Saturday, February 24, 2024

Avila thriller in Toronto


Unseeded Mexican Alfredo Avila caused the biggest possible upset in the Squash Revolution Toronto Cup when he ousted top seed Karim Ali Fathi to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 .

Avila, a 22-year-old from Mexico City, recovered from two games down to beat Egypt’s world No 41 Ali Fathi in a match described by the club’s Squash Professional Mark Porter as “a high-paced marathon”.

“Karim dictated the play at the start of the match,” said Porter. “He was hitting the ball with devastating pace and moving Alfredo around the court with ease. But the young Avila put on an amazing display of retrieving and routinely forced Karim to play more shots per rally than he wanted to.

“After dropping the first two games it appeared that Avila’s ability to extend rallies was paying off as his opponent was starting to slow down,” continued the club spokesman. “Avila seemed to be getting faster as the match wore on and was able to take the next two games. In the fifth Avila raced off to a 5-0 lead and never looked back, successfully completing his comeback and booking a spot in the semis.”

The 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 victory in 74 minutes takes the world No 56 through to meet fourth seed Julian Illingworth.

In a battle also contested at the same club, eight-time US champion Illingworth, ranked 48 in the world, defeated AustralianRex Hedrick 11-9, 11-5, 11-2 in 56 minutes.

The two players in the other semi made their quarter-final journeys in somewhat contrasting styles: Martin Knight, the second seed from New Zealand, fought for more than an hour to see off rising German star Jens Schoor 11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, while third-seeded Englishman Jonathan Kemp was handed victory after just two games when Pakistan’s Danish Atlas Khan retired injured with the score standing at 11-9, 12-10.

1st round:
[2] Martin Knight (NZL) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-4
Jens Schoor (GER) bt Dane Sharp (CAN) 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 7-11, 11-3
Danish Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Scott Arnold (AUS) 11-4, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9
[3] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5
[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt Gonzalo Miranda (ARG) 12-10, 11-4, 11-5
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Lewis Walters (ENG) 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 11-3
[1] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 (81m)
[2] Martin Knight (NZL) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7 (62m)
[3] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Danish Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-9, 12-10 ret.
[4] Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-9, 11-5, 11-2 (56m)
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt [1] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (74m)

Semi-final line-up:
[2] Martin Knight (NZL) v [3] Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
Alfredo Avila (MEX) v [4] Julian Illingworth (USA)



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