Montreal Open 2018

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Montreal Open 2019
26 Feb - 03 Mar, Canada, $25k

03-Mar, Final:
Top seed Borja bags Montreal title

Runa Reta reports

In the very first point, the #1 seeded Borja Golan started with three quick boasts, as if testing the movement of his Malaysian opponent. Seeing that it was okay, the two proceeded to play what seemed like a game of eternal long-ball, both wanting to squeeze something loose off of straight length to mount their attack.


I have to say, it was really nice to see Golan smiling and making a few light-hearted comments to the ref (poor Rafa Kandra again) early on, a change from the tension he displayed in his last few matches. But perhaps that had something to do with the fact that he was playing against one of the most sportsman players on tour (in my opinion).

There was not much in it in the first, but the Malaysian Tiger (trademark!) had an effective strategy of lifting the ball and giving himself plenty of time to reset on the T, patiently waiting to pounce on any lapse in the Spaniard’s accuracy. At 5-all, Adnan pulled away by a few points, and was able to secure the first 11-9.

Adnan started the second with two beautifully measured points, only to follow with two inexplicably impatient errors. Coming away from his strategy of hitting high and soft, the Spaniard seized on the dip in his opponent’s concentration to masterfully control across the middle and storm to a quick 7-2 lead.

Despite a few impressive winners off the Malaysian’s racquet, it was clear that the gap was too large (especially against a player of Golan’s quality) and thus conceded the second, 11-4. El torro jutted out his chin (a la Gauthier), showing that he had officially sunk his horns into the match.

Golan started the third by effectively peppering in quick variations to his long game, while Adnan tried to get back to lifting the ball. The two players, who were more amicable at the beginning of the match, were now starting to get slightly annoyed with each other, surely understanding how important it was to get every possible advantage to win this third game.

Adnan pulled to a 7-5 lead, which followed with the longest point of the match, ending in a questionable stroke for the Spaniard. Another brutal rally at 9-8, where Adnan must have won the point three times before the ball came right back to Golan who screamed ‘no!’ to the ref, before smiling and realizing that it was obviously a stroke.

That slight release of tension was all it took for the Spaniard to get his head back in and play two beautiful points, ending on a heart-wrenching forehand flick that skidded away from the Malaysian. He took the third 11-9.

Even though the Tiger was the first back on court, it was el torro who started quicker of the two, taking an early 4-1 lead. Adnan, who was breathing heavier than his older opponent, dug in deep, lifting the ball again and closing the court down as best as he could.

He got back to 5-all, but his attacks to the front started to lose some of their bite. Meanwhile, the Spaniard started playing Adnan’s game, lifting high and straight, except for he was doing it with greater accuracy, and was picking off the loose shots with more severe effect. Golan played 4 or 5 incredibly precise and patient rallies to give himself a 10-6 lead.

At match ball, Golan gave Adnan a bear hug trying to get to the next shot, to which both had a good chuckle, the respect between both players strongly evident. It only took one shot for Borja Golan to finish the match 11-6 and become the Montreal Open Champion for a second time in his career.

It was a fantastic display of squash from two veterans over the age of 30, showing incredible skill, athleticism and dedication to their sport. The Montreal crowd is very appreciative.​

Streaming & Replays

Montreal Open 2019
26 Feb - 03 Mar, Canada, $25k
Round One
28 Feb
01 Mar
02 Mar
03 Mar
[1] Borja Golan (Esp)
11/5, 11/9, 11/6
Chris Hanson (Usa)
[1] Borja Golan

8/11, 11/6, 11/5, 11/7

[7] Arturo Salazar
[1] Borja Golan

11/6, 9/11, 11/8, 11/6 (76m)

[4] Campbell Grayson

32nd PSA title for Borja

[1] Borja Golan


9/11, 11/4, 11/9, 11/6 (72m)


[6] Nafiizwan Adnan


[7] Arturo Salazar (Mex)
11/5 rtd
[Q] Alfredo Avila (Mex)
[8] Todd Harrity (Usa)
15/13, 11/5, 12/10
Richie Fallows (Eng)
[8] Todd Harrity

8/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/4, 11/8

[4] Campbell Grayson
[4] Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11/4, 11/4, 11/8
Shawn Delierre (Can)
[wc] David Baillargeon (Can)
11/7, 11/6, 11/4
[3] Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
[3] Karim Ali Fathi

