Category Archives: News

Charlton Captures Seventh PSA Tour Title in Delaware

charleton-crop-1

England international Eddie Charlton claimed the seventh PSA Tour title of his career fulfilling his seeding to win the inaugural $5,000 Delaware Pro Singles at Wilmington Country Club.

Although it is the twenty-eight-year-old’s seventh career title, it is his first since relocating to Chicago and first U.S. Pro Series title.

The Englishman entered the draw as the top seed, brushing off American David Cromwell in the first round and Canadian Cameron Seth in the quarterfinals.

The main draw was shaken up by three qualifiers who pulled off first-round upsets to reach the quarterfinals, including former U.S. men’s national team player Gilly Lane, who took out seven seed Stu Hadden in a three-game, first-round match.

Pakistani qualifier Syed Hamzah Bukhari made an unexptected run to the semifinals, upsetting Team USA’s four seed Faraz Khan in the first round and Bermuda’s Micah Franklin in the quarterfinals before losing out against Charlton in the final.

In an all-English final, Charlton held off two seed Adam Murrills 11-9, 11-5, 4-11, 11-6 in fifty minutes to claim the title.

PSA squash returns to Delaware in two weeks in the form of the $10,000 Corporation Service Company Delaware Women’s Open.

American Quartet Set for Delaware Pro Singles Main Draw

faraz-nationals-edit
Faraz Khan (l) at the 2016 S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Championship.

The first $5,000 PSA Men’s Delaware Pro Singles main draw is set following two rounds of qualifying, as four Americans aim for the title this weekend at the Wilmington Country Club in Delaware.

Former U.S. men’s national team player and world No. 46 Gilly Lane returned to the PSA Tour for the first time in fifteen months, and recorded two qualifying victories over fellow American Nick Talbott and Trinity graduate Elroy Leong to reach the main draw. The US Squash Academy Director will face Ireland’s seven seed Stu Hadden at 5pm Thursday afternoon.

Chicago-based Englishman Eddie Charlton leads the draw as the top seed. The former world No. 50 will take on American David Cromwell in the first round.

Greenwich, CT-based Faraz Khan enters the tournament as the four seed and will play Pakistan’s Syed Bukhari. Franklin & Marshall graduate Dylan Cunningham enters the draw as the six seed and awaits Canada’s Cameron Seth in the first round.

Main draw matches begin at 12pm noon local time. Follow live scores and view the draw on www.usprosquashseries.com/live.

U.S. Junior Champions Douglass and Stefanoni Enter U.S. Pro Series Qualifying

2016 U.S. junior champions Marina Stefanoni (l) and Andrew Douglas.
2016 U.S. junior champions Marina Stefanoni (l) and Andrew Douglas.

U.S. junior champions Andrew Douglas and Marina Stefanoni are both set to compete in qualifying for U.S. Pro Series events this week, the $10,000 Life Time Florida Open and $5,000 LiveStuff Open respectively.

Eighteen-year-old Douglass is making his U.S. Pro Series debut and just his second PSA appearance after competing in the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, where he stretch German world No. 44 Raphael Kandra to five games.

The junior Pan American Champion will face fellow American and St. Lawrence graduate Timmy Lasusa in the first round of qualifying from Life Time Fitness Boca Raton at 5pm ET.

One week after shocking the two seed in the McLean Open on her fourteenth birthday, Stefanoni travels north to the Tuxedo Club in New York to vie for a place in the Live Stuff Open main draw. Stefanoni will face fellow American Caroline Neave Wednesday at 6:15pm ET.

Follow live scoring from both tournaments and view draws on www.usprosquashseries.com/live.

Avila Holds Off Late Harrity Comeback to Win Salt Lake City Open

Photos by: Morgan Leigh Photography
Todd Harrity (l) and Alfredo Avila before the Salt Lake City Open final. (image: Morgan Leigh Photography)

Mexico’s Alfredo Avila held off a third-game comeback from Team USA’s Todd Harrity to win his eighth career PSA Title and first U.S. Pro Series title since 2013—the $15,000 Wasatch Advisors Salt Lake City Open—Saturday night at SquashWork’s in Utah’s capital.

Avila, world No. 75 and former world No. 35, showed no signs of fatigue after two consecutive five-gamers to reach the final and played his best squash of the tournament against the American world No. 53. After controlling the first two games 11-5, 11-6, Avila held three match balls in the third game up 10-7. Harrity dug in and fought off all three match balls and earned a game ball up 11-10, but Avila bounced back to seal the final 14-12.

“Today I played by best squash in this tournament,” Avila said after the final. “One of the most important things for me today was coming into the match with a plan against Todd. We’ve played twice before and I know how he plays and where he’s strong. I tried to play a game that wouldn’t let him play his best. I made my best shots and they went to the right places. It was 10-7 and after that I started to think I was going to win, but then he put a lot of pressure on me and played good shots, and I was hitting the ball without thinking about it being under pressure. Then it was 10-all and he had a game ball. So after that I refocused and went back to my game that was working well.

