Top seeds Borja Golan and Stephen Coppinger will line up in the final of the Metro Squash Windy City Open – each bidding to be the first player from his country to have his name on the trophy of the long-established PSA World Tour International 25 event at the University Club of Chicago in Chicago, USA.
Coppinger, the No2 seed from South Africa, is enjoying the best form of his life – riding high this week after becoming the first South African for over three decades to make the world top 20.
After saving a game-ball in the opening game against Alan Clyne, the 28-year-old from Cape Town held off the third-seeded Scot in the second before imposing himself in the third to take the match 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 in 48 minutes.
The win was Coppinger’s third successive straight games victory in the tournament – and takes the new world No20 into the 14th Tour title of his career, but his first for over a year.
“The fans went into this match wondering how a qualifier, ranked 57 in the world, who had already spent three hours and 21 minutes on court, would do against a fresh, top-ten player,” said event spokesman William James. “Shoukry brought off a lot of winners in game one, and you could tell, win or lose, he didn’t want to spend another 90 minutes on court tonight.
“Game three saw Shoukry attempt even more crazy winners, but this time they went in, with the crowd – and even Golan – applauding, and he took the game,” James continued.
It was the world number ten’s first game dropped in the event – and Golan made sure that it was the last of the match as he raised his game to secure an 11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4 victory after 37 minutes.
“I’m glad to be in the final of the Windy City Open,” said the illustrious Spaniard later. “It is the first tournament of the year for me and I hope I can keep the good results from the last months of last year.
“I have played three Egyptians in three days – which is very tough as they always attack well and put you under a lot of pressure!
“Tomorrow I will play Steve, who is playing his best squash in the last months and it is going to be a hard battle,” continued the 30-year-old, now in the 37th Tour final of his life. “It will be an interesting match and I hope the people from the club enjoy it like us.
“It is a really well-organised tournament and I want to thank John Flanigan, Mark Heather and his team for their great effort and also to the sponsors of this event.
“Finally I want to give a special thanks to my billet Tim Corvino and his friend Mike Twedell for his amazing hospitality.”