Boswell & King
Triumph In Australian Open
Stewart Boswell claimed his fourth title - and New Zealander Joelle King
her maiden crown - when the pair emerged triumphant in the finals of the
Clare Valley Australian Open at the Valleys Lifestyle Centre in
Clare, South Australia.
In the marathon
climax of the men's $30,000 PSA World Tour tournament, Boswell beat
fellow Australian Cameron Pilley, his doubles partner, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8,
10-12, 11-9 in a thrilling 98-minute match to move to fourth place on the menís
all-time list of Australian Open winners.
The clash, a repeat
of the 2007 final, was full of high quality squash as the two Australian
team-mates traded shots for over one and a half hours, both refusing to give an
inch in a drama-charged final.
There was nothing
between the two players for the whole match as first Boswell, then Pilley gained
the ascendancy, each game being won by the barest of margins.
Going into the
fifth there was still no indication as to who would end on top until, at
six-all, Boswell stepped up a gear and opened a three-point break.
Pilley clawed it
back to 9-9, but Boswell regrouped to win the next two points and the
from Canberra added the 2009 title to wins in 2002, 2006 and 2007 and will now
defend his title when the Australian Open moves to his home town in 2010.
"It had a bit of
everything," Boswell said of the final. "It was a decent match as far as both
grinding it out Ė I just probably got a bit lucky with the calls towards the
Boswell said it was
difficult playing Pilley, from New South Wales, because of the amount of time
they had spent playing and training together.
together all the time and we both know each otherís games very well so it means
the matches are always pretty tight," he said.
The two have now
met six times on the professional tour, with Boswell winning five of those, and
four going the full distance.
Boswell, who was
once ranked number four in the world before a severe back injury put him off the
tour for almost two years, said he was surprised he had done so well.
"I am in the
twilight of my career and Iím surprised at how I played this week," said the
world No20, who now boasts 18 PSA Tour titles. "I thought I might sneak through
a couple of rounds but Iím really happy Ė I will try and build on that form
throughout the new season.
"I played better as
the week went on. I stuck to my tactical plans better than I have done."
Boswell now moves
on to Chinese Taipei where he represents Australia in the World Games,
the squash event of which gets underway in Kaohsiung on Tuesday (21 July).
Joelle King became
the second New Zealand winner in three years when she beat defending champion
Annie Au 11-6, 11-13, 14-12, 11-7 in the final of the women's $18,700
WISPA World Tour event.
from Cambridge was seeded sixth heading into the Open, but downed top seed
Kasey Brown in the semi-finals before accounting for Au, the second seed
from Hong Kong, in the final.
Her power and speed
proved the difference against Au, a player who relies more on placement than
The Kiwi also
showed enormous determination as she saved five game balls in the crucial third
game, which would have given Au a 2/1 lead.
"I think if I had
won that third game the result would have been different," Au said. "But I lost
concentration and she didnít give up Ė I think maybe she was more eager to win
"She played more
shots and I felt like I was under pressure all the time."
Shelley Kitchen won the Open in 2007 in its first year in Clare, while
King and fellow Kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes both made the semi-finals last year.
"This is just huge
for me Ė this is a big step in my career and Iím just absolutely over the moon,"
said King, ranked 53 in the world. "I knew that if I could keep on top of her
with my pace I would be okay but itís hard to do that against a class player
King agreed that
winning the third game from so far behind had been crucial: "I donít know where
that mongrel in me came from," she said. "It was just a kind of blur from 5-10
down and then a few quick easy points and youíre back in the game.
"I think winning
the third got me up for the fourth."
King was always in
control in the fourth as she took the match to join fellow New Zealanders
Kitchen, Susan Devoy and Leilani Joyce on the Heather McKay Cup.
"This is by far the
biggest title Iíve ever won," said the new champion. "At the end of last year I
got to a certain point on my natural talent and ability and I knew that I had to
put in some big work physically and mentally to take me to the next step, and
Iíve done that this year.
thought I could be a top 20, top 10 player and now that Iím starting to beat
these girls I definitely know itís possible."
Top Seeds Toppled
In Australian Open Upsets
Top seeds Ong
Beng Hee and Kasey Brown failed to survive the semi-finals in the
Clare Valley Australian Open, both going out in five games in the
country's most prestigious squash tournament in Clare,
seed Cameron Pilley fought off a stirring comeback from Malaysian
favourite Ong Beng Hee in the men's $30,000 PSA World Tour tournament to
set up an all-Australian final against doubles partner Stewart Boswell.
