Match reports by Jesse Cramer
Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) bt. Thomas Brinkman (CAN) 11-5, 11-8, 11- 7 (47m)
Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) came out playing tight, steady squash against Thomas Brinkman (CAN). It was clear from the beginning that Hernan’s mission was to keep the ball above the tin. Thomas was willing to play steady squash for a while, but usually it was he who attacked first. Unfortunately, Hernan picked everything up off the front wall, and kept Thomas at the back of the court. The boys were locked at 5-5, but Thomas was worse for wear. Hernan took advantage and strung together 6 straight points. After 16 minutes of straight drives and occasional boasts, Hernan had the first won at 11-5.
The second started out the same as the first. Steady play, but Hernan usually getting the better of Thomas. This time, the score got to 8-8 before the lactic acid began to show in Thomas’s movement. After a couple deep lunges in the back corners, Thomas couldn’t retrieve Hernan’s volley drop. That gave Hernan a 9-8 edge, and two tins from Thomas gave him the game at 11-8 after 15 minutes.
In the third game, Thomas managed to find his game, except for the final shot. The first two rallies found Hernan doing court sprints while Thomas staying cozily on the T. Yet, when Thomas decided to attack short, he clipped the tin twice. Frustrated, his play began to slow and Hernan took full advantage. The game was 6-2 to Hernan in no time. Thomas managed to string a few point together, but Hernan was just too strong, too steady. The third game goes to Hernan 11-7 after 12 minutes.
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt. Yasir Butt (PAK) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 (53m)
Top seed Yasir Butt (PAK) stepped on court with Clinton Leeuw (RSA) and immediately asserted himself; quickly, Clinton was in a 3-0, then 6-3 hole. But then Clinton found his length. To everyone’s surprise, Clinton reeled off seven straight points–tight, fast, on the volley–to take a 10-6 lead. Yasir fought off one game ball, but Clinton could not be denied. Game to the underdog Leeuw, 11-7.
Yasir came out in the third determined to prove why he was the number one seed. He controlled the court deftly, playing from the T while Clinton ran around him. After a 4-4 start, Yasir took five of the next six points to take a controlling 9-5 lead. Clinton played the next few rallies fiercely, determined to come back and get off in three. But Yasir was too strong, taking the third 11-8.
Yasir had finally settled in, and the crowd sensed that perhaps Clinton was losing his grasp. After the initial rallies, it was Yasir who looked the stronger despite being down 3-4. But, just like in the first game, Clinton managed to find a new gear. He began to play inspired squash, keeping Yasir deep in the court then attacking with perfect straight drops. Yasir simply could not keep up. After five straight points to Clinton (9-3), the match was all but over. Yasir scraped a few points back, but Clinton finished in style by thundering a match ball into the nick, deader than Elvis
Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt. Andres Duany (PER) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)
Both fellas felt like the straight nick was the right place to start, as five of the first six points rolled out from little angle. A series of steady rallies brought the score to 6-4 in favor of Wade as he began to move Andres around the court. A pair of Duany tins gave Wade an 8-4 advantage. Andres managed to pull a bit tighter at 9-6, but a Wade winner and Duany tin ended the first. 11-6 to Wade after 11 minutes.
The second game started out with Wade moving Duany to all four corners. He was volleying everything he could, playing stereotypical “Australian” squash. But Duany stayed in it and began to read Wade’s play. After falling behind 2-0. Duany made a run to take a 4-2 lead. But Wade stayed steady, and began to force errors off of Andres’ racket. After a few long rallies, Wade tied things at 5, then pulled away to an 8-5 advantage, and then 10-7. Wade capitalized on his first game ball after a beautiful final rally. 11-7 to Wade after 11 minutes.
The qualifying began to show in Duany’s legs during the third game. Tired movements led to poor shots and even more pressure. Wade, meanwhile, still looked fresh. Although Duany won the first two points, Wade kept up the pressure and built a 10-4 lead. With six game balls, the victory seemed inevitable for the veteran Johnstone. But then Duany found his game! A couple of tins by Wade, followed by two rolling nicks brought the game back to 8-10, and the crowd began to liven. But Wade stayed steady. After a long, patient rally, he squeezed Andres into a lob out of court. Game to Wade 11-8 in 10 minutes.
Matt Serediak (CAN) bt. Beni Fischer (SUI) 12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8 (49m)
Matt Serediak (CAN) and Beni Fischer (SUI) were, according to the other professionals in attendance, equal players. Both quick, solid, nothing too fancy. They’ll both wear you down. Yet, despite the close games and even play, it was Serediak’s day.
The first game was back and forth throughout. Neither player had more than a two point advantage. Not surprisingly, the boys found themselves at 10-10. But Serediak’s experience showed itself, and he played exquisite squash for the next two rallies to win the first game 12-10.
