Czech Open 2018 

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Czech Open 2018
20-23 Nov, Prague, $5k

Final: Fabien's first at last
Tomas Forter reports

The final started with some long rallies but it was always Fabien Verseille who was in control.

From 1/1 he won several points in the row and Christophe Andre let the game go and did not contest the final few points. 11/1 Fabien.

At the beginning of the second Christophe gave it a big push, got to 4/1 lead but Fabien won next 7 points with patient rallies. Christophe threatened him for a while when he won next two to 6/8 but next two points gave Fabien gameball and a couple of rallies later he converted it with a stroke. 11/7 and 2/0.

Third game was similar to the first. Fabien got a good start and Christophe was not moving as well as he was in his previous matches and Fabien soon raced to 11/2 victory and well deserved first PSA title.

It was very emotional moment for him, playing his first PSA tournament in 6 years and winning his first PSA title against one of his best friends in the final. Not bad for a player who is ranked 400 and only got into the tournament as a last minute reserve one day before the tournament started. Well done and congratulations.

Christophe : Happy to play the final with Fabien, he played really well, nothing to do and very happy for him.

Fabien : Indeed, I did it . I am really happy now. One of the main reasons I came back on tour was because I had never won a PSA title so when PSA called me at the last moment to get the spot I didn´t think too much and took first plane in the next morning.

I would like to thank my girlfriend, my brother, all my friends but specially Joan and Christophe and my brother and my parents who all motivate me to keep playing and pushing. I thank my club in Aix with Jean-Michel and Phil. Also thanks Tomas for the organisation.

Photos from Irena Vanišová

Czech Open 2018
20-23 Nov, Prague, $5k
Round One
20 Nov
Round Two
20 Nov
21 Nov
22 Nov
23 Nov
Jakub Solnicky (Cze) *
11/9, 11/2, 12/10 (47m)
Julian Tomlinson (En)
[1] David Baillargeon (Can)
12/10, 11/9, 11/3 (46m)
Jakub Solnicky
[1] David Baillargeon

 11/4, 11/8, 5/11, 12/14, 11/5 (57m)

[5] Christophe Andre
[5] Christophe Andre

11/6 11/0 11/5 (27

[6] Stuart Macgregor

[5] Christophe Andre


11/1, 11/7, 11/2 (25m)


Fabien Verseille

Viktor Byrtus (Cze) *
11/7, 11/4, 11/7 (19m)
[wc] Benjamin Bergel (Cze)
[5] Christophe Andre (Fra)
6/11, 11/9, 11/7, 11/4 (33m)
Viktor Byrtus
David Zeman (Cze) *
11/6, 11/8, 11/9 (33m)
Marek Panacek (Cze)
[6] Stuart Macgregor (Eng)
7/11, 7/11, 11/4, 11/9, 12/10 (78m)
David Zeman
[6] Stuart Macgregor

14/12, 11/13, 11/8, 7/11, 11/6 (62m)

[3] Mohammad Alsarraj
Oliviero Ventrice (Ita) *
11/8, 3/11, 11/4, 11/9 (39m)
Lukas Jelinek (Cze)
[3] Mohammad Alsarraj (Jor)
13/15, 11/8, 10/12, 11/8, 11/7 (61m)
Oliviero Ventrice
Ondrej Vorlicek (Cze)
11/1, 11/4, 11/7 (19m)
Tarek Shehata (Egy)
Tarek Shehata
11/4, 12/10, 3/11, 11/5 (44m)
[4] Enzo Corigliano (Fra)
Tarek Shehata

6/11, 11/5, 11/9, 6/11, 14/12 (83m)

[8] Yuri Farnetti
[8] Yuri Farnetti

12/14, 9/11, 11/7, 11/5, 8/1 rtd (57m)

