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Top seeds set for maiden meeting at St Louis final

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Kandra and Iqbal set to cross paths for the first time at Emerson Racquet Club climax

By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter

Top seeds Nasir Iqbal and Raphael Kandra will contest the first PSA US Pro Squash Series final this year after securing contrasting semi-final victories at the Emerson Racquet Club Pro Series in St Louis, Missouri.

German second seed Kandra, who knocked out seventh seed Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari in the quarter-final, was given a stern test by 19-year-old Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi before eventually triumphing 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9 in just under an hour. 

The encounter, which featured blood and injury stoppages, saw the German number two edge a second-game tie-break to open up a two game lead.

But while the Qatari fourth seed halved the deficit in a one-sided third game, the 23-year-old from Essem fought back from 7-3 down in the fourth to close out victory and advance into his seventh Tour final in 12 months.

Iqbal, the number one seed from Pakistan, also battled through to his tenth career Tour final after brushing aside third-seed Arturo Salazar in straight games at The Racquet Club.

Iqbal, 19, needed just 30 minutes to prevail 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 and has yet to drop a game all week. 

The world number 53 (pictured right), who notched up five Tour final appearances last year, will now be hoping to gain the bragging rights over Kandra in their first-ever meeting on Saturday evening. 

Semi-Final Results:

[2] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1 [4] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9 (58m)
[1] Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 3-0 [3] Arturo Salazar (MEX) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (30m)

Picture by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)

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