Omar Abdel Meguid emerged victorious in a thrilling five-game
encounter with compatriot Karim Ali Fathi in the final of the 2016
Oregon Open to secure the PSA M15 crown and his second consecutive
PSA World Tour title.
The towering World No.33 booked his place in the final after a
gruelling 90-minute semi-final battle with Raphael Kandra and he
looked to be feeling the effects of that encounter as he got off to
a laboured start against 22-year-old Fathi, who raced into an early
5-0 lead in the first game before converting 11-3 to make the first
dent in the scoreboard.
Meguid quickly levelled the match however, playing with renewed
vigour and power to dominate the second game before the match swung
back in favour of Fathi once again as he edged a tense and
physically punishing third game which was dominated by lengthy,
Meguid once again upped his levels to reverse momentum in the fourth
and force a decisive fifth game where he showed his class and
dexterity to record a series of sublime winners when tied at 5-5 to
pull away from Fathi and secure the match and the championship 3-11,
11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7.
Malhotra Motors Past Us Challengers In Oregon Open
Competing in just his eighth PSA World Tour tournament Indian World
No.152 Vikram Malhotra has scythed his way through the competition
at the 2016 Oregon Open, to reach the semi-finals of the PSA M15
man from Mumbai, who is now based in Hartford, Connecticut, stunned
onlookers in December when he stormed to the title at the Betty
Griffin Memorial in December, and picked up from where he left of
before the Christmas break as he came through qualification before
downing America’s top two ranked players, Christopher Gordon (right)
and Todd Harrity, to make the last four.
Malhotra came through a tough five-game encounter with Gordon in
round once and followed that up with an impressive 3-1 win over
Harrity – who is ranked almost 100 places above him on the World
Second seeded Karim Ali Fathi will be facing Malhotra in the
semi-final thanks to a routine win over Eric Galvez. The first game
was a tricky 12-10 win, but the next two games were comfortable for
the Egyptian while top seeded compatriot Omar Abdel Meguid fought
off the challenge of Arturo Salazar to book his place in the final
Looking to eliminate Meguid will be Raphael Kandra. The German was
two games down before mounting an impressive comeback to defeat
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 3-2. Kandra will be confident of causing an
upset, but the question remains as to how much energy the
quarter-final will have sapped from his legs.
Last Year's Runner-up Meguid Leads Oregon Open
The main draw of the Oregon Open, PSA M15 event gets off to a start
on Wednesday February 3 with Egyptian World No.33 Omer Abdel Meguid
heading a highly competitive draw in Portland, United States.
Meguid, who last out to Ryan Cuskelly in last year's final, enters
the tournament full of confidence after his recent fine form and is
looking for a second successive PSA World Tour title after
triumphing in December’s Qatar Circuit II to bring his PSA World
Tour title tally into double figures.
The 27-year-old has been outside of the world’s top 30 players since
October 2015 but a good performance in Portland could give him the
impetus he needs to break that barrier again.
Giza-born Meguid will line up against Malaysia’s Addeen Idrakie in
the opening round and will look to take advantage of Idrakie’s tired
legs after he came through a gruelling 124-minute marathon against
Charlie Johnson to book his place in the main draw.
Karim Ali Fathi is without a PSA World Tour title since 2014 but two
semi-final finishes towards the end of last year is sure to leave
him in good stead for his first PSA World Tour event of 2016.
The 22-year-old meets local favourite Julian Illingworth in the
first round. Illingworth originally lost to Valentino Bong in the
final qualifying stage but an injury to Shaun Le Roux means that
Illingworth will take his place in the main draw.
Germany’s Raphael Kandra had a superb 2015 in which he captured
three PSA World Tour titles and he started this year off in style,
winning the Bankers Hall Club Pro Am at his last event.
Kandra is one of the heavy title favourites and will need to advance
beyond Pakistan’s Shahjahan Khan in his opening fixture if he is to
live up to those expectations.
Flying the American flag is Todd Harrity who, in recent months, has
emerged as his country’s leading player. The Bryn Mawr native
impressed in the latter stages of last year and claimed a runner-up
spot at the President Gold Cup International Squash Tournament back
in November. He failed to make it out of the qualifying stages of
the recent Motor City Open but will be hoping that he can use the
fervent support of his home crowd to cheer him on to victory in
Portland. Bong awaits Harrity in round one.
Bong And Idrakie Take Out
Home Players In Oregon Open Qualifying
Malaysian duo Valentino Bong and Addeen Idrakie overcame United
States pair Julian Illingworth and Charlie Johnson, respectively on
American soil to advance to the main draw of the Oregon Open, PSA
Bong, who also dashed home hopes in the opening round of qualifying
when he defeated Nicolas Talbott, took on local star Illingworth in
a high-octane opening to the match that saw both players tied up at
a game apiece. From that point on though, mistakes started to creep
in to Illingworth’s game and Bong took full advantage with some
stylish winners allowing him to complete the victory with an 11-8,
9-11, 11-6, 11-6 scoreline. Illingworth has benefitted from an
injury to main draw player Shaun Le Roux though and will take his
place in the next round against second seed Karim Ali Fathi.
He will go up against a third consecutive United States player in
the first round of the main draw, the nation’s number one player
Todd Harrity, in what looks set to be a difficult encounter for the
Idrakie’s clash with Johnson, meanwhile, was a mammoth 124-minute
affair that saw both combatants partake in a series of
energy-sapping rallies. After falling to a 2-0 deficit, Idrakie
roared back with a performance that showcased his impressive mental
fortitude to take three games without reply, including a brutal
16-14 triumph in the fourth. The World No.125 is rewarded with a tie
against the main draw’s top seed, Omar Abdel Meguid, who is
searching for a second successive PSA World Tour title.
Finland’s Matias Tuomi has also secured his place in the next round
after beating Sean Conroy 3-1 and he moves on to face Eric Galvez
for a place in the main draw’s quarter-final.
Elsewhere, Indian 26-year-old Vikram Malhotra followed up his
impressive dismantling of Sunny Seth in the first round of
qualifying to down Faraz Khan in straight games. Malhotra, who won
the Betty Griffin Memorial Florida Open on his most recent PSA World
Tour appearance, will kick off his main draw campaign against