Power & Baizley
Canadian Squash Crowns
Ryan Barnett reports from Edmonton
Over 600 spectators jammed Edmonton’s Royal Glenora Club to witness the
men’s & women’s finals for the 2003 Canadian National Squash
Championships on Saturday.
In what must be considered somewhat of a rarity these days there were no
major upsets through the course of tournament play with both the number
1 & number 2 seeds squaring off in both instances. World #3 Jonathon
Power showed no mercy dispatching Graham Ryding in straight games by
scores of 15-3, 15-10, 15-10 while Marnie Baizley claimed her
second National title by outlasting Melanie Jans in a great 5 game
battle 9-6, 5-9, 3-9, 9-6, 9-4.
The Women’s Final:
Game #1 started off with Jans appearing to be the more nervous of the
two hitting some fat shots into the middle, which Baizley easily put
away to take a 2-0 lead. Immediately noticeable was the fact that the
WISPA court plays slow. Meaning that bad shots are immediately punished
and that you really have to crack the ball to send it deep.
This court rewards the shot maker and
most were in agreement that Jans would take advantage as a result. True
to form Jans eventually found her rhythm and had the game back to even
terms at 6-6. Baizley then proceeded to show that she can make a few
shots of her own slotting in a boast nick to go up 7-6, a Jans error to
get to game ball, followed by a service ace to take the opener.
Game #2 saw a serious Jans find perfect length from the get go opening
up a 5-1 lead. Baizley rallied briefly to get to 6-5 but it was Jans
again with the length, continually driving Baizley deep into the corners
and capitalizing on her opponents errors taking the game 9-5 and
knotting things at one each.
Game #3 was all Jans. She was constantly volleying anything and
everything to keep the pressure on her opponent and it was working
marvellously. Jans opened up a 7-1 lead thanks to some unbelievable
volley nick winners and coasted home 9-3.
Game #4 got ugly plain and simple. A total of 23 decisions were required
in what for the most part was a very clean match. Jans took an early 3-1
lead and appeared on course to claim her fourth crown but Baizley
changed things “After the third game coach Gene Turk and Graham Ryding
told me to start attacking. To hit the ball with more pace, start
volleying, and step forward” Great advice as the whole complexion of the
match began to change. Baizley raced away to an 8-3 lead and held on to
take the fourth 9-6.
Game #5 started off with Jans committing 2-errors, being called for a
stroke and Baizley with a drop winner to jump out 4-0. Jans showed her
grit battling back to 4-3 but was given a “No Let” on minimal
interference, which Baizley gained momentum from to jump to 5-3. Both
players then had to retrieve a new racket as both had strings break in
the same game. Weird, first time I’ve ever seen that one. Once the dust
settled Baizley pushed through by a 9-4 score and more than redeemed
herself for a disappointing 6th place showing one year ago.
Baizley, in tears following the match, said. “I’m in shock. The secret
this year compared to last was that I was relaxed. In my mind I was
thinking that there was no way I was going to beat Melanie so I didn’t
have anything to lose. I just relaxed and played like I knew I was
capable. Everything just came together in the fourth game and carried
through the fifth.”
The Men’s Final:
This match was officiated by none other than Graham Waters one of the
top refs in the game and began with Ryding winning the spin then
requesting a bathroom visit prior to the commencement of play. Do the
rules allow for that? The men played PARS during the course of the
tournament as opposed to Standard scoring which was a change but a
welcome one considering that’s what they normally play anyways.
Game #1 was all Power, and I mean all Power. Trailing 2-4 Ryding
self-destructed committing 7 errors and being stroked 4 times. Game to
Power 15-3. Ryding obviously left something in the loo.
Game #2 saw Power giving the crowd their money’s worth as he began
showcasing his theatrical/verbal talents. At 2-2 after being denied a
winner and stroked instead by Referee Waters Power lashed out “we’re
trying to have a game of squash here”. The players traded points to 4-4
where some questionable let calls by Waters on Power forehand volleys
once again resulted in another outburst. I was waiting for Waters to
issue the conduct stroke for referee abuse to Power but it never
A series of errors and strokes
coupled with 20 decisions saw the score at 10-7 for Power. Ryding then
tinned a boast and the score was 12-7. Both players looked dumbfounded,
as did many in the crowd, but the score 12-7 was allowed to stand. More
errors, more strokes, more lets, more back chat to the referee by both
players and the score is 13-10 Power. Ryding is stroked yet again loses
his composure and Waters issues a conduct stroke. Game to Power 15-10
Game #3 started off in much the same fashion as the previous two. Power
takes the lead 3-1 then makes two straight errors and we are level at 3.
Power surges ahead to 7-4 but Ryding shows he will not go down without a
fight. Ryding with nothing to lose levels at 7-7. Power decides he’s
seen enough and hits 3-drop winners, followed by a perfect lob coupled
with 4 Ryding errors and it’s game 15-10.
Power has his sixth National Championship and doesn’t drop a single game
throughout the whole tournament. Too easy right? Power says the
opposite. “I really had to work this year despite what the scoreboard
may show. The quality of squash in Canada has never been as strong as it
is right now.”
