Men & Women PSA $3k Challengers, 07-09 May, Coffs Harbour
North Coast Open attracts best in Australia
Coffs Harbour Squash centre will be buzzing on 7th to 9th May with their first PSA and graded tournament since Covid-19 came into effect in March 2020.
The tour guidelines have been welcomed by the Australian players, who are eager to be getting back in action.
Lim and Turnbull claim Coffs Harbour titles
The Men’s Final opening game gave a hint of what was to follow with both players working each other to all parts of the court with Bryan clinching
a tight first game. Nicholas worked the ball to the back court looking to secure anything loose forcing the game into a tie break which he managed to win levelling scores at a game each. Bryan struggled to find his placements again in the third allowing Nicholas to gain the upper hand.
Bryan appeared more focused in the fourth and fifth games moving Nicholas the wrong way to claim the North Coast Open title.
Bryan : ‘Happy with my first win here at the North Coast Open. Tough always against Nic.”
In the women’s final both players were prepared to work the ball, with Tamika making a couple of errors at the end of the first. She came out strongly in the second with both girls evenly matched with Tamika taking the game to draw level. In the third game early errors by Tamika allowed Jessica to gain a good lead and go two games to one up.
Tamika fought back strongly in the fourth game taking a 7-0 lead to win 11/7 and draw back level at two games each.
In the deciding fifth Jessica started strong and tightened her length to gain a good break taking the match for her first North Coast Open crown.
Jessica : “Great to get a win here at the North Coast Open and jokingly said “ it was only fitting as Tamika won my hometown Sandgate Open . Was tough against Tamika as this was our fourth meeting and today I managed to keep my errors down to get the win.”
Top seeds downed in North Coast semis
Action today saw upsets as the No 1 and No 2 seeds Joe White and Rhys Dowling fell to challengers Nicholas Calvert and Bryan Lim respectively in tough 5 game encounters.
The opening match between White and Lim saw Lim open his account with a tight first game win before White gained the better of exchanges to take the second and third games but needing to work hard retrieving many short balls. L
im continued to apply short placements which started to tell on White’s movement and take the fourth and fifth game to record a very strong win.
Lengthy rallies were punishing to both players with Calvert gaining the upper hand in the deciding fifth game as Dowling made some simple errors at critical stages of the game.
The win presents Calvert with his first final appearance in the North Coast Open.
Nicholas : Rollercoaster of a match , some parts I played well and other parts he played well. Lucky I was able to put enough work in his legs to come home strong and win the 5th. Looking forward to playing Bryan in the final tomorrow. We’ve had a lot of quality matches in the past 6 months, so hopefully tomorrow is another”
Top seeds through to women’s final#
The match between Jessica Turnbull and Christine Nunn provided the packed gallery with plenty of action with both players playing at a high intensity from the outset.
Some unforced errors to pull back one game. Regrouping for the fourth game Turnbull established a quick lead 6/1 and didn’t allow any opportunities to Nunn to close the match in four quality games.
Jessica : “Really tough match today. Its always a hard slog against Christine, so I’m very happy to convert the points for the win today, looking forward to tomorrow’s final.”
Alex Hayden came from behind in the first game against Tamika Hunt who appeared unsettled early and unable to get into any rhythm to take the opening game. Hunt raised the intensity in the next two games and appeared more confident as the match progressed. Hayden capitalised on Hunts errors to again apply pressure taking the fourth game and forcing the match to a deciding fifth game.
Hunt started strongly to open a sizeable lead keeping pressure on Hayden who wasn’t able to bridge the gap as Hunt clinched the match to move into the final.
Tamika : “It was a tough match mentally and physical, wasn’t my best squash but managed to get the win today. Time to rest, refuel and do it all again tomorrow.”
Friday night proceedings commenced with the Official Welcome by Coffs Harbour City Mayor Denise Knight, thanking players for choosing to come to Coffs Harbour and compete in the North Coast Open. This was followed by the President of Squash Australia Jo Brodie outlining developments within the organisation.
Opening match between (1) Joseph White and Thomas Calvert saw the players looking to gain any advantage from the front with Calvert looking to be playing the better strokes but White’s court coverage proved much better as the match progressed to record a three games to one win
Joseph : Was happy to get the win against Tom. He’s been around the PSA tour for a long time and is very experienced so to win 3-1 is great. Looking forward to the semis tomorrow.