11/13, 6/11, 11/3, 11/3, 11/4

[6] Nafiizwan Adnan
[6] Nafiizwan Adnan

9/11, 11/7, 11/9, 11/3 (87m)

[5] Raphael Kandra

[Q] Jesus Camacho (Mex)
11/7, 11/7, 11/7
[6] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
[Q] Ramit Tandon (Ind)
11/9, 11/6, 11/9
[5] Raphael Kandra (Ger)
[5] Raphael Kandra

11/6, 5/11, 6/11, 11/8, 11/7

[Q] Baptiste Masotti
[Q] Baptiste Masotti (Fra)
11/8, 11/8, 4/11, 9/11, 11/8
[2] Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)
Qualifying, 26-27 Feb:

Jesus Camacho (Mex) 3-0 Alister Walker (Bot)                          11-3, 11-6, 11-9
Ramit Tandon (Ind) 3-0 Emyr Evans (Wal)                                11-7, 11-4, 11-4
Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 3-2 Andrew Schnell (Can)       7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2
Alfredo Avila (Mex) 3-1 Auguste Dussourd (Fra)                11-9, 3-11, 11-4, 11-6

Round One:
Jesus Camacho (Mex) 3-0 Jason Delierre (Can)                     11-5, 11-5, 11-3
Alister Walker (Bot) 3-1 Juan Camilo Vargas (Col)        11-5, 7-11, 14-12, 11-7
Emyr Evans (Wal) 3-1 Robertino Pezzota (Arg)        11-13, 14-12, 12-10, 11-8
Ramit Tandon (Ind) 3-0 Eric Dingle (Can)                            11-2, 11-3, 11-3
Andrew Schnell (Can) 3-0 Charlie Lee (Eng)                         11-7, 11-7, 11-7
Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 3-2 Daniel Mekbib (Cze)    11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9
Alfredo Avila (Mex) 3-0 Mike McCue (Can)                            11-7, 11-6, 11-3
Auguste Dussourd (Fra) 3-0 Cameron Seth                         11-8, 11-9, 11-8
02-Mar, Semis:
More Marathons in Montreal

Runa Reta reports

Nafizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-1 Raphael Kandra (87m)

The first semi-final match started in front of a packed crowd, the two players feeling each other out with long rallies, and the Malaysian clearly trying to pick on the left-handed German’s backhand.

But Kandra hung in tough, absorbing the pressure and patiently waiting for an opportunity to apply pressure. A few squeezes off of tight straight drops allowed the German to pull out the first game 11-9.

Adnan came flying out of the gates in the second, taking a 6-1 lead by not only going to the German’s backhand, but also mixing up the pace - quick at times, slow and high at others. It paid dividends as the Malaysian pulled away with a 4-point lead and was able to win the second 11-7.

The third game was neck and neck, with some incredibly long rallies, but it seemed that every brutal exchange finished with the Malaysian on top. At 9-all, a key error allowed Adnan to edge forward and stick his nose ahead 11-9.

The first few rallies of the fourth were fast and furious, with the German trying to pump himself up. But at about 3-2, Kandra started showing signs of slowing and the supremely fit Adnan capitalized.

Taking the ball in short as much as he could, he could smell victory, finishing off the match 11-3.

Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 Campbell Grayson (Nzl) (76m)

The second semi-final started a bit slower, with both players trying to establish their length and jockey for position on the T. The two seemed ready to play patiently, not forcing the issue too much.

But it was el torro whose shots were that much tighter, and the occasional hold seemed to keep the Kiwi in a constant state of uncertainty. Grayson tried to force the pace a bit more in the second, looking to pair excellent length with a quick counter-drop. It worked, as he started pulling away, getting an 8-3 lead. Golan was getting quite annoyed (at one point staring at his racquet and blaming it for all his woes) but as a typical champion, he dug in and committed himself to chipping away at the lead, with one-point-at-a-time squash.

Proceedings started to unravel a bit at 9-all, with a number of let calls that had the Spaniard giving his best puppy dog look when trying to convince the player ref (the German Kandra) to change his decisions. A long rally that was beautifully played by Grayson left the Spaniard unable to return the ball after a full-out sprint on the diagonal.

Grayson took the second 11-9 with a huge roar and fist pump. Golan started the stronger of the two in the third, taking a 6-1 lead, until interference started to play a part again, with both players coming off the court to argue their case to the judge (ref). At one point, a double bounce was called by the ref which Grayson challenged, imploring him to check the video review on the screen to see the obviously good ball.

