Auckland Open 2024

FINALS : Top seeds take the titles in Auckland

New Zealand Commonwealth Games squash player Temwa Chileshe has finally won the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Squash Open after three years of being a beaten finalist.

However Chileshe’s title wasn’t easy as he was given a decent fight for the title from second Anthony Lepper from Auckland. Chileshe entered the tournament with a PSA World Squash ranking of 121 against Lepper at 144 started the final well taking the first 11-6. In the second game Lepper was ahead 6-1, but after a service error Chileshe started to work his way back and actually take the game 11-8.

However, the third saw a fired up Lepper create a bit of havoc and take the game 11-8 with a few authoritative shots. The fourth game followed suite with Lepper taking the game to Chileshe who made a few uncharacteristic mistakes. The Aucklander won the fourth 11-7 with a big shot and a roar for the large crowd at the North Shore Squash Club.

But the fifth game had Chileshe re-establish himself and win the game 11-7 for the title and an eventual scoreline of 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7.

It was the second PSA Challenger Tour title for Chileshe after being a finalist on numerous occasions around New Zealand and around the world.

In the women’s final between the two 18-year-olds, Madison Lyon from Australia the top seed and Ella Lash from Auckland, the second seed it was a contest for a first Challenger title.

Lyon had an entry ranking of 133 and beat Lash, ranked 146 in the Oceania Junior Championships recently, while Lash had won in the Australian Junior Championships. In the Auckland Open Lash started well, winning the first 11-8, before Lyon settled down and proved more aggressive dominating the front of the court to eventually win 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.

Dave Worsley

Day THREE : Top seeds through to the finals

The men’s and women’s top seeds will play off at the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Squash Open PSA Challenger titles.

The women’s final will seed Madison Lyon from Australia and Ella Lash face off again in their third final in recent weeks. They shared the Australian Junior and Oceania Junior titles and now get to continue their rivalry , this time in a PSA Challenger tournament.

Lyon eased through her semifinal over fourth seed Sophie Hodges in straight games, 11-6, 11-7, 11-1 controlling the pace of the majority of points, while Lash had an entirely different semifinal.

However Lash was forced to five games by Winona-Jo Joyce a fellow lefty who has a similar style of play. Joyce was the only non-teenager in the semifinals at 23-years-old. In the fourth Lash was two points from victory but Joyce didn’t give up and forced the match into a fifth which the younger player eventually winning 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9

For both Lash and Lyon it will be their first PSA Challenger final.

The men’s final features Temwa Chileshe against Anthony Lepper after both had straight games win in their semifinals.

Chileshe has one Challenger title to his credit, but has been a finalist on numerous occasions, including the last three Auckland Open’s. Lepper was in his first Challenger semifinal where he beat Australian Connor Hayes 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 in a match where patient and experience paid off in the final results.

Chileshe defeated young Aucklander, Mason Smales 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 in his semifinal. Smales, 19 a tall left-hander from the Henderson Club made a few too many errors at the wrong time, but otherwise kept Chileshe on his toes throughout the match.

The women’s final is set to start at 2pm local time at the North Shore Squash Club, with the men’s to follow.

Day TWO : Down to the semi-finalists

Men’s top seed Temwa Chilshe had to stay focussed to make his way through to the semifinals of the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Squash Open at the North Shore Squash Club, a tournament he’s been a beaten finalist at on three previous occasions.

Chileshe beat Malta’s eighth seed Kijan Sultana in straight games in his quarterfinal 11-8, 11-8 12-10 including numerous long rallies. Earlier in the day Chileshe defeated New Zealand’s top junior player Oliver Dunbar in three games, although the second game was 13-11.

Men’s second seed Anthony Lepper was taken to five games in his quarterfinal by Australia’s Cameron Darton and will now play another Australian Connor Hayes for a spot in the final after Hayes had defeated third seed Willz Donnelly in the quarters in five sets.

In the women’s draw top seeded Australian Madison Lyon accounted for local Kayti Griffen in straight games and will now play fourth seed and fellow teen Sophie Hodges in the semifinals.

Hodges was on court for five games as she eventually defeated Charlotte Galloway in five games.

The other semi has second seed Ella Lash against fellow lefty Winona-Jo Joyce the only non-teenager left in the women’s draw.

Lash took four games to defeat Jenna Gregory in her quarterfinal.

Day ONE :

Women’s top seed Madison Lyon had to fight hard to make it through the first round of the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Squash Open as she came up against defending champion and three-time winner Lana Harrison in the first round.

Harrison a former professional who is known for her sometimes brutal physical play took her game to the 18-year-old Queenslander who must have been thinking it would be a short visit to Auckland and the North Shore Squash Club.

Harrison won the first 11-6, but Lyon showed maturity to steady her play and win the next two 11-8, 11-4, before Harrison fought back again taking the fourth 11-9.

Again, Lyon kept her head and eventually persevered 11-6 for a total match time of 40 minutes and a place in the next round where she’ll face eighth seed Kayti Griffen.

The other top three women’s seeds, Ella Lash, Winona Jo-Joyce and Sophie Hodges all had straight game wins in their opening matches.

In the men’s draw things really get going in day two matches as top seed and New Zealand Commonwealth Games player Temwa Chileshe faces Oliver Dunbar in the second round.

Chileshe has been a beaten finalist the past three years, while Dunbar has won just about every junior title on offer around New Zealand and Australia.

The other high seeds, Anthony Lepper, Willz Donnelly and Mason Smales will also be in action on day two as will international players Lachland Cocsedge (Australia) against England’s Matt Gregory and Anson Wong (Hong Kong) against local Sion Wiggan.

Dave Worsley