, hitting all
the right shots and providing no glimmer of hope to Marche who
went down rather unceremoniously 11-2 in the third.
The finals promise to be a fantastic match-up, featuring two
unbelievable fighters, movers and shot-makers... see you all
Top four through to semis
Eric Belanger reports
Tom Richards 3-1 Todd Harrity
first quarterfinal saw Tom Richards, victor over local David
Baillargeon in the first round, square off against Todd Harrity
who upset Alfredo Avila yesterday.
It was Richards’ consistency that allowed him to rush off to a
good start. Harrity, who was playing his fourth game of the
tournament following the qualifiers, accumulated mistakes as he
was trying to move the 23rd ranked player.
Richards would go on to comfortably grab the first game 11-3.
After the break, Harrity seemed to have regained his composure
and began to push Richards, enough to surprise him and win the
However, Richards wasn’t to be undone by the American’s increase
in intensity. He would himself regain confidence in his
placement shots, and found ways to absorb Harrity’s pressure,
forcing him back into committing mistakes, and deservedly took
the third 11-5. Facing an uphill battle, there was not much the
American could do to prevent Richards from taking the last game
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Tsz Fung Yip
next match opposed tournament favourite Karim Abdel Gawad
against Tsz Fung Yip. Gawad had an impressive display in the
preceding round, and the crowd was certainly looking forward to
watch the Egyptian work his magic on court again.
For the second time in two nights, Gawad began his first game
slowly, and Yip took advantage of his opponent’s nonchalance to
take the lead 7-1. It was however at that moment that the
Egyptian began to connect on his shots, and at this point there
was nothing for the Hong Kong representative to do. Gawad calmly
climbed back, often sending his speedy opponent the wrong way
and took the first 11-9.
The Hong Kong player, who showed his fighting spirit yesterday
by overcoming multiple match balls against Waller, was not
willing to give up. He took chances, and was able to stay in the
match and push the world number seven to a tie-break. With both
players offering a thrilling performance, Gawad was able to
survive Yip’s surge and take a back-and-forth second game 20-18.
Fortunately for the favorite, the Hong Kong representative
seemed exhausted in the third game, and accumulated many
mistakes. The pace between the two players was noticeably
slower, and the Egyptian seemed relieved to grab the third game
Gregoire Marche 3-0 Leo Au
third quarterfinal was disputed between Frenchmen Grégoire
Marche and Leo Au, from Hong Kong. Both players are coming off
matches that lasted longer than 50 minutes, suggesting that they
are able to play a patient game.
The crowd indeed witnessed a conservative beginning of game, as
both players were content to rally and minimize risks. The
Frenchman, well familiar with the courts following his
hard-fought win against Serme in the preceding round, was more
comfortable pressing his opponents, and was rewarded with the
first game 11-4.
Marche carried this advantage into the second, and again looked
like the more decisive player at finishing his rallies, and took
it 11-7. Au wasn’t really able to threaten the Frenchman in the
rallies, and lacked the cutting edge that he showed against
Binnie in the first round. The tireless fourth seed would march
on dominantly to the semi-finals, taking the third 11-5.
Ali Farag 3-1 Nafiizwan Adnan
last match of the night was between Egyptian Ali Farag and
Nafiizwan Adnan, victor over crowd favorite Shawn Delierre
Both players were able to begin the game strongly, and there was
not much to separate between the two of them. Adnan was able to
keep up with the rapid pace set by the Egyptian. Farag showed
his composure during the business end of the game, and took the
first game 11-9.
During the second, Adnan was able to prevent the Egyptian from
getting into comfortable offensive positions, and the Malaysian
was excellent in containing the second seed to keep the games
close. The Egyptian would manage to stave off five game points
from his resilient opponent to grab the second game 14-12.
Farag carried on with the momentum in the third game, but Adnan
still impressed with his ability to match the second seed`s
pace. The game would again be tightly disputed, with the
Malaysian grabbing a late advantage at 10-6. Farag showed great
composure during game points, but could not pull off a second
consecutive comeback as he bowed down 11-7 in the third.
The Egyptian had to dig deep to find answers in the fourth, and
was again involved in a tightly contested game. The players
could not be separated as the game reached a crucial tie-break.
Farag proved decisive in the important points, and it took him
two match balls to take the fourth 13-11 against a resolute
opponent who impressed the gallery with his effort.
