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Outplays White in Swedish Open


© 2003 Dan Kneipp; all rights of reproduction reserved.

Feb 8, 2003    

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Boswell wins
title, prize, and a watch
photo © 2003 Dan Kneipp

It’s no big secret that squash doesn’t have the money that
other sports do. This means that most players don’t have an entourage
of even a coach travelling to tournaments with them. So during the tournament
players have to share a two bed hotel room together.

Some players who are better
friends usually share at every tournament. Nicol and Beng Hee, Power and
Ryding, Ricketts and Boswell. Players can request who they want to share
with and naturally choose a bloke that they get along with well. White
and Boswell have been sharing a room for the duration of the Catella Swedish
Open. Which created an interesting situation when they both reached the
final. Typically most players will go out of their way to avoid even seeing
their opponent on match day. Difficult to do when you wake up in beds
beside each other.

When you have the number four in the
world playing the number 5 in the world you expect a few things. A close
tough match that will usually take four or five games, a vast array of
shots and some breathtaking rallies. No one was disappointed.

White began the first game in usual
style, hitting eight winners on the way to a 10-3 lead. Boswell is very
capable of hitting winners but not in the same vain as White, who seemed
happy during some of the rallies to just keep the ball alive along as
he kept Boswell running. He was hitting lots of shots like reverse boasts
that weren’t even close to being a winner, and left Boswell in a
situation to attempt a winner, but White’s plan seemed to be to
either draw the unforced error out, or extent the rallies to drain Boswell’s
energy. Whatever the motivation, it was working. White hit his fourth
error to allow Boswell to get to 6-11. Boswell’s main strength is
his T domination that allows him to volley everything and hit the great
length that his game is known for. White didn’t allow this to happen
and was in total control of the rallies. Three more White winners and
an error from Boswell gave White the first game comfortably.

At this point it looked like the final was going to be a relatively one-sided
affair. But Boswell’s two minutes of contemplation obviously helped
and he returned with an added intensity that saw him win back some of
the T domination. The game went point for point until 5-4, before Boswell
pulled a few points clear care of two unforced errors by the Scotsman
with the odd highland accent. At 10-7 Boswell increased his lead with
a couple of winners and three White errors including an attempted cross
court nick off the serve. At 14-7 Boswell hit a lovely backhand drop shot
that took all of the pace off the ball, slowly rolled into the nick and
leveled the game score.

Amazing court
coverage from Boswell and White in the final
photo ©
2003 Dan Kneipp

The third game again saw Boswell
take a small lead and hold onto it during the important first ten points.
During White’s semi final match against Kneipp yesterday he thought
he was getting the raw end of the stick on many of the umpiring decisions.
At one point after a bad decision he went as far as to blurt out to the
umpire “You’re ruining this match”. Later that night at
the tournament function the umpire told White that he’d try not to
leave the same impression on the final. Boswell would say that he failed
at that. He wasn’t consistent with his decisions, numerous strokes
that White received were only given lets when Boswell requested it in the
same situation. Not that White didn’t get the odd bad call.

Two strokes in a row against Boswell
took the score to 8-6, the Aussie leading. White didn’t score another
point for the game. Boswell hit a length winner, followed by a White backhand
drive into the tin, then a boast that went down. The final four points
were winners from Boswell different shots from different parts of the
court. A backhand drop shot from the T, then a forehand drive hit to perfect
length, then a cross court backhand winner and finally a backhand drop
shot hit from the back corner to seal the game comfortably.

White started the fourth game
with a slight air of resignation, as if he felt his game wasn’t
going to be good enough. Boswell got to a 5-1 lead before the usual hunger
in White’s game resurfaced. He clawed the score to within one point
at 6-5 with some relentless rallying and well timed winners. Boswell again
pulled clear to go to 10-6.

One of my favourite times to watch White play is towards the end of a
crucial game. When he’s a few points away from losing in a final
you can be guaranteed of some amazing court coverage that will including
diving and full lunges into the splits. During the next rally White took
a full lunge to pick up a drop shot (remembering that his lunges are longer
and lower to the ground than virtually everyone’s) only to have
Boswell hit a penetrating length to the forehand. White did another lunge
at the other end of the court, then on his next shot hit a backhand drop
shot winner to the huge crowd’s appreciation.

John White
Demonstrates his Signature Lunge
photo © 2003 Vaughn

At 12-10 with the match poised
in Boswell’s favour, he hit a scrambling backhand drop shot that
wasn’t as small as he hoped. White was onto it quickly and rather
than hit a straight drive or a cross, he hit the very effective mid court
drive. The idea is you hit it straight at your opponent. Their racquet
is usually on one side of their body so they often don’t have time
to either hit the ball, or attempt to get a stroke. Occasionally this
shot will even hit the player they can be so unprepared for it. This was
what White did, but instead of hitting it at chest height which is common,
he hit it hard and low. It was perfectly on target, straight at Boswell
who was standing with his legs apart waiting to see where the ball was
going. It went straight between his legs. Boswell’s racquet work
was quick enough that he was able to quickly swing behind his back and
hit the ball as it sat between his legs. Not a little tap or soft drop
but a hard fast slap that sent the ball quickly across to the forehand,
hitting the side wall just above the nick for a winner.

A drop shot winner from the
forehand brought up match ball. White hit a cross court length winner
to save the first match ball, then a bizarre let situation saw Boswell
bring his racquet up quickly to show that he was ready to play the ball
and accidentally raise it straight into the bottom of White’s nose,
but fortunately no harm was done. White saved another match ball after
a drop shot exchange that saw him eventually hitting a soft drop that
was a clean winner. But Boswell wasn’t to be denied of his victory
and finished the match with the same shot that ended Heath match in the
semi final – a held backhand that he crossed to a dying length.
White got his racquet onto it with a huge lunge, but couldn’t get
the ball to the front wall.

Boswell’s winning included a $4500 watch to remember Linkoping.

scores and draw]




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