Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Youssef Abdalla faces top seed Steve Finitsis in Kent Open crunch

Back to the revision as Evans tumbles to tricky, flicky rival
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

Mid-court mayhem as Youssef Abdalla overcomes James Evans
Mid-court mayhem as Youssef Abdalla overcomes James Evans. Picture by KIM ROBERTS

Youssef Abdalla ended the run of The Mote’s James Evans and was rewarded with a tie against top seed Steve Finitsis in the first round of the Select Gaming Kent Open.

George Parker overcame Reuben Phillips and now meets Ben Coleman. James Earles’ reward for beating Sam Ellis is a tie with number two seed Jonathan Kemp, while Mike Harris faces American Todd Harrity after surviving a marathon match with Phil Nightingale. 

Harris led by two games to love before Nightingale mounted a massive recovery to take the match to a fifth game. It was a case of Spandex Ballet with Nightingale dressed in his trademark leggings. Even when he is tired his phenomenal reach keeps him in the rallies, but Harris regained his control to take the fifth 11-5 to clinch victory in 72 minutes.


Abdalla won the first seven points of the match to silence a packed gallery who had come to to support home hero Evans. The Invicta Grammar School head boy worked his way into the match and the second game was a massive battle. Evans led 8-5 and survived a flurry of points from Abdalla to win it 12-10..

However, the effort drained his reserves of energy and Abdalla was able to build a big lead at the start of the third and fourth games as his tired opponent struggled to find any rhythm.

Parker played solid, powerful squash to topple the higher-ranked Phillips, who announced after the match that he was taking a long break from the game this summer.

Earles will fancy a crack at number two seed Kemp, who recently announced his impending retirement from the PSA Tour. But Ellis was kicking himself after squandering an 8-2 lead in the second game. Earles powered through the third as Ellis found his touch and control deserted him. .  

Select Gaming Kent Open Qualifying Finals:

Mike Harris bt Phil Nightingale 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 8-11, 11-5 (72 mins)
Youssef Abdalla bt James Evans 11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4 (40 mins)
George Parker bt Reuben Phillips 11-13, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (41 mins)
James Earles bt Sam Ellis 11-8, 13-11, 11-3 (34 mins)

First Round Draw (with revised court times)

(2) Jonathan Kemp v (Q) James Earles Ct 1 20.30
(Q) George Parker v (5) Ben Coleman Ct 2 18.00
(8) Adil Maqbool v Richie Fallows Ct 1 19.45
Tom Ford v (4) Greg Lobban Ct 2 19.45
(3) Charles Sharpes v (WC) Steven London Ct 1 19.00
(Q) Michael Harris v (7) Todd Harrity Ct 2 18.45
(6) Declan James v Chris Fuller Ct 1 18.15
(Q) Youssef Abdalla v (1) Steve Finitsis Ct 1 17.30


Pictures by KIM ROBERTS


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