• Davenport North American Open  • 21-28 Feb 2009 • 

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Virginia Pro Championships 2007
28 Jan - 03 Feb, Virginia, USA, $50k

03-Feb, Final:
[1] Anthony Ricketts bt [2] Lee Beachill     11/8, 11/7, 12/10

Virginia Title for Ricketts
Pete Goodings reports


This final match featured the number 1 and 2 seeds, Anthony Ricketts and Lee Beachill. Neither player had dropped a game in reaching the final and the ever growing crowd were expecting some fantastic squash.

They weren't disappointed, with Ricketts starting off like a greyhound out of the traps. He was stepping up high on the 'T' taking every opportunity to volley the ball and Beachill couldn't get comfortable in any of the rallies. Ricketts looked the fresher/hungrier player and was stalking the ball like it were his prey. The rallies were long, hard and of an exceptional high quality and almost any openings were punished by both players.

Ricketts had the upper hand keeping the ball deeper and tighter than Beachill and it was first blood to the Australian 11/8. The 2nd game was almost a blue-print of the first with Ricketts dominating the rallies with his pace and aggressive retrieving. Again the only time any rallies were lost were from loose balls, with precious few mistakes on display from either player. Ricketts was again on top in the 2nd with the same pace and accuracy that had served him so well throughout the whole tournament - game to Ricketts 11/7.



In the third the pace inevitably slowed as even the super-fit Ricketts couldn't quite maintain the intensity of the first two games and Beachill was allowed to relax into some sort of rhythm. This allowed him to create more openings and move the ball around a little more freely. At 5-4 up Beachill ran off 4 straight points virtually unchallenged with some exceptional ball control. Ricketts appeared to be unable to re-assert himself and two rallies and a very accurate drop shot later Beachill was 10-5 game ball. It was here that Ricketts seemed to switch back into machine mode - one that simply would not make any mistakes.

This was an excellent display of how to focus your mind on your goal and not let anything get in your way. At 6-10 everyone was expecting to see the match go into a 4th game but Ricketts had other plans. In a display of clinical finishing and pure concentration Ricketts gain exerted the pressure that had been seen in the first 2 games.

The pace and accuracy was back and Beachill, who did appear a little tentative couldn't respond and the Australian ran straight through the Englishman for 7 unanswered points.

Ricketts took the third and final game 12-10 in emphatic style and with it the title of 2007 Virginia Pro Champion - still without dropping a game on the way!
 

Patricia Lyons Galleries
TUE  WED  THU

02-Feb, Semi-finals:
[1] Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt [Q] Hisham Ashour (Egy)    11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (40m)
[2] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [7] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)       11/9, 11/6, 11/6 (47m)

Top Two in Virginia Final
Pete Goodings reports


First semi-final was between Anthony Ricketts and Hidham Ashour. There was great anticipation about this match with the crowd expecting to see the same amazing shot play from the talented Ashour and relentless pressure and pace from Ricketts as had already been seen in the quarters. However we know that things very rarely go to plan on both sides of the page. It was Ricketts who was straight out of the blocks and taking advantage of a lacklustre Ashour.

The Australian played some very clinical squash in the first half of the first game and it took Ashour a while to get up to speed. Ashour eventually got back to 9 all but Ricketts was relentless in his pursuit of getting on and off court as quickly as possible. First blood to Ricketts 11/9.

In the 2nd Ashour started to find his game and put away some nice nicks early on as only he knows how. This was short-lived however as Ricketts put in some punishing depth and width and started to move further up on the 'T' taking the ball early at every opportunity. Ashour, who was obviously a little jaded from the previous nights battle with John White had no reply to the unrelenting Ricketts and he found himself chasing his own shadow late on in the 2nd game. Ricketts closed out the game 11/8 and it looked like Ricketts was going to get his 3-0 victory after all.

