Sunday, October 1, 2023

Top seeds make semi-finals in Cleveland Classic

Top seed Nour El Tayeb lunges for the ball against Emily Whitlock

El Tayeb v Waters and Evans v Lust in semi-finals
By Jermaine Xaba and Bob Botti in Cleveland

Top three seeds Nour El Tayeb, Tesni Evans and Alison Waters advanced to the semi-finals after dropping the opening game.

El Tayeb meets Waters in the semi-finals and Evans faces Victoria Lust, who looked sharp and focused as she beat Mariam Metwally in straight games.

Nour El Tayeb beats Emily Whitlock: 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7

Game 1: Top seed El Tayeb took a strong and measured three-point lead early on, sending Whitlock to the farthest reaches of the court. Whitlock stays close, retrieving and absorbing the Egyptian’s aggressive play. Patient play keeps her in the game and an ace on game ball gave the Englishwoman game one. 9-11.

Game 2: Renewed confidence in Whitlock. The Brit came out firing, mounting a lot of volley pressure. El Tayeb was defensively on point and able to switch into attack mode with the slightest opening. Whitlock doesn’t do much wrong but struggles to close off points owing to a combination of great defence and pinpoint accuracy from El Tayeb. Tayeb wins 11-4.

Game 3: Whitlock comes out playing straighter and tighter with varied pace. Longer points and less opportunity for El Tayeb to get on the offensive. The score stays close, EL Tayeb closes the game 12-10 with two winners to end the third game.

Game 4: El Tayeb hunts down space impressively in search of good length, forcing pace as she shifts her opponent left and right court. Credit to Whitlock who kept her composure and braced well, delivering a series of scintillating cross court drops to keep EL Tayeb honest. El Tayeb closes the match out 11-7.

Alison Waters beats Hollie Naughton 10-12, 11-4, 15-13, 11-2

Game 1: Alison on her way to workmanlike win but Hollie had other ideas and forced overtime. 12-10 Hollie.

Game 2: Alison unstoppable, 11-4.

Game 3: Hollie raises her game 6-6. Motors out to 8-6 lead. Alison evens at 9. Hollie’s lob effective. Alison forehand drops are sharp. Alison fights off three game points and takes the game 15-13

Game 4: Alison has too much for Hollie and wins 11-2. Afterwards she says: “Experience helped me in the third game.”

Victoria Lust beats Mariam Metwally 11-9, 11-7, 11-5

Game 1: Nothing adventurous early on as both players look for length. Lust engineers a very simple but effective game plan, pummelling the ball to the back court at pace, holding and changing direction. Lust wins game one 11-9.

Game 2: More of the same from Lust. Tactically and strategically sound, grinding deep and using the change of direction off her hold effectively. 11-7, Lust.

Game 3: Lust displays some very smart squash, fully aware of her attritional advantage from the 1st two games. Lust continues to work the ball deep and attack openings as they come. Metwally hustles and battles but succumbs to an 11-5 loss.

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Tesni Evans beats Mayar Hany 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5

Game 1: Hany dominate 5-1. Evans claws her way back, blunting Hany’s power 5-5. Hany persists and takes game 11-8

Game 2: Evans almost error free. Hany making a lot of them 6-2 Evans. Hany settles down. Sintillating point to lead 8-7. Evans answers in a big game and takes the game 11-9

Game 3: Hany constructing points nicely but Evans responds 4-4. Anxiety mounting. Evans up 10-8. Takes game 11-9

Game 4: Series of mistakes by both players but Hany makes more. Game to Evans 11-5. Evans wins 3-1.

PSA World Tour Bronze $51,250 Women’s Cleveland Classic 2019, Cleveland Racquet Club, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

[1] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [5] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [9/16] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 10-12, 11-4, 15-13, 11-2
[4] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [6] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-9, 11-7, 11-5
[2] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [7] Mayar Hany (EGY) 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5
[1] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [3] Alison Waters (ENG)
[2] Tesni Evans (WAL) v [4] Victoria Lust (ENG)


Pictures by ANDREA DAWSON courtesy of Cleveland Classic


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