Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mueller delight at Finnish Open

Tuominen’s super six challenge falls at final hurdle in Finland

Mueller Tuominen

World number 28 Nicolas Mueller ended a four year hoodoo to win his eighth PSA Tour title at the Finnish Open and end Olli Tuominen’s hopes of a second title in as many weeks on home soil.

Mueller, whose last tournament success came at the Capitol St-Cloud Hec Squash Open in 2010, survived a late fightback to battle past the Finnish number one 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10 at the Shopping Center Stella in Mikkeli, Finland.

Second seed Tuominen won a record 15th successive Finnish National title earlier this month and earned his sixth appearance in the Finnish Open final since 2008 after despatching Egypt’s third seed Omar Abdel Aziz just 24 hours earlier.

However, the 34-year-old from Helsinki trailed the Swiss number one after losing a tight first game tie-break in 18 minutes and faced a seemingly insurmountable task after falling to an 11-5 defeat in a one-sided second game.

But Mueller, who needed four games to overcome fifth seed Fares Mohamed Dessouki of Egypt in the semi-finals, surrendered the ascendancy in the third game as Tuominen halved the deficit to keep his hopes of a sixth Finnish Open title alive.

Mueller, though, fought back and despite squandering two match balls at 10-8, the seven-time Swiss National champion clinched the tie-break 12-10 in a repeat of the opening game to mark his 10th PSA Tour final with victory at the PSA Challenger 15 event.


[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1 [2] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10

Olli Tuominen was denied a sixth Savcor Finnish Open title when he lost out to Nicolas Mueller in the final in Mikkeli.
Olli Tuominen was denied a sixth Finnish Open title after falling to Nicolas Mueller in the final in Mikkeli.

Pictures courtesy of the Finnish Open


Semi-Finals report: Tuominen set for Mueller test in Finland final

Olli Tuominen (left) barely surrendered control in his semi-final encounter against Omar Abdel Aziz (right)

Defending champion Olli Tuominen will face top seed Nicolas Mueller in the final of the Finnish Open, after the Finnish number two seed eased past Omar Abdel Aziz of Egypt in straight games at the Shopping Center Stella in Mikkeli.

Tuominen, a 15-time Finnish National champion, fought back from a sizeable deficit in the second game before recording an 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 victory over the third seed, while Swiss number one Mueller battled past fifth seed Fares Mohamed Dessouki in four games to advance into Sunday’s finale.

Tuominen will be bidding for a sixth title at the PSA Challenger 15 event and appeared in ominous form after cruising past Aziz at the semi-finals stage. 

The 34-year-old from Helsinki took the opening game and despite trailing 7-2 in the second, the world number 24 won eight successive points before doubling his advantage with his second game ball. 

Tuominen continued in the ascendancy during the third game and sealed victory in 37 minutes to progress through to his 20th PSA Tour final. 

Earlier in the afternoon, Mueller booked his place in his first Tour final since 2012 after defeating world number 63 Dessouki 11-3, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9 in  just under an hour. 

Mueller barely survived a first round exit to qualifier Paul Coll earlier in the tournament and despite cruising through the opening game against Dessouki, the scoreline was reversed in the second as the Alexandria-based teenager drew level at one-apiece.

However, with the scores poised at six-all in the third, Mueller reeled off five points in a row to regain his advantage. And although Dessoiki fought back from 6-3 down in the fourth to level the scores at 9-9, Mueller retained his composure to remain on course for his first title since winning his seventh Swiss National Championship in April last year.

Final Draw:

[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [2] Olli Tuominen (FIN)

Semi-Final Results:

[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1 [5] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY) 11-3, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9 (58m)
[2] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-0 [3] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (37m)


Quarter-Final report: Top seeds ease into Finnish Open last four

Olli Tuominen (right) delighted his home crowd to advance into the semi-finals

Top seed Nicolas Mueller and home favourite Olli Tuominen showed few signs of battle weariness following difficult first round encounters as they marched into the semi-finals of the Finnish Open with straight game victories in Mikkeli.

Muller, the world number 28, needed five games to defeat qualifier Paul Coll in the last 16 but appeared in imperious form against German seventh seed Raphael Kandra to triumph 11-5, 11-3, 11-9.

Kandra, who finished runner-up at the Racquet Club Pro Series and Bankers Hall Club Pro Am last month, came close to halving the arrears in a tight third game but with the scores tied at nine-apiece, Mueller clinched the following two points to progress through to his second successive semi-final on the PSA Tour.

Second seed Tuominen also advanced into the last four after brushing aside number six seed Rex Hedrick of Australia 11-4, 11-8, 11-5.

The 34-year-old from Helsinki will meet fifth seed Fares Dessouki for a place in the last four, after the world number 63 caused a minor upset by convincingly beating fourth seed and fellow Egyptian Zahed Mohamed in straight games.