Fabien Verseille

Jaroslav Cech (Cze)
11/9, 14/16, 11/6, 6/11, 13/11 (51m)
Josep Wite (Aus) *
Jaroslav Cech
11/7, 11/7, 8/11, 11/5 (29m)
[8] Yuri Farnetti (Ita)
[wc] Vojtech Ryba (Cze)
11/3, 12/10, 11/4 (27m)
Nilo Vidal (Esp) *
Nilo Vidal
11/9, 7/11, 11/5, 11/9 (43m)
[7] Roee Avraham (Isr)
[7] Roee Avraham

11/5, 11/6, 4/11, 11/7 (35m)

Fabien Verseille
Fabien Verseille (Fra)
11/2, 13/11, 11/4 (28m)
Erik Jakibssen (Swe) *
Fabien Verseille
11/7, 12/10, 7/11, 11/3 (48m)
[2] Daniel Mekbib (Cze)
* = 9/16 seed

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Semis: All-French Final in Prague
Tomas Forter reports

Christophe Andre dominated the rallies from the beginning of the first semi-final. Stuart Macgregor was not able to get him off the T and he was always chasing and had no positions where could hit his very good drop shots. It was obvious that two five setters in previous rounds definitely affected his movement today.

First game lasted just 9 minutes and second was only 5 minutes. Christophe even bageled Stuart which is not very often seen in the semifinal of PSA tournament. Stuart tried to push at the start of the third but Christophe was just too good for him today.

Christophe: I am very happy to play my friend Fabien in the final. Let the best win.

Stuart: Going into this match I was very tired having just won my first two matches 3-2. Christophe was a lot more dominant than me and pinned me in the corners. When I gave him the opportunity he was very clinical. I am happy with my performance overall and have learnt from this experience.

Second semifinal was much more contested than the first. Yuri Farnetti led for most of the first game but it was Fabien Verseille who got to 10 first to have gameball at 10/9. Yuri saved it and at 13/1 used his second chance to get 1/0 lead.

He also started the second better. He was 4/0 up, but Fabien levelled at 5/5. Yuri´s turn again 7/5, Fabien 8/7, 8/8, Yuri 9/8, 9/9, Yuri hits a brave backhand cross court volley nick to 10/9, longest rally of the match and mishit low kill from Yuri out of Fabien´s reach. 2/0 for Yuri. Third was very close to 5/5 but Yuri made too many mistakes from there and Fabien took the game 11/6.

In the fourth it looked like the words of advice from Greg Gaultier were finally working well. Fabien wanted to play long and physically hard rallies and Yuri started to show signs of fatigue. He was going for finer margins with his shots and they ended in the tin more often. Fabien took the fourth 11/5.

The fifth game started with Yuri missing a simple forhand drop and it was soon obvious he is not able to cope with pace anymore. He was visibly struggling to move and at 1/8 he shook Fabien´s hand as he simply couldn´t move anymore.

Fabien: Very happy to be in the final. I managed to get the win after being 0/2 down. My length was too short in the first two games and he controlled the T better. Then I slowed down the pace and tried to play more at the back. I was feeling confident with my fitness and I saw his body language started look tired so I gave a big push. Unfortunately he got injured in the fifth. Really happy to be in the French final with my really good friend Christophe. I hope to get my first win on PSA circuit.

Yuri: I am dissapointed because I was playing well and then I had a problem with my leg. It is from a nerve coming from the back. This is something I am a bit struggling with. But Fabien is a good player and he played well. He was smart to play his game.

Photos from Irena Vanišová

Quarters: Upsets and Marathons all round
Tomas Forter reports

19 games of squash were played in 4 matches today in Prague. Yesterday both top seeds in the bottom half were beaten, today two top seeds from the top half lost. We have seeds 5, 6, 8 and one unseeded player left in the tournament.

Christophe Andre started his quarterfinal against top seeded David Baillargeon better. He was controlling the rallies and David made quite a few mistakes in the first two games. In the third he was able to move Chris away from the T more often and it paid off. The fourth was a big battle. Chris had two matchballs but David saved both thanks to two tins from Chris and managed to force the decider.

