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Hollie Naughton (right) took the Racquet Club Pro-Series title after beating Olivia Fiechter (left)

Weekend Round-Up: Naughton, Steinmann, Yuen & Binnie Win Challenger Titles

Four Challenger Tour events came to a conclusion at the weekend, with three of those being played on North American soil. There were wins for Canada, Switzerland, Malaysia and Jamaica.

The first event to come to its finish was the Racquet Club Pro-Series, held in St. Louis. Canada’s World No.29 Hollie Naughton won the biggest title of her career to date, as she defeated home hope Olivia Fiechter in the final.

The Canadian’s last triumph came at the Nicola Wealth Open November 2016, and after a three-year wait, Naughton has also won her first event away from Canadian soil.

She suffered a scare en route to the final, as unseeded Englishwoman Lily Taylor took her to five games in the quarter-finals. Naughton had eased past Australia’s Jessica Turnbull in the second round, but found herself 2-1 down in the last eight.

She was able to recover to take the victory in five against Taylor, before then getting the better of Egypt’s Hana Ramadan in four-games to take her place in the final, where she eventually overcame American Olivia Fiechter.

From a Canadian winner to a Canadian tournament, where Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann took his second title in five months, as he lifted the Linear Logistics Bankers Hall Club Pro-Am title in Calgary.

The tournament’s No.2 seed won the PSA Challenger 10 event after defeating Emyr Evans in the final in straight games, after the Welshman had caused several shocks en route to the final.

Steinmann’s route was less complicated, as he won all three matches in four games before downing Evans in the final, beginning with a tricky test against Finland’s Matias Tuomi in the first round.

Following that win, he then took on England’s Curtis Malik, who had already downed one seeded player before the quarter-finals. Steinmann took the victory, before then getting the better of United States’ star Christopher Gordon in the last four.

The Swiss No.2 has now reached the quarter-finals in five of his last six events, including winning twice. He lifted the Swiss Open title in October, before this victory in Calgary on Sunday.

In Pakistan, at the 14th CNS International Squash Championship, Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen took the spoils, as he defeated home favourite Tayyab Aslam in four games in the final.

The Malaysian lost the first game of the final, but bounced back well to take the victory, his second title in five months, after he also lifted the HCL SRFI Indian Tour – Chennai Leg trophy in mid-October.

To reach the final in Pakistan this week, Yuen got the better of Egypt’s Mazen Gamal and Moustafa El Sirty, beating the latter in four in the quarter-finals, before downing Gamal in straight games in the semis.

The final event of the weekend was the Life Time Atlanta Open, with the PSA Challenger Tour event being won by Jamaican No.1 Christopher Binnie.

Binnie (right) with the Life Time Atlanta Open trophy

He defeated Canada’s David Baillargeon to lift the title, ending his out drought, which had lasted nearly 30 months since winning the Meadow Mill Athletic Club 25th Anniversary Celebration in November 2017.

After winning the first game on a tie-break, Binnie took control of the match, securing the victory in three games. The Jamaican had come through against the No.3 seed Tomotaka Endo in straight games in the semis to reach the final.

In fact, Binnie went through the entire tournament without dropping a game, following a second round victory over Japan’s Naoki Hayashi, before then downing Malaysia’s Asyraf Azan in three in the quarter finals.

The Challenger Tour will continue with two more events this week, with the Assante Wealth Management Carter Classic and the Oregon Open taking place.

Result – Women’s Final: Racquet Club Pro-Series
[1] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt [2] Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 13-11 (28m)

Result – Men’s Final: Linear Logistics Bankers Hall Club Pro-Am
[2] Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt [8] Emyr Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 (47m)

Result – Men’s Final: 14th CNS International Squash Championship
[1] Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt [2] Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 3-1: 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7 (47m)

Result – Men’s Final: Life Time Atlanta Open
[2] Christopher Binnie (JAM) bt [5] David Baillargeon (CAN) 3-0: 14-12, 11-8, 11-6 (42m)

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