In the 3rd there was only ever going to be one winner and it was just a matter of time before Ricketts started to edge away from the weary Egyptian. A few late surges were quickly quashed by the gutsy Australian and Ricketts booked himself a place in the finals with some clinical finishing in the last few points.

The second Semi-Final of the night saw Lee Beachill face Mohammad Abbas. The first few rallies had the hallmarks of what could have been a very, very long long match ahead. The rallies twisted and turned each player at the back of the court, only ocassionally going short before again playing more cat and mouse at the back and down the walls.

The quality of accuracy and shot selection was well appreciated by the crowd and at 9 all in the first game it was still anyones guess who would come out on top. It was at this point that Beachill started to take the ball a little earlier from the length of Abbas and the Egyptian wasn't able to settle. Beachill then took the opportunity to slot the ball into the nick when the ball was loose to take the game 11/9. After this the traffic was always slightly in Beachill's favour, still with some very long, competitive rallies, but Abbas didn't continually apply the same pressure as Beachill and any points Abbas gained were almost immediately picked back up the other way.

From the start of the 1st game Beachill was never behind and the gap continued to increase after the start of the 2nd game. Abbas was always chasing the points as well as the match and as the 2nd game ended so did the challenge for a place in the final. Abbas didn't give up at any point but the long, hard 5-game match the previous day compared to Beachill's 3-0 wouldn't have helped matters. At 5-4 up in the 3rd Beachill seemed to again step up the pace and went though to 9-4 without too much trouble. With the finishing post in sight, Beachill pushed harder still and forced a couple of errors from Abbas to close out the 3rd game.

Beachill now faces Ricketts in tomorrow's final - with relatively fresh legs for both players this pertains to be a very good match-up indeed.

Patricia Lyons Galleries
TUE  WED  THU

01-Feb, Quarter-Finals:

[1] Anthony Ricketts bt [6] Wael El-Hindi
       11/5, 12/10, 11/2 (30m)
[Q] Hisham Ashour bt [3] John White
       8/11, 11/9, 4/11, 11/9, 12/10 (57m)
[7] Mohammad Abbas bt [4] Azlan Iskandar 
      11/9, 8/11, 6/11, 11/4, 14/12 (67m)
[2] Lee Beachill bt [5] Adrian Grant
       11/5, 11/9, 11/5 (40m)


Tuesday slideshow from
Patricia Lyons


Wednesday Gallery
  



I can say honestly it was great squash and a very tough battle… This guy is tough ..,and he’ isn’t going to lose… he doesn’t like to ..,,.,.he was flying everywhere…

I was 2/1 down ..,.I came back 2-2-..,then 9/5 up and the ball broke..,. he came to 9/9 then 10/9 am up, he came 10/10 then I won ,.,., I was strong till the end…

We pleased the crowed, they went crazy and this was some amazing squash really amazing, I dunno how did we do that…. I’m waiting to receive a DVD of the match tonight to watch it and see what happened...

People here ARE VERY NICE… I’m staying with BOB and LENA …. I’m not staying in the hotel , and I am very happy here, as they are taking verrrrrrry gooood care of me

The venue is very nice, Gus and Patrick are doing a great job… thanks to everybody…

Hisham & Abbas make Richmond Semis

Egyptians Hisham Ashour and Mohammed Abbas claimed unexpected places in the semi-finals of the Virginia Pro Champs after dramatic upsets over higher-seeded opponents.

Third seed John White suffered his second defeat by a member of the Ashour family in three days. Earlier in the week, the US-based Scot went down to the new world No5 Ramy Ashour in the final of the EBS Dayton Open in Ohio.

In Virginia it was older brother Hisham who caused White's downfall. Ashour senior, a 24-year-old qualifier, twice fought back twice to beat the world No10 12/10 in the fifth.

It was also a close deciding game that finally resolved the other Egyptian upset when Mohammed Abbas, the No7 seed, came back from 1/2 down to defeat Malaysia's fourth seed Azlan Iskandar 14/12 in the fifth.

