Home hero Johnson fights to the Finnish against Henrik Mustonen
Bay Club pro Charlie Johnson mounted the performance of his life in the first qualifying round of the NetSuite Open in San Francisco and forced Finland’s Henrik Mustonen to battle for almost an hour before clinching victory.
Fans came out in big numbers to support the popular Johnson in his quest for glory in one of the world’s most spectacular tournaments. Sporting T-shirts and waving home-made banners, their vocal encouragement energised Johnson so much that fought back from 7-1 down to win the opening game. Ultimately, a relieved Mustonen clinched victory 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9.
Bay Club Squash Manager Kim Clearkin said: “Charlie and I are in awe of our members and Associates tonight. What amazing support that inspired Charlie to play probably the best he has ever done. Competing against someone ranked 230 places above him, Charlie managed to not only win a game but make his opponent struggle to take the match in four games and in 53 dramatic squash minutes.
“It is indeed humbling for us on two levels. Our members positively came here just to support Charlie. They were very vocal and enthusiastic in helping him through some difficult times. At 7-1 down in the first game they definitely lifted Charlie to an amazing turn-around to win that game.
“After two more difficult but competitive games Charlie found himself 2-1 down. But with the help of the crowd Charlie literally threw himself around the court. No ball was not “gettable” and he fought as hard as he could for. #bayclubpride
“Charlie and I are so proud also to be part of the BCSF team. Our Associates are amazing. The fact that they took the time to create special shirts and banners makes us so honoured to be part of this special club.
“We cannot thank everyone enough for their support in what is the biggest squash week of the year on the West Coast. To have that support is so reassuring.”
Another local enjoying significant home support was 16-year-old Menlo Park native Gabriel Morgan (U.S.A.) but he couldn’t get past Australian Steve Finitsis, who delivered a 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 performance that required 26 minutes on the Olympic Club court.
The Australian will face No. 4 seed Campbell Grayson, who required four games to punch his ticket to the next round, getting by Shahier Razik (Canada) 11-6, 11-3, 13-15, 11-8 in 59 minutes at the University Club.
Each of the seeded players in the NetSuite Open’s qualifying field advanced tonight as they play for four spots in the first round of the PSA International 70 tournament on Friday, reports BLAKE RHODES.
No. 1 Olli Tuominen (Finland), No.2 Alan Clyne (Scotland), No. 3 Henrik Mustonen (Finland), No. 4 Campbell Grayson (New Zealand), No. 5 Cesar Salazar (Mexico), No. 6. Steven Finitsis (Australia), No. 7 Chris Gordon (U.S.A.) and No. 8 Matthew Karwalski (Australia) will play tomorrow at The Bay Club San Francisco and University Club.
Tuominen made quick work of Faisal Riaz (Pakistan), needing only 16 minutes to post a 11-3, 11-1, 11-5 victory at the Bay Club. Karwalski (Australia) earned a match-up with Tuominen with his 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 triumph over Gareth Webber (Wales) that took 21 minutes.
Clyne rattled off a three-game victory over Asyraf Azan (Malaysia) by a 11-4, 11-5, 12-10 score in 56 minutes at the University Club. He’ll be faced by New York’s Gordon, who dispatched of fellow American Cody Cortes in 26 minutes with a 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 performance.
Salazar gets an opportunity to face Mustonen tomorrow after posting a 3-1 decision over Italo Bonatti (Guatemala) 12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-3 in 42 minutes at the Bay Club.
Below is a listing of Thursday’s qualifying matches by location with the seeding for the qualifying rounds:
Bay Club San Francisco
6:00 p.m.: No. 1 Olli Tuominen (Finland) vs. No. 8 Matthew Karwalski (Australia)
7:00 p.m.: No. 3 Henrik Mustonen (Finland) vs. No. 5 Cesar Salazar (Mexico)
5:00 p.m.: No. 4 Campbell Grayson (New Zealand) vs. No. 6. Steven Finitsis (Australia)
6:00 p.m.: No.2 Alan Clyne (Scotland) vs. No. 7 Chris Gordon (U.S.A.)
Wednesday’s Qualifying Round Results (September 24, 2014):
No. 1 Olli Tuominen (Finland) def. Faisal Riaz (Pakistan) 3-0 (11-3, 11-1, 11-5) 16 min.
No.2 Alan Clyne (Scotland) def. Muhd Asyraf Azan (Malaysia) 3-0 (11-4, 11-5, 12-10) 56 min.
No. 3 Henrik Mustonen (Finland) def. Charlie Johnson (England) 3-1 (9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9) 53 min
No. 4 Campbell Grayson (New Zealand) def. Shahier Razik (Canada) 3-1 (11-6, 11-3, 13-15, 11-8) 59 min.
No. 5 Cesar Salazar (Mexico) def. Italo Bonatti (Guatemala) 3-1 (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-3) 42 min.
No. 6. Steven Finitsis (Australia) def. Gabriel Morgan (U.S.A) 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-3) 26 min.
No. 7 Chris Gordon (U.S.A.) def. Cody Cortes (U.S.A.) 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-5) 26 min.
No. 8 Matthew Karwalski (Australia) def. Gareth Webber (Wales) 3-0 (11-2, 11-7, 11-6) 21 min.
Pictures courtesy of KIM CLEARKIN and Bay Club San Francisco