Home favourite Weaver takes her first title of the season
USA’s Olivia Weaver is the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Gaynor Cup 2024 champion after dispatching Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in straight games to earn her first title of the season without dropping a single game all tournament.
The match began with several gruelling rallies, as both players played from deep, hitting a good length and making the other player dig the ball out of the back left corner. Weaver took a particularly brutal rally at 2-1 that lasted over two minutes, where she produced a backhand kill that drew an applause from the spectators.
What separated the two players was Weaver’s accuracy, playing the same clinical brand of squash that knocked out top seed Georgina Kennedy in the semi-final while only conceding eight points in total.
Gilis played accurately, but a few errors made the difference and the near-perfect play of the American won Weaver the first game 11-8.
Weaver looked unstoppable in the second game as she pushed higher up the court and put more pressure onto the Belgian. Despite the close nature of the first game, Gilis struggled to keep up with Weaver’s physicality, appearing to have some difficulties with her ankle, and the faultless play of the American propelled her to an 11-1 win to come within a game of the Gaynor Cup title.
The fourth seed, with the full support of the Cincinnati crowd, continued to prey on every error from Gilis and looked to resolve the match quickly as she took a 5-0 lead.
The World No.8 rallied back as she pushed herself to take the ball quickly and battled back to 9-7, but the deficit was too much to overcome and the Belgian hit the tin to end the final rally, sealing victory for Weaver as she won the Gaynor Cup without dropping a single game.
“I’m over the moon, just so happy to get the title,” said Weaver after securing the title. “There were so many strong players in the draw this week and I had a tough loss last week in Brooklyn and so I really just wanted to focus on coming here, enjoying my squash and I really do feel like I played some of the best squash of the season and things just really just came together.
“Tinne’s in such good form, and has been having such a incredible season and I knew it was going to be incredibly tough. She didn’t seem 100% physically but still it was just that I had to earn every rally. I’m just really pleased with how I closed it out.
“I think I just put some pressure off of myself and really focused on enjoying my squash. I really love what I do. I feel really lucky that I get to play squash everyday for a living and sometimes it’s easy to forget that.
“I love coming to this tournament, I love the family I stay with, I love being in this club so all these factors played into my mentality and I was just in a really good headspace and I think that really translated into my squash.
“Before Detroit I just need to look after my body, enjoy this, soak it in, appreciate the squash I’ve been playing this week. In a couple of days I’ll be in Detroit and it’s a whole new event, a whole new field. The biggest thing is I’m just really enjoying my time on court so I’m actually really looking forward to continuing and playing more players and hopefully I can continue to play this way.”
Semis : Home favourite Weaver takes out top seed Kennedy
Fourth seed Olivia Weaver progressed to her first final of the season after powering past top seed Gina Kennedy in three games at the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Gaynor Cup, while Belgium’s Tinne Gilis earned her spot in the final with a three-game victory over Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby.
“To get past Gina at all, let alone in three is something I’m really proud of. I just wanted to go out and enjoy my squash,” said Weaver. “I knew it was going to be a clean battle. Obviously we’re both known to be physical players so I just went out for it to potentially go two hours, but I felt like I was finding my targets and executing my game plan. I couldn’t be more happy.
“I’m very relieved. Rowan is such a strong player, highest ranking of seven, so I knew it was going to be a tough one,” said Gilis. “we had some tough battles. Last time I played her it was also difficult, so I was ready for a big battle today.
Quarters : Weaver leads top four seeds into semis
USA #2 Olivia Weaver defeated a resilient Siva Subramaniam to book her place in the semi finals of the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Gaynor Cup, where she is joined by the other top seeds Gina Kennedy, Rowan Elaraby and Tinne Gilis.
Day TWO : Fayrouz takes out SJ as Ayman ousts Whitlock to reach quarters
Egypt’s Kenzy Ayman wowed the Cincinnati crowd on day two as she defeated eighth Emily Whitlock in five games.
“It was really tough,” said Ayman afterwards. “Emily is really tough. I’m really happy with my performance and winning today is really big for me. To play in round three of a big event means a lot for me and I’m really excited to play tomorrow.”
Elsewhere, Egypt’s Fayrouz Aboelkheir came from a game down to score an upset over fifth seed Sarah-Jane Perry, while compatriot Rowan Elaraby won the other five-game match of the day against England’s Jasmine Hutton in a close affair.
Day ONE : Wildcard Trauber reaches round two
Wildcard Emma Trauber rewarded the home crowd on day one of the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Gaynor Cup as she claimed an impressive victory over Finland’s Emilia Soini, winning in four games to earn a place against second seed Tinne Gilis in the next round.
“I was really lucky to get this wildcard,” Trauber said. “I was really excited coming. I only flew in this morning. I just played patiently and did the best I could and I’m really happy with the result I got. I think I bounced back from some bad points and overall I’m really happy with how I played.”
That was the only seeding upset of the day as England’s Jasmine Hutton produced a win against Australia’s Jessica Turnbull on her first match back after over two months away recovering from surgery and Fayrouz Aboelkheir cruised to a 3-0 win in just 16 minutes.