Adnan showed great defensive prowess, and really pushed Farag in
a match that lasted an hour.
03-Mar, Round One:
Eric Belanger reports
Round One at the Club Sportif MAA,
where six of the eight seeds won through to the quarters, joined
by USA's Todd Harrity and Yip Tsz Fung of Hong Kong ...
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1Chris Gordon
The tournament’s first seed, Karim Abdel Gawad opened up the
night by playing against American qualifier Christopher Gordon.
In a surprising turn of events, it was Gordon who was able to
set the tone early on as he surprised the Egyptian who took a
while to settle himself into the match and grabbed the first
Losing the first game seemed to spark the seventh ranked player
in the world back into life, with the Egyptian finding his
groove from the get-go and forging himself a solid lead into the
second. His deception and fluid, silky movement really was the
cutting edge against Gordon, who was left looking for answers.
Gawad took the second game 11-6, and rapidly carried on his
momentum by taking the third game 11-1.
As the match progressed, it was more evident that the Egyptian
was finding his form and the American was looking more and more
helpless as he could not answer his opponent’s deception and
anticipation, as evidenced by the numerous times he was set the
wrong way. The crowd was pleased by Gawad’s performance as he
took the final game 11-6.
Tsz Fung Yip 3-2 Adrian Waller
The first match of the night on court 2 opposed Englishmen
Adrian Waller to the Hong Kong representative Tsz Fung Yip. It
was a battle of contrasting styles as Yip was looking to utilize
his agility to fend off his opponent’s height advantage. The
beginning of the match was heavily contested as Yip showed how
comfortable he was moving on court and took the first game
The hardly fought first game prompted the left-handed Waller to
adjust his style, and was rewarded for it initially as the Hong
Kong representative had a much harder time reaching the
Englishmen’s well-placed volleys. This allowed him to
comfortably take the second game 11-3. Yip offered a better
performance in the third game and was able to extend the
rallies. While it was a valiant effort, it was not enough to
prevent Waller from taking the third game 11-8.
After being off to a strong start in the fourth, the sixth seed
seemed to be less consistent than his opponent as he grew
frustrated with Yip’s retrieving abilities. Yip battled on, and
was able to come up big during the crucial points, as he made a
remarkable comeback and saved multiple match balls to take the
fourth 12-10. The momentum was definitely on the Hong Kong’s
representative side, as he was able to upset the increasingly
frustrated sixth seed of the tournament 11-7 in the fifth.
Todd Harrity 3-0 Alfredo Avila
It was an all North-American face-off that was scheduled next on
court one as the top ranked American Todd Harrity, a qualifier,
was set to play against his Mexican rival Alfredo Avila.
It was Harrity who was able to find form first, as he seemed
well-tuned from his preceding qualifying matches and was able to
limit the speedy Avila’s shot selection. The qualifier showcased
his ability to move his opponent around, and deservedly took the
first game 11-7. T
he American was able to maintain court advantage, and presented
a wide array of shots to successfully prevent Avila from
threatening and keeping him on the run. Avila’s ability to stay
in the rallies certainly earned him quite a few points, but it
would prove to not be enough as Harrity claimed the second 11-9.
The eight seed, who was participating in his first main draw
performance of 2016, was left disappointed as he could not find
ways to threaten the American in the third game. Harrity surged
to an early lead and would never look behind as he upset the
Mexican 11-6 in the third.
Tom Richards 3-0 David Baillargeon
It was an exceptional moment for fan favourite David Baillargeon,
as he was set to play against Tom Richards, 23rd in the world,
in front of his home crowd at the MAA.
The Quebec City native was off to a rocky start as he seemed
content to extend the rallies against the third seed, who is
looking to shake off a second round loss in his previous
tournament in Chicago. Richards was able to establish a strong
court position, but the Canadian was determined to fight for
every point. Baillargeon’s ability to survive earned him a few
points from Richards’ unforced errors, but these were too far in
between and the Englishmen took the first game 11-5.
The crowd was certainly on the Canadian’s side, as they
expressed their satisfaction when their favorite was able to
finish off some hard fought points early in the second. However,
Richards’ experience came in handy as he was able to remain
composed through the wildcard’s attempts to get back in the
game. Ultimately, the third seed was able to successfully
contain Baillargeon and limit his attacking opportunities, and
letting the 19 year old do most of the running. Richards was
able to successfully play spoilers as he took the last two games
11-5 and 11-6.
