SEMIS : Second seeds to face unseeded opponents in finals

It will be both second seeds against unseeded opponents in Sunday’s finals after an action-packed semi-finals day in Inverness

The afternoon session saw wins for English second seeds Ben Smith and Grace Gear, both winning in four entertaining games, while the evening session saw former champion Edmon Lopez win an absolute thriller and Asia Harris getting the better of long-time rival Torrie Malik.

2023 Springfield Scottish Squash Open DAY FOUR, SEMI-FINALS

Women’s Semis :
[2] Grace Gear
 (Eng) 3-1 [3] Nardine Garas (Egy)  11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 (41m)
Asia Harris (Eng) 3-1 [5] Torrie Malik (Eng)  11-5, 14-12, 8-11, 11-9 (52m)

Men’s Semis :
[2] Ben Smith
(Eng) 3-1 [3] Daniel Poleshchuk (Isr)  11-8, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8 (49m)
Edmon Lopez (Esp) 3-2 Kareem El Torkey (Egy)   15-13, 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-3 (88m)

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Match Summaries and Reaction

Asia gets the win over Torrie

Asia Harris (Eng) 3-1 [5] Torrie Malik (Eng)  11-5, 14-12, 8-11, 11-9 (52m)

The final match of the day saw a second unseeded player reach the finals as Asia Harris got the better of long-time junior rival Torrie Malik in four games. Asia dominated the opening game, but the second was an even contest all the way through -although At one point the referee issued a double conduct for unnecessary physical conduct – before Asia, aided by some errors and strokes late in the game, doubled her lead. 

Torrie opened the third with a 5-1 lead and although Asia closed the gap, it wasn’t enough to stop Torrie reducing the deficit. The fourth was nip and tuck again, but the crucial closing points went Asia’s way.

“I have no words at the moment,” said an emotional Asia. “It’s been quite a while since I got a win over Torrie, so to do it to reach my first 12k final, that’s going to be something else!”

Edmon Lopez (Esp) 3-2 Kareem El Torkey (Egy)   15-13, 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-3 (88m)

Edmon wins a thriller !

What a thriller ! SSO Champion in 2019, coming back after a horrific spell of injuries, Edmon Lopez won a second successive marathon, this time beating Egyptian teen sensation Kareem El Torkey in five thrilling games.

Lopez got the better of a 25-minute opener, but Torkey leveled as he raced through from 5-5 in the second. Lopez took a 6-0 lead in the third, but then had to save two game balls before retaking the lead 12-10. A 7-1 opening to the fourth was enough to see Torkey level again, but he looked to be suffering in the decider as Lopez opened up a quick 5-0 lead and kept the pressure on to take the victory.

“I’m so happy to win that match,” said Edmon, “and so happy to be able to play a match like that after what I’ve been through. Kareem played amazingly well for such a young player. Taking the third was crucial, at 6-0 up I lost my focus and had to dig really deep to get it back.

Egyptian hat-trick for Grace

[2] Grace Gear (Eng) 3-1 [3] Nardine Garas (Egy)  11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 (41m)

Engand’ Grace Gear notched up a trio of victories over Egyptian opponents this week, the second seed also advancing to her second Scottish Squash Open final in a row.

Gear maintained a lead throughout the first game, but Nardine Garas took a quick lead in the second and levelled at one-all. The match became more physical with plenty of interventions from the referee, but it was Gear who retook the lead and then built up a 10-6 advantage in the fourth.

Three match balls were saved, but Nardine couldn’t keep the run going as a delighted Grace won through to the final.

“Really delighted,” said Grace. “I’ve had a run of tough matches to get this far and that was another one. It’s great to reach the final here again, obviously I’d really like to win it this time!” 

Ben first through to the finals

[2] Ben Smith (Eng) 3-1 [3] Daniel Poleshchuk (Isr)  11-8, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8 (49m)

England’s Ben Smith became the