Peter Nicol (Eng) bt  Jonathon
15-13, 17-15, 15-7
Nicol cools Canadian fire
"There isn't anyone on the planet that could
have beaten me on this day," said Peter
Nicol immediately after a straight games victory over Canadian rival
Nicol proved to all 600 in attendance that he's the best in the world,
stunning the capacity crowd with a display of squash that can only be
described as PHENOMENAL.
Ryan Barnett reports from Edmonton
with photos from Martin Rude
Nicol v Power - relive the rivalry
 Peter Nicol (Eng) bt  Thierry Lincou (Fra)
15-6, 15-8, 15-6 (49m)
 Jonathon Power (Can) bt  Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
15-11, 15-11, 8-15, 15-10 (68m)
Hot action in the Ice Palace
Ryan Barnett reports on the semi-finals
Thank god squash is an indoor sport. Despite the matches being played in
West Edmonton Mall's Ice palace it's definitely a lot warmer there than
outside where old man winter has parked since I arrived. I don't think it
has stopped snowing here in Edmonton as the white stuff continues to pile
up on the streets and parked cars. I digress.
Nicol & Power Revisit
Canadian Open Meeting Place
Howard Harding reports
years after meeting for the first time in the final of the last Canadian
Open in Burlington, arch rivals Peter Nicol and Jonathon Power will
celebrate their 36th career clash in the final at the Ice Palace in
Only ten days after meeting in the semi-finals of the World Team
Championship in Austria, England's top-seeded Peter Nicol, the world No1,
faced France's fourth seed Thierry Lincou. From the start, the Frenchman
tried to keep the ball in the front of the court - but Nicol was having
none of it, constantly keeping the ball deep in the back court, a strategy
which worked to perfection as he jumped to a 6-0 lead before winning the
game easily 15-6. World No4 Lincou changed tactics in the second game,
but it was to no avail as the Englishman moved 2/0 ahead.
In the third game, Lincou played with an air of desperation as he
constantly experimented with different strategies to try to throw Nicol
off his rhythm.
But the world's leading player was able to handle everything that was
thrown at him and after 49 minutes cruised to a 15-6 15-8 15-6 win - and
revenge for his four-game defeat in Vienna.
In the other semi-final, the partisan audience once again noisily showed
their support for local hero Jonathon Power, the world No5 from Montreal,
in his battle against Australia's Anthony Ricketts, ranked one place
below. The first game was played at a fast pace, with both players moving
well and hitting with great accuracy. At 9-10 down, Power shifted his
play into a higher gear, his backhand volley being especially effective.
Unable to contend with the Canadian's fierce attack, Ricketts conceded the
Power maintained his level of play in the second game racing to an 8-1
lead. At 9-2, Ricketts mounted a comeback, but Power was able to fend him
off and move 2/0 ahead.
With Power leading 2-1 in the third game, Ricketts hit Power hard on his
left calf with a forehand cross-court shot. Power yelled at his opponent
and jabbed his racquet into Ricketts' midriff. The referee was quick to
warn both players and ordered play to continue. It was evident that Power
had lost his focus, however, and Ricketts quickly took advantage of the
situation to take the game.
Power regained his momentum and started to display his unmatched
deception. Rally after rally, Ricketts was fooled into moving the wrong
way. Leading 9-5, a seemingly tired Power asked the referee for an injury
time-out. The referee denied his request stating that whatever injury
Power may have had was not inflicted by Ricketts and ordered him to play
on. Power then stepped to the T and began to retie his shoelaces. The
referee, viewing Power's actions as a delay tactic, ordered Power to
resume play. He returned to his box to receive the Australian's serve -
but as Ricketts served the ball, Power raised his hand asking for a let.
At this point, the referee's patience with the Canadian's antics had run
out and he denied Power's let.
However, despite losing the point, Power's tactics seemed to give him
enough of a rest, allowing him to win the game and the match 15-11 15-11
8-15 15-10 in 68 minutes.
The final will be Power and Nicol's third meeting within a month - with
Nicol now ahead 18/17 in their career head-to-head tally after stunning
five-game victories over his rival in the British Open in Nottingham and
World Team Championship in Vienna.
