Gibraltar Squash Association Open Round-Up – Gibraltar Chronicle


The Gibraltar Squash Association (GSA) has completed its week-long tournament headlined by the GSA Open Professional Squash Association (PSA) competition.  Alongside the PSA tournament featuring players ranked in the world’s top 100, the GSA also ran a number of sponsored amateur competitions.
GSA Open (Men’s and Women’s competitions)
The GSA Open is open to any player from any country through a qualification process, including professional players wishing to compete.  The timing of the event meant that almost all first-round losers of the PSA event joined this competition.  With some top-seeded players going out in the first round, the competition was strong!  Eight members of the Gibraltar Squash Association made it through the qualification process – Ivan Flores, Christian Navas, Steve Schacaluga, Mark Tewkesbury and Adam Newnham in the Men’s draw, and Mel Camilleri-Bland, Amy Hunt and Leanne Moreno in the Women’s draw.  
Competition was tough with most local players facing a professional in the first round with predictable results.  However Christian Navas and Ivan Flores made it through to the second round only to face the first and third seed from the PSA event who had unexpectedly been knocked out of the main event!  Both players had excellent games against the pros, Navas pushing the number one seed, Robert Downer, particularly hard in the second game forcing a tie-break but eventually losing 3-0.  Ivan Flores kept up consistent pressure on the third seed, Valentin Rapp; each game Flores was matching the German professional only to lose each game 11-8.  The two professionals continued their journeys to meet in the final.  Downer took a comfortable two-game lead in the final 11-4, 11-5, but Rapp responded to win a tight third game (11-8) to reduce the deficit to one game.  Downer however had his eyes on the title and took the final game 11-7 to win the GSA Open (Men’s).
In the Women’s Draw all three local women fell to their professional opponents in the first round leaving the professionals to battle it out for the title.  The final was between Sofia Mateos of Spain against England’s Tashy Baker.  Baker went into the game with both an injured ankle and knee from previous games, meaning that the final was not quite the game it could otherwise have been.  Mateos took a two-game lead but the ankle injury forced Baker to retire before the third game started, giving Mateos the title.
Plate competitions were also competed for by players knocked out in the early rounds.  The Women’s division became a battle for highest ranked Gibraltarian.  Mel Camilleri-Bland faced Leanne Moreno in the the Open Plate completion with Camilleri-Bland setting up an early two-game lead.  Moreno fought back in a tough third game winning the game 14-12, but Camilleri-Bland reasserted herself in the fourth game to take the game (11-5) and win the match.
Veterans and Vintage
Competitions for Veterans (over 40s) and Vintage (over 50s) were also run, attracting players from Gibraltar and up the coast.  In the Veterans’ division, Ivan Flores and Christian Navas met in the final which was streamed live on the internet.  In a characteristic hard fought match with long rallies requiring superb levels of fitness, Flores beat Navas in each of the three games to take the Veterans’ title.
The Vintage event saw the top two seeds, Marcus Hall and Colin Davis, fight for the Vintage crown.  Davis fought hard to upset the seeding and defeat the experienced and precise Hall, but Hall proved his seeding correct with a 3-0 victory.
Together with the main PSA events, these competitions concluded an excellent week of squash!  The event was only possible thanks to the support of the main event sponsor, Astralship, and the Government of Gibraltar.  With Anglo Hispano, Betfred, Eastgate and Safety Solutions sponsoring in addition, the event was able to become the largest squash event that has been held in Gibraltar.  It also seems that watching quality squash has driven up player participation at a local level with significant increases in the demand for squash court bookings!
Final results (all competitions)
Competition Winner Runner Up
PSA Gibraltar Open (Men) Nick Wall (ENG) Ivan Perez (ESP)
PSA Gibraltar Open (Women) Alison Thomson (SCO) Marta Dominguez Fernandez (ESP)
Gibraltar Open (Men) Robert Downer (ENG) Valentin Rapp (GER)
Gibraltar Open (Women) Sofia Mateos (ESP) Tashy Baker (ENG)
Gibraltar Open (Veteran) Ivan Flores (ESP) Christian Navas (GIB)
Gibraltar Open (Vintage) Marcus Hall (ENG) Colin Davis (GIB)
Gibraltar Open Plate (Men) Javier Guerrero (ESP) Mark Tewkesbury (GIB)
Gibraltar Open Plate (Women) Mel Camilleri-Bland (GIB) Leanne Moreno (GIB)
Gibraltar Open Qualification Plate (Men) Chris Dunckley (GIB) Noiky Roberts (GIB)
Gibraltar Open Qualification Plate (Women) Mary Clinton (GIB) Ying King To (GIB)
Chris Dunckley, Gibraltar Squash Association