Canadian International 2006

22nd November 2006

Report and Photos by Yves Lacroix

American Eva Lee grabbed three titles at the 2006 Canadian Open last Sunday.

Lee was in action in three of the five finals played in front of RDS' cameras at the Complexe de Bois-de-Boulogne, in the Montreal suburb of Laval.

In the first final of the day, ex-world champion Howard Bach and Eva Lee quickly disposed of Canadians William Milroy and Tammy Sun. 21-19, 21-15. The first seeds never seemed comfortable and were not able to counter Bach's powerful smash.

"Eva and I wanted to play in more tournaments so we decided to come here, even though it's a smaller tournament," said a friendly Bach after his victory. `Smaller wins like this one help us build our confidence. Our goal is to win a medal at the the next Olympics. It is realistic because the new scoring system makes the teams more equal."

England's Toby Honey grabbed the honour in men's singles against Richard Vaughan, due to his superior defence and mobility.

The 23-year old part-time student in architecture, who grabbed his first title since the 2005 Cuba International, commented on his match. "Richard had poor defence today. All I had to do was to keep the shuttle flat and avoid lifting as much as possible. I'm very happy not only because this tournament is bigger than the Cuba International, but also because I was thinking of quitting just a few months ago. Now I can say that my hard training has finally paid off."

In her second match of the day, American Eva Lee had two opponents to overcome: veteran Denyse Julien and a partisan crowd. The youngster dealt with the situation in brilliant fashion. 

The shy American never lost her concentration and knew exactly what to do to put Julien in trouble. With a clever mix of net shots and pushes to the back of the court, Lee often wrong-footed her opponent and easily won the match 21-12, 21-12.

Despite her loss, the crowd spontaneously rose to acclaim Julien at the end of the match, in recognition of her outstanding career. Close to tears, the veteran player acknowledged the crowd's reaction with a wave of the hand.

The next match, the men's doubles, was without a doubt the best of the day. First seeds Mike Beres and William Milroy didn't lose a second and roared to a 21-16 first set against Americans Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong. Beres and Milroy brilliantly used their talent in mixed doubles to play flat exchanges, leaving no room for the Americans to attack.

The Canadians' concentration wobbled a bit in the second set. After coming back to even the score at 19-19, a mistake by Beres was followed by an even bigger one when Milroy missed a floater at the net, to the crowd's disappointment.

The last set was a close affair until the Canadians changed sides when they first reached 11 points, as opposed to 10 for USA. The first seeds then sailed through the rest of the game, letting Bach and Malaythong score only two more points.

"We are extremely happy to win this match," said soft-spoken Mike Beres after the medal ceremony. "It's probably the best match Will and I have ever played. We were able to dictate the game all along, even though we lost the second set. Our strategy made such a big difference today. All we had to do was stay mentally sharp and continue with our strategy," added the 33-year-old Beres.

Howard Bach had a different perspective on the match. "We are a bit disappointed. We would have hoped to at least play more matches before getting into the final. We got to play only one game due to two walkovers."

The last final of the day was a one-way encounter between Americans Eva Lee and Mesinee Mangkalakiri with the Swiss-German pair of Huwaina Razi and Caren Hueckstaedt. The Europeans made too many mistakes, enabling Eva Lee to grab her third title of the day.

Final results:

MXD: Howard Bach / Eva Lee (USA) b. William Milroy / Tammy Sun (CAN) 21-19, 21-15

MS: Toby Honey (ENG) b. Richard Vaughan (WAL) 21-19, 21-13

WS: Eva Lee (USA) b. Denyse Julien (CAN) 21-12, 21-12

MD: William Milroy / Mike Beres (CAN) b. Khan Bob Malaythong / Howard Bach (USA) 21-16, 19-21, 21-12

WD: Eva Lee / Mesinee Mangkalakiri (USA) b. Huwaina Razi (SUI) / Caren Hueckstaedt (GER) 21-13, 21-14


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