Full Nicol v Power history
31-Oct, Round TWO:
Ryding Romps Into Canadian Quarters
Fourteenth seed Graham Ryding doubled the domestic interest in the
quarter-finals of the when he upset seventh-seeded Malaysian Ong Beng Hee
in a five-game marathon second round clash in Edmonton.
After four close games against the 23-year-old world No7 from Kuala
Lumpur, the in-form Ryding - who also exceeded his seeding in the US Open
and Motor City Open in September - ran away in the fifth to claim a 12-15
15-12 15-14 14-15 15-5 victory in 94 minutes.
Toronto-based Ryding, aged 28 and ranked 10 places below Beng Hee, now
faces France's fourth seed Thierry Lincou, who needed just 30 minutes to
end Finnish qualifier Olli Tuominen's run in a 15-5 15-7 15-11 scoreline.
Jonathon Power, the fifth seed from Montreal, became the second Canadian
to reach the Canadian Open quarters when he overcame the other qualifier
who had survived the first round. In their second meeting in a month,
world No5 Power despatched England's James Willstrop 15-7 15-8 15-11 to
set up a clash with Australia's third seed David Palmer for a place in the
Palmer, the British and World Open champion, dismissed France's ninth seed
Gregory Gaultier 15-10 15-7 15-6 in 38 minutes.
The other two quarter-finals will be replays of clashes at the same stage
in last month's British Open. Top seed Peter Nicol will face eighth seed
Lee Beachill in an all-English confrontation, while second-seeded Scot
John White will meet Australia's sixth seed Anthony Ricketts in a match
which White will hope to win after two successive losses to his
30-Oct, Round ONE:
Willstrop & Tuominen Maintain
British Open Momentum In Canada
Four weeks after reaching the quarter-finals of the British Open as
qualifiers, England's James Willstrop and Finland's Olli Tuominen again
upset the seedings on the opening day's play in the $80,000 West Edmonton
Mall Canadian Open Squash Championship to become the only two qualifiers
to reach the second round of the new PSA Super Series event in Edmonton.
Willstrop, the 20-year-old world junior champion from Pontefract in
Yorkshire, upset Welshman Alex Gough, the 15th seed, 15-7 15-10 15-10 in
54 minutes to earn a second round clash with local hero Jonathon Power.
The former world No1 and world champion from Montreal, seeded fifth, had
the easiest ride of the day when his English opponent Jonathan Kemp, who
qualified the previous day, conceded the match due to an injury sustained
Power and Willstrop met for the first time in the British Open
quarter-finals, with Power taking 77 minutes to quash the fast-improving
Olli Tuominen made up for Finland's disappointing show in last week's
World Team Championship in Austria with a 15-5 7-15 15-10 15-9 victory
over tenth-seeded Egyptian Amr Shabana in 57 minutes. The flying Finn now
meets France's fourth seed Thierry Lincou, who beat English qualifier Nick
Taylor 15-10 15-13 15-10.
After the opening ceremony at the Ice Palace in West Edmonton Mall, at
which all the main draw players were led into the court by two local
children bearing the flag of Canada and the flag of the province of
Alberta, top seed Peter Nicol and local Edmonton player Matthew Giuffre
were introduced to the audience, to wild applause.
It was clear from the start that young Giuffre was outclassed by the world
No1 from England. In an entertaining match which thoroughly delighted the
packed crowd, Nicol cruised to a 15-8 15-4 15-8 victory and a second round
appointment with Scotland's 12th seed Martin Heath.
Power Pumped for the
WEM Canadian Open
Ryan Barnett speaks to
the Canadian Maestro on the eve of the season's biggest event so far ...
"I'm as fit as I've ever been" stated Canada's Jonathon Power as
qualifying begins for the West Edmonton Mall
Canadian Open. "I'm going to have to beat 3 of
the top players in the world just to get to the final and I'm ready for
With John White, David Palmer and fellow Aussie Anthony Rickets possible
combatants Power knows he has his work cut out for him if he is to
make it through the bottom half of the draw.
Having the home court or should I say home
country advantage is something that Power relishes.
