Pro Squash in Chicago

Chicago is lucky enough this year to be the host of the US Open Squash Championship. It is one of the top pro tournaments in the country and is being held in a dramatic setting:  a glass court temporarily erected at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River.

The US Squash Federation was probably hoping that having Chicago host this year’s tournament would both help squash get selected for the 2016 Olympics as well as provide evidence of the city’s ability to host top international sporting events in advance of its bid to host the 2016 games.

Unfortunately, the IOC decided not to include squash for 2016.  The decision on the host city will be made next month.

I’ll be attending the matches this weekend and will provide some posts on the matches.

Yesterday’s first round didn’t have any surprises.  Number two seed Amr Shabana handily defeated Canadian #1, Shahier Razik, while fifth seed, Englishman Adrian Grant, swept Saurav Ghosal in 3 games.  In the other bracket, last year’s Windy City Squash champion, Peter Barker, held off a spirited Gilly Lane.  In the most contentious match of the evening, British phenom James Willstrop gave up one game in his ultimate victory over Julian Illingsworth.

Today’s quarterfinals start at 5pm and include the following matchups:

Ramy Ashour (Egypt) vs Wael El Hindi (Egypt)
David Palmer (Aus) vs  Olli Tuominen (Finland)
Peter Barker (Eng) vs  James Willstrop (UK)
Amr Shabana (Egypt) vs Adrian Grant (UK)