Thursday, December 7, 2023

Welsh stars Joel Makin and Tesni Evans through to Malaysian Open semi-finals

By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor) and JONATHAN SMITH (PSA) in Kuala Lumpur

Welsh stars Joel Makin and Tesni Evans are through to the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open.

Makin beat Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez in a three-game battle lasting more than an hour and Evans overcame Melissa Alves of France 12-10 in the fifth in a battle that took 70 minutes to complete.

England’s Patrick Rooney lost in just 22 minutes to Mazen Hesham of Egypt.

Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller and Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold pulled off impressive upsets as the semi-finalists were decided at the National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Swiss No.1 Mueller showcased a brilliant attacking range, including an inspired reaction shot that drew gasps from the crowd, as he knocked out No.4 seed Marwan ElShorbagy of Egypt.

Mueller dominated the first game and caught the Egyptian cold as he fired the ball in short with superb accuracy and pace, not giving the World No.6 any chance to get into the opening game.

After taking the first game 11-3, Mueller edged the second 11-9 to build a commanding lead.

‘The Jackal’ hit back with a gritty 12-10 in the third game but could do nothing to stop the in-form Swiss from closing out the match with an 11-7 win in the fourth.

“I’m very happy I won that match. I’ve been here at least 15 times; I think the first time I was here was 15 years ago. I always feel very welcome. I like the court, the atmosphere and the food, most importantly! The people are very nice, so I’m very glad to win that match,” Mueller said afterwards.

Mazen Hesham powers past Patrick Rooney

‘The Swiss Rocket’ will face top seed Tarek Momen after the Egyptian ended the giant-killing run of popular Malaysian World No.83 Addeen Idrakie with a comprehensive 29-minute 3-0 victory.

Also through to the last four are No.3 seed Mazen Hesham and No.2 seed Joel Makin, who will face each other after recording 3-0 wins over England’s Patrick Rooney and Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez, respectively.

In the women’s draw, Malaysia’s No.8 seed Arnold came from behind to beat Egypt’s No.4 seed Nadine Shahin.

In an uneven match, Arnold – playing in her ninth Malaysian Open – fell behind after dropping the first game 11-6, only to come storming back in the second with a brutal 11-1 win.

Both players went on scoring runs in the third game, with Arnold better able to manage the flow of the match with a hard-fought 11-9 win.

In the fourth game, which was briefly interrupted by a shoulder injury to Shahin, Arnold was able to complete the upset, with the 26-year-old recording another 11-9 win to proceed to the semi-finals for the first time since 2019.

Afterwards, Arnold said: “It feels great. It’s always been a close battle between me and Nadine and I’m really happy to get the win today.

Tesni Evans and Melissa Aves

“I think I came on a bit more aggressive after the first game. I started a bit slow and had to change it up.”

Arnold will play Belgian No.2 seed Nele Gilis in the next round after the World No.14 downed defending champion and No.5 seed Aifa Azman of Malaysia in straight games.

Completing the draw is Wales’ No.3 seed Tesni Evans, who came through a tough battle with French No.6 seed Melissa Alves 3-2, and top seed Olivia Fiechter of the USA, who beat Egypt’s Yathreb Adel in straight games.

Malaysian Open Squash Championships, Nicol David Arena, Bukit Jalil, Malaysia..

Men’s Quarter-Finals:
[1] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Addeen Idrakie (MAS) 3-0: 11-1, 11-9, 11-6 (29m)
[6] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7 (41m)
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [8] Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (22m)
[2] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [5] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 14-12 (64m)

Men’s Semi-Finals:
[1] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [6] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [2] Joel Makin (WAL)

Women’s Quarter-Finals:
[1] Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (34m)
[3] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [6] Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-2: 12-10, 10-12, 11-3, 6-11, 12-10 (70m)
[8] Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt [4] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-9 (36m)
[2] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt [5] Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (32m)

Women’s Semi-Finals:
[1] Olivia Fiechter (USA) v [3] Tesni Evans (WAL)
[8] Rachel Arnold (MAS) v [2] Nele Gilis (BEL)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour  


Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest articles