He says, "Playing back in
Edmonton is something I'm really excited about. The city, the
people, are absolutely fabulous and have always treated me like
gold. I am truly thrilled to be heading back
I don't blame him. I would be saying the exact same thing. It was almost
seven months ago that Power captured his sixth Canadian National
title in the very same city. During the
Nationals he put on a clinic mowing through the
field without dropping a single game. He then followed that success by
capturing his first Super Series title in London directly
The difference however is that with $80,000US up for grabs all the players
will be hungry, looking to finally put some serious cash in their
accounts and some ranking points beside their
names. In a season that has seen the majority of
tournaments to date feature 16 man draws and small purses the
WEM Canadian Open is definitely a welcome sight. The top 23 players
in the world have all been guaranteed main draw
spots and a total of 8 qualifiers will fight
their way into the show. The local exemption is none other than
Edmonton native Matthew Giuffre who gets a shot at World #1 Peter
Nicol in the first round.
Having the Open return to the PSA schedule after a 12 year break is not
only a welcome sight but another testament to
the sport's resurgence in North America. Power
adds "I've always been involved and have always wanted to be
a part of growing the sport in Canada. Having this tournament back
is huge for squash in Canada as I personally
know of people coming from Vancouver, Montreal,
Toronto and Detroit just to be a part of the event."
As fate would have it the Detroit Red Wings are in town for a Saturday
night tilt against the hometown Edmonton Oilers
(NHL ice hockey). For those of you in the know
you know what I'm getting at. Power's business partner for his
new clothing line just so happens to be Detroit's all-star
netminder Dominik Hasek an avid fan and true
Power reveals: "Dominik will be coming
down to watch some games and sign some autographs. We will be
launching the Dominator clothing line at the
tournament which is also extremely exciting."
So the stage is set. Edmonton is known as the "City of Champions" for the
proud tradition that comes with always being home to winning sports
franchises. Fitting that another champion will crowned in West
Edmonton Mall's Ice Palace on Monday night.
Full Nicol v Power history
Pure Drama at the Ice
Ryan Barnett reports from Edmonton
UNBELIEVABLE is the best way
to describe the squash played at the WEM Canadian Open during Saturday's
four quarterfinal matches. Over 700 people paid to watch and thousands
more surrounded the all-glass court in West Edmonton Mall's Ice Palace.
Ricketts 3-1 White
Once the niceties were out of the way it was time to get serious and
that's exactly what these two heavy hitters did.
Nicol 3-2 Beachill
In what was the closest quarterfinal match Saturday evening
England team-mates Peter Nicol and Lee Beachill
squared off in what became a classic 5 game battle.
Lincou 3-1 Ryding
The 3rd quarter-final saw the 1st of the Canadians take centre
stage. Canada's Graham Ryding the 15th seed up against Monsieur Thierry
Lincou the World #4. It's no secret that Ryding has been playing the best
squash of his career and having the home country thing going on might
provide that little extra and an upset could be possible.
Power 3-1 Palmer
World #3 David Palmer versus Canada's Jonathon Power ranked 5th. After
being introduced to a standing ovation it was time for what promised to be an explosive
confrontation. The crowd was boisterous from the start
in their support for Power, however this didn't
dissuade Palmer in the slightest.
Power Progresses To
Canadian Open Semis
Howard Harding reports
The quarter-final session ended with the
result that all local fans were hoping for when Canadian No1 Jonathon
Power, the fifth seed, fought back from a game down to beat
Australia's David Palmer, the third seed, in four games at the Ice Palace
in West Edmonton Mall.
The crowd roared as Jonathon Power made his appearance on the court for
the most anticipated match of the evening. Both players were in brilliant
form right from the start. The pace of the first game was fast and
unrelenting but Power, the former world No1 and world champion from
Montreal, made mistakes at key moments to allow Palmer, the reigning World
and British Open champion, to take the first game. The second game
continued with the same frantic pace, but this time it was Palmer who was
making the errors and Power, with the crowd loudly behind him, levelled
The turning point of the match came at 2-2 in the third game when Power
started to dominate the play and scored 13 unanswered points to take the
game. During the break after the third game, Palmer requested a
three-minute injury time-out. There were concerns that he may not return
to the court. The Australian did return, however, but his injury persisted
and midway into the fourth game, Palmer decided to retire. Power, the
11-15 15-10 15-2 11-3 victor in 62 minutes, walked off the court to a
standing ovation from the delighted audience.
