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Veteran Parke Records Notable Milestone In Croatia

Croatian Open Squash Championship,
Zagreb, Croatia

[1] Simon Parke (ENG) bt [8] Fabien Verseille (FRA) 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (38m)

[1] Simon Parke (ENG) bt [3] Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (38m)
[8] Fabien Verseille (FRA) bt [4] Ian Power (CAN) 8-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (65m)

Quarter-finals: [1] Simon Parke (ENG) bt [7] Fabian Kalaitzis (GRE) 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 (39m) [3] Jan Koukal (CZE) bt [5] Andreas Fuchs (AUT) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (38m) [4] Ian Power (CAN) bt [6] Rob Sutherland (WAL) 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-9 (35m) [8] Fabien Verseille (FRA) bt [2] Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-10 (4-2) (78m)

1st round:
[1] Simon Parke (ENG) bt Friedrich Scheel (GER) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (35m)
[7] Fabian Kalaitzis (GRE) bt [Q] Rene Mijs (NED) 11-5, 7-11, 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 11-2 (62m)
[3] Jan Koukal (CZE) bt [Q] Jonathan Harford (ENG) 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (85m)
[5] Andreas Fuchs (AUT) bt Domagoj Spoljar (CRO) 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (35m)
[6] Rob Sutherland (WAL) bt [Q] Klemen Gutman (SLO) 11-5, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (36m)
[4] Ian Power (CAN) bt Petros Tzamaloukas (GRE) 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (29m)
[8] Fabien Verseille (FRA) bt Andre Holderegger (SUI) 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 (55m)
[2] Mark Krajcsak (HUN) bt [Q] Philip Nightingale (ENG) 11-4, 11-10 (5-3), 11-5 (43m)

Veteran Parke Records Notable Milestone In Croatia
Almost 17 years after reaching his first final on the PSA Tour, veteran Englishman Simon Parke celebrated his 14th in fine style in Zagreb when he beat young Frenchman Fabien Verseille to win the Croatian Open Squash Championship – the first PSA event ever to be held in the east European country.

It was in June 1989 that Parke reached the final of the Los Angeles Open in the USA – more than three years before his illustrious England team-mate Peter Nicol achieved his first professional final berth, and less than four years after his final opponent in Zagreb was born!

The 33-year-old Yorkshireman battled testicular cancer and ankle surgery to produce a distinguished career on the squash circuit, winning major titles including the Malaysian Open and US Open and leading England to historic World Championship success, en-route to reaching a career-high world No3 ranking.

The top seed in Zagreb, Parke reached the final without dropping a game – then despatched 20-year-old Verseille 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 in 38 minutes to secure his sixth PSA crown, and his first since winning the Salt Lake City Open in July 2002.

Verseille, the eighth seed, was celebrating his second surprise PSA final appearance in three months after defeating both second seed Mark Krajcsak and fourth seed Ian Power in previous rounds.

The final marked a grand climax to Croatia's inaugural professional squash tournament, which was a sell out many weeks ago and covered live on a prime time sports show on TV Zagreb.

Parke and fellow finalist Verseille pledged to return to the event next year in speeches made following the presentations by Zlatko Matesa, President of the Croatian Olympic Committee.

"Next year it will be $20,000 event with an all-glass court," promised McWIL Consulting Managing Director and Tournament Director Wolfgang Denk.

Verseille Vanquishes Power In Zagreb
Young Frenchman Fabien Verseille recorded his second successive upset in the Croatian Open Squash Championship in Zagreb when he defeated fourth seed Ian Power to reach his second surprise PSA Tour final in three months.

The 20-year-old eighth seed from Luynes knocked out Hungary's Mark Krajcsak, the second seed, in five games to reach the semi-finals.

Despite being two games down against Power, Verseille mounted an impressive comeback to beat the 29-year-old from Montreal 8-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 in 65 minutes.

Verseille, in only his second year on the PSA Tour, now faces his toughest assignment when he meets England's top seed Simon Parke for the title.

Parke, a former world No3 from Yorkshire, is celebrating his 14th PSA final appearance almost 17 years after making his first, when he finished as runner-up in the Los Angeles Open in June 1989!

The 33-year-old world No32 brushed aside Jan Koukal, the third seed from the Czech Republic, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 in 38 minutes.

Krajcsak Crashes Out In Croatia
France's Fabien Verseille pulled off a significant upset in the Croatian Open Squash Championship when he defeated second seed Mark Krajcsak after a dramatic quarter-final match in Zagreb in which both players had several match-balls.

After the first game ended in a tiebreak, Hungary's Krajcsak opened up a 2/1 lead. But the 20-year-old eighth seed from Aix-en-Provence struck back to clinch the match 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-10 (4-2) after 78 minutes.

Verseille now faces Canada's fourth seed Ian Power, who eased to an 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-9 victory in 35 minutes over Rob Sutherland, the sixth seed from Wales.

After the dramatic late arrival for his opening match, England's top seed Simon Parke had a more relaxed quarter-final encounter with Fabian Kalaitzis, beating the seventh seed from Greece 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 in 39 minutes.

The former world No3 from Yorkshire now faces Czech number one Jan Koukal, the third seed from Prague who beat Austria's Andreas Fuchs, seeded five, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 in 38 minutes.

Parke Races To First Round Victory In Croatia
The organisers of the first PSA Tour event ever to be held in Croatia pulled out all the stops when top seed Simon Parke missed his flight from London after traffic hold-ups delayed his arrival at Heathrow airport.

Keen to keep happy the numerous fans eager to see the former world No3 as well as sponsors and the waiting TV and press journalists the Croatian Open promoters rescheduled the favourite's game and invested in a business class Heathrow-Zagreb plane ticket.

Parke arrived on schedule ("it was Lufthansa," pointed out the promoters) and was rushed through customs. Thanks to the fast Mercedes cars, Parke was in the club 35 minutes after touching down!

"The airport is 35 km outside Zagreb, so we may need to make a fund-raising exhibition for the speeding tickets," joked event organiser Vedran Rezic.

The 33-year-old Yorkshireman - who won the Colets Open in Surrey on Sunday, then led Nottingham in the final English Premier League game of the season on Tuesday lived up to his top-billing by beating Germany's Friedrich Scheel 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 in 35 minutes.

Parke will now meet Greece's seventh seed Fabian Kalaitzis who battled for 62 minutes to overcome Dutch qualifier Rene Mijs 11-5, 7-11, 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 11-2.

Despite massive support from the crowd, local hero Domagoj Spoljar was unable to make a significant impression against Austrian number one Andreas Fuchs, going down 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 to the fifth seed.

Czech number one Jan Koukal liked the Zagreb courts so much that he decided to play 85 minutes to overcome English qualifier Jonathan Harford. After one rally, at game ball in the second game, which was eight minutes long, Koukal eventually prevailed 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7.