SquashTalk >Salt Lake City PSA Open, 2010 > Semis
Koukal out-points Marche to meet Salazar in Salt Lake
Jan 16, 2010, by Craig Bennett, Squashworks © 2010 SquashTalk.com , Independent News; SquashTalk LLC
MEXICO VS CZECH REPUBLIC IN UTAH
Salt Lake squash fans saw two exciting and entertaining semi-final matches on Friday January 15th.
In the first match, the #5 seed Cesar Salazar from Mexico defeated Max Lee from Hong Kong in five games 3-2 (11-4, 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4). This was the third straight five game match for Lee and all that work throughout the week showed in game five, a 11-4 victory for Salazar. To Lee's credit, it looked like the match was going to be an easy victory for Salazar after he easily won the first game 11-4, but, as he has shown in each of his two early round matches, Lee battled back with strong play in the 2nd and 3rd games and won easily 11-5 and 11-5. Game four proved to be the crucial game. Salazar pushed hard in the early part of the game and built a 5-2 cushion. Despite a steady game from both players, Lee could not close the gap any closer than two points and end up losing 11-8. Salazar had complete control in the fifth, racing to leads of 4-1, then 8-3, and finally game and match at 11-4.
Salazar will play Jan Koukal of the Czech Republic on Saturday evening at 6:00 PM in the finals. Koukal defeated Gregoire Marche from France 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-5). Many Salt Lake spectators thought that Marche was going to win the tournament after watching his performance in the quarter-finals where he impressively dismantled Christopher Gordon from the United States; however, the unflappable Koukal never let Marche into aggressive attacking game. Koukal looks very comfortable on the Squashworks courts and doesn't seem tired at all when he is playing. The last point of the match was the rally of tournament with Koukal sending Marche to all four corners and Marche diving twice only to come up short on his last dive attempt to retreive Koukal's winning drop shot. Consolation prize for Marche was a rousing standing ovation for his efforts.