Pace Credit Union
Canadian Classic 2003
17-20 November, Toronto, $40k

20-Nov, The Final:

[4] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [3] David Palmer (Aus)
 15-4, 12-15, 15-8, 10-15, 15-12 (115m)

Power battles to hometown win
Doug Maybee reports

Defending champion and hometown favourite Jonathon Power battled third-seed David Palmer from Australia in a five-game nail-biter to win the final match of the US $40,000 Pace Credit Union Canadian Squash Classic at BCE Place in Toronto.

Power defeated Palmer 15-4, 12-15, 15-8, 10-15, 15-12 before a very supportive capacity crowd.

Power took the lead early in the first game and didn’t look back, winning 15-4 in a game characterized by superb shot making and incredible rallies. In the second game, David Palmer took an early 5-0 lead and won 15-12 in a game that Power let slip away.

“In the 2nd game I just lost concentration. I got a bad start, my back was hurting, and I was thinking about it and I lost concentration,” said Power.

“If I could have closed out the second game I could have won in three, but he got in there and made it a tough fight from there on out.”

And a tough fight it was, with numerous twists, tangles and collisions.

Power dominated the third game 15-8, but Palmer came back to take the fourth. In the final game, Power disputed a call and was penalized a point, dropping 4-6. Power battled back in front of the rallying crowd with deft soft corner shots and diving returns to win 15-12.

“I wanted to play my game and move well,” said an exhausted but thrilled Power. “I knew that if I played well, I could take him so I just settled down and played my game and that’s what happened. Getting those few points at the end helped. I found a rhythm in the 5th game.”

David Palmer saw things somewhat differently. “I’m pretty happy with how I played but I’m disappointed the way he plays. I’m playing as fair as I can and I still feel I’m getting disadvantaged by the way he plays.

"It showed tonight and it’s disappointing. If he chooses to play that way, that’s the way he plays. He doesn’t play the ball. Every time I play an attacking-type shot, he doesn’t want to play the ball.”

The hometown crowd was obviously behind Power. “When you’re suffering physically and you’re really feeling tired, that type of stuff pushes you to grit your teeth and push and dig deep,” said Power.

“This is where I grew up playing and I feel comfortable here, and where I feel comfortable, that’s usually where I play well. And I’m happy to win, obviously, in my home town.”

Power thanked the capacity crowd upon winning the tournament. “The squash community in Toronto has always been very good to me and very supportive. Thanks for coming out and pushing me through in those last tough points. I needed that. Believe me.”

"I found a rhythm in the fifth game. It was a tough game, no question about it, physically, a lot of running, a lot of hard rallies."
Jonathon Power

Squash at the BCE Place

"I think I'm right where I want to be towards the end of the year. If I can win these last two tournaments, and get back to No. 1 hopefully, or close to it anyway . . . that's where I want to be,"  
Jonathon Power

Pace Credit Union Canadian Classic 2003
17-21 November, Toronto, $40k
First Round
Mon 17th
Tue 18th
Wed 19th
Thu 20th
[1] Peter Nicol (Eng)
15-13, 15-12, 4-15, 15-13
Omar Elborolossy (Egy)
Omar Elborolossy
15-7, 10-15, 15-8, 15-13 (64m)
Amr Shabana
Omar Elborolossy

15-11, 15-9, 15-13 (54m)

David Palmer
David Palmer

15-4, 12-15, 15-8,
 10-15, 15-12 (115m)


Jonathon Power

[6] Amr Shabana (Egy)
17-14, 15-7, 12-15, 15-7
[Q] Viktor Berg (Can)
[3] David Palmer (Aus)
15-13, 17-16, 15-8
Shahier Razik (Can)
David Palmer
15/13, 15/12, 15/13 (59m)
Graham Ryding
[8] Graham Ryding (Can)
15-10, 13-15, 15-7, 15-3
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
[7] Martin Heath (Sco)
15-6, 15-3, 15-14
Mark Chaloner (Eng)
Mark Chaloner
15-10, 15-9, 15-7 (69m)
Jonathon Power
Jonathon Power

15-9, 7-15, 15-11, 15-13 (104m)

