New Zealander Campbell Grayson claimed an unexpected place in the quarter-finals of the Squash Revolution Toronto Cup after ousting fourth-seeded Australian Zac Alexander in the opening round of the inaugural PSA World Tour Challenger 15 event in Toronto, Canada.
In fact, only a single ranking position separates the pair, but the 26-year-old from Auckland (pictured) laid claim to a higher ranking than the 45th place he currently holds by beating world no44 Alexander 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 in 61 minutes.
“The match began with some cagey rallies as both players adjusted to the slow court and ball,” said a spokesman for the event. “After two even games, Zac began showing signs that he is still not back to 100% after a hip injury and Grayson took a 2/1 lead with some comfort.
“Inside of two minutes into the fourth, the Kiwi was up 6-2; Alexander staged a brief comeback on the heels of some winners seen more often on a hardball doubles court, but Grayson still looked the likely winner and closed out the match winning five consecutive points. The sold out gallery were grateful to have two great exponents of clean play grace the courts.”
Pakistan qualifier Farhan Zaman also produced a notable upset at the National Squash Academy by overcoming higher-ranked Mexican Arturo Salazar 15-13, 11-7, 11-8 in just 27 minutes.
“Farhan has been at the NSA all week training and with his infectious smile and easy going personality was the fan favorite going in,” said the Academy’s Jamie Nicholls. “Along with compatriot and training partner Danish Atlas Khan, the Pakistani duo had been mixing in with our Canadian National team and were seen sparring earlier in the week with NSA owner and former world champion Jonathon Power (for the record, JP rarely loses on his home courts and this week was no exception).
“After two good wins in qualifying Zaman was looking in fine form for his match with Arturo, who had only arrived the day before looking a bit travel weary. The first game was back and forth with some sublime winners and head scratching errors from the Pakistani who was certainly dictating the pace with his quick movement and hard hitting length mixed in with deft touch.
“Each had several game balls with Arturo the steadier of the two but clearly missing the physical component needed to impose his game on Zaman. A quick stroke and outstanding winner from Farhan to take the first game 15-13 would prove to be critical for the match. In both game two and three, Farhan jumped out to early leads as Salazar continued to look sluggish and then let the Mexican back in the game with some over exuberant unforced errors before steadying up to complete the tournament’s first upset and advance to the quarter-finals.”
Andrew Schnell, the 21-year-old world No79 from Calgary, ensured Canadian presence in the semi-finals when he upset England’s Robbie Temple, ranked 13 places higher, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9.
Schnell will now face top seed Shahier Razik, the world No30 from Toronto and driving force behind this new PSA Tour event. Razik defeated English qualifier Jaymie Haycocks 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 in 48 minutes.
“With a sold out crowd at the famous Parkview Bar court, they all anxiously awaited the top seed Shahier Razik to show us what he could do,” reported Craig Schele. “Jaymie got to see all of the court with Razik digging out great drops from the front corner and sending lob after lob into either back corner.”
1 Shahier Razik (CAN) bt [Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (48m)
Andrew Schnell (CAN) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (37m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt [Q] Clinton Leeuw (RSA) 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6 (70m)
3 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt David Letourneau (CAN) 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (38m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt  Zac Alexander (AUS) 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 (61m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt [Q] Eric Galvez (MEX) 11-4, 10-12, 11-4, 11-3 (58m)
[Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 15-13, 11-7, 11-8 (27m)
2 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-8, 14-12, 11-6 (50m)
1 Shahier Razik (CAN) v Andrew Schnell (CAN)
3 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
2 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK)