Top seed from Hong Kong is a popular winner in Japan
By NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad PSA Correspondent
Leo Au defeated Jamie Haycocks in a sublime 3-0 victory to win the 2014 Pro Squash Tokyo, PSA Challenger 10 title at Spa Shirokane in front of a delighted crowd.
Au was in fantastic form throughout the event, dropping just two games on his way to the final. Haycocks was similarly impressive, making it all the way to the final without losing a single game, but Au was just too much for him on the day and stormed to his sixth career title on the PSA World Tour.
The first game was one-sided with Au, who knocked Haycocks out of this year’s Canary Wharf Squash Classic, taking it 11-3.
Haycocks needed to pick his game up and did exactly that, forcing Au onto the defensive with some well-placed drop shots. However, the Hong Kong man came back with a barrage of sublime play to take a tightly-contested second game by an 11-9 margin.
At 30 years old, Haycocks is an experienced competitor and the number two seed battled hard against Au but the World No.37 remained calm and won the final game 11-5 to take the victory and his first Tour title since January’s Bankers Hall Club Pro Am.
The tournament was home to a big shock in the quarter-final, when Australian number three seed Matthew Karwalski fell to World No. 111 James Huang. The 29-year-old who hails from Taiwan proved a determined competitor against his opponent, who was ranked fifty places above him in the world, and won with an impressive 3-1 victory.
Huang’s progress was cut short though in the semi-final by Haycocks who dispatched him 3-0 with each game ending in an 11-7 win for the Englishman.
Number six seed Tom Ford, also from England, put in a good performance making it all the way to the semi-final.
He overcame wildcard Taiki Kaido in the first round before breezing past Aqeel Rehman in the quarters and he proved staunch competition against Au in the semi-final and was unlucky to lose the first game which Au won narrowly 15-13.
Ford couldn’t maintain his performance though and Au ended his progress by defeating the World No. 89 in a 3-0 victory.
Indeed that was the closest Au came to losing a game, with the exception of his match against Tsz Fung Yip in the quarter-final, who managed to take two games off of the eventual winner.
Pro Squash In Japan (Tokyo):
 Leo Au (HKG) bt [Q] Angus Gillams (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (28m)
 Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt [Q] Alex Noakes (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (28m)
 Tom Ford (ENG) bt [WC] Taiki Kaido (JPN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (28m)
 Aqeel Rehman (AUT) bt Chi Him Wong (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 14-12 (35m)
 Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt [Q] Shimizu Takanori (JPN) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-8 (24m)
 James Huang (TPE) bt Cheuk Yan Tang (HKG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3 (49m)
 Elvinn Keo (MAS) bt [Q] Shinnosuke Tsukue (JPN) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8 (35m)
 Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Adam Murrills (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (42m)
 Leo Au (HKG) bt  Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-2: 10-12, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-7 (83m)
 Tom Ford (ENG) bt  Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 3-0: 11-6, 13-11, 11-5 (36m)
 James Huang (TPE) bt  Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 14-12 (59m)
 Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt  Elvinn Keo (MAS) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (37m)
 Leo Au (HKG) bt  Tom Ford (ENG) 3-0; 15-13, 11-7, 11-6 (59m)
 Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt  James Huang (TPE) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (43m)
 Leo Au (HKG) bt  Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-9, 11-5 (38m)
Picture by KIM ROBERTS