The Mexican aims to continue his U.S. Pro Series success in the new year, when he will aim for a second title in two months in Pittsburgh.

View an image gallery by Morgan Leigh Photography here.

El Defrawy Storms to Victory at Play Squash Women’s Open

kanzy-crop
Kanzy El Defrawy in the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open. (image: squashpics.com)

Report courtesy of PSA.

Egyptian number one seed Kanzy Emad El Defrawy lifted her third PSA World Tour title of 2016 after a dominant win over Canada’s Nicole Bunyan in the final stage of the 2016 Bitar Cosmetics – Play Squash Women’s Open, PSA W5 tournament held at the McLean Squash Center in Virginia.

El Defrawy, who has also won the Richmond Open and the Amman Open this year, was the highest ranked player to take part in the tournament at World No.41 and, after receiving a bye in round one, showed her class to defeat compatriot Farah Abdel Meguid and then Colombian Catalina Pelaez to earn her final berth.

23-year-old Bunyan, meanwhile, achieved a landmark week in Virginia as she fought her way through to a first ever PSA World Tour final, notably downing South African twins Lume and Elani Landman en route.

El Defrawy is ranked 49 places above Bunyan on the World Rankings, and overwhelmed the Canadian by playing at a lighting-quick tempo and ripping a number of punishing drives to the back of the court.

The encounter lasted just 20 minutes, with El Defrawy dropping just seven points across three games to capture her second PSA World Tour crown of the 2016/17 season.

Result – Final: 2016 Bitar Cosmetics – Play Squash Women’s Open
[1] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) bt [4] Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-0: 11-1, 11-3, 11-3 (20m)

Harrity Sails into Salt Lake City Semifinals

Photos by: Morgan Leigh Photography
Harrity (l) against Larkin (Image: Morgan Leigh Photography)

Team USA’s Todd Harrity is through to the $15,000 Wasatch Advisors Salt Lake City Open semifinals following a three-game quarterfinal victory Thursday night at SquashWorks in Utah.

Harrity, the two seed, took out England’s eight seed 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 in thirty-two minutes to reach the semifinals where he will face Finish four seed Henrik Mustonen.

“It was a tough match,” Harrity said. “I was just trying to keep the pressure on and keep him behind me as much as possible. I was losing points where he was getting in front of me or if there were loose balls in the front of the court. So glad to have made it through in three because the second and third games were getting pretty close.”

Harrity is competing in the Salt Lake City Open for the first time.

“It’s my first time in Salt Lake City, which is great,” Harrity said. “I thought coming out here with the altitude that the ball would be zipping around and difficult conditions, but the courts are pretty true.”

The Princeton graduate is the only remaining American in the draw after compatriots Chris Gordon and Faraz Khan both exited in the quarterfinals.

Khan’s tournament came to an unfortunate and abrupt end in the first game when he was forced to retire due to injury against New Zealand’s Martin Knight. In the same half of the draw, former world No. 35 Alfredo Avila upset the seedings against Chris Gordon 11-7, 11-1, 9-11, 11-13, 11-5 in sixty minutes.

Friday’s semifinals begin at 6:30pm local time, 8:30pm ET. Follow live scores and view the draw on www.usproseries.com/live.

Stefanoni Marks Fourteenth Birthday With First PSA Win

Stefanoni at the 2016 U.S. Junior Championships.
Stefanoni at the 2016 U.S. Junior Championships.

Report by David Keating

What a way to celebrate your fourteenth birthday. Play your second professional squash match against a number two seed and walk away with a 3-0 victory, your first pro win.

USA’s No. 1 junior, Marina Stefanoni, did just that Wednesday night. She exhibited a maturity beyond her years in defeating world No. 95 Sadia Gul of Pakistan in the round of sixteen at the Bitar Cosmetics – Play Squash PSA Women’s Open 2016 at the McLean Racquet and Health Club in Virginia.

“I was playing like a normal match,” said Stefanoni, an eighth grader from Darien, CT. “I wasn’t trying to think that it was anything bigger, so I wouldn’t get nervous.” She certainly didn’t look nervous.

Gul opened the match with a quick 2-0 lead, and spectators wondered if the young American could keep up with her skill and pace. But Stefanoni immediately countered with four straight points. It was a pattern that would often repeat during the match, where each player would reel off a streak of points.

Gul built an 8-5 edge in game one, and then Stefanoni turned the tables. She played two masterful lob shots to Gul’s forehand to win points seven and nine. The junior tied the game up at eight all with a forehand smash that nicked off the back wall. In all, she he reeled off six straight points to close out the first game 11-8. “I’ve been practicing [my lobs] recently,” said Stefanoni. “If you hit them high enough, you can play it as an attacking shot.” It worked.

At the beginning of game two, the pair traded points to 3-3 before Gul built a 7-3 lead. Stefanoni then took eight straight points to win game two, 11-7.

