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Windy City Open 2005
22-25 January, Chicago, USA
, $50k 

26-Jan:

White to Hot for Shabana in Final

The local Chicago squash enthusiasts packed Cathedral Hall at the
University Club for the final of the 2005 SSA Global Windy City Open
between Amr Shabana of Egypt and John White of Scotland.  It was not
necessarily the match-up that many of the fans had expected at the
start of the tournament - fourth seed versus fifth seed, world number
10 versus world number 12.  Shabana had reached the final of only one
tournament since his World Open in 2003, White had not reached his
seeded position in any tournament since becoming world number one in March 2004.  On the flip side though, Shabana's one final was the
British Open, where he narrowly lost to David Palmer, proving that he
continues to raise his game for the big event...which says a lot for
the Egyptian's views of the status of the Windy City Open!  White's
poor recent performances are only partly a result of poor form...his
wife did just give birth to twins!

At the start the odds surely favoured Shabana.  He has looked in
fantastic form throughout the tournament, particularly in his thrashing
of world number two Lee Beachill in the semi-finals.  White had also
looked good playing his own brand of aggressive squash, but you
wondered if he would be feeling the effects of his marathon encounter
with Jonathon Power the previous day.

To stand a chance of winning, White would need to take Shabana out of
his game in the same way he did with Power.  The Scot likes to pepper
the front of the court with fierce kill shots, forcing his opponent
into a more defensive retrieval game.  Shabana looked tense at the
beginning of the first game allowing White to assert his game and take
a quick 5-0 lead.  A forehand tin by White opened Shabana's account and helped him to settle and he was soon back at 5-6.  Then followed two great rallies that both went to the tall Scot, the first through a
beautifully executed backhand volley drop and the second courtesy of a
Shabana backhand drop that hit the tin.  At 9-7, White wrong footed the Egyptian with an awesome backhand straight drive and he crunched in a backhand kill to win the next rally and wrap up the first game.

Shabana really started to show his form early in the second game as a
forehand volley for a winner followed by an inch perfect backhand drive
gave him a 5-1 advantage.  White stepped up with two winners of his own to get back to 3-5.  Both players were aggressively attacking now and the rallies were fast and furious.  It was breath taking stuff.  A
backhand boast winner got White back to 6-6 and several rallies later
they were tied again at 8-8.  A delicate backhand drop followed by
another backhand kill gave White game ball and the Egyptian
disappointing pushed the return of serve on the next rally into the
middle of the tin to hand the Scot a two game advantage.

White looked really relaxed at the beginning of the third...joking with
the crowd in typical White fashion.  His movement was great and he was
pounding the ball and hitting far fewer tins than in his game against
Power the previous day.  Unlike his semi-final match with Beachill,
Shabana was unable to cut his drop shots into the nick, instead he was
being forced to stretch and push all his drops up.  In the third game
he dived desperately in vain attempts at several of White's trickle
boasts and drops.  White quickly advanced from 4-3 to 10-4 match ball
with a magnificent display of attacking squash.  At match ball, Shabana
hit a backhand cross court drop shot only to frustratingly see the Scot
standing all over it ready to pound it to the back of the court to seal
the match and become the 2005 Windy City Open Champion.

Many thanks to the title sponsor SSA Global (who announced their
commitment to make next year's event even bigger and better), the
presenting sponsor LaSalle Bank and the supporting sponsors Foley &
Lardner and Grant Thornton for enabling Chicago to host its first five
star PSA event.  And thanks also to Tournament Director John Flanigan
and his University Club squash staff, Conor O'Malley and Tonneisha
Tillman for their hard work over the past few months that made possible
the spectacle that we witnessed over the past week.

John White (Sco) beat Amr Shabana (Egy) 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (35 mins)

 

Shabana had no answers to White's game.

 

Windy City Open 2005
22-25 Jan,  Chicago, USA, $50k
1st Round
22nd Jan
Quarters
23rd Jan
Semis
24th Jan
Final
25th
Jan
[1] Lee Beachill (Eng)
11-5, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5
Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Lee Beachill bt
Wael El Hindi
11-7, 11-3 11-1
(33 mins)
Lee Beachill
11-3, 11-8, 11-3
(35 mins)
Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana

