Czech Pro Series #3 :

Men’s $3k PSA Challenger, 19-21 May, Prague

Czech Pro Series #3 : FINAL

[3] Jakub Solnicky (Cze) 3-2  [2] Martin Svec (Cze)    11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 11-6, 13-11 (67m)

Solnicky takes the title in Prague

Today´s programme started with the final of women´s satellite event. Olga Kolarova who is a former top 50 player played her first event after her third maternity leave. She managed to win national titles after both first two kids and she would like to complete a hat-trick after the third as well.

She showed she is in good shape and despite the fact women weren´t able to play tournament since October (and Olga´s last tournament was National championship which she won in March 2019) both Olga and Natalie Babjukova played a good quality match. They both tried to use their strengths. Olga played her powerful game and was using all four corners of the court well.

Natalie is more attacking and likes to play a lot of drops and lobs. First game was close and Olga won thanks to 4 points in a row from 6/7 to 10/6. Natalie saved two gameballs but couldn´t save the third. In the second game it was reversed. This time Olga was 8/6 up but Natalie won 5 points in the row to win the second. In the third Natalie was 8/7 up but Olga again managed to win 4 points in a row to get 2/1 lead. And the same happened again in the fourth Natalie led 6/5 when Olga won 6 points to celebrate a very deserved title in her very first tournament after more than 2 years.

Olga Kolářová  3-1 [2] Natálie Babjuková 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6

The Men´s 5k challenger final was played between long time rivals Martin Švec and Jakub Solnický. They are the same age group so played each other so many times since under 11 category. And so many of their battles went to five games.

Today was to be no different. Jakub started better in the first. Got to 5/1 and although Martin got back in it and managed to get to 6/7, Jakub closed it 11/8. Martin started the second much better. Got to 9/2 quickly and won 11/4. The third looked similar. Martin got to 9/4 and and won 11/5. Good start for Jakub in the fourth 5/0 and soon 11/6.

The decider was the closest. No one could get a bigger lead. Jakub won the first two points. Martin came back to 4/3 and 5/4. From then each won two points in a row several times. Jakub 6/5, Martin 7/6, Jakub 8/7, Martin 9/8. 9/9 and 10/9 first matchball for Martin.

More than a minute long massive rally 10/10. Martin got his second chance 11/10. Again saved by Jakub. 12/11 Jakub and his first matchball. 13/11 and first PSA title for Jakub after 67 minutes of quality and entertaining squash with hardly any stoppages.


Day Two : Tomas Forter reports (from El Gouna)

The women joined men today and it was the first tournament for them since October. In the 8 draw 3 of 4 seeds lost in the first round (quarterfinal). Top seed Eva Fertekova lost to former PSA top 50 Olga Kolarova who is coming back after another maternity leave. Karolina Holinkova beat no. 4 Tereza Siroka and Tamara Holzbauerova won against no. 3 Tereza Elznicova. 2nd seed Natalie Babjukova was the only seeded player who made it to the semis thanks to a win against Riana Alexova.

The Men’s top seed was also beaten as a winner of last event here in Prague Rob Downer lost to Jakub Solnicky 3/1. Rob didn’t play his best squash today. Jakub´s usual solid performance was too good for him today. Martin Švec reached the final last time here and repeated this today again. He beat Viktor Byrtus 3/0. Viktor looked like he was struggling with his movement a bit and Martin was able to use this very well today.

Olga Kolářova continued her good run in the semis as well. She played Karolina Holinkova and first two games were very close and shared between the two players. Olga was in control in the third and fourth. Second seed Natalie Babjukova played a similar match against one of the top Czech juniors Tamara Holzbauerová. First two games were close and shared and then Natalie was too good for Tamara.

Women’s semis
Olga Kolářová 3-1 Karolína Holinková                        11-8, 11-13, 11-1, 11-4 (31m)
[2] Natálie Babjuková 3-1 Tamara Holzbauerová    13-15, 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (35m)