Jan Koukal (right) with runner-up
Claudio Pinto (left) World
No.130 Jan Koukal became the first player to win PSA World Tour
titles in 13 consecutive years after defeating Portuguese qualifier
Claudio Pinto in the final of the Gibraltar Squash Association
Gibraltar Open, PSA M5 tournament.
Koukal, who was looking to win his first Tour title of 2016, was a
losing finalist in the City of Prague Open just three weeks
previously and was looking to win his first tournament since the
Madeira International in July 2015.
Meanwhile, Pinto was the tournamentís surprise package after
battling through qualification and, after overcoming fifth seed Sam
Gould in round one, went on to recover from 2-1 down to beat top
seed Jan van den Herrwegen in a shock quarter-final victory, before
beating Dani Pascual in the next round to reach his maiden PSA World
Despite a strong performance from 20-year-old Pinto, Koukalís
experience proved invaluable as the man from the Czech Republic, who
turned 33 five days prior to the final, stormed to an 11-8, 11-4,
11-8 victory to secure his 34th PSA World Tour title.
That tally sees Koukal overtake luminaries such as three-time World
Champion Nick Matthew, legendary Egyptian Amr Shabana and current
World Champion Gregory Gaultier to become the sole occupier of third
place on the list of the most successful active players on the PSA
World Tour - just three titles behind four-time World Champion Ramy
Ashour, who is in second place.
Englandís James Peach has qualified for only his fourth ever PSA
World Tour main draw after an injury to his final qualifying round
opponent, compatriot Phil Nightingale, enabled him to advance in the
Gibraltar Squash Association Gibraltar Open, PSA M5 tournament.
The 19-year-old was a game up and went 5-1 ahead in the second,
before injury struck for his older opponent, allowing Peach to
emerge unscathed as he bids to make an impact in the main draw.
Peach will go head-to-head with Belgiumís Jan van den Herrewegen in
a difficult first round fixture, with van den Herrewegen being the
pre-tournament title favourite as he looks to capture a second PSA
World Tour crown.
The other two Englishman in the final qualifying round, Bradley
Masters and Matthew Broadberry, were unable to join their compatriot
in the main draw after they fell to Vincent Droesbeke and Claudio
Droesbeke, 24, will take on Welshman Emyr Evans for a place in the
quarter-final, while Pinto will pit his wits against United States
player Sam Gould.
David Haley was the other victor in the final round of qualifying,
beating Owain Taylor, and his reward is a main draw matchup with
South African number seven seed Tristan Eysele.