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PSA: Golan meets Coppinger in Windy City final

Shoukry digs one out of the back corner against Golan. Pictures by BILL JAMES

3 February 2013

RESULTS: PSA International 25 Metro Squash Windy City Open, Chicago, USA

[1] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4 (37m)
[2] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [3] Alan Clyne (SCO) 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (48m)

Top seeds Borja Golan and Stephen Coppinger will line up in the final of the Metro Squash Windy City Open – each bidding to be the first player from his country to have his name on the trophy of the long-established PSA World Tour International 25 squash event at the University Club of Chicago.

From BILL JAMES  in Chicago

A full crowd and then some was on hand tonight to watch the Windy City Open’s semi-final matches, as well as some of the best amateur players from around the country.

Coppingerwas up first against Clyne. Coppinger started applying most of the pressure, but Clyne was responding well, especially given that he had been on court more than twice as long in the last two days.  Play was competitive, but Coppinger’s shots always seemed to be one inch wider/tighter/shorter, taking him to 9-6.

But suddenly Coppinger gave two uncharacteristic tins and a stroke, then a winner by Clyne, and Coppinger was facing game ball.  Clyne squandered it by tinning a forehand volley from a winning position.

Coppinger then closed it out with two unreachable cross-courts.  Clyne played some amazing drop-shots in game two that made it close, but Coppinger just kept the ball far enough from Clyne to ease away.

Game three saw Clyne’s tired legs start to show as Coppinger was able to keep the ball out of his reach even more, but a very good showing for Clyne, who had already come through some difficult matches.  For Coppinger’s part, it is easy to see why he is one of the hot players on tour.

The fans went into the match between Golan and Shoukry wondering how a qualifier, ranked 57 in the world, who had already spent three hours and 21 minutes on court, would do against a fresh, top-ten player.

Shoukry brought off a lot of winners in game one, and you could tell, win or lose, he didn’t want to spend another 90 minutes on court tonight.  In game two, Shoukry’s winners turned more to tins, but it was still a lot of interesting, mixed-pace cat-and-mousing.

Game three saw Shoukry attempt even more crazy winners, but this time they went in, with the crowd and even Golan applauding and he took the game. Golan, not wanting to see that again, changed strategy in game four and started shooting as well. As it turns out it was an intelligent move, and changed the game back to his favor.

Now, instead of cat-and-mouse, we had a gunfight.  Golan had the bigger guns and better legs, and took it, but exciting stuff.  It leaves us wondering how much more we will see of Andrew Wagih Shoukry, and why, if Golan can shoot so well, why he doesn’t do it more often.  Perhaps he saves it as a plan B, or for special occasions.

“I’m glad to be in the final of the Windy City Open,” said the illustrious Spaniard later. “It is the first tournament of the year for me and I hope I can keep the good results from the last months of last year.

“I have played three Egyptians in three days – which is very tough as they always attack well and put you under a lot of pressure!

“Tomorrow I will play Steve, who is playing his best squash in the last months and it is going to be a hard battle,” continued the 30-year-old, now in the 37th Tour final of his life. “It will be an interesting match and I hope the people from the club enjoy it like us.

“It is a really well-organised tournament and I want to thank John FlaniganMark Heather and his team for their great effort and also to the sponsors of this event.

“Finally I want to give a special thanks to my billet Tim Corvino and his friend Mike Twedell for his amazing hospitality.”

Tomorrow’s final should be excellent, with two fresh payers in great form and with contrasting styles.

Borja Golan relaxes with friends at the tournament dinner in Cathedral Hall

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