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PSA: Sharpes shocks Illingworth in Sudbury

Charles Sharpes in recent action against James Willstrop at Canary Wharf. Image courtesy of
Charles Sharpes in recent action against James Willstrop at Canary Wharf. Image courtesy of

Sharpes Shuts Out Illingworth In Sudbury

5 April 2013

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 15 Northern Ontario Championship, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Scott Arnold (AUS) 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (37m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [3] Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 (62m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 6-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-8, 11-7 (63m)
[2] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 (62m)

For the second successive year, England’s world No66 Charles Sharpes has pulled off a major upset in the Northern Ontario Championship in Canada to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 squash event in its fourth year at the Sudbury YMCA in Sudbury, Ontario.

After stunning the No2 seed last year, the fast-rising London-born 21-year-old turned his attention to the third seed and dismissed Julian Illingworth, the title-holder from the USA ranked 25 places higher, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 in 62 minutes.

“Sharpes (who beat Shahier Razik at this stage last year) set a very high pace from the first rally which Julian was not quite ready to match,” explained tournament spokesman Michael McCue. “Roles reversed in the second as the American began attacking short from all areas of the court, and Sharpes was forced into some very hard work.

“Despite probably running 30% more than his opponent to this point, the Englishman didn’t come off the pace one bit in the third. He was brimming with confidence and began whipping in boasts and kills to test Julian’s movement and fitness. With neither player willing to retreat from this aggressive approach, something had to give.

“Illingworth started finding the tin too often, while Sharpes’ attacks were becoming winners. At 9-6 in the fourth he hit what some people called the best shot they had ever seen live, in the form of a forehand straight volley kill off a lob. This set up match-ball and seconds later he was into the semis.”

Sharpes was clearly delighted with his performance: “Really happy to win against Julian, lost to him earlier in the year, so to get the win is amazing. Thought I played really well tonight, I was attacking really well.

“I hope I can keep it up tomorrow against Chris, going to be a really tough game but happy to be in the semis again.”

Sharpes now faces compatriot Chris Simpson in a match which will ensure English representation in the final for the first time. Top seed Simpson ended qualifier Scott Arnold‘s run by beating the Australian 11-6, 11-8, 12-10.

“Happy to win in three tonight and get to the semis again,” said Guernsey-born Simpson. “Particularly happy to be back in Sudbury again and see all the great things this town has to offer.”

Two five-game battles resolved the line-up of the other semi which will feature second seed Marwan El Shorbagy and unseeded Mexican Cesar Salazar.

El Shorbagy twice saw US champion Christopher Gordon draw level before the 19-year-old world junior champion from Egypt finally closed out the match 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 in 62 minutes.

It took a minute longer for Salazar to end 2010 champion Jan Koukal‘s chance of a second title. The 25-year-old from San Luis Potosi twice came from behind to beat the Czech number one 6-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-8, 11-7.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) v Charles Sharpes (ENG)
[2] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)

First round: Scott & Cesar Celebrate

4 April 2013

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 15 Northern Ontario Championship, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

1st round:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Dane Sharp (CAN) 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (62m)
[Q] Scott Arnold (AUS) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-7, 15-17, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9 (70m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [Q] Lewis Walters (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
[3] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt [Q] Eric Galvez (MEX) 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11 (72m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [4] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (38m)
Jan Koukal (CZE) bt [WC] Michael McCue (CAN) 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (38m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Andrew Schnell (CAN) 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)
[2] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 5-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7 (47m)

Australia’s Scott Arnold and Mexican Cesar Salazar defied the world rankings on the opening day of main draw action in the Northern Ontario Championship in Canada to claim unexpected quarter-final berths in the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 squash event in its fourth successive year at the Sudbury YMCA in Sudbury, Ontario.

Arnold upset speedy Mexican Alfredo Avila by controlling the pace and not engaging the world No60 in many wide-open rallies. From 8-5 down in the fifth, the Australian qualifier staged a comeback and won the match on two consecutive strokes in the front left corner.

Ranked 100 in the world, Sydney-born Arnold now faces world No29 Chris Simpson, the top seed from England who recovered from a game down to overcome local hope Dane Sharp, a qualifier from Toronto, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8.

Cesar Salazar caused the only seeding upset, dismissing leading Canadian Shawn Delierre, the No4 seed from Montreal, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8.

“Cesar was ruthless and finished the match in under 40 minutes,” said tournament spokesman Michael McCue. “Impressive, considering these two are notorious for marathon matches, particularly on bouncy panel courts like the ones here in Sudbury.”

But there was no such luck for Cesar’s twin brother Arturo Salazar who went down in four games to Marwan El Shorbagy, the second seed from Egypt.

“Marwan dropped the first game in rapid fashion and found himself 6-8 down in the second before levelling at one-all,” explained McCue. “Arturo again threatened to take a commanding lead with two game balls in the third, but the Egyptian sensed the danger and played four brilliant rallies to take the ever-important 2/1 lead.

“The fourth was not as competitive at the other games, and Marwan successfully navigated a tricky opener.”

Reigning world junior champion El Shorbagy, now 19 and the youngest player in the draw, moves on to face Christopher Gordon, the 26-year-old US number two. Recent winner of the US National Championship, Gordon despatched Calgary-based Canadian Andrew Schnell 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.

Gordon will be joined in the last eight by compatriot Julian Illingworth. In what was described as the ‘match of the night’ – and was certainly the longest – third seed Illingworth defeated Mexican qualifier Eric Galvez 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11 in 72 minutes.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Q] Scott Arnold (AUS)
[3] Julian Illingworth (USA) v Charles Sharpes (ENG)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Jan Koukal (CZE)
[2] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) v Christopher Gordon (USA)

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