The surprise all-French climax of the Women's Montreal Open
in Canada went the full distance as compatriots Marie Stephan
and Melissa Alves battled to secure success in their first
ever WSA World Tour final.
But after a tie-break
in the decider, it was eighth seed Stephan who prevailed over
unseeded Alves to win the WSA Challenger 5 squash event in
its fifth year at Club Sportif MAA in Montreal.
US-based Stephan, a
student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, made her
breakthrough in the semi-finals where the 19-year-old from Nimes
toppled top seed Hollie Naughton.
It was in the
previous round that Alves upset the form book. Playing in her first
WSA Tour event for more than two years - and currently ranked 216 in
the world - the 21-year-old from Paris defeated second-seeded
compatriot Cyrielle Peltier in a five-game marathon before
taking out Mexico's No.5 seed Nayelly Hernandez in the semis.
"Smaller pro events
can often be interesting,"
commented tournament organiser Yvon Provencal (pictured above
with Stephan, centre, and Alves). "Players in the draw range from
veterans with a ranking that is slipping, to players trying to get
valuable ranking points to younger players just starting their
"The Montreal Open
had all of those and the final had two unexpected players in the
final. Unseeded Melissa upset the 6th, 5th and second seed. She has
played less than 10 WSA events and this is her first event in the
last two years.
"Eighth seed Marie
upset the 3rd and 1st seed en-route to the final. After a successful
junior career, was in her first WSA."
Stephan twice came
from behind to win the final 10-12, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 in 62
minutes in a maiden WSA Tour title triumph which is sure to see the
French teenager make a dramatic jump from her current world ranking