11-6, 11-9, 11-6

John White

[6] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (80m)
[Q] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
[4] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-3, 11-2, 6-11, 22-4 (40 m
[Q] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Amr Shabana  
8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (50 mins)
James Willstrop
[8] James Willstrop (Eng)
11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (35m)
Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
Graham Ryding (Can)
11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (32m)
[5] John White (Sco)
John White
11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-10 (55mins)
Laurens Jan Anjema
John White
7-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-7, 10-11 (2-4), 11-4 (94 mins)  
Jonathon Power
[Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (40m)
[3] Peter Nicol (Eng)
[Q] Simon Parke (Eng)
11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (30m)
[7] Jonathon Power (Can)
Jonathon Power
11-8, 8-11, 11-9 11-4
(60mins)
Thierry Lincou
 
Dan Jenson (Usa)
11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9
[2] Thierry Lincou (Fra)

  Qualifying:

   Finals, 21-Jan:

   Simon Parke (Eng) bt Jonathan Kemp (Eng)  11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3
   Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Shahid Zaman (Pak)  11-10 (3-1), 11-8, 11-8
   Laurens Anjema (Ned) bt Mark Heather (Eng)  11-7, 11-9, 11-6
   Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt Joey Barrington (Eng)  11-8, 10-12, 11-10 (4-2), 8-11, 11-7

   Round One, 20-Jan:

   Simon Parke (Eng) bt Jago Nardelli (Eng)             11/1, 11/3, 11/1
   Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Kumail Mehmood (Pak)   11/3, 11/6, 11/5
   Shahid Zaman (Pak) bt Stephane Galifi (Fra)        11/7, 3/11, 11/9, 11/7
   Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Beau River (Usa)            11/8, 11/4, 11/3
   Mark Heather (Eng) bt Shahier Razik (Can)          5/11, 12/10, 11/5, 11/7
   Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt  Nick Kyme (Ber)    10/12, 11/6, 14/12, 11/7
   Joey Barrington (Eng) bt Niall Rooney (Irl)           11/4, 11/6, 11/5
   Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt Rob McFadzean (Usa)         11/2, 11/4, 11/5

 

Reports

25-Jan:

Shabana downs Beachill

The 2005 SSA Global Windy City Open semi-finals involved two pairs of players with contrasting styles.  The first match involved the skillfully deceptive Canadian Jonathon Power and the aggressive hard hitting Aussie born Scot John White.  The second match, the silky smooth, consistent top seeded Englishman Lee Beachill and the rather erratic, but highly talented little Egyptian Amr Shabana.  Shabana is the only one of the four not yet to have reached a world number one ranking, but of course he does have a World Open title to his name.

The 30 year-old Power and the 31 year-old White have crossed paths many times in the past on the PSA tour.  In fact this was their tenth meeting in the last five years, with Power leading the head-to-head 5-4,including victories in their past two encounters.  The last meeting was the Canadian's 3-1 victory in the quarter-finals of the Bermuda Open in March 2004.  Ironically, at that time, Power was in danger of slipping out of the top ten for the first time in nearly a decade and White was playing his first tournament as world number one.  Now the situation is reversed, with White recently dropping out of the top ten for the first time since February 2001 and Power, currently world number six, looking set for another serious assault on the top spot.

White started poorly, a few errors helped Power to a 6-1 lead.  Power was looking comfortable, moving well and striking the ball with authority.  White dug in and one of his signature forehand kills plus a rather fortunate back wall nick help him back to 4-7.  But the first game was really all Power and he clinched it 11-7 when White clipped the top of the tin on a forehand drive.

White began the second game in similar inconsistent fashion as the first -- two tins followed by two winners, followed by another tin and and another winner.  Unusually for a game involving Jonathon Power, his opponent was dictating the outcome of most of the rallies.  A no let called that Power heavily disputed followed by a stroke decision that also frustratingly for the Canadian went against him suddenly gave the Scot a 6-3 lead.  But three more tins and Power was back on level terms at 7-7.  More White winners and errors followed and the game was tied again at 10-10.  After Power saved three game balls, one of which with a fortunate backhand miss hit that for White dropped agonizing for a winner, White finally succeeding in taking the 25-minute game on his fourth attempt with a well executed forehand cross court volley that was just out of Power's reach.

The feeling was that the match was going to rest on whether White could hit more winners than tins as he aggressively attacked the front of the court.  The squash was great at the start of the third.  In one rally White dove in the back court and just managed to retrieve the ball via the back wall, frustratingly for Power, the Scot got up and retrieved the next shot and escaped with a let.  White was beginning to look in a more relaxed, jovial mood.  He was clearly enjoying the encounter now that he was firmly in it.  A reflex backhand volley winner gave him a 5-4 lead and a backhand kill gave him the lead at 7-6.  Power was clearly more frustrated, arguing most referee decisions that went against.  His retrieving was still incredible, but the world number 12 was now hitting many more winners than tins and a tight forehand drop gave White game ball at 10-7 and he finished it with a forehand cross court kill to take the two game to one advantage.  

