Walker Powers Into Pittsburgh Semis


Article courtesy of the Professional Squash Association.

Title-holder Alister Walker is one match away from his second successive appearance in the final of the Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open after a straight games win over unseeded opponent Muhd Asyraf Azan in the quarterfinals of the PSA World Tour International 25 event—the fifth tournament of the 2014 U.S. Pro Squash Series—at Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The world No. 19 from Botswana (pictured) dispatched Azan—the Malaysian ranked sixty-five in the world who upset seventh seed Henrik Mustonen in the first round—11-9, 11-3, 15-13.

“The pace was frantic, as Azan attacked relentlessly, and Walker showcased his court coverage,” explained tournament spokesman Steve Baicker-McKee. “Down two nothing, Azan came out firing in game three, and hit four nicks in a row to go up 4-0. Walker weathered the storm, and came back to close out the match.”

Walker, thirty-one, will now face tour veteran Olli Tuominen, the thirty-four-year-old fourth seed from Finland who recovered from a game down to beat Mexico’s No. 8 seed Cesar Salazar 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7.

Tuominen, runner-up in 2001, is celebrating his eighteenth year on the PSA World Tour. “Olli has been coming to the Pittsburgh Open for many years,” tournament director Duilio Costa noted.

“It is great to see him still playing so well and advancing to the semifinals.”

The other semifinal will feature Nicolas Mueller, the No.3 seed from Switzerland, and second seed Karim Abdel Gawad, from Egypt, after both prevailed in straight games.

[1] Alister Walker (BOT) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-9, 11-3, 15-13 (45m)
[4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [8] Cesar Salazar (MEX) 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (42m)
[3] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [6] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3/0
[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [5] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3/0

Semifinal line-up:
[1] Alister Walker (BOT) v [4] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [3] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)