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PSA: Leo lands Bankers Hall trophy

Leo Au in action. Picture by KIM ROBERTS

Leo Lands Bankers Hall Club Trophy

28 January 2013

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 10 TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Am, Calgary, Canada

[1] Leo Au (HKG) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-5, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3 (74m)

Leo Au survived a thrilling five-game battle against Germany’s Raphael Kandra in the final of the TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Am in Canada to become the first Hong Kong winner of the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event celebrating its 11th year at the Bankers Hall Club in Calgary.

“In front of another standing room only crowd, Au produced a gritty at times display of squash which saw the match ebb and flow with each player seemingly taking control only to have it removed from them,” explained tournament promoter Bob Ballinger, the club’s Head Squash Professional.

“Despite the fact that four of the five games score-wise were not close, do not be fooled – as the rallies were long with great exchanges by both players using all areas of the court in particular – each of them showcasing their amazing hands and front court game.

“After 74 minutes of great all around squash, Au prevailed 11-5, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3.”

The triumph marks 22-year-old world No47 Au’s fourth PSA Tour title.

“So another PSA event and amateur event is over for another year,” added Ballinger. “Great crowds throughout the week for both components of the tournament simply enhanced what this event has evolved to become over the years.

“We look forward to January 2014 and doing it all over again!”

[1] Leo Au (HKG) bt [4] Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (53m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (42m)

Unseeded German Raphael Kandra pulled off his third successive straight games win in the TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Am when he beat Australia’s Rex Hedrick to claim an unexpected place in the final of the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event celebrating its 11th year at the Bankers Hall Club in Calgary, Canada.

The 22-year-old world No83 from Essen upset Hedrick – ranked 23 places higher – 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 in 42 minutes to reach the fifth PSA World Tour title of his career.

Left-hander Kandra is already boasting his second final appearance of the year after finishing as runner-up to Jens Schoorin last week’s Rocafort Open in Spain – in the first ever all-German Tour final.

Kandra now faces his toughest test against the event’s top seed Leo Au.

But the world No47 from Hong Kong took longer to earn his place in the final – needing 53 minutes to overcome fourth-seeded Australian Matthew Karwalski 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 in the other semi-final.

The 22-year-old Au is marking his eighth PSA Tour final appearance.

Runner-up last year at the Bankers Hall Club, Au will be aiming to go one better this year and become the event’s first ever Hong Kong champion.

Hedrick Lops Lee In Bankers Hall Upset

26 January 2013

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 10 TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Am, Calgary, Canada

[1] Leo Au (HKG) bt Dane Sharp (CAN) 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8 (77m)
[4] Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-2 ret.
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Graeme Schnell (CAN) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (38m)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt [2] Joe Lee (ENG) 6-11, 15-13, 11-3, 11-4 (63m)

Unseeded Australian Rex Hedrick secured a surprise place in the semi-finals of the TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Amafter ousting No2 seed Joe Lee in a shock four-game victory in the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event celebrating its 11th year at the Bankers Hall Club in Calgary, Canada.

Englishman Lee, ranked 42 in the world, took the opening game – but the 24-year-old from Melbourne survived a lengthy tie-break game to draw level, then forged ahead to record an impressive 6-11, 15-13, 11-3, 11-4 win after 63 minutes.

Hedrick, the world No60, will now face fellow non-seed Raphael Kandra following the 22-year-old German’s 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 dismissal of Graeme Schnell, the local wildcard player who hit the headlines 24 hours earlier by removing the event’s third seed Jan Koukal.

Fourth seed Matthew Karwalski provides Australian interest in the other semi-final. The New South Wales 27-year-old eased into the last four after his Mexican opponent Alfredo Avila retired injured after just a single game.

Karwalski will take on top seed Leo Au after the world No27 from Hong Kong overcame Canadian Dane Sharp 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8 in a 77-minute marathon.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Leo Au (HKG) v [4] Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) v Raphael Kandra (GER)

Schnell Shocks Koukal In Calgary

25 January 2013

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 10 TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Am, Calgary, Canada

1st round:
[1] Leo Au (HKG) bye
Dane Sharp (CAN) bt Michael McCue (CAN) 8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-9 (93m)
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Farhan Zaman (PAK) 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 12-14, 11-8 (55m)
[4] Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt David Letourneau (CAN) 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)
Graeme Schnell (CAN) bt [3] Jan Koukal (CZE) 8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (81m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt Andrew Schnell (CAN) 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-2 (66m)
[2] Joe Lee (ENG) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (60m)

There were mixed fortunes for the Schnell siblings in their home hometown of Calgary where PSA World Tour regularAndrew Schnell went down in four games to Australian Rex Hedrick, but older brother Graeme Schnell – ranked outside the world top 300 – upset third seed Jan Koukal to claim a shock slot in the quarter-finals of the TAQA Bankers Hall Club Pro Am at the Canadian city’s Bankers Hall Club.

Schnell senior, in only his second year on the PSA Tour, is the wildcard player in the PSA Challenger 10 squash event celebrating its tenth successive year.

The 24-year-old twice came from behind to topple Koukal, the Czech number one ranked 56 in the world, 8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 in 81 minutes.

Andrew, the world No85 who himself upset Koukal at the same stage in last year’s event before going on to make the semi-finals unseeded, took the opening game against Hedrick before the world No60 from Melbourne fought back to win 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-2 in 66 minutes.

“Haven’t been this disappointed after a loss in a long time,” tweeted Schnell junior later. “Definitely need to reevaluate some things. Happy my bro won though.”

Dane Sharp doubled the domestic interest in the last eight round when he beat fellow Canadian Michael McCue 8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-9 in a 93-minute marathon.

The 28-year-old from Toronto goes on to face Leo Au, the top seed from Hong Kong who received a bye in the first round.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Leo Au (HKG) v Dane Sharp (CAN)
[4] Matthew Karwalski (AUS) v Alfredo Avila (MEX)
Graeme Schnell (CAN) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
[2] Joe Lee (ENG) v Rex Hedrick (AUS)

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