Centre, Rory Gillen, Gillen Markets
and the Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland
time, and last time, for Perry
Madeline Perry played the ultimate match of her professional Squash
career today in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in front of an
absolutely packed center court. Facing Nicolette Fernandes, the
world number 20 from Guyana, there was certainly an air of
uncertaintanty whether Madeline would be able to overcome Fernandes,
who had looked impressive all week.
Nicolette established a lead in
game one but Madeline found her range midgame and started wowing the
crowd with some excellent shots to the front court. She claimed the
first game 11:8 and established a quick 6:0 lead in game two. She
never looked back after that and secured the game 11:5. Madeline
continued her good play and Nicolette fought back trying to go in
short quicker. It worked in parts, but Madeline's relentless hitting
brought her to 10:8 matchball. Fernandes, who gave it her all and
dived full-length twice, pulled one point back but Madeline
eventually closed out the game 11:9.
In her winning speech, Ireland's most successful female Squash
player was not only awarded a special lifetime award, but also
thanked her support from over the years extensively.
"This is one of my favourite events and I want to also thank
Nicolette, who is a very fun and fair player, for making it a good
final, particularly since it is my very last", said Perry.
Perry will still be representing Ireland in the European Team
Championships in Denmark next week. With Perry Ireland has not faced
outside the top 5 in the last ten years, and with today's form from
the final, Perry will remain a tough player to beat.
The men's final aw a very worth finish to the fabulous week of
Squash. Playing in front of the Egyptian ambassador and several
countrymen and women, the young Egyptian player overcame Lucas Serme
of France in a 81 minute five-set thriller. Farag looked impressive
in game one, not only distributing the ball brilliantly, but wowing
the crowd with his court coverage. Serme found a way to withhold the
pressure in game two, but it was all Farag in game three, which he
took convincingly. Game four saw Farag request an injury break at
There was uncertainty whether Farag, who seemed to have
taken a slight knock to his calf, could continue, but the crowd was
happy to see him continue after an 18 minute break. Serme won game
four despite Farag being two points away from matchball, but it was
Farag who stormed ahead in game five. Serme fought back from 3:8
down, but in front of a vociferous Egyptian crowd, it was Farag who
held his nerve and made his country proud.
Ali Farag, all smiles after his biggest career win, not only thanked
the sponsors and organizers, but also paid tribute to Madeline
Perry's great career in his victory speech. "It is so great playing
in front of our Egyptian ambassador to Ireland and all the Egyptians
who came out to support me today. This title also means a lot,
because my fiancť won the title here four years ago!"
The match concluded a great week of Squash, which will stay in
memory not only for making the Egyptians very happy, but also for
Madeline Perry finishing her career in her typical winning fashion!
Perry Makes It To Her Very Last Final
Irish Squash fan's hearts couldn't be broken on a night that saw the
top two female Irish Squash players face off in the semi-finals of
the GillenMarkets Irish Open 2015. Madeline Perry overcame her
countrywoman Aisling Blake in four hard-fought games.
She will face Nicolette Fernandes in tomorrow's final at 3pm in
Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club at 3pm. Her last final of her
illustrious professional Squash career, which she is ending here in
Dublin. Perry has faced Nicolette in this very tournament in 2013,
when she won the Irish Open for the last time.
In the me's final Lucas Serme of France will face Egyptian hotshot
Ali Farag, who upset the number one seed Mazen Hesham by three games
to one, in what was probably one of the best matches ever witnessed
here in FLTC.
& Blake Set Up All Irish Semi Finals
After the Irish contingent of Squash
players being decimated to two in the yesterday's first round
matches, the crowds at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Center were delighted
to see the remaining Irish players - Madeline Perry and Aisling
Blake - make it through to the semi-finals.
Perry, playing her last professional Squash tournament, had a tricky
challenge playing young American Olivia Blatchford - the same player
who had beaten her unexpectedly in last year's edition. This tie
around Perry imposed herself and was up to the challenge, winning by
three games to one. "I would have preferred a 3:0 but I'll take a
3:1 as well. I had a slight drop in concentration in game three - my
length dropped which allowed her to play her shots - but then I
started in the fourth game really well and closed it out."
Aisling Blake, the Irish number two, had a tough match on her hands
against the number 29 of the women's world ranking Delia Arnold.
