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Prague Open 2015

Prague Open 2015
24-27 Sep, Czech Republic,
Men £5k, Women $5k

Fuller and Grinham claim Prague titles

Men's Event

England's Mark Fuller claimed his maiden PSA World Tour title with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Douglas Kempsell in the final of the Prague Open, PSA M5 tournament.

The number six seed earned his place in the showpiece event after superb straight games victories over Daniel Poleshchuk and Sebastiaan Weenink in the quarter-final and semi-final, respectively while Kempsell overcame home favourite Jan Koukal in his last four fixture.

Fuller, who had lost to Kempsell in all three of the pair's previous encounters, started slowly with Kempsell in the driving seat throughout the match's opening stages after a number of long and patient rallies. However, Fuller managed to take four points without reply towards the end of the game to take the lead with an 11-9 margin of victory. World No.112 Kempsell stormed back though in the second game to level proceedings.

Kempsell was appearing in his fourth final in his last five PSA World Tour events and looked to be closing in on the victory when he claimed the third game 11-8 to go ahead for the first time in the encounter. A good start from Fuller in the fourth enabled the 30-year-old to draw level and send the match into a dramatic fifth and final game after an 11-7 triumph.

The two traded frenetic blows as the encounter drew to a close but it was Fuller who amassed four championship balls in the latter stages. Kempsell saved three of them but couldn't return a tight forehand drive from Fuller which brought the titanic battle to an end after 92 minutes with an 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 victory in Fuller's favour.

“It was a fantastic week in Prague with a superbly organized tournament,” said Fuller.

“I have really enjoyed it. It was a really good match. Dougie fights for every ball so you have to keep playing and battling if you want to beat him.

“I have played so many of these tournaments and seen so many people win titles. It is a fantastic feeling to finally win one myself.”

Result – Final: Prague Open 2015
[6] Mark Fuller (ENG) bt [3] Douglas Kempsell (SCO) 3-2: 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 (92m)

Women's Event

Former World No.2 Natalie Grinham lifted her first PSA World Tour title since 2013 with a 3-1 defeat of top seed Deon Saffery in the final of the Prague Open, PSA W5 event.

The Dutchwoman booked her place in the final after defeating Egyptian qualifier Hana Moataz in the semi-final stage while Saffery came through in four games with a win over Mayar Hany.

The opening game was an entertaining affair that saw both players achieve multiple game balls before Saffery eventually took the lead with an 16-14 victory. The second was a very high-quality game which saw both players move each other around the court with a multitude of sumptuous shots that had the gathered spectators on their feet time and time again. Grinham just managed to pull away to claim the game and draw level.

37-year-old Grinham came out on top in a dramatic third game as well which featured a number of high-octane rallies taking centre stage as both players sought to gain the initiative. Grinham narrowly managed to edge a 12-10 tie-break to take a 2-1 advantage heading in to game four.

She raced into an early lead courtesy of some mistakes from Saffery and controlled the rest of the game to earn a 14-16, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 victory, capturing her first PSA World Tour title of 2015 in the process.

“It was a nice match to play,” said Grinham.

“Deon is a very handy player. She has a great hold and sent me he wrong way quite a few times. The third game was crucial.

“I’m happy I managed to get this one. I am really happy that I have won my first PSA World Tour title since having my second child.”

Result – Final: Prague Open 2015
[2] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [1] Deon Saffery (WAL) 3-1: 14-16, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 (36m)