John White

[4] Jonathon Power (Can)
15-8, 15-6, 15-10
[Q] Jan Koukal (Cze)
[5] Lee Beachill (Eng)
13-15, 15-10, 15-13, 17-15
Paul Price (Aus)
Paul Price
15-12, 17-14, 15-11 (53m)
John White
[2] John White (Sco)
15-13, 15-5, 15-7
[Q] Cameron White (Aus)

Qualifying Finals:

Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Matthew Guiffre (Can)  15-9, 12-15, 15-6, 15-5
Viktor Berg (Can) bt David Phillips (Can)  17-14, 15-9, 15-6
Cameron White (Aus) bt Ian Power (Can)  15-3, 11-15, 15-9, 2-15, 15-12
Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Ben Garner (Eng)  10-15, 15-13, 15-11, 11-15, 15-11

First Round:
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) - bye
Matthew Guiffre (Can) bt Fabian Kalaitzis (Gre) 15-10, 15-8, 13-15, 15-4
David Phillips (Can) bt Glen Keenan (Aus) 15-13, 15-7, 15-10
[3] Viktor Berg (Can) bt Duncan Walsh (Eng) 15-10, 15-8, 17-14
[4] Cameron White (Aus) bt Paul Davis (Can) 15-7, 15-4, 15-6
Ian Power (Can) bt Jago Nardelli (Eng) 15-5, 10-15, 15-8, 15-9
Jan Koukal (Cze) bt Tony James (Aus) 17-16, 14-17, 17-16, 15-6
[2] Ben Garner (Eng) bt Josh McDonald (Can) 15-12, 15-7, 15-2


19-Nov, Semi-Finals:

[3] David Palmer (Aus) bt Omar Elborolossy (Egy)
      15-11, 15-9, 15-13 (54m)
[4] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [2] John White (Sco)
      15-9, 7-15, 15-11, 15-13 (104m)

Power & Palmer in
Classic Matchup

Doug Maybee reports
The crowd got their money’s worth at tonight’s semi-final action in the US $40,000 Pace Credit Union Canadian Squash Classic at BCE Place in Toronto.

In the first match of the evening, British Open champion and third-seed David Palmer defeated #21 Omar Elborolossy of Egypt in three straight.

This brought to an end the string of surprise victories by Elborolossy, who upset top-seed Peter Nicol in the opening round. Getting to the semi-finals tonight was the best-ever achievement for Elborolossy on the tour.

In an evenly matched first game, Palmer and Elborolossy had plenty of long rallies but it all boiled down to who made the least amount of mistakes. Palmer had the upper hand throughout most of the match while Elborolossy couldn’t put together the string of points when he needed it most.

In the second and third games, Elborolossy started strong with early leads, but quickly squandered them.

“Obviously I was very happy to win 3-love and get through to the finals,” said Palmer.

“I really tried to stick to my game plan tonight to move him around. He’s a big guy. My idea tonight was to get in there and twist and turn him and make him stretch at the front as much as possible. Physically I feel pretty good. I’ve got a problem with my ribs so I’m having a little trouble breathing. I’m happy to get to the final.

"When I step on court tomorrow I’ll be there to play. The crowd is a big factor with Jonathon. I won’t be changing my game plan. It should be a really good match. I haven’t played him for the past 3 years. We played twice in the PSA, he won one and I won one. I’m looking forward to playing him. It will be a good experience.”

Elborolossy was happy with tonight’s performance. “I thought I had a chance today, but it’s okay. It was a very good week for me and a good comeback. All the games were really close until the very end. I was playing okay, but I missed three or four points, the last few points, in every game that made the difference. And he was more consistent. He didn’t do lots of mistakes and that’s why he got it.”|

Power and White played a match of titans. Both moved the ball all over the court trying to tire the other out. In the first game, Power came back after trailing by five points at 7- 2 to take the game 15-9.

The start of the second game mirrored the first up to 7-2, but Power was never able to close the gap and began showing great frustration with his play. The calmer White took that game 15-7.

In the third, Power maintained the upper hand throughout the game, never giving up the lead to finish it 15-11 as White appeared to begin to tire. In game four, Power had the advantage up to nine, when the tables turned in White’s favour up to 13-10. Power had to dig deep and completely exhausted White to come back and finished the match 15-13.

