Salt Lake 2016

• SquashSite  • all about Squash •  




Squash CAMPS
Squash JOBS

Wasatch Advisors Salt Lake City Open 2016
30 Nov - 03 Dec, Utah, Usa, $15k

03-Dec, Final:
Avila sweeps to Salt Lake title

Match Reports from David Bennett

On Saturday, finalists Todd Harrity and Alfredo Avila faced off for the title of the 2016 Wasatch Advisors Salt Lake City Open Champion (inhale). Their paths to the finals were markedly different: Harrity swept through his quarterfinal and semifinal matches, while Avila was forced into extra innings and closed his games, 3-2.

Two rallies in to game one and both players start with an error. Then, back to back the players land hard-low kill shots to even the score, 2-2. Much after that, the two exchanged tense, methodic rallies that seemed to end only when the ball caught the nick. Which happened a lot, mostly to Avila's advantage. After long, technical rallies--featuring impressive digs from both players keeping the ball alive--Alfredo put shots away that made the audience 'oooh' in disbelief, and perhaps in sympathy for Harrity's best efforts. Avila closed game one, 11-5

In game 2, as Avila went for low, offensive shots, Harrity went high, dishing out killer lobs that slowed the rallies and kept Alfredo off the fast-paced, offensive game that earned him a spot in the finals. This change up threw Avila off at the beginning, giving Todd a 4-2 lead. In time, however, Avila was able to respond to Harrity's new strategy, focusing his energy on hitting straight, hard rails in an effort push Harrity off the 'T' and out of position to hit his clean lobs. This strategy paid off, and Alfredo was able to put away Harrity's loose, more desperate length. Avila increased his lead in game two, 11-6.

Avila lead in the third game with air tight precision, putting away shots that aren't typically presented with such regularity. He was absolutely playing to the best of his ability. Harrity, by now, could not afford a single error. And what's more, he had to find favor with whatever fate granted Alfredo all his nicks. For the most part, Harrity tightened his game, cutting out needless offensive attempts, focusing on getting in front of Avila and waiting for the opportunity of a killer rail.

This was the catalyst for the two's competitive groove; Alfredo would garner points from kill shots in the front, and Todd would clean up in the back. This struggle went into a tie breaker at 12-12. Then, with a championship on the line, Harrity hit the tin in a crucial attempt for a straight drop, breaking his lead and momentum, allowing Alfredo to sweep the match, 3-0.


Audio Interviews

Photo Gallery

Salt Lake City Open 2016
30 Nov - 03 Dec, Utah, Usa, $15k
Round One
30 Nov
01 Dec
02 Dec
03 Dec
[1] Arturo Salazar (Mex)
11/5, 11/9 rtd (15m)
Faraz Khan (Usa)
Faraz Khan

5/0 rtd

[7] Martin Knight
[7] Martin Knight

12/10, 11/8, 6/11, 11/5 (55m)

[5] Alfredo Avila

8th PSA title for Alfredo

[5] Alfredo Avila


11/5, 11/6, 14/12 (40m)


[2] Todd Harrity

[7] Martin Knight (Nzl)
11/5, 12/10, 9/11, 11/5 (69m)
Joe Green (Eng)
[5] Alfredo Avila (Mex)
11/3, 11/13, 11/5, 11/7 (38m)
Dylan Cunningham (Usa)
[5] Alfredo Avila

11/7, 11/1, 9/11, 11/13, 11/5 (60m)

[3] Chris Gordon
[3] Chris Gordon (Usa)
11/6, 11/6, 11/2 (22m)
Reuben Phillips (Eng)
Matias Tuomi (Fin)
11/2, 14/12, 11/9 (25m)
[4] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
[4] Henrik Mustonen

12/10, 11/9, 11/13, 4/11, 11/5 (70m)

[6] Eddie Charlton
[4] Henrik Mustonen

13/11, 11/8, 11/3 (31m)

[2] Todd Harrity

Clinton Leeuw (Rsa)
11/9, 8/11, 11/9, 11/7 (60m)
[6] Eddie Charlton (Eng)
[wc] Mark Broekman (Eng)
11/4, 11/3, 11/2 (25m)
[8] Joshua Larkin (Aus)
[8] Joshua Larkin

11/5, 11/9, 11/6 (32m)

[2] Todd Harrity
Cameron Stafford (Cay)
11/3, 9/11, 11/4, 11/1 (31m)
[2] Todd Harrity (Usa)

02-Dec, Semis:
Match Reports from David Bennett

The semifinals for the Wasatch Advisors Salt Lake City Open kicked off Saturday evening at Squashworks Racquet and Fitness Club.

Martin Knight and Todd Harrity came into their matches with some advantage over their respective opponents; Faraz Khan was forced to withdraw against Martin Knight due to an ankle injury, giving the New Zealander much appreciated rest for the match to come.

Harrity was able to sweep through his first quarterfinal match after three games, also earning himself some additional energy to work with. Conversely, both Avila and and Mustonen had hard-fought five-game matches the night before, which certainly would not help their matches to come.

