PSA_TrophiesOnCourt.JPG  HKFC PSA International Squash Open 2019

 

A big thanks to Steve Cubbins for all the reports, tweeting, photos and live match coverage over the week...to the tournament referee Julian Harniess for keeping the games flowing and lively and the endless effort from the organising committee for putting together yet another amazing event. 

The HKFC hosted this event from Sept 10th to 14th and we were honored to have the legendary Geoff Hunt (MBE) present during the event.   Geoff was ranked the World #1 Squash player from 1978- 1980 and was widely considered to be one of the greatest squash players in history. 

Please see how the action unfolded:  


Day 1: 

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 The players were warmly welcomed to the HKFC PSA event with a private banquet with a social event for sponsors, players and organisers.

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Additionally earlier that day, the HKFC Hysan Junior Squash programme including our regular weekend Junior sessions had a coaching clinic with some of the PSA players – this was an amazing opportunity for our Juniors to step on court with these elite players.  

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Day 2: Massive shocks to end Day Two at HKFC as top two seeds are dispatched

The second day of play in the HKFC International saw the seeded players enter the fray, against yesterday's first round winners.

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In the women's matches the only early seeding upset saw Australia's Donna Lobban beat seventh-seeded Ho Tze-Lok in straight games, paving the way for the top two seeds to finish off the round.

Second seed Joey Chan was stunned by a first-ever loss to compatriot Vanessa Chu who, to be fair makes a habit of producing upsets at this tournament. The match went one way then the other, Vanessa taking a 6-2 lead in the fifth and finishing it off convincingly 11-5.

Top seed and defending champion Annie Au completed proceedings with an efficient win over Anna Serme, and she meets Lobban in the quarters while Chu takes on fifth seeded Canadian Danielle Letourneau, who survived in five games against Egypt's Salma Youssef.

As with the women it was the top two seeds on last, and second seeded Leo Au, the 2017 champion, started well enough against compatriot Tsz Kwan Lau taking a good lead in the first. But Lau fought back, sneaked the first and held off Leo's comeback after an 8-0 start to the second. The third went point for point but with Leo looking tired, 'Alex' hung in and delightedly clinched the match on his second match ball.

"That's the first time I've beaten Leo," said HKFC player Alex. "I gained confidence from winning the first, but I'm so happy I managed to close out the third, it was really tense.

As if that wasn't enough, the biggest upset was saved for last as Switzerland's World #65 Dimitri Steinmann beat top seed and three-time champion Max Lee in a tense five game battle, at 73 minutes the longest match of the tournament.


QUARTER FINALS:

 

Egypt's Nada Abbas was the first winner of the day, seeing a two game lead disappear before reasserting in the fifth to deny Rachel Arnold. Malaysia's Low Wee Wern is back in the tournament after her long injury troubles, and the Malaysian dispatched Liu Tsz Ling in straight games. There was further home disappointment as Canada's Danielle Letourneau overcame Vanessa Chu in five close games, saving game balls in the first proving to be crucial. Home interest in the men's draw came earlier as, in the first men's match of the day Yip Tsz Fung held off a comeback from France's Lucas Serme, winning in five to reach his second successive HKFC semifinal.

 

Yesterday's home upset heroes Henry Leung and Tsz Kwan Lau both lost out, to Greg Lobban and Abdulla Al Tamimi.

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Last on was the only match between two unseeded players, and it was Egypt's Mohamed Elsherbini who prevailed over Dimitri Steinmann, who had sensationally beaten top seed and defending champion Max Lee last night. The score line was three-nil but the Swiss will feel unlucky not to have taken a game, at least.


Semi-Finals:

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The first women's semi between Nada Abbas and Danielle Letourneau, ranked 34 and 36 in the world, was as close as those numbers would suggest. The first four games were shared with barely a point between them, neither able to establish significant advantage. Only in the fifth did the Egyptian's more powerful game finally start to pay dividends as Abbas established a winning advantage and duly finished it off. In the final she'll meet top seed and defending champion Annie Au, who got the better of Low Wee Wern in four games.


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After a strong start from Annie, the Malaysian levelled the match and threatened in the third, but crowd favourite Annie snuffed out that danger and forged ahead in the fourth.

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The men's final will also feature a home player after Yip Tsz Fung fended off the challenge of Qatar's Abdulla Al Tamimi in four games. Yip dominated the first but Tamami levelled with some extravagant play, and after Yip had retaken the lead Tamimi saved four match balls in the fourth before finally succumbing on the fifth.

 

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In the final match of the day Scotland's Greg Lobban ended the run of unseeded Egyptian Mohamed Elsherbini in straight games.


FINAL: *HKFC International 2019 : FINALS*

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*It's a hat-trick for Annie as Greg opens his HKFC account*

Annie Au and Greg Lobban are the 2019 HKFC International Champions after
both enjoyed straight game victories in today's finals at Hong Kon Football
Club.

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Top seed and defending champion Annie took on Egyptian youngster Nada
Abbas, ranked #34 in the world against Annie's #10. The home favourite was
always ahead in the first game, moving here opponent to all corners as she
does, and took the lead 11-8.

Nada started the second strongly and led throughout, building an 8-4
advantage. Annie levelled at 8-all but Nada moved ahead again to 10-8, only
for Annie to take the next four points to double her advantage.

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It was all Annie in the third as she advanced to her third HKFC title and
17th PSA triumph.

 

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In the Men’s the first game was a brutal 21-minute affair, but it was Lobban who was
always ahead and he stayed so to take the lead 11-8.

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The Scot repeated the trick in the second, and after establishing a lead in the third Yip became increasingly desperate, flinging himself around the court - in vain - several times.

An error from Yip on the second match ball delivered Lobban's tenth and
biggest PSA title.


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[1] Annie Au (Hkg) 3-0 [4] Nada Abbas (Egy) 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)

 

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[3] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 [4] Yip Tsz Fung (Hkg)   11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (52m)

 

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Phil Head and his team are available for lessons, both private and group, for all ages.  For more information please contact Phil on philhead@netvigator.com or on 9166 4931.

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