Czech Open 2019 : Final

Final : Herrenwegen surprises …

The first game looked like we all expected. Both players played very long and tough rallies. Jan looked like he was in control of more rallies but Kristian managed to keep the lead somehow. He got to 10/8. Jan saved the first gameball with a very hard rally. At 10/9 Kristian after another massive rally moved Jan to the front with very good boast. Jan only just managed to hit the ball crosscourt on Kristian´s racket but the volley drop which would have been winner ended at the top of the tin. Similar situation happened again at 10/10 and Jan managed to use his first chance to get the game at 11/10.

When they came back for the second game after few long and tough rallies it started to look that Kristian was tired. He was a bit slower and he also went short too early in the rallies which is not his typical game. Jan was able to use it perfectly and he won the second 11/0.

In the third the rallies were still long and intense but Jan was again winning most of them. He knew Kristian was tired and he was using front court more often to move him and make him even more tired. Jan got to 6/0 again. Kristian threatened him shortly when he got to 3/7 but that was it for him. Jan won the next 4 points and could celebrate his 6th PSA title.

Jan Van Den Herrewegen:

I am happy I won. First game was crucial and I was slightly lucky to win that one. I was down and he tinned shots at the end which would have been winners. And then I relaxed a bit and my short game was more positive and accurate. I am very happy with the way I played in second and third.

Score doesn´t reflect how difficult it was. I was just trying to focus on every point and not to let him back in. I really enjoyed this week. I hope the people who came to watch us the whole week here enjoyed it as well.

Kristian Frost:
I am a bit disappointed. We both spent a lot of energy in the first. I got to 10/8 and we had two good rallies. At 10/9 I had a big opportunity and I missed it. I had another one at 10/10 and missed it again. And then I got tired because he played much better than me. I was always late. It felt more like a pressure session than a match. It was not like I wasn´t trying he was just better. I only won 3 points in the last two games although we still had some long and good rallies but he was winning all of them. You win some and you lose some.

It was a nice tournament with hotel really close and everything easy for players. And Prague is a very nice place.

Previous Czech Opens

Semi-Finals : Top seeds Frost and Herrewegen through

Tomas Forter reports

The first semifinal was played between tournament´s top seed Kristian Frost and the last Czech player in the tournament Martin Švec. Martin tried to play his usual very fast squash at the beginning but Kristian was able to control the rallies because his shots were finding the corners much better than Martin’s.

Kristian led for the whole first game and won 11/8. The second was closer. Martin cut down his mistakes and stayed with Kristian and in the end played some good rallies and shots to level the score. In the third Martin got upset with some of the calls from referee and from then on his head was not in the match anymore. Kristian with all his experience was able to use it very well and won the last two games quite comfortably.

“I am happy to win. It was a hard match. I think I did well and it was a high quality squash. I still like Prague although it is raining today. I look forward to tomorrow and I hope they play very very long match. I played them both and it was always hard.”

The second semifinal brought a match of two playing styles. Jan Van Den Herrewegen plays very simple and basic squash without any flashy shots but still very effective.

Mohammad Alsarraj likes to hit the ball very hard and go for shots much more often. His speed is superb and he can get back balls which are ungettable for most of the players. Mo led for most of the first. Got to 10/7 but Jan saved all three gameballs and won 12/10. In the second Jan pulled away from 4/4 to 7/4, 8/5 and won 11/6. Mo kept fighting, cut down his mistakes, got a lead at the beginning and won the third 11/8. In the fourth Jan got to 4/0 but Mo came back to 4/4 and it was close till the end. Mo 10/9, 10/10 and Mo 12/10 but it cost him a lot of energy.

In the fifth Mo started to look a bit tired and Jan was able to use it brilliantly. He kept on pushing and making the rallies long and hard for Mo. He soon got to 8/2, 9/3 and 10/5. Jan probably thought the match is over already and allowed Mo to come back to 10/9 but last point was his again and he won and moved into tomorrow´s final.

“I thought it was good match. Again very fast pace. I did well to controll the first two games. Because he is so quick I tried to keep it as straight as possible. He did well to come back in the third and in the fourth and fifth it was a bit of a toss of a coin.

“Maybe I was a bit calmer during the big points at the end. Happy to be in the final. One more to go.”


Tomas Forter reports

Kristian Frost proved why he is no. 1 seed in the tournament. He played his usual solid basic squash and was ahead most of the times. Guilhermo try to hit the ball hard like he usually does but made too many mistakes to be able to compete with someone of Kristian’s level.

“I am happy I won. I am happy to be in Prague. I like being here. It is nice place, nice people. I enjoy it. I think tomorrow it is going to be a hard match. I am the no. 1 seed but I will have to play hard to win.”

