Nobody likes hitting the tin. But Kiwi Martin Knight struck it three times in a row under pressure from Alister Walker to allow his opponent into the semi-finals of the Bluenose Classic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The four seeds duly secured their places in the semi-finals of the Fiera Properties Bluenose Squash Classic in Canada – but were not given easy rides by their quarter-final opponents in the PSA World Tour International 35 event in its eighth successive year at Saint Mary’s University Homburg Centre in Halifax.
While English favourite Daryl Selby chalked up his second successive straight games win in the event – beating compatriot Eddie Charlton 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 in his second 46-minute victory in 24 hours – second seed Walker was taken the full distance by Knight before beating the New Zealander in 78 minutes.
Kiwi Knight, the world No.47, twice led the world No.15 from Botswana. But Walker dug deep to force a decider.
Game five saw both players enter the court with a heightened sense of intensity and focus. With everything on the line, the score remained close throughout the game. It was nip and tuck up to 7-7. A stroke against Knight put Walker ahead 8-7. Three Knight tins later gave victory to Walker 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7.
“Martin is constantly improving and adding more shots to his weapons,” said Walker (pictured above, foreground, with Knight) later. “He kept me unsettled throughout the match.”
Walker now faces Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the No3 seed from Colombia who needed four games to see off Mexican qualifier Eric Galvez 11-3, 8-11, 13-11, 11-5.
The other semi will be a European affair in which Selby takes on Dutch champion Laurens Jan Anjema. The fourth seed from The Hague defeated New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson in straight games, but it took the world No18 62 minutes to close out the match 11-7, 11-8, 13-11.
“I felt like I was always one step behind and there was a lot of pressure,” said Anjema afterwards. “The last time I played Campbell, in Guatemala, I was struggling. He has a good technique and you never know where the ball is going till the last second.”
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
 Alister Walker (BOT) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
19 October 2013
RESULTS: PSA International 35 Fiera Properties Bluenose Classic, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 (46m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-7, 11-8, 13-11 (62m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Eric Galvez (MEX) 11-3, 8-11, 13-11, 11-5 (51m)
 Alister Walker (BOT) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7 (78m)
Bluenose Classic images courtesy of Jim Neale