But it was unclear whether the ref should be using it, and so he went with what he saw. It was a tense affair, with one player getting hit on the take-back, another taking a tumble at one point, and overall, a lot more drama than in the first match.

The Kiwi made a valiant attempt to recover from a 10-7 lead, but was unable to, as Golan took the 4th 11-8. The fourth game was another close affair, with both standing on the ball a bit too much for the other’s liking, and creating a lot of traffic in the front and mid-court.

Grayson showed signs of slowing at about the mid-way mark, and a rally ending in him splayed on the floor, betrayed his fatigue. The stealthy Spaniard charged ahead, ending the math on a wrist-breaking flick that left his opponent hailing a cab in the opposite direction.

Streaming & Replays

01-Mar, Quarters:
Marathon quarters in Montreal

Runa Reta reports

Raphael Kandra (Ger) 3-2 Baptiste Masotti (Fra)

With the exception of a strapping to his knee, Masotti picked up where he left off last night looking very comfortable on the courts and making good use of the hard straight kill.

But the lefty German was just getting warmed up, and after some lengthy exchanges in the middle of the game, pulled away to take the 1st, 11-6. The second started similarly, with the Frenchman continuing his tactic of hitting hard and straight, and going more onto the German’s backhand, which started to pay dividends.

After winning the point at 8-4, Masotti clenched both his fist and teeth (and maybe other parts of his body) to the crowd, showing that he was well up for this match. He took the second 11-5. Kandra looked a bit nervy at the start of the 3rd, making a few early errors and getting into trouble off of loose cross-courts.

Meanwhile, Masotti seemed to be inspired by the squash gods, playing a number of outrageous points and looking confident that he could slot the ball into the nick from virtually every part of the court. He finished the 3rd, 11-6, with the German slamming the ball into the tin off the serve out of frustration.

More of the same continued in the 4th until 3-4, where a disputed let call led to both players trying to explain the rules of squash to one another. Then a slight slip on the court by Masotti at 4-all and a look of concern to his corner was all it took for the momentum to switch back to the German.

Though he still fired in a few winners, it was not enough as Kandra ran away with the 4th game. All credit to Masotti – he never once doubted his strategy of blisteringly attacking play. He took an early 4-1 lead... but would it be enough? The German started clawing away at the lead and G’ing himself up between points, while the near-perfect forehand straight drops and kills of Masotti started to find the tin for the first time.Kandra hung in to take the fifth 11-7.

The Frenchman took a long breath and stared forlornly at the wall before shaking Kandra’s hand (and tapping his butt- perhaps a French thing he learned from Gauthier). It was a wonderful effort from Baptiste Masotti who will be able to take a lot away from his week in Montreal.

Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-2 Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)​

Watching the slender, unassuming Egyptian dressed in red versus the muscular, thunder-thigh Malaysian in blue, I felt like I was watching an Xbox game.

The two were attacking and retrieving at a furious pace and moving each other from corner to corner. Despite a number of errors off of Fathi’s racquet, he showed a slight bit more of firepower to narrowly take the first.

The second started much the same, with a mix of all-out-attack and incredible retrieving that was impressive to watch. The rallies were so lengthy in the first few points that I started to wonder whether I could bill the tournament director extra, since I knew that I was going to be here all night. Or so I thought.

The Egyptian started to cut down on his errors and really start to hurt the Malaysian, particularly on his counter from the front. He pulled away relatively unscathed, taking the second 11-6. Karim Ali Fathi reminds me of an eager puppy who just can’t wait to get to the ball (tail wagging) and stick his teeth into it as hard as he can. While I love how he throws his whole spirit into every attacking onslaught, I am unsure if any of his coaches has ever showed him how to lob. And to play like he does is exhausting.

This point was proved in the third as Adnan adjusted to the Egyptian’s game and just kept getting balls back, while the Egyptian committed a ton of errors. The Malaysian took the third 11-3. In the 4th, Adnan stepped up the court and was intent on getting onto Fathi’s short attacks as quickly as possible.

After a brutal rally at 3-2, the supremely fit-looking Malaysian started to pull away, while the playful puppy looked to visibly slow (tired of chasing the tennis ball I suppose). Adnan took the 4th 11-3. How would it all end in the 5th? Did the Egyptian have enough in the gas tank to trouble the incredibly solid and experienced Malaysian?

