South African Open Finals
EGYPTIANS IBRAHIM & HAMED PUT ON DOMINANT DISPLAYS IN FINALS
After a week of long matches, the finals were surprisingly one-sided with the two Egyptians coming out on top of their respective matches.
Hamed however seemed to have other ideas and buoyed from her semi-final victory over first seed Salma Yousseff, put on a brilliant shot-making display to win the final in straight games.
Hamed commended Squash SA on very well-run event, “Thank you so much to the organisers for putting on such an incredible event. Cape Town is beautiful and I will definitely be back.”
The men’s semi-final was a dream line-up, with first seed Lucas Serme taking on second seed Youssef Ibrahim. With a place in the world championships up for grabs for the winner, there was an extra incentive for both players.
Throughout the tournament Serme had been dominant, not dropping a game on the way to the final, while Ibrahim’s run had been very contrasting with him having to battle from two games down in both his quarter and semi-final. However, perhaps it was the extra-time spent on the glass court that aided Ibrahim as he put on a clinic in finals match play to take the match 3-0 and secure the Growthpoint SA Open title.
Ibrahim said, “This has been one of my best ever tournaments, playing in front of this great crowd and in such an amazing venue, I am really happy to take the title”.
LOCAL FAVOURITE MILNAY LOUW PLAYS HERSELF INTO THE FINAL ON WOMEN’S DAY
A capacity Cape Town crowd witnessed breath-taking squash on Women’s Day as local favourite Milnay Louw booked her final berth and the 1st and 2nd seed set up a mouth-watering clash in the men’s draw.
In the game of the day, second seed Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) battled back from two games down again to take the victory over third seed Ahmed Hosny (EGY). For the second day in a row, Ibrahim started slower than his opponent, losing 11-8, 11-4, but once again showed strength of character to battle back and win the next two 11-8, 11-8 to set up a nail-biting final game. As was expected it went down to the wire, with Ibrahim facing match point at 10-9, but saving it, to win the next 3 points and take the victory 12-10.
After the tense 5-gamer in the first men’s semi-final, the second match was a bit more straightforward. Lucas Serme (FRA) justified his no.1 seeding to take a straight game victory over local favourite Tristan Eysele (RSA), 11-2, 11-1, 11-5. The result set up a dream final as the first seed, Serme, will play second seed, Ibrahim, on Saturday.
Cape Town local Milnay Louw (RSA) continued her good form in the first game of the day to ensure that at least one South African would be represented on finals day the Growthpoint SA Open with a 3-1 victory over Marie Stephan (FRA). Louw won the first 11-7 but Stephan immediately levelled the match with same score. However, that would be the last game Stephan won as Louw frustrated the French international to win the next two 11-6, 11-7 and book her place in the final.
In the other women’s semi-final, third seed Menna Hamed (EGY) upset first seed Salma Yousseff (EGY) 3-1 to set-up an interesting final vs local favourite Louw. Hamed started the stronger of the two players as Youssef seemed to be struggling to get into a rythym on the all glass court in the V&A Waterfront. Hamed won the first two 11-6, 11-6 to put herself in the best possible position for winning the match. Yousseff fought back in the third game to show she wasn’t going down without a fight, winning it 11-8. The fourth game was again a tight affair but, in the end, Hamed came out top to win 11-8.
UPSETS IN THE WOMEN’S DRAW ON DAY 4 AS ALL SEMI-FINALISTS CONFIRMED
In a surprise for the Cape Town crowd at the V&A Waterfront, both women’s Quarter-finals went against the seeding to set the scene for some exciting semi-finals.
Local South African favourite Milnay Louw (RSA) continued her good form to upset 4th seed Cindy Merlo (SUI) in straight games. With just seven places separating the players on the world rankings it was thought that the match would be a tight affair but in front of a home crowd Louw showed why she is highly rated to take the win 11-7, 11-6, 11-6.
