By Howard Harding
Top seeds Karim Ali Fathi and Martin Knight will contest the final of the Prairie Auto Haus Saskatoon Boast Openin Canada after scoring almost identical successes in the semifinals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event celebrating its 12th successive year at the Saskatoon YMCA in Saskatoon.
Favourite Ali Fathi will be trying to become the first Egyptian champion of the long-established event after seeing off Canadian hope Dane Sharp, the fourth seed from Toronto, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 in 37 minutes.
“The first two games were closely contested with Ali Fathi having the edge with tighter length and fewer mistakes,” reported tournament promoter Brad Birnie. “As Sharp started to rally back to 9-8 in a crucial game two, Ali Fathi had the answers and won the last three points to go up 2/0.
“In the third, Ali Fathi was too good for Sharp – on this day, at least!”
20-year-old Ali Fathi is celebrating the 10th Tour final of his career – and his third this year.
Second seed Martin Knight ended former champion Eric Galvez’s run when he beat the unseeded Mexican 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 in 44 minutes.
“Both Knight and Galvez have speed to burn as they appear to be two of the quickest players in the tournament,” Birnie continued. “Already known for his spectacular comeback against Andrew Schnell in the quarter-finals, Knight went down 5-0 in the first and 7-1 in game two.
“Galvez was up 8-6 in game one before Knight rattled off six straight points to take the early 1/0 lead in games. In game two, down 7-1, he won 11 of 13 points to end game two. The crowd is almost thinking that coming back from behind is intentional!”
World No 50 Knight will be attempting to keep the trophy in New Zealand hands after the 2012 triumph by his compatriot Campbell Grayson. The 29-year-old from Auckland is marking the 13th Tour final of his career – and his fifth in the past three months!