Gibraltar Chronicle Logo

PSA Challenger Tour Gibraltar – Day 1

Gibraltar welcomed back professional squash for the annual Gibraltar PSA event. Edmon Lopez looking to defend his title in the Men’s division whilst previous finalists Marta Dominguez Fernandez and James Peach were both looking to go one better.

In the Men’s division top seed Martin Svec played tournament regular Miles Jenkins. Svec took a comfortable first game 11-4 before Jenkins go into his rhythm. Jenkins however got in that rhythm in the following three games to cause the tournament’s first upset.

Number 7 seed Toufik Mekhalfi faced Velavan Senthilkumar on the other court but it was the unseeded Senthilkumar who drew first blood 11-7. Mekhalfi won the second by the same margin to level the game but Sentilkumar proved stronger on the day closing out the match to win 3-1 meaning another seed was out.

Number 5 seed Perry Malik was next on court to see if he could be the first seeded player to make the second round. In his way was the unseeded defending champion, Edmon Lopez. Lopez took the first game, but Malik levelled the game. Lopez was the superior player in final two games taking the match 3-1. Three seeds down in the first three games.

Emir Evans (3) was the first seed to make the second round in his game against Jakub Solnicky. The pair were level after the first two games but Evans proved the better player taking the final two games 11-7, 11-3.

Last year’s finalist, James Peach was seeded fourth for this year’s competition and faced fellow Englishman Stuart MacGregor. The first game went to a tie breaker with MacGregor edging Peach out 14-12. Peach responded well taking the next two games relatively comfortably. MacGregor made a battle of the fourth game, but this time Peach won the tie-break to take the match 3-1.

Daniel Mekbib (6) had a strong showing against Manu Paquemar taking all 3 games 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 to progress to the second round.

Court two saw an excellent battle between Welshmen Owain Taylor and Elliot Morris Devred. Taylor opened the scoring with the first game but Devred returned to win the next two games including a tight third game 12-10. The seeded Taylor managed to recover and take the final two games to book his ticket to the next round, winning 3-2.

The final men’s game of the day was between number 2 seed Ivan Perez and Robin Gadola. In a close fought game Gadola took the first game. The remaining games were all extremely tight and needed to be settled by tie breaks. Perez edged each one, recovering twice from 10-6 down to win the match and take the final spot in the second round as the highest remaining seed.

In the Women’s draw, Marta Dominguez Fernandez started in strong form winning the first game against Lowri Roberts 11-4. Roberts improved over the course of the next two games, but Dominguez Fernandez was too strong, taking the third game and the match on a tie break.

Number 7 seed, Lauren Baltayan put in a strong showing against Emilia Korhonen winning her game in three games. Korhonen tried to get back into the match with a tough battle for the second game (15-13), but Baltayan was too strong and booked her place in the second round.

Jacqueline Peychär and Sofia Mateos fought a hard game in their match. Mateos edged the first game in a tie break 13-11 only for Peychär to level the game. Mateos again took the lead in the third, but Peychär fought back again to level the match and the following game to see her through to the next round.

On the other court, Katriona Allen ad Klara Moller (8) had an equally tough battle. Moller took the lead, taking the first game 11-9. Allen fought back, winning a tie break 13-11 in the second only to lose the third in another tie break 15-13. Despite Moller being 2-1 ahead, Allen came out stronger in the fourth and fifth games, taking them 11-5, 11-7 to take the match.

Hana Ismail and Torrie Malik were last on court playing a gruelling five setter. Ismail looked comfortable at the start winning the first two games 11-9, 11-6 but lost her way, both with the ball and the referee resulting in Malik being awarded the third game. Malik capitalised on this to tie the match 2-2. The final game was close fought but Ismail recovered her game to take her spot in the second round winning 3-2.

Saran Nghiem , Au Yeong Wai Yhann and Kiera Marshall all had a convincing 3-0 wins over the respective opponents Caroline Lyng, Siena Hall and Marie Van Riet respectively.

Most Read

Download The App On The iOS Store