Stops Butt In Dayton
Botswana's second seed Alister Walker brought Yasir Butt's
glorious run in the EBS Dayton Open to an end when he beat the
Pakistan qualifier in the final of the PSA World Tour International
25 squash event in its eighth year at the Dayton Squash Center
in Dayton, in the US state of Ohio.
gallery was packed a full 40 minutes before the start of the
championship match. Tournament promoter Charlie Johnson, a
classically-trained trumpet player who plays professionally with area
symphony orchestras when not coaching squash, played the national anthem
of both Pakistan and Botswana as the spectators eagerly anticipated the
beginning of the match.
took the opening three points, but Walker struck back to reel off five
in a row before closing out the first game.
two of the championship match was a different story and the pivotal game
of the match," said Johnson. "With the large crowd cheering great
rallies and winning shots from both players, the pair traded points back
and forth until the score was tied at ten-all.
the opening rally of the tie-break, both players attacked and retrieved
punishing lengths with dogged determination but a crucial cross-court
kill from Butt found the tin as the strings in his racquet broke on
shot. Walker went up 11-10 but was denied the win as Butt stretched to
reach every length that Walker through at him trying to get the ball
torturous play from both players, attacking, driving, moving each other
around the entire court was furious and feverous over the next four
points as they traded rallies to 12-all," Johnson continued. "All
through the match, Walker had been mixing attacking power from both
sides with incredibly tight control on the slower paced back-hand drives
and drops when faced with potential problems - and it paid off in these
last two rallies of the second game: the point won to go up 2/0 at 13-12
in the game was a back-hand drop that was painted on the wall."
fought hard in the third but it was Walker who emerged triumphant after
48 minutes, winning 11-4, 14-12, 11-4.
awards ceremony, Butt was gracious in defeat and congratulated Walker
for his strong performance. He thanked the sponsors and promoter
Charlie Johnson for a fabulous event that gave him the opportunity
to showcase his talent, and he attributed his strong showing this week
to the work he's put in with his coach and trainer at home, Zahid Butt,
and Ajaz Azmat with whom he's trained recently in New York.
accepting the winner's trophy, Walker also thanked the sponsors and
promoter Charlie Johnson for bringing PSA squash back to Dayton
after a three-year lay-off - and said he felt honoured to have his name
added to the trophy that includes some of the greatest players of the
modern game: Peter Nicol, John White, Ramy Ashour,
Thierry Lincou, and Karim Darwish.
win marks 29-year-old Walker's fourth PSA World Tour title success, but
his first since February 2009.
Lightning Strikes Twice In Dayton
the second time in five years, a qualifier has reached the final of the
EBS Dayton Open in the USA after unheralded Pakistani Yasir
Butt removed top seed Adrian Grant in the semi-finals of the
PSA World Tour International 25 squash event in its eighth year
at the Dayton Squash Center in Dayton, Ohio.
in 2006 that a young 19-year-old Ramy Ashour fought his way
through two qualifying rounds, became a crowd favourite with his flashy
play and determination to win, and found himself in the championship
match against world No10 John White. Ashour lost that final but
came back the next year to avenge the loss and beat White in the final
of the 2007 championship.
2011, history has repeated itself: Qualifier Butt, a 23-year-old from
Lahore ranked 95 in the world, now finds himself in the final with No2
seed Alister Walker, the world No20 from Botswana.
opening semi-final, in front of a packed gallery at the Dayton Squash
Center, Butt defeated England's world No17 Adrian Grant 11-6,
11-8, 11-9 in 47 minutes.
English left-hander looked tentative in the first game and wasn't moving
as well as the night before. Down 5-9, the crowd could see that Grant
knew he had a problem on his hands and Butt won the first game.
second and third games were eerily similar," reports tournament
organiser Charlie Johnson. "Butt sensed that Grant was vulnerable
and got off to early leads in both and kept the ball in the front of the
court and applied constant pressure with incredible attacking drops. The
final rally was a 45-second youtube video of the whole match: a long
rally that Butt finished off with a winner."
later acknowledged that his strategy from the start was to attack the
front of the court on every loose ball: He knew Grant's game from the
back of the court was strong and that if he tried to play a length and
power game against Grant, he'd be out on the court too long and playing
to Grant's strengths.
admitted he started tentatively and a little tight in the first game and
could never find his stride after that," added Johnson. "Grant had seen
some of Butt's earlier matches, respected his shot-making ability and
knew that the front was going to be attacked - but just couldn't find
the right counter strategy on this night in Dayton."
other semi, former England international Alister Walker beat
fourth seed Chris Simpson, the world No54 from England, 15-13,
11-7, 12-10 in 43 minutes.
final will be Butt and Walker's first meeting since September 2005, when
the pair contested a first round match in the Kolkata International in
India - where Walker prevailed in five games.
is marking the ninth PSA World Tour final of his career - but his fourth
this year - while Walker is celebrating his eighth, but first in 2011.
