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17/04/2012
BERKSHIRE OPEN 2012
 

Walker Waltzes To Berkshire Open Title

Berkshire Open 2012
10-15 Apr, Williamstown, Usa, $35k
Round One
11/12 Apr
Quarters
13 Apr
Semis
14 Apr
Final
15 Apr
[1] Alister Walker (Bot)
 13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 (74m)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
Alister Walker
12-10, 11-8, 11-6 (38m)
Qlvier Pett
 Alister Walker
12-10, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 (131m)
Borja Golan
 Alister Walker
11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (44m)
Tom Richards
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
11-7, 11-9, 12-10 (50m)
[Q] Qlvier Pett (Eng)
Shawn Delierre (Can)
11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 (82m)
[Q] Scott Arnold (Aus)
Shawn Delierre
 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 (27m)
Borja Golan
[3] Borja Golan (Esp)
11-5, 11-1, 11-4 (24m)
[Q] Charles Sharpes (Eng)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-6 (7m)
[4] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
Julian Illingworth
2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
Yasir Butt
Julian Illingworth
8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (55m)
 Tom Richards
Yasir Butt (Pak)
9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9 (56m)
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
[Q] Chris Gordon (Usa)
11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (44m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
Tom Richards
Siddarth Suchde (Ind)
7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10 (65m)
[2] Tom Richards (Eng)

Walker Waltzes To Berkshire Open Title

It was a second successive Berkshire Open runner-up finish for Tom Richards as top seed Alister Walker romped to a straight games victory over the Englishman in the final of the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event in its eighth year at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

Walker, the world No18 from Botswana who survived a five-game semi-final battle against third seed Borja Golan which lasted well over two hours, was in surprisingly fresh form as he despatched his former compatriot 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 in 44 minutes.

The triumph marks the sixth title of Walker's career - but the third since the 29-year-old former Englishman switched his allegiance to Botswana, his country of birth, last June.

"After last night's brutal match with Borja, my body was really struggling and I didn't expect much in the final - which probably worked in my favour because I was very relaxed against Tom in the final," said Walker post-match. "Tom has been playing well and I am happy to see he has been picked for England and I am sure my old team mates will defend their (European) title. I wish them the best of luck.

"For me it is a real privilege to get Botswana its third PSA title - and I am hoping the results will help in our association's attempts to re-energise the sport at home. In turn hopefully we can send a national team to the World Team Championships in France next year."

It was a disappointing outcome for the second year for second seed Richards, who currently boasts a higher world ranking than Walker. Unseeded in his first appearance at the Williams college event in 2011, the 25-year-old from Surrey reached the final where he was beaten by top seed Wael El Hindi.

Walker & Richards To Contest Berkshire Final

Contrasting victories by Alister Walker and Tom Richards in the semi-finals of the Berkshire Open will see the top two seeds contest the final of the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event in its eighth year at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

"On paper, the night's opener between Alister and Spaniard Borja Golan promised squash at its best to a packed house behind the glass court," explained tournament organiser Zafi Levy, the college's Head Squash Coach. "Both players are at or near the top of their games — superbly conditioned, good ball strikers, up-tempo strategists and fight-to-the-finish competitors.

"And, two hours and eleven minutes later (yes, you've read it correctly — 2 hrs 11 minutes - and during this time, some amazing squash was actually played!) it maybe should have been declared a draw!"

After winning the first game on a tie-break, then dropping the next two, Walker claimed the fourth and fifth games by the same 12-10 margin - incredibly, not having to face match-balls in either game - before clinching the dramatic 12-10, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 victory which takes the world No18 from Botswana into the 10th Tour final of his career.

In the other semi, second seed Richards faced US hope Julian Illingworth, the only unseeded player in the last four.

"Julian had the better of the play, taking the first game 11-9 and holding two games ball at 10-8 up in the second," reported Levy. "At that point a lengthy, between-point stretch against the glass side wall suggested that something might be up. Losing four straight points and then taking extra time between games confirmed that Julian's back, which had so miraculously healed itself in the middle of his quarter final match with Yasir Butt, would now be a key factor in the outcome of the match."

Indeed, Richards went on to take control - winning 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 in 55 minutes to notch up the eighth final appearance of his career.

Walker will go into the final with an undefeated record over the Englishman. But since two Tour losses in 2010, Richards has overtaken the favourite in the PSA world rankings. Revenge will no doubt be the order of the day!

Illingworth Joins Top Seeds In Berkshire Semis

Home hope Julian Illingworth will join the top three seeds in the semi-finals of the Berkshire Open after the unseeded 28-year-old continued his unexpected run in the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event in its eighth year at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

It was after upsetting fourth seed Stephen Coppinger in the first round that the world No36 from New York faced Pakistan's Yasir Butt in the quarter-finals.

"There were rumours that Julian had hurt his back at the end of his match the night before against Steve Coppinger, and it certainly looked as if that was the case as the first game went quickly to Butt (without opposition) and at the same minimum level of resistance to put Julian down 9-2 to Yasir in the second," explained tournament organiser Zafi Levy, the college's Head Squash Coach.

"And then—suddenly and without warning—Julian came alive and won the next 14 points in a row! The transformation was exhilarating to witness!"

Illingworth went on to delight the partisan crowd by winning 2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 to set up a semi-final meeting with second seed Tom Richards.

The Englishman outplayed Miguel Angel Rodriguez to beat the Colombian number one 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.

The semi-final in the top half of the draw will be the one predicted by the draw, with favourite Alister Walker talking on third-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan.

Walker, the world No18 from Botswana, got off to a slow start against English qualifier Olivier Pett, but recovered from 8-10 down in the first game to win 12-10, 11-8, 11-6.

Golan, a former world No10, dashed Canadian hopes of success in the event by despatching Shawn Delierre 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 in just 27 minutes.

Pett Progresses After Berkshire Breakthrough

English qualifier Olivier Pett produced a stunning upset on the opening day of action in the Berkshire Open in the USA when he defeated Malaysia's Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan in straight games to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 35 squash event in its eighth year at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

"Pett survived two rounds of qualifying and then upset world-ranked #34 Nafiizwan Adnan, whose beautiful movement but emotionally passive play allowed a more determined Pett to out-work and out-position Adnan in a lengthy three-gamer," said tournament organiser Zafi Levy, the college's Head Squash Coach.

Following his 11-7, 11-9, 12-10 victory in 50 minutes, the 23-year-old world No68 from Sussex goes on to meet top seed Alister Walker, the world No18 from Botswana.

US-based Walker struggled more than expected in downing Chris Simpson, the world No46 from England 13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 in 74 minutes. Simpson had two game balls in the first, stayed even in the second then won the third before finally running out of gas in the fourth.

Borja Golan, the third seed from Spain, was considerably more efficient in despatching English qualifier Charles Sharpes 11-5, 11-1, 11-4 in 27 minutes.

The most entertaining - and longest - match of the evening paired Canadian Shawn Delierre against Australian qualifier Scott Arnold.

"As usual, when Shawn plays, there were lots of lets and lots of litigating," explained Levy. "Shawn's opponents tend to take his on-court behaviour personally, which is understandable, but the truth is that he just happens to bring his own personality on court just like everyone else.

"He has a great racquet and wonderful anticipation, and if you leave loose balls for him to work with, he is remarkably efficient in outmanoeuvring his opponents, as he did tonight."

Delierre beat Arnold 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 in 82 minutes and next faces Golan.