The second game started as a continuation of the first. Matt jumped out to a 6-1 lead playing error-free squash. But Beni fought back hard, playing faster and tighter than Matt. His attacks had bite, and he was ready to pounce on the volley. Point after point went Beni’s way, bringing the score back to 7-7, and then 10-8. But Matt was not ready to let Beni tie the match; he fought off both game balls, forcing another 10-10. But this game, it was Beni’s turn to win consecutive points and take the game 12-10.
The third was a different game entirely. Matt began to attack vigorously, while Beni was slow to react to the change of styles. A 3-0 lead for Matt quickly bloomed to 8-3. He was controlling play, hitting winners or forcing tins. Beni had no answer and quickly fell 4-11.
The fourth began just like the third. Matt was attacking, Beni was retrieving, and the score was quickly 6-1 to Serediak. But this game, Beni charged back, tying the game at 8-8. But all the work in his legs began to take its toll. Three straight tins from Beni ended the game and the match. 11-8 to Serediak.
Ali Farag (EGY) bt. Joe Chapman (BVI) 7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (45m)
In the first 8:00 PM match to get underway, a couple of College Squash Association (CSA) rivals met in the form of Harvard’s Ali Farag (EGY) and Rochester’s Joe Chapman (BVI). Despite his underdog position, Joe came out the more positive player. His play was simply too tight for Ali to attack. A 4-2 lead grew into 9-5 after Joe kept squeezing Ali to the wall. After a few more passive rallies, Joe had it won 11-7.
But in the second, Ali began to assert himself; the Egyptian has arrived. Nicks, flicks, amazing anticipation. The pace picked up, but Joe could not. Ali controlled from start to finish. The rare rally that found Joe on the T, Ali gazelled about the court to pick up every shot. The second goes to Ali quite easily, 11-7.
The third mirrored the second. Ali moving Joe about while maintaining T position. Joe was running, but Ali was winning. Ali’s drops were barely retrievable, and the ensuing rails were just within reach. Ali’s 3-0 advantage grew to 8-2, and the running began to show in Joe’s movement. A few more cross court flicks, and Ali’s had it won 11-3.
Ali kept his momentum from the third and maintained a lead throughout the fourth. A pair of three wall boasts into the nick drew some ooooh’s from the audience, but Joe fought valiantly. Despite Ali’s shotmaking, Joe had the game tied at 5-5. But the ensuing rally found Joe doing court sprints, and the momentum was solidly back in Ali’s favor. Four consecutive points brought the game to 9-5, and a cross court drop into the nick (even Martin Heath was shaking his head) gave Ali four game balls at 10-6. Ali capitalized on the first was a trickle boast, winning 11-6
Scott Arnold (AUS) bt. Adrian Dudzicki (CAN) 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (55m)
Josh Cardwell (AUS) bt. Chris Binnie (JAM) 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (59m)
Jamaican qualifier Chris Binnie takes on the tournament’s other Aussie, Josh Cardwell, in the final round of matches. Although Josh came out quicker, Chris managed to pick up a few points and a 4-3 lead early on. A few flick winners and a nice reverse boast, and Chris built his lead to 8-5. But a pair of weak tins and some solid play by Josh, and the game was back at 8-8, and then 9-8 to Josh. Another tin gave Josh two game balls, and Josh won the first. Game to Cardwell 11-8 in 15 minutes.
The second game started out with Cardwell in control again, but Binnie stuck in it. The Aussie took a 2-0 lead after some long rallies filled with deep lunges by Binnie. But eventually his hard work paid off. A few nice winners and a tin by Josh gave Chris a 7-5 lead. A pretty nick and perfect length then extended Chris’s lead to 10-5. After a couple weak winner attempts by Chris, and finally came through via the unorthadox dying corkscrew. Binnie wins the second 11-7 in 12 minutes.
The third was vital, and both players fought tooth and nail throughout. But it seemed that Josh had more energy to push. Perhaps Binnie’s tough match against Zeb Mehmund the night before left him slightly fatigued. Early on, the boys were locked at 4-4, and then 7-7. A couple of long rallies favored Josh, and he snuck ahead 9-7. A volley drop that just clipped the tin gave Josh three game balls. Binnie fought off the first, but couldn’t scrape off a tight rail on the second. Game to Cardwell 11-8 in 12 minutes.
The fourth game saw Binnie attacking and Cardwell on the defensive. Unfortunately, Cardwell moved too well and a few too many of Binnie’s drops found the tin. The game stayed close at 8-7, but Josh won three consecutive points to win the game and the match. Fourth game to Cardwell 11-7.
Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) bt. Graham Bassett (USA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)