Chris looked a bit tired at the end of the fourth and it was surprising that David was more impatient of the two at the beginning of the fifth. He made too many mistakes and helped Chris to get to 8/2 and although David was still fighting Chris got the win at the end.

Christophe: I am happy to win. I don´t feel very well at the moment so I am really happy to get a win. And I will try to give my best tomorrow.

David: Tough match. I thought I had him in the ropes. Especially after long and hard fourth game. Bad start in the fifth with a couple of mistakes on my side and a couple of lucky bounces for Chris and he was running away with it a bit too quickly for my liking. Definitely some good and bad patches in the match to learn from.

Mohammad Alsarraj was firing in the winners at the beginning against Stuart Macgregor. He got to 10/4 quickly but then relaxed and Stuart came back to win the game 14/12. Second was also very close but this time Mohammad came out as a winner with 13/11 score. Both players had good and bad patches in the third but at the end Stuart came out as a winner and got to 2/1 lead.

Mohammad controlled the fourth but in the fifth Stuart was always in front and although Mohammad got back some unbelievable shots thanks to his lightning speed it was Stuart´s simple but very solid game with very nice drop shots which punished too many openings given by Mohammad and brought him the win.

Stuart: Going out against Mohammad as the lower seed I had nothing to lose. I had a slow start to the first game but managed to find my rythm and win the first. From then on the games were close and quality squash was being played. I knew the fifth was going to be tough but I managed to hold my ground and play good squash to win 11-6. Overall I am happy with my performance.

Mohammad: Always tough to deal with losing but that´s a part of the process and I am OK to go through today and all credit to Stuart. He came out better today. Now time to be off and relax after a long month of matches.

Tarek Shehata started against Yuri Farneti with his typical attacking shots to the front. They went in nicely and he won the first. From the second Yuri managed to lengthen the rallies and make Tarek do a lot of work which paid off. He was slowly getting control back and although the rallies were very long he was usually the one in front and gave Tarek no easy shots to attack. Yuri won both second and third to go 2/1 up.

Tarek started the fourth very well to go 5/0 up after quick rallies but Yuri did not panic, he got back to the game plan that worked well in the second and third, made the rallies longer again and slowly got back to 6/6. But Tarek somehow managed to win next five points quickly again to level at 2/2. In the fifth long rallies again with Yuri being always in the lead by one or two points. Yuri got to 7/4, Tarek won next two to 6/7, Yuri 8/6, Tarek 7/8, 8/8 after a massive rally. Tarek´s cross court dies at the back 9/8, backhand drop shot tight to the wall 10/8 matchball.

Tarek misses a volley drop after another massive rally. 9/10. Another massive rally and Yuri´s low cross court kill gets him to 10/10. Second backhand low cross court kill and 11/10 matchball for Yuri. Yes let. A bit harsh stroke for Tarek 11/11. Backhand boast and 12/11 Yuri. Stroke to Tarek 12/12. Deceptive cross court drop for Yuri 13/12. Yuri pushes Tarek to the back with a hard cross court and he trips and falls, Yuri puts in a simple drop to win the match. 83 minutes.

Yuri: Happy with my performance. Tarek played very good squash. He is very good in the middle of the court so I tried to stay in front of him. I hope to have a good semifinal and congratulation to Tarek for his game.

Tarek: Happy with my performance so far after beating seeded no. 4 and losing in an epic against Yuri with 2 match balls. It is how it is, either we win or we learn and the lesson was quite painful. Many points to be improved I think if I was quicker the result would have changed. So I got to work even more on my weak points and hopefully in the future I make it to the semi-finals.

Last match was the only one which did not go the distance. Fabien Verseille was hitting very hard and controlled the first two games when Roee Avraham made a bit too many mistakes. Roee came back strong at the beginning of the third, got a good lead and got a game. He started the fourth really well as well. He got to 6/2 but Fabien started to get in control of the rallies again and pulled of a series of points to turn things around and win the match.

