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Fathi Fells Hinds For Madison Title

Madison Open 2013
26-29 Sep, Wisconsin, Usa, $10k
Round One
[1] Shaun le Roux (Rsa)
11/2, 11/6, 13/11
Dane Sharp (Can)
Dane Sharp
5-11, 14-12, 11-6, 13-11
Joel Hinds
Joel Hinds
11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (65m)
Peter Creed
Joel Hinds
11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10 (98m)
Karim Ali Fathi
Geoffrey Demont (Fra)
11/5, 11/3, 2/11, 11/6
Joel Hinds (Eng)
Peter Creed (Wal)
 11-8, 11-8, 11-9
Anthony Graham (Eng)
Peter Creed
11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9 (90m)
Charles Sharpes
[4] Charles Sharpes (Eng)
11/3, 11/7, 13/15, 11/6
Erik Tepos Valtierra (Mex)
Paul Coll (Nzl)
11/8, 12/14, 11/6, 12/10
[3] Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
Karim Ali Fathi
11-3, 3-11, 11-4, 11-7
Ben Coleman
Karim Ali Fathi
11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (51m)
Martin Knight
Ben Coleman (Eng)
11/6, 7/11, 11/9, 7/11, 11/5
Gonzalo Miranda (Arg)
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
11/7, 11/5, 11/9
Clinton Leeuw (Rsa)
Clinton Leeuw
13-11, 12-10, 11-5
Martin Knight
Nathan Lake (Eng)
5/11, 11/3, 11/5, 12/10
[2] Martin Knight (Nzl)

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 10 Madison Open, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Fathi Fells Hinds For Madison Title

Rising Egyptian squash star Karim Ali Fathi saved a match-ball against Englishman Joel Hinds in the final of the Madison Open to win the PSA Challenger 10 event at Madison Squash Workshop in Madison in the US state of Wisconsin - and claim the sixth PSA World Tour title of his career.

Third seed Ali Fathi (pictured with Hinds below in the final), the 20-year-old world No56 from Cairo who upset No2 seed Martin Knight to reach the final, took the first two games.

But unseeded Hinds, 26 and ranked more than 30 places lower, battled back to draw level - and opened up a 9-5 lead in the decider.

"Karim seemed to have pulled an muscle on the inside of his thigh," explained Egyptian club member Ahmed Afifi. "He walked around the court for a few minutes. Everyone thought it was all over for Karim, and he himself later admitted he thought the same.

"Ironically, this worked to his advantage; it took off the pressure. He then went on to produce his best points of the tournament, playing solid offensive squash that you only see from the players ranked in the top 20. He climbed back to 9-9.

"Joel got a match ball at 10-9, but Karim was simply on fire by now and was not going to let go. He won three points in a row to win the best game in the tournament."

The 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10 triumph in 98 minutes marks the first Tour title of the year for Ali Fathi - but the sixth of his career.

Jubilant tournament promoter Damon Bourne described the match as "the best final in the Madison Open five year history".

Image courtesy of Tom McInvaille


Hinds & Ali Fathi Make Madison Final

Egypt's Karim Ali Fathi and Englishman Joel Hinds will meet in a surprise Madison Open final after both produced straight games' upsets over higher-ranked opponents in the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event in its fourth year at Madison Squash Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Third seed Ali Fathi, a 20-year-old from Cairo playing only his second Tour event in the USA, faced experienced New Zealander Martin Knight, the 29-year-old No2 seed who was bidding to reach his fourth Tour final this month - and who arrived in Wisconsin fresh from winning the Charlottesville Challenger in Virginia.

In a match described by Egyptian club member Ahmed Afifi as "Pure Squash; Pure entertainment" - and one in which there was "not a single decision by the ref the entire match" - Ali Fathi (pictured below, right, with Knight) brushed aside world No53 Knight 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 in 51 minutes.

"Quite happy to be through in three games," said Ali Fathi after reaching his first Tour final of the year, but the eighth of his career. "I knew that if I just played steady, I would lose.

"I had to be aggressive and force the issue if I wanted to win," explained the world No56. "Looking forward to the final tomorrow. It will be tough! Joel is very good."

Hinds, a 26-year-old from Birmingham, played fellow 26-year-old and fellow non-seed Peter Creed, the Welshman who ousted fourth seed Charles Sharpes in the previous round.

"That was hard work," said world No87 Hinds after the 11-8, 11-7, 11-4 victory in 65 minutes which takes him into his tenth career Tour final.

"Peter seemed to play the beginning of each better, but I think I played the ends better!

"Looking forward to tomorrow. I'm sure it will be hard. Karim's a good player."