The event's two top seeds had comfortable straight games wins en-route to the semi-finals. Favourite Anthony Ricketts, the Australian who rose three places to No7 in this month's new world rankings, beat Egypt's sixth seed Wael El Hindi while England's second seed Lee Beachill defeated fifth-seeded compatriot Adrian Grant.
Ricketts eases past El Hindi
Pete Goodings reports

The first quarter final featured Anthony Ricketts and Wael El-Hindi. Ricketts start very strongly and gave El-Hindi no time on the ball, taking it early and keeping it tight and deep. Ricketts played the perfect containment game and closed out the first quite quickly 11/5. In the 2nd El-Hindi showed his flamboyant side and started drifting and floating the ball with great control and confidence, however Ricketts stuck to the task. At 10-6 El-Hindi looked as though he was going to take the 2nd but a couple of let calls seemed to rattle the Egyptian and his confidence drifted. Ricketts capitalised on this lack of focus and went straight through to win the 2nd game 12-10. It was at this point that El-Hindi's challenge faded away. There was an obvious change in body language and his movement all-but disappeared. He casually strolled around the court almost not caring about the points, although there were worrying signs of fatigue at a relatively early stage in this match. El-Hindi only managed to points in the whole game and Ricketts ran out a clear winner on the day, winning 3-0 in 30 minutes.



Directly after the match there was an extremely worrying sight as El-Hindi immediately retired to the players warm-up lounge and collapsed. Medical teams were called and took El-Hindi directly to hospital. He had been suffering with a flu-like virus for a day or so and this game had taken it's toll. After several hours he was signed out of hospital and taken back to his hotel room to recover, much to the relief of the players, officials and spectators.
Hisham's Hour a nailbiter

Second match had John White matched up against Hisham Ashour. Both players had enormous vocal support as White was the returning champion and Ashour had gathered an army of young junior fans who had seen him come through qualifying in emphatic style. This match started at the same pace as it finished - no really prolonged rallies, just incredible, unimaginable squash. This was more like an exhibition match that one being played for ranking points, money and a place in the semi-finals. To say this is the best squash Richmond has ever seen would be an understatement.



The quality of finishing was astonishing whilst both players showed athleticism and reaction play beyond anything seen in Richmond before. Shot for shot it was like a shoot-out at the Okay Coral with Ashour eventually coming out on top. To break the match down into what happened game by game wouldn't do these two players justice. The only thing that ever separated them was the 3rd where Ashour made a few more errors than White enabling the Scot to take a relatively easy game 11/4.

The rest of the games were nailbiting and Ashour came out the victor finally running White into the ground in the last 3 or 4 points. Amazing squash and amazing sportsmanship on show from both players.

Beachill wins English clash

Third match of the night was a little more straight forward. Lee Beachill against last years finalist Adrian Grant. Beachill from the outset was in control of all rallies hitting tighter and taking the ball earlier than Grant. Grant always starts slowly and today was no different.



The first game didn't have Beachill too troubled and he took it 11/5. in the 2nd Grant eventually found his line and length and rallied well, matching Beachill and he developed some great openings. At 9 all Grant had seemed to got to grips with Beachill's pace and delays from the front of the court but unfortunatley he couldn't maintain the pressure. He lost the 2nd 11/9 and this saw the collapse of Grant's challenge to the number 2 seed.
Abbas doubles Egyptian Interest

Last match of the night was the longest of the competition so far and pitched Mohammad Abbas against Azlan Iskandar. The tight balls down the wall and a clever waiting game, looking for the openings by both players showed the excellent quality on display this week in Richmond. Lots of point for point rallies ensued and it really was like a game of cat and mouse. On the night it was Abbas who made fewer mistakes and Iskandar also let some refereeing decision affect him more than they should.



That let the gutsy Egyptian claw his way back from 2-1 down and take the match into a dramatic 5th game. From 5 all it went point for point again and everyone in the crowd felt the tension on court. At 10 all it was anyones guess who was going to come out on top but after rallying of the highest quality it was Abbas who claimed his place in the semi's with some extremely tight drops and delayed cross-court flicks from the front.