After witnessing her husband stroll through to the semi-finals the previous evening, 2nd seed Anna Serme (CZE) was looking to do the same as she came up against 6th seed Marie Stephan (FRA). However, Stephan was in inspired form and showed some brilliant shot making ability to the win in straight games 11-7, 11-6, 11-9.
In contrast to the women’s results, the men’s results went as expected. First on court was 3rd seed Ahmed Hosny (EGY) up against Hazen Helmy (EGY) and Hosny showed just why he is ranked just outside the top 100 to take the victory 11-4, 12-10, 11-9. Helmy had produced an upset in the round of 16 but couldn’t match that in his quarter final, he will however take great experience from his performance and showed his potential in games 2 and 3 to lose by just 2 points to his much higher ranked opponent.
In what was certainly the game of the day, Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) came back from two games down against Khaled Labib (EGY) to win 3-2 and progress to the Semi-Finals. Labib started very strongly and showed great agility to keep the point alive when it seemed a Ibrahim drop shot would be enough to win the point, to take the first two games 11-9 and 11-6. Losing the first two games seemed to energise Youssef and he raised his game to another level as he bounced back to win the next three games 11-7, 11-6, 11-5.
YOUSSEF AND MOMEN THRILL CAPE TOWN CROWD IN TIGHT CLASH
Action moved to the glass court at the V&A Waterfront on day 3 of the Growthpoint SA Open and the players turned on the style for the capacity crowd.
Salma Youssef (EGY) edged compatriot Farah Momen (EGY) 3-2 in a match that captivated the vocal crowd. Yousef started off the stronger of the two with an easy 11-3 win in the first game but Momen showed she wasn’t going to be dispatched easily to take the second 11-9. Yousef then won the 3rd before Momen took game 4th with scores of 11-8 and 12-10 respectively. The final game went down to the wire, but after Momen was pushed all the way by Siyoli Waters (RSA) in the previous round, it was just not meant to be with Youssef taking the final game 11-9.
The other women’s quarter-final for the day was a far straighter affair with Menna Hamed (EGY) beating local favourite Alexa Pienaar (RSA) 11-3, 11-6, 11-6.
Earlier in the day Blessing Muhwati (ZIM) lost out to Tristan Eysele (RSA) 3-1. Muhwati started where he finished off in the round of 16 and won the first game 11-9. Eysele however once again showed his ability to bounce back from a first round defeat, and won the next three 11-7 11-9 and 11-5 to move into the semi-finals.
The crowd at the V&A Waterfront were keen to see top seed Lucas Serme (FRA) play and they were not left disappointed as he put on a clinic in top squash to beat Abdallah Elmasry (EGY) in straight games 11-5, 11-4, 11-2.
Day 4 of the event will see the remained quarter-finalists take the glass court for the first time in Thursday’s action and confirm who will be the 8 semi-finalists.
MUHWATI HOLDS HIS NERVE IN EPIC BATTLE AGAINST ABDELKHALEK
Day two of the Growthpoint SA Open served up some scintillating squash in the form of two upsets, close fought matches and the favourites showing their quality as matches now move to the Glass Court.
In the game of the day on Day Two of the Growthpoint SA Open, sixth seed Blessing Muhwati (ZIM) showed his strength of character to hold out for a 3-2 victory over Abdelram Abdelkhalek (EGY) at Western Province Cricket Club in Cape Town.
Muhwati started well to lead 6-3 in the first game, only to go down 8-11 but came back to win the 2nd 11-9. Muhwati once again started the 3rd game strongly to take a 7-3 lead but then lost 8 straight points to lose 7-11, that however seemed to be the catalyst to an improved Muhwati performance as he went on to win the final two games 11-6 and 11-8 to win the match and progress through to the quarterfinals on Wednesday where the event moves to the Glass Court at the V&A Waterfront.