Gregoire Marche 3-0 Lucas Serme
Le prochain match sur le court 1 mettait en vedette les deux
représentants français du tournoi : Grégoire Marche, classé 27e
au monde affrontait son compatriote Lucas Serme, classé 38e. Il
s’agit du 4e tournoi de 2016 pour ces deux joueurs.
Ce fut Marche, un habitué de l’évènement montréalais, qui fût en
mesure de s’imposer en premier à la suite de plusieurs longs
échanges. La quatrième tête de série a démontré qu’il était
capable de déplacer son adversaire à la suite de plusieurs longs
échanges. Il a rapidement pris les devants 6-0, avant que la
foule n’assiste finalement au réveil de Serme, qui s’est
approché à 7- 4. Le réveil n’allait pas s’arrêter là, alors que
Serme ira même jusqu’à s’offrir deux balles de partie. Marche
devra multiplier les plongeons acrobatiques pour survivre, et
s’approprier la première partie 12-10.
La deuxième partie se déroula de façon similaire, alors que
Marche fut encore en mesure de prendre l’initiative sur Serme en
début de partie. Les échanges furent de longue durée, alors que
les deux adversaires semblaient être en mesure de se
neutraliser. La foule était impressionnée par les qualités
athlétiques des deux joueurs. Marche, qui célèbre aujourd’hui
son 26e anniversaire, était en mesure de mieux terminer ses
échanges et cela lui a permis de prendre la deuxième partie
11-6. Serme semblait avoir de la difficulté à bien entamer ses
parties, et le natif de Valence était encore en mesure de
prendre une avance rapide. Malgré une autre poussée tardive, le
38e joueur au monde n’était pas en mesure d’empêcher Marche de
gagner l’ultime partie 11-9. La foule a certainement apprécié le
match, qui a duré 60 minutes.
Leo Au 3-1 Chris Binnie
The third match of the night on court 2 opposes qualifier
Christopher Binnie to Leo Au of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong representative was off to a fast start, as he was
able to find solutions to the Jamaican’s attacks. His fluid
court movement served him well and Au was able to survive a late
comeback attempt to take it 11-9. Binnie revised his tactics and
was determined to keep fighting in the second game. He was
working extremely hard to match Au’s retrieving abilities, and
even managed to grab the second game 11-9.
The third game was, again, evenly disputed. Au kept finding ways
to stay in rallies as he was being pressured by the Jamaican,
who certainly tried to use his height advantage. His ability to
survive repetitive attacks frustrated Binnie, who started to
look like the more tired player. The Hong Kong representative
was able to cling on to grab the third 12-10. Binnie, who had to
go through a tough match against Haycocks in the qualifiers,
looked exhausted in the fourth game, and Au took advantage of
this by taking the fourth 11-4.
Nafiizwan Adnan 3-0 Shawn Delierre
In the final match of the night on court one, local Shawn
Delierre was squaring off with the 7th seed of the tournament,
Nafizwan Adnan from Malaysia.
The Canadian had a slow start, and was often left exposed to the
Malaysian’s attacks. Delierre seemed off his game after his
grueling qualification match against Makin, and had trouble
following the pace set by Adnan. The first game was certainly
shorter than what Delierre is accustomed to, which he conceded
11-6. As the match progressed, the Malaysian still seemed to
have the upper hand, and was in control of the rallies, much to
the disarray of the crowd. The second game ended in an identical
fashion, 11-6 for the Malaysian.
The Montreal representative gave a glimpse of hope to the crowd
in the beginning of the third as he was able to string a few
successive quality rallies. This would however prove to not be
enough, as the seventh seed calmly weathered the storm and
clinched a place in the quarter finals by taking the third game
11-7, and knocking out the last Canadian hope in the tournament.
Ali Farag 3-1 Laurens Jan Anjema
In the last match of the night on court 2, the second seed Ali
Farag from Cairo was playing against Laurens Jan Anjema from Den
Haag. This was a rematch from the Sharm el Sheikh Championship
in 2015, where Farag was able to dispatch Anjema 3-0.
