Tag Archives: PSA

Paul Coll – Superman the 2016 Channel VAS Champion

Paul Coll 2016 Channel VAS Champion

Photo credit to www.psaworldtour.com

What a great tournament Paul Coll had at the 2016 Channel VAS Championship. He put on an amazing display of athleticism and squash. Coll earned his nickname previously in large part due to his flying dives he made to get seemingly unplayable balls back. What impressed me the most with his play this tournament was how in control of his body he was. There was no need to dive. His movement to and from the ball was incredible. His tactics were also excellent. He was defensive when he needed to be and attacked when appropriate. The quality of his squash was also very impressive. Paul Coll really showed what a quality squash player he is at the Channel VAS Championship. Continue reading

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Karim Abdel Gawad the 2016 PSA World Champion

Karim Abdel Gawad 2016 PSA World Champion

What a fantastic run Karim Abdel Gawad has had since the 2016/2017 season started. I have always enjoyed watching him play because he has such excellent control of the ball. The “Baby Faced Assassin” is such an appropriate nickname for Gawad. He looks so relaxed and casual but if you leave the ball loose the point is over. At the start of this year’s world championship tournament he was certainly one to watch but I don’t think he was a favourite to win. I know I was certainly expecting Mohamed Elshorbagy or Ramy Ashour to win. Gregory Gaultier and then perhaps Nick Matthew would have been my next picks. I was wrong in those picks and should have been picking Karim Abdel Gawad. Congratulations to Karim Abdel Gawad as he is the 2016 PSA World Champion! Continue reading

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Squash at the 2015 Pan Am Games

With the Pan Am games coming to Toronto from July 7th to July 26th and with squash running from July 11th to July 17th, we are excited to see the great level of squash that will be displayed from both men and women. With a top ten player on each category, there are clear favorites but it won’t be too easy for them as there are potential dark-horses that can come out on top. Here are the favorites for both the men and women as well as the other top contenders:

Women

Favorite: Amanda Sobhy – USA, World Ranking: 10

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Women’s Favorite Amanda Sobhy

The 22 year-old from New York has been turning heads since she was just a teenager. Having claimed three Tour titles at the age of 16, she is a record breaker in the game of squash. In 2010, she became the first player from the USA to win the World Junior Championship. Breaking into the top ten in September 2014 and named PSA Women’s Young Player of the Year in May 2015, she is the favorite to go all the way during this year’s Pan Am games.

But, Sobhy will not have an easy time getting there. With compatriot Olivia Blatchford (World Ranking 37) as well as Canadian Samantha Cornett (World Ranking 33) and Mexican Samantha Teran (World Ranking 30) in the mix, Sobhy will have very strong contenders that could upset her chances at the title. With 24 women aiming for gold, we are guaranteed and intense and action-packed tournament between the best players in the Americas.

Speaking of Samantha Cornett we will definitely be cheering for her being a Canadian company and also one of her sponsors.  Good luck Sam!

Men

Favorite: Miguel Angel Rodriguez – Colombia, World Ranking: 4

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Men’s Favorite Miguel Angel Rodriguez

The first South American to reach the top ten in the world, “The Colombian Cannonball” will try to defend his title after winning gold at the previous games in 2011. Breaking into the top ten in January 2015 and reaching the semi-finals in two major championships in 2015, the Colombian is having his strongest season and will be the men’s favorite to win the event. Arguably the fastest and fittest player on tour, he is always fun to watch and will bring tons of excitement and jaw opening moments on court with his outrageous gets and dives. He will be a very tough one to beat!

However, there are some other very strong players competing for victory. With Canadian Shawn Delierre (World Ranking: 58) and Peruvian Diego Elias (World Ranking: 43) on the main draw, the Colombian will have to work hard to get past these players. After defeating compatriot Andrew Schnell (World Ranking: 92) in the final of the 2015 Canadian National Singles Squash Championships in May 2015, Delierre comes to this tournament in strong form. Elias comes in strong as well after recently winning the Costa Rica Tennis Club Open last month; the 6’2’’, 18 year-old will make some noise as he aims for the top spot at the tournament.

On the men’s side we are hoping for a strong showing by the Canadian men. We would also like to wish Chris Hanson good luck as well as one of our sponsored athletes.

Squash at the Pan Am games will be a must watch for everyone since it brings the best players in the Americas against each other. There will be world class squash and if you live in or near Toronto, you shouldn’t miss this event. Hopefully the world can see how beautiful and competitive squash is, and how much talent the Americas bring to the sport.

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South America Tour

I recently returned from a three-event tour of South America (Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil). I was quite happily into the main draw of all three without having to qualify, and in fact was set to play two qualifiers in Argentina and Brazil, respectively. This represented a good opportunity to win some matches and tack on precious ranking points.

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Allam British Open 2013 – Can Ramy make it a perfect year?

Ramy Ashour

Ramy Ashour - Photo credit to squashsite.co.uk

The main round of the 2013 Allam British Open Squash Championship is now under-way and Ramy Ashour is seeded to win.  There certainly is some very stiff competition he will have to beat though to win this year’s British Open.  Ramy has never won the British Open and if he does he will have gone a whole year without losing a match on the PSA tour.  The last tournament he lost was the British Open last year when Nick Matthew beat him.  Going a whole year without losing a match would be an incredible accomplishment especially considering how talented the current top 4 players are! Let’s take a look at Ramy’s career.

