Sunday, October 1, 2023

Ruthless Gina Kennedy sets up Houston quarter-final clash with Nour El Tayeb

By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Reporter) 

England’s Georgina Kennedy produced a clinical display to beat compatriot Jasmine Hutton to reach the quarter-finals of the South Western Women’s Open in Houston, Texas.

No.4 seed Kennedy was in ruthless mood as she won 11-7, 11-0, 11-4 at the Houston Squash Club. Hutton beat Lucy Beecroft in another all-English clash in round one but struggled to find a way into the match against the relentless Kennedy. The pace was fast throughout the match which suited the World No.8 perfectly.

Kennedy went from strength to strength as the match went on and showed just how clinical and severe she can be by taking the second game 11-0 on her way into the last eight.

Kennedy said: “The first match of the new season is always stressful. Obviously I had a really good season last season and I’m looking to build on that.

“I’d like to continue the way I was playing last season and make the back end of these kinds of events and play the squash I know that I can and execute it against the top players and give it my best shot whilst enjoying everything.”

She has an immediate opportunity to put that theory into practice as she faces Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in today’s quarter-finals.

Nour El Tayeb beats America’s Olivia Clyne to reach the quarter-finals

El Tayeb started the new season in the perfect way last week, by winning the CIB Zed Open Bronze event in Cairo. She continued that form in her opening match of the tournament as she wasted no time in defeating USA’s Olivia Clyne in just 22 minutes.

The sheer skill and accuracy of El Tayeb was too much for Clyne to handle and the American struggled to find a way to disturb the silky-smooth rhythm that the Egyptian had adopted.

El Tayeb used her deception to constantly stop and start the usually excellent movement of Clyne which created space for the Egyptian to attack.

All the top eight seeds have progressed to the quarter finals as the bottom half last 16 encounters were concluded on day three.

Salma Hany wins a thriller

The match of the day was an entertaining all-Egyptian clash in which World No.9 Salma Hany defeated a determined Nadine Shahin in a 73-minute, five-game thriller.

Hany showcased her excellent touch at the front of the court on many occasions and continued to move her compatriot into the front two corners throughout the match to earn herself a 2-1 lead.

Shahin’s fighting spirit was clear to see as she continued to chase down every ball and impose her hard-hitting game on the match. The 25-year-old used her tremendous power to blast the ball into the back corners and restrict the attacking opportunities of Hany and forced a fifth game.

After a long and tense fifth game, the higher seeded Hany earned two match balls at 10-8 and despite one being saved by Shahin, Hany closed out the match 11-9 with a superb backhand drop to book her place in the quarter finals. The No.5 seed had this to say after her win:

“Nadine is such a fighter, we played last week, I knew it was going to be tough today and I’m really proud to win this one. Some days you just have to dig in and fight, it got a little bit scrappy towards the end but I’m just really proud of myself for coming through this one.

“I had a good start last week, getting to the final of the Zed Open but I’m just trying to take it match by match and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Amanda Sobhy (USA) beats Hana Ramadan (Egypt)

Hany’s quarter final opponent will be USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy after the No.2 seed despatched Egypt’s Hana Ramadan in straight games in the day’s final match. Sobhy was feeding off the pace that Ramadan was playing at and was able to pick off the loose drives of the Egyptian to grab the match by the scruff of the neck early on.

Sobhy’s dominance continued as she started to look more and more comfortable on the Houston Squash Club glass court. Her use of height was creating numerous attacking opportunities, which she was grasping with both hands. The USA No.1 couldn’t have asked for a better start to her 2022-23 season and sealed the win in confident style winning 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 in 30 minutes.

Quarter final action from the South Western Women’s Open will take place today with all four matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV from 17:00 (GMT-5).

South Western Women’s Open, Houston Squash Club, Houston, Texas, USA.

Second Round (bottom half):
[4] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) [Bye] bt [9/16] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-0, 11-4 (30m)
[7] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [9/16] Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (22m)
[5] Salma Hany (EGY) v [9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9 (73m)
[2] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [9/16] Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)

Quarter finals (September 9):
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [6] Olivia Fiechter (USA)
[8] Emily Whitlock (WAL) v [3] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
[4] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v [7] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[5] Salma Hany (EGY) v [2] Amanda Sobhy (USA)

Pictures by Collin Poon Kong courtesy of PSA World Tour


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