Palmer meets Hisham in Montreal final
Australian number one David Palmer reached the final of the NBF Open squash tournament in Montreal with a tough five-game win over Englishman Alister Walker on Thursday.
Palmer, playing with a heavily strapped ankle, was taken the distance for the second day in a row before seeing off Walker 4-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6.
He will now take on Hisham Ashour in the decider after the third seeded Egyptian upset Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 15-13.
The 34-year-old Palmer, who won the Rocky Mountain Open in Calgary last week, is playing in his 55th final on the Professional Squash Association tour.
Last week’s victory was his 27th since he turned professional in 1995.
He has beaten Ashour in three of their four previous meetings, but lost their last encounter in January this year.
According to the seedings, Ashour secured an unexpected place in the final after beating Dutch favourite Anjema at Club Sportif MAA in Montreal.
But the win was the Egyptian’s fifth in six Tour meetings with the world No12 from The Hague since October 2006.
Third seed Ashour took the first game and led 10-8 in the second. But Anjema battled back to draw level after a tie-break.
“Ashour came on with a renewed onslaught of shot-making in the third, trying to hit the nick at every given opportunity,” explained a tournament spokesman.
Errors started dominate Ashour’s game after the 28-year-old from Cairo won the third – and the Dutchman moved 8-4 ahead in the fourth. But the lower-ranked Egyptian kept clawing his way back, evening out his errors with fantastic winners to get to 10-all.
The pair trade points until Ashour set up match ball at 14-13 before going on to close out the match 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 15-13 in 61 minutes.
The Egyptian, now in his 10th PSA Tour final, faces second seed David Palmer after the veteran Australian clinched his second Tour final place in a week – and the 55th of his career – by beating unseeded Alister Walker.
But the English outsider, ranked 19 in the world, took the experienced Palmer the full distance before the US-based former world No1 and world champion finally emerged triumphant 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6 after 92 minutes.
Palmer, who won last week’s Rocky Mountain Open in Calgary, is meeting Ashour for the second time in Canada this year after a semi-final clash in the Comfort Inn Open in Vancouver in January – when the Egyptian beat the Australian for the first time.
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(3) Hisham Ashour (EGY) bt (1) Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 15-13
(2) David Palmer (AUS) bt Alister Walker (ENG) 4-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6