In the third game, Stefanoni built an 8-3 lead and victory seemed assured. But then Gul brought a higher level of urgency to her game. She surged back to 8-9 before Stefanoni hit a perfectly executed boast to bring it to match ball. Gul still managed to tie things up at 10-10, before Stefanoni closed out the game and match with a 13–11 win in the final game.

Stefanoni takes on South African Elani Landman, world #165, in the quarters Thursday.

Marina Stefanoni (USA) bt Sandia Gul (PAK) 11-8, 11-7, 13-11, (32 minutes)

El Sherbini Retains Carol Weymuller Title

carol-crop
l-r: Alison Waters, Linda Elriani, Nour El Sherbini (image: Jean Ervasti)

World No. 1 Nour El Sherbini captured the Carol Weymuller Open, PSA W50 title for a second successive year after an assured display from the twenty-year-old Egyptian saw her defeat 2014 winner Alison Waters at the Heights Casino in Brooklyn.

El Sherbini, the reigning World Champion, breezed through to the final without dropping a game and defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry to book her place in the showpiece finale.

Waters, meanwhile, came up with the performance of the tournament in her semifinal fixture to overcome recent Delaware Investments U.S. Open winner Camille Serme in a blistering five-game battle.

It was the Englishwoman who lead the head-to-head record between the pair 4-2 coming into the match, but El Sherbini stormed out of the traps to hold a 6-1 lead in game one, only to see Waters fight back to claim game balls on two occasions.

A determined El Sherbini came back though to take it on the tie-break and, despite even starts to the second and third games, the Egyptian pulled away in both to wrap up a 13-11, 11-6, 11-3 victory to capture her first PSA World Tour title since she became World Champion in April.

“It’s a thrill to defend my title again this year after winning it last year, and that was the start of a really special season,” said El Sherbini.

“Let’s hope that this will be the start of a special season again this year.”

Grayson Fights Back to Beat Lobban in Chicago

14753206_10154741462106929_2794615459792664029_o

New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson battled back from two games down to defeat Scotland’s Greg Lobban in the final of the Life Time Chicago Open, PSA M15 tournament to claim his 11th PSA World Tour crown.

Grayson, the World No.42, was appearing at this tournament for the first time since he lost out to World No.15 Ryan Cuskelly in the final two years ago and followed up a comfortable opening round victory over Argentina’s Leandro Romiglio with consecutive five-game epics against Finland’s Henrik Mustonen and Germany’s Raphael Kandra to reach the final.

Meanwhile, Lobban’s path to the final was more straightforward as he dispatched Belgian qualifier Jan van den Herrewegen, Canadian Andrew Schnell and Mexico’s Arturo Salazar, dropping just two games in the process.

As such, Lobban was the sharper of the two competitors at the beginning of the final and raced into a two-game lead, before a knee injury at 9-9 in the third after an awkward landing meant that the World No.38 needed a short break.

That injury proved to be a huge turning point in the encounter as Grayson went on to win the third game, and he maintained his composure against a struggling Lobban in the final two games to record a 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 victory to win his second PSA World Tour title of the year.

Result – Final: Life Time Chicago Open 2016
[2] Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [1] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4

South Africa’s Coppinger Retains Charlottesville Open Crown

Top seeds Ryan Cuskelly (l) and Stephen Coppinger in the 2015 Charlottesville Open final)
Top seeds Ryan Cuskelly (l) and Stephen Coppinger in the 2015 Charlottesville Open final)

Report courtesy of PSA.

South African Stephen Coppinger made it two in a row at the Harrow Charlottesville Open, defeating Aussie Ryan Cuskelly for the second consecutive year to claim the silverware and keep the $25,000 U.S. Pro Series title at the McArthur Squash Center at the Boar’s Head Resort in Virginia.

Twelve months ago Coppinger downed Cuskelly 3-1 to take the crown but was forced to produce one of the finest performances of his career to retain the crown, fighting back from match ball down to halt the change of in-form Cuskelly.

The Australian, who reached last last four stage at the Hong Kong Open last month, started in ominous fashion as he commanded the court en route to opening up 1 5-1 lead before sealing the first game of the match and he then doubled his advantage after saving four game balls to inflict a tough second game loss on Coppinger and place one hand on the trophy.

It looked to be all over then in the third as Coppinger again squandered multiple game balls to allow Cuskelly a sniff of match ball, but this time the 31-year-old held strong to overturn the situation and get his name on the board and he was quickly back to parity after a strong fourth game.

With all to play for in the decisive fifth it was the reigning champion, who from 5-4 up, surged to the silverware courtesy of an 11-4 fifth game to bring to an end a 90-minute thriller.

“Absolutely delighted to retain the title here and get the season off to a winning start,” said Coppinger afterwards.

“Ryan has also been playing great squash and made it very difficult in the final. Thankfully I had a bit more left in the tank and was able to pull away in the end. Huge thanks to all, especially the crazy South Africans, my family included, who stayed up till the early hours to follow on the live streaming”

Charlottesville Open Final:
[2] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [1] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-2: 8-11, 13-15, 14-12, 11-9, 11-4 (90m)