The fourth game was as tight as the previous two.  At 5-4 to Power, the Canadian thought he had won an incredible rally went White tinned a forehand volley only to agonizingly have to play a let due to dubious pick up early in the rally.  Power was rattled again and slammed the next backhand into the tin.  White then hit a furious forehand cross court kill and nicked out a backhand cross court.  It was looking more desperate for the world number six when he was refused a let after a delicate forehand drop from White.  But it was the Canadian's turn to dig deep and he drew level at 8-8 when White put a backhand boast in the tin.  A no let and and a tight forehand drop later and White stood at match ball.  But a loose forehand that ended in a stroke to Power followed by two tins by White and suddenly Power had game ball.  On the next rally, Power lost his racket as he made his way into the back corner to retrieve a White drive.  To the Canadian's disgust his appeal for a let was denied.  He came out of the court to argue his case but to no avail.  Power saved two more match balls and reached a second game ball for himself with a fabulous backhand volley into the nick.  And much to the joy of the crowd extended the match to a deciding game when he cut off a White cross court and fired it into the back corner for a winner.

After the disappointment of not closing out the match in the fourth game, White got himself off to a perfect start in the fifth building a quick 5-0 lead.  Power hung in there determinedly but after a big collision in the middle of the court as he raced back to attempt to retrieve a White drive he was again frustratingly (for him) denied the let and White led 7-2.  A few rallies later Power hit a backhand out of court and it was 10-3 White.  The Scot converted on his sixth match ball two rallies later when he hit a forehand cross court winner and secured his place in tomorrow's final.

The crowd took a few minutes to catch their breath before the second semi-final.  For Amr Shabana, this tournament marks only his second time advancing beyond the quarter-finals of an event since his World Open win in December 2003.  The world number ten lost to Lee Beachill 3-1 in their last encounter this time last year in the Kuwait Open.  Shabana looked sharp in his win yesterday against James Willstrop and it would be interesting to see if he could repeat the performance against another consistent Yorkshireman.

Shabana got off to a good start taking leads of 4-0 and 6-3. He was finding the nick from anywhere on the court and Beachill was having trouble putting him under pressure.  The Egyptian rattled off the last five points to close out the game 11-3 in only 8 minutes.  Shabana continued his domination into the early part of the second game building a 5-2 lead.  But Beachill was now extending the rallies and starting to find a little rhythm.  A backhand drop brought him back on level terms at 6-6.  After a number of lets, it was the Egyptian that seized back the advantage with two winners and a wonderful forehand cross court nick gave him a 9-7 advantage.  A no let call on a tight backhand drop gave Shabana game ball at 10-8 and another backhand drop winner secured him the second game.

Beachill battled hard in the early part of the third game.  But he was having a hard time putting the ball away against Shabana.  Shabana on the other hand was demonstrating his wizardry with the racket.  His touch at the front was incredible and he was finding the nick at will.  From 2-3 down he rattled off the last nine points to close out the match.  It was really a remarkable performance by Shabana, to beat the world number two in 35 minutes and set up a match against John White in the final tomorrow.


24-Jan:

Ruthless Beachill
First quarter-finalist on court, was top seed Lee Beachill. His opponent was Egyptian Wael El Hindi. In the second game Beachill the world number two immediately found his rhythm and dominated from the start. Perhaps feeling the effects of his tough matches the previous two days, El Hindi was error prone and very loose going down 11-7, 11-3, 11-1.

Power vs World Champion
Power strode confidently on court, finally injury free and in good form for the first time in a while. It was Lincou, the current world champion though that made the early going opening a quick 4-0 lead aided by a couple of Power tins. Power steadied himself and got it back to 5-6 with a wickedly deceptive backhand reverse boast, tied the score with a beautiful forehand volley drop and took the lead with an identical shot on the backhand side and went throuigh to take the first game 11-8.