“I’m happy with that win. It was a good win for me,” said Power. “I haven’t beaten John in a PSA bout before so it was good. I played a little bit smarter against him. He reacts pretty well to my natural game, so I had to play a little more tactical, and it seemed to work. It was close though.

"I wasn’t too far from losing that one either, so it’s good. I just tried to move well, pick up a lot of balls and get him tired and force the play. I think he suffered a little bit physically in patches and made some mistakes. I play well in Toronto, probably because I grew up playing here. It takes a lot out of you physically, but I was psyched up and the adrenaline was pumping.”

After tonight’s bout, John White said: “I’m a little disappointed having been up 7-2 in the first and losing 15-9. And I was up 13-10 in the fourth. It’s just one of those things. It’s always exciting when you play Jon Power and it was much as I expected from him and from us both.”

About facing Palmer in the final tomorrow, Power said: “Over my career we have matched up pretty well. We’ve had some ugly pig fights and some strong matches, too.”

White & Power

Power quotes:
on playing White:
 "I'm playing him a lot smarter now instead of playing my game and hoping it works"

on playing Palmer:
 "He's won all his matches 3-0. "I don't know how wounded he could be. I'll have to be at my best."

on his form & prospects:
"I'm probably playing my best squash this year right now. I've had some great matches but I'm looking for consistency for the last three tournaments of the year."

18-Nov, Quarter-Finals:

Power delights home
fans in Toronto
Doug Maybee reports
The hometown favourite, fourth-seed Jonathon Power played in the third match of tonight's quarter-final action against #18 Mark Chaloner of England. In classic form, Power dominated all three games. His speed and incredible accuracy kept Chaloner on the defensive throughout, making him chase balls all over the court.  When these two meet, there are bound to be plenty of heated moments. Tonight was no exception. There were numerous appeals by both players to referee decisions. Power also received a 'conduct warning for decent' in game three.    

"It was exactly what I expected," said Power of tonight's match. "Pretty much all our matches are a thousand let calls and a long three-love. We both fight for the same positions. We don't give up any space. He's quick and gets a lot of balls back. He's strong on the ball so there is a lot of physical play out there. I felt like I controlled the ball well, and I didn't get too rattled, although I disputed a few calls. I kept my composure and kept going.  I control the middle of the court more than him and I make him do more work than me and he gets tired towards the end, and I tend to get a run of points when I break him physically a little bit. It was a nice win today."

In the last of four quarter-finals, second-seed John White of Scotland was severely tested by #18 Paul Price of Australia, who won a mid-level PSA tournament in Saskatoon earlier this month. In the first two games, Price let his lead slip through his fingers when White came from behind to win them both. In game one, White was behind 10-12 and finished it 15-12. In game two, White was six points behind and managed to catch up to Price at 14.  Price held up three fingers to take the game to 17. White won three straight points to take the game 17-14. In game three, Price started to unravel when White was leading 7-2. Fighting to hang on, he closed to within two points of White.

But White would have none of it and shut it down 15-11.

"It was a bit of a shooting match out there with Price," said White. "There weren't that many long hard gruelling rallies. His shots were working and so were mine. I had to tighten up half-way through the second when I was down 12-6. I was giving up too much freedom in the centre of the court.  He was putting it away, just punishing me. I just kept it to the side wall and he made a few errors and opened the court back up for me which made his confidence drop down a bit let me get back in the match. And that's what took me through. It was pretty much the same thing in the both first games.  If I have a couple of extra yards along the side wall on this court, I'm going to go for it. On this court, you can actually put a few winners away. And if you put it away, you frustrate your opponent like Paul was frustrating me and I was frustrating me. If you make a couple of errors, then you've got to go back to basics like I did here today and it paid dividends. I put it together today which makes it feel a lot better for the win three-love.

About going against Jonathon Power tomorrow: "Great stuff. I'm looking forward to it already. It always great playing Jon. You just don't know what to expect.  With his antics and the way he plays and the way I play, it's
always going to be an interesting match."

The first two quarter-finals at BCE Place were crowd pleasing, closely fought matches.

