Greg and SJ take Toluca titles

Arthur Curran reports on the Abierto Mexicano finals in Toluca

Here in Toluca on a holiday weekend, we were entertained before the squash finals with the Final of the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour World Championship.

Never having seen this game before I found it quite interesting to see a different sport. During the week I had the privilege to speak to the lady who was playing in the final, Rhonda Rajsich, from Phoenix, Arizona, against the current World Champion, another Princess of Sport here in Mexico, Paolo Longoria. Rhonda had explained several rules about the game, which is of course very similar to squash, and she felt fairly confident that she could take the World title.

Unfortunately this was not to be as Paolo took the match fairly comfortably 3 games to nil. It was nice to watch a different sport, one that is very popular here in Mexico, and I will have to keep a lookout for some more of this sport.

However, now it is down to the serious part of being here in Mexico. First up was the Women’s Final.

[7] Sarah Jane Perry (ENG) beat [2] Line Hansen (DEN) 11/6, 11/5, 8/11, 13/11. 39 mins.

The Women’s final was a repeat of last weeks final in Tuckahoe, N.Y., and it finished with the same result – No7 seed Sarah Jane defeating No 2 seed Line Hansen.

Sarah Jane started off with a bang and determinedly took the first two games 11/6 and 11/5 despite great play from Line. However, not to be outdone, Line started the third game in much better style, quickly taking a lead of 8/1, got game ball at 10/5, then withstood SJ saving 3 game balls before taking the game 11/8 to stay in the match.

In the fourth Line showed that she would not give up and with the score staying very close early in the game she moved into a 9/5 lead with hopes of taking the match to a decider. This however was not to be as SJ fought back to get match ball at 10/9, with the aid of a tin from Line, but SJ returned the compliment to bring the game level. Again SJ got match ball at 11/10, Line levelled again but SJ was stronger to finish off at 13/11.

A great finish to what as a memorable match, with Sarah Jane taking her recent good run to 3 wins out of the last 4 tournaments.

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) beat Omar Mossad (EGY) 11/6, 11/8, 11/5. 36 mins.

The Men’s Final proved to be a little more one sided than the Women’s, as Greg, the winner from the week before in San Francisco, continued his winning streak by overcoming the recent new World No 10 in three straight games, despite the fighting Egyptian saving two game balls in the second and two match balls in the third.

Although in the main Greg showed why he is No 3 in the World, Omar proved that he is a very capable World No 10, showing no fear in trying to overcome his much more experienced opponent.

And so after two great finals it was time for the presentations which, as should be expected in Mexico, turned into a wild party accompanied by the usual lively Mariarchi band.

So this writer once more says goodbye to Mexico, and looks forward to coming back again soon.

Arthur Curran


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