Jagtap claims Bourbon Trail title in Louisville
Lee Scott reports on the final in Louisville …
The first game saw both players demonstrating good width and depth. Bilal introduced some extremely good angles to twist and turn Jagtap. Both players played at a high pace and attacked the ball early increasing the pressure on their opponent. Jagtap, just managed to close out the first game 11-9.
The second game began with the same velocity as the first with Jagtap piling the pressure onto Bilal. Bilal responded with fantastic coverage of the court and retrieval of the ball, matching Jagtap point for point. The audience, were kept in awe with the power and the pace that was relentless in this game. Jagtap remained cool under pressure, however and remained a little more consistent to take the second 11-9.
The third game saw both players desperate to win. Bilal needed to take this game to stay in the competition and Jagtap trying to finish the match in 3 games. Jagtap showed variation by using some good height to open the court up allowing him to get in front using some very effective volley drops. Bilal’s strategy was to move the tall Indian around the court by using a variety of angles and this seemed to be effective. Again the points were being matched point for point and the rallies were longer and explosive.
These players were both fighting hard and playing a fantastic level of squash. Jagtap served for the match at 10-9. Bilal was not prepared to give up his place in this final so easily and produced some outrageous pace and shots, demonstrating his great level of fitness, stamina and determination.
His endeavors were rewarded in bringing the points to 10-10. The professionalism of these players astounded the crowd as they remained both completely focused and in control of their game. Unfortunately for Bilal maybe the pressure was too great and he made a couple of unforced errors allowing Jagtap to take advantage and claim the Championship 13-11.
Muhammad Bilal (ITA) 3-1 Charlie Cowie (ENG) 9-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-9
A very tight, evenly matched first game with both players trying to dictate from the front saw Charlie win 11-9. Second game was very physical from the outset, with both players trying to dominate play. Muhammad hit good depth and width, however, dictating play winning 11-2.
Third game was again very physical with both players having the final firmly in their sights. Muhammad managed to hold his nerve and make less mistakes resulting in a win of 11-5. The fourth game was everything to play for for both of these players, both of them fighting hard for points, however Muhammad managed to dictate the pace and open the court up just edging the game 11-9. Game length, 65 minutes
Aditya Jagtap (IND) 3-0 Syed Hamzah Bukhari (PAK) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7
First game saw both players hitting good tightness and width, with Jagtap managing to pull away during the first game demonstrating attacking squash, taking the ball very early to win 11-6. Second game saw some explosive rallies and nice touches from both players. The game was tied at 6-6, however Jagtap managed to get in front of Bukhari, was very precise in taking the ball in short, which allowed him to pull away and result in an 11-6 win.
By the third game the crowd was behind both players and hungry for more. Both players came out aggressively, trying to dictate from high up the court. Again with sights on the final, all was to play for and both players were desperate to win. At 6-5 to Jagtap he managed to get in front of Bukhari, dictate play and close out the match 11-7. Game length, 35 minutes.
Syed Hamzah Bukhari (PAK) v Mohamed Nabil (EGY)
The first of the quarter-finals was a closely matched pairing which resulted in a high octane, dynamic match. Bukhari’s precision, skill and power saw him take the first game 11-4. Nabil upped the pace and power of the second game, testing the strength and stamina of both players. There were some grueling points which often resulted in lets due to both players having difficulty clearing the ball.
The second game resulted in a close 11-8 to Bukhari. There was a determined come-back by Nabil in the third game taking the score to 6-1, however Bukhari played consistently to draw the game back to 8-8. Battle commenced to 10-10, but in keeping with the tone of the game the match was won on a stroke to Bukhari with a final score of 13-12.
Aditya Jagtap (IND) v Cory McCartney (CAN)
The first ball Jagtap hit resulted in a broken string and the need for a racquet change but this did not hinder the Indian. He dominated the game to win 11-4. In the second game McCartney came out attacking with everything he had.
There were drops, boasts, tight drives, deception, all the shots that you could wish for delivered with precision however Jagtap’s steady loping ease of movement around the court ensured that he was there to return everything that McCartney threw at him resulting in an 11-5 win to Jagtap. Game three was a masterclass in precision shots by Jagtap to which McCartney’s boundless energy was unable to counter, 11-3 and a 3-0 win to Jagtap.
Mustafa Nawar (EGY)v Muhammad Bilal (ITA)
The Italian, Bilal came out very quickly in the first game to win 11-4. The Egyptian player fought back very well and managed to close out a very tight second game 9-11. Bilal regained control in the third game playing some tight squash dominating the court, winning 11-3.
The fourth game was a much tighter affair with both players starting to show signs of fatigue, Bilal managing to come through on top to win 11-7. Match time was 55 minutes.
Charlie Cowie (ENG) v Ronald Palomino (COL)
The last match of the evening saw the tall Colombian battle it out in a very close encounter with the English player. Palomino managing to take a very tight first game 11-9. Cowie fought back in the second demonstrating sheer determination and matched the Colombian to win 11-9.
Palomino not to be outdone came back strong to take the third game 11-8. The fourth game saw Cowie 2-1 down however he fought back managing to again match the previous game with a 11-8 win. The fifth and final game, with sights on a place in the semi-finals, was an all or nothing battle between the two players.
Both players thrilled the audience, the atmosphere electric, points being matched for points with Cowie triumphant with a 11-8 win in an epic 65 minutes.