Nearly lights out for Power

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

What looked to be a walk in the park turned into a mini- marathon for Jonathon Power.

After winning the opening two sets and leading 9-8 in the third last night in his semi-final match at the 2006 PACE Canadian Squash Classic, Gregory Gaultier of France rallied to win the third set.

At that point Power, of Montreal, needed a three-minute medical break, the result of jamming two fingers on his left hand into Gaultier's back and played the fourth set with the little finger and index finger of his hand taped together.

Power, though, gutted it out in the fourth set and raced to a 6-1 lead before pulling off an 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4 victory and a spot against Egypt's Amr Shabana in the final.

"I had to fight hard for every point," Power said of his one-hour, 16-minute match against Gaultier, ranked No. 12 in the world.

GOOD GAME

Power, the world No. 1, and Shabana, ranked No. 2, both are looking forward to tonight's meeting.

"He's playing a lot better this year and it should be a good game," said Power, who will be seeking his fourth Canadian Classic title. He's won the event three of the past five years. "We're pretty evenly matched I'd say.

"I'll try to impose my game on his (Shabana), get on the ball a little quicker than he's used to. He likes to have a lot of time to set up and really control the ball."

Shabana, meanwhile, earned his spot in the final with an unexpectedly easy 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 victory over world No. 12 Karim Darwish, also from Egypt. The match took just 32 minutes to play.

"I'm looking forward to playing Power," Shabana said. "I've only beaten him once (in seven meetings) so I'm looking for some revenge."

The dominance Shabana has displayed in the tournament comes as something of a surprise as he has had to have two cortisone shots in his left wrist the past two months.

"I'm not 100% fit but I'm playing well," Shabana said.

Shabana, 26, said his doctors told him that he should be okay for the next six months but for the wrist to heal properly he'll eventually need to take time off.


Videos

Photos