Lincou took the second and the match was fascinatingly poised. Lincou was playing steady, virtually error free squash. Power was playing...well simply like the Power of old,with fabulous deception and incredible accuracy but also with the occasional tin thrown in. At 3-3, Power winced in pain as he hit himself with the racket hitting a forehand. After losing the rally Power gave himself a break by coming off court to discuss with the referee a Lincou backswing that the Canadian felt was a deliberate attempt to poke him in the eye. Power was clearly rattled and became more argumentative. The problem for Lincou is that when Power is rattled he is often at his best and the world number six rattled off three sublime winners to take a 7-5 advantage. In somewhat typical Power fashion though this was followed by two tins to tie it back up. The play was extremely tight as both players fought for that critical advantage. It went Power's way and a beautiful backhand drop volley got him to 10-8. Lincou won the next rally with a drop that stuck to the side wall, but Power won the game with a fine backhand cross court drive that died in the back corner as Lincou dived back in vain for it.

The packed crowd was loving every minute of it. The exertions were starting to take a toll on both players, the let calls became more frequent and they both took more time between rallies. But the level of play did not drop a notch, especially from Power who opened up a 6-1 lead with some incredible shots at the front of the court. Lincou was clearly becoming disheartened, some errors and loose shots allowed the Canadian to move to 10-2 and despite Lincou winning a couple of fabulous rallies to save the first two match balls the Frenchman was clearly tired and he tined on a forehand kill shot to seal the match and a great win for Jonathon Power.

White beats Dutchman LJ Anjema
At the beginning the Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema looked up for the task against John White as he took an early 5-4 advantage. But gradually White began to assert control over the match to win 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-10.

Shabana Shuts out Willstrop
Last match on the all glass court was the up and coming Englishman James Willstrop versus the shot making magician from Egypt Amr Shabana. These two players met four times in 2004 and split the encounters two a piece.

Shabana dropped the first but started the second game with more purpose and built leads of 6-4 and 8-5. The rallies were shorter and involved a little more shot making from both players, which seemed to favor the Egyptian and he closed out the game 11-6. The little Egyptian was starting to show some of his shot making magic and cutting way down on his tins, a dangerous sign for Willstrop. A 6-2 lead in the third was soon 9-3 and Shabana eventually closed out the game 11-6 to take a two game to one advantage. Willstrop hung in bravely, but Shabana was looking really sharp and the Yorkshireman was now the one hitting tins and loose shots. To strokes against Willstrop gave the world number ten a 7-3 advantage. At 9-4, Willstrop slapped a forehand volley in the nick, but it was a short respite as a backhand cross court winner gave Shabana match ball at 10-5. Willstrop saved the first match ball with a remarkable forehand drop winner off a Shabana boast, but he could not return a Shabana backhand drop in the next rally and the Egyptian saw his way through to a match up tomorrow with number one seed Lee Beachill.

 


23-Jan:

Anjema Shock Win Over Nicol
Laurens Jan Anjema may not yet be a household name in the world of squash but the Dutch number two pulled off a major upset by beating English world number three Peter Nicol in the opening round.  LJ to his friends was in a zone, he dominated Nicol from start to finish with virtually error free squash.  He took the ball early pinning Nicol deep in the back corners and then punishing the loose returns with tight drops and sharp kills.   

The world number 38 took a 7-3 lead in the first game and then closed out the game 11-5.  At 4-4 in the second he again took over with  Nicol looked uncharacteristically error prone, rapping it up 11-6.  Nicol finally started to find some rhythm in the third.  At  7-2 it looked as if he might be beginning to take control but Anjema fought back to 6-8 and levelled with two inch perfect backhand drop shots.  Anjema took the lead after finishing off a tremendous rally with a wrong footing backhand boast.  A forehand drop took him to match ball and a Nicol tin capped the Dutchman’s best win of his life.

One of the most eagerly awaited matches of the day was the rematch of last month’s Pakistan Open final between James Willstrop of England and Australian Anthony Ricketts.  Willstrop won the Islamabad encounter 3-1.  The Englishman got off to a flying start today, playing at a fast pace, volleying everything and hitting great length. He overwhelmed the Australian early, building a 6-1 lead and then went on to take the game 11-3.

Ricketts, came out in more determined fashion at the beginning of the second to built a 6-4 lead and again built a lead, 5-2, lead in the third but each was turned over by Willstrop in the 3/0 win.

The first match of the day was between two gentleman of the modern game, Lee Beachill and Mohammed Abbas, Beachill winning in three despite a laspe in the second 11-5, 11-10 (2-1) and 11-5.  

Thierry Lincou looked energized as he romped through the first two games against Australian Dan Jensen.  Before Jenson took the third game with better length 11-9.  By the fourth Jensen was now obviously beginning to tire and went down 11-9.

Next up was an entertaining encounter between Aussie born Scot John White and Canadian Graham Ryding with White’s hard hitting length and precise kill shots putting him through.

