Finals : Top seeds Crouin and Gilis claim the titles
Belgium’s Tinne Gilis and France’s Victor Crouin won the Squash On Fire Open titles in Washington, D.C.,after beating Egypt’s Amina Orfi and Mohamed ElSherbini to lift the PSA World Tour Bronze level crowns.
Gilis was featuring in her second PSA World Tour final of the season, and looking for her first win after losing out to older sister Nele in the final of the Open de France de Squash in September. She took on wildcard Amina Orfi, who got into the competition after winning the qualifying event last weekend, and then came through the draw in incredible fashion, downing four higher-ranked players. The top seeded Belgian was too strong in the end, winning in straight games to claim her maiden PSA World Tour title.
“I still can’t believe it to be honest. I played this tournament with no expectations, I just wanted to play well and enjoy my squash again! I think that’s what I did today!” Gilis explained. “She has been playing unreal squash! She is only 15-years-old, coming from the qualifying tournament to beat everyone in the bottom half of the draw. I knew I had to be on my toes today, and that this match would be physical. I am happy with the way I played, and that I managed to win in three. I love this tournament, it makes me extra happy to win my first Bronze tournament here in Washington.”
The men’s title was won by Frenchman Crouin after he defeated Egypt’s ElSherbini in a four-game contest. The pair had met just 11 days previously in a quarter final at the Canadian Men’s Open, but this time, silverware was on the line. Crouin took the win in four games to secure his third title of the season, and his second Squash On Fire Open crown.
“I am very relieved, I would say! I am happy, but mostly relieved. It has been a long four weeks, with the French Championships, then playing in Calgary. That was bittersweet because I lost in the final after playing some great squash all week, I just couldn’t convert that final,” Crouin said. “All credit to Mohamed who played tactically brilliantly today, but yeah… Super happy to have that support here in Washington. I have won eight matches here in a row now, two titles, so I will be back!”
Semis : Orfi and ElSherbini storm into the finals
Unseeded Egyptians Amina Orfi and Mohamed ElSherbini will meet top seeds Tinne Gilis and Victor Crouin in the finals in Washington DC.
15-year-old Orfi is through to her first PSA World Tour final after she came from behind to defeat USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in a tense five-game clash. Prior to this encounter, Sobhy had been the only player to defeat Orfi in her short career to date, at the CIB Egyptian Open in September when Orfi had a match ball. This time Orfi came through to win the deciding game 11-6, and to book her spot in a first PSA World Tour final, and a fourth successive final on Tour.
“I feel so happy! I didn’t expect to win today, I felt a bit tired after yesterday’s match and they were a bit closer. Yesterday’s match was later and this was a bit earlier,” Orfi said. “After I won the first game, there was still some hope, and even when I was 2-1 down… I kept focussing and I just had to keep playing. Even if I had lost, I made it this far and it was still a good tournament.”
In the men’s event Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini also caused an upset, knocking out second seed Saurav Ghosal as he moved into a first PSA World Tour final in three years.
“Today I just tried to play a lot aggressive squash to the back before going to the front because he scrapes a lot of balls up and he gets a lot of my tough shots out,” ElSherbini said. “I wanted to make sure that I beat him at the back first before going for the short shots. Thank god it happened you know! I got a little bit over-confident with my shots. I felt like I was Amr Shabana or Ramy Ashour or someone like that!”
ElSherbini will now take on top seed Victor Crouin for the second time in as many weeks after the Frenchman defeated Spain’s1 Iker Pajares in straight games. Crouin and ElSherbini faced each other in Calgary last week, with the Frenchman getting the win.
Quarters : Orfi advances to the semis
Having already beaten England’s Lucy Beecroft and the returning Sivasangari Subramaniam, Orfi took on compatriot Nada Abbas in the quarter finals. She lost the first game, but battled back to win in four to boost her unbeaten run to 16 matches in a row.
“I am really happy that I won. It is the first time playing her and in the beginning, I was bit.. Not so confident, and my shots weren’t going that well. It is my first day on the glass court as well so it was a bit different,” Orfi said after the win.
In the men’s draw Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini got the better of fourth seeded compatriot Omar Mosaad h to reach his first World Tour semi-final in over three years. In the semis he’ll meet second seed Saurav Ghosal while top seeded Frenchman Victor Crouin faces Spain’s Iker Pajares.
Round Two : Top seeds seeds survive R2 scares
France’s Victor Crouin and India’s Saurav Ghosal both had to battle through tough five-game contests to reach the quarter finals, getting the better of the USA’s Timothy Brownell and England’s Nathan Lake.
Crouin, the top seed for the men’s event, led twice in his clash with Brownell, but saw the American fight back on both occasions. The top seed eventually got the job done, winning the fifth 11-5.
Elsewhere, there were upset wins for Hong Kong’s Tsz Kwan Lau and Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini in the men’s event, while wildcard Amina Orfi, along with England’s Katie Malliff and Egypt’s Sana Ibrahim, beat seeded players to reach the quarters.
Round One : Wildcards Orfi advances in DC
15-year-old Amina Orfi beat England’s Lucy Beecroft in three close games to move through to the second round of the Squash On Fire Open. Orfi has won her last three tournaments on the Challenger Tour, and was the victor in the Squash On Fire Wildcard Challenge to get a place in the main draw. The reigning World Junior Champion will now face Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam in the last 16 on Thursday.
“I am so happy. I prepared for this match so well and I was just playing so confidently. I thought that there was nothing to lose and I just wanted to play well,” Orfi said.
England’s Katie Malliff and Grace Gear, USA’s Marina Stefanoni and France’s Marie Stephan also beat 9/16 seeds to advance to the last sixteen
In the men’s draw there were upset wins for Timothy Brownell, Rui Soares and Alex Lau.
Men & Women PSA Bronze $50k, 22-26 Feb, Washington, USA
The US circuit continues with the third edition of the Squash on Fire Bronze event in Washington DC.
Egyptian duo Mohamed Nabil and Amina Orfi won the Wild Card Challenge event to claim the final spots in the draws.