2006 SSA Global Windy City Open Squash
1st round of qualifying
GORDON CHALKS UP FIRST US VICTORY
It was fitting that American Chris Gordon should open play for
this year’s Windy City Open: it is the richest tournament
in North America and could become the yardstick by which other
tournaments on the continent are judged.
on court with a tight-fitting red head covering, looking
more like a religious leader than a squash player, Gordon,
ranked 97, faced Robert MacFadzen, ranked 180, and predictably
won in straight games. MacFadzen, originally from South Africa,
now plays under the US flag, so this was an all US opening
qualifying match. (It should be reported that it is a somewhat
lean qualifying tournament with quite a few no-shows – only 24 players
were available for the 32 man draw, giving unexpected byes to
players who arrived ready to play today, who now find they have
two spare days on their hands).
Gordon showed his greater experience with his steady play while
it was obvious that MacFadzen has yet to have the hardening
experience of constant match play. It was all over in 29 minutes
and Gordon now goes forward to play Gavin Jones of Wales on
GOLAN MADE TO WORK HARD
Borje Golan, who took Graham Ryding’s scalp last week in
the Canadian Classic, faced Patrick Chifunda, a 30 year old Zambian,
ranked 151 in the world. Golan, ranked 47, might have thought
he would have an easy ride to the next round but he reckoned
without the speed and endless energy of Chifunda, who last year
got up to 89 in the world rankings.
This man Chifunda is fast on his feet and even quicker with
his hands. At points in the match I could have sworn he had
elastic arms as he volleyed balls that appeared well beyond
his reach. This was a terrific match to watch, a battle of
wits as well as bodies, as Golan tried to outthink and out
manoever his opponent and found the ball just kept coming back.
No matter how cleverly Golan played to get Chifunda out of
position, Chifunda had this amazing speed to get the delicate
drop and drive it to the back, to keep the ball in play. Golan
had to work for 15 minutes to win the first game 11-6 and then
had to work harder still in the second as Chifunda started
adding drops and lobs to his thundering drives. Golan won the
second 11-9 and was put to the test in the third as Chifunda’s short
stuff increased, constantly putting the shrew Spaniard under
Chifunda’s tactics worked and he won the third game 11-9
with Golan showing signs of exasperation. In the fourth the battle
was even fiercer with the older Chifunda not only failing to
show signs of fatigue but seeming to increase his work rate.
Golan gained the upper hand to lead 10-6 and then got jittery
allowing Chifunda to almost close the gap to 10-9. On the fourth
match ball Chifunda hit the ball just too hard, it went out of
court and Chifunda went out of the tournament with it, as Golan
took the game 11-9 and the match after 73 hard and always entertaining
I spoke to Chifunda after the match and he told me that his
best win to date was beating Ben Garner last year. His drop
from a high of 89 to his current 151 ranking was due to missing
big tournaments last year. But his club in Washington DC is
allowing him to play more tournaments and Chifunda wants to
get in the best possible shape to lead the Zambian squash team
in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in March.
The real fireworks came at the end of the day’s play when
Patrick Bedore of Montreal took on Wade Johnson of Australia.
This was a real Laurel and Hardy match up with Johnson looking
more like a rugby forward and the slight Bedore looking like
squash players used to look in the days of Hunt, Gamal Awad and
Mohibullah Khan. Despite his size Johnson was fast around the
court and both players used every inch of the court. I cannot
remember one left wall duel of more than four shots. They simply
were not interested in practising their backhand length and both
players went for drops, boasts, low drives and lobs. Bedore is
absolutely focused with determination that you can almost feel.
I swore I saw flames coming out of his nostrils at various stages
of the match.
Johnson is ranked 104 and Bedore 156, so the Montrealer knew
a win here would be good for his confidence. Every point he
won brought a clenched fist and every good winner a roar, almost
as though he was his own audience.
Johnson never gave up but he could not contain Bedore’s
attack; as the match wore on and Johnson started to blow, Bedore
increased his shots to the front corners, bringing tired attempts
at winners from Johnson. The match lasted just 33 minutes but
featured squash of a much higher order than the players’ rankings
Yes Bedore was victorious in straight games and will now test
his confidence and game against Dan Jenson on Wednesday.
Tuesday, the other half of the first round qualifying will
be played and the main draw starts on Thursday.
Qualifying Lineup and Monday Results from Chicago:
(AUS) vs Ryan Donegal (USA)
Laurent Elriani (FRA) def Dylan Patterson (USA) 11-7, 11-3,
11q-7 (43 mins)
Gavin Jones (WAL) bye
Chris Gordon (USA) def Robert MacFadzen USA) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7
Simon Parke (ENG) bye
Mark Heather (ENG) vs Michael Joint (AUS)
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bye
Arshal Iqbad Burki (PAK) def Lefika Regontse (BOT) 11-2, 11-10
(2-0) 11-6 (31mins)
Mark Chaloner (ENG) bye
Darryl Selby (ENG) def Bernard Tissot (FRA) 11-5, 11-7, 11-1(30
Ben Garner (ENG) bye
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) vs Beau River (USA)
Dane Jenson(AUS) b ye
Patrick Bedore (CAN) def Wade Johnson (AUS) 11-5, 11-7, 11-9
Borja Goland (ESP) def Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 1-6, 11-9, 9-11,11-9
Renan Lavigne (FRA) bye.