HKFC International 2017 (By Steve Cubbins)

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 The annual PSA 25 event in its 6th year saw some of the world’s finest squash players descend on the courts at HKFC for a week in September. After great qualifying rounds and some excellent squash being played throughout the week Hong Kong still had a home player in the men’s and ladies semi-final. See the below coverage of the semi-finals and finals which were played out in-front of a full house.


 

 

HKFC International 2017 – SEMIFINALS By Steve Cubbins

 

Semi-Finals of the HKFC International at Hong Kong Football Club saw more upsets as HK top seed Annie Au was beaten, but at the end of a long day Leo Au upset the seeding to keep home interest on finals day alive.

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First up was a marathon women's match in which India's Joshna Chinappa beat top seed and home favourite Annie Au in five tough games.

 

Chinappa recovered from an early deficit in the first to take the lead and almost did the same in the second before Au held on to level. The Hong Kong player had good starts in the third and fourth, Chinappa once again fought back to take the third but couldn't do so in the fourth as Au set up a decider. 

 

Again in the fifth Au led early, but Chinappa recovered to lead 8-5, and although Au reduced the arrears, two late errors cost her dearly as the Indian Asian Champion advanced to the final 11/9, 10/12, 11/7, 8/11, 11/9.

 

"That was such a tough match, very close from start to finish," said Chinappa. "I had chances in the second but she put the ball away well, but then I should have taken better advantage of being 8-5 in the fifth.

 

"It's always tough to play Annie in HK, and very hard to beat her, so I'm maybe a bit lucky but very happy to be in the final, having Vik and Mahesh in my corner really helped."

 

The first men's match was even longer as Omar Mosaad overcame defending champion Nafiizwan Adnan in a five game marathon, gaining revenge for his defeat at the Malaysian's hands last week in China.

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There was little to choose between them in each of the five games, Mosaad twice taking the lead only to be pegged back, then pulling clear in the fifth to reach the final 11/6, 9/11, 11/9, 4/11, 11/5.

 

"You have to learn from defeats, and I think I've done that," said Mosaad. "He's a very tough, solid player, I improved against him last week and today I was happy to get the win over him today and very happy with my mental composure over five games.

 

"This is the first final I've reached in a year and a half so I'm very happy and looking forward to tomorrow."

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The second women's semi was an entertaining affair between Nour El Tayeb and Tesni Evans, who shared the first two games before the Egyptian second seed asserted more and more control from the middle of the third, getting the better of brutal rallies before eventually taking the fourth with some comfort, winning 11/7, 7/11, 11/6, 11/2.

 

"I was a little nervous at the start and a bit off," admitted Tayeb," Tesni beat me the last time we played so I wanted to make sure I played well, and as I got more into it I felt my form improving and I started to enjoy it.

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"This will be the first time I've played four matches in a tournament for two years, so I'm really excited about that and looking forward to the final."

 

The final match of the night went on over two hours behind schedule, but home favourite Leo Au was quickly into his stride against Omar Abdel Meguid, keeping ahead in the first and then racing through the second as the Egyptian gave up on the final few points, looking frustrated with the turn of events..

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That wasn't then end of him though as Meguid battled back to take the third, only for Au to take control from the start of the fourth, rounding it off to reach his first HKFC final) 11/7, 11/1, 7/11, 11/8.

 

"That was a tough match from start to finish with a few decisions that both of us didn't understand, and a long day," said Leo, who had arrived at the start of the session to see Annie play. 

 

"It would have been nice if we could both had made the final, but Annie has already won this event and it will be my first final so I'm really looking forward to it."

 

[3] Joshna Chinappa (Ind) 3-2  [1] Annie Au (Hkg) : 11/9, 10/12, 11/7, 8/11, 11/9 (71m)

[2] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-1 [4] Tesni Evans (Wal) : 11/7, 7/11, 11/6, 11/2 (46m)

 

[3] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-2 [6] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) : 11/6, 9/11, 11/9, 4/11, 11/5 (87m)

[7] Leo Au (Hkg) 3-1  [5] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) : 11/7, 11/1, 7/11, 11/8  (72m)

 

 

HKFC International 2017 – FINALS By Steve Cubbins

 

Two new Champions at HKFC 

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Nour El Tayeb and Leo Au are the 2017 HKFC International Champions, after contrasting final victories in front of a packed crowd at Hong Kong Football Club.

 

Tayeb, the second seed, took the initiative from the outset against fourth seeded Indian Joshna Chinappa, who was appearing in her second consecutive HKFC final.

 

Tayeb raced to early leads, 7-1 in the first and 6-2 in the second, converting them both 11-4 as Chinappa found some traction but too late. The pattern continued in the third, and the Egyptian claimed her first title in almost two years, taking the third 11-4 in just under half an hour.

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"I knew that Joshna had a hard match yesterday," said Tayeb, "so I tried to make it fast from the start and it seemed to work. Joshna's a fighter, she came back a little but I managed to close out each game. 

 

"I'm delighted to win the title on my first visit here, I really enjoy being in Hong Kong and I haven't won four matches in a row for a long time!"

 

An Egyptian double looked on the cards as third seed Omar Mosaad took a two game lead over local favourite Leo Au. Neither game was easy, but Mosaad, champion here in 2012, looked too strong for first-time finalist Au.

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Spurred on by the crowd, the Hong Kong man fought back well to take the third, coming from 4-6 down to take it 11-6 with the match already over the hour mark

 

Au took that momentum into the fourth, working his way to a 10-7 lead. Mosaad saved all three game balls, two with crisp winners, and had three match balls of his own at 11-10, 12-11 and 13-12, all of which Leo saved with positive attacks.

 

Two errors from Mosaad - probably more than Au had made in the whole match to date - and the match moved into a decider.

 

Au was always just ahead in a tense fifth, completing the comeback at the first attempt as Mosaad hit the ball back to the centre of the court for an obvious stroke.

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"When I was two nil down I didn't really think about anything, I just told myself to do my best and keep the rallies going. At 10-7 in the fourth he played some good shots, then I did the same to save those match balls - it was very tense, I was so happy to win it on my first match ball in the fifth!

 

"I've played Omar a few times and that's the first time I've beaten him, and like I said yesterday I haven't done well in this tournament before so to win it in my first final feels great." 

 

[2] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-0 [3] Joshna Chinappa (Ind) :  11/4, 11/4, 11/4 (26m)

 

[7] Leo Au (Hkg) 3-2 [3] Omar Mosaad (Egy) : 8/11, 8/11, 11/6, 15/13, 11/7 (109m)  

 

 

HKFC International Champions

2017   Leo Au (Hkg) Nour El Tayeb (Egy)

2016   Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)      Joelle King (Nzl)

2015   Max Lee (Hkg)                      Annie Au (Hkg)

2014   Max Lee (Hkg)                      Amanda Sobhy (Usa)

2013   Alister Walker (Bot)              ---

2012   Omar Mosaad (Egy) ---

 

 Wing_Ding_Logo_2016.png    WING DING

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