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Monday, July 26, 2021

PSA: Grant meets Illingworth in Manitoba final

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Julian Illingworth in action

RESULTS: PSA International 25 Winnipeg Building & Decorating Ltd Manitoba Open, Winnipeg, Canada

Semi-finals:
[1] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [3] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (48m)
[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt [2] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-6, 7-11, 13-11, 11-4 (70m)

Grant & Illingworth Make Manitoba Final
US number one Julian Illingworth upset second-seeded Canadian Shahier Razik in the Winnipeg Building & Decorating Ltd Manitoba Open to earn a surprise place in the final of the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event at Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club in Winnipeg, Canada.

The New Yorker, ranked 34 in the world, took the opening game – but the Canadian, ranked eight places higher, fought back to draw level, then opened up a 5-0 lead in the third before reaching game ball at 10-5.

But the record six-time US champion held his nerve to whittle down the lead to take the game into a tie-break – before clinching his own game ball at 12-11.

It was level to four-all in the fourth when 27-year-old Illingworth took complete charge to race through to his 11-6, 7-11, 13-11, 11-4 victory after 70 minutes – and reach his 14th Tour final.

In their first meeting for over four years, Illingworth will now face Englishman Adrian Grant.

The top seed from London maintained the upper hand throughout the other semi-final against Ryan Cuskelly, beating the third seed from Australia 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 in 48 minutes.

The 30-year-old left-hander, ranked 18 in the world, is celebrating his 26th appearance in a PSA World Tour final.

1st round:
[1] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [Q] Joel Hinds (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (50m)
[Q] Robbie Temple (ENG) bt Rafael F Alarcon (BRA) 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2, 11-3 (85m)
Jan Koukal (CZE) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4
[3] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 13-11, 11-5, 11-5
[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt [Q] Andrew McDougall (CAN) 3/1
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Justin Todd (CAN) 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9
Arturo Salazar (MEX) bt [Q] David Phillips (CAN) 12-10, 5-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3
[2] Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 16-14, 11-6, 8-11, 2-11, 11-9
Quarter-finals:
[1] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [Q] Robbie Temple (ENG) 8-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 14-12 (110m)
[3] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-8, 11-4, 13-11 (60m)
[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5 (60m)
[2] Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 13-11 (70m)

Razik Rallies To Manitoba Semis

Shahier Razik took home interest through to the semi-finals of the Winnipeg Building & Decorating Ltd Manitoba Open after battling to a 70-minute win over Mexican Arturo Salazar in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event at Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club in Winnipeg, Canada.

The 33-year-old from Toronto started off slowly against the Mexican hotshot – and quickly found himself trailing by a game to love. However, as his body loosened up from the hard two-hour match 24 hours earlier, the Canadian number one started to shine.

“Closing down the court, eliminating Salazar’s opportunities, and retrieving any attempts for winners thrown at him, Razik climbed to a 2/1 lead,” explained tournament organiser Gene Turk.

“Salazar wasn’t to bow out easily though, as the fourth was a see-saw battle to the end, with Salazar desperately attempting to push the match to a fifth and deciding game.”

Second seed Razik ultimately triumphed in a tie-break, winning 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 13-11.

Razik will now face North American rival Julian Illingworth, the fourth-seeded US No1 who beat unseeded Finn Henrik Mustonen 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5.

“The match was one of the most entertaining matches of the evening,” said Turk. “The audience was not only presented with a high-intensity, high-calibre squash match, but also a match where sportsmanship and competitor respect was illustrated to the utmost. In the end, the more experienced player, Illingworth, was too much for the young Finn to handle.”

In the top half of the draw, favourite Adrian Grant warded off a big upset after climbing back from two games down to beat fellow Englishman Robbie Temple 8-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 14-12 in ten minutes short of two hours.

Qualifier Temple came out flying in the first two games. “He kept the pace high and the angles flying hitting nick after nick. He seemed unstoppable,” said Turk.

But Londoner Grant, the world No18, gained control in the next two games as his opponent seemed to be saving himself for the fifth.

The pair traded points back and forth. Grant saved two match-balls in the tie-break before celebrating his marathon win.

Grant will face Ryan Cuskelly in the semi-finals after the third-seeded Australian beat Czech number one Jan Koukal 11-8, 11-4, 13-11.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Adrian Grant (ENG) v [3] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[2] Shahier Razik (CAN) v [4] Julian Illingworth (USA)

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