Sports Narrator Andy Taylor | The Voice of the Qatar Classic | Photo: Steve Cubbins
Joel Makin -33- (WAL) def Rex Hedrick -51- (AUS)
Match recap from Sports Narrator Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Classic.
Round-1 Final: 8-11, 11-5, 13-11, 8-11, 11-3 (78m)
Today’s Round-1 clash on Court-1 was the third career meeting between Joel Makin and Rex Hedrick.
They have a history.
Both of their previous matches came in Melbourne at the Victorian Open. In 2015’s 2nd-Round, Joel Makin emerged the victor in a 114-minute deciding game tiebreak. The following year, they met in the Quarterfinals, where Rex Hedrick earned the victory in four.
2016 Victorian Open (QF). Rex Hedrick 3-11, 14-12, 11-3, 11-3 (75m)
2015 Victorian Open (R2). Joel Makin 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (114m)
Today, as to be expected, the match went well over an hour, with Makin emerging the victor. Truth is, rough-and-tumble Joel is on fire. Nine days ago, the burly Welshman earned the biggest win of his career, upsetting World #1 Mohamed Elshorbagy to reach the Quarterfinals in Weybridge.
Originally, Makin and Hedrick were not supposed to face each other in Round-1. Joel was scheduled to face World #25 Cesar Salazar. Meanwhile, Rex drew Max Lee.
So how did we get here?
A Gaultier Gift for Joel Makin
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, and was forced to withdraw from Doha.
Diego Elias takes Gregory Gaultier’s spot in the draw
As a result, World #13 Diego Elias was 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, where Elias earned one of the biggest upsets of his career, defeating the 2005 Champion and World #7 in 3-straight.
Max Lee takes Diego Elias’s spot in the draw, avoiding Round-1 play
So, while Elias faces 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.
Joel Makin takes Max Lee’s spot in the draw versus Rex Hedrick
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 faced the always challenging Rex Hedrick -51- (AUS).
Wait, the sports narrator isn’t done…
Peter Creed takes Joel Makin’s spot in the draw versus Cesar Salazar
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. He made the most of his Round-1 match on Court-1 versus Makin’s original opponent, Cesar Salazar -25- (MEX).
Each player’s sports narrator introduction for today’s Round-1 match…
Joel Makin -33- (WAL)
This 23-year-old is making his Qatar Classic debut, and comes into Doha on the heels of the biggest win of his career. 9 days ago, he upset World #1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in 3 tie-break games, advancing to the Quarterfinals of the St. George’s Hill Classic for the first time. And he’s enjoyed an amazing run since last May. At the tail end of last season, he captured his 3rd career PSA title at the Tring Open – then opened the new season by winning the Thanet Open title, reaching the Quarterfinals in Shanghai, competing in the final round of the European Club Championship, and earning his first two Platinum-level main-draw victories at the US Open. Welsh National Champion in 2016, he’s reached the National Championship Finals four years running. Competing in his 1st Qatar Classic Squash Championship – From Wales, please welcome the #33 Player in the World – Joel Makin.
Rex Hedrick -51- (AUS)
At 29-years-old, he is the reigning Australian Nationals Champion – and he’s been tough to beat since the first of the year. Last season, he won 2 PSA titles, reached 4 Tour-level Finals, became Australian National Champion for the first time, and represented his country at the Commonwealth Games. He then started the new season in June, winning two more titles, reaching 3 Finals, and climbed to career-high ranking inside the PSA’s top-50. He now owns 13 PSA titles overall, with 27 championship match appearances – and today, is competing in his first PSA Platinum event since the 2015 Hong Kong Open. Making his Qatar Classic debut – From Australia, please welcome World #51, Rex Hedrick
▲ Since January 1st, Australia’s Rex Hedrick is 28-7. At the PSA Tour level, he’s 22-6. He’s won 4 titles, including the Australian Nationals, the ACT Open, the Australian Open and the Bega Open. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, he’s reached 7 of his 27 career Finals. With his success over the past 18-months, the rankings boost has lifted him to his first PSA Platinum event in 3-years. Perseverance.
Hedrick’s 2018-19 Season:
▲ Sep-2018: (Away since a Round-2 loss to Peter Creed at the HKFC International)
▲ Aug-2018: Wins 13th PSA title at the Bega Open
▲ Aug-2018: Wins 12th PSA title at the Australian Open
▲ Jun-2018: Finalist at the New Zealand Southern Open
Hedrick’s 2017-18 Season:
▲ May-2018: Wins 11th PSA title at the ACT Open
▲ Apr-2018: Represents Australia at the Commonwealth Games (Reaches Final 16)
▲ Mar-2018: Finalist at the Malaysian Tour No6
▲ Feb-2018: Wins the Australian Nationals
▲ Oct-2017: Wins 10th PSA title at Queensland Open
▲ Jul-2017: Finalist at Victorian Open