Martin Švec played the second match of the day against Yuri Farneti. Martin tried to play very fast squash at the beginning. He was volleying everything and putting Yuri under a lot of pressure. But too often he tinned easy shots so score was always close for the first two games. But Martin was able to play the big points at the end of both first and second better.

In the third it was point for point till 8/8 but this time Yuri won the end of the game. The fact Martin made 7 mistakes and conceded one stroke in that game certainly helped Yuri. In the fourth Martin regrouped. He started to play the fast squash he played at the beginning but this time with much less mistakes and won the fourth comfortably.

“Happy to win today. I knew Yuri had a tough match yesterday so I tried to make it physically hard for him. I think it worked. Looking forward to play Kristian tomorrow in the semi.”

Third quarter was played between two very gifted players Balazs Farkas and Mohammad Alsarraj. We saw match which looked almost like an exhibition at times with lots of great shots to the front and fantastic retrieving from both. Balasz had gameball at 10/9 in the first but Mo won the next three points.

In the second Balazs dominated to 9/2 but relaxed and allowed Mo to come back to 9/10 and was very happy that Mo tinned the last point of the second game. The third was a big battle. Close all the way. Mo got gameball at 10/. Balazs saved it. Mo had another at 11/10, saved again. Balazs had his chance at 12/11, saved again.

Then Mo got the final two points to win the crucial third. He kept the momentum into the fourth, got a good start and was able to keep the lead till the end. 69 minutes of very entertaining squash and probably the match of the tournament so far.

” I enjoyed the match very much. For the last almost two years it is only at this tournament I am starting to enjoy my game again. Balazs is a great player. I will always enjoy playing someone like him. And may the best player win as long as I enjoy my squash.”

Last match of the day between second seed Jan Van Den Herrewegen and second Czech player in today´s programme Jakub Solnicky brought much more structured squash compared to previous match. Both players were much more patient and played much longer rallies.

They both tried to create openings with basic squash. The first was very close and Jakub managed to get it 12/10. In the second Jan was ahead at the beginning but Jakub came back to 6/6 and 7/7. In the third Jan got a good start and managed to keep the lead to go 2/1 up.

Jakub came back strong in the fourth. He led 8/5 but Jan came back to 8/8, Jakub got to 9/8, 9/9, mistake from Jakub 10/9 and stroke to finish off the match with hardly any decision.

‘It was a good match. He played at very high pace the first two games and I just tried to match him. He is very handy player. I was glad I got the fourth. It was good squash.”

Round Two : Tomas Forter reports

Two Czechs progressed today into tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

Martin Švec who is seeded no. 3 started his match against Brazilian Vini Rodrigues terribly. He lost the first 11/2 quickly but got back into the match and won next two. Vini came back really strong in the fourth and got 8/4 lead. Martin did not want to play one more game and gave it a big push. He won 6 points in a row and although Vini saved first matchball, Martin won the next point.

David Zeman played against no. 7 seed Mohammad Alsarraj who spent last two years living and training in Prague in the same club as David. They knew each other really well and played very fast pace squash. David played really well today but Mo was just a little bit better.

Third Czech player was Jakub Solnicky who played against 6th seed Finn Matias Tuomi. Jakub was in control of the rallies from the beginning. He kept Matias behind him all the time and managed to win comfortably in three games to score second upset of the day.

The first came in a match between no. 5 seed Rory Stewart and Brazilian Guilherme Melo. Rory won the first and when he got to 9/5 in the second he was very much in control but Gui came back to win the second with a series of points. He got a good start in the third as well and Rory´s body language started to look very negative and Gui was in control from there. Other matches went to seeded players.

Top four seeded Frost, Van Den Herrewegen and Farkas won all quite comfortably. The only one who had to fight very hard for his win was no. 8 seed Yuri Farneti who had to came back from 1/2 in games and from 5/8 in the fifth to beat Sergio Garcia. Yuri won 5 points in a row but Sergio saved both matchballs at 10/8 and one more at 11/10. Yuri was very relieved at the end when he won the last two points.

Round One

Tomas Forter reports

The Czech open started today with the first round matches in Hamr club in Prague.

Local fans were looking forward to see four Czech players in action. They had 50 % success rate at the end of the day. Sergio Garcia was too good for Petr Nohel in the first match of the day.

Viktor Byrtus played the longest match of the day (74 minutes) against Guilherme Melo. We saw lot of very good squash and some great shots but also too many stoppages which required referee´s decisions and instruction to the players. Guilherme was a bit stronger in the 5th game and caused the first upset of the seedings.

Next upset was created to the delight of home fans by David Zeman who managed to beat Claudio Pinto in four games.

Final Czech player was Jakub Solnický who beat Vladislav Titov without many problems.

Most of the other matches went to the seedings but Roee Avraham had to fight for five games and Chris Peach managed to beat higher ranked Martin Kegel in the last match of the day.