Guilfoyle PSA Classic Final

Final : Daniel doubles up in Toronto

Guilfoyle PSA Classic : FINAL
[1] Daniel Mekbib (Cze) 3-0 [4] Yuri Farneti (Ita)  11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (34m) 

Robin Clarke reports

Daniel was too good today, end of story.

Congrats to the two time Guilfoyle Financial Champion. He won his first ever PSA here, some amazing memories being created with our members. He continues to live with one of them, may never leave actually guy’s the new version of Mike Corren.

Yuri is a true gentleman, and yes we finally had our one on one. Daniel thanked the crowd, his billets, the sponsors but somehow forgot to thank me.

No matter, I’ve got his prize money and a lot of partying to do downtown tonight. I’ve had a blast once again hosting a challenger event, even more of a blast competing after 8 years. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Semis :

Robin Clarke reports

[4] Yuri Farneti (ITA) 3-1 [2] Nick Sachvie (CAN)

This match essentially came down to how well Nick could stay the course with his game plan. When he played confidence, aggressive squash in both his length and attach short he won most of the rallies, Yuri couldn’t keep up. When he played passive he pushed the ball around too much, allowing Yuri to counter and take control of the rally.

I only saw the first three games, Nick was up big in the first but a few errors cost him the first game. The second he played confident squash and won easily. The third his movement showed some fatigue, moving onto the ball slowly and pushing counters back with very little punch. In the end Yuri won in 4 highly competitive games, which sets us up for one hell of a final.

[1] Daniel Mekbib (CZE) 3-0 [3] Cameron Seth (CAN)

It seems the 94 minute marathon the night before wore down Cameron tonight in the first semi-finals. His ball striking was still clean, but his movement suffered and Daniel exposed this early on. Every hold seemed to wear down Cameron a little bit at a time, forcing many unforced errors throughout the first and second game.

Daniel doesn’t seem to be fazed by his injury from the night before, a quick 30 minute semi-final will set him up nicely for an opportunity to be the first two time winner of the Guilfoyle PSA Squash Classic


Quarters :

Robin Clarke reports

There’s not a lot of bandwidth left after another full day of PSA action. The lights are on, but nobody’s home.

A lot of players ask why I don’t attempt to raise more money after 6 years for a larger PSA event, bringing in some higher-level players?!? There is only 1 reason. The Challenger Tour brings out some of the best, hungriest squash you’ll ever witness. Guys are scrapping for literally the fare of a bus ride to wrap and roll but they don’t care, they need the experience and ranking points. Tonight was a perfect example of 4 quarter final matches that were well fought, played at a much higher level then their rankings indicated and my members had a blast, they loved it.

[1] Daniel Mekbib (CZE) 3-2 [5] Tom Walsh (ENG)

This was the first chance I was able to watch Tom play. Definitely English, Tom hits clean lines, has quality technique and unbelievable counters. The first game was the most competitive, both players scrapping for position and feeling hard done by a few tough refereeing decisions. I felt both players got the wrong end of a couple calls so in the end it worked out evenly. Daniel squeaked the first 12-10.

The second was quick, Tom can counter anything that’s not taken in severe enough and Daniel was pushing too much short. Tom won the second and third quickly, Daniel requiring a 3 minute injury break for what appeared to be a painful elbow. At 3-3 in the fourth, the referee asked Daniel if he was OK, which Daniel replied “NO”. This was actually the moment the match turned 180 degrees in Daniel’s favour. Daniel’s attack was way more severe. His length improved. And he was finally getting Tom to commit multiple errors in a row.

I’m not sure whether Tom lost his concentration, but 3 or 4 tins in a row in the 5th set him back far enough that he could not claw back. Match to bread crumbs, a herculean effort from which there seemed no return.

[2] Nick Sachvie (CAN) 3-2 [6] Leandro Romiglio (ARG)

As predicted by my earlier email recap to membership, the match of the night had to be Nick vs Leandro. No way Nick was going down 3-0 to Leandro again in 30 minutes, as happened only a week ago at the Carter Classic. I missed the entire match except for the fifth, where is looked as though Leandro was gassed from the previous 4 games. 5 tins in a row to start the fifth put an end to his run here at the Guilfoyle.

[3] Cameron Seth (CAN) 3-2 Guilherme Melo (BRA)

We’ve got two Canadians in the semi-finals, as Cameron Seth was the victor over Guilhermo in a 94-minute marathon. Hotly contested, as Gui has a tendency to take a good amount of space through the middle which created countless let’s and no let’s from our main referee in an attempt to force both players to “take the right line to the ball”.

Cam has improved a lot over the past few years, working full time with Hull’s own Lawrence Delasaux. One area of improvement is his short game, in the past unable to end rallies, he can now move the ball forward quickly and effectively. For someone who works as hard as Cam on his game it’s wonderful to see him battle through and taste success.

[4] Yuri Farneti (ITA) 3-1 [8] Robin Gadola (SUI)

My goal, tomorrow is to sit down with Yuri and have a conversation. Almost all the players this week have been super relaxed, social and enjoyable to be around and Yuri is lumped into this group but our paths haven’t crossed for enough time other than to say hello.

