Monday, October 2, 2023

Illingworth holds nerve to tame Kemp in Toronto


US squash star Julian Illingworth(righ claimed his first win over Jonathan Kemp for more than four years when he upset the third seed from England in a thrilling five-game final of the Squash Revolution Toronto Cup to clinch the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 title in Canada’s largest city Toronto.

After matches were played in various venues across Toronto, the event reached its climax at the city’s Badminton and Racquet Club.

“Jonathan came out very strong and took a close first game by using more variation and positive play to the front court,” explained club spokesman Johnny Potmesil.

“Illingworth however came back strong and began to really stretch out the rallies working Jonathan all around the court. Despite amazing retrieval and some beautiful nicks, Julian’s attrition and ability to absorb Jonathan’s attacking play earned him the next two games for a 2/1 lead.

“Jonathan however was not done yet. Despite the amount of retrieval and hard work of the last two games, Kemp came out very aggressively taking every ball much earlier and taking the ball in short at will! His aggressive volleying and front court game proved too much and Kemp takes the fourth 2/2!!

“The decider was a close affair with Julian playing some relentless length, forcing errors out of Kemp’s racquet for an early 5-3 lead. Kemp however responds with more fierce drops and nicks and brings it level to 7-7. After some incredibly long rallies which caused gasps from the crowd the game was tied at nine-all.

“A tired error then gave Julian match ball and after a succession of lets Julian takes the match 11-9 celebrating his third PSA title of the year. What a brilliant tight match and amazing squash from both competitors!”

The win marks the 12th PSA World Tour title of eight-time US champion Illingworth’s career – and his first win over Kemp since

[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt [3] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 (75m)

Jonathan Kemp (left) and Julian Illingworth will each be bidding for a third PSA World Tour title this year when they meet in the final of the Squash Revolution Toronto Cup.

Kemp, the No 3 seed from England, extended his unbeaten run against Martin Knight when he upset the second-seeded New Zealander 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 11-5 in 47 minutes in the semi-finals at the Toronto Badminton & Racquet Club.

Fourth seed Illingworth carried North American interest through to the final when he ended young Mexican Alfredo Avila‘s run. The 22-year-old from Mexico City had ousted top-seeded Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi in a five-game quarter-final thriller.

But eight-time US champion Illingworth was too strong for the unseeded Mexican – finally overcoming world No 56 Avila 11-8, 11-6, 16-14 after 64 minutes.

Kemp, the world No 45 from Suffolk, is celebrating his 19th Tour final, whilst world No 48 New Yorker Illingworth is marking his 22nd.

The final will be the pair’s first Tour meeting for more than two years – but their fifth since 2009, with Kemp currently leading the head-to-head count 3/1.

[3] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [2] Martin Knight (NZL) 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 11-5 (47m)
[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-8, 11-6, 16-14 (64m)





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