Whitehorse’s Julien Revel wasn’t going to play in the Yukon Open.
He didn’t register for the squash championship before the deadline. But he was tossed into the draw at the last minute as a substitute for a player who sprained his ankle days before the championship.
“I wasn’t supposed to play – it was a last-minute thing – but I’m glad I did,” he said.
Revel was glad for good reason. The 29-year-old regained the open A division title at Better Bodies Whitehorse on Saturday.
He beat Victoria, B.C.’s Jason Kurylo 15-11, 15-10, 15-10 in the final.
“It always feels good to win. It was a good game,” said Revel. “I just wanted to play a simple game, try not to go too hard, and play really conservatively. I tried to hold my position in the centre so I could control the game and tried to play simple, nothing too fancy.”
As a last-minute sub, Revel was only seeded fifth, despite winning the title three years in a row between 2008 and 2010. He was also the Yukon Open’s runner-up in 2012, losing to Victoria’s Kevin Smith in the final.
“I played a bunch this year, but not as much as I used to,” said Revel. “It’s good to be back in this tournament, I didn’t have a chance to play in it last year.”
It was Kurylo’s first time playing in the championships. The second seed came up for the open and to visit an uncle in Whitehorse.
“I loved it. It’s a good organization, good matches, good squash,” said Kurylo, 30. “I’ll come back next year for sure.”
“(Revel) is a good player. He hits tight length and doesn’t make too many mistakes,” he added. “He was the better player today.”
Revel only dropped one game in the four matches he played for the title. He beat top-seeded Stephen Grundmanis 3-1 in the semifinal.
Grundmanis went on to take third with a 3-0 win over Mustafa Syed. The match featured some super long rallies.
“The temperature outside and the heat in here is really adding to it,” said Grundmanis. “The ball just doesn’t die because it’s so hot in here. So no matter how hard we hit it, how low we hit it, it’s pretty easy to get to most of the shots. So in order to win you either have to make him make a mistake or hit a really good shot.”
Third place marked the best finish in the open for Grundmanis, who won the consolation final last year.
Playing on Vancouver Island, where he is attending University of Victoria, has really helped his game, he said.
“There are a lot more tournaments down there, there are a lot more players my level to play against,” said Grundmanis. “So since I’ve gone to university down south, my game has really taken off.”
After being just points away from defeat, Whitehorse’s Sana Javed held on to take the junior title on Saturday. The 15-year-old topped Kayden King 3-2 in the final for her first title.
“Pretty good. Pretty tired,” said Javed after the final. “Kayden made me work really hard for it. It was really intense.”
Javed, who has been playing for about a year, came back from down two games in the final. She was also down 10-5 in the fifth.
“I picked it up a little bit, but still the games were really close,” said Javed. “When I start to lose I get really frustrated and I just pick it up completely.”
Maya Cairns-Locke took third in the junior division with a 3-0 win over Sam Fleming.
Either Doug Thorseth has a crummy backhand because he never uses it, or he never uses it because it’s crummy.
Thorseth, an ambidextrous player who hits forehands on both sides, went undefeated in four round-robin matches to win the Masters 50+ division.
Surrey, B.C.’s Chris Makela placed second and Whitehorse’s Michel Gelinas third.
“Two of the guys I normally play against had good matches. And we had a guy from down south (Makela) who was valiant, but I took him out 3-0,” said Thorseth. “And I got lucky against my nemesis Jim (Gilpin).”
Thorseth clinched the title with a 3-1 win over Gilpin, which was his toughest match, he said.
“He makes me run the most,” said Thorseth. “I got a second wind in that third game and just got lucky in the fourth game. He hit more tin than I did today.”
Victor Lavanderos defeated Glenn Rudman 3-1 in the final of the mixed B division. Nicholas Terry narrowly beat Terri Cairns – the highest finishing female in the tournament – 3-2 for third.
Ben Craigen outplayed Muhammad Idrees 3-2 in the mixed C division final while Alex Jobin went 3-0 over Grant Woo for third.
Muhammad Javed grabbed the mixed D division title in a 3-2 win over Katherine Krabel in the final. Chantal Emond notched a third place finish with a straight-game win against Susan Whitty.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com