The Costa North Coast Open proved to be an outstanding success with five days of great matches and two worthy champions in Chan Sin Yuk and Rex Hedrick Australia.
The opening of the international borders since January 2022 has certainly contributed to the tournament’s success and can be gauged by the mix of players representing 12 countries for the event. This year’s event is the first since 2019 where international players have been able to compete here in Australia.
In addition, a support program of graded events conducted by the Coffs Harbour Squash Centre was impressive to many of the visiting international players. A highlight being the Junior clinic on Thursday with the PSA players. Great fun and enthusiasm by all left many of the junior players simply wanting more.
Coverage of the event is still to be evaluated but our thanks to all media and social media platforms combined with live streaming, newsprint, and ABC Radio has delivered some very engaging matches throughout the tournament.
Thank you to all our sponsors, who have contributed to bringing this outstanding event to the Coffs Coast Region.
Looking forward to 2023 for a great year.
Women’s Final :  Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-0 (5) Jessica Turnbull (AUS) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (24m)
Chan took early control, working the ball to back court, keeping the court long before taking the ball in short with accurate volley drops.
It was Chan’s first visit to Australia, and she was delighted with the win, She said “It was a tough match. Jessica is tall. She volleys a lot whenever there is opportunity. I was rushing a bit after tinning the first shot in the 3rd, and all of a sudden, I became 6-0 down, but I am glad I managed to come back in the 3rd and get the win.”
Men’s Final : Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-2  Addeen Idrakie (MAS) 2 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-2, 11-5 (78m)
The opening game set the scene for what proved to be an outstanding final. Idrakie took the first after restricting Hendricks opportunities by keeping a high work rate and cutting the ball short at every opportunity to gain a slight advantage and take the game. In the second Hedrick managed to win points back to back to keep the lead and level scores at a game apiece.
Idrakie came out in the third and moved Hedrick to the corners with precision placements to look to be getting the better of the exchanges for a 2-1 game advantage. In the fourth Idrakie appeared to be fatiguing and appeared unsettled for Hedrick to quick level game scores.
The deciding game saw Hedrick continue his retrieval and grinding long rallies to take a 6-1 lead and force Idrakie into error. Hedrick closed out the game to win a great match in 78 minutes. The match was played in great spirit and sportsmanship to which the crowd applauded. Hedrick stated “ That was r really tough. All credit to Addeen for a great battle, it’s the best I’ve felt him play against me and he’s improved a lot over the past few years. Lucky to hand in there just long enough to get the win”.
Semis : Hedrick and Cardwell keep home interest alive
Semi Final action opened for the Men with Rex Hedrick against Abhay Singh .
Hedrick started strongly and maintained pressure keeping the rallies tight and returning Abhay’s shots. His consistency proving the differenc closing out the match in straight games.. Hedrick was very pleased and smiling to get through without ea game.
He said afterwards “enjoyable match with Abhay Clean good squash. I think the warm weather and bouncy court allowed me to keep the pace high and pick up most of his attacks although he’s climbing the ranks”.
Addeen idrakie and Yannick Wilhelmi commenced with lengthy rallies in the opening game with Addeeen controlling the pace early and his shot selection put Wilhelmi under pressure to which he responded, forcing the game into a tie break with Wilhelmi clipping the tin for Idrakie to go one game up. In the second game Idrakie fell behind as he attempted to keep a high intensity and his errors saw Wilhelmi level games at one all.
Idrakie appeared more focused and his court coverage to the front saw him produce some brilliant short winners to take a commanding lead to two game to one. In the fourth game Idrakie continued his precision placements to the corners forcing Wilhelmi to cover a larger area but he wasn’t able to pull back the lead
Thak Idrakie had established taking the match in four very entertaining games. The crowd really appreciated the sportsmanship of both players who received a rapturous round of applause for the qualities that both players displayed.
After the match Idrakie stated “ started strong in early set, after that I’m not patient enough too soon to go for shots. Then I started to focus back on my game plan and win the 4th set. Excited for tomorrow match with Rex”
In the opening women’s encounter Chan Sin Yuk continued her dominance of the Women’s Open and showed her class to out manoeuvre Cheng Nga Chink. Chan was very clinical in volleying early and maintaining pressure throughout to record straight games win and move into her first North Coast Open final. Chan stated after her game
“I’m glad I won today and get into the final. It’s never easy to play against fellow HK player. We practice with each other a lot and it also gives us extra nerves. I’m glad that I came through and won in 3.”
In all Australian match between Sarah Cardwell and Jessica Turnbull, Turnbull opened strongly to take the opening two games. In the third Cardwell steadied and produced better placement to the front court to take the game in a tie break and force the match into a fourth game. The efforts had taken a toll and Turnbull raised the tempo to close out the match in four entertaining games.
Turnbull said “ really happy to make it through to the final. It’s been a tough draw and it’s been great to have the international back in the mix. It’s always tough playing Sarah, she moves the ball around so well and I can’t
Give her too many openings. Happy I could stick to my length to get the win”.
The Quarter Final matches in the Men’s Open provided a packed house with plenty of excitement from the start with up Top Seed Henry Leung HKG unable to stem the challenge from Australia’s Rex Hedrick. It was a titanic struggle with Hedrick taking the game into a tie break in the all-important fourth game. Both players were prepared to use the corners but Hedrick maintain better court position to draw error from Leung. Hedrick advances to the semi finals where he meets Abhay Singh India.
