Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Curtis Malik fights back to beat Ben Coleman for his fifth PSA Challenger title of the season

‘Delighted to win from 2-0 and 9-7 down but I’d rather not play four five-setters in a row,’ says Curtis
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

Curtis Malik won his fifth PSA Challenger Tour title of the season after fighting back from two games down to beat the experienced Ben Coleman in the final of the Ampito Hove Open.

Sister Torrie, the top seed in the women’s event, was unable to make it a family double as she went down to young Egyptian Zeina Zein.

The 17-year-old No.6 seed Zein, just 5ft 2in tall from Alexandria, diligently applied herself throughout three tough games.

Torrie, 5ft 10in tall and a few months older at 18, could not match the form she had reached in the earlier rounds as the Egyptian won 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.

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Curtis Malik, playing in his seventh PSA Final this season, started slowly against the former World No.43 and before long was two games down but managed to work his opponent quite hard with long and gruelling rallies.

Malik, although tired from a succession of five-setters, won the third and then the fourth to draw level.

His patient tactics started to kick in and he produced a very strong finish to take the fifth game 11-4 to complete victory against the event’s No.3 seed in 87 minutes.

His fifth PSA Challenger Tour title was an amazing achievement having won all four rounds 3-2 with every match lasting over an hour. And to win the title on home territory, in good old Sussex by the sea, made it even more special.

Curtis told me this morning: “Extremely pleased to win my fifth PSA Title this season. I knew I had some good form coming into the event so I just wanted to keep that going and play the best I could each day.

“Every match was a big challenge in their own respective ways during the week. From the first round right through to the final I went to five games which is something I’ve never done (and don’t plan on doing again)!

“To be able to back up match after match and get wins over opponents I hadn’t beaten before makes this title even more special to me. And the way I came through that match in the final after being 2-0 and 9-7 down proves to myself that I can find a way despite all the physical and mental fatigue.

“Having a tournament so close to home is always great to play; having the support of family and friends really pushes you on.

“Overall, another great tournament for me with lots of great matches and I want to use this to continue pushing on up the rankings into the top 50 and further.”

Ampito Hove Open 2022, Hove Fitness & Squash Club, Hove, Sussex, England.

Men’s $10k Final:
[6] Curtis Malik (ENG) bt [3] Ben Coleman (ENG) 2-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (87m)
Women’s $6k Final:
[8] Zeina Zein (EGY) bt [1] Torrie Malik (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (26m)

Pictures courtesy of Team Malik
Full results available from www.squashinfo.com


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