Image courtesy of Dan Masliah

Creed Cracks Sharpes In Madison Upset

Unseeded Welshman Peter Creed produced the biggest upset on the second day of action in the Madison Open in the USA when he ousted England's No4 seed Charles Sharpes to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event in its fourth year at Madison Squash Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin.

"First game was back and forth all the way to nine-all, until Peter broke free to take it 11-9," reported event promoter Damon Bourne. "Charles took six points in a row from five-all to take the second.

"Creed reasserted himself in the third and took it 11-5. The fourth was close and went to Charles. Pete was rolling in the fifth, but visibly tightened up at 9-5. He focused a bit, but finally won 11-9."

Creed, ranked five places below Sharpes, was not entirely happy with his game: "I didn't play as tightly as I wanted, but played well enough and was focused until 9-5 in the fifth," said the world No73 from Caerphilly after the pair's first Tour meeting.

"Then I started thinking about winning the match rather than what I was doing!"

Creed will now face another Englishman after Joel Hinds stopped Dane Sharp, the unseeded Canadian who removed top seed Shaun le Roux in the first round. Hinds, the world No87 from Birmingham, recovered from a game down to beat the higher-ranked Sharp 5-11, 14-12, 11-6, 13-11.

"I felt like I was hitting the ball really well, but tactically didn't get it right tonight," said Sharp later. "Needed to construct rallies more maturely. Joel played the big points well. Credit to him. He was tougher on the day."

The other semi will be the match predicted by the draw, between second seed Martin Knight and third-seeded Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi.

New Zealander Knight claimed the night's only straight games win, beating South African Clinton Leeuw 13-11, 12-10, 11-5.

"That first game was crucial in terms of momentum," said the 29-year-old world No53 from Auckland. "That I was finally able to win made a big difference. The third started the same as the first, but Clinton couldn't bring it back. Always happy to win in three. That was hard work."

Ali Fathi celebrated his first semi-final appearance in a US Tour event when he beat England's Ben Coleman 11-3, 3-11, 11-4, 11-7.

"I needed to be steady throughout," said the 20-year-old from Cairo afterwards. "I lost some of that in the second, but was able to get it back in the third and fourth.

"Now I'm getting ready for the old guy!"

Un-Happy Birthday For Le Roux At Madison

Top-seeded South African Shaun le Roux received the birthday present he did not want when he lost in straight games to Canada's Dane Sharp in the opening round of the Madison Open, the PSA World Tour Challenger 10 squash event in its fourth year at Madison Squash Workshop in Madison in the US state of Wisconsin.

"Sharp was on the ball quicker and put it into the nick at will sometimes," reported event promoter Damon Bourne. "Le Roux, on the other hand, seemed flat and couldn't seem to get himself in any sort of flow."

Sharp, the 28-year-old world No80 from Toronto, denied world No51 Le Roux the ideal 27th birthday celebration with his shock 11-2, 11-6, 13-11 upset.

"I felt like I played well," said the 28-year-old world No80 from Toronto. "I was getting down to the ball and played tough. I felt confident going into the match as I lost in five to Shaun in December and I've improved a lot thanks to the work I've put in with my new coach Keith Griffiths.

"I feel like I can play at a top 50 level and it feels good to prove it out there," added Sharp. "Looking forward to the weekend."

Sharp will now meet fellow non-seed Joel Hinds after the Englishman, ranked 87 in the world, beat France's Geoffrey Demont 11-5, 11-3, 2-11, 11-6.

New Zealander Martin Knight, seeded to reach his fourth PSA Tour final this month, dropped the first game to Nathan Lake but recovered to beat the Englishman 5-11, 11-3, 11-5, 12-10 - fighting back from 6-10 down in the final game.

The No2 seed from Auckland progresses to meet South African Clinton Leeuw, who defeated Mexico's Arturo Salazar 11-7, 11-5, 11-9.

Fourth seed Charles Sharpes also overcame Mexican opposition with an 11-3, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 win over Erik Tepos Valtierra.

"Happy to win today," said the 21-year-old Englishman who was runner-up to Knight in last week's Charlottesville Challenger. "Bit disappointed to let it go to four in the end. I lost concentration in the third game, but I am happy to get through and progress in the tournament."

Another English success was provided by Ben Coleman, the unseeded 22-year-old from Essex who twice stemmed fight backs by Argentina's Gonzalo Miranda to win 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5.

"I am relieved to have won, actually," said world No85 Coleman following the match. "He played very well and it was just a really tough match. I feel good now - but don't ask me about tomorrow!"