Aussie Shootout: Palmer Advances over Whitey
Sept 16, 2008, by Kim Tunney for SquashTalk.com , Independent News; © 2008 SquashTalk LLC
The glass court, dried out after the torrential weekend rains, held center stage once again at 401 N. Michigan Avenue's Pioneer Plaza allowing the seeds to come through with stellar performances under the clear, crisp skies of Chicago.
Lithgow's David Palmer met US-based Aussie John White's strokework measure for measure in a four game semifinal match that pitted friends against one another. "Yeah, sure it's hard," Palmer explained, "We're friends; we trained together this afternoon; we're room mates this weekend; we're both competitive. So it's hard," explained Palmer post match. "I knew White would 'be a handful". "He's amazing. He's not really playing full time any more. So I'm glad it didn't go to five games."
"This is the best I've played since the Dutch Open," said White who had played a five game 115 minute match against USA's Julian Illingworth the night before. "I haven't played much," as White is now the Head Coach for Franklin and Marshall's squash team and transitioning from being on the pro tour full time, "so this was a nice push from David."
Both played exceptionally well in the front of the court testing one another with flicks and razor sharp drops or cross drops. Palmer now has "the kinks out" of his game and is ready for the finals tomorrow evening.
In the second semi-final match of the evening, Peter Barker felt this glass court, "rewards good squash". "I ran the ball away from him (Ashour) and moved well," describing the keys to his successful win against Hisham Ashour who upset Olli Tuominen in last night's quarters. "I watched his movement patterns and tried to keep him on his back foot; the ball away from him," Barker continued.
Ashour makes his way to Baltimore a fitter, tougher player. Tonight, however, he "made silly mistakes with errors just on the top of the tin." Ashour had a chance to take the match to a fourth game at seven-all in the third but hit a tin with a kill allowing Baker the opening the final four points, the match and his ticket to the finals. Hisham said, "All credit to Barker. He played tough, focused and error free tonight."
Will up and coming Peter Barker break through tomorrow night by beating World #5 David Palmer? Stay tuned for the final act this Chicago drama which begins at 18:30 CST after an exhibition doubles match. "David is World #5 so I'll need to be at the top of my game tomorrow night in the final." says Barker.
Sweet Home Chicago Open Semis:
David Palmer beat John White 3-1 11-6/ 5-11/ 11-6/ 12-10 (42 min)
Peter Barker beat Hisham Ashour 3-0 11-6/ 11-7/ 11-8 (35 min)