Cross-border double for Delierre as he beats Harrity then Gordon in Sudbury
By MIKE McCUE – Squash Mad Reporter
America’s Chris Gordon failed to follow up his win over Marwan Elshorbagy in the Northern Ontario Open, succumbing to Canada’s Shawn Delierre in the quarter-finals.
Tonight’s quarter-final matches lasted a whopping five and a half hours, ending well after the Sudbury YMCA’s usual 10pm closing time.
Chris Gordon was unable to build on his huge first round win, succumbing to Shawn Delierre in straight games. The American once again took the attacking initiative, playing countless volley drops on the first opportunity.
However, the shots that were going for winners last night were either finding the tin or coming back with interest tonight.
The Canadian did an excellent job of defending in the front left corner, playing tight counter-drops or straight lobs to neutralize pressure.
Gordon stayed competitive in every game, but was tinning out at crucial points. Delierre was content playing safe squash and waiting for these errors, eventually closing out the match with a tense 11-9 third game victory.
Having beaten recent US Nationals winner Todd Harrity in the first round, it was a cross-border double for Delierre.
Dutchman LJ Anjema (right) progressed with another 3-0 win over Campbell Grayson. The Kiwi controlled many rallies early in the first game, but LJ found his range to take the crucial opener 11-9.
The physicality began to take the sting out of Grayson, who slowly ceded control of the middle.
LJ closed points out with some fine backhand volley drops and crosscourt nicks.
Grayson competed very well and summoned all of his tactical and physical reserves, but could not establish enough pressure to unsettle Anjema. Worth nothing that LJ seems to be moving with total freedom and inhibition again after his recent injury layoff.
South America’s #2 and 3 ranked players produced an absolute classic in the third match. Crowd favourite Diego Elias beat Cesar Salazar here last year, and twice more in the intervening 12 months.
Diego won the first game comfortably by closing down Cesar’s open play and not engaging the athletic Mexican in the diagonal-sprints he so enjoys. After trading the second and third games, Elias looked poised to notch another victory. But Salazar is relentless, and the frequent flicks and change of direction began to fatigue the Peruvian.
The action became more conservative and length-based towards the end of the fourth game, and referee Campbell Grayson was being grilled in Spanglish on nearly every point.
Cesar converted a lead to level at 2-all, and surged ahead to 8-5 in the decider. Elias was no longer as quick on the ball or incisive in attack, but bared down to hit four winners and lead 9-8.
He began to show signs of cramping and went down match-ball at 10-9, but Salazar tinned an easy forehand drop to send us to a tiebreak! However, having sensed Diego’s body failing, Cesar upped the pace and played two conservative rallies to lock down his first PSA win over the young Peruvian.
The crowd thinned out before the nightcap, but the remaining diehards were treated to a dynamic, high-paced affair between Ryan Cuskelly and Alister Walker.
The experienced second seed Walker (right) played a counter-attacking game to good effect, pushing in tight counter-drops and anticipating Cuskelly’s hard crosscourts from the front. Winning several points with the aforementioned pattern, Walker took a 1-0 lead.
Ryan committed to playing straight out of the front corners for the rest of the match, which turned out to be the tactical turning point.
Ali continued to anticipate the crosscourt, but was leaving himself stranded as the Aussie passed him down the wall.
Cuskelly grew in confidence and aggression as the match wore on, applying serious pressure by jumping on any loose ball early. He consistently worked Walker out of position and earned a 3-1 victory.
Northern Ontario Open, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
(8) Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Chris Gordon (USA) 11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (55m)
(4) Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt (7) Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11/9, 11/5, 11/9 (60m)
(3) Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt (6) Diego Elias (PER) 6/11, 11/7, 6/11, 11/9, 12/10 (102m)
(5) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt (2) Alister Walker (BOT) 9/11, 11/4, 11/8, 11/7 (61m)
Pictures by MEGHAN McCUE