Virginia Pro Championships 2007
Virginia, USA, 28 Jan - 03 Feb $50k
Round One
30/31 Jan
Quarters
01 Feb
Semis
02 Feb
Final
03 Feb
[1] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
11/5, 11/9, 12/10 (44m)
[Q] Dan Jenson (Aus)
Anthony Ricketts
11/5, 12/10, 11/2 (30m)
Wael El Hindi
$ Anthony Ricketts

 

Hisham Ashour

 
[6] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11/8, 10/12, 11/8, 11/3 (60m)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 [3] John White (Sco)
11/6, 11/5, 12/10 (33m)
Patrick Chifunda (Zim)
 John White
8/11, 11/9, 4/11, 11/9, 12/10 (57m)
Hisham Ashour
[8] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/2, 6/11, 11/6, 11/7 (36m)
[Q] Hisham Ashour (Egy)
[Q] Bradley Ball (Eng)
11/5, 11/8, 11/5 (45m)
[7] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Mohammed Abbas
11/9, 8/11, 6/11, 11/4, 14/12 (67m)
Azlan Iskandar
Mohammed Abbas
 

Lee Beachill

Joey Barrington (Eng)
11/9, 10/12, 11/5, 12/10 (70m)
[4] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
Renan Lavigne (Fra)
5/11, 11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (56m)
[5] Adrian Grant (Eng)
 Adrian Grant
11/5, 11/9, 11/5 (40m)
Lee Beachill
[Q] Rafael Alarcon
11/1, 11/4, 11/3 (21m)
[2] Lee Beachill (Eng)


Qualifying, 28-29 Jan

Finals:
Hisham Ashour bt Tarek Momen      11/6, 11/9, 11/6 (30m)
Dan Jenson bt Tom Richards           11/9, 7/11, 12/10, 11/5 (50m)
Bradley Ball bt Saurav Ghosal        11/4, 11/6, 5/11, 6/11, 11/5 (65m)
Rafael Alarcon bt Amr Mansi           9/11, 11/6, 11/2, 11/8 (56m)

Round One:
Hisham Ashour - bye
Tarek Momen bt Christopher Gordon     11/3, 11/13, 11/7, 12/14, 11/9 (72m)
Dan Jenson bt Imran Khan                   11/5, 11/4, 11/2 (25m)
Tom Richards bt Chris Simpson            11/8, 6/11, 9/11, 11/7, 11/8 (62m)
Saurav Ghosal bt Julian Illingworth       11/5, 11/6, 7/11, 11/7 (52m)
Bradley Ball bt Mauricio Sanchez          11/2, 11/9, 11/4 (26m)
Amr Mansi bt Peter Goodings               11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (25m)
Rafael Alarcon bt Ryan Donegan          11/8, 11/7, 11/4 (35m)
 

Hisham & Abbas make Richmond Semis

Egyptians Hisham Ashour and Mohammed Abbas claimed unexpected places in the semi-finals of the Virginia Pro Champs after dramatic upsets over higher-seeded opponents.

Third seed John White suffered his second defeat by a member of the Ashour family in three days. Earlier in the week, the US-based Scot went down to the new world No5 Ramy Ashour in the final of the EBS Dayton Open in Ohio.

In Virginia it was older brother Hisham who caused White's downfall. Ashour senior, a 24-year-old qualifier, twice fought back twice to beat the world No10 12/10 in the fifth.

It was also a close deciding game that finally resolved the other Egyptian upset when Mohammed Abbas, the No7 seed, came back from 1/2 down to defeat Malaysia's fourth seed Azlan Iskandar 14/12 in the fifth.

The event's two top seeds had comfortable straight games wins en-route to the semi-finals. Favourite Anthony Ricketts, the Australian who rose three places to No7 in this month's new world rankings, beat Egypt's sixth seed Wael El Hindi while England's second seed Lee Beachill defeated fifth-seeded compatriot Adrian Grant.