Battles On In Dayton
Pakistan qualifier Yasir Butt continued his giant-killing run in
the EBS Dayton Open in the USA when he overcame New Zealander
Campbell Grayson to claim a place in the semi-finals of the PSA
World Tour International 25 squash event in its eighth year at the
Dayton Squash Center in Dayton, Ohio.
23-year-old from Lahore made his breakthrough in the first round where
he ousted Robbie Temple, an Englishman ranked more than 60 places
higher. Butt went on to take Grayson 4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2.
dropped the first game, looking a little unsure of his game and made a
few mistakes, but settled down and took the next three games in the
match that lasted 56 minutes," explained tournament organiser Charlie
pivotal point in this match was in game three where, down 6-8, Grayson
won a long rally to get to 7-8 - but Butt countered winning another
astoundingly long rally to stifle a run and won the game 11-8. After
Grayson won the first point of the last game, Butt ran off seven
straight points but to his credit, Grayson fought hard to the end
despite the insurmountable lead Butt had and the crowd was highly
entertained by the final rallies where both players were giving it their
Pakistani progresses to face Adrian Grant, the top seed from
England. The London left-hander dismissed Butt's 17-year-old compatriot
Danish Atlas Khan, also a qualifier, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5.
will also be English interest in the other semi-final where Chris
Simpson takes on Alister Walker, of Botswana.
seed Simpson staged an impressive comeback, recovering from 2/0 down to
beat fellow countryman Adrian Waller 5-11, 2-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9
in 71 minutes.
"Really happy with my comeback," tweeted Simpson later. "It's about time
I won 1 in 5!"
Walker, the second seed, survived a marathon first game before going on
to beat English qualifier Olivier Pett 18-16, 11-6, 11-7 in 63
has played well all week and continued his high level in the first game
that took an astounding 30 minutes," said Johnson. "This initial game
got to 10-all and then began an incredible series of game ball rallies
alternating between players: these were fabulous displays of both
players' ability to retrieve and at the same time, try to pound the ball
away to finish the rally.
14-14, someone in the gallery exclaimed that 'no one seems to want to
win' and I countered with no one wants to lose - no 'seem' about it!
highest level play we've seen all week took place over the next five
points that it took Walker to win this marathon game 18-16. Pett was not
deflated after the loss of this first game, both players appreciated the
effort of the other for a 30 minute game, and he played very hard over
the next two games."
Pakistanis Power Through In Dayton
of Pakistanis led a remarkable day of upsets in the opening round of the
EBS Dayton Open when qualifiers Danish Atlas Khan and
Yasir Butt overpowered higher-ranked opponents to reach the
quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 25 squash
event in its eighth year at the Dayton Squash Center in Dayton
in the US state of Ohio.
a 17-year-old from Peshawar, came back from a game down to beat Egypt's
former world junior champion Amr Khaled Khalifa 10-12, 11-5,
11-9, 11-7 in 58 minutes - while Butt, 23, from Lahore, battled for 85
minutes to tame England's Robbie Temple 15-13, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11,
third qualifier made it through to the last eight when England's
Olivier Pett ousted Canadian Shawn Delierre 12-10, 12-14,
Pakistani members cheered Khan & Butt on to victory - but stayed to help
push qualifier Pett past Delierre of Canada," said tournament organiser
the upsets continued: New Zealand's unseeded Campbell Grayson got
the better of in-form Mexican Arturo Salazar, beating the third
seed 11-8, 11-3, 11-5.
England's fourth seed Chris Simpson played one of the best
matches in recent times to overcome Egypt's reigning world junior
champion Marwan El Shorbagy 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 in just 35 minutes.
my match against world junior champion Marwan el Shorbagy 3/0, really
happy with my performance, nice to get a good win in!" tweeted the
delighted Guernsey-born 24-year-old later.
the top two seeds restored some order to the well-established Tour
event: English favourite Adrian Grant, the world No17 from
London, defeated rising Australian star Zac Alexander 11-9, 11-9,
11-5, while Alister Walker, the No2 seed from Botswana, held off
the challenge of Henrik Mustonen, beating the promising Finn
11-8, 11-8, 11-5.