Tesni Evans bows out after five-game thriller in semi-finals
By PATRICK CHIFUNDA at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond
Canadian Samantha Cornett meets Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi in the final of the Richmond Open at the Country Club of Virginia after two dramatic semi-finals.
Sam Cornett 3-1 over Nouran El Torky 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8
This match had many tense periods for both players. One would go up in points, and then the other would claw her way back. The first was close and both women looked nervous; Sam pulled through with a little more patience. Nouran disappeared for the second game and Sam looked very in control, but then Nouran came back stronger in the third.
She made fewer mistakes and played better and more patient length to get the game. The fourth was close, Sam went far ahead towards the middle of the game by stepping up the court, but Nouran wasn’t finished and put together a great string of points. A boast error from Nouran on match ball put Sam into the finals tomorrow.
“I’m happy with how I played today and I hope to do more of the same tomorrow! Not done yet. Just waiting for my opponent now”
Misaki Kobayashi 3-2 over Tesni Evans 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-4
A seesaw 5 game battle. Two young viewers described it as “close and intense, high tension”. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, and no one knew who would take it. Misaki was playing tight drops from the start, which were either perfect or into the tin. Tesni had to tighten up her length and step up the court to take the match to Misaki. Both players’ concentration levels fluctuated throughout the match, and it brought us to a fifth. Misaki went ahead to 7-3, but not without some amazing rallies. At 8-4 to Misaki there was an injury break for Tesni, and after that it was all Misaki with her great short game.
“Pleased to get through the tough battle against Tesni. Looking forward to the final tomorrow.”
Sam Cornett 3-1 over Marie Stephan 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5
A good match with the girls moving all over the court. Marie started out making a lot of errors, but then switched to good length in the second and it was Sam’s turn to make errors. After the second Marie looked to tire a bit and Sam started playing the rallies out to take the win.
“Happy to be through to the semis tomorrow. Marie had a great tournament so I’m pleased to get through that feeling good for tomorrow. I made too many errors but finished strong with smart squash in the end.”
Misaki Kobayashi 3-0 over Vanessa Raj 11-3, 11-3, 11-4
Misaki overpowered Vanessa and threw in tons of boasts that Vanessa was slow to react to. A very strong performance from the Japanese number 1.
“It was my first time playing Vanessa, but we used to train together when I was based in Malaysia. I knew her style and I had a plan, and I’m glad it worked. I’m excited to play the semi final tomorrow.”
Nouran El Torky 3-2 over Catalina Pelaez 9-11, 11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 11-6
Catalina started out firing, hitting hard and taking control of the pace of the match. After the first the crowd was a bit quiet, as Nouran ran away with the next two games. Catalina started strong in the fourth with graceful drops, and kept it up. She played great length and drops to take it to a fifth, and a shout out to the CCV crowd is definitely required here! They were sending her energy through the glass. It got her through the fourth, but it wasn’t enough for the fifth as Nouran sped ahead to 4-0. It was an exciting game but Nouran was stronger and took the match.
“It was my first time playing Cata but I’ve seen her play before. She is such a great player and is always going to be hard to play. She is such a fighter player, dangerous to play especially when in front of her home town crowd. When I got to match ball I don’t know why I remembered the match of Ramy and Shorbagy and I was so afraid to lose. I am so happy to be in the semis and I will give it everything tomorrow inshallah.”
Tesni Evans 3-2 over Nikki Todd 9-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6
Tes started out slow in the first game and made errors, while Nikki played quite consistent especially towards the end of the game. In the second, Tes played great slow length and got on the ball a lot earlier and won an easy game. She started out similarly in the third. Nikki played better length than in the second which gave her a lot more opportunities. 2-1 Todd. In the fourth, Tes played basic squash and got herself back in, and Nikki made errors. At 4-9 to Tes, Nikki mounted a comeback and played tighter, but Tes had pulled away. In the fifth the girls exchanged errors at the start until Tes pulled away with better length and drop combinations.
“It was a tough battle, she played really well. I kind of had to just stick in there and find a way to win. I’m excited for tomorrow!”