Pilley battled to
an 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10 victory in 86 minutes before three-time Open
champion Boswell, the No2 seed, saw off the challenge of dangerous Egyptian
Tarek Momen 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6.
The final is a
rematch of the 2007decider, which Boswell won in five tough games, and ensures
at least one local winner following the demise of both remaining Australian
players in the womenís semi-finals.
Beng Hee was pushed
all the way by Kiwi Martin Knight in Fridayís quarter-finals before
grinding out a win, but he was unable to do so again against the 26-year-old New
Pilley came out all
guns blazing and took the opening two games comfortably, only for the Malaysian
to regroup and come charging back as Pilley went off the boil.
In the decider
Pilley opened up a handy lead and had two match balls at 10-8, but the Malaysian
saved both and a second last-gasp win in as many days looked on the cards. But
the tall Australian had one more chance and this time there was no answer from
the top seed.
ďI went on so
focused at the start of the match and I was really pleased with the first two
games,Ē Pilley said. ďI was on top of him and hitting the ball well, putting
the pressure on him before going short, and then I took my foot of the gas a
Boswell and Pilley
won the Australian Open doubles title in Melbourne last week and know each
otherís games very well.
ďHe played really
well today,Ē Boswell said. ďItís hard to play someone like that because we play
doubles together and weíre good mates as well.Ē
Momen tried every
trick in his arsenal to try and throw Boswell off his game, but the 30-year-old
from Canberra was able to withstand the pressure, winning in just under an hour
to give himself a chance of winning his third title in four years.
In the women's
$18,700 WISPA World Tour event, New Zealandís Joelle King recorded
the biggest win of her career when she stunned top seed Kasey Brown. King, the
sixth seed, downed the 2006 champion in five games 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 11-2
to reach the final - where she will play defending champion Annie Au, of
Hong Kong, after Auís 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 win over New South Walesís Donna
King, who will be
aiming to become the second New Zealander to win the Australian Open in two
years following Shelley Kitchenís 2007 triumph, has been in tremendous
form over the past month, winning both the NSW and Victorian Opens.
However, she was
not expected to trouble the 23-year-old Brown, who at number 14 is ranked almost
40 places above the New Zealander.
King had other
ideas though and began to dominate Brown from 5-5 in the opening game, moving
the Australian around the court with some deft placement and blistering power.
She opened up a
two-game lead and appeared in control, only for Brown to come storming back and
take command of the next two games.
However the effort
of getting back on terms seemed to sap Brownís energy and King took an early
lead in the decider and didnít look back.
ďThis is the
biggest win Iíve had in my career,Ē she King. ďIím a bit speechless at the
moment Ė itís been a little while coming but finally I got it.Ē
Au looked in
imposing form as she downed Urquhart in straight games. The defending champion
took the pace of the ball brilliantly and didnít allow her taller opponent any
ďI think Joelle is
playing very well and I think it will be difficult for me because she hits the
ball so fast,Ē Au said. ďI wonít be able to make too many mistakes. Last time I
played against her at the World Juniors I lost three-love.Ē
Beng Hee Battles To Australian Open Semis
Top-seeded Malaysian Ong Beng Hee was
forced to save a match ball in the fifth game before eventually subduing the
challenge of New Zealandís Martin Knight in the men's quarter-finals of
the Clare Valley Australian Open in Clare, South Australia.
World number 14 Beng Hee won the first game
easily - but was then locked in fierce battle with the seventh-seeded Kiwi
before winning 11-2, 9-11, 13-11, 10-12, 13-11 in the best match of the $30,000
PSA World Tour tournament to date.
The 29-year-old from P enang now takes on
New South Welshman Cameron Pilley in the semi-finals, with the winner to
play either three-time champion Stewart Boswell or classy Egyptian
"I think after I won the first game easily I
relaxed too much, but that is probably the best Martin has played against
anyone," said the Malaysian. "He made it hard for me to volley and step
forward. All credit to him, I was very lucky to win."