Anjema was certainly out to avenge this loss, and started the
match by being able to match the Egyptian on court. Farag, much
like his Egyptian counterpart Gawad, seemed take a little bit of
time to adapt to the court, and was hitting quite a few unusual
mistakes. The Dutch , with a strong start, was able to surprise
Farag and take the first game 11-8.
The Egyptian, much like Gawad in the earlier match, seemed to
find his form during the second game. The winner of the 2016
Motor City Open was able to up his game, and Anjema rapidly
found himself in difficulty. Farag was able to build on his
lead, and take the second game 11-8 to come back all square.
Anjema began to show signs of fatigue in the third game, and the
Egyptian quickly capitalized on his opponent’s weakness by
grabbing the third 11-4.At this point, the damage was done, and
the second seed’s clinical display was too much for Anjema to
handle, who was eliminated after losing the fourth 11-4.
Karim Abdel Gawad
Yip Tsz Fung
02-Mar, Qualifying Finals:
Qualifying complete in Montreal
Qualifying finals at the Club Sportif MAA brought
victories for the US top two of Chris Gordon and
Todd Harrity, and upset win for Jamica's Chris Binnie, and a
typically long four-game win for Canada's Shawn Delierre ...
Eric Belanger reports
Todd Harrity 3-0Mike McCue
Harrity, who had defeated Canadian Thomas King in the previous
qualifying round, picked up where he left the preceding day by
rapidly imposing his rhythm in the match. He was able to
establish court dominance over his second Canadian opponent, who
was searching for answers. This resulted in a quick game that
ended in the American’s favor 11-2.
McCue varied his shots in the beginning of the second game but
Harrity always seemed to have an answer to McCue’s attacks. The
top qualifying seed seemed to be able to predict where the
Canadian wanted to send the ball, and was able to run off with
the second game 11-3. Harrity took advantage of every
opportunity offered by McCue to finish off rallies in the third
game. The Canadian wasn’t able to keep up with the pressure, and
the first seed was comfortably able to take it 11-5.
Chris Gordon 3-0 Joe Chapman
second match of the night sees New York native Christopher
Gordon take on the British Virgin Islands representative Joe
Chapman. The American cruised to a big opening lead as Chapman
couldn’t settle himself in the game, with Gordon able to
capitalize on the sixth seed’s numerous mistakes. A late
resurgence from Chapman proved to be too little, too late as he
served out on game point and Gordon took the game 11-5.
The second game was more evenly contested, as both players
brought up the intensity early on, leading to numerous
interference calls. Chapman seemed more composed and was able to
drag the rallies long enough to force his opponent into
committing mistakes. However, the British Virgin Islands
representative strung a series of unforced errors in the last
portion of the game, allowing the American to take it 11-8.
The third game started in sloppy fashion as both players seemed
out of rhythm. Gordon was able to get on his game first as he
forced his opponent into committing more mistakes. Like his
preceding match against local Jason Delierre, Gordon finished
his rallies in remarkable fashion, much to the disarray of
Chapman. Gordon ended up taking the game 11-7.
Chris Binnie 3-0 Jaymie Haycocks
The match started evenly disputed, and the Jamaican was the
first to take initiative by taking advantage of a few fortuitous
bounces. Haycocks was able to regain composure and storm back as
both players were keen on establishing their presence on the
court. The Englishmen took advantage of a few errors from the
Jamaican to take the first 11-7.
The second game started off with Haycocks applying heavy
pressure on Binnie, who did well to limit the damage by
extending the rallies. The Englishmen was initially rewarded for
his initiative, grabbing an early advantage in the game. Binnie
did well to counter Haycocks’ pressure and come back into the
game, and managed to counter his opponent decisively, taking the
second game 11-9.
Haycocks lost his composure as he piled on mistakes, allowing
the Jamaican to take an important lead by rapidly grabbing the
third game 11-2. Haycocks temporarily calmed down at the
beginning of the game, slowing the rallies. Haycocks again
seemed to lose the edge in the later portion of the game as
Binnie came back and upset the winner of the previous PSA event
held in Montreal, 11-9 in the fourth.
Shawn Delierre 3-1 Joel Makin
The last match of the night sees local favourite Shawn Delierre,
Canada’s top ranked player, squaring off with Joel Makin from
Wales. The match started off with long rallies and the players
showcasing their retrieving capabilities, much to the delight of
the crowd. The local favorite, known for his grueling style, was
able to move Makin around court and create enough opportunities
to capture the first game 11-8 in a long, hard-fought 24
minutes. Makin came out strong in the second, seizing an early
advantage through well-worked rallies.
