Champion Eddie Charlton and runner-up Juan Vargas (right).

Top seeded Charlton wins Barbados Squash Open final

Eddie Charlton, the top seed from Nottingham, England fully justified his ranking in this year’s PSA BTMI/TDC Barbados Squash Open as he outplayed his Colombian opponent, Juan Vargas, to win another PSA tour title in the final of the 2nd Barbados Open, which was contested on Friday night at the Barbados Squash Club.

This was a high quality squash match, played with great sportsmanship and flair, between two excellent and athletic players who both made every effort to get to and play the ball and kept the enthusiastic spectators captivated throughout. The 20 minute first game was very close as neither player led by more than two points at any stage. The tall 28-year old Englishman, Eddie Charlton, played patiently, hitting good length and width with not too much pace on the ball and once again used high cross court lobs to try to keep the nimble Vargas in the back of the court as much as possible.

Vargas, the #2 seed, was a bit more attacking, and volleyed everything within reach, and tried to force his opponent into error by attacking into the front corners. This first game was very close, with the scores locked from 2-all right up to 9-all. A fortunate dead nick backhand winner from Vargas then gave him a slim 10-9, game ball advantage, but Charlton maintained his composure, and extended the rallies by keeping the ball tight to the
side walls. This pressure forced Vargas into error and Charlton won 4 of the last 5 points to snatch the crucial first game 13-11.

Charlton never trailed again in the match and rushed to a 6-0 lead as Vargas started the second game a bit flat. But when the Chicago based Englishman tried to finish off his 23 year-old Colombian opponent by attacking into the front court Vargas was able to reach those shots and counterattack for outright winners and recovered to 4-6 down.

Charlton immediately responded by returning to the steady patient game that had brought him so much success up to this point and closed out the second game without further drama at 11-5. At two love up in games Charlton was now in complete control and stormed to a decisive 9-0 advantage. Vargas bravely tried his best and saved three match balls before another backhand winning drop shot sealed the victory for Charlton, who looked both relieved and elated to win 13-11 11-5 11-5 in 45 minutes to claim his 8th Professional Squash Association (PSA) tour title.

When interviewed afterwards the champion Eddie Charlton noted that as the top seed he was under additional pressure as he would have been expected to win, and he was happy he was able to clinch another title. He had played and defeated his opponent previously but this match was also very close. It was mainly down to a few key points, especially late on the first game, and he was glad he was able to stay focused and win those.

Runner-up Juan Vargas also noted that he was glad to be able to play so well after suffering an hand injury a few months previously. He had lost to a very tough and experienced opponent but was looking forward to coming back next year to participate and to try to claim the Barbados Open title then.

In the brief trophy presentation ceremony held afterwards Tournament Director, Terry Millar, thanked the players, officials and the main sponsors of the event: the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC), the Barbados Squash Association and the Barbados Squash Club.

The result of the Barbados Open final match played on Friday night was as follows: [1] Eddie Charlton (ENG) bt. [2] Juan Vargas (COL) (3-0) 13-11 11-5 11-5 (45 min.)

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