Canada's Graham Ryding of Toronto opened strongly and held firm control at the beginning of the first game, forcing World Champion David Palmer to the back of the court. It took that first half of the game for Palmer to reach his stride after a series of simple technical mistakes that cost him precious points early on.  Palmer persevered to win the first game 15-13 earning a stroke on the final point.  Game two was more evenly played.

Mid game, Palmer plowed into the right wall, potentially aggravating a rib injury, but he managed to shrug it off to take the game. In game three the feisty Ryding surged ahead and maintained a healthy lead right up to the 12th point. That's when Palmer moved ahead and hung on to take the match in three straight.

It wasn't one of my best matches. I am really lucky to win three-love," said Palmer. "I didn't find I had my rhythm tonight. Obviously I'm happy to have won. I don't think Graham played his best either. There were some good rallies in there. To come away three-love and head into the semis, I'm very happy."

"I played OK, I competed well," said Ryding. I just made too many mistakes at the end of the games. That was the difference - a couple of points every game. My lead in the third game got away from me. I tried to keep him behind me to stay in mid court. I didn't want to cross court too much, just keep it straight and deep. He won the first game and settled down. The difference was losing the first game. Yet I felt I could have had him the whole time. I lost the first two but they were close and it was just a matter of getting more into my game plan and finding my timing. But I never really found my rhythm. There were a lot of mistakes and neither one of us controlled the match the way we wanted to."

In the second match of the night, #21 Omar Elborolossy, who ousted top-seed Peter Nicol in last night's opening round, accomplished what he set out to do - to prove to the officials back home in Egypt that after a year of nursing a knee injury, he was back in winning form. He came out strong in the first match handily beating his brother-in-law #11 Amr Shabana 15-7. The left-handed Shabana, the second best squash player in Egypt, found his spark in the second game and started moving the bigger Elborolossy around the court with a mix of long shots and deadly accurate drops.  Elborolossy took charge of the third game, and lead all the way through. In the fourth, it was right down to the wire. At 13-12, Shabana crashed into the rear right corner and favoured his right shoulder when he got back on his feet.  Elborolossy shut it down in short order after that.

"We always play good matches. We are very good friends," said Elborolossy after winning his second match in a row. "We are related and enjoy playing each other. I had some problems with our national association in the last few months. I wasn't selected for the Egyptian team in the World Team Championships in Vienna  in October. The team didn't do as well as they should have It's a good achievement for me to show them that I'm still here. I'm looking forward to taking on Palmer tomorrow in the semis."

Quarter-Final Results:

David Palmer bt Graham Ryding
 15-13,15-12, 15-13 (59m)

Omar Elborolossy bt Amr Shabana
 15-7, 10-15, 15-8, 15-13 (64m)

Jonathon Power bt Mark Chaloner
 15-10, 15-9, 15-7 (69m)

John White bt Paul Price
15-12, 17-14, 15-11 (53m)
17-Nov, Round One:
Night of Shocks
at BCE Place ...

The first round of the Canadian Classic in Toronto provided upsets galore, with 7th seed Martin Heath losing to Mark Chaloner, 5th seed Lee Beachill going out at the hands of Paul Price, and top seed and world number one Peter Nicol crashing out to Omar Elborolossy ...

Doug Maybee reports from Toronto
The landscape of the 2003 Pace Credit Union Canadian Squash Classic changed dramatically tonight when Peter Nicol, the top seed and World #1, was defeated in opening round play by #21 Omar Elborolossy of Egypt in a four-game, 70-minute nail biter.

Elborolossy clearly dominated the first two games from the outset keeping Nicol on the reactive, forbidding him control of the game. In game three, Nicol burst ahead and held his momentum to the 15th point. In game four, both were fighting for control of the court, Nicol facing elimination. When it was all said and done, Elborolossy came off the court with arms in the air, the crowd giving him the ovation he deserved for slaying the top squash player on the planet.