In the battle of the veterans, 30 year-old Jonathon Power beat 32 year-old Simon Parke.  Parke battled bravely, but Power is looking like the Power of old, moving his opponent at will, attacking constantly and of course making full use of his patented deception to win in just   30 minutes.

Another qualifier that looked on his way to a quick exit was Australian world number 41 Cameron Pilley. Pilley was two down 11-3, 11-2 but foiught back for the third 11-6 before inevitably succumbing to Shabana’s winners 11-4.

Last on court was Wael El Hindi, involved in another contentious battle against a young Englishman.  This time the Egyptian’s opponent was the reigning Windy City Open champion Nick Matthew.  El Hindi, coming off a fierce five game battle versus Joey Barrington the previous day, started well against Matthew.  He again used his patient length to good effect and his delicate drop shots were deadly in taking the opening game but Matthew levelled, as he did again in the fourth to take the match to five games.

The let calls continued to come with even more frequency at the beginning of the fifth game as neither player wanted to give up the early advantage.   It was El Hindi though that did begin to get the upper hand as he built leads of 5-1 and 7-2.  Matthew dug deep and got back to 6-8, before a forehand kill by El Hindi put him back on track again. After running El Hindi all over the court a forehand drop into the tin by Matthew gave the Egyptian match ball at 10-7 and he closed out the match on a disputed no let call.
  
   


22-Jan:

Pilley Downs Zaman To Earn Windy City Windfall

Australia's Cameron Pilley scored a notable upset in the qualifying finals of the SSA Global Windy City Open Squash Championship to earn a place in the main draw of the first major PSA Tour event of the year, the $50,000 5-star event which has attracted the world's top players to Chicago, USA.

Pilley, 22, from Queensland, defeated Shahid Zaman - the Pakistan No1 who last week won the Virginia Professional Championship in Richmond, USA - 11-10 11-8 11-8 and is now drawn to face Egypt's former world champion Amr Shabana, the fourth seed, in the first round.

Simon Parke, the only English player to qualify after beating compatriot Jonathan Kemp 11-9 4-11 11-5 11-3, is drawn against seventh seed Jonathon Power.  Only three months ago, Parke qualified in the St Louis Open in the US, and again drew the Canadian in the first round.

England's defending champion Nick Matthew is the sixth seed in the event's star-studded field - and faces qualifier Wael El Hindi.  The Egyptian survived one of the toughest qualifying finals, overcoming England's Joey Barrington 11-8 10-11 11-10 8-11 11-7.

Lee Beachill is the event's top seed, who faces unseeded Egyptian Mohammed Abbas in the first round.  The Englishman, now ranked two in the world, is expected to face the new world No1 Thierry Lincou in the Windy City Open final on Tuesday.  Frenchman Lincou first meets Australia's Dan Jenson.

 


21-Jan:

El Hindi First To Advance To Main Draw

Wael El Hindi triumphed in an ill-tempered battle against Joey
Barrington to be the first player to advance out of the qualifying and
into the main draw.  The world number 21 advanced 3-2 in an hour and forty minute tussle that was punctuated by many mid-court collisions and let calls.  Barrington struggled early as El Hindi dictated the pace with slow drives and precise drop shots.  The Egyptian built up an early 8-2 lead, his delicate cross court drops being particularly effective.  Barrington tried to play more aggressively and did manage to get back to 6-8 before El Hindi closed out the game 11-8.

El Hindi started the second game in similar fashion, advancing to a 5-2 lead.  But Barrington was more determined to grind it out and began to attack more to counter El Hindi¹s drops.  The game began to get more intense as both players jockeyed for position.  El Hindi had game ball at 10-8, but a backhand drop winner from the Englishman followed by tight backhand straight drive tied it at 10-10 and then after a couple of lets Barrington won the next two rallies to tie the match at a game a piece.

What had threatened in the second game began to take hold in the third.Both players became increasingly frustrated as Barrington felt that El Hindi was not clearing and El Hindi believed Barrington was constantly playing the man.  In fairness it was probably a bit of both making for some tough refereeing decisions for Beau River.  The game itself was an epic, tight throughout, with some great retrieving and shot playing from both competitors.  Barrington was first to game ball as he stood at 10-9, but a no let tied it up. Both players continued to save game balls until a winning boast by El Hindi secured the 30 minute game 15-13.

