Virginia Pro Champs 2004
21-24 Jan, Richmond, Virginia, USA, $10k
24-Jan Final:
Durbach too strong
Rodney Durbach overpowered Jan Koukal in three straight games to win the Virginia Professional Squash Championship at the Country Club of Virginia. Third-seeded Durbach swept seventh-seeded Koukal 15/8, 15/10, 15/11.
23-Jan, Semis:
Youth v Experience in Virginia Final
The final of the inaugural Virginia Pro tournament will be youth v experience. Jan Koukal continued his impressive run, leading top seed Paul Price 2/1 before Price was forced to retire injured and will face Rodney Durbach, who outlasted second seed Shahier Razik, in Saturday's final.

22-Jan, Quarters:
Koukal ousts Evans
Czech youngster Jan Koukal provided the first upset of the inaugural Virginia Pro Championships, beating fourth seed David Evans in five in the quarter-finals ... full story

Players assemble in Richmond
photos by Bruce de Wit

Virginia Pro Champs 2004
1st Round
Wed 21st
Thu 22nd
Fri 23rd
Sat 24th
[1] Paul Price (Aus)
15-12, 15-12, 15-10
Rafael Alarcon (Bra)
Paul Price
15-10, 3-15, 15-9, 15-12
Joey Barrington
Paul Price

15/8, 12/15, 15/9, 8/9 rtd

Jan Koukal

Jan Koukal

15/8, 15/10, 15/11

Rodney Durbach

[8] Joey Barrington (Eng)
15-6, 15-11, 15-12
[Q] Sam Miller (Eng)
[4] David Evans (Wal)
15-10, 9-15, 15-10, 15-8
[Q] Karim Yehia (Egy)
David Evans
15-7, 6-15, 15-6, 11-15, 15-12
Jan Koukal
[7] Jan Koukal (Cze)
15-7, 15-4, 15-1
Ben Howell (Eng)
Matthew Guiffre (Can)
15-11, 15-11, 15-2
[5] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Cameron Pilley
15-12, 15-9, 15-9
Rodney Durbach
Rodney Durbach

15/11, 10/15, 8/15, 15/9, 15/9

Shahier Razik

[Q] Eric Galvez (Mex)
15-13, 15-7, 15-13
[3] Rodney Durbach (Rsa)
Patrick Chifunda (Zam)
15-7, 8-15, 15-7, 15-14
[6] Gavin Jones (Wal)
Gavin Jones
15-13, 15-10, 15-10
Shahier Razik
[Q] Kumail Mehmood (Pak)
15-7, 15-6, 15-9
[2] Shahier Razik (Can)

Qualifying Finals:
Karim Yehia (Egy) beat Philip Barker (Eng) (3-1) 12-15, 15-11, 15-13, 15-9
Sam Miller (Eng) beat Tony James (Aus) (3-0) 15-12, 15-5, 15-10
Kumail Mehmood (Pak) beat Nicholas Kyme (Ber) (3-0) 15-8, 15-6, 15-11
Eric Galvez (Mex) beat Imran Khan (Pak) (3-0) 17-14, 15-3, 15-9

Qualifying Round One:
Karim Yehia (Egt) bye
Philip Barker (Eng) bt Ryan Donegan  (3-0) 15-7, 15-5, 15-10
Sam Miller (Eng) bt Scott Fitzgerald (Wal)  (3-1) 15-2, 15-12, 10-15, 15-5
Tony James (Aus) bt Paul Brogna (Usa)  (3-0) 15-10, 15-3, 15-7
Nicholas Kyme (Ber) bt Dylan Patterson  (3-0) 15-9, 15-12, 15-10
Kumail Mehmood (Egy) bt David Phillips (Can)  (3-2) 11-15, 15-5, 15-6, 11-15, 15-5
Imran Khan (Pak) bt Andre Holderegger (Sui)  (3-2) 9-15, 15-5, 15-9, 14-15, 15-12
Eric Galvez (Mex) (bye)

Durbach too strong
Bruce de Wet reports from Richmond

Rodney Durbach became the first Virginia Professional Squash Champion on
Saturday night. He beat a plucky Jan Koukal in three games but the match was not one

In front of a packed gallery of approximately 250 spectators the finalists produced some spectacular squash.
Koukal seemed to be particularly effective at the start of each game, hitting some devastating short cross court winners.

The quickness eventually seeped away in all three stanzas, with Durbach playing thoughtful strokes that inevitably gave him the edge.

Koukal ousts Evans
Bruce de Wet reports from Richmond

Finally an upset! The first quarterfinal match delivered a fine contest that went the distance. David Evans and Jan Koukal traded games and then worked to stay in the fifth. When the dust settled Koukal had managed to eke out a 15-7, 6-15, 15-6, 11-15, 15-12 victory.

