Sharpes Shuts Out Illingworth In Sudbury

For the second successive year, England's world No66 Charles Sharpes has pulled off a major upset in the Northern Ontario Championship in Canada to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 squash event in its fourth year at the Sudbury YMCA in Sudbury, Ontario.

After stunning the No2 seed last year, the fast-rising London-born 21-year-old turned his attention to the third seed and dismissed Julian Illingworth, the title-holder from the USA ranked 25 places higher, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 in 62 minutes.

"Sharpes (who beat Shahier Razik at this stage last year) set a very high pace from the first rally which Julian was not quite ready to match," explained tournament spokesman Michael McCue. "Roles reversed in the second as the American began attacking short from all areas of the court, and Sharpes was forced into some very hard work.

"Despite probably running 30% more than his opponent to this point, the Englishman didn't come off the pace one bit in the third. He was brimming with confidence and began whipping in boasts and kills to test Julian's movement and fitness. With neither player willing to retreat from this aggressive approach, something had to give.

"Illingworth started finding the tin too often, while Sharpes' attacks were becoming winners. At 9-6 in the fourth he hit what some people called the best shot they had ever seen live, in the form of a forehand straight volley kill off a lob. This set up match-ball and seconds later he was into the semis."

Sharpes was clearly delighted with his performance: "Really happy to win against Julian, lost to him earlier in the year, so to get the win is amazing. Thought I played really well tonight, I was attacking really well.
"I hope I can keep it up tomorrow against Chris, going to be a really tough game but happy to be in the semis again."

Sharpes now faces compatriot Chris Simpson in a match which will ensure English representation in the final for the first time. Top seed Simpson ended qualifier Scott Arnold's run by beating the Australian 11-6, 11-8, 12-10.
"Happy to win in three tonight and get to the semis again," said Guernsey-born Simpson. "Particularly happy to be back in Sudbury again and see all the great things this town has to offer."

Two five-game battles resolved the line-up of the other semi which will feature second seed Marwan El Shorbagy and unseeded Mexican Cesar Salazar.

El Shorbagy twice saw US champion Christopher Gordon draw level before the 19-year-old world junior champion from Egypt finally closed out the match 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 in 62 minutes.

It took a minute longer for Salazar to end 2010 champion Jan Koukal's chance of a second title. The 25-year-old from San Luis Potosi twice came from behind to beat the Czech number one 6-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-8, 11-7.

[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Scott Arnold (AUS) 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (37m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [3] Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 (62m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 6-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-8, 11-7 (63m)
[2] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 (62m)

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) v Charles Sharpes (ENG)
[2] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)

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