Squash ace Binnie breaks lengthy layoff with semifinal appearance in Atlanta

By Lance Whittaker June 09, 2021
Chris Binnie celebrating his biggest pro win at the Lifetime Atlanta Open in February 2020. Chris Binnie celebrating his biggest pro win at the Lifetime Atlanta Open in February 2020.

Caribbean squash champion Chris Binnie says he is “happy” to be back playing competitively again after a 15-month layoff.

Binnie advanced all the way to the semifinals of the Life Time Atlanta Open this past weekend in Sandy Springs where he was defending champion and the Jamaican was satisfied with the outing despite not repeating as champion.

“I got a couple of wins, made the semi-finals, so I am just happy I was able to play again, to compete in another event,” he told SportsMax.TV

“I am healthy and I am just trying now to slowly work my way back into match shape,” he added after completing his first tournament since March of last year when he was a semi-finalist at the Manitoba Open in Winnipeg.

Seeded No.2 as reigning champion at the US$6,000 Atlanta event, Binnie cruised past Pakistan’s Syed Hamzah Bukhari 3-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-5) in just 39 minutes in his opening game and then stopped the sixth seed Mark Broekman in the quarterfinals. Binnie, 32, dropped the second game against the Briton before completing an 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4 triumph in 55 minutes.

The nine-time Caribbean champion was beaten in his semifinal match 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 by the American Faraz Khan, who emerged champion after toppling the No.1 seed Chris Gordon 3-0 in Sunday’s final.

Sidelined by Covid-19 lockdown protocols and an inability to train properly, Binnie missed most of the 2020 Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour and was battling rivals in Atlanta who had already returned to competition for several months.

“Of course it was tough, I wasn’t fully match ready and some of the guys there in Atlanta were able to play in some parts of the world because there were some areas that were open for some time. The guy (Faraz) who beat me, this is like his sixth tournament already for the season. He’s been playing (competitively) since like January this year,” Binnie said.

Connecticut-based Binnie had defeated Canadian David Baillargeon in the 2020 Atlanta Open final last year February, coming from 9-3 down in the first game to clinch the title 3-0. That Atlanta Open triumph marked Binnie’s fourth career PSA title and first since the 2017 Meadow Mill Open.

Binnie, now in his 10th year on the PSA Tour, has an all-time high world ranking of 65th but has slid to 83rd in recent months because of inactivity.

The 6’ 3” former Campion College (Kingston) and Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) student is targeting the Squash on Fire Open in Washington DC starting June 27 as his next outing.

 

 

 

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