Tuesday slideshow from
Patricia Lyons


Wednesday Gallery
  

First round
Pete Goodings reports from Richmond

It's the fourth outing of the Virginia Pro, and after qualifying the event moved to the Glass Court at the University of Richmond ...

[1] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)  bt [Q] Dan Jenson (Aus)
      11/5, 11/9, 12/10 (44m)

Ricketts wins all-Aussie matchup

First match saw Anthony Ricketts from Australia playing his fellow countryman Dan Jenson. The first game was played a quite a fast pace and Jenson couldn't quite seem to cover the short aggressive play of Ricketts losing out 11/5. Jenson quickly established his rhythm in the second game and started to play some extremely tight, accurate balls.

The younger and more agile Ricketts had to fight hard to keep control of the match and Jenson wasn't going away no matter how much pressure Ricketts try to exert with the latter player just pinching the game 11/9. The same formula of pinning Ricketts to the back court and patiently waiting for the openings which had served Jenson so well in the second was what kept the game very much alive in the third and at 10 all Jenson looked hungry to go into a fourth. Ricketts however had no such wish to stay on for another game and played some really hard attritional rallies to secure the last game and close out the match 12-10.

[6] Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt Cameron Pilley (Aus)
      11/8, 10/12, 11/8, 11/3 (60m)

Wael turns the tables

Second match on pitched a re-match of last year's game between Wael El-Hindi from Egypt and Cameron Pilley from Australia. In an almost identical repeat of last years match the games were very tight with El-Hindi taking the first 11/8, Pilley taking the second 12/10 and El-Hindi grabbing the third 11/8. It was at this point that the tide changed. Last year El-Hindi's movement slowed and Pilley was able to keep in the rallies.

This year it is apparent that El-Hindi's training in England with Jonah Barrington is paying off as his speed around court didn't fade, he actually appeared to get faster. The pressure and pace from El-Hindi just got too much for Pilley and the Egyptian surged away in the fourth and from two-all Pilley managed only one more point. El-Hindi has now booked himself a quarter final match with number one seed Anthony Ricketts

[3] John White (Sco) bt Patrick Chifunda (Zim)
       11/6, 11/5, 12/10 (33m)

White subdues Chifunda

Third match of the night saw a bit of an exhibition match between defending champion John White from Scotland against local hero Patrick Chifunda from Zambia, the wild card entry who now lives and coaches in Richmond and is currently ranked 173 in the world. Local support was very vocal for the likeable Zambian and many juniors who he coaches had come to see their hero perform.

The first two games unfortunately didn't pan out as the crowd would have liked with White simply dominating all the rallies, strolling around the court almost hitting nicks at will. Chifunda found the pace far too difficult to control, losing out 11/6 then 11/5.



In the third the crowd thought it was going to be a 'White' wash and at 9-6 up it looked to be the case. It was at this stage that Chifunda seemed to relax and actually start constructing some rallies and getting to grips with the pace White plays at.

The retrieval play of Chifunda has to seen to be believed and many times he caught White unawares and really started to apply pressure back the other way. Chifunda pushed the third game to 10-all and the crowd were anticipating the unthinkable. The last two points were mesmeric and produced game play and retrieving from both players of the highest calibre, with White's experience taking him through 12-10 for a 3-0 win. Richmond really had found something to shout about.

[Q] Hisham Ashour (Egy) bt [8] Peter Barker (Eng)
      11/2, 6/11, 11/6, 11/7 (36m)

Hisham beats the seedings

The fourth and final match of the night had Peter Barker from England playing Hisham Ashour from Egypt. Ashour started the first game in incredible fashion hitting 5 nicks in a row and with Barker unable to read Ashour disguised shots it was over 11/2 in a flash. In the second Ashour hit 6 tins in a row from Barker's serve and the wheels had seemed to come off and Ashour's concentration had simply disappeared. The second game was as bizarre as the first was brilliant -Barker taking it 11/6.



