Johannesburg Open : Vargas and Hutton win
Finals : Vargas and Hutton take the titles
Jasmine Hutton got off to a good start in the women’s final. She played the ball deep and then put in an attacking boast that took Milnay Louw to the front of the court who was not able to hit a good return off these attacking balls. Hutton took great advantage of this.
Louw slowed down the game in the 3rd and started to get a much better length, taking the game relatively easy at 11-4. Hutton came out firing in the fourth and once again played attacking squash. She was 6-0 up before Louw got her first point. A number of unforced errors by Hutton saw Louw claw her way back to 10 each.
Hutton played 2 good drop shots on the backhand side to take the game 12-10 and the match 3-1.
Hutton said, “ I got the jitters in the 4th after being 6-0 up and keep thinking that I must not loose this match! I am very happy to have hung on to take the match.”
Top seed Juan Camilo Vargas was quick onto the ball and played good consistent squash throughout the men’s final. He hit a good length and forced Jean-Pierre Brits to make too many errors.
In the second game Brits tried to keep the rallies long and hard but Vargas picked up some amazing tight drops and counter dropped with even better shots. In the 3rd game Brits just made too many errors and fall too far behind to make any comeback.
Brits said, “ He just played better than me on the night.”
Semis : Top seeds through to finals
Milnay Louw played good consistent squash. She did not go for the winners too early and played the ball deep. When she had the opportunity played the ball short giving Alexa Pienaar very little opportunity to use her strength and speed. After a very nervous start Pienaar never quite got into the game and made far too many errors to allow Louw to take the match 3-0.
The second semi final was a much closer contest match. The first game saw both Jasmine Hutton and Sana Ibrahim playing good tight winning drops. After being 9-5 down Ibrahim took the ball early and attacked very well to draw the score at 9-9 and then took the 1st game 12-10. The second game bounced between both players and Ibrahim took the lead 2-0.
Hutton was not to be ousted so easily and at the beginning of the 3rd took control of the “T” by playing the ball deep and then taking Ibrahim short. Hutton dominated the next 2 games and as the match proceeded she became more and more confident with Ibrahim making more and more errors. Experience definitely was the winner in the 5th game. Hutton kept on the pressure and the young Egyptian player could not refocus and play her match. Hutton won the 5th comfortably 11-3 to proceed to the final.
The first two games between Juan Camilo Vargas and Nick Wall were closely contested with Wall making the errors at crucial points. In the 3rd game Vargas accidentally stepped on Wall’s foot which resulted in an injury time for Wall to recover. He came back on court but was never in the game after this as was really struggling to move. Vargas took full advantage by playing the ball deep and then short and took the last game easily 11-2.
Local player Jean-Pierre Brits was just too physically strong for Fabien Verseille. Brits keep the rallies long and hard in the first game and Verseille could not keep up with the pace and altitude. Brits never relented in his precision of hitting the balls deep and taking the ball short only when he had the opportunity. It was a very clinical display of squash by Brits.
In the women’s quarters Milnay Louw gave a fine display of quick, accurate squash to oust out fellow South African Michelle Kohne.
Masters player Angie Clifton-Parks battled to find her length and this resulted in the young Egyptian player Sana Ibrahim attacking and taking the ball early. The pace was just too fast for Clifton-Parks and she was not in the game at any stage.
Alexa Pienaar once displayed that her hard work on the court is paying off. Bongi Seroto did not get into the match at all. Pienaar was so quick around the court and fetched everything, giving Seroto no time to put Pienaar under any kind of pressure.
Jasmine Hutton showed that experience does count and the younger Nour Aboulmakarim realized that errors cost you the match.
Fourth seeded Tom Walsh was the only men’s top seed not to make it to the semi-finals. Fabien Verseille kept the rallies long and hard and Walsh could not keep up with the pace.
Juan Vargas was quick onto the ball and his accurate shots did not give Amadeo Costa a chance to get into the match.
The only match of the evening to go more than 3 games was Nick Wall and Omar Elkattan. The match was very contentious and the referee had more to deal with than was necessary. Wall did very well to keep his concentration and maintain a level head to take the match 3-1.
Local favourite Jean-Pierre Brits took the ball early and was just too accurate for Blessing Muhwati.
The Women’s 2nd round saw all the top seeds go through except the number 3 seeded Makgosi Peloakgosi who lost to veteran player, Angie Clifton-Parks. Clifton-Parks took a 2 -0 lead but the accurate volleying by Makgosi saw her claw back to 2 all. After being 8-6 down in the 5th Clifton-Parks put in a last effort and 2 well placed drops saw the score at 8 each. Makgosi was put under pressure with the high accurate serve and 2 unforced errors saw her lose the match 3-2.
The 2 juniors from South Africa, Awande Malinga and Elsker Garbers were no match for their respective opponents Michele Kohne and Jasmine Hutton. Both young players agreed that they had a lot to learn but were very happy to have had the opportunity to participate in a PSA event.
The men’s section also all the top seeds proceed to the next round except for 7th seeded Ahmed Hassen. Amadeo Costa played good straight lengths and was just too tight for Hassen. He was quick onto the ball and took advantage of taking the ball early.
Wild cards Makho Ntuli and Kyle Maree both put up a hard fight against Elkattan and Muhwati respectively but in the end experience got the seeded players through to the next round.
Round One at Parkview
The Women’s first round of the JHB Open got off to a great start for the 14year old Elske Garbers who beat 9/16 seeded Megan Shannon (RSA) 3-2. This is Garbers 1st international event and she said, “I was a little nervous at first but then settled down and just played my game.” Both ladies were seen fetching balls all over the court and really put in a great effort. Garbers managed to maintain the pressure in the 5th with Shannon clipping the top of the tin with 3 crucial drop shots.
Another junior player Awande Malinga caused the other upset beating Robyn Lodge 3-1. After losing the 1st game Malinga’s nerves settled and she kept the ball to a good length putting Lodge under pressure. Lodge fought hard but did not find her length and allowed Malinga to dominate the front of the court.
Men’s first round saw some of the young talented South African players ousting some of the international seeds. First up was unseeded Dylan Groenewald who displayed his agility and finesse to win a very closely contested match against Shady El Sherbiny. The match see-sawed between the 2 players but Groenewald managed to take the match 12- 10 in the fifth.
Mako Ntuli was too strong for Youssef Hisham from Egypt. His reach just put Hisham under too much pressure and Hisham could not move Ntuli off the “T”. Kyle Maree and Gareth Naidoo were just too experienced for their younger opponents. Maree calmed down after the 1st game and put the ball deep in the back corners. Farhan seemed to suffer from the altitude and after wining the first game never got back into the match. Naidoo was just too tricky at the front of the court for Turnock from Zimbabwe and he never put Naidoo under any pressure at all.