It’s Malaysia and Egypt after trio of semi upsets

A dramatic semi-finals night at Hong Kong Football Club saw three of the top seeds beaten as Siva Subramaniam, Amina Orfi, Eain Yow Ng and Aly Abou Eleinen set up two Malaysia v Egypt finals in the PSA Bronze event.

Reports and quotes, plus “night of the Lion” below the results …

Hong Kong Football Club Open 2023 : SEMI-FINALS

[4] Amina Orfi (Egy) 3-2 [1] Gina Kennedy (Eng)   11-4, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8 (66m)
[7] Siva Subramaniam
(Mas) 3-0 [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)    11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (28m)

[3] Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-0 [1] Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)   11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (36m)
[2] Aly Abou Eleinen (Egy) 3-0 [4] Iker Pajares (Esp)   11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (44m)


Semi-Final Roundup

Siva downs SJ at the fifth attempt

[7] Siva Subramaniam (Mas) 3-0 [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)     11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (28m)

Coming into the match with a 0-4 H2H record isn’t ideal, but Siva Subramanian knew that she had been close to SJ Perry on several of those occasions. It didn’t start well for the Malaysian though, she trailed 4-8 in the first before recovering to take the lead, then fought back from 1-8 in the second to double her advantage.

From 5-all in the first Siva forged ahead to claim a place in the Bronze final.

“I feel really happy to be winning in the semi-finals today, but it was a bit weird on court today, in the first and second games I started off very slow, which I don’t normally do.

“I was 8-3 down in the first and 8-1 down in the second, but I just told myself to try and refocus in each point and stay positive. I was a bit sluggish at the start of each game, but I tried to increase the pace and get my follow-through going.

“I tried to reduce my errors and I’m just really happy with how I fought today.”

Ng downs top seed Sherbini

[3] Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-0 [1] Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)   11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (36m)

A second Malaysian upset followed as Eain Yow Ng downed top seed Mohamed ElSherbini to reach his first Bronze final.

ElSherbini had been taken two five in his previous two matches, but started well enough as he opened up a 5-1 lead. With long rallies the order of the day, Ng pegged back the deficit and took the opening game. He was always in charge after that, with Sherbini unable to stem the flow of points, receiving a conduct stroke for dissent towards the end of the third as the match slipped away from him,

“It was a tough match today, even if the scoreline didn’t really show it. There was a lot of discipline required in the first game and I had to make sure I kept to my game plan and not get too trigger-happy.

“I needed to play to my strengths as well, moving the ball towards the front, and after making a few errors early on I think I got the balance right, putting the ball really deep, before hitting a few more short.

“I’m really excited to reach a first Bronze final.. I know I’m capable of reaching these finals with the quality of squash I have been playing. I’m just going to back myself up again tomorrow and I just have to believe in myself on court.”

Orfi ousts top seed Gina in five game thriller

[4] Amina Orfi (Egy) 3-2 [1] Gina Kennedy (Eng)  11-4, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8 (66m)

A third upset in a row came as double World Junior Champion Amina Orfi got the better of top seed Gina Kennedy in a fast-paced five game thriller.

The first game was all about hitting to a length, hard, and it was the Egyptian junior who was simply better at it as she took the lead.

Gina introduced more variety into her game, and was dealing with Amina’s hitting more effectively in the next two games as the Englishwoman took a two-one lead.

Orfi stuck to her hard hitting game plan, and it started working again in the final two games, with Kennedy becoming increasingly annoyed at her opponent’s movement. Orfi moved ahead for the middle of the fifth, earning three match balls at 10-7 and taking the match on her second.

“It was a very tough match, because after the first game I was sort of tired even though I won 11-4, so after that, her experience won over me in the next two games.

“In the last two games I just tried to focus on my squash and four on moving her around and not giving her any cheap opportunities and I think that worked out pretty well.

“Siva is in very good form, and she beat Nour El Tayeb, so I know it is going to be a battle. I’m going to do my best to claim this title. I came a long way and it is just a matter of patience.”

Aly restores order with solid win

[2] Aly Abou Eleinen (Egy) 3-0 [4] Iker Pajares (Esp)  11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (44m)

The final match of the night was the only one that went to seeding. Despite the closeness of the rankings of Aly Abou Eleinen and Iker Pajares it was the Egyptian who was in control for the vast majority of the match as he put paid to any hopes of a fourth upset.

“I’m super pleased, getting a 3-0 win against Iker is never easy, it was physically tough, but I’m glad I got through.

“Like I’ve said all week, finding my length on this court has helped me a lot and I had never played Iker before, so I didn’t know what his strengths and weaknesses were, and in situations like these, you just have to stick to the basics and adjust your game, stay aware and pick up things here and there that you can use to your advantage.

“I’m super excited for the final. Right now I just need to recover, get a good night’s sleep and put myself in a good position to get the title, the job’s not done.”

Before the semis … there be Lions !

The crowd were noisily entertained before the semi-finals by a performance from the Wong Cheung lion dance team

Semi-Finals Preview

It’s semi-finals day ay HKFC with just eight players left in contention for the PSA Bronze titles. Action kicks off at 17.00 and we look at the matchups and contenders.

First up is the only match where the players have met before, England’s Sarah-Jane Perry taking on Malaysia’s Siva Subramaniam in a rematch from their meeting in Singapore. SJ has won all four of their encounters so far, but they’ve all been competitive and this one promises to be close.

Top seed Mohamed ElSherbini has needed all five games in both of his matches so far, and Malaysia’s Asian Games Champion Eain Yow Ng is the Egyptian’s biggest challenge yet so expect another long one.

Top seed Gina Kennedy is known as an all-action player, but so is her opponent in the second Women’s semi, double World Junior Champion Amina Orfi. At just 16 the Egyptian is making big moves up the rankings, much as Gina did once she completed her stint at college in the US.

The final men’s match pits together two players who couldn’t be closer in rankings, with Aly Abou Eleinen and Iker Pajares currently at #19 and #18, with bests of #17 and #18! Spain’s Pajares is the more experienced of the pair, but some lengthy exchanges are definitely in the air here.