Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Amina Orfi’s stunning run ended by Tinne Gilis in Squash On Fire Open final

Fifteen-year-old Amina Orfi’s incredible run at the Squash On Fire Open in Washington DC was finally brought to an end in the final by Belgium’s Tinne Gilis.

Orfi, the world junior champion and recent British Junior Open title winner, was given a wildcard for the PSA World Tour Bronze event and blitzed her way through the draw with wins against England’s Lucy Beecroft, Malaysia’s former world junior champion Sivasangari Subramaniam, fifth seed Nada Abbas and second seed Sabrina Sobhy.

Based at the Gezira Sporting Club and coached by Ahmed Effat and Abdelfattah Fahim, Egypt’s Orfi is set to take the top echelons of the PSA women’s rankings by storm.

Prior to the Squash On Fire Open final, Orfi had gone 17 matches without defeat, racking up three titles in the process on the PSA Challenger Tour.

World No.13 Gilis was to prove one obstacle too far for Orfi, though. The Belgian won the opening six points of the contest with some sublime drops into the front left corner. Some lovely boasts got the Egyptian up and running on the scoreboard, but the world No.13 took the opening game 11-9.

From there, it was more comfortable for Gilis, who was able to manoeuvre the ball and her opponent around the court. Orfi showed glimpses of why she had reached the final, but the Belgian was too strong in the end, winning in straight games to claim her maiden PSA World Tour title.

“I still can’t believe it to be honest. I played this tournament with no expectations, I just wanted to play well and enjoy my squash again! I think that’s what I did today!” Gilis explained.

Squash On Fire Open 2023 champions Tinne Gilis and Victor Crouin

“She has been playing unreal squash! She is only 15-years-old, coming from the qualifying tournament to beat everyone in the bottom half of the draw. It is very impressive for a 15-year-old! I knew I had to be on my toes today, and that this match would be physical. I am happy with the way I played, and that I managed to win in three.

“This is the first time I had ever seen her play so I didn’t know what to expect. I watched her match with Sabrina [Sobhy] which was very physical. It was a 70-minute match so I was hoping she would be feeling it!

“Winning a Bronze tournament was really something I wanted to achieve this season. I didn’t know when that was going to happen because I was struggling with some injuries and stuff. I am so happy that I managed to reset, keep on training because it has been mentally hard. I made sure I could play this tournament because I love this tournament, everyone around here, so it makes me extra happy to win my first Bronze tournament here in Washington, D.C.”

The men’s title was won by Frenchman Victor Crouin after he defeated Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini in a four-game contest. The pair had met just 11 days previously in a quarter final at the Oxford Properties Canadian Men’s Open, but this time, silverware was on the line.

“I am very relieved,” said Crouin. “It has been a long four weeks, with the French Championships, then playing in Calgary. That was bittersweet because I lost in the final after playing some great squash all week.

“I came here with the title in my mind. I got off to a scrappy start with a five-game against Dimi [Steinmann], and now I am standing here with the title. It is pretty amazing how things can turn sometimes! I stayed confident, believed in myself and seized the opportunity.”

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