Whipp the cream of the crop
The 13th annual BSPA Boston Open has now finished after a marathon of squash last weekend, where the two #1 seeds won the senior events. Andy Whipp, who filled in for Tom Richards after he returned from Mumbai recently with illness, won the men’s tournament, while world #18 Tania Bailey successfully defended her title in the women’s event.
The tournament began at midday on Friday with the first two rounds of the men’s event. 15 full matches were played on two courts over 9 hours. These included three five-game matches, one of which saw Andrew Birks knock out 5/8 seed Eddie Charlton to produce a minor upset.
On Saturday the women’s first round took place in the morning. This saw the best match of the women’s event by far take place. A five-game clash between Emily Whitlock and Alex Clark was the only women‘s match not to finish 3-0. Emily won 4-11, 12-10, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9. The men’s quarter finals then began. ¾ seed John Rooney was easily brushed aside in three games by 5/8 seed and defending champion Joel Hinds. Another shock occurred when Shaun Le Roux beat second seed Scott Handley, who retired through injury after going 18-16 and 11-1 down. Number 1 seed Andy Whipp and Rob Sutherland from Wales also progressed into the semis.
In the women’s semis, Lincolnshire’s Tania Bailey beat Lisa Aitken, while Kimberley Hay booked her place in the final with a win against Emily Whitlock. A spectacular display of squash then followed in the men’s semi finals. Andy Whipp beat Rob Sutherland 11-7, 11-4, 3-11, 11-6. In the other semi, a most dramatic match enthralled the large crowd that had gathered. Shaun Le Roux knocked out Joel Hinds, but the match had to go to a fifth and deciding game. Le Roux, born in Cape Town, had to walk off an injury to his ankle after falling over it during the fourth game. He also received a conduct warning in the same game for chatting back to the referee, and then a conduct stroke after hurling his racket across the court upon losing a point for the score to go to 10-10. Despite his temper, he won the match late on Saturday night 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7.
On Sunday the club hosted the finals after various junior tournaments. A crowd of between 60 and 70 watched Tania Bailey beat second seed Kimberley Hay comfortably, 11-1, 11-7, 11-4. This meant that Bailey had won the women’s event for the second consecutive year, and without dropping a game. The men’s final followed soon after, although it had been in jeopardy after Le Roux nearly pulled out because of his ankle injury. He took the first game against the favourite Andy Whipp, but found himself 2-1 down after two poor games in which he appeared to struggle. It looked as though he could pull it back to 2-2 and force a five-game final, but he painfully lost the fourth game 14-12, meaning that Andy Whipp won 9-11, 11-2, 11-3, 14-12. Andy was subsequently crowned the Boston Open 2009 men’s champion, winning over £500 of the £4,500 prize pot.
You can replay the live text commentary of the events and see lots of photos from throughout the weekend at bostonsquash.blogspot.com. The completed versions of the draws including all the results are available to download on the 'Boston Open' page. Video highlights of the two finals can be viewed on the club's YouTube channel. A half page review of the tournament is available in the Boston Standard (released 16th December 2009) along with a photograph of the top players taken by one of the paper's photographers. All of the results from the tournament can be viewed on the BSPA website at squashsite.co.uk, which also has photos of the tournament finalists. The results were also published in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.