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Grayson (2nd right) with the Houston Open trophy

Weekend Round-Up: Grayson, Turnbull and Gillams Claim Titles

It was a busy week on the Challenger Tour. Along with the two tournaments that were World Championships qualifiers, there were a further two events taking place this week, in Houston and Whyalla.

Only one of the No.1 seeds took victory in their respective tournaments, as Angus Gillams won the men’s event at the Steel City South Australian Open, with home favourite Jessica Turnbull taking the women’s title.

The biggest event of the week came in the States though, with the Challenger 30 title at the Northwestern Mutual Life Time Houston Open being won by New Zealander Campbell Grayson.

The Kiwi claimed the biggest victory of his squash career thanks to a four-game victory over Scotland’s Alan Clyne in the final at the Life Time City Centre in Houston.

Grayson and Clyne played for only the third time on the PSA World Tour, with the Kiwi maintaining his 100% record over the Scot.

After Grayson won the first two games of the final, Clyne fought back to take the third to give himself a chance, but from there, the New Zealander took control once more, winning the fourth the claim the title.

He did so despite enduring a 95 minute epic against the tournament’s No.1 seed Ryan Cuskelly the night before. Grayson had been two games down, but fought back to win the semi final against the Aussie.

In Whyalla, there was a home favourite who took victory at the Steel City South Australian Open, as Jessica Turnbull won the women’s event.

She needed all five games to do so, as she came from two down to overcome the No.1 seed. Turnbull beat Tsz-Wing Tong 3-2 to lift her second title of 2019.

Turnbull (left) and Gillams (right) after winning in Whyalla

The Australian lost the first two games having scored just seven points, but a huge turnaround saw her win the third-game tiebreak, before winning the final two games 11-7, 11-9 to take the victory in exactly an hour.

In the men’s event, there was no such drama for No.1 seed Angus Gillams, as the Scotsman defeated Moustafa El Sirty in four games to win the title.

The Egyptian, who reached the final of the World Junior Championships in Kuala Lumpur a week previous, took the first game in the final in Whyalla.

However, from there, Gillams took over, winning the next three 1-7, 11-5, 11-8 to claim the victory inside an hour, securing his fourth title in the last 18 months.

Result – Northwestern Mutual Life Time Houston Open
[3] Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [4] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (80m)

Result – Women’s Final: Steel City South Australian Open
[2] Jessica Turnbull (AUS) bt [1] Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-2: 3-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (60m)

Result – Men’s Final: Steel City South Australian Open
[1] Angus Gillams (SCO) bt [8] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (55m)

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