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Thursday, June 17, 2021

PSA: Richards rocks Razik, then chops Kemp

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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Tom Richards in action. Picture by Patricia Lyons

RESULTS: PSA International 25 True North Berkshire Open, Williamstown, Mass, USA

Quarter-finals:
[1] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 11-5, 11-6, 11-8
[3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8 (94m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [4] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8 (85m)
[2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (30m)

Richards Rallies To Razik Win

England’s Tom Richards confounded the seedings of the True North Berkshire Open in the USA when he beat fourth-seeded Canadian Shahier Razik to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event in its seventh year at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

But 33-year-old Razik, who has recently fallen below the Englishman in the world rankings, was keen to prove the latest PSA list wrong as he battled for 85 minutes to keep Richards at bay on the all-glass court in Williams College’s Chandler Gymnasium.

“Richards was so totally in control that it was hard to imagine that it would take another hour for a winner to be determined,” said Williams College Head Squash Coach Zafi Levy. “A nearly imperceptible tightening of his defensive length and width, coupled with reducing his unforced errors, put fourth seed Shahier Razik back into the match, eventually forcing a fifth game.

“Still even at seven-all in the final game, Razik just tired ever so slightly at that point to yield four of the next five points relatively quickly and with it the match 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8.”

Richards, the world No28 from Surrey, now faces fellow countryman Jonathan Kemp, the No2 seed who ousted MalaysianMohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.

In the longest battle for a place in the last four, third-seeded Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez twice recovered leads by Spaniard Borja Golan to beat the former world No10 who is fighting back to full fitness after knee surgery 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8 in 94 minutes.

The 25-year-old from Bogota, ranked 25 in the world, now faces top seed Wael El Hindi, the US-based world No16 from Egypt who beat Mexican Arturo Salazar 11-5, 11-6, 11-8.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Wael El Hindi (EGY) v [3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
[2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) v Tom Richards (ENG)

RESULTS: PSA International 25 True North Berkshire Open, Williamstown, Mass, USA

Semi-finals:
[1] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (40m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 12-10, 12-10, 5-11, 10-12, 11-1 (58m)

El Hindi & Richards To Contest Berkshire Final

Unseeded Englishman Tom Richards continued his impressive run in the True North Berkshire Open in the USA by beating higher-ranked compatriot Jonathan Kemp to earn a surprise clash with top seed Wael El Hindi in the final of thePSA World Tour International 25 squash event in its seventh year at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Seven world ranking places separate Richards, now the world No28, and Kemp, the world No21 – and the underdog went into the match never having previously beaten his fellow countryman in any event.

“Hard hitting, fast paced, and absolutely clean as a whistle in terms of clears and calls, the rhythm was action packed all the way through, with up and back patterns, lots of volleying and superb retrieving,” commented Williams College Head Squash Coach Zafi Levy on the second semi-final on the all-glass court in the college’s Chandler Gymnasium.

“Tom, head-banded and short hair, nipped the first two games in extra points, as Jonathan, head-banded and moppy hair, let a 9-6 lead in the first slip away and tinned out on several key points in the second, before running away with the third game and rescuing the fourth from match ball down. Unfortunately for Kemp, the fifth game got totally away from him as a spate of errors undid him early on.”

The 12-10, 12-10, 5-11, 10-12, 11-1 victory in 58 minutes takes new England international Richards into the sixth PSA World Tour final of his career – but his biggest by far.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s world No16 Wael El Hindi coolly took his place in the final after winning his third successive straight games win in the event, beating third-seeded Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.

“The tall, rangy Egyptian, had to be his very sharpest to deal with the electric speed of his younger Columbian opponent, whose energy, reflexes and agility allowed him to escape one predicament after the next, and forced El Hindi to hit at least three winners for every point he won,” said Levy.

The win earns El Hindi his 13th PSA Tour final appearance – his first since winning the US Open last October.

The 30-year-old from Cairo has only met Richards once before on the PSA Tour – at the Oregon Open in February 2008. Not only did the Egyptian win that clash in straight games – but El Hindi has also not been beaten in a Tour final since May 2005.

 

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