The Irish Open Squash Championship finals got underway today with
the ladies taking to the court first. Egypt are well on the way to
world domination in squash terms and for this year's women's final
we had two phenomenal Egyptian teenagers contesting the final.
The number 2 seed, Rowan Elaraby who is just 17
years old with an impressive 4 professional tournament wins to her
name, took on the number 3 seed Zeina Mickawy herself just 19 years
old with 1 professional win also. The match lasted just 30 minutes
but despite this there was no shortage of excitement. After a
slightly nervy start by both players, it was Elaraby who played the
more aggressive squash using great touch at the front whilst
demonstrating great court coverage when needed and found herself
closing out the first game 11-3.
The next two games were much closer affairs
with both players demonstrating great skill and athleticism. Mickawy
was working very hard responding to her opponent's aggressive style
of squash and found herself in a tiebreak at 10-10 but it was
Elaraby who maintained her composure managing to win it 12-10 giving
her a commanding 2-0 lead..
The third game was equally nip and tuck and
Mickawy gave everything to try and turn the match around but
Elaraby's short game and mobilty were just too much on the day and
she managed to complete her victory in 3 games by way of a third
game tie break to earn the Irish Open crown.
The men's final followed immediately after and
in front of a packed crowd at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, we had
the pleasure of seeing the number 1 seed Tom Richards take on the
number 6 seed Richie Fallows.
With both men hailing from England their squash
was certainly a different brand but it was as outstanding as it was
entertaining. Both players demonstrated crisp, ferocious hitting
from the start and it was Fallows who seemed to relax and get into
his stride quicker getting to a substantial 6-0 lead.
Richards responded but it was too little too
late and Fallows took the first 11-6. Richard's response was
excellent and with some excellent rally construction and fine
hitting he managed to win 8 points in a row to level the game up at
1-1. Richards maintained his focus and forced Fallows to work hard
rally after rally.
With too many free points by way of unforced
errors, Fallows slipped away in the third and Richards managed to
close it out 11-5 to go 2-1 up. The fourth game was point for point
until 7-7. As with the third game Fallow's made just a few too many
errors and Richards found himself 10-7 and championship ball up. He
only needed the one attempt and managed to close out the match to
win 3-1 in 51 minutes to become the Irish Open Squash Champion 2018.
Ireland's Brian Byrne played England's Ben Coleman, WR 49. Ben took
a 2-0 lead 11-9, 11-7. Brian gave it everything in the 3rd & playing
some super shots won it 11-7. In the 4th Coleman went ahead to 8-2
and won out 11-3. Great effort from Brian vs a player 99 higher in
Great win for Ireland's Sophie O'Rourke 3-1 over Egypt's Farah Momen,
world ranked 131, in the 1st round qualifying of the Irish Open. Playing
super squash and keeping it very tight, Sophie from Highfield Squash
club in Cork now plays Swiss player Nadia Pfister tomorrow in round 2.
Ireland's Sean Conroy had a super win over England's Connor Sheen, 3-1
in round 1 of qualifying. Sean lost the first game but then came
storming back to win the next 2 games and then in a tight 4th game he
won it 13-11.