Blake put on one of her best performances yet in an Irish Open, and
enthralled the crowd with her exceptional backhand drops. Result:
and unexcpected yet thoroughly deserved three love victory,
Now the tow Irish ladies face each other in the semis, which
guarantees Irish interest in Saturday's final. Both players
supported each other during the respective matches, and Perry.
In the men's, qualifier Paul Coll is facing Lucas Serme of France,
while the two young Egyptians - Ali Farag and number one seed, Mazen
Hesham - are due to enthrall crowds with their exciting styles of
Action resumes at 5pm in Fitzwilliam, and is streamed live on
Madeline Perry Through To Quarter
Finals In Irish Open
The Gillenmarkets Squash
Irish Open 2015 got off to a cracking start today, and the large
crowds at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club were delighted to see two out
of three Irish players make it through to the quarter finals.
Number one seed in the women's event Madeline Perry - on her
ultimate professional Squash tournament - beat qualifier Leonie Holt
(ENG) comfortably in three sets. While Perry will be happy with her
performance against the young English player, she faces Olivia
Blatchford (USA) tomorrow, the same player who beat her in last
year's quarter final. Perry, with twenty years of professional
Squash experience, will be well prepared for tomorrow's match, but
acknowledges that the young American player - fresh off a tournament
win in Paderborn, Germany - is a very dangerous opponent. Aisling
Blake of Ireland also secured her place in the quarterfinals
after beating Tamika Saxby from Australia by three games to one. "I
was weary of her because I lost in Rotterdam in September to her. So
I am delighted to get a win today, and I felt like I knew what I had
to do", said Blake.
fortune in the men's event, where Carlowman Arthur Gaskin -
the Irish number one - lost to the number one seed Mazen Hesham (world
ranking 30) of Egypt in three exciting games. The young Egyptian
looked like a future super star and gave Arthur Gaskin, who tried
his best, very little to work with.
Tomorrow's action continues at 12 in
Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Center, with live streaming available on
The second day of the
GillenMarkets Irish Open saw the final round of qualifying, which
provides 4 players for the main draw of the women's and men's
competition, starting on Wednesday.
First up was New Zealand's Peter Coll playing Sanjay Singh Chal from
Malaysia. Peter won this easily 3-0 - (11-3, 11-8, 11-7) in 30 min
and now plays 4th seed M. Mangaonkar from India. Shehab Essam beat
Chris Fuller from England in a super match winning 3-2 (7-11, 9-11,
11-9, 11-8, 11-9). Shehab now plays 8th seed Charles Sharpe from
In the other half of the draw, Mohamed Elgawarhy won vs. Ribadas
from Spain 3-1 - (11-9, 14-16, 11-5, 11-5) and now plays Australian
6th seed Rex Hedrick. In the last match, European Under 19 champion
George Parker from England won a super match vs Mark Fuller 3-1 -
(11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2). George now plays France's Lucas Serme in
the main draw.
Ireland's Arthur Gaskin play number 1 seed Egypt's Mazen Hesham in
the first round on Wednesday; a tough match for Gaskin who is world
number 85 versus the world number 27.
In the women's event, Belgian, Nele Gilis won her match vs. Alison
Thomson 11-3, 11-2, 11-8 in 19 min and now plays 2nd seed Nicolette
Fernandes. The battle of the 2 French players - Cyrielle Peltier and
Chloe Mesic was a great match going to 5 games with Peltier wining
9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5 in 55min. She now plays USA's Olivia
Blatchford. Tamika Saxby won vs Czech Klimundova and now plays
Ireland's Aisling Blake who is 6th seed. Finally Leonie Holt beat
Serafini from Brazil, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 in 20 min and now plays
Number 1 seed Ireland's Madeline Perry, playing in her last
Most Successful Squash Player Seeks 6th Irish Open Title Before
Irelandís most highly ranked squash player of all time, Madeline
Perry, is seeking her final title at this yearís GillenMarkets Irish
Open Squash tournament where she is the number 1 seed in the womenís
draw. Madeline has announced her retirement from the world tour
after this event. Ranked 18 in the world at 38 years of age,
Madeline will have to see off the challenge of the number 2 seed,
Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana (world ranked 20), and a field of
players ranked just behind her such as the rising star, Emily
Whitlock (ranked 25) of England and Olivia Blatchford of the USA
(ranked 37) who beat Madeline in last yearís event. Irelandís
Aisling Blake (world ranked 40) is seeded 6.