Power also had high praise for the Royal Glenora Club and all the
volunteers who helped put on a great event. “This was by far the best
Nationals the country has ever seen. The venue was first class, the
volunteers outstanding. I leave Edmonton with nothing but good memories
and have nothing but good things to say.”
I must agree as Tournament Chair Perry Wynn and his team took this event
to a new level. They should all be congratulated an a job well done!
sets the scene for the forthcoming
Canadian National Championships
CANADA'S CITY OF CHAMPIONS
HOSTS FUTURE CHAMPS
Calling yourself the “City of Champions” is a very bold statement to
make unless you can back it up. The city of Edmonton, in Alberta,
Canada, can definitely do just that. A series of Stanley Cup ice hockey
championships, coupled with numerous Grey Cup football titles, gives
this city a rich tradition of winning and being the home for winners. It
seems fitting that the 2003 Canadian Squash Championships will occur
here from April 30 to May 3.
The tournament will take place at the prestigious Royal Glenora Club, a
club deeply enshrined with both history and tradition. For the second
straight year the event will feature an all-glass court. Last year it
was the PSA’s court which took centre stage. This year the WISPA court
will be making its first visit to Western Canada.
According to Draw Master Ian Paton, preparations are going smoothly with
the 100 volunteers working hard to ensure the event is first class.
Paton says: “We plan to assemble the court on Saturday and Sunday with
the bleachers going in on Monday.” “Once everything comes together the
show court will have seating for 550 spectators with the option being
available to increase that size by about 100 seats, which I think we’re
going to have to do, as 470 seats are already sold with a little under a
week to go before the action starts.”
It’s not surprising that these championships are a hot ticket as this is
one of only two tournaments held in the country providing the
opportunity to watch squash of the highest calibre. It’s also no secret
that the player everyone wants to see is World No.3 Jonathon Power, who
will be gunning for his fifth crown.
With a $15,000 purse up for grabs, Power will definitely have to be on
form as the local competition is getting tougher and tougher each year.
There are no fewer than seven players entered who all rank in the world
top 100. It will be most interesting to see the progress of the “next
generation” of players. Last year, Edmonton native Matthew Giuffre and
Shawn De Lierre, now training with Power in Montreal, were given a
lesson on playing on the all-glass by Power and Graham Ryding
respectively. I’m sure they haven’t forgotten.
On the women’s side, defending champion Margo Green, who was the
consolation plate winner at last years Commonwealth Games in Manchester,
will not be competing. Green has officially retired from the sport
citing a desire to pursue other interests.
This leaves the door wide open for veterans Melanie Jans and Marnie
Baizley to slug it out and possibly add another title to their
respective resumes. A word of caution. One must never count out Carolyn
Russell, who is seeded third. She showed what she was capable of last
year, dispatching Baizley in the early stages then knocking out Jans in
the semis. It was, in my opinion, a lack of petrol left in the tank for
the final which prevented her from taking top honours. She should not be
taken lightly this time around. So, to be honest, the women’s field
could once again provide a few upsets.
Pre-tournament action gets under way on Tuesday April 29 with two
exhibition matches. Power will take on Giuffre, with Jans and Baizley
kicking off the evening’s festivities.
Photos from Martin Rude
"I’m in shock"
“I really had
to work this year despite what the scoreboard may show"
"What happened to 11-7?"
Spectators in game 2
“This was by far the best Nationals the country has
"Left the venue at 7:00 PM in what normally is a
3hr drive, however freezing rain plus another
blast of winter saw numerous
accidents/ highway closures."
Ryan Barnett -
home at 20.30
CANADIAN OPEN IS BACK
ON THE PSA CALENDAR
It's a great day for squash in Canada. Not only is the city of Edmonton,
in Alberta, Canada set to host the Canadian National Championships,
Edmonton will also be the host city for the rebirth of the Canadian Open.
The event will officially be called the West Edmonton Mall Canadian Open
and will be presented by ProSquash Edmonton and the West Edmonton Mall.
The tournament is scheduled to be held this autumn from October 28th to
The Canadian Open has been in hiatus since 1991 and according to
Tournament Director, Kevin MacMillen this will be the biggest tournament
the country has ever seen.
MacMillen says, "The WEM Canadian Open will be the largest squash
tournament in Canada. The fact that 56 of the top male professional squash
players in the world will compete for $75,000 US, make the Canadian Open
one of the premier squash events in the world."
MacMillen adds, "The all-glass court will be set up at the best possible
venue available, the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall. At any given time
during play, there will be 1,300 fans in the stands, up to 3000 fans
standing and watching from the mall, and hundreds more viewing it
on-screen via closed circuit TV in the Court Side Lounge. During the
course of the tournament we can expect a half million visitors to the West
Edmonton Mall, most of whom will walk by the Ice Palace during the course
of their visit."
West Edmonton Mall spokesperson Jonathan Meakin added, "We are
tremendously excited to be holding the WEM Canadian Open. The Open will
raise the public
profile of squash. Just imagine the best squash players in the world
cheered on by the 1300 fans in the seats and hundreds more around the Ice
PalaceóIt will be quite the show!"
The event will receive Super Series Silver status and be officially
sanctioned by the PSA and Squash Canada. The tournament will feature a
32-man qualifying tournament followed by the 32-man main draw.