Reta Pace Seeds in Advancing
The Barbara Frum Atrium located in the heart of downtown Toronto provided
the perfect setting as the Canadian National Squash Championships took
centre stage. There were no surprises during Wednesday’s two opening rounds
as the top 10 men and top 8 women all progressed without any real challenge.
On the men’s side, keeping with PSA standards, the scoring was PAR to
11 and for the most part every match ended three straight. Jonathon Power,
now ranked #4 in the World, wasted little time securing his Round of 16
appearance, dispatching Daniel Sibley in under 20 minutes. Given the quick
result one would assume Power had no trouble however it wasn’t just his
opponent he had to deal with on this day.
"It’s a great venue. There’s just one problem" says Power. "The
sunlight. The sunlight comes in from above and reflects off the glass
and you can’t see the ball off the wall, the depth, the width and you
get surprised by basic shots. It’s these early round matches where the
daylight factor is. Hopefully as the week goes on and the matches begin
later this won’t continue to be an issue. No worries, I’m feeling pretty
good, nice tune-up and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week"
Defending champ and second seed Graham Ryding also advanced in straight
games defeating his 16 year old opponent Colin West. This was one of those
matches where you couldn’t help but root for the kid. Despite the straight
games loss West impressed all in attendance with his tenacity and shotmaking.
He’ll be back, bigger and stronger next year. West has a bright future
in squash. Pretty safe to assume he can attract an Ivy league recruiting
berth if he so decides.
Also advancing to the round of 16 were Shahier Razik(seeded third), Matthew
Giuffre of Edmonton (seeded fourth), Viktor Berg of Vancouver (fifth),
Ian Power of Montreal (sixth), Jamie Crombie of Calgary (seventh), Shawn
DeLierre of Brossard, Que., (eighth), David Phillips of Pointe-Claire,
Que., (ninth), Josh Struthers of Winnipeg (10th), Robin Clarke of Ottawa
(12th), Keith Pritchard of Calgary (14th), Jamie Martel of Cambridge,
Ont., (15th), Kamran Naushashi of Mississauga, Ont. (17th) and Patrick
Bedore of Calgary.
Now to the women.
Ottawa’s Runa Reta, seeded first, is no stranger when it comes to dealing
with pressure. The former UPenn #1 has played in many a big match so when
I asked her about expectations and pressure she didn’t bat an eye.
"Yes and No. I consider myself very much the underdog because I’ve
never won. Obviously being seeded at the top there’s expectations. I want
to win that goes without saying. The difference between winning the Nationals
and winning at Penn is that there it was a collaborative achievement while
winning here would be much more individualistic"
Well Rena had no problem winning on this day. Too much pace, time on the
ball, and delay caused her opponent to look skyward on more than one occasion.
Reta wrapped things up 27-3(9-0, 9-0, 9-3) thus booking her quarterfinal
Alana Miller the 2004 National Champ who is seeded in the third spot continued
where she left off last year defeating Ruchika Kumar 3-0. Miller said
it’s not how you start but how you finish that makes the difference. "I’m
happy with today but looking forward to playing my best squash as things
go along. If I can do that the rest will take care of itself"
In other women’s action, also advancing to the quarterfinals were number-two
Katie Patrick of Calgary, Melanie Jans Burke of Vancouver (seeded fourth),
Marnie Baizley of Winnipeg (fifth), Tara Mullins, Pointe-Claire (sixth)Carolyn
Russell of Winnipeg (seventh) Seanna Keating of Toronto (eighth).
Action continues Thursday.
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