"I am very happy with the way I played," Elborolossy said grinning from ear to ear. "I had a bad knee last season and my ranking dropped. I am ranked 21 now and I know that I can play some good squash again. My strategy tonight was simply to play my best. The only good thing about playing Nicol in the opening round is that there is no pressure. You just go and do your best and see how it goes. I was very confident with my shots and it went OK. In game three, I was a bit tired after the second. I started a bit slower and he got a few good points and started to be very quick. I didn't want to fight very much as the gap was very big. I wanted to reserve energy for the fourth. It was very tough. I was feeling really tired. In the fourth when I reached nine and ten, I could feel that he was under pressure. He wasn't getting his shots. He wasn't very confident. That's when I felt I had the chance and I had to go for it."

Nicol so rarely loses in the first round. "It hasn't quite sunk in yet," said a dejected Nicol after the match. "It's incredibly strange. I feel like I'm just now ready to get going and take on the next round. But there won't be a next round. So being out is really bizarre. It's strange not going to the director and asking for a practice time."

On his play tonight, Nicol commented: "I did OK. I didn't play that well but I didn't play that badly. Omar took it to me. He kept it straight and tight. I wanted to go short too quickly and win it too easily and that wasn't going to happen. I should have been more patient, hit the ball deep and make him work a little more and then put it in. I was making myself do more work and he was controlling the game. In the third, I stepped forward and played really well. I think he eased off a bit and his concentration was off a little bit. He adjusted in the fourth and swept up."

Jonathon Power, defending his 2002 Canadian Squash Classic title, took 49 minutes to win his opener against Jan Koukal of the Czech Republic in three straight games in front of an almost capacity crowd. After the match, the hometown favourite said:

"It went pretty good. It was a good match. He played well. He hit a lot of balls making me hit a lot of balls and made me get into the flow of the tournament. He's really tough to play. He's really quick. He's so light and he moves so well he doesn't get tired doing all that running. I just wanted to find my game early, not really worry a lot about it too much and be relaxed. It was perfect. Long enough to get me in the swing of things, get me seeing the ball again. I think my game is pretty good. I think I've got a good chance. I'm playing pretty well these days."

In earlier matches in the opening round played at the Fitness Institute, a short distance from BCE Place, Graham Ryding of Canada took four games for to defeat Jon Kemp of England, who advanced to the main draw from the qualifying tournament this past weekend. Kemp put up a valiant effort in the first two games but fell apart in the second two. Ryding's fitness and precision allowed him to pretty much have his way with Kemp, particularly in the second half of the match.

Egypt's Amr Shabana was just too strong for Canadian Viktor Berg, who also qualified for the main draw this weekend. Shabana, who cruised through most of the four-game match, used his finesse to make Berg move all over the court. Berg won the third game, but put out so much effort that he ran out of steam by the fourth game and had trouble maintaining focus and precision.

Second and third seeds John White and David Palmer enjoryed comfortable victories over Cameron White and Shahier Razik respectively, but fifth and seventh seeds Lee Beachill and Martin Heath joined Nicol in falling at the first hurdle. Heath lost in three to Mark Chaloner, while Beachill lost in four to the resurgent Australian Paul Price.

First Round Results:
Omar Elborolossy (Egy) bt [1] Peter Nicol (Eng)
15-13, 15-12, 4-15, 15-13
[6] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Viktor Berg (Can)
17-14, 15-7, 12-15, 15-7
[3] David Palmer (Aus) bt Shahier Razik (Can)
15-13, 17-16, 15-8
Graham Ryding (Can) bt Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
15-10, 13-15, 15-7, 15-3
Mark Chaloner (Eng) bt [7] Martin Heath (Sco)
15-6, 15-3, 15-14
[4] Jonathon Power (Can) bt Jan Koukal (Cze)
15-8, 15-6, 15-10
Paul Price (Aus) bt [5] Lee Beachill (Eng)
13-15, 15-10, 15-13, 17-15
[2] John White (Sco) bt Cameron White (Aus)
15-13, 15-5, 15-7

Power aims to turn season around
from Canadian Press
A return to his hometown may be just what Canada's top squash player needs to turn his season around. Jonathan Power is the No. 4-seed at the 2003 Pace Credit Union Canadian Classic which starts Monday in Toronto. He has won the event two of the last three years.

The 29-year-old, who lives in Montreal, has had a tough season. The former world No. 1 dropped as low as fifth in the  world rankings before rising to the No. 4 position this month.

