With two consecutive weeks of smashing performances on the squash court, Miguel Rodriguez has set his name firmly as one of Colombia’s current great sporting prospects. The Bogota-born player has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to his semi-final run at the 2015 JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York, followed by his 26th PSA title, his first PSA International 70 event at the Motor City Open in Detroit. The 29 year-old, known for his ability to tirelessly chase every ball, exhausting his opponents, was already a big name in squash but this run has shot him right to the top.
In the world series event in New York, with the top three present, Rodriguez recorded a hard fought victory over number six ranked Englishman Peter Barker before claiming a stunning 3-2 quarter final victory over French world number two Gregory Gaultier. With the game scores at 11-13, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8, and with Rodriguez 5-9 down in the last game, he seemed down and out, but six points in a row turned it into his biggest career achievement. In the semi-final Nick Matthew ousted the Colombian, who tweeted “I had a great result at the Tournament of Champions. Hope to continue playing this way to get better results.”
Detroit spelled yet more success. Seeded number six, Rodriguez didn’t come into the tournament as the bookies’ choice but the favourites fell in the early stages, clearly not recovered from the intense tournament in New York that finished a few days before. Rodriguez was fresh and in his element again. He started the tournament by beating Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal in five sets, Australian Cameron Pilley in four sets and French Mathieu Castagnet in five sets before coming up against South African Steven Coppinger in the first PSA International 70 event final for both players.
The South African was leading by a set twice in the match but on both occasions Rodriguez’s agile game got him back in the match. In the final set Coppinger ran out of steam and Rodriguez crushed him 11-3 to claim his maiden title at this level, reaching a career best number six in the world.
Rodriguez told The Bogota Post: “It was definitely the best month of my career, being the first South American ever to reach the semi-final of the Tournament of Champions is very special.“ He added: “Then, after the long matches I went straight to Detroit where I claimed my biggest ever title. Even besides the additional gift of being recognized as best player of the month in January, they were two unforgettable weeks.”
Rodriguez will continue his quest for more titles at the Windy City Open in Chicago, the next major tournament. In July, he will represent Colombia in the Pan-American games in Toronto where he defends his title obtained four years ago.
By Freek Huigen