His outfits on court look like someone about to hit the big waves in Hawaii, his name rhymes with Currie which is appropriate because he keeps ordering this for lunch but most importantly I’d like to ask him how he’s been playing professional squash since 2014 and has only reached a world ranking of 135 and has a win loss record of 31-31.

I really like his game and think he’s talented enough to become a top 50 player and beyond. His match against Robin was very fun to watch (I saw the fourth game only, it was exciting!). Nick is going to have his work cut out for him tomorrow in the semi-finals, the not to miss match of the night.

Round TWO :

Robin Clarke reports

Daniel Mekbib (Cze) 3-1 Nikhil Ismail (Can)

Daniel “Bearded Crumbs” Mekbib – had lunch with him when he first arrived and he had more burger in his beard than in his mouth. He’s taken the Shabana approach to facial grooming it seems, the longer the beard the better. It’s almost like the size of his beard is over compensating for the size of his…. hands. He’s got small hands. I spoke with Nikhil before the match, explaining that a solid game plan against a player of this caliber would be keep him on court or 30 minutes.

Nikhil actually squeaked the first game, he was well on his way to achieving his goal. Thank god for that first game, as the next three went by in 12 minutes, maximum. The Ismail Man was lucky though, a few arguments from Daniel about a couple let calls, a few more cheeky “interference calls” here and VOILA! Goal achieved, PSA iPad live scoring showing the match at 31 minutes.

Robin Gadola 3-0 Darosham 

Robin “Brazilian” Gadola, who’s nickname comes from me introducing him to his billet this week as a Brazilian player who knows how to cook up a medium rare steak to perfection. He’s actually from Switzerland, a country known for its inventions such as the potato peeler, muesli and Helvetica font but the most appropriate invention which would best describe this match would be the Swiss army knife.

He opened a can of whoopass and carved his opponent up with precision. Darosham would be wise to bring a little more intensity to his pro singles matches, too relaxed and way too many soft errors. The skill and talent is there, so I’m looking forward to seeing what type of player emerges from another 12-15 PSA matches under his belt.

Nick Sachvie 3-0 Harry Falconer

Nick “Freddie Mercury” Sachvie is a wonderful nickname after you’ve witnessed his dance moves! I started watching this match midway through the second game, when Harry actually held a game ball up 10-9.

This was the closest Harry would come, as Nick won 14 of the next 15 points to take the second and dominated the third game 11-1. I haven’t seen Nick since his month-long training stint in Prague, but very much looking forward to seeing the rematch from last week’s match he lost to against Leandro. It’s going to be a battle.

Yuri Farneti 3-0 Allan Nunez

Yuri impressed the crowd today with his impeccable touch and impressive holds. He’s becoming the crowd favourite and the player most members believe can upset the seedings to win the entire event.

His result last week at the Carter Classic, beating second seed Sean Delierre in the first round was no fluke. He’s the real deal and focused on dominating the field.

Round One :

Robin Clarke reports

Welcome to the 6th annual Squash Extravaganza, which combines a PSA singles tournament, a pro doubles Pro-Am draw and on the weekend 120 little brats running around in a junior tournament. As always I will try my best to recap some of the best matches of the night, without actually giving you the slightest detail on actual match play.

Nikhil Ismail 3-0 Cory McCartney 

I didn’t see this match, unfortunately but was happy to see one of our young U19 juniors winning a match in his first PSA event. His result allows him to go up against the top seed in this tournament, Daniel Mekbib who won this event only 2 short years ago. He’s essentially a Canadian now. He lives at one of our members homes, frequently arriving unannounced and leaving without making his bed. His squash is amazing, his billeting etiquette needs improvement.

Harry Falconer 3-1Stu Hadden 

Harry Falconer’s game reminds me a lot of Declan James, a previous winner of the Guilfoyle 5K. Smooth movement, amazing backhand technique, good racquet prep. The big difference, of course other than world ranking is Harry doesn’t volley. Ever.

He’s 6’6” and plays small ball, letting everything go to the back of the court. This style of game will allow any level of player to at least hang in the match, which Stu was doing extremely well until the cramping started to take shape.

Harry would be wise to play big, volley the ball and take more shots in through the middle which he’s obviously amazing at and super talented.

Atticus Kelly 3-2 Robin Clarke 

Robin Clarke, back from retirement for one last PSA match 8 years after his last. I mentioned to a few of my members before the match “I’m either winning in 3 or going down hard in 5”. If I was a betting man I would be rich, as this is exactly how the match played out. Atticus hung in hard from the word go, up 10-7 in the second Robin comes back to level at 10-10.

Clarky really needed that game, but unfortunately it was not to be. Maybe it was the eyewear I was wearing but damn I felt so safe. Overall a really fun match in front of a packed gallery, Atticus was a gentleman throughout so I wish him the best of luck tomorrow

Vini Rodrigues 3-0 Gavin Maxwell 

The other squash professional at the Cricket got a taste of his first PSA tournament, ever. It was short lived, over before I was able to put my compression sock on but by all accounts the crowd enjoyed the shot makings skills of both players.