Men & Women $6k PSA Challengers, 30 Jun – 03 Jul, Hove, England
The Hove Ampito Squash Open came to its conclusion on Sunday afternoon at the Hove Fitness & Squash Centre in Brighton, England, with home favourite Curtis Malik taking the men’s crown, while Egypt’s Zeina Zein secured her first Tour title.
Zein came into the women’s Challenger 5 level tournament as the No.8 seed, with the 17-year-old as one of four Egyptians among the top eight seeds for the competition. She started her campaign in Hove with a four-game victory over Welshwoman Lowri Roberts in the opening round.
The young Egyptian then got the better of England’s No.4 seed Saran Nghiem in a quick-fire four games in the quarter finals, before taking down the tournament’s No.2 seed in the last four. She came up against compatriot and World No.99 Rana Ismail, but defeated her fellow Egyptian in 33 minutes to move through to the final of the tournament.
In the final on Sunday afternoon, Zein took on England’s Torrie Malik, with the World No.92 been the tournament’s top seed, and the favourite to take home the title. However, Zein put in an accomplished performance to defeat the Englishwoman in straight games to take home her first professional title on the PSA Challenger Tour.
While younger sister Torrie was unable to take the victory, Curtis Malik came through the men’s draw to claim his fifth title of the 2021-2022 season, after winning all four of his matches at the Hove Fitness & Squash Centre in five games, spending more than 70 minutes on court per match over the course of the week.
He started his week with a com-from-behind win over Czech Republic’s Viktor Byrtus, winning the fifth game on a tie-break to move into the quarters. In the last eight, the Englishman defeated compatriot Joe Lee, the No.2 seed, before then getting the better of the second sibling, Charlie Lee, in the last four. That was his shortest match of the tournament, clocking in at exactly an hour.
In the final, Malik took on another Englishman, in No.3 seed Ben Coleman, and after two games, it looked like it was all slipping away from the World No.83. However, the young Englishman fought back to win the next tow games, both by an 11-9 scoreline, before taking the fifth game 11-4 to secure his fifth victory of the season after an 87-minute final.
The win follows his previous successes this season at the Holmes Naden Prestbury Squash Open, Commercial Water Solutions Grange Challenger, Colin Payne Kent Open sponsored by 501 Entertainment and the NTA Squash Classic.