Delierre’s experience allowed him to come back in the game, by
successfully managing to counter the youngster’s attacks. The
Welshman managed to resist the local favorite's surge, and took
the second 11-9. The Canadian came into the third aggressively,
which took his opponent off guard. Delierre’s tactics frustrated
the Welshman’s who started to accumulate errors as the game
dragged on. The fan favorite was able to keep his lead and take
it 11-7. The fourth game started in the same vein, with both
players still often tangling into each other. Delierre was the
calmer and less affected player as he cruised to a big 7-2 lead.
The match was interrupted for a while due to a blood injury
(small cut on a knee) to Makin as he was attempting a comeback.
Ultimately, Shawn was able to stave off the Welshman’s momentum
and qualified for the main draw by taking the fourth 11-8 and
the match 3-1. The crowd was ecstatic with their favorite's
performance, in a grueling match that lasted 102 minutes and
featured 65 calls.
Eric Belanger reports
The last $35k Montreal Open was held in
Oct 2014, with a $5k invitational event held in Dec 2015.
Mike McCue 3-0 Sebastien Boucley
The Montreal Squash Open 2016’s qualifications started up on
Tuesday with Michael McCue, the 8th seed of the qualifying round
clashing against a local favorite, Sebastien Boucley. The match
started with McCue dictating the play, essentially moving
Sebastien around with a wide array of shots. Boucley was able to
hang in the rallies, but was doing most of the work with the
eight seed establishing his dominance at the middle of the
court. The first game ended 11-7 for McCue, with a visibly
exhausted Sebastien stepping off the court.
The second game was a little bit more of the same, with the
Ontario representative still dictating most of the rallies and
moving Sebastien around. Ultimately, Seb's energy level visibly
began to drop, and the unforced errors started to pile up which
offered a healthy lead for McCue. The second game finished
quickly with a score of 11-2.
The third game was similar, with McCue, who was a finalist at
the last MAA Invitational in December, able to take a
comfortable early lead. Sebastien was not able to find an answer
to McCue’s dominance, who quickly grabbed the third game 11-3.
Shawn Delierre 3-0 David Phillips
Two old rivals were clashing off on court 1!
The match started off a little slow, with both players taking a
while to settle into the match. Phillips showed some impressive
offensive display and was able to surprise Shawn, known for
being an extremely fast and resilient player, with some
well-placed drops. The first game required a tiebreaker to
separate the two players, with Delierre surviving two game balls
before being able to take it 15-13.
The second started in a similar fashion: David was pressing
Shawn with some well-placed drop shots, while Shawn was using
his stamina to stay in the rallies and wait for an opening. His
impressive retrieving skills were really the deciding factor, as
he was also able to catch Phillips off guard with a couple of
drop shots from the back. Canada’s top ranked player was able to
come back from an early deficit to capture the second game 11-9.
In the third game, Shawn was able to utilize some great
placement shots to grab an early lead at 5-1. Phillips however
was still willing to fight for this match, and capitalized on a
couple of unforced errors from Shawn to close down his lead and
come back to 5 all, sending Shawn the wrong way on multiple
occasions with some deceptive shots. However, nearing the end of
the game, Shawn’s fitness proved to be the difference as he was
able to close off the court well after Phillips tried to apply
pressure, and Shawn was able tot ake the third game 11-8.
Joe Chapman 3-0 Tommy Scott
Our following match on court one had Montreal's top junior
player Tommy Scott (aged 17) playing against the sixth seed, Joe
Chapman from the Virgin British Islands.
Early on in the match, Chapman proved to be the more consistent
player. Even though Scott was able to aggressively grab a few
rallies with some inch-perfect drop shots, the majority of the
points were dictated by the sixth seed. He was able to keep
Scott from attacking by keeping him at the back, and
establishing positional advantage on the court. The 99th world
ranked player was able to string a series of points, cruising to
a 11-6 advantage in the first game.
In the second game, Scott looked a little nervous on court and
strung a couple of unforced errors, allowing Chapman to build a
big lead. After a comical trade-off of missed serves, the sixth
seed consistency allowed him to make a statement by taking the
second game 11-3.
