Montreal 2016

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Montreal Open 2016
01-06 Mar, Club Sportif MAA, Montreal, Canada, $35k

06-Mar, Final:

Ali Farag  (Egy) 3-2 [1] 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.

Starting off with a nice fluid rhythm, both players were moving around each other with ease, and playing through any small interference.

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 11-3.

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.

At 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.

A 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.

Farag 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 sportsmanlike professionals.

 TAGS : 2015 Invitational | 2014 Event | Montreal | Club Sportif MAA | Search

Montreal Open 2016
01-06 Mar, Montreal, Canada, $35k
Round One
03 Mar
04 Mar
05 Mar
06 Mar
[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
7/11, 11/6, 11/1, 11/6 (42m)
[Q] Chris Gordon (Usa)
[1] Karim Abdel Gawad

11/9, 20/18, 11/7 (37m)

Tsz Fung Yip
[1] Karim Abdel Gawad

11/8, 11/7, 11/9 (39m)

[3] Tom Richards

[1] Karim Abdel Gawad


3/11 , 18/16 , 9/11 , 11/6 , 11/7 (97m)


[2] Ali Farag

[6] Adrian Waller (Eng)
12/10, 3/11, 8/11, 12/10, 11/7 (74m)
Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg)
[8] 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)

[3] Tom Richards
[3] Tom Richards (Eng)
11/5, 11/5, 11/6 (25m)
[wc] David Baillargeon (Can)
Lucas Serme (Fra)
12/10, 11/6, 11/9 (60m)
[4] Gregoire Marche (Fra)
[4] Gregoire Marche

11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (49m)

[5] Leo Au
[4] Gregoire Marche

11/4, 11/3, 11/2 (41m)

[2] Ali Farag

[Q] Chris Binnie (Jam)
11/9, 9/11, 12/10, 11/4 (53m)
[5] Leo Au (Hkg)
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
11/6, 11/6, 11/7 (35m)
[7] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
[7] Nafiizwan Adnan

11/9, 14/12, 7/11, 13/11 (60m)

[2] Ali Farag
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/4 (50m)
[2] 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 (42m)
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

06-Mar, Final:

Ali Farag  (Egy) 3-2 [1] 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 11-4.

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 there!

04-Mar, Quarters:
Top four through to semis

Eric Belanger reports

Tom Richards 3-1 Todd Harrity

The 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 second 11-9.

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 11-6.

Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Tsz Fung Yip

The 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 11-7.

Gregoire Marche 3-0 Leo Au

The 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

The last match of the night was between Egyptian Ali Farag and Nafiizwan Adnan, victor over crowd favorite Shawn Delierre yesterday.

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 game 11-7.

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 12-10.

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

Todd Harrity

Tom Richards

Greg Marche

Nafiizwan Adnan

Ali Farag

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

The 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.

01-Mar, Qualifying Round One:
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 match 3-0.

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 world.

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 match 3-0.

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 match 3-0.

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.


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