After an early error, Fathi yelled out an expletive, and followed with ‘Stop being soft!’ While he tried to play more measured and patient squash, it was evident that the Egyptian was slowing. At 2-3, the Egyptian stood so far behind the T after a boast that he may have been having a beer with the spectators on the stands.

And so the writing was on the wall. The experienced 30-year-old continued at a steady pace, closing out 11- 4 against a 24-year-old opponent who has talent en masse, but will need a good deal of doggy training before he reaches his full potential.

Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 3-2 Todd Harrity (Usa)

I’m not going to lie; I didn’t watch the first game and a half, so instead I will regale you with a story. Yvon (the tournament director) told me how at the start of the tournament, Harrity lamented to him about not seeming to be able to win a match recently.

After his first round win, he said to Yvon that making that admission out loud is sometimes what we need to do in order to break the spell. So with that, I assume that the American came out with a renewed sense of confidence in his abilities against his higher-ranked Kiwi opponent, taking the first 11-8.

Grayson, with lovely hands and soft touch to the front, equalized in the second, aided by a few costly errors by Harrity, who otherwise was playing a sound game. The lean American looked to twist and turn his stockier opponent in the 3rd, and was having a good deal of success holding the ball from the front. He strayed a bit from this strategy after the midway point, where a string of furious ragged play between the two ensued.

Harrity kept his nerve though, and was able to finish with a beautiful backhand drop into the nick, while Grayson could only lean onto the front wall, gasping for air. The Kiwi regained his length and thus control of the play in the 4th, with the American getting annoyed, as he seemed to struggle to get in front of his opponent.

At one point, Harrity complained that Grayson ‘keeps stepping on me’ after some basic traffic, and immediately realized how silly he sounded. The American’s focus was clearly thrown off, and Grayson was able to regain his groove, winning the game 11-4 off a lovely fading, forehand boast.

So a 3rd 5-set match in a row, and Yvon is now is going to have to cut into the prize money to pay me! Grayson continued with much better length than his opponent at the start of the 5th, the former’s balls continuing to catch the side wall and sitting up for the lethal Kiwi.

The other problem was that the American stopped holding and turning Grayson, preferring t o go straight on most of his attacks. To his credit, he reverted to sheer guts and determination to claw away at Grayson’s early lead.

The points became very tight, and then at 7-all, the point of the tournament happened, with the crowd falling out of their seats and our live stream commentator accidentally murmuring an expletive on air. Harrity was able to grab one last point before a few crucial squeezes from the Kiwi allowed him to finish off the match 11-8.

A fantastic display of squash that received a standing ovation from the full house.

Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 Arturo Salazar (Mex)

The last match started at 9pm, and I tried to give the Spaniard The Nod which means: ‘’Go on, chop chop’’ because I’m not sure that I could bear another 5-setter.

But clearly Golan did not learn this universal sign, while Arturo Salazar – Cesar’s evil twin (ok, I don’t really know if he is evil) – looked well up for the late-night match, springing around the court and confidently chopping the ball in short.

At 7-4 for Salazar, Golan told the ref that there was something wrong with the ball, but Salazar refused to change it. But let’s be clear, this was a defective ball, as it was flying through the air quite lopsidedly and neither could seem to get it to the back wall! Nevertheless, this 3/4 length game continued, with a whole lot of interference and animated discussions (worthy of mime school) occurring between the two players.

At game point, Golan complained that Salazar was making comments before let decisions were being made, to which I gave him the universally-known roll of the eyes from front row. The Mexican drew first blood, getting on top of the Spaniard’s straight drop, fading it cross-court to take the first 11-8.

El torro started to get a handle on his opponent in the second, finding a way to get the dodgy ball a bit further to the back, and squeezing his opponent with some tight drives and drops. He took the second 11-6. A lot of interference continued in the 3rd, with both players trading points until a rally at 5-4 left Arturo sprayed out on the court, in a failed retrieval attempt.

In the following points, Golan gained firm control of the middle, pulling the Mexican around the court like a rag-doll and thus pushing through to win the 3rd, 11-5.

Golan stormed to a quick 3-0 lead in the 4th and took a long look over at his opponent, checking for signs of fatigue. The Spaniard – who would get the award for best racquet preparation any day of the week – started holding the ball with deadly effect, while the Mexican allowed this by going short far too early without setting it up with good length.