In the third Ashour was back to the form he had shown in the first and again dispatched Barker with some amazing shot play and deep penetrating cross-courts that pinned Barker so deep there was simply no reply and a dominant display saw Ashour take the game 11/6. The same consistent pressure was Ashour's weapon in the fourth and Barker who did appear a little slow in moving forward the whole match was made to stand and watch not only the amazing shot play but also superb retrieving from the young Egyptian. Ashour secured the fourth 11/7 and moves on to play John White in the quarter finals.

30-Jan-07:
Qualifying Finals in Virginia
Pete Goodings reports from Richmond

It's the fourth outing of the Virginia Pro, and after qualifying the event moves to the Glass Court at the University of Richmond ...

Hisham Ashour bt Tarek Momen
    11/6, 11/9, 11/6 (30m)

This match was supposed to be (on paper) the easiest match up in the qualification finals and at first Ashour looked too controlled for the young Momen. However Momen dug deep and produced some remarkable court coverage and made Ashour work very hard for his 3-0 victory. Even though Ashour is suffering from a cold he would still have found it testing to get the same result when feeling 100%.

Ashour now plays Peter Barker in the first round of the main draw tomorrow.

Dan Jenson bt Tom Richards
    11/9, 7/11, 12/10, 11/5 (50m)

This is only the second time these have met and the last time (18 months ago) Jenson made very short work of young Richards. This time there unfolded a very different story. Richards came very close to causing an upset today and displayed the kind of form that has seen him produce so very strong results recently.

The crucial stage of this match, after some long and arduous rallies and excellent shot play came at the end of the third game. Jenson made some timely openings that Richards found too hard to recover from and at 10-all Jenson orchestrated some inspired control of the ball and Richards couldn't respond. After taking the third game it seemed as though Richards had little left in the tank and Jenson used his experience to good effect and secured himself a place in the main draw with a 3-1 win.

Jenson now plays the no. 1 seed Anthony Ricketts tomorrow.

Bradley Ball bt Saurav Ghosal
    11/4, 11/6, 5/11, 6/11, 11/5 in (65m)

This proved to be the best match of the night and had absolutely everything that anyone could wish to hope for in a game of squash. The retrieving of both players throughout the entire 65 minutes was just incredible and neither player seemed to tire. It boiled down to positional play and finally errors with the experienced Ball overcoming the rapidly improving younger player from India.

Ball has earned himself a main draw match against Mohammed Abbas on Wednesday.

Rafael Alarcon bt Amr Mansi
   9/11, 11/6, 11/2, 11/8 (56m)

This match started quite slowly with both players struggling to find their line and length with Mansi taking the first game in scrappy fashion. From then on it was Alarcon who seemed to be the more settled and he managed to start moving Mansi around at will as Mansi appeared at times to be in and out of concentration. Until a late charge in the fourth Alarcon was relatively untroubled and Mansi finally waved the white flag and just ran out of steam.

Alarcon booked himself a main draw match with Lee Beachill on Wednesday evening.
 




Pete Goodings

BACK TO RICHMOND

All qualification matches are being played on the fabulous courts at The Country Club of Virginia which have both glass side and back walls which offers great viewing.

All the matches have been very well attended by the ever growing CCV squash playing membership and many other Richmond area squash enthusiasts.

This is the fourth annual tournament which started back in 2004 with a $10k PSA event followed by a $20k in 2005 (both of which were played entirely at The CCV). Then in 2006 the qualys only were played at The CCV with the main draw matches moved location to a mile away and were all played on the McWil portable glass court which was erected at the University of Richmond.


2006 Event

29-Jan-07:
Qualifying Action in Virginia
Gus Cook reports on qualifying round one

Tarek Momen v Chris Gordon was a great match with it going right down to the wire. Gordon exhibited some of his best ever squash and pushed the incredibly fast Momen to the limit. With vocal crowd support, Gordon pushed very hard and must be very pleased with his performance - Momen I am sure will have been happy with the rest day before taking on the #1 seed in qualifying Hisham Ashour in the finals this evening.

