Joe Green (ENG) 3-0 Fernando Magdaleno (MEX) 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (48 min.)
In this first semi-final the packed gallery got all that they could ask for in a high quality, high tempo match between two excellent players. After a slightly nervous start the left handed Green settled down the quicker of the two players and never trailed in the first game to win 11-6 in 13 minutes. His right handed opponent, who hails from Mexico City, then showed some of the dazzling form with which he dispatched the #2 seed the evening before. Blistering straight kills on both wings gave him a slight edge at 7-5 in the second game. But the 21-year old English third seed had already shown in his previous two matches yesterday just how difficult he can be to overcome, especially after falling behind, and so it proved again. Green reduced his own error count and ran down every apparent winner played by his opponent. Four straight points from Green gave him a two point margin, 9-7 that the Mexican couldn’t close. After splitting the next four points the second game also went to Green, 11-9. By now, Magdaleno was looking a bit tired but played his best squash at the start of the third game. He moved to what appeared to be a decisive lead at 8-3 up, before Green regrouped mentally and took control after falling behind for the third match in a row this week. He returned to the basics, extended the rallies, and kept hitting the ball into the back corners. Magdaleno started to get desperate and as his lead shrunk, his error count increased. He began firing attempted winners from improbable positions on the court, all to no avail. After six straight points, it was 9-8 to Green and his opponent was mentally broken. He pulled back to 9-all, but Green was not to be denied and claimed the last two points to take the third game 11-9. Three love to Green, having not dropped a game this week, to reach his second Professional Squash Association (PSA) pro tour final.
Micah Franklin (BER) 3-0 Laurence Green (ENG) 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 (37 min.)
The second semi-final was a bit more straight-forward as the 23 year old Bermudian fourth seed took on Joe Green’s 18-year old younger brother, Laurence, who was having the time of his life playing in his first ever PSA event. The English teenager came through the qualifying draw with ease on Wednesday and then summarily dispatched both the #1 and the #7 seeds in sensational upsets yesterday. In the first rally of this semi-final the spectators saw how devastating the right handed Green could be. He attacked a short ball on his forehand and fearlessly powered it for a winner with a straight forehand kill. Franklin is a former Caribbean U-19 champion (2009), and has been on the PSA tour for six years now, and had seen enough of his opponent this week to know how dangerous he could be, so he patiently rallied up and down the wall, on both wings and gave his younger opponent nothing to attack. It was an object lesson on how to stop a quick, attacking player from dominating. Pinned into the two back corners by Franklin’s excellent length, Green was never able to deploy the spectacular range of shots in his arsenal and didn’t take a lead again until 1-0 in the third game. By this time Franklin was two games to the good and was now confident enough to begin to move the ball around a bit more, using attacking boasts from the back of the court and a bit more deception in his front court shots. It was one way traffic now as the popular Bermudian reeled off the final eight points in the match to reach his first ever PSA event final without dropping a game in any of his first three matches.
The exciting BTMI Barbados Squash Open final between the #3 seed Joe Green (ENG) and the #4 seed Micah Franklin (BER) will commence at 6:00 p.m. this evening (Saturday) and will be preceded by two exhibition matches that will begin at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. respectively at the Barbados Squash Club, Marine Gardens. There is no entry fee for spectators and all are welcome to come and witness a breathtaking display of squash from the two in-form players of the tournament. Joe’s entire family is here in Barbados to support him, but will Micah be able to hold him off and keep Caribbean flags flying high? It should be a cracking contest! Make sure you don’t miss it.
Below is a link to an interview with Micah Franklin.
FYI – Micah is pronounced (MY – CA) and rhymes with Formica.