• Golan Races to 2009 Motor City Open title

    Borja Golan and Adrian GrantIn a battle of top seeds, #2 Borja Golan of Spain eclipsed #1-seed Adrian Grant of England. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)

    Speedy Spaniard wears down Grant in four physical games

    Birmingham, Mich. – He came. He saw. He conquered.

    Spain’s Borja Golan made the most of his first trip to the Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection by taking the title Monday night over top seed Adrian Grant of England. Number-two seed Golan took home $5,000 and a Rolex watch from Greenstone’s Jewelers after an emotionally-tense, physical struggle that lasted over 90 minutes, not including a break in play to dress a wound suffered by Grant.

    Both players had looked the class of the field coming into the title bout. Neither had dropped a game in three previous rounds and both Grant and Golan acknowledged feeling in top form and relatively fit. Ranked #11 and #14 in the world respectively, Monday’s ultimate round figured to be a dandy.

    Golan escaped the victor after a 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 14-12 battle that featured 71 lets, a whack to Grant’s shoulder and that six-minute delay to bandage a deep scrape on Grant’s knee.

    “When there’s two clashing styles like that it gives way to a lot of lets,” judged referee Julian Wellings, head pro of tournament host, the Birmingham Athletic Club. “They kept going for drop-counter-drop and, because these guys are so quick to the ball, you’re bound to get in each other’s way and that was lending to a lot of lets because they couldn’t get through each other.”

    Golan (L) and Grant were tied up all dayDancing the tangle: Golan (L) and Grant were tied up all day. . .

    Grant, starting composed and on the attack, took Game One, 12-10. But the Englishman quickly grew frustrated with Golan, who gave little ground to allow Grant around him to retrieve balls.

    “I found it quite frustrating to get around him,” Grant conceded after the match. “On these courts you have to win six or seven shots to actually win the rally. It’s not like a glass court where you get rewarded for attacking, attacking. Here, you really have to work it.

    “The match was long, but there was a lot of starting and stopping as well,” Adrian continued. “You have to try to keep your composure and not get wrapped up into this stopping and starting because it’s not good for the crowd and the players get frustrated as well. But you get that at the top of the sport because we’re all moving pretty fast in and out of the corners, so you’re going to get some sort of collision.”

    Grant gets hit by Golan's racquet. . . sometimes – OW! – they got too close. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)

    Slowly, the lack of rhythm and fast, strenuous rallies (Game Four alone contained 30 lets and sucked up 43 minutes), took a physical toll on Grant. Already bothered by the knee wound, he began to cramp.

    “In the beginning of the fourth I got a cramp in my leg,” he said. “I’ve never had a cramp, so once that happened I started compensating and using my left leg a lot. And then I started getting it in both, so, once that happens, it’s like, well, I need a wheelchair or something. I knew I was pretty much done after that because I couldn’t run and these courts, like I said, you can’t hit outright winners.You have to work the rally and work the rally.”

    Already ahead 2-1, Golan just needed to keep the pressure on.

    “He’s a very good player,” said Golan, perhaps the fastest man on the PSA tour. “He plays very tight shots and has one the best basic games in the tour. And in his forehand he’s very dangerous, so I just tried to put more pressure on his backhand, and tried to make longer and put a lot of pace all the time, and it paid off because he was more tired than me and he started to cramp.”

    Borja GolanGolan’s booty: A $5,000 check awarded by title sponsor, the Suburban Collection, the MCO steering wheel trophy, and a Rolex watch from Greenstone Jeweler’s Robert Greenstone. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)

    Golan also gave rave reviews to the MCO: “Even if I don’t win this tournament, from the first day I saw that the people here are great and all the volunteers, there are so many volunteers, make you feel like so comfortable all the time. Julian was great, and the family where I stayed was unbelievable, too.”

    “The club is so nice,” he continued. “They do many fine shows, many parties for the players. I think it was so fun here, to stay here one week, and I hope I can come next year, of course.”

    Finals result, Monday:

        Borja Golan (ESP) (2) def. Adrian Grant (ENG) (1) 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 14-12

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