Veer came into the final considerably fresher that the tall Australian whos brutal semi final was bound to have an effect.
The second saw some resistance from Joseph as he raced out to a 5-1 lead via some tight lines and some unforced errors from young Indian in his senior year at Cornel.
At 9 all you felt it was crucial for Joseph to draw level but unfortunately it wasn’t to be and at 2-0 up Veers confidence grew winning the 3rd 11-5 and taking the title.
It’s been a great week at PVD Squash, credit to the players for putting on a great show each night and for getting involved in the juniors clinics etc. Can’t put a price on the value that brings and how impactful it is in inspiring the juniors and the whole community.
Joe White 3-2 Sam Buckley, Veer Chotrani 3-1 Alfredo Avila
A few rallies in the first semi final between Australian Joe White and Irish #1 Sam Buckley set the tone for what was to come. Joe’s straight lines on the left wall contained Sam and made it very difficult for the Irishman to attack and from there the war of attrition began.
It was fascinating stuff and the psychological warfare between the two players made for an intense encounter with both players looking to find spaces of the court to expose & kept the packed crowd on the edge of their seats. Joe, a deserved winner of the first game, his length just that little bit better leading him spending more time around the T area was enough to take the first blow 11-9.
The second game – role reversal. Sam slightly in front and securing a game ball at 10-9 & 11-10 looked good to equalize but for a poor choice of shot followed by a winner from Joe. The Australian dug deep to win the game, taking a 2-0 lead in just under 60 minutes.
A huge challenge for the Irish man and at 5-3 down in the 3rd it wasnt looking good but the belief never wavered. Hanging in there, Sam clawed back to 7 all and hit a string of winners to close it out 11-7. With the momentum, Sam continued in the same vein in the 4th to race to a 7-1 lead eventually closing it out 11-5.
The crowd got what they wanted – a 5th. The Irishman is a bit of a local favorite here having spent time in the summer training at PVD had big support. The 5th was anyones and despite an early lead for Joe, Sam was looking good until an unforced error at 6-5 gave the Australian some breathing space on which he capitalized to go 9-5 up.
But the drama didn’t stop there. The crowd still in awe of the two big fellas moving around the court in the way they did with minimal ref involvement, were on the edge of their seats. Sam clawed his way back to 8-9 via an uncharacteristic Joe White error and two winners. At 8-9 Sam constructed a great rally setting himself up for an opening only for his hand to cramp mid delivery and the racket to fall from his hand. Joe closed the match 11-8 with both players cramping up uncontrollably. A truly gladiatorial encounter that lasted 104 minutes.
In the second semi Veer Chotrani was a dominant force against Alfredo. The second saw the Mexican level up on games but unfortunately a recurrence of an injury hampered Alfredo to maintain the pressure and start on top.
Joe White 3-1 Muhammad Irfan, Sam Buckley 3-1 Spencer Lovejoy
Veer Chotrani 3-1 Chris Gordon, Alfredo Avila 3-1 David Costales
Joe and Muhammad Ashab Irfan were up first with the latter taking the first game and a solid lead in the second. The tall Australian though put together some good stuff to turn that around and kept that going for the third game. Some resistance in the fourth but in the end the big fella from down under did enough to get over the line.
Next up was the #1 seed Spencer Lovejoy v Irish #1 Sam Buckley. It was the #1 seed that came out hot with an early lead that he maintained to close it out. The Irishman tweaked his tactics after the 1st and came out firing in the second with some great combinations. The 3rd saw the Irish man control the T for the majority of the game but Spencer showed incredible tenacity absorbing a lot of pressure in the back & complimented that with some deft touch at the front. At 8 all it was anyone’s and a crucial part of the match it proved to be as Sam managed to squeeze it and never looked back securing the 4th 11-2 and with it the match and causing a massive upset.
>Chris Gordon, playing his 501st match on the PSA world tour, was up against in form Veer Chotrani. The latter racing to a 2/0 lead saw Chris fight back in typical fashion. A crucial rally at 8 all in the third saw the American clip a tin. Giving Veer sight of the finish line was enough and he duly kept momentum, getting the win. The Indian player is very easy on the eye and one to watch out for. With regards to Chris, to see the American, moving and playing to the level he is is nothing short of inspiring.
Lastly Alfredo and David had a battle. Trading blows in the first two games it was the experience of Alfredo that had the edge as the Mexican hardly made a poor choice of shot from there on in winning in 4 games that saw some ridiculous touch at the front and equally outrageous pick ups. The young Ecuadorian is definitely a young talent to watch out for in the future.
Semis tomorrow, kick off at 3pm @ PVD Squash
Round TWO :
The night didn’t get off to the start we’d hoped for. Edmon Lopez clearly struggling with his body from the get go made for uncomfortable viewing as he struggled to move. The Spanish International has been hit by a run of injuries over the last few years and we really wish him the best in his recovery and the hope he can get to full fitness again and stay healthy.
We had two national battles. Chris Gordon, whom I guess is a veteran, certainly doesn’t look it despatching his fellow American in 3.
Next was the all Irish battle between Irish National Champion Sam Buckley and his teammate, runner up to Sam in the nationals, Sean Conroy. A highly entertaining match with blows traded in the first two games. A heavy fall for Sam in game three could have proved disruptive to his game but the big lad regained his composure, stuck to his game plan and held on to secure victory in 4. Sean, who maybe went for one or two cross court nicks to many, has been struggling with injuries as of late, will take plenty of encouragement in the way he moved and that he finished the match in one piece. It will stand the skilful Irishman in good stead.
Else where Veer Chotrani, who looks like a very complete player impressed the PVD squash community. #1 seed Spencer Lovejoy looked very strong, his high tempo proving to much for Tate Harms, who can be pleased with his week having just come back from a long injury
The quarters take place from 4pm on Friday with some cracking matches to look forward to.
Round ONE :
Great start to the PVD Squash RI Open. With junior programs wrapping up as matches started the vibe was nothing but positive and the juniors plus the squash community here were treated to a quality evening of squash.
It was particularly awesome to see Providence native Ben Gemma out there and giving Edmon Lopez a good run. Edmon showed his quality but Ben can be proud of his performance and for giving the home crowd plenty to cheer about.
Match of the day was the all Harvard, and room mate battle between former Irish junior national Champion Denis Gilevski v David Costales of Ecuador. Trading the first 2 games, David was on top in game 3 with the 4th being nip and tuck until David managed a string of points from 7-8 to 10-8 to earn match ball on which he converted via a Denis error on the right wall. David overcoming his room mate also meant Dennis was on washing duty for the week.
Tate Harms provided the biggest upset on paper, as a wildcard against a higher ranked opponent, proved to strong in the end. Coming back from injury over the summer it looks like Tate is finding his groove. Losing a close and highly entertaining first game against the talented Saeed Abdul, the big man from Switzerland trusted that the work in that game was a good investment going forward. With relentless pressure he stretched his opponent continuously and in the end Saeed didn’t have the wheels to stay with Tate.
With four Irish players in the draw, three played tonight and one got the W. Sean Conroy way too good, out played his opponent to set up a clash with his fellow team mate Sam Buckley tomorrow.
Matches kick off at 5pm tomorrow at PVD Squash for the eagerly awaited round of 16 where the top 8 seeds will be in action.