26 Feb - 03 Mar, Canada, $25k
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
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 Spaniardís 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 opponentís concentration to masterfully
control across the middle and storm to a quick 7-2 lead.
Despite a few impressive winners off the Malaysianís racquet, it
was clear that the gap was too large (especially against a
player of Golanís 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
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 Ďno!í 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
Adnanís 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
26 Feb - 03 Mar, Canada, $25k
 Borja Golan (Esp)
11/5, 11/9, 11/6
Chris Hanson (Usa)
 Borja Golan
8/11, 11/6, 11/5, 11/7
 Arturo Salazar
 Borja Golan
11/6, 9/11, 11/8, 11/6
 Campbell Grayson
32nd PSA title for Borja
 Borja Golan
9/11, 11/4, 11/9, 11/6 (72m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan
 Arturo Salazar (Mex)
[Q] Alfredo Avila (Mex)
 Todd Harrity (Usa)
15/13, 11/5, 12/10
Richie Fallows (Eng)
 Todd Harrity
8/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/4, 11/8
 Campbell Grayson
 Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11/4, 11/4, 11/8
Shawn Delierre (Can)
[wc] David Baillargeon (Can)
11/7, 11/6, 11/4
 Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
 Karim Ali Fathi
11/13, 6/11, 11/3, 11/3, 11/4
 Nafiizwan Adnan
 Nafiizwan Adnan
9/11, 11/7, 11/9,
 Raphael Kandra
[Q] Jesus Camacho (Mex)
11/7, 11/7, 11/7
 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
[Q] Ramit Tandon (Ind)
11/9, 11/6, 11/9
 Raphael Kandra (Ger)
 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
 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
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
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 Germanís
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
Adnan came flying out of the gates in the second, taking a 6-1
lead by not only going to the Germanís 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
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)
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
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 otherís 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
Streaming & Replays
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 Germanís 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
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
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 Ė 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 Gíing 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 Kandraís 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 Fathiís 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
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 canít 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
Egyptianís 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 Fathiís 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
After an early error, Fathi yelled out an expletive, and
followed with ĎStop being soft!í 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
Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 3-2 Todd Harrity (Usa)
Iím not going to lie; I didnít 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
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
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 Ďkeeps stepping on
meí after some basic traffic, and immediately realized how silly
he sounded. The Americanís 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 formerís 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 Graysonís 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: ĎíGo on, chop chopíí because Iím not sure
that I could bear another 5-setter.
But clearly Golan did not learn this universal sign, while
Arturo Salazar Ė Cesarís evil twin (ok, I donít really know if
he is evil) Ė 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 letís
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
Spaniardís straight drop, fading it cross-court to take the
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 Ė who would get the award for best racquet
preparation any day of the week Ė 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 ĎVamos!í
Streaming & Replays
Masotti qualifies for Quarters
Adi Mithani and Glen Chamberlain report
[Q] Baptiste Massotti 3-2  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.
Golanís 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. Shawnís length was not consistent enough
and gave way too many occasions to the kiwi to hit quality short
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 wouldíve given Harrity another
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
Adnanís 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 Adnanís 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
Adnanís 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
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 Indianís game. The Welshman looked
to straighten the ball up in the second, which had a bit more
success... the only problem was that Tandon didnít 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.
Evansí frustration grew as the cool-as-a- cucumber Tandon
marched through with a fine display of finesse and precision
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
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 thatís 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
An impressive performance by the young Camacho who Ė in addition
to a number of groin-splitting lunges Ė 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.
stepped up the court in the second, looking to counter quickly
off of Schnellís 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
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
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)
Iím not going to lie: I didnít 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.
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 ĎJe fais
níimporte quoií (rough translation: I donít 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
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
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
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
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
Despite Delierre being a solid player, he was made to look
average today against an opponent that we should all be watching
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 weekís 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
Czechís 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 didnít 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 didnít.
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
Streaming & Replays