Thursday, November 30, 2023

PSA: Simpson channels his energy to reach Jersey final

Chris Simpson floors Steve Finitsis. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS
Chris Simpson floors Steve Finitsis. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS

PSA $10k Jersey Classic, Semi-Finals:

[1] Chris Simpson (Ggy) 3-0 [4] Steve Finitsis (Aus) 11/4, 11/7, 11/6 (50m)

[3] Charles Sharpes (Eng) 3-0 [2] Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) 11/9, 11/7, 11/7 (49m)

Simpson and Sharpes set up all-English Jersey final

The final of the inaugural Jersey Squash Classic will be won by an Englishman after top seed Chris Simpson and third seed Charles Sharpes both came through tough semi-finals in straight games at the Jersey Squash and Racketball Club in St Clement.

Simpson, from neighbouring Guernsey, faced third seeded Steve Finitsis, who had blasted his way through his opening two matches, dominating both with ferocious attacking squash.

The big Aussie made his intentions clear as he hammered away a winning nick on the first rally of the semi-final, but Simpson was so effective at neutralising the game that had destroyed Finitsis’ previous opponents that it wasn’t until midway through the third that he managed to hit another.

Not that it was ever easy, Simpson had to work very hard to keep his opponent in check, but he did so very effectively, maintaining a lead throughout the three games. A 6-1 advantage in the first was converted 11-4. he was always a point or two ahead during the second which he took 11-7, and he pulled clear from midway through the third as Finitsis started finding the tin more frequently.

Fittingly perhaps the final point was an attempted kill by Finitsis which found the tin to give Simpson the game 11-6 and a place in the final after 50 minutes of intense action which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

“Steve is very talented, and he can find the nick from anywhere, especially on his forehand,” said Simpson, “so I knew I needed to keep the ball out of the middle and keep him deep as much as I could. When I took it short I tried to play it softly to take away the pace he likes, and I’m pleased with the way I managed to execute that.

“I’m pleased to bi in the final of course,” he concluded, “but I’ll be more pleased if I can win it!”

In the second semi-final second seed Omar Abdel Aziz, who had won his afternoon quarter-final in about half the time it took Sharpes to progress, was, like Finitsis, unable to dominate his opponent this time around.

Sharpes played steady, solid squash, going for shots when he could but never as often as the Egyptian, and it was very effective as he took advantage of some Aziz errors in rthe first game to establish an 8-5 lead. Aziz won a huge rally to level at 9-all, fistpumping away with a determined look on his face, but it was Sharpes who took the next two points to take the lead.

The Englishman was always ahead during the next two games, Aziz’s best efforts, punctuated with some crisp winners but more errors, falling short as Sharped delightedly clinched a place in the final, winning the last two games 11-7, 11-7 aster 49 minutes.

“As a top 30 player he’s very experienced and has some great shots,” said Sharpes, “but I was really happy with how I managed to contain him and I’m so pleased to get through to the final, especially in three games.

“Tournaments like this are great for giving us the chance to play people like Omar and Chris so thanks to everyone involved for putting it on!”

Full coverage and photos:  and


Jersey Classic Quarter-Finals

[1] Chris Simpson (Ggy) 3-0 [Q] Rory Pennell (Eng) 11/7, 11/5, 11/4 (25m)

[4] Steve Finitsis (Aus) 3-0 Johan Bouquet (Fra) 11/4, 11/3, 11/6 (22m)

[3] Charles Sharpes (Eng) 3-0 Aqeel Rehman (Aut) 11/6, 11/6, 13/11 (53m)

[2] Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) 3-0 Arthur Gaskin (Irl) 11/7, 11/2, 11/7 (34m)

Seeds safely through to semis in Jersey

Two quickfire quarter-finals to start off the third day of play ion the inaugural PSA $10k Jersey Classic at Jersery Squash and Racketball Club in St Clements.

Big Aussie Steve Finitsis continued his impressive form of yesterday as he powered past Frenchman Johan Bouquet, firing in hard hit winners from all over the court. Finitsis powered to leads of 7-0 in the first and 8-0 in the second and although the Frenchman managed to stay with the pace in the early part of the third, there was ultimately no stopping Finitsis as he won in just over 20 minutes.

“Johan wasn’t moving as well as he can,” admitted Finitsis, “he’s just back from injury so I wanted to make sure I started out fast and kept the pressure on, not letting him get a look in if I could help it.

“I’m happy to get off pretty quickly and get ready to play Chris tonight, it should be a tough one.”

It didn’t take top seed Chris Simpson much longer than that to end the run of qualifier Rory Pennell, who after a tough opening game started to feel the effects of his three previous matches. From 6-all in the first Simpson pulled away and took the second and third games with some ease.

“I knew that Rory has had a tough tournament so far,” said Simpson, “so I wanted to try to make him work as hard as possible for the first 10 or 15 minutes and that paid dividends.”

For Rory that may well have been his last match as a professional: “I’m actually playing as well as I ever have at the moment, and I’ve had two good tournament sin a row,” he said, “but it’s just too much of a struggle, I need to earn some money now!”

The seeded players in the bottom half of the draw also made it through to the semi-finals, also in straight games, but Charles Sharpes and Omar Abdel Aziz were both made to work harder, Sharpes especially so.

The Englishman took the first two games against Aqeel Rehman 11/6, 11/6 but that scoreline didn’t do justice to the toiughness of the match or the effort that the Austrian was putting in. The third kept up the same pattern of play but Rehman held his own on the scoreboard too, earning a game ball at 10-9.

Sharpes continued to press though, and eventually claimed his three-nil win on a second match ball after 53 minutes of tough action.

“We’d played before so I knew what to expect,” said the fourth seed, “but that third game was like three games in one, I was very happy to win that one!”

Second seed Omar Abdel Aziz enjoyed spells of dominance against Irish number one Arthur Gaskin, who managed to stem the flow of Egyptian attacks coming his way for spells in the first and third games, but Aziz had too many shots and too much speed to be denied.

“I had a good sleep and felt much fresher today,” said the Egyptian. “I’m getting used to the court, it’s very nice, and I wanted to get off as quickly as I could, two matches in a day is tough.”

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