Hinds Scores Seattle Open Success

Joel Hinds SSO

Article courtesy of the Professional Squash Association. Images courtesy of Jay Prince.

England’s top-seeded Joel Hinds nearly squandered a commanding two-game lead in the final of the Stratos Seattle Open when Ireland’s Arthur Gaskin, the No. 2 seed, stormed back before succumbing to pressure—and what appeared to be a groin strain—in the deciding game of the climax of the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 event at Seattle Athletic Club Downtown in Seattle.

It was the first time since the 1988 U.S. Open—when Pakistan’s Jahangir Khan captured the title over Australia’s Chris Dittmar—that a Professional Squash Association tour event returned to the Emerald City and the host Seattle Athletic Club.

Hinds (pictured above) made his way to the final, defeating American Todd Harrity in a three-game semi 11-7, 14-12, 11-6. Harrity, a one-time intercollegiate individual and team champion with Princeton University, recorded his second and third career PSA victories in Seattle since turning professional.

“The capacity crowd, starved for men’s professional squash to return to Seattle, surrounded court one with its glass side wall, and cheered on both players as Hinds played the more controlled first two games,” reported US Squash Executive Editor Jay Prince.

SSO trophy pic“Play was steady and methodical as both players sought to control the court with length before taking the ball short but, when Hinds did put his drop shots down, Gaskin seemed to have few answers.

“That is until the third game when he wrested control from Hinds who, late in the game, became distracted by a ball called down that he was certain was good. Gaskin tried to confirm for Hinds that the ball was in fact down, but rather than letting it go, Hinds lost his way and made three errors in the last four points to open the door for Gaskin.

“It would prove to be a door that Hinds probably wished he had slammed shut as Gaskin gladly ran through it to draw the match even after four games.

“But just two points into the fifth, Gaskin began stretching his right leg and massaging what appeared to be an injured groin muscle,” Prince continued. “Hinds took advantage of Gaskin’s dilemma and jumped out to an easy six-love lead—only to watch Gaskin climb his way back into the game, leaving Hinds grasping for answers. It was an answer he found, however, as a brutal backhand drop off a Gaskin boast proved to be the crusher for Gaskin as he never scored again.”

The 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7 triumph in sixty minutes gives Hinds, the world No. 75 from Birmingham, his fourth PSA World Tour title.

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) bt [2] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7 (60m)

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) bt [4] Todd Harrity (USA) 11-7, 14-12, 11-6
[2] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) bt [5] Richie Fallows (ENG) 12-14, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) bt [7] James Earles (ENG) 9-11, 11-4, 14-12, 11-7
[4] Todd Harrity (USA) bt [6] Robert Downer (ENG) 11-4, 11-2, 6-11, 11-6
[5] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt [3] Matthew Serediak (CAN) 11-4, 11-5, 11-7
[2] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) bt [8] Tom Pashley (ENG) 3-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5