Salazar keeps the Mexican flag flying in Atlanta as Iqbal fails to win back-to-back PSA titles
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Chief Reporter
Cesar Salazar became the third Mexican in six years to win the Atlanta Open after recovering from a game down to beat Pakistani second seed Nasir Iqbal in the final of the $10,000 PSA Challenger event at the Lifetime Athletic Atlanta.
The 26-year-old from San Luis Potosi won just two points in a grossly one-sided first game but returned reinvigorated in the second game and completed a remarkable turnaround to prevail 2-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 in the first tournament on the 2014 Life Time Squash Grand Prix Tour.
The world number 43 last celebrated victory at the Manitoba Open over 10 months ago and looked set to endure a third successive final loss since April after barely challenging Iqbal in the opening game.
Roles were reversed in the second game however as Salazar cruised to an 11-3 success and continued in the ascendancy to race through the third game as well.
And while Iqbal finally showcased some of the form which saw him win the Racquet Club Pro Series title earlier this month, Salazar held firm in the fourth game to clinch victory and the bragging rights in their first-ever meeting on Tour.
 Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1  Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 2-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8
Semi-final report: Iqbal chases PSA double at Atlanta Open
Top seeds Cesar Salazar and Nasir Iqbal will contest the final of the Atlanta Open – with Pakistani Iqbal bidding to become the first player to win two PSA World Tour titles this year.
Second seed Iqbal, the world number 53 who last week won the Racquet Club Pro Series in St Louis, despatched English qualifier Adam Murrills 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 in the semi-finals of the second US Pro Squash Series event of the year.
The 19-year-old (pictured left) from Bannu is also celebrating his 11th PSA Tour final and will now face tournament favourite Salazar, who needed four games to overcome fifth seed Declan James.
James upset third seed Farhan Zaman in the quarter final but failed to repeat the feat against the Mexican world number 43 who triumphed 11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8.
Salazar is marking his ninth appearance in a Tour final and will be hunting his first title since the Manitoba Open in March.
 Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1  Declan James (ENG) 11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8
 Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 3-0 [Q] Adam Murrills (ENG) 11-5, 11-3, 11-7