Madeline reached number 3 in the world rankings in 2011, with 11
tour titles and more than 120 caps. She won her 15th Irish National
title in February last. Madeline was the leading player on the Irish
team when they came second in Europe in 2012, and helped Ireland win
a bronze medal in 2013. In the World team championships, she helped
Ireland win a 5th place in Cairo in 2008 and since then has helped
to ensure that the Irish team finished somewhere in the top 8 teams
in the world for the last number of years.
The GillenMarkets Irish Open, will take place in Fitzwilliam Lawn
Tennis Club, Appian Way, Dublin 6 from 22nd Ė 25th April.
The menís event sees rising Egyptian star, Mazen Hesham, the number
1 seed, challenge for his first Irish Open title. The 21 year old
World University Champion will have to overcome last yearís
finalist, the Scottish number 1, Alan Clyne, alongside a field that
sees world ranked players in the top 30. The Irish number 1, Arthur
Gaskin (world 85), will be in action in a bid to match his excellent
efforts in reaching the semi-final last year.
A number of other leading Irish men and women will also be taking
place in the qualifying draws.
Irish Star Perry To Make Tour Farewell In Dublin
the most successful Irish squash player of all-time, will make her
farewell WSA World Tour appearance at the GillenMarkets
Irish Open later this month in Dublin.
A full-time professional since 1999,
38-year-old Perry has enjoyed a distinguished career in the sport,
winning 11 WSA Tour titles from 27 final appearances and celebrating
a career-high world No.3 ranking in 2011. The Australian Open
champion in 2010 in Canberra - where she upset both the second and
third seeds en-route to the WSA World Series title - the
Banbridge-born star has won the prestigious Irish Open trophy
five times, twice finishing as runner-up.
With more than 120 caps for Ireland,
Perry has competed for her country in eight successive biennial
World Team Championships and in February won a record 15th Irish
"I have decided to
retire from the World Tour and have decided that the Irish Open
(from 21-25 April) will be my last World Tour event,"
said Perry, the event's top seed for the ninth time.
"It is been an incredibly difficult decision to make
but I had to be honest with myself and unfortunately I have noticed
that I do not have the same extreme focus that I once had, or
indeed, desire to compete.
"Having had such a successful career,
I felt that I was no longer doing myself justice and felt the time
was right to move on and find a new career.
"I am so proud to
have come from a small country like Northern Ireland and to have
competed at such a high level on the world stage,"
Perry (pictured above in action in the 2014 Tournament of Champions)
continued. "Highlights for me have been
reaching world number three; reaching the final of the British Open
after beating world No.1 Nicol David in the quarter finals;
reaching the semi-finals of the World Open; and winning the
"I still play and train to a very
high level so I have every intention of continuing to compete for
Ireland, at national level and leagues as I still love training and
playing the game. I also hope to coach more and give back to the
sport that has given me so much.
"A new challenge awaits and after
retiring in June, I will travel to Malaysian Borneo to volunteer for
the charity Raleigh International, a youth and sustainable
development charity. I will work there for three months as a Project
Manager for a diverse group of younger volunteers on various
sustainable development projects within communities living in
"I look forward to travelling to
Borneo but this time instead of playing squash in a foreign country,
I will contribute to the country and hopefully enhance people's
"I have so many people to thank for
their support during my career but I will save those for after the
Irish Open so for the next two weeks all my focus will be on that
event and I will hope to finish my World Tour career on a high at
Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin where I have had so much
success over the years including my 15 Irish National titles."
WSA CEO Tommy
Berden paid tribute to Perry: "It is
fitting that Madeline plays her farewell professional event at the
Fitzwilliam Club, a place where she has had many great results. She
has been a great role model for all of her peers and we would like
to congratulate her on an outstanding career. We wish her all the
best in the future and hope that she will continue to give back to
the sport of squash in another capacity."
Despite retiring from the WSA Tour
this month, Perry will have a busy month in May: In addition to
fundraising for Raleigh International for her trip to Borneo,
she will also play the European Team Championships (in
Denmark, from 29 April to 2 May), the English Premier League
semi-finals for Coolhurst London, the Italian League Finals, and the
BSPA Finals at Roehampton.