Avila and Knight's first game started off strong with long, spacey rallies. It was definitely an attempt by the competitors to gage one another's style of play. By midgame, Avila decided to play the technical front-game he excelled in the night before to control the pace of the match to come, but, that didn't mean Martin would lose control of the rallies. To the contrary, Knight responded to Avila's impressive front-game with most-precise straight-drives that sent Alfredo off the offensive many a time.

Unfortunately, Knight's drops were off and he lost footing from hitting several unprovoked shots to the tin. Although he was able to put pressure on Avila in the back and take the game into a tie breaker, Alfredo's consistency proved the better of Martin and he ultimately lost 12-10.

In game 2, Avila's fast-pace strategy garnered him a respectable early lead of 4-1 thanks to a relentless front game that visibly got on Knight's nerves. Perhaps due to this, he continued to make the errors that cost him the game before, a pattern which sadly continued to the end of the match. While Martin's front-game was impeccable like the before, he couldn't manage to move off the defensive and put the necessary pressure on Avila in the front. Avila closed game two comfortably, 11-8.

Again Knight's back-game carried his strategy into the third game of the set. Starting strong, he was able to brush off the past two games and earn points hitting picturesque rails that left Avila with little options. After building some confidence with his deep game streak, Knight was able to land effective drops to the front, utilizing trick boasts, and some keen shots off the volley. With new pressure in the front court, Knight was finally able to get Avila on the defensive, leading to his reign and eventual taking of game three, 11-6.

Game 4 saw Martin Knight increasingly more confident in his shots to the front, and used them often with complementary lobs that were effective in keeping Alfredo on his toes, sprinting up and down the court. But Avila runs a fast paced game and responded well to Knight's test of endurance, and was able to settle the score 5-5.

Alfredo carved into Knight's lobs and kept him in the back with clean, hard volleys down the rail. Ultimately, Martin could not keep Avila's momentum at bay and began hitting many of typically clutch drives poorly to the middle, enabling Alfredo to put the final rallies away. Avila took the match 11-5 in the fourth, moving on to a much anticipated final.

Todd Harrity and Henrik Mustonen have a strikingly similar style of play: they both opt for the hard, moderately high straight drive—the essential squash shot—above all else. For this, their first game rallies were long and tense. Each player waited for the other to crack and hit the rail that would be just loose enough to put away for the point, but these moments were sparse.

Ultimately then, the player opting to put the rally away was forced to settle returning difficult shots which led to a fair amount of unforced errors from both players. This pattern continued up to the end of the first game, but ultimately and with much struggle, Harrity hit some crucial shots in the front, and closed the game in a tiebreaker, 12-10.

Harrity, confident after his first win, moved up in the second game to hit an impressive array of winners to the front. But Mustonen was not far behind, and soon began to pick up points from some unanticipated drops to the nick. Technically, both players were performing at their best. But again, Harrity proved the tighter player, and responded well to a style of play that mimicked his own.

Mustonen struggled determining which shots of Harrity's to put away, and continued the trend of hitting unforced errors off of deceptively tight rails. Mustonen ended up losing game two, 11-8.

Mustonen, despite performing well the first games and pressuring Harrity to the bitter end, found himself in a bind at the start of game three. Trying to conserve his energy for the long comeback ahead, Henrik attempted to end the rallies earlier and earlier with drops to the front. The earlier he executed these offensive shots, the less accurate.

This became Henrik's final undoing, and after an onslaught of shots to the tin, he lost the final game 11-3.

Audio Interviews

Photo Gallery

01-Dec, Quarters:
Match Reports from David Bennett

Faraz Khan (USA) vs [7] Martin Knight (NZL)

Faraz Khan and Martin Knight faced off in the first match of the quarterfinals for the 2016 Wasatch Advisors Salt Lake City Open. Or rather, they were to. Khan advanced from the qualifiers after Arturo Salazar withdrew from the tournament as number one seed due to a persisting hamstring injury from previous play. And in a sad twist of fate, Faraz also injured his leg (the ankle) during a practice session shortly after arriving at the Squashworks fitness club.

It was clear before the game against Knight that the ankle was touch and go. After the first four points, and despite his best attempts, Khan obviously could not rally to the best of his ability, and dropped out of the running. Martin Knight advances to the semifinals, well rested and eager to redeem himself from a difficult upset at the finals of last year's Salt Lake City Open.

[5] Alfredo Avila (MEX) vs [3] Christopher Gordon (USA)

The second match of the evening was between North American powerhouses Chris Gordon (USA) and Alfredo Avila (MEX). Avila led the first game with several demoralizing volley-nicks to the front court. After some loose shots and unforced errors, his game slowed against Gordon's methodical, lengthy pace. Avila proved adaptive, and was able to maintain control in the back while tuning his front offensive game enough to regain control of the court, and pulling out a 1-0 lead.