Barrington got off to a great start in the fourth game, quickly taking
a 7-2 advantage.  The squash was still littered with let calls, but it
was gripping stuff all the same.  El Hindi fought back to 7-8, but this
is as close as he would get as Barrington went on to take the game
11-8.  El Hindi had the early advantage in the all important fifth.  He
led 7-3 and then 8-5.  At this point, after yet another collision with
the Egyptian, Barrington¹s contact lens was dislodged and he took his three minute injury break to take care of it. He came back and
immediately went 10-5 down.  He saved a couple of match balls before El Hindi closed it out 11-7.  El Hindi drew Nick Matthew in the main draw.

The second match involved Mark Heather who had upset Shahier Razik the previous day.  Heather was trying to upset the world rankings again as he took on the 38th ranked LJ Anjema from Holland.  The Englishman again got off to a poor start and made several errors as he allowed Anjema to open a big lead.  The tall Dutchman closed out the game 11-6.

The squash was better from heather in the second as he took a 6-4
lead.  Anjema looks a little awkward, but his unorthodox swing is very effective and he played solidly to take back the advantage and win the game 11-8. LJ as he likes to be known took an early lead in the third 8-3,  kept his focus and finally closed out the match 11-5.  LJ drew Peter Nicol in the main draw.

Two  promising stars of the Professional tour, Shahid Zaman from
Pakistan and Australian Cameron Pilley enlightened the crowd with
scintillating squash. Pilley took control from the very first point and
led 5-1 before Zaman  found his signature shot the backhand low kill. After a tense tie breaker , the tall Australian absorbed the pressure by hitting tight precise length 13-11.

Entering his fourth season on the tour , Pilley has the composure and racket skill to be a top ten player quick. He controls the T working all four corners with mixed pace,  deception and confidence. He rolled off the next two games 11-9, 11-7  to set up an exciting first round match with  Amr Shabana.

Simon Parke , the veteran tour player and former world no.3 went head to head with another young England protégé  Jonothan Kemp . Parke entertained the crowd with his excellent athletism chasing his
opponents constant volley pressure and squeaked out the first 11-9. His recent bout of the flu took its toll on Parke and he lost the
second comfortably 11-5. But Kemp did not realize the experience of the tough Yorkshire hard man.  Kemp jumped onto a 3-0 lead in the third only to be binfolded and lose the next ten points in a row.  Parke ended the game 11-5 heading into the fourth with renewed confidence. He exploited his younger opponent with  a slower paced game and destroyed Kemp in the fourth 11-3.  Parke drew Jonathan Power in the Main Draw.

 


20-Jan:
Heather Qualifying Upset

Mark Heather opened the 2005 SSA Global Windy City Open with an upset victory over Canadian Shahier Razik in the first qualifying round. Razik, who at 30 in the world rankings is 26 places higher than the
Englishman, looked set to cruise to a comfortable victory after winning the first game 11-5 and building a 10-6 lead in the second.

However,  Heather suddenly found his game and reeled off 11 points in a row to take the second game and a 5-0 lead in the third.  Razik attempted to fight back, but Heather was now playing very steadily and picking his spots to hit winners.  Razik got back to 5-7, but that is as close as he would get as Heather took the final four points to win the game 11-5.  The Canadian took an early 5-2 lead in the fourth. But Heather quickly pulled it back to 5-5 and then at 7-7 again Heather stepped his game up at the decisive time to close out the game 11-7 and complete his first victory in three attempts against Razik.

 Heather will now face LJ Anjema tomorrow.  The Dutch number two narrowly over came a spirited effort from Nicholas Kyme of Bermuda. Kyme took the first game 11-10 (2-0) and narrowly lost the third game
 10-11 (2-4).  But LJ finally ran out the winner in four games.

 One of the most anticipated matches of the day was the match up between Shahid Zaman of Pakistan and Frenchman Stephane Galifi.  Zaman has quickly advanced to number 21 in the world and is brimming with confidence after winning his biggest PSA event to date in Virginia last week.  After a three year absence from the tour Galifi has quickly established himself back in the top 50 and is himself shooting for the top 25.  Zaman took the first game 11-7, but Galifi struck back quickly and decisively in the second to take it 11-3.  The 22-year old Pakistani is in fine form at the moment though and his
 attacking style was too much for the Frenchman.  He controlled the third and fourth games winning them 11-9, 11-7 to advance to the second qualifying round tomorrow.

 The last match of the day involved local favorite Beau River.  River, the only American in the draw, battled well in the first game against young Australian Cameron Piley.  Piley, currently ranked 41 in the
 world, began to take control after that though and eased comfortably through to a 3-0 victory.