Walker Powers To Pittsburgh Prize
21 Nov 2011
Alister Walker earned Botswana its second international squash title in a week when he upset top-seeded Englishman Adrian Grant in the final of the 3 Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open, the PSA World Tour International 25 event in its third successive year at Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, USA.
Based in England for much of his life until the beginning of this year, Botswana-born Walker made his international debut for England in the European Team Championships in April 2009 - in a team which also included Grant.
But, after moving to New York in January this year, the 29-year-old world No20 switched his allegiance to the country of his birth in June - and last week won Botswana's first professional squash title at the Dayton Open in Ohio.
"The final matchup of the top two seeds lived up to its billing," said Pittsburgh Open promoter Steven Baicker-McKee. "In game one, the players started conservatively, with long rallies up and down the wall. Walker made fewer errors and carried the game."
Grant levelled after the second, but second seed Walker regained the lead after the third.
"But Grant proved why he is world number 17 in game four, ramping up his energy level to match Walker's," continued Baicker-McKee. "Grant started attaching more himself, and jumped out to a 6-2 lead. But Walker came charging back to knot it at six-all, and things stayed close from there on.
"The pace of play was so frenetic that Walker broke strings on five rackets during the 37-minute game!
"Walker had match ball at 10-9, then Grant had game ball at 11-10, and so on until Grant won the game 17-15. The marathon game seemed to take something out of Grant, however, and Walker dominated the final game."
After his 11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 15-17, 11-2 triumph in 100 minutes, a delighted Walker said: "It was a great final and rounded up two weeks of good performances for me.
"It's an honour to make a difference for the squash and sports community back home in Botswana.
"I'd like to thank Dave Hancock and Richard De Vito for their support in keeping me going to back up these events."
With five PSA World Tour titles now to his credit, Walker heads for Kuwait where both he and Grant will compete in the inaugural Kuwait PSA Cup, the eighth PSA World Series event of the year, from 23-29 November.
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