Cesar Salazar -25- (MEX) def Peter Creed -53- (WAL)
Match recap from Emcee Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Classic.
Round-1 Final: 7-11, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8 (57m)
Peter Creed wasn’t even supposed to be in Doha this week (see below). But thanks to Gregory Gaultier’s last minute withdrawal, he found himself booking a flight to Doha to face the World #25 in the opening round.
Cesar and Peter had met twice before. Both had a victory under their belt, and today’s 1st-Rounder got contentious. Here’s a look at their previous matches, including a qualifier here in Doha 6-years-ago at the World Championships:
Dec 2012 – PSA World Championship [Q] – Peter Creed | Score: 5-11, 10-12, 12-10, 13-11, 11-8 (75m)
May 2012 – Internacional Sporta Open (SF) – Cesar Salazar | Score: 11-8, 11-8, 11-9
Each player’s emcee introduction for today’s Round-1 match…
Cesar Salazar -25- (MEX)
At 30-years-old, he comes into this year’s Qatar Classic after a fantastic week at the Chicago Open, where he reached his 16th career championship match. He started the new season back in July, winning individual Silver and Team Gold at the Central America & Caribbean Games; then went undefeated at the Pan American Team Championship, lifting his country to the Gold Medal with a 3-game victory over World #6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the Final Round. To top it off, earlier this month he enjoyed a career-best run at the US Open, reaching the 3rd-Round of a PSA Platinum-level event for the first time. Ranked as high as World #17, he owns 6 PSA titles and is competing in his 3rd Qatar Classic Squash Championship – From Mexico, please welcome the #25 player in the World – Cesar Salazar.
So far, this has been a remarkably rewarding season for Cesar Salazar:
Jul | Central America & Caribbean Games. Individual Silver and Team Gold
Sep | Pan American Team Championship. Clinches Gold for Mexico, def Miguel Angel Rodriguez -06- (COL)
Oct | US Open. First Platinum-level Round of 16
Oct | Chicago Open. 16th career Final on PSA World Tour
Peter Creed -53- (WAL)
At 31-years-old, this 8-time Welsh National Champion is making his Qatar Classic debut, and comes into Doha with a career-high ranking of #53 in the World. 6-years-ago – on this very court – he played his first career match at the PSA World Championship, defeating Cesar Salazar in qualifying to reach the 1st-Round. A 16-time Finalist on Tour, last season he won his 8th PSA title at the Saskatoon Boast Open, reached two more championship matches at the Welsh and Tring Opens; and today, he’s in-pursuit of his first main-draw victory at a Platinum-level event. Competing in his 1st Qatar Classic Squash Championship – From Wales, please welcome the World #53, Peter Creed.
Peter Creed’s first Qatar Classic Squash Championship
But the Welshman is no stranger to Doha. In 2012, he made his Doha debut at the PSA World Championship as a qualifier, where he defeated Cesar Salazar to reach the main draw. He then fell 12-14 in a deciding-game to Zac Alexander.
At the 2014 World Championship, he earned a qualifying win over Ahmad Al-Saraj before falling to Malaysian great Ong Beng Hee in the 1st-Round.
A Gaultier Gift: Peter Creed’s Road to the Qatar Classic:
Are you ready for this? As your emcee, I’ll do my best. Here we go.
2011 Champion Gregory Gaultier -07- (FRA) was the original [6-seed] at the 2018 Qatar Classic. However, the French General suffered a knee injury during his Quarterfinal loss to Ali Farag at the US Open. Therefore, he was forced to withdraw from Doha.
As a result, World #13 Diego Elias moved to Gaultier’s spot in the draw, eliminating the Peruvian Puma’s opening match with James Willstrop. It’s a shame – the Elias vs Willstrop clash would have been an epic rematch of last year’s first main-draw match. Elias earned one of the biggest upsets of his career, defeating the 2005 Champion and World #7 in 3-straight.
So, while Elias will face either Arturo Salazar -46- (MEX) or Raphael Kandra -19- (GER) in Round-2, World #14 Max Lee escaped 1st-Round play and will get his 3rd Tour-level stab at Willstrop. Hong Kong’s top-player has never beaten the 35-year-old former World #1. They last played in the 2017 Bellevue Classic, where Willstrop delivered a 73-minute, 11-9 victory in the fifth and deciding game.
With Max Lee -14- (HKG) starting his Qatar Classic in the 2nd-Round, Joel Makin -33- (WAL) avoided a Round-1 clash with Cesar Salazar -25- (MEX). Instead, he’ll face Rex Hedrick -51- (AUS).
And finally, to round out the draw due to Gaultier’s withdrawal, Peter Creed -53- (WAL) called his travel agent and booked a flight to Doha. Where he fell to Makin’s original opponent, Cesar Salazar -25- (MEX).