No 4 seed Bryan Lim proved too experienced for Jack Hudson to win in straight games to move into the semi’s against Joseph White.
Nicholas : “It’s always a tough match against Soly. He as a class short game and I have to play very consistent to heat him. Overall I’m happy with how I stuck to my game plan to win in 3. I’m looking forward to keeping the form for tomorrow’s semi.”
Calvert won the vital points late in each game to seal a solid three game win to move to the next round.
Rhys Dowling missed an opportunity to take a straight games victory against Rohan Toole after a spirited fightback by Toole to close out the third game with Dowling making errors late in the game. The fourth game see sawed before with Dowling maintaining his pressure to the corners and wrap up the match in four. Dowling will now meet Calvert in the Semi Finals tomorrow.
Jessica : “ really happy to get the win today. Maggie is such a good player and someone I have looked up to for a long time so it was great to be on “court with her”
In the second and third Christine dominated the front court, proving too strong to run out winner in three games for a place in the semi finals against Jessica Turnbull
Tamika : Great to play Heather, we haven’t played since juniors and really enjoyed the match. Looking forward to playing Semi Final tomorrow.”
Round One :
Men’s First round action produced some solid performances with the seeded players advancing to the quarter final round.
Joseph White No 1 seed dominated each game against Jamie Pattison recording a straight games win. Rhys Dowling No 2 seed won in three against Cameron Dareton. Both players produced some great court coverage with Dowling able to maintain pressure throughout to advance to the next round.
Match of the morning was between Solayman Nowroze and Dylan Molinaro. With play locked at 8 all in the deciding fifth game Molinaro suffered a severe ankle injury, conceding the match after 46 minutes of some amazing rallies. Great sportsmanship by the players to see such a match unfortunately conclude this way.
“I had a slow start to my match today but Dylan played very well,” said Solayman. “All credit to him, I didn’t want the match to end the way it did but I hope Dylan recovers well from his injury”
“Overall the game was good. I was trying to play the best I can and apply as much pressure as possible . In the end it paid off.”
In the women’s draw the top three seeds all received byes into the quarters, while there were three round one seeding upsets, including Maggie Marshall and Kate Winters.
Maggie :“Great to see so many strong females playing this weekend and a chance to play someone different. The courts are looking great and nice to play on.”
Kate : “It was a good start to the tournament playing Shona this morning and getting a feel for the courts. Getting the win 3-0 I am keen to go on again tonight at 7pm against one of my close friends Alex Hayden.”
These players are all based in Brisbane but will encounter tough opponents with the winners of 1st round matches Jack Hudson Tas v David Turner Qld, a likely match with top seed Joseph White and the winner of the Solaman Nowrozi Qld v Dylan Molinaro Vic match set to meet the 3 seed Nic Calvert. Nowrozi has previously been a competitor here in Coffs Harbour and is looking forward to returning to one of his favourite events.
The Women’s Open brings together one of the strongest line ups in Australia this year for the Challenge with top seed Jessica Turnbull Qld possibly to meet Maggie Marshall TAS in the Quarter Finals, the winner facing a likely meeting with Christine Nunn VIC in Saturday’s semi finals.
In the bottom half of the draw, special interest will focus on home grown Tamika Hunt No 2 seed, who has been one of the form players on the Women’s circuit this year making a return after 2 years absence.
Hunt’s first match will be against the winner of the Jessica Osborne v Heather Pilley. A Quarter Final between Selena Shaikh No 4 seed and unseeded Alex Hayden SA could prove to be one of the best matches on Friday night for a spot in Saturday’s Semi’s against Hunt.
It’s a great opportunity for local spectators to come to the Squash Centre in Korora and see the quality of players taking part for World Ranking points, as both Hunt and Nunn were Australian Commonwealth Games representatives in 2018.
Promoter Peter Saxby said: “We are very pleased to acknowledge the support of sponsors in bringing the North Coast Open Challenger Tour 3 to the Coffs Coast Region. This is the first tournament of this class here in Australia and we are confident that the event will be a great success. Special thanks to Coffs Harbour City Council for their support in bringing the event to Coffs Harbour starting on Friday 7th May”.
The tournament program will commence on Friday morning at 10.00am for both Open Men and Womens events. Members of the public and visitors are welcome to come to the Squash Centre any time during the weekend and entry is free.
Visitors are encouraged to observe the Covid-19 guidelines that will be in place throughout the event but there will be plenty of vantage points for viewing the action.