Sunday, March 3, 2024

Shocks in Colombia as top seeds topple

Alfredo Avila jumps for joy after beating a dejected Peter Barker
Alfredo Avila jumps for joy after beating a dejected Peter Barker

Rodriguez and Barker bow out as Catalina Peláez flies the flag for Colombia

Top seeds Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Peter Barker lost in the semi-finals of the Colombian Open, but Catalina Peláez made it a glorious day for the host nation by beating Mexico’s Samantha Teran in the women’s semi-finals.

Rodriguez lost a thrilling match to India’s Saurav Ghosal, who won 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 12-10 after 101 minutes.
Barker was unable to build on a 2-0 lead as Mexico’s giant-killer Alfredo Avila fought back to win 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-2 in 85 minutes, with a tired-looking Barker clearly in some discomfort in the final two games.

Catalina Peláez played some outstanding squash to beat the vastly experienced Samantha Teran 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 in 33 minutes. She will face England’s Victoria Lust in the final after she beat Canada’s Nikki Todd in straight games, completing an 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 victory in 23 minutes.

A delighted Peláez said: “I am feeling incredibly happy right now. I have played Sam many times and had never won, but we have always had good matches. Today, I felt great playing, all my shots were on.

“From the start I knew it was going to be a really tough match and that I had to keep her behind me. Sam is a really strong player and I have a lot of respect for her. Besides this we have know each other for many years and we are good friends. I am really happy I was able to reach the final here at my home club. Congratulations to Sam and I am ready and excited for tomorrow.”

Catalina’s presence in the final makes up for the disappointment of Miguel Rodriguez failing to go the distance in Bogota. It was a typically determined display by Ghosal, who said: “I am so delighted to have won today. It is a great win to beat Miguel in Colombia and I guess it required a special match and performance to beat him.

“He is one of my best friends on tour and I hope we entertained the crowd, as much as we were hurting. Miguel pushed like crazy and showed what a champion he is. Hopefully, I will recover well for tomorrow.”

Rodríguez said: “There were tough days for me before starting the Colombian Open, doing my best to be at my best but unfortunately could not reach the final this year after a brutal semi with Saurav, who played really well. I wish him all the best on his first appearance in Bogota. However, I am proud of all the effort I did. Now it’s time to recover well because the season is on the way.”

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Avila, who had beaten Egypt’s Farres Dessouki and Spain’s Borja Golan, was overjoyed at completing a third shock victory. He said: “I am really happy to have won today, and all the other matches. Every match I have played was really hard and today isn’t the exception. I was 2-0 down and I just tried to keep pushing and change my game and it worked to get me to the fifth game. I am so excited to be in my first final in a tournament of this size.”

Victoria Lust said: “I was happy to win today. I thought I played well and stuck to my game plan. I am l looking forward to the final tomorrow.” Nikki Todd admitted: “I wish it would have gone the other way but Vicky was too strong today.”

A philosophical Samantha Teran said: “It is never easy to lose, but there are times and circumstances in the life of the athlete that complicate things. Today was an excellent squash match, with precise and winning balls which gave Catalina victory.

“We have played many times and I always enjoy our games. Today was no exception, especially here in Colombia. With this event, I close the season a bit complicated as a result of an injury that kept me out for five months.

“For the moment I’ll take a few days’ rest and will enjoy my time to be in this beautiful country and then prepare for the next season which begins for me in late September.”

Club el Nogal Colombian Open 2015, Club el Nogal, Bogota, Colombia.

Men’s semi-finals:

[6] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [1] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 12-10 (101m)
[Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt [2] Peter Barker (ENG) 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-2 (71m) 

Women’s semi-finals:
[1] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [3] Nikki Todd (CAN) 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (23m)
[4] Catalina Pelaez (COL) bt [2] Samantha Teran (MEX) 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (33m)


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