Sunday, February 25, 2007


Boy, Julian Illingworth sure knows how to keep a crowd entertained. His match today against Dan Jenson of Australia was even more hotly contested than a Berger v. Berger showdown. Constant complaints to the referee flowed from both players over lets, no lets, and strokes. And, oh yeah, these two guys played some pretty incredible squash. The first game was a typical "feel-out" game and Jenson took care of things pretty impressively. In the second game, Julian just made too many errors and couldn't get any momentum going. But for the third game, he changed his shirt, lost his bandanna and got down to business. An extremely competitive game ended with an 11-9 victory for Julian and the crowd went wild. Not surprisingly, almost everyone was rooting for the young American, especially the sizable Yale contingent. And in the fourth game, Julian took advantage of his momentum and won comfortably.

But despite losing games three and four and looking somewhat tired in doing so, Jenson was far from done. He came back with a vengeance in a pulsating fifth game. Rather than sucking the life out of the game, the extremely high number of lets just ratcheted up the tension. The game see-sawed back and forth throughout and amazingly, there were ties at 8-8, 9-9, and 10-10. It was truly an epic duel that had the whole crowd wondering what would happen next. To be honest, either player would have been a deserving winner, but Julian simply would not be denied. He finally emerged victorious with a 12-10 win in the most exciting match of the tournament's first round. We shouldn't be too surprised by this match though because Julian has something of a flair for the dramatic, with a remarkable victory over Yasser El-Halaby of Princeton a few years ago coming in a similar scenario.

Congratulations Julian and good luck against David Palmer tomorrow!

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