The 5:30 match between Paul Price and Joey Barrington delivered lengthy rallies and focused concentration from both players. Barrington blitzed through the second game after he had lost the first. The momentum swung in the third game when Price bettered Barrington's string of 6 consecutive points by putting together his own 8 point run to close out the game. In the fourth Price was willing to trade points and at 12-all he eased away to end the game and match, 15-10, 3-15, 15-9, 15-12.

At 6:30 pm Rodney Durbach faced off against Cameron Pilley. Durbach is fresh off a good showing at the recent Dayton event and Pilley won in Calgary last week. As the action unfolded it became evident that the match was going Durbach's way. Working the ball around, Durbach kept Pilley off his rhythm winning three convincing games 15-12, 15-9, 15-9.

The final match of the evening had Shahier Razik playing Gavin Jones. The contest was close and there were a number of extended rallies in the early going. Those in the know were whispering that Razik would outlast Jones and as the legs tired Jones was forced into more adventurous shotmaking. Razik wore down less than his opponent and won 15-13, 15-10, 15-10.

First Round:
Smooth Sailing for the Seeds
Bruce de Wet reports from Richmond

No surprise results were in store for the assembled squash fanatics as the main round action of Virginia's first professional tournament got under way, but there was consensus that the intensity and skill level picked up.

David Evans, seeded fourth, and Karim Yehia got things started at 4:30 PM.  They split the first two games but Evans closed the match out comfortably, winning 3-1. On the adjoining court, Jan Koukal breezed through his encounter with Ben Howell, running off the final fifteen points in succession as he won 3-0.

The 5:30 PM matches pitted the first seed, Paul Price, against Rafael Alarcon and Joey Barrington against Sam Miller.  Price and Barrington both won 3-0.

At 6:30 PM Rodney Durbach, seeded third, took on Eric Galvez.  Points were shared to keep the game scores close but Durbach managed to force the vital errors in each of the three games. In the other 6:30 PM encounter, Cameron Pilley put away the third game in convincing fashion to end his match against Matthew Guiffre in three.

The two 7:30 PM matches were contrasting in style. On court 2 the second seeded Shahier Razik played with calm precision and measured strokes to end the run of Kumail Mehmood in three games.  On court 3 Gavin Jones and Patrick Chifunda were putting on a display of athleticism. 

After dropping the first game, Chifunda played himself back into the match with some great retrieving and shotmaking as he won the second game.  Jones kept to his task, regaining the momentum when he won the third game.  This set the stage for game four; fortune swung from one to the other until Jones called 'No set' at 14-all.  Chifunda made a number of spectacular digs to stay in the point, diving to reach a ball with his body stretched out it seemed that Jones had the advantage.  Amazingly Chifunda was up and managed to recover to the 'T', but his simple short forehand found the tin to end the match.

Qualifying Finals:
Big Guns arrive in Virginia
Bruce de Wet reports from Richmond
Bigger guns started arriving in Richmond today as the main draw is set to get underway on Wednesday.

Paul Price was joined by Shahier Razik, Rodney Durbach, and David Evans to round out the top seeds.

Most of the players were relaxed and smiling, despite actively sizing up the competition. Perhaps it was due to the suggestion that a local television crew would be around to capture some footage. ( Besides, the photographer is rumored to have bribed these four guys to appear in the same picture! )

The second day's activities at the Virginia Professional Squash Championships culminated with the final qualifier matches.

Only one of the matches went beyond three games but the competition seemed stiff all the same. In the first match Karim Yehia lost the first game to Philip Barker but then came back to win the next three.

In the second match Sam Miller proved too much for a game Tony James.

The third match saw Kumail Mehmood through to the main event as Nicholas Kyme was making too many errors.

Finally, Eric Galvez had too much energy and zip for Monday's five set survivor, Imran Khan.

Qualifying round one:
Virginia welcome for PSA
Bruce de Wet reports from Richmond

The Country Club of Virginia and the local squash community has welcomed their inaugural influx of PSA players to Richmond, Virginia, with open arms.

Today's first round qualification matches set this sparkling new facility abuzz with excitement. This is the first Professional Squash Tournament to take place at the Country Club of Virginia and there were smiles and sighs all round as the galleries took in the competition.

Many of the practice sessions were also keenly observed and some of the players dragged their hosts out onto the courts for a quick warm-up as well. Organizers and sponsors were well pleased with their efforts as this historic event got underway.

The main draw was amended to make allowance for Lars Harms being unable to play, Ben Howell being placed into the main draw.

Since there were only fourteen qualifiers, Karim Yehia and Eric Galvez were given the byes in the first qualification round.

There were only two matches that went the full distance. The second of these offered the riskiest call to date when Andre Holderegger opted for 'No Set', giving Imran Khan his first match ball, in their fourth game. Holderegger held to take that fourth game at 15-14, but Khan came back in the fifth to win the match.