Earlier 26-year-old Pilley continued his
dominance over Hobartís Aaron Frankcomb with a hard fought 11-5, 11-9,
11-6 win. Pilley, the world number 22, conceded he would have to lift his game
if he was to reach the final after beating Frankcomb for the eighth consecutive
"Iím playing well enough to beat Aaron in
three - Aaronís a good player but heís number 40 in the world," Pilley said. "Beng
Hee's pushing top 10 so I will have to step it up another gear."
Momen was in breathtaking form as he cruised
into the semi-finals with an 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 win over unseeded Australian
Scott Arnold of Sydney. Boswell looked equally comfortable in his 11-7,
11-4, 11-5 win over New Zealandís Campbell Grayson.
In the women's $18,700 WISPA World Tour
event, top seed Kasey Brown showed she is still the one to beat when she
downed the Czech Republicís Olga Ertlova 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 to claim a
place in the semis.
Champion in 2006 and runner-up for the past
two years, Brown took advantage of eighth-seeded Ertlovaís inexperience on the
glass court as she raced away with the first two games. The Czech player came
back into the match as she adjusted to the conditions but Brown was too steady
in the closing stages and came back from 4-7 down in the third to close out the
She will now play New Zealandís Joelle
King in the semi-finals, just as she did at the same stage in 2008.
King reached the last four with an upset win
over fourth-seeded Queenslander Lisa Camilleri 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6.
"Iím looking forward to playing Kasey, I
havenít played her since last year - and itís a good occasion as well,Ē the
King has been in top form heading into the
Australian Open, winning the state titles in Sydney and Melbourne and she showed
she cannot be discounted this year as she beat Camilleri for the second time in
"Iíve put in a lot of hard work this year
and Iíve got a good team behind me at home, and the results are showing."
The second semi-final will be between
defending champion Annie Au of Hong King and Donna Urquhart from
New South Wales. Au was forced to fight hard to overcome Australian Amelia
Pittock 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 11-3 while Urquhart demolished Auís countrywoman
Elise Ng 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.
Locals Clean Up
In Australian Open Qualifiers
Steve Finitsis downed Pakistanís highly-rated Khawaja Adil Maqbool in
straight games in the men's qualifying finals of the Clare
Valley Australian Open to lead a surprise all-Australian quartet
through to the main draw of the $30,000 PSA World Tour squash event at
Valleys Lifestyle Centre in Clare in South Australia.
Finitsis won two
tight games before steamrolling Maqbool in the third to win 14-12, 11-8, 11-1
and move into the first round proper, where he will play second seed and
three-time champion Stewart Boswell.
qualifiers were Mackayís Bradley Hindle, New South Welshman Matthew
Karwalski and US-based Victorian Wade Johnstone.
Luke Forsterís run with a straightforward 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 win. However,
Johnstone and Karwalski were both taken the distance by their compatriot
opponents - Johnstone beating Nathan Stevenson 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, 11-13,
11-7 and Karwalski holding off Zac Alexander 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 13-15,
In the qualifying
finals for the women's $18,700 WISPA World Tour event, Englandís Jane
Kennedy prevented further local domination in the event by beating South
Australian Alma Kushartanti 11-7, 5-11, 11-3, 12-10 Ė while Tamika
Saxby, the 17-year-old from Coffs Harbour in Australia, ousted Adelaideís
Bonnie Wu 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.
gained a welcome reprieve, however, when seventh-seeded Frenchman Stephane
Galifi withdrew injured at the last minute, handing the Queenslander a place
in the main draw as a lucky loser.
Finitsis said he
was mentally tougher than Maqbool, and that was the difference between the two
ďI was down in the
first two games but I stayed strong and got the big points,Ē he said. ďOnce I
got the first two games, he didnít seem to want to do the hard yards in the
26-year-old will play Tasmaniaís Aaron Frankcomb in the first round and
said anything was possible this week.
ďAs the score
shows, I pretty well just played my match and didnít make too many mistakes
today,Ē he said. ďEveryone is wary of everyone this year -- it could be a
tournament where any one of the qualifiers could win it, and so could any of the
main draw players.Ē
his first tournament in Australia in four years, said he was suffering from a
lack of match fitness.
ďI was very tired Ė
Iíve been off for a couple of months with a hamstring injury and I just started
training again a few weeks ago, so match fitness isnít quite what it should be,Ē
he said. ďItís too hard to be consistent when you canít move to the ball.Ē