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PSA: Walker and Richards to contest Berkshire 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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Alister Walker in action

Walker & Richards To Contest Berkshire Final

15 April 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 35 Berkshire Open, Williamstown, Mass, USA

Semi-finals:
[1] Alister Walker (BOT) bt [3] Borja Golan (ESP) 12-10, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 (131m)
[2] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (55m)

Contrasting victories by Alister Walker and Tom Richards in the semi-finals of the Berkshire Open will see the top two seeds contest the final of the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event in its eighth year at Williams College inWilliamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

“On paper, the night’s opener between Alister and Spaniard Borja Golan promised squash at its best to a packed house behind the glass court,” explained tournament organiser Zafi Levy, the college’s Head Squash Coach. “Both players are at or near the top of their games — superbly conditioned, good ball strikers, up-tempo strategists and fight-to-the-finish competitors.

“And, two hours and eleven minutes later (yes, you’ve read it correctly — 2 hrs 11 minutes – and during this time, some amazing squash was actually played!) it maybe should have been declared a draw!”

After winning the first game on a tie-break, then dropping the next two, Walker claimed the fourth and fifth games by the same 12-10 margin – incredibly, not having to face match-balls in either game – before clinching the dramatic 12-10, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 victory which takes the world No18 from Botswana into the 10th Tour final of his career.

In the other semi, second seed Richards faced US hope Julian Illingworth, the only unseeded player in the last four.

“Julian had the better of the play, taking the first game 11-9 and holding two games ball at 10-8 up in the second,” reported Levy. “At that point a lengthy, between-point stretch against the glass side wall suggested that something might be up. Losing four straight points and then taking extra time between games confirmed that Julian’s back, which had so miraculously healed itself in the middle of his quarter final match with Yasir Butt, would now be a key factor in the outcome of the match.”

Indeed, Richards went on to take control – winning 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 in 55 minutes to notch up the eighth final appearance of his career.

Walker will go into the final with an undefeated record over the Englishman. But since two Tour losses in 2010, Richards has overtaken the favourite in the PSA world rankings. Revenge will no doubt be the order of the day!

Illingworth Joins Top Seeds In Berkshire Semis

14 April 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 35 Berkshire Open, Williamstown, Mass, USA

Quarter-finals:
[1] Alister Walker (BOT) bt [Q] Olivier Pett (ENG) 12-10, 11-8, 11-6 (38m)
[3] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 (27m)
Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Yasir Butt (PAK) 2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
[2] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)

Home hope Julian Illingworth will join the top three seeds in the semi-finals of the Berkshire Open after the unseeded 28-year-old continued his unexpected run in the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event in its eighth year atWilliams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

It was after upsetting fourth seed Stephen Coppinger in the first round that the world No36 from New York faced Pakistan’s Yasir Butt in the quarter-finals.

“There were rumours that Julian had hurt his back at the end of his match the night before against Steve Coppinger, and it certainly looked as if that was the case as the first game went quickly to Butt (without opposition) and at the same minimum level of resistance to put Julian down 9-2 to Yasir in the second,” explained tournament organiser Zafi Levy, the college’s Head Squash Coach.

“And then—suddenly and without warning—Julian came alive and won the next 14 points in a row! The transformation was exhilarating to witness!”

Illingworth went on to delight the partisan crowd by winning 2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 to set up a semi-final meeting with second seed Tom Richards.

The Englishman outplayed Miguel Angel Rodriguez to beat the Colombian number one 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.

The semi-final in the top half of the draw will be the one predicted by the draw, with favourite Alister Walker talking on third-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan.

Walker, the world No18 from Botswana, got off to a slow start against English qualifier Olivier Pett, but recovered from 8-10 down in the first game to win 12-10, 11-8, 11-6.

Golan, a former world No10, dashed Canadian hopes of success in the event by despatching Shawn Delierre 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 in just 27 minutes.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Alister Walker (BOT) v [3] Borja Golan (ESP)
[2] Tom Richards (ENG) v Julian Illingworth (USA)

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

Home Hero Illingworth Makes Berkshire Quarters

13 April 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 35 Berkshire Open, Williamstown, Mass, USA

1st round (lower half of draw):
Julian Illingworth (USA) bt [4] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-6 (70m)
Yasir Butt (PAK) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9 (56m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (44m)
[2] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10 (65m)

US squash star Julian Illingworth celebrated his best match win in more than a year when he upset fourth seed Stephen Coppinger in the first round of the Berkshire Open, the PSA World Tour International 35 event in its eighth year atWilliams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

“Julian continues to show improvement, and his control of the court and the points evidences the professionalism of his dedication to his craft,” said tournament organiser Zafi Levy, the college’s Head Squash Coach. “No longer the talented US kid who is giving a run at the game after an Ivy education, Julian is now a hardened pro with serious world-class credentials and a steadily improving ranking to go with them.”

Illingworth, ranked 36 in the world, recovered from a game down to beat Coppinger, the world No26 from South Africa, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-6 in 70 minutes.

“While his four-gamer over Coppinger was an upset on paper, Julian’s level of play was a touch higher than Steve’s in every category, although if Steve had converted one of his game-ball opportunities at 10-7 in the second (or later that same game at 11-10) to secure a 2/0 lead, the outcome might have been different,” added Levy.

Illingworth, the record eight-time US national champion from New York, goes on to meet Yasir Butt after the Pakistani won eight points in a row from 2-6 down in the fifth game to beat higher-ranked Mexican Arturo Salazar 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9 in 56 minutes.

Top-ranked Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez denied the crowd double US interest in the last eight when he beat New York qualifier Christopher Gordon 11-7, 12-10, 11-7.

“Watching Chris Gordon battle one of the most dynamic and electric players on tour, it was hard to believe that his world ranking is only #81,” explained Levy. “While the 3/0 game scores suggests otherwise, the length of the match at 44 minutes tells the true story. He contested with unqualified hustle, solid shot selection and total responsibility to his talent, playing within himself and affecting total commitment to.

“But, in Rodriguez he faced a whirlwind of energy and racquet work; his quickness, strength over the ball and shot-selection creativity make him a force to be reckoned with.”

Rodriguez, the world No28 from Bogota, now takes on second seed Tom Richards for a place in the last four.

Englishman Richards, the 25-year-old world No15 from Surrey, was stretched to four games and 65 minutes before quashing the challenge of India’s Siddharth Suchde 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Alister Walker (BOT) v [Q] Olivier Pett (ENG)
[3] Borja Golan (ESP) v Shawn Delierre (CAN)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Yasir Butt (PAK)
[2] Tom Richards (ENG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

 

 

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