Earns Ticket for Show with 5-Game win over Ryding
A near capacity crowd gathered Friday evening in Toronto to witness semi-final
action at the 2005 Canadian Squash Championships. Around midnight local
time, once the smoke had cleared, Saturday’s finalists were determined.
On the women’s side Alana Miller goes for back to back championships as
she faces veteran Melanie Jans-Burke. While in men’s action Jonathon Power
will be hunting for his sixth crown in seven years as he squares off against
Melanie Jans-Burke and Runa Reta kicked off the evening for what everyone
hoped would be a classic confrontation. Last year Reta announced herself
as a contender for Canadian women’s squash supremacy laying a licking
on her at this juncture of the 2004 Nationals. Since then Reta has slowly
began climbing the WISPA hierarchy having now built her world ranking
to #32 and entered this tournament as the #1 seed. Jans-Burke on the other
hand has pretty much said goodbye to her globetrotting days. She still
competes in a few events here and there however most of her energy is
spent in the confines of the Vancouver Lawn, Tennis and Badminton club
where she’s the resident squash pro. Seeded fourth Jans-Burke entered
this one as the underdog.
Well, the match ended 3-1, exactly as it did last year; difference being
it was Jans-Burke victorious this time around. She took the first two
games thanks to early nerves from her opponent coupled with great shotmaking.
Reta appeared to settle down and won the third but it was all Jans-Burke
is the fourth. Post-match Reta offered up the following, "In the
first two games I was all over the place while she came out really strong
hitting some amazing length to keep me pinned in the back. In the 3rd
I settled down, started feeling strong and I found my own length. I felt
good going into the fourth but popped way to much in the middle and with
a player of Melanie’s caliber you can’t do that, you’re not going to get
away with it"
So how does Jans-Burke feel about going for a fourth Canadian Championship?
"I’m really looking forward to it. I can hardly wait. I feel so comfortable
about my game right now. I’m enjoying my squash and being here in Toronto
being able to share this with my family and friends is truly special"
Her opponent will be defending women’s champion Alana Miller who also
needed four games to vanquish her opponent. Miller built a big lead in
the opening game against Carolyn Russell only to see Russell claw back
and steal it 9-7. The final three games were all Miller as she never trailed
in any of them and took full command of this semi-final encounter. Miller
appears to be peaking at the perfect time and also feels confident about
her game heading into the final. "I’m feeling strong, feeling good.
I feel like this was a good match for me as my game is coming along. I’m
really looking forward to playing Melanie tomorrow as it’s been about
a year and half since we last played"
The first men’s semi-final of the evening saw Jonathon Power square off
against Matthew Guiffre. Somewhere, someplace I’ve seen this movie before.
Jonathon Power goes through the whole draw without dropping a single game,
collects another Championship and quickly rushes out of the venue. He
then boards the Concorde, travels to England for the Super Series Finals
playing his first match Monday at 5PM…Sorry I’m getting a little ahead
of myself. Giuffre put forth a spirited effort and in game #2 showed all
in attendance that he can compete with the elite just not on this evening.
Power’s easily thru to play either Razik or Ryding. Any preference? "No..I’m
not going to make a call on that one. I know Shahier is pretty confident
in his game right now and Graham’s been playing well all year so I don’t
know. I mean Graham’s got the edge on him head to head but Shahier’s beaten
him before so he knows he can do it"
Shahier Razik beat Graham Ryding in a close 5 gamer that could of gone
either way. This match was played between two guys who know each other’s
game so well and are so evenly matched that depending on how the ball
bounces often determines who wins and who loses. Long rhythmic rallies
with lobs thrown in courtesy of Razik plus straight drops slotted in via
Ryding summarized each and every game. There were many decisions required
of the referee but in the end Razik was deserving of this victory. As
I went up to get his post match thoughts Razik asked a Squash Canada official
to find a doctor. "My wrist has just cramped up like crazy which
is why I had to go for all those drops in the last game" he then
continues before I even ask a question. "Whenever I play Graham it’s
always a battle. I know exactly what shot he’s going to hit and the same
with him so that’s why there was like a million lets out there because
we know exactly where the ball is going. He knows which way I come in
and I know which way he comes out so it’s a little frustrating when someone
knows your every move. I just have to take his legs away before I can
play my game"
Any gas left in the tank for Power tomorrow? "Yeah I’m okay just
hopefully the wrist is going to clear up as I think I have another one
Time will tell. Saturdays action begins with the women at 2PM.
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