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Western Canada Tour

I recently played two tournaments near Canada’s west coast, in Alberta. The first tournament was a 10k PSA event in downtown Calgary at the lovely Bankers Hall Club. I wasn’t meant to be in the event, but due to a last minute withdrawal I was given a spot in the main draw. Continue reading

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PSA 2013 World Series Squash Finals

PSA World Series Squash FinalsThe 2013 PSA Squash Finals have been extremely entertain thus far.  The semi-finals today look to be two highly competitive matches.  The first match between Gregory Gaultier and Nick Matthew. The second semi-final features James Willstrop and Amr Shabana.

Gregory Gaultier

Gaultier has been on in very fine so far this tournament.  In particular his match against James Willstrop was highly competitive and top quality squash. He managed to beat Willstrop who was the #1 ranked player of all of 2012.

Nick Matthew

Nick Matthew needed a win yesterday. After having lost his first match against Amr Shabana he found himself in a must win match for the rest of the group matches.  Not an enviable task but one that he took on and succeeded at.  He took advantage of the loose play of Shorbagy in his second match and closed the match in 2 games.  He was able to get past Peter Barker in 2 straight games as well.

The first semi is a very tough match for me to pick a winner of.  Nick had to win yesterday but did so in convincing fashion and did it in 2 games.  Gregory did not look up for his match against Karim yesterday and went down in 2 games.  Both should be on pretty equal footing physically.  I am going to pick Nick in a very tough match to go through to the final.

James Willstrop

James found himself in a must win situation yesterday as well having lost to Gaultier in the second round of group play.  He played Simon Rosner yesterday and managed to close out the match in 2 straight games and should be fairly fresh for today’s match.

Amr Shabana

Amr’s match yesterday was probably the hardest match on paper and it lived up to its billing.  He was up against Mohamed el Shorbagy who no doubt wanted was really up for his match with Shabana.  Amr had already qualified for semi’s but came out determined as ever to get the win yesterday.  Off all the players in this tournament he has been in the best form so far and is the defending champion.  Can he retain the title or did he expend a little too much energy yesterday?

I am really excited about the second semi-final.  Amr has been playing so well having gone undefeated so far.  Willstrop though is such an incredible tactician on court and may well be able to contain Shabana’s brilliant attack.  My pick is Willstrop in another tightly contested match setting up an all English final.

If you have any thoughts about today’s semi’s leave a comment below.

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The Squash Season starts now!

It is the beginning of October and squash season has arrived!  Hopefully everyone had a good summer training and getting ready for this upcoming season.  The PSA is back in swing now with the US Open coming up, leagues are starting – it is an exciting time!

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National Squash Academy Open 2012 – Mike McCue Wins His First Round Match

As mentioned in an earlier entry Mike McCue who blogs for us is playing in this year’s PSA 5K National Squash Academy Open.  Mike played his first match last night which I was lucky enough to see and he won convincingly!  Mike played Tyler Hamilton who is also from Canada.  Tyler is the higher ranked player ranked #170 in the world to Mike’s #197 ranking so this was a bit of an upset.

From the outset Mike was very focused on the task at hand.  This was evident in his demeanor even during the warm-up.  Once the match started Mike got off to a very quick start and never really looked back.  He put Tyler under a lot of pressure with some exceptional length.  There were several points won on straight length balls that Tyler looked to play early, decided not to because they were just too tight to the side wall and let them pass only to watch them die in the back court nick.  Tyler was clearly not having one his better days on court but part of that was due to the quality of Mike’s shots.

When Mike was put under some pressure by Tyler he was able to play some good defensive squash.  He covered the court very well.  Tyler was able to play some nice tight drop shots in to the front but Mike covered them well and was able to get the ball behind Tyler even from this difficult position consistently.  When Mike was given a good chance to attack he was able to either put Tyler under a great deal of pressure or hit some great outright winners.

Mike won the first two games convincingly but winning the match is not always as easy. I know Mike well enough to know how much he wanted the result.  He wanted the win.  He is at the beginning of his PSA career and training extremely hard.  Playing in these challenger tournaments is tough.  They are hard to get in to and with a bad result it is one match and out.  Knowing how much Mike wanted to win the match I was really hoping he could close it out.  Mike managed to maintain is focus brilliantly in the last game.  Even when there was some discussion with the ref by Tyler about a call you could still see the focus on Mike’s face the same as you could early in the match.  It is very important in situations like these to maintain that focus.  It is easy to let up a bit when you are up two games and your opponent is struggling.  Letting up though can result in your opponent getting back in to the game and finding some form. This can lead to a momentum switch and really put the pressure back on the guy who controlling play early.  Tyler pressed back a bit late in the third game but Mike was having none of it.  He closed out the match and moved on to the second round match where he will play Colin West.

Congratulations Mike on a well-deserved victory!

 

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Mike McCue – In the Main Draw of the National Squash Academy Open 2012

Mike McCue who blogs for us is entered in the National Squash Academy Open 2012 that starts next week and we would like to wish him the best of luck.  Mike trains out of the National Squash Academy (NSA) so this is a tournament on his home court.  Many of the entrants in this tournament train out of the NSA.  Mike’s first match is against Tyler Hamilton a fellow Canadian.  It should be a very tough match.

I will be going to watch the first day of the tournament at least next Wednesday and expect to see Mike’s first match.  I definitely hope to be watching a win for Mike but I know for certain I will be watching some very high quality squash.   If you are in the Toronto, Ontario area this is definitely an event worth seeing.   Will this years top seed, Dane Sharp repeat as champion or will someone else take the title?

Good luck Mike!

To check out the draw click here

 

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