Golan thought that it was all over as he took a 6-0 lead, but the Mexican had a magical resurgence, making some incredible retrievals and coming back strong. At 5-7, the #1 seed showed how even he was mortal, catching his knee on a fairly easy put-away (a contender for shocker of the month) followed by a jumping crosscourt nick by the twin off of a Golan dive.

At 7-all, the top seed all of a sudden looked edgy again, but he did well to hold his nerve and stave off an impressive Arturo Salazar, taking the 4th 11-7 with a huge ‘Vamos!’

Streaming & Replays

28-Feb, Round One:
Masotti qualifies for Quarters

 Adi Mithani and Glen Chamberlain report

[Q] Baptiste Massotti 3-2 [2] Abdulla Al Tamini 

Both players took on the first game with solid lengths and tight shots. Abdulla was trying to put pressure on Baptiste, but to his demise kept on tinning a lot of his boasts.

The Frenchman remained consistent in his game play in the first round hitting many kills on loose balls and pocketing the first. Although Abdullla eventually brought the fire and fury in his shots and his movement but his accuracy started to suffer, giving Baptiste again the chance to hit his kills.

Early on in the fourth game, Baptiste was not so lucky with his body, as at the end of the fourth game, he injured his left leg. Even with that injury, Baptiste seemed to magically pull through and bring about an iron man type strength.

This game is definitely not for the faint hearted. In the most climactic final game, both players started to make incredible dives and questionable recoveries at the front. But Abdulla did not expect to lose on an interference stroke, eventually giving Baptiste a 3-2 win.

Borja Golan 3-0 Chris Hanson  

In this match, Golan and Hanson displayed amazing squash skills with super tight and lightning drives, diving lunges and solid drops. Eventually Hanson started to lose control of the ball, providing the open spaces required for Golan to close the deal.

Golan’s favorite shot, the volley boast caught Hanson giving him a solid start to the match. Early on in the second game, both Golan and Hanson had amazingly long rallies, with Hanson showing off his killer drop shots.

Despite his best efforts the younger Hanson, could not keep up with the power and skill of the experienced Golan.

Karim Ali Fathi 3-0 David Baillargeon

The promising young Canadian showed his wits and skills against the Egyptian, with strong low drives and tight drops but Karim was applying constant pressure with his length.

David was on the run most of the time and ended up playing more than 90% of his shots on the backhand. The Egyptian had adapted his strategy and was controlling the T, driving the ball in all four corners and hitting tight kills that required a fine-tooth comb to pick out.

David began to find his groove and his determination allowed him to stay competitive, but the skill and power of Karim, gave him the edge required to keep the lead and win the match.

Campbell Grayson 3-0 Shawn Delierre

Campbell dominated from start to finish and silenced the crowd that was all DeLierre. Shawn’s length was not consistent enough and gave way too many occasions to the kiwi to hit quality short shots.

And when Shawn went short, again his opponent was there quickly and able to use his subtle deception to get the upper hand on most of the rallies. Unfortunately for Shawn and his fans, today was not his day.

Todd Harrity 3-0 Ritchie Fallows

The first game between these players was very well-matched, with both guys feeling each other out with long, attacking rallies. The game culminated in a tie-break and Fallows demonstrated some very unsportsmanlike behaviour in a couple of heated arguments the match referee.

Todd eventually took the game, and showed great restraint and mental strength to ignore Fallows outburst and focus on the match. The 2nd game started with lots of errors from both players, and Fallows took a 3-minute injury break. After he returned to the court, Harrity generated a series of impressive volley drop winners and took the game 11-5, giving himself an important 2-0 lead.

The 3rd was neck and neck to 8-8 and included some great long rallies and strong play from both players. After a great rally at 8-8, Harrity took the next rally as well to give himself 2 match balls. Fallows saved the two match balls to even the score at 10-10, then failed to concede a clear double bounce in a rally that ended in a let and would’ve given Harrity another match ball.

Fortunately, fairness prevailed, and Harrity took the next 2 rallies to record an impressive 3-0 win.

Nafiizwan Adnan 3-0 Jesus Camacho

Camacho, the young 19-year-old from Mexico, came out extremely strong against Adnan, a top 40 in the world player, and really expressed himself on the volley with a strong 4-0 start.

Adnan respond well, however, and evened the score at 7-7 despite being on the receiving end of several let calls that looked pretty close to stroke decisions, and closed out the game 11-7. The 2nd began with some 50+ shot rallies, really opening up the lungs of both players and bringing physicality into play. There was also a lot of interaction with the referee from Adnan, who was convinced that he was being intentionally blocked by his opponent.