Scott entered the third game strongly, able to establish a
couple of well executed offensive shots and grab an early lead.
However, this advantage was short-lived as a series of unforced
errors ultimately cost the youngster his lead, and ultimately
the match as the third game reflected the experience gap between
the two players. Chapman ended up taking the game 11-6, and the
Chris Gordon 3-0 Jason Delierre
The next match on court 2 was played between Jason Delierre from
Montreal and Christopher Gordon from New York, ranked 57th in
The match started off with some long rallies which allowed the
players to showcase their impressive retrieving capabilities as
well as their nifty footwork. Both players were able to move the
ball around the court. However the American’s finishing touch on
a lot of these rallies proved to be too much for the local
Montrealer. Gordon managed to pick up the first game 11-6.
The second game played out in a similar fashion, with Gordon
capitalizing on most of the opportunities to end the rally. This
allowed him to take an early advantage in the score, and was
able to protect his lead and take the second game 11-6 as well.
The third game saw both players still willing to leave it all
out on court. Delierre, eager to impress his home crowd, was
able to take an early lead with some well constructed rallies.
However, winning those points began to take its toll, and the
57th world ranked American was able to recover and come back in
this game. The players were even at 5, until Gordon was able to
show his fitness advantage, 11-5 in the third game, taking the
Jaymie Haycocks 3-1 Joeri Hapers
Jaymie Haycocks was back on the courts where he won a 5k event
this past December.
He started out on the offensive and was rewarded with an early
lead in the first game. It was his defensive capabilities that
were then showcased, staving off a lot of the pressure Hapers
tried to bring into the game. The Englishmen was able to
comfortably take the first game 11-5. The second played out
similarly, with Haycocks absorbing the Belgian’s pressure well
and showing excellent counter-attacking skills.
Hapers did mount a comeback, but ultimately went down 11-8 . The
Belgian started off the third game strongly, and roared to a 8-3
lead. However, Haycocks finally found his composure and was able
to come back to 8-8. Ultimately, Hapers managed to take the
game, in a fortunate frame shot, 11-9. Haycocks started the
fourth game strongly and made amends for the third game by
grabbing an early commanding lead. Hapers was never really in it
in the 4th and Haycocks took the game 11-5 and the match 3-1.
Chris Binnie 3-0 Sam Gould
Binnie started the match by putting the American under
tremendous pressure. As a matter of fact, the only saving grace
for the American was an unforced error at 10-0. Binnie took the
first game 11-3. The second game was a lot closer, with Gould
showing more presence in the rallies. However, the Jamaican
upped his game on the crucial points at 7-5, and ran off
deservedly with the second game 11-7. The third game again
showed Binnie’s dominance, as he had answers to everything Gould
did. Ultimately, the fifth seed took the third game 11-5 and the
Todd Harrity 3-0 Thomas King
The 8:30 match on court 2 opposed Thomas King from Regina and
the first seed, Todd Harrity from USA. The American rapidly
imposed his rhythm, and was able to keep the Canadian away from
the middle of the court. This allowed him to seize an early
commanding lead, and ultimately taking the first game 11-3. The
second game was more of the same, with Harrity again controlling
play, with the Canadian only able to look for ways to survive.
Harrity rapidly took the second game 11-2. The third game saw
Harrity again take an early lead, but King finally found a way
back in the game and brought back the score to 6-7. This would
prove to be the Canadian’s last ditch effort in the match, as
Harrity regained composure and managed to finish off the match
with a score of 11-9 in the third.
Joel Makin 3-0 Lewis Walters
The last match of the night opposed Joel Makin, the seventh seed
and Lewis Walters from Jamaica. The first game was played at a
frantic pace, and there was not much separating the two players.
The rallies were long and grueling, with both players moving
well on the court. Ultimately, towards the later stages of the
game, Makin was able to capitalize on opportunities given by the
Jamaican and was able to take the first game 11-8.
The second game was lopsided in the Welshmen’s favor, with
Walters seemingly tired from the first game. The seventh seed
was able to take control of the rallies taking the second game
11-2. The third started off evenly between both players but at
3-all, a couple of errors from the Jamaican put Makin in a
commanding position. He was able to close off his opponent, and
establish control of the court on his way to an 11-5 win.