He made early exits from two tournaments in the last year because of eye injuries. Power has also come up short in three straight matches against archrival Peter Nicol of England, including a loss at the Canadian Open in Edmonton earlier this month.

"I'd like to avenge some of those losses," Power said. "I've been playing pretty much constantly since August so I think I'm in pretty good match shape. I just hope the body holds up and gets through another week."

Power was struck with a racket during a match against David Palmer of Australia at the World Open in Belgium last December.

"He just tried to clear me out a little bit, make me run the long way around and sort of hit me full swing in the eye with the racket, Power said. "That set my whole year back because it was such a big tournament rankings-wise."

A few months later, Power was hit in the eye with a ball during a match with Thierry Lincou of France.

"It was a freak accident," Power said. "It was between points, he just went to hit the ball to himself off the wall and he hit it right into my eye, he didn't see me."

Power lived in Toronto for several years before moving to Montreal a few years ago. He hopes a victory in Toronto, in front of a partisan crowd, will give him the momentum he needs to finish out the season strong.

"The two biggest (events) are the last two tournaments of the year. If I can win the Qatar Classic and the World Open in Pakistan  , then I can get back to No. 1, hopefully," Power said.

Canadian Classic
returns to Toronto

The world's top squash players will be back in Toronto to fight for the US$40,000 purse in the 2003 Pace Credit Union Canadian Classic from November 17 to 20 in the Allen Lambert Galleria of downtown Toronto's BCE Place. The main draw event with 16 players commences at 6 p.m., Monday, November 17 and will be played in a glass squash court with seating for 550 ticketed spectators. Full preview ...

Five of the top 10 players in the world are expected for Canada's only annual major professional squash event, including top seed and World #1 Peter Nicol. The 30-year-old left hander won the Canadian Classic in 2001. Canada's favourite and World #5 Jonathon Power of Montreal will be defending his 2002 title, which he won in a 94-minute four-game final match against Nicol in front of a packed house. Other top players will be #2 John White of Scotland; #3 David Palmer of Australia, who won the British Open on October 5; and #10 Lee Beachill of England, who is ranked second in England behind Nicol.

Canada's other favourite squash players, #17 Graham Ryding of Toronto and #24 Shahier Razik of Mississauga, Ontario will also be competing. Razik has moved up from 41st place over the last year.

Pace Credit Union is the new title sponsor of the fourth annual pro squash Canadian Classic. The Pace Credit Union Canadian Classic will be the lead element in Pace's commitment to assist the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada and to enhance the awareness of the importance of the P.S.A. Test. Make the play. Take the P.S.A.!

"Every year I get really excited for the tournament in Toronto," said Power on his return home from the British Open. "The venue is amazing and it's always great to play in front of my fellow Canadian squash fans. With Pace Credit Union now on board as the new sponsor and returning as the Champion trying to defend the title I reclaimed from Peter Nicol last year, I look forward to another excellent week of squash in one of the best squash cities in the world."

"The Canadian Classic is excited to welcome Pace Credit Union as its new title sponsor and to begin a relationship geared towards providing Pace and the province's other credit unions an association with one of Toronto's premier sporting events," said John Nimick, president of Event Engine Inc. and Tournament Director.

"Now in our fourth year of world class squash at BCE Place, the Canadian Classic showcases one of the most dynamic sports in the world. Squash is gaining increased awareness in Canada through the success of its top three players, #5 Jonathon Power, #17 Graham Ryding and #24 Shahier Razik, a trio that is favoured to lead Canada to a medal at this month's World Team Championships. We are delighted that all three will be in action at the Pace Credit Union Canadian Classic later next month."

On November 15 and 16, a qualifying tournament will be played at The Fitness Institute (36th floor, TD Centre, 79 Wellington) at the end of which four competitors will earn the right to compete for the prize money available in the main draw. The four qualifiers will join the 12 higher-ranked PSA players for the 16-person main draw event. Canadian players in this qualifier include #49 Viktor Berg, #87 Shawn De Lierre, #93 Ian Power (Jonathon's brother), #96 Matt Guiffre, and #267 Josh MacDonald.

Official site from Toronto