Adnan’s strong movement to the front of the court proved to be a strong asset, and capitalized on several errors from the young Mexican to take the second 11-7. Experience seemed to win the day in the 3rd game, with Adnan’s consistent squash proving deadly against the flashier but more error-prone Camacho.

While this young player undoubtedly has a strong future on the tour and made a good showing of himself today, in the end Adnan’s experience proved too much and he took the match 3-0.

Raphael Kandra 3-0 Ramit Tandon

Tandon, the qualifier from India, did not get off to a good start against the German-born Raphael Kandra, who played some extremely consistent squash to capitalize on too many errors from Tandon and take the first game.

The second also got away from Tandon, with Kandra looking extremely sharp, perhaps a warning sign to the other players in the draw that he will be hard to beat this tournament.

To his credit, Tandon played a great third game and hit some impressive winners, but Kandra continued with his strong volley game and capitalized to take the match in a tie-break.

Arturo Salazar 3-0 Alfredo Avila

Unfortunately, this match was marred by an injury to Avila sustained during his qualifying run. After a first game where he was clearly struggling to compete and move, he conceded the match.

Streaming & Replays

27-Feb, Qualifying Finals
Runa Reta reports

Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0 Emyr Evans (WAL)

It must be a nervy experience playing against Ramit Tandon. With such a loose swing and short backswing, the last thing you would want to do is give him time and space to hold and hit.

Evans unfortunately did just that in the first, not quite able to wrap his head around the Indian’s game. The Welshman looked to straighten the ball up in the second, which had a bit more success... the only problem was that Tandon didn’t seem to be phased at all, and was in fact able to hit with much finer weight of shot and control than his Karakal-clad opponent.

Evans’ frustration grew as the cool-as-a- cucumber Tandon marched through with a fine display of finesse and precision squash.

Jesus Camacho (MEX) 3-0 Alister Walker (BOT)

In this match, we had the strong and steady Walker up against the baby-faced baby, Jesus Camacho. Walker tried to set a solid pace in the first, while Camacho bounced around the court like a happy hare.

At 6-3 in the first, the Mexican went to the front left corner, set up for a backhand straight drop, then showed the backhand cross-court drop and finally played a forehand cross-court drop... (or at least that’s the best I can explain it - I love a good trick shot so I may have blacked out for a second there).

The crowd went wild. While that was the most deceptive the Mexican got, he did put on an impressive display of attacking firepower throughout, which he soundly threw in at the right times as a way of changing up the pace and keeping his opponent in a constant state of discomfort.

The Mexican was far too quick and motivated for the Botswanan, moving effortlessly around the court and only giving a glimmer of hope to Walker in the third, only to fall short on an anti-climatic stroke in the end, to the collective groan of the crowd.

An impressive performance by the young Camacho who – in addition to a number of groin-splitting lunges – is showing wisdom far beyond his young years.

Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 3-2 Andrew Schnell (CAN)

The Canadian started the calmer of the two players, mixing in effective boasts and drops from different parts of the court, while the Frenchman committed a number of errors that made the difference in the first.

Masotti stepped up the court in the second, looking to counter quickly off of Schnell’s drops, which paid dividends as he comfortably took the second. The third game started at a frenetic pace, with the quality becoming a bit loose and ragged, and errors creeping in from both players. The difference was that Masotti steadied the ship from midway in the game, while Schnell made some costly errors that allowed the chimney-sponsored Frenchman to slip away.

The red-headed Canadian glanced over to his corner, betraying a slight look of worry. But he would return to the court in the 4th with a new shirt as well as a new resolve, taking a quick 5-1 lead. Unfortunately, he started to overdo the straight drop a bit too much, which was getting him into trouble on the counter. At 6-all, the momentum seemed to have completely swung over to the fiery Frenchman, however, all credit to Andrew who played a number of gutsy points to get back on top and take the 4th.

Masotti was quick off the mark in the 5th, playing with assertiveness and urgency, while the Canadian unfortunately looked to panic a bit and go into reaction mode. The Frenchman raced through to win the game 11-2, pumping his fist in the air and saluting his French supporters.

Alfredo Avila (MEX) 3-1 Auguste Dussourd (FRA)

I’m not going to lie: I didn’t give Dussourd much of a chance in this match, but he surprised me, getting comfortable on the court much quicker than Avila did, and using his reach to cut off loose balls through the middle.