In the second game, Gordon pressed offensively opting for hard, low drives in an attempt to push Avila to the back. But these shots suited Avila well, and he continued cutting them off the volley, landing ever-more miraculous kill shots to the front. Avila ended closing out the second game 11-1.

By the third game, Gordon was doing everything he could to maintain control of the rallies all while Avila continued to spam an unprecedented barrage of killer drops. By the middle of the game, Christopher managed to push Alfredo to the back with some clutch, wall-hugging rails, regaining control of the court, snatching a game three win.

The fourth game had both players experimenting in strategies, in an attempt to throw off each other's rhythm. Christopher lead these efforts by closing some important rallies with tight shots to the front, taking pages out of Avila's book. But Alfredo was not far behind, nailing some impressive rails to the back court. The two suffered their share of unforced errors from this change-up, but Gordon fared slightly better in this transition of play, and ended up squeaking through to the fifth, 12-10.

In the final game, Avila appeared far more cautious in his execution, causing him to take more shots off the back, and allowing Gordon to control the front for most of the rallies. But of course, controlling the court is only half the battle, and Gordon was unable to close these rallies, and secure his points. So after an exciting comeback attempt, Avila ended up overpowering the American in the fifth, 11-5

[4] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) vs [6] Eddie Charlton (ENG)

The third match of the quarterfinals was an impressive display of athleticism between Henrik Mustonen (FIN) and Eddie Charlton (ENG). The rallies were lofty, taking place mostly in the back of the court. In the first game, both players it seemed were trying to lull the other into a false sense of security, hitting clean rails to one another until either hit a lose ball, causing the other to strike low and hard. If that didn't lead to a kill shot, this pattern would repeat. Both fared exceptionally well with this strategy, cinching points back and forth until Mustonen was able to get the edge, and put away some impressive shots into the front nick, closing the game 12-10

This conservative style of squash continued into the second game. Generally, both players were sloppier on their rails in this game, which lent to highlight both of their offensive skills. Back to back the players punished one another's loose shots in a myriad of creative, offensive ways; reverse boasts, cross drops, straight-drop volleys.. Ultimately, after some unfortunate unforced errors, Charlton sunk further into his defecit, and lost 11-9.

Down 0-2, Charlton appeared flustured entering into the third game. Soon after several short, disappointing rallies, Eddie found himself in a 4-7 hole. But after some truly incredible shots--including a trick straight-drop that took everyone in the room by surprise—he was able to push Henrik into a tiebreaker. After losing the first point, and giving Mustonen match ball, Charlton again was able to work himself out of the hole, and narrowly claim the two points necessary to close game 3, 13-11

Both players started off game 4 hitting the tin in successive unforced errors. In time however, Eddie was again able to find his stride in the front, hitting quality drops that left Mustonen with few options other than desperate cross drives that more often than not stayed down and out. The tightness of Charlton's shots were clearly getting to Henrik, and he continued piling errors on himself, leading to a loss of 11-5.

Mustonen came into the 5th seemingly unphased from the previous loss, and proceeded to hit an onslaught of tight shots to the front. His errors that appeared so often before were few and far between, and he was able to take the competitive edge on Charlton, 5-2. But after some impressive hustling, Charlton kept the rallies close into the final stretch, putting pressure Mustonen. But the accuracy of Eddie's shots were waning, and his court sprints could not make up for loose plays. After much effort, Mustonen closed the final game, 11-5

[8] Joshua Larkin (AUS) vs. [2] Todd Harrity (USA)

The final match of the evening took place between Joshua Larkin (AUS) and Todd Harrity (USA). The first game was fought with hard and low shots. Most exchanges took place below the service line, where Larkin dished out some impressive drives, catching Harrity leaning far off to the opposite side. But Harrity fared well under pressure, and was able to take the speed off many of his opponents shots, and retaliate with deadly straight drops. Larkin was unable to respond to Harrity's technicality, and ended up losing 11-5.

Larkin shook up his strategy in the second game opting for wider, taller shots in an attempt to keep Harrity in the back and off the offensive. The strategy initially fared well for Joshua, leading Todd to tin shots in the front at less opportune moments, and contributing to Joshua's 9-6 lead. At the end of the game however, Harrity ended up mirroring Larkin's new strategy, leading him to make less unforced errors, and encouraging Larkin to revert back to his former strategy, which ultimately became his undoing. After some resistance, Harrity snuck back in to win 11-9.

In the third game, Larkin appeared more and more unnerved by the tightness of Harrity's shots. His only retaliation were again his hard, low shots, which did not help him in the previous two games. Even still, Larkin was able to keep it close with this strategy, leading to a mid-game tie 6-6. But after some re tuning, Harrity was able to channel his style of play from the first game and, slowing down the final rallies, close the match early 11-7.


Photo Gallery

Audio Interviews

Alfredo Avila
httHenrik Mustonen
Todd Harrity

 TAGS :   2015 Event | Search


[HOME] [About] [News] [Calendar] [Info] [Players] [Gallery] [Social] [Search] [Site Map]

© 2016 SquashSite 

  © 2016 SquashSite