Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly raced into the semi-finals of the Squash Revolution Toronto Cup after despatching Pakistani qualifier Farhan Zaman in the quickest quarter-final in the inaugural PSA World Tour Challenger 15 event in Toronto, Canada.
It was at the National Squash Academy that Cuskelly, the No2 seed from New South Wales, beat Zaman – the only qualifier to make the last eight – 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 in 35 minutes.
“Zaman had endeared himself to the NSA crowd all week with his exciting shot making and easy going personality, but today most certainly met his match,” explained club spokesman Jamie Nicholls. “Cuskelly, a left hander coming into his prime on the tour, took the first few rallies to adjust to the lively NSA courts before starting to show his class with inch perfect dying length, subtle but effective holds and outstanding movement.
“Down 9-4, Farhan mounted a spirited comeback with an offensive assault on Cuskelly, attacking early and often in every rally mixed in with some nice counters, brought it all the way back to 9-9. However, with a stroke and yet another dying length into the nick on the left side, Cuskelly weathered the storm 11-9 to go up 1-0.
“From that point on, the Aussie completely dominated this match putting on a clinic of positional squash with sensational volleying, dying length, and JP-esque hold and flicks from the front. He cruised to an easy 11-3 2nd game and closed the match out with a nearly flawless 11-1 third game.”
The New York-based world No34 now faces New Zealander Campbell Grayson for a place in the final. The world No45 from Auckland became the only unseeded player to make the last semis after defeating Australian Matthew Karwalski 11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 in 62 minutes.
Canadian interest in the event will now be led single-handedly by top seed Shahier Razik, the world No30 from Toronto and driving force behind this new PSA Tour event. In an all-Canadian clash, Razik defeated Calgary-based Andrew Schnell 11-7, 11-4, 11-6.
“It was a battle between youth and experience,” reported Andrew Thompson from the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. “Razik was the heavy favourite going into the match as the number one seed playing on his home court in front of a partisan crowd. The match started with both players finding their rhythm with some good working shots to the front court. The long rallies in the first half of the game favoured Razik as Schnell grew impatient in the later stages of each game, finding the tin when he least needed it.
“Razik jumped out to an early lead in the second and never looked back, taking the game 11-4 with little sustained resistance from the youngster. The third game was much closer than the score line would indicate as every rally was long and physical. In the end, much to the home club crowd’s delight, Razik’s experience prevailed, but Schnell showed that he has a bright future in squash.”
Razik, the 34-year-old six-time Canadian national champion, now faces third seed Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan after the Malaysian beat Germany’s Raphael Kandra 11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5.
1 Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Andrew Schnell (CAN) 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (50m)
3 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5 (57m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 (62m)
2 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 (35m)