Even though he won the first narrowly, the Mexican appeared to tire in the second, not quite hitting his marks with the accuracy that I am used to seeing. Or fatigue is what I thought... the Mexican actually came out FLYING in the third, doing some serious court coverage and surprising even his opponent.

He raced to a 10-3 lead while Dussourd lamented ‘Je fais n’importe quoi’ (rough translation: I don’t know how squash works) and Avila finished with a behind the back-lethal boast combination to close out the 3rd.

It was more of the same for the Mexican in the 4th as he finally seemed to find his groove and crossed the finish line with relative ease. Avila looked relieved, while the only consolation for Dussourd is what I assume are the free beers that his sponsor Corona will supply him to drown his sorrows.​

Streaming & Replays

26-Feb, Qualifying Round One
Runa Reta reports

Alister Walker (BOT) 3-1 Camilo Vargas (COL)

Vargas must have not believed his eyes when he saw his first round match was against former number 12 in the world Alister Walker.

As expected, the Columbia squash coach came out looking strong, but he did have a bit of a bobble in the middle, calling into question whether he would have enough gas to get through a sprightly opponent.

With typical experience and grit, Walker dug in to take the third, knowing that winning this game would likely mean game over for his Colombian opponent.

Emyr Evans (WAL) 3-1 Robertino Pezzota (ARG)

Every game started the same: the Welshman took a solid and comfortable lead, only to have the wily and experienced Argentinean claw his way back to make it a nervy fight to the end.

There was a lot of contact in this match, but luckily a solid refereeing performance by Shawn Delierre kept the boys in check. While he blew a massive lead to allow Pezzota to steal the first, the younger Evans was the slightly more in-form player, being able to stave off the Argentine assault and close out the match 3-1.

Jesus Camacho (MEX) 3-0 Jason Delierre (CAN)

The local Canadian took on a very young and talented Mexican. Since Gawad already has the moniker of Baby faced assassin, Camacho will just have to be the Baby faced... baby.

But even though I doubt that Camacho is old enough to drive, do not be fooled: the kid can play. While I was expecting a typical attritional Mexican style of long rallies, I was thrown off guard by how attacking Camacho is. Taking the ball in with confidence and precision, the young Jesus hit countless immaculate winners with a grace and ease that is worthy of his first name.

Despite Delierre being a solid player, he was made to look average today against an opponent that we should all be watching for.

Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0 Eric Dingle (CAN)

Local and full-time Google employee (which just means he has a lot of time to play squash!) Eric Dingle was up against it, facing off against a tall and languid Indian opponent. With a closed grip and loose wrist, Tandon is able to use considerable deception, top spin and attack off of a shortened swing.

While he had a field day with the Canadian today, it will be interesting to see how his game and technique holds up against an opponent who can effectively close the court down.

Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 3-2 Daniel Mekbib (CZE)

In a repeat of last week’s Toronto Classic final, the fiery Frenchman was out to get revenge for his 3-1 loss against the bearded lefty Czech.

There was quite a bit of contact in this match, with seemingly no love lost between the players, as a number of classic stare-downs were exchanged after each interference.

The Frenchman had a good amount of success pulling the tall Czech forward to the front corners (especially to the front right) but got into trouble leaving too much loose on the Czech’s wicked forehand.

While it was a very close affair right up until the end, it seems like Masotti wanted it that tiny bit more, closing out this long and competitive 5-set match.

Alfredo Avila (MEX) 3-0 Mike McCue (CAN)

The experienced Mexican posed too great a threat against the Canadian today, demonstrating steady and precise play.

McCue did his best to hang in, but he didn’t quite have the weapons to trouble the former top 35 Avila who will surely be pushing to qualify tomorrow.

Andrew Schnell (CAN) 3-0 Charlie Lee (ENG)

The last Canadian standing in the qualifying came out in his signature style, attacking with lethal straight drops, a shot that works well on these courts.

The young Englishman put up a good effort, but a lack of experience and ways to trouble the Canadian meant a fairly straight-forward win for the Alberta native.

Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-0Cameron Seth (CAN)

The last match of the night, the crowds had sadly dissipated and the players looked a bit edgy on court.

The Frenchman still decided to play some points as if it were a sold-out crowd, inexplicably going for some exhibition-style shots, some of which worked, others that didn’t.

Either way, the Frenchman obviously felt comfortable enough in his first round match, but will surely need to come with more focus tomorrow when he will face the tough and experienced Avila. ​

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