Dan Jenson made short work of a tired looking Imran Khan who had driven from Philadelphia that morning having been given very little notice a slot had come open to play. Jenson looked smooth from the start hitting his trademark tight, perfect length drives and should be feeling very comfortable going in to his match with Tom Richards this evening.

Tom Richards played his very good friend and room mate Chris Simpson in a very entertaining, slower paced match that see-sawed back and forth for well over an hour. In the end the slightly more consistent Richards came back from 2-1 down to very narrowly win by just a few points in the fifth game - I am sure both these players will become firm fixtures on the PSA tour in years to come.

Bradley Ball, who was a finalist at this tournament in 2005, was next on court up against Mauricio Sanchez who recently won the PBI college tournament here at The CCV and is the #1 player on the Princeton team. Ball gave the young mexican no time to get comfortable and took the first game quickly 11-2 followed by a closer game in the second before he turned up the jets to take the 3rd by an easy margin.

Saurav Ghosal and Julian Illingworth
displayed some incredible fast paced footwork and both players exhibited good control but in the end the slightly more focused player from India saw off the efforts of the two time US National Champion and will now take on the hard hitting Ball.

Amr Mansi only had to wait for the errors to come from English Over 35 international Peter Goodings who has flown especially to help with the running of the tournament this week. Mansi was patient and moved the ball around and although Goodings never looked out of his depth the errors started mounting which saw the first two games finish quickly. The third was quite different with the young Egyptian falling behind 8-3 at one stage before turning things around and coming back to 8 of the next 9 points and the final game 11-9.

The last match of the day featured the Brazilian #1 Rafael Alarcon go up against a determined looking Ryan Donegan who was by this time the last great American hope. Donegan had his chances in the first game but didn't quite have enough to push through to the end and was again neck and neck up to 6 all in the second before the experience and pace of Alarcon proved too much and he pulled away. In the third, Donegan looked tired and was only able to offer limited resistance before losing 11-4. Alarcon's next match later this evening will likely be a lot closer when he takes on Mansi.

The qualification finals will be played at 4.30, 5.30, 6.30 and 7.30pm this evening.

 

Four Up in Virginia
Gus Cook reports

All qualification matches are being played on the fabulous courts at The Country Club of Virginia which have both glass side and back walls which offers great viewing. All the matches have been very well attended by the ever growing CCV squash playing membership and many other Richmond area squash enthusiasts.

This is the 4th annual tournament which started back in 2004 with a $10k PSA event followed by a $20k in 2005 ( both of which were played entirely at The CCV ) and then in 2006 the qualys only were played at The CCV with the main draw matches moved location to a mile away and were all played on the McWil portable glass court which was erected at the University of Richmond.

This year will be a $50k PSA event with the main draw matches starting tomorrow on the glass court at the U of R which has seating for 150 people and viewing for that many more again. Every seat has been booked for over a month already by sponsors and patrons who are very keen to see the worlds best up close and personal. What makes this tournament unique is that the whole viewing gallery is completely open to the public and is free of charge the whole week long.

Last year many hundreds of students came by to watch the action on a daily basis and for 2 hours each day the pros conducted free clinics which went down very well - especially with the girls.

We have received some very good press about the tournament this past week covering the growing popularity of the sport in general and with emphasis on the development of many school and junior programs in the region.

This year's tournament has attracted a very strong field of entrants with 12 of the top 30 ranked players competing.

The qualification draw had a split first round which allowed a little more action to be focused at The CCV - the first matches were played on Saturday and then 3 more were completed yesterday ( Hisham Ashour received a bye ).

The first round of the main draw is also split with 4 matches tomorrow and 4 on Wednesday followed by the 1/4's on Thursday, semis Friday and final on Saturday.
 

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