Hall wins second Gibraltar Squash 57 Open tournament
Squash 57 (previously known as racketball) is an up-and-coming sport across the world and now in Gibraltar. Played on a squash court with a larger ball and a shorter racquet, it features gameplay similar to squash but has some important differences, making squash 57 less impactive on the body whilst still requiring the same fitness and racquet skills.
Europa Sports Park hosted its second open championship, attracting players from Gibraltar and Spain. With some tough opposition from across the border, last year’s winner, Graeme Ray, would need a strong performance to retain the title.
To qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament, players needed to reach the top two of their respective pools. The four winners of the four pools all survived the knockout to reach the semi-finals. Ray faced Madrid’s Antonio Chavarri in the first semi-final, whilst Justin Chipolina faced Marcus Hall in the second. Chavarri started the first semi-final strongly, producing fierce, accurate shots even when put under pressure by quality shots from Ray. Chavarri took the first game 11-4 and continued this strong form into the second, winning 11-6 and taking the first spot in the final.
Europa Sports Park regulars Marcus Hall and Justin Chipolina faced off in the second semi-final. Hall was in excellent form and his experienced play quickly took the first game 11-2. Whilst Chipolina narrowed the gap in the second game, Hall was the stronger player and took the second final spot.
The final started off with an extremely close first game with some excellent shots from Chavarri, who looked the stronger player. Hall managed to stay in the game with some fine retrievals and traded points keeping the score level. Hall attacked in the second half of the game to take the game 11-8. The second game started at a similar pace, but Hall started inching away as he wore down Chavarri. As the game progressed, Hall’s superior stamina gave him the edge, winning 11-6 to take the title. - C.D.