Dessouki needed just 32 minutes to prevail 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 and is the only player in the draw who has yet to drop a game this week.

The final last eight meeting saw Omar Abdel Aziz battle past eighth seed Jan Koukal 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 in just under an hour.

Aziz will now face Mueller on Saturday evening in his first PSA Tour semi-final since the Jersey Classic in May last year. 

Semi-Final Draw:

[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [5] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY)
[2] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [3] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)

Quarter-Finals Results:

[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0 [7] Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 (35m)
[5] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY) 3-0 [4] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 (32m)
[3] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 3-0 [8] Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (54m)
[2] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-0 [6] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)

Pictures courtesy of the Finnish Open


First Round report: Mueller scrapes through as home favourite Tuominen targets super six

Nicolas Mueller needed nearly an hour to overcome the persistent Paul Coll in the first round in Finland

Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller was forced to fightback from a 2-1 deficit before battling past New Zealand qualifier Paul Coll in the opening round of the Finnish Open in Mikkeli.

Mueller, seeded first for the PSA Challenger 15 event, looked set for a sixth first round exit in his last 10 Tour events after world number 89 Coll edged the opening and third games 11-9. 

However, the world number 28 stormed back to level the scores for a second time, before breezing through the decider to seal a 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6 success in 53 minutes.

The 24-year-old from Zurich will now meet seventh seed Raphael Kandra (pictured right) for a place in the semi-finals, after the German eased past fellow compatriot Jens Schoor in straight games. 

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed and five-time Finnish Open champion Olli Tuominen recovered from a game and 5-1 down in the second to defeat in-form Indian teenager Mahesh Mangaonkar in four games.

Mangaonkar, who celebrated success at the IMET Open and Open du Gard in December and January respectively, prevailed in a first game tie-break as Tuominen’s hopes of repeating his Finnish National success last week suffered an early blow.

Buoyed by the support of his home crowd however, the 34-year-old from Helsinki fought back and inflicted Mangaonkar’s first defeat on the PSA Tour since the Hong Kong Open to setup a last eight meeting with sixth seed Rex Hedrick.

Scotland’s Greg Lobban won the opening game against Hedrick in their last 16 encounter but surrendered the initiative thereafter as the Australian secured a 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 victory in 69 minutes. 

Elsewhere, the second Finnish representative in the draw Matias Tuomi seemed hampered by a recent foot injury as fourth seed Zahed Mohamed eased through in just 20 minutes against the 28-year-old wildcard.

The Egyptian will next face fellow compatriot and fifth seed Fares Mohamed Dessouki, who powered past qualifier Declan James of England in straight games.

Dutch qualifier Sebastiaan Weenink also bowed out after falling to Czech number one Jan Koukal 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12. The eighth seed will meet third Omar Abdel Aziz in the quarter-finals, after the Egyptian beat Qatari qualifier Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in four games. 

Quarter-Finals Draw:

[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [7] Raphael Kandra (GER)
[4] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [5] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY)
[3] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) v [8] Jan Koukal (CZE)
[2] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [6] Rex Hedrick (AUS)

First Round Results:

[1] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2 [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6 (53m)
[7] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0 Jens Schoor (GER) 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (44m)
[5] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY) 3-0 [Q] Declan James (ENG) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (34m)
[4] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0 [WC] Matias Tuomi (FIN) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (20m)
[3] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 3-1 [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 13-11 (52m)
[8] Jan Koukal (CZE) 3-1 [Q] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12 (50m)
[6] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-1 Greg Lobban (SCO) 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (69m)
[2] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-1 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (54m)

Qualifying Finals Results:

Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) 3-0 Ammar Altamimi (KUW) 11-7, 12-10, 14-12 (44m)
Declan James (ENG) 3-0 Ben Coleman (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (54m)
Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0 Joan Lezaud (FRA) 11-7, 11-7, 11-1 (37m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2 Alejandro Garbi Caro (ESP) 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (68m)

First Qualifying Round Results:

Ammar Altamimi (KUW) 3-2 Jaakko Vahamaa (FIN) 11-9, 7-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5 (49m)
Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) 3-0 Markus Vanhanen (FIN) 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (21m)
Declan James (ENG) 3-1 Johan Bouquet (FRA) 13-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8 (63m)
Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0 Tatu Knuutila (FIN) 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (29m)
Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0 Jami Aijanen (FIN) 11-8, 11-5, 11-2 (23m)
Joan Lezaud (FRA) 3-0 Erno Teitti (FIN) 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (25m)
Alejandro Garbi Caro (ESP) 3-0 Kristian Rautiainen (FIN) 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (35m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-1 Miko Aijanen (FIN) 11-5, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4 (36m)

Pictures courtesy of the Finnish Open 

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