Upsets Gawad to Lift Bluenose Classic Title
Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly captured his biggest ever PSA World Tour
title after scalping top seed Karim Abdel Gawad in straight games in
the final of the Welaptega Bluenose Squash Classic, PSA M35
The number four seed reached the final without dropping a single
game and achieved his place in the showpiece event after easing past
World No.10 Marwan Elshorbagy, who was struggling with illness, in
the semi-final. Gawad had also been in near flawless form in the
build up to the final, seeing off Shawn Delierre, Alfredo Avila and
surprise package Andrew Schnell en-route.
World No.22 Cuskelly started brilliantly and soared into an early
lead after putting his Egyptian opponent under pressure at the front
of the court. Gawad came into the match more as it went on but it
was Cuskelly who stayed patient and picked his openings well to edge
the opening game by a 16-14 margin of victory.
Cuskelly built up another lead in the opening stages of a second
game which excited the gathered spectators Homburg Centre, Canada
with a superb flurry of attacking volleys bringing the crowd to
their feet time and time again. A tin from Gawad handed Cuskelly the
game as the Australian No.1 doubled his advantage.
It was Cuskelly again who started the quicker of the two in game
three as he romped to an unassailable lead. Gawad battled back in a
bid to try and save the match but Cuskelly stood firm to complete a
16-14, 11-8, 11-6 victory which yielded the 14th PSA World Tour
title of his career.
“In the first [game] it was really high quality and I did a lot of
work,” said Cuskelly.
“I think I was probably pushing the pace too much and I was a bit
too keen to get on there and win. When you do that you are just
putting it on Gawad’s racket and, if you do that, he puts in the
winners so I tried to slow it down and be aggressive when I got the
Wildcard Andrew Schnell has made it through to the semi-final of the
Welaptega Bluenose Squash Classic, PSA M35 tournament after a superb
3-1 victory over Botswanan number three seed Alister Walker on home
The World No.92, who upset Eddie Charlton in the previous round,
lost to Walker at last year’s event. The tables were turned though
this time out as Schnell, cheered on by a partisan home crowd,
roared to victory in the first game before Walker pegged the
Canadian back in the second.
Schnell retained his composure in games three and four though to
complete an 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4 victory – arguable the biggest
scalp of the 23-year-old’s career.
He has the distinction of taking on top seed Karim Abdel Gawad for a
place in the final after the Egyptian World No.12 dispatched Alfredo
Avila in straight games.
Meanwhile, Marwan Elshorbagy and Ryan Cuskelly will face each other
in the other semi-final fixture. Elshorbagy saw off Campbell Grayson
despite battling illness while Cuskelly defeated Laurens Jan Anjema
at the Homburg Centre in Halifax, Canada were treated to a number of
well-contested matches in the first round of the Welaptega Bluenose
Squash Classic, PSA M35 tournament with Eddie Charlton being the
only seed to bow out at the first hurdle to Andrew Schnell.
Schnell, the wildcard from Calgary, was ranked almost 40 places
below his opponent in the World Rankings but, after a fast start
from Charlton, managed to steady himself impressively. Charlton hit
a number of tins during the encounter and Schnell took full
advantage to earn an 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 triumph to move into the next
He will go on to face Alister Walker in the quarter-final after the
Botswanan overcame Todd Harrity in a five-game thriller. Harrity
started brilliantly and racked up a number of quick blows to rise
into a two-game lead but Walker’s experience paid off in the end as
he came back to complete a superb turnaround.
Karim Abdel Gawad has also advanced to the next round and seeing off
Shawn Delierre in style. The 24-year-old Egyptian took the first
game in just four minutes with Canada’s Delierre unable to cope with
Gawad’s speed and accuracy throughout. Despite being on the brink of
elimination, Delierre threw everything he had into the final two
games but it wasn’t enough to prevent an irrepressible Gawad from
completing the victory in three to set up a next round clash with
Alfredo Avila who beat Reiko Peter.
Elsewhere, World No.10 Marwan Elshorbagy defeated fan favourite
Martin Knight, controlling the tempo of the match to win a 42 minute
tie in straight games. Elshorbagy, who will travel to Qatar and
Seattle in the coming weeks for the Qatar Classic and PSA Men’s
World Championship, respectively, will face Campbell Grayson next
thanks to the number seven seed’s triumph against Piedro Schweertman.
Ryan Cuskelly is also through after sweeping to a 3-0 victory
against Arthur Gaskin to set up a quarter-final encounter with
Laurens Jan Anjema who dispatched Christopher Gordon in four.