Evans sinks Soares after two marathon matches
By BOB BALLINGER – Squash Mad Correspondent
Emyr Evans continued his storming run through the Linear Logistics Bankers Hall Club Pro Am, beating No.3 seed Rui Soares to reach the final.
Semi Final Saturday at the Bankers Hall Club in downtown Calgary produced two high quality matches and as a result we have two first time finalists here at the 19th version of this event.
First up was Welsh No.8 seed Evans up against the tall and stylish Soares, from Portugal. Both were coming off of five-game victories the day before to get into the semis. On this day the quickness of Evans’ movements and his pace of play were just a bit too much for the talented world #74 Soares. Evans won this one in three straight games.
It was another phenomenal performance from Evans coming on the back of two marathon victories against Scotland’s Rory Stewart (77 minutes) and Mexican No.1 seed Leonel Cardenas (88 minutes) to reach the semi-finals.
Next up was second seeded Dimitri Steinmann (Switzerland) and sixth seeded Christopher Gordon (USA). A wonderful match to watch for the packed house at Bankers Hall Club. Both players displayed a full array of shots and retrieving … any interference between the two was irrelevant as each of them cleanly played through it.
The young Swiss star was up 2-1 in games but found himself in a big hole in the fourth game, going down 6-2. Some taxing rallies started to slow Gordon a bit and slowly but surely Steinmann was able to come back to win that game 11-7 and secure his spot in the final.
Should be a great match with the #2 seed Steinmann and the #8 seed Evans. Neither have made it this far here at the Pro Am before, and both will be pushing hard to achieve that breakthrough victory.
The quarter finals once again provided an amazing level of squash combined with some high drama squash. First match of the lunch time session had one of the giant killers of round one Joeri Hapers take a two-game lead over Rui Soares the #3 seed only to see his hopes of a second big win here go down in five long games.
Kudos to both players here as Soares overcame an early injury in the first game to then take that two to zero lead and same back to the big Portuguese player to climb out of that deficit.
Next up the stylish second seed Dimitri Steinmann took to the court against another day one giant killer Curtis Malik. Steinmann was able to stay steady despite a strong push from the Englishman Malik to win in four games.
Onto the evening session where the defending champion and top seed from Mexico, Leonel Cardenas took on the eighth seeded Welsh player Emyr Evans. These two seem to draw one another often it seems in PSA events….one year ago here at this same event they battled for five games in the semis; in November they also had a five game match in the finals of an event in Kelowna, BC; and next week they have a possible match up in Portland.
In the recent match ups it has been the 19-year-old Cardenas (turning 20 here this weekend) prevailing in five games. This time it was similar in that they went five games but it was Evans who turned it his way in a long, tight match, finishing strongly to win 12-10 in the fifth.
The final match of the night had USA veteran player Christopher Gordon go up against the impressive and in-form Abhay Singh of India. Gordon took the first somewhat handily; then a long second game also went to Gordon 15-13; but an unfortunate injury slowed Singh and he had to retire in the third game giving Gordon a spot in Saturday’s semi finals.
The first two matches went the distance and the other two went to four games … and two of our seeded players were eliminated! Second seed Dimitri Steinmann overcame a great effort from Matias Tuomi to win in four games while third seed Rui Soares held off an impressive challenge by Tristan Eysele.
Meanwhile, seeded Czech players Daniel Mekbib (#5 seed) and Martin Svec (#7 seed) both went out in five games. English player Curtis Malik beat Svec in one hour while Joeri Hapers of Belgium took Mekbib in 65 minutes.
In the evening session, eighth seed Emyr Evans held off Rory Stewart in a long five gamer; fourth seed and Canadian veteran player Shawn DeLierre went down in three straight games to the impressive Abhay Singh from India.
Local star and past champion Andrew Schnell could not exact his revenge from last year’s loss to Leonel Cardenas, going down in three great games; and USA veteran player Chris Gordon managed to keep his seeded position going in a straight game victory over Robert Downer of England.
PSA Challenger Tour $12,000 Men’s Linear Logistics Bankers Hall Club Pro Am 2020, Bankers Hall Club, Calgary, Canada.
 Emyr Evans (WAL) v  Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
 Emyr Evans (WAL) bt  Rui Soares (POR) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (36m)
 Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt  Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-1: 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (60m)
 Emyr Evans (WAL) bt  Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10 (88m)
 Rui Soares (POR) bt Joeri Hapers (BEL) 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (67m)
 Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Abhay Singh (IND) 11-7, 15-13, 6-1 ret. (44m)
 Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt Curtis Malik (ENG) 11-4, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7 (45m)
 Leonel Cardenas (MEX) bt [WC] Andrew Schnell (CAN) 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 (47m)
 Emyr Evans (WAL) bt Rory Stewart (SCO) 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-2 (72m)
Joeri Hapers (BEL) bt  Daniel Mekbib (CZE) 7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (54m)
 Rui Soares (POR) bt Tristan Eysele (RSA) 11-4, 6-11, 14-12, 11-8 (29m)
Abhay Singh (IND) bt  Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 (53m)
 Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Robert Downer (ENG) 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (38m)
Curtis Malik (ENG) bt  Martin Svec (CZE) 5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5 (57m)
 Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt Matias Tuomi (FIN) 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8
Pictures courtesy of Bankers Hall Club