Top seeds Steve Finitsis and Jonathan Kemp will meet in the final of the Select Gaming Kent Open after seeing off Todd Harrity and Richie Fallows in two entertaining semi-finals.
Finitsis overcame Harrity 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 in 38 minutes of controlled driving. Harrity knew what to expect after seeing Finitsis dominate earlier opponents but could not match the quality or the consistency of the Australian world No.50.
Harrity battled manfully but was too frequently worked into awkward contortions trying to retrieve situations set up by his opponent’s relentless accuracy.
Finitsis has worked out all the angles and nuances of The Mote’s showcourt, and his backhand crosscourts frequently found a dying width and length. The straight stuff is phenomenal. The crosscourts, to a dying length, are more difficult, but he’s mastered the pace and angles to perfection.
It will be a fascinating final against Jonathan Kemp. Kemp knows those angles off by heart. He overcame the fierce resistance posed by Richie Fallows in a hugely entertaining contest that was full of top-quality squash with endless variety.
Fallows took on Kemp in drop-shot contests, matched him for width and length, and for most of the game kept his trap shut, which was a major improvement on the previous evening.
Kemp, however, works the ball into areas of the court that can embarrass even the best of players, and his tight, soft backhand drops and volley drops, on to Fallows’ forehand, clung so tightly to the side wall that Richie had nothing to hit.
It’s a fascinating concept, to hit drop shots deeper into the court, into an area where 99.9 per cent of adult males want to rush in and bash a big crosscourt, only to find there’s nothing to hit. It works. And learning how to deal with it is all part of Richie’s education.
He has performed admirably this week, but Kempy clearly is not ready to retire just yet. Just when you think he’s looking tired, he produces the most phenomenal array of shots to work his way back into a position of control.
Tomorrow’s final wil be his last PSA match. It promises to be a classic. Playing Finitsis will be fascinating contrast of styles.
I hope Fallows will be back next year to build on the tremendous progress he has displayed this week. He has an important role to fulfil as a motivational presence for the next generation of young, ambitious players.
Kemp, meanwhile, shines a light for the game as a smiling, technical genius.
(1) Steve Finitsis (AUS) beat Todd Harrity (USA) 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (38 mins)
(2) Jonathan Kemp ((ENG) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (41 mins)
Pictures by KIM ROBERTS