After the match Hedrick stated “ Felt like a scrappy match with loads of traffic but just did enough to get over the line. Looking forward to a cleaner match tomorrow.”
The second encounter in the top half of the draw was between Abhay Singh and Lwamba Chileshe . Both players were prepared to volley and stick to the walls but it was Singh who came from two games to one down with better variety of shots to draw level and force the match into a fifth game. Both players traded points before Singh edged ahead by changing tactics with short shots to gain advantage at 9-5 before Chileshe made a bold challenge to drawing back to 9-8. Singh managed to steady and close out the game 11/8 for a spot in the semi-finals.
Singh stated after the match “tough opponent who played very well. Happy to be through in 5 games. Coffs is always a fun place to play.”
There were a few surprises during the Women’s Quarters tonight with second seed Grace Gear going down in four tough games against Jessica Turnbull . Turnbull started strongly to win a tight first game and opened strongly with powerful hitting from the front in the second to take a two game to nil lead.
Gear appeared to gain the better of several lengthy rallies to edge home in a tie breaking third game and looked to be gaining move confidence as the match progressed. Turnbull gained an early break in the fifth going 3-1 and 5-3 to maintain a slender lead which the number two seed couldn’t overcome, Turnbull taking the match in four games for a place in the semi-finals.
Number six seed Cheng Nga Ching produced some clever plays against Alex Haydon to come from two games down to turn the tables after working a variety of shots to the front court levelling scores at two games apiece.
Both players were prepared to move the ball deep seeking any advantage in the last game with Ching gaining the upper hand to the front court, closing out the match for a great win.
Ching said “ the match that I played Alex Haydon from Australia was tough and tight. I am so happy that I could come back from losing 2-0 I hope I can play my best in the next match and perform well in the semi-final/”
In other matches No 1 seed Chan Sin Yuk proved too strong for Celine Walser winning in straight games to book her place in the semi-finals and No 3 seed Sarah Cardwell withstood a strong challenge from Au Yeong Wai Yhann to win in a tight three games to set up an all-Australian semi-final with Turnbull.
Day TWO :
Hong Kong’s Matthew Lai produced the first upset in second round action toppling the No 2 seed Muhammad Asim Khan in four games. Khan struggled to contain Lai who opened each game at a very quick tempo holding Khan to the back court before taking the ball short to set up an early lead and take a two-game advantage. Khan rallied to clinch the third game and get back into the match, but Lai sensed his opportunity and came out in the fourth game keeping the pace high to record a great win.
After the match Lai said “I feel unbelievable because this is my first time to beat such kind of top player. I hope there will be more to come. Lai advances to the quarter finals where he will meet Yannick Wilhelmi Switzerland.
In other matches Lwamba Chileshe NZL survived a real scare against the inform Wild Card Elijah Thomas NZL. Chileshe was leading two games to nil and appearing
in control before Thomas started to attack more taking the third and fourth games to force the match into a deciding fifth game. In the final game player’s traded points until the score reached 6-6 and Chileshe realised he needed to produce something special, to stem his challenger’s attack, taking the next four points with well-directed placements to the backhand court to take the lead 10-6 and then seal the match 11/7.
The Women’s First Round matches saw all the seeded players advance to the quarter finals with Celine Walser causing the only upset defeating Rachael Grinham in straight games to meet the No 1 seed Chan Sin Yuk.
Second seed Grace Gear lost her opening game against Ching Hei Fung before settling and forcing Fung out of position with wide placements to take the next three games to close the match in four games for a place in the quarter finals.
After the match Grace Said “ my opponent played really well, she got a good start in the first. Happy with how I settled into the match to win in four”.
Day One :
A great start to the Costa North Coast Open tonight. Players and spectators were treated to some amazing tussles with the opening match between Nicholas Calvert and Robert Garcia setting a cracking start keeping the crowd glued to their seats for 88 minutes before Calvert converted a tie break to win in five riveting games.
Calvert took the first game in a tie break and a close second game to take a 2/0 advantage before Garcia showed his tremendous athleticism and tenacity to get back into the match taking the third and fourth games to set up the deciding fifth game. Both players were feeling the pressure as the game climaxed with both holding match ball before Calvert was able to close out the decider.
Calvert who came into the tournament as a late replacement advance to the second round against the No 1 seed Henry Leung of Hong Kong. Garcia stated after the match : “It was a great 90mins match , Nic was so steady and fast. I enjoyed the match even I lost. I need to get used to the weather too to play better. The staffs/organisers very accommodating. They made me feel at home. Excellent tour I can say” Winner Calvert was full of praise and said “it was probably the longest PSA match I’ve played. Robert played well and made it really tough for me. I’m looking to recover well and be fresh to play Henry tomorrow”.
Upset between the Kiwi’s in the all-New Zealand match between Temwa Chileshe and Elijah Thomas WC, with Thomas taking a see sawing battle to emerge victor in five games to advance to the second round.
Chung Yat Long HGK followed suit, upsetting Robert Gadola SUI in four games with Gadola making a valiant effort to take the fourth game to stay in the match with Chung Yat Long withstanding the pressure to close out the match for a place in the second round.