The world No5 will now face the player ranked one place below him in the
Dunlop PSA world rankings after Australia's Anthony Ricketts pulled
off his third successive PSA Tour upset over John White when he beat the
world No2 from Scotland 15-10 13-15 15-8 15-9 in 69 minutes. The
semi-final clash will be only the pair's second PSA Tour meeting in more
than three years.
Unlike the Power/Ricketts encounter, the other semi-final will be the one
predicted by the seedings, with English favourite Peter Nicol
taking on France's fourth seed Thierry Lincou in a repeat of the
pair's World Team Championship meeting in Austria last month which the
Lincou won to take France into their first ever final.
World No1 Nicol twice survived comebacks by England team-mate Lee
Beachill, the eighth seed, before beating his Commonwealth Games Doubles
gold medal-winning partner 15-13 7-15 15-12 11-15 15-9 in 78 minutes.
Lincou ended dreams of two Canadians in the semi-finals when he beat
surprise quarter-finalist Graham Ryding 15-7 12-15 15-9 15-5 in a
62-minute match which was suspended for five minutes in the second game
while the Canadian recovered from a nose bleed sustained from a clash with
Reports from the
"That was pretty basic, the way I wanted to play it,
he didn't fight too much." Palmer on Abass
"He sees the game before it even happens, he sees your racquet and
knows where the ball is going." Guiffre on Nicol
The Ice Palace Awaits ...
Ryan Barnett previews the WEM Canadian Open
When it was announced on April 29th that the Canadian Open was once again
reborn, back from a twelve-year absence, squash enthusiasts around the
globe let out a collective cheer. From nowhere came a group calling
themselves ProSquash Edmonton and they had big plans.
“The West Edmonton Mall Canadian Open will be the largest squash
tournament in Canada,” trumpeted Tournament Director Kevin MacMillen. “The
fact that the top professional squash players in the world will compete
for $80,000US will make the Canadian Open one of the premier squash events
in the world.”
ProSquash Edmonton in conjunction with West Edmonton Mall announced that
they would set-up an all glass court in The Ice Palace, located in the
heart of the mall. The tournament would take place from October 28th thru
November 3rd and MacMillen told us “At any given time during play, there
will be 1240 fans in the stands, up to 3000 fans standing and watching
from the mall, and hundreds more viewing it by closed circuit TV in the
Court Side Pub.”
Well it’s been over 5 months since that historic announcement and guess
what? All is proceeding according to plan. That’s right
- no surprises or Eye Group shenanigans on this side of the pond.
(Perhaps the reason why PSA Chieftain Gawain Briars and Robert Edwards
came for a look see in late July.) ProSquash has put together a good solid
In a conversation with MacMillen he confirmed that this deal is for real
and preparations are now going full-steam ahead. He says, “The management
team for the tournament have proven their worth, with key areas handled
beautifully. We have had some interesting adventures in attempting to
secure major sponsorship and our marketing team continues working at that.
pleased to have CP Rail as our first Premier Sponsor as we have secured
the WISPA court and CP is handling the shipping arrangements. They are
awesome! Local support is strong, with numerous corporate sponsors on
board, and we are encouraged by our ticket sales, which are well in
advance of our big local sales push. This is a long-term investment for
them (sponsors) as we plan on making this the first of many annual
Canadian Open tournaments.”
The event will carry Super Series Silver status by PSA definition (say
that as fast as you can 5 times in a row) and with the entry deadline
having closed October 1st all the world’s top ten players, minus one
(Stewart Boswell-injured) have confirmed their attendance.
MacMillen adds; “There will be a 32 man
qualifier. In that qualifier we will place 4 local entrants. The top eight
qualifiers will advance to the main draw. Those eight players will join
the entered top 23 in the world plus our wild card entrant to make it a 32
man main draw. Samuel Carr of Network Production and Communications Inc
will handle the TV coverage and he will look after the production for both
TSN (The Sports Network-in Canada) and ProActive. (PSA TV rights holder)
The Voice of Squash Robert Edwards will be here to provide color
commentary and Tom Bedore will be doing Play by Play.”
Yes it’s been twelve years in the making. Sometimes good things are worth
waiting for and this appears to be one of them. Stay tuned to the
Grapevine for daily match reports and player interviews as I plan on being
in attendance from the quarters onward. This is one show that definitely
shouldn’t be missed.