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Egyptian Double Header at the Gibraltar PSA Challenger Tour

After 4 days of competition the PSA Gibraltar Squash championships concluded on Sunday.
In the women’s final Ireland’s Breanne Flynn faced Egypt’s 16 year old Barb Sameh in her first professional tournament. Sameh had proved her quality in the route to the final beating last year’s finalist Hana Ismail and European junior champion Amelie Haworth. Samah came out strongly with a dominating performance taking the first game 11-5 and taking a 6-3 lead in the second. Whilst Flynn attempted a comeback, Sameh was too strong, too consistent and took the game 11-6 for a two game lead. From a 3-3 start of game three, Sameh built a commanding 8-3 lead, converting her first championship ball to take the trophy. Sameh now has the very rare claim of being unbeaten in professional squash.
With a previous top 30 world ranking and a world ranking difference of 195, Egypt’s Moustafa Elsirty started the Men’s final as the clear favourite. Italy’s number 1 Yuri Farneti however had been playing some exquisite squash en route to the final and promised an excellent fight!
Farneti managed to build a 9-6 lead in the first game, but Elsirty’s shot play and unnerving ability to smash the ball into the nick levelled the game closing it out in a tie-break. The second game was evenly fought with Elsirty creeping ahead to get a 10-8 game ball. Farneti fought back and converted his first game ball to level the match. Elsirty developed a 5-2 lead in the third game which Farneti clawed back to 9-9, but could not stop Elsirty taking it 11-9 for a 2-1 lead. Elsirty slowly developed a lead in the fourth game and converted his first championship ball at 11-7 to take the title.
Also competed was the Gibraltar Open Satellite tournament – where the local and visiting amateurs could pit themselves against the professionals. In the men’s draw final, local squash hero Ivan Flores faced Spaniard Pablo Quintana Estévez. The first game was evenly fought with draining rallies pushing both player’s fitness. However, at 7-7, Quintana Estévez pulled away to take the first game 11-7. Flores started the second strongly building a 7-2 lead only for Quintana Estévez to recover to 7-7, but Flores re-applied the pressure to take the second 11-9. The third game was tight too with the players swapping the lead, but it was Quintana Estévez that was first to get a game point at 10-9 converting it to take the game. Quintana Estévez built a commanding lead in the fourth, for which Flores had no answer, Quintana Estévez taking the match 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2.
In the women’s draw, the final featured Robyn McAlpine (SCO) and Lara Newton (ENG). McAlpine took the first game comfortably with precise reliable shotmaking. This continued through the match McAlpine taking the title.

Full report and images in print edition during the week.

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