Fabien: Happy to get through. My first semifinal in a while in my first PSA tournament in a long time. I am enjoying the moment and my squash. I am looking forward to play tomorrow.

Roee: Bad beginning of my match. It was hard to get back into it. I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning but my body language got better in the third. Very dissapointed with the last game because I was 6/2 up and started losing my momentum. A bit dissapointed with the result but a lot of to take from it and looking forward for the next time.

Photos from Irena Vanišová

Round Two: Verseille advances
Tomas Forter reports

First two matches of tonight´s second round were played by two Czech players against seeded opponents. Jakub Solnicky was able to keep the pace of David Baillargeon for two close games but Canadian proved why he is no. 1 seed and dominated the third.

Top Czech junior Viktor Byrtus started well against Frenchman Christophe Andre. He took the first game and had good leads in both second and third but Chris was a bit more experience and took them both at the end. In the fourth Viktor was not mentally in the match after lost chances in previous games and Chris finished the match comfortably.

Young Czech David Zeman started his match against sixth seed Stuart Macgregor from England very well. He won the first two games, Stuart came back strong to win the third. He was in control in the fourth as well. He got to 9/1 and 10/5 but David did not want to let it go. He fought back to 9/10 and made Stuart do a lot of work in the long rallies but Stuart managed to get the last point to level to 2/2.

The fifth was close all the way to 8/8. Stuart got the next two points to get two matchballs. David saved both thanks to a couple of strokes. Cross court drop into the nick gave Stuart a third matchball. And he converted it with tight forhand drop glued to the wall that David couldn´t return. 78 minut and so far the best match of the tournament.

Mohammad Alsarraj did not play his best squash today and Oliviero Ventrice was able to use it. He played simple solid squash and managed to win close ends to both first and third games where Mohammad had gameballs in both to get to 2/1 lead. In the fourth and fifth Mohammad was controlling the rallies again, got a good leads at the beginning and was able to keep the lead till the winning finish.

Yuri Farneti found out soon that Jaroslav Čech played a very hard match already today in the first round and struggled to move to the front a bit. Yuri won the first two games comfortably and although Jaroslav pulled out some magic in the third to win this game, it was Yuri again in the fourth.

Egyptian Tarek Shehata is maybe a bit unorthodox and his technique is not a text book but his game is certainly effective. He surprised fourth seed Enzo Corigliano with his shots in the first, took the close second and although Enzo managed to win the third, Tarek dominated the fourth and became the first unseeded player to reach tomorrow´s quarterfinals.

Roee Avraham from Israel played Nilo Vidal from Spain. They know each other very well as they are training partners in Barcelona. Roee won the close first game and although Nilo started the second well and managed to keep the lead till its end, Roee looked physically stronger and move better and won the next two games to book his place in quarterfinals.

Last match of the day brought the biggest upset. Home fans were not happy that it was at the expense of home favourite Daniel Mekbib. He played against experienced Frenchman Fabien Verseille. Fabien played patient squash to win the first game. Daniel upped the pace in the second and it worked well until 10/4 but Fabian managed to save 6 gameballs and won 12/10. Daniel managed to get the third but he made too many mistakes in the fourth and Fabien was too solid today.

Round One:

A record number of Czech players in the main draw of a PSA tournament (10) was reduced to a half after today´s first round of Czech open 2018 in Prague. Jakub Solnicky, Viktor Byrtus and David Zeman were seeded to join tournament´s second seed Daniel Mekbib in the second round and they all won in straight games.

Jaroslav Čech who only got into the tournament yesterday afternoon as a reserve invitee saved three matchballs in the fifth game to beat Australian Joseph White in a closest and longest match of the first round.

We had one more seeding upset and it was also created by a player who got into the tournament yesterday afternoon from a reserve list. Frenchman Fabien Verseille beat Erik Jakobsson from Sweden.

Photos from Irena Vanišová


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