Cameron Pilley (AUS) def [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-3 13-11 11-9 11-6 (57-min)
Cameron “Pistol” Pilley and Adrian Waller played just 2-weeks-ago in the final round of qualifying at the St. George’s Hill Classic. Pistol won it in four after Waller mounted a charge in game-3. Pilley then lost to Tarek Momen in the 1st-Round. Waller got a head-start on the trip to Doha.
Thanks to a field-of-32, Pilley’s World #17 ranking guaranteed a spot in the Main Draw of the Qatar Classic. Waller had to play through qualifying. The Brit bested Nathan Lake in three, and Omar Abdel Meguid in four to reach the main event.
Happy Birthday Pistol
Three days ago, Cameron Pilley celebrated his 35th birthday at 30,000-feet. The Aussie enjoyed a few days at home in Denmark before the journey to Hamad International, so he’s positive and well-rested coming into his 12th Qatar Classic. He now owns 13 PSA Tour titles in 29 career finals, and has broken his own speed record twice – smashing squash balls at speeds up to 177-mph. Before the season started, he won his first World Doubles Title with partner Ryan Cuskelly; but good fortune didn’t follow him to Philadelphia. Pilley drew Mohamed ElShorbagy for his first match of the new season at the US Open, and he fell in three.
New season. New title for Waller
Although Adrian Waller had a devil on each shoulder before today’s first match (he’d been defeated by Pilley just two weeks back, and he’d already endured two qualifying matches to reach the main draw), he still had plenty of reason to feel confident. The 27-year-old started the new season by winning his 6th PSA Tour title at the Amsterdam Open; his 12th career Finals appearance.
Cameron Pilley. A Mental victory
Mental maturity is insanely valuable on the glass court. Eight years Waller’s senior, Cameron Pilley definitely benefitted from experience and composure on Monday.
In the first game, Pilley jumped ahead and gave-up only three points en-route to the early lead. Waller dominated the top of game-2 — up 8-1, then 9-3 before the Pistol launched a comeback. Cameron earned 5 unanswered points to close the gap and saved two game balls before Waller leveled the match in the tiebreak.
Game-3 was contentious. As is often the case in squash, clashes with the match-referee focused on court position and the ref’s subjective judgement of each opponent’s movement. Cameron earned more of those judgement calls, and won it on his second game ball. Waller wasn’t happy…and his discontent lingered in game-4.
At 5-all, Waller and referee Ralf Harenberg had a chat. Adrian’s argument: “Why is Cameron constantly awarded lets when he isn’t even making an effort to get around me?”
Insert Waller’s complete loss of focus and mental collapse here
Pilley went on a tear, allowing Adrian only one additional point before match ball. (FULL MATCH RECAP)