In a major upset, 19-year-old world no. 309 Hazem Helmy (EGY) beat fifth seed Omar Elkattan (EGY) in straight games. Helmy started very strongly to take the first game 11-4 before the 2nd was a much tighter affair finishing 11-8. The final game followed the first two and Helmy showed great control to see out the match 11-6 in the 3rd.
In the women’s draw Siyoli Waters (RSA) and Farah Momen (EGY) played out to a captivating result full of drama. A collision during the match resulted in Momen needing to leave the court for treatment but managed to battle back to secure the win 3-2. The first game was a tightly contested affair with Momen edging it 12-10, she then went on to take the 2nd 11-7. Waters then showed her cool temperament to secure the next two games 11-9 and 11-4 and level the match up at 2-2 heading in to the last game. In the last game however, Momen showed a lot of heart to secure the match with an 11-7 game win.
The action now moves across to the glass court in the V&A Waterfront where the men’s and women’s quarter-finals will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
South African number 2 ranked player Christo Potgieter fell to a shock defeat to Egyptian Abdallah Elmasry as the Growthpoint SA Open kicked off at the Western Province Squash Club in Cape Town.
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) sanctioned tournament sees South Africa’s top squash players taking on a powerful international field led by the Frenchman Lucas Serme alongside Egyptian Salma Youssef.
Day 1 of the tournament saw the men’s round of 24 hosted at the Western Province Squash Club in Cape Town. Eight matches took place to determine the 8 players that will progress to face the 8 seeded players in the tournament in the round of 16 taking place on Tuesday.
A predictable day saw the favourites easily progress to the next round with comfortable wins, that was until the final match of the day with South African hopeful Christo Potgieter taking on PSA world number 452, Abdallah Elmasry.
The first game lasted 16 minutes with both players going toe to toe in which Abdallah finally won 16-14. Christo fought back in the second game to take it 11-7 and tie the match. Unfortunately, Christo wasn’t able to build on the switch in momentum and lost the third game 11-6, before a few sloppy shots in the final game saw him lose 11-2.
The Growthpoint SA Open continues on Tuesday for the second day’s action, which will see the round of 16 played at the Western Province Squash Club. Those who progress to the quarter-finals will then head to the V&A Waterfront in the all glass squash court where the real action will begin
International lineup set for Cape Town waterfront
The 2019 South African Open sees South Africa’s top squash players taking on a powerful international field led by Frenchman Lucas Serme alongside Egyptian Salma Youssef.
Set to be held in an all-glass squash court at the V&A Waterfront from 5th to 10th August, the Growthpoint SA Open will be the biggest PSA event of the 2019 South African squash season.
The V&A Waterfront is set in the oldest working harbour in the southern hemisphere marking it out as a truly spectacular venue.
Estienne de Klerk, CEO of Growthpoint Properties South Africa, says: “Growthpoint is all about creating space to thrive, and we are thrilled to sponsor this international sporting event that showcases the very best squash talent that South Africa has to offer at the spectacular V&A Waterfront in the Mother City. The Growthpoint SA Open is taking competitive squash in South Africa to the next level, and we wish all the players the very best.”
The Growthpoint SA Open will feature both a Men’s division and Women’s Division with $12,000 and $6,000 prize purses on offer. As an added bonus, the winners will also automatically earn a place in the PSA World Championships, the most prestigious event on the calendar.
Of the 35 players set to descend upon Cape Town, 13 are South African, with the remaining 21 athletes coming from Africa (Egypt, Zambia, Zimbabwe), Asia (Pakistan), Europe (Czech Republic, France, Spain, Switzerland) and Mexico and Brazil representing the Americas.
The Growthpoint SA Open will also feature exhibition matches from the Growthpoint Squash Superstars Development Initiative. The initiative is aimed at taking the game of squash to underprivileged children across South Africa. The development programme will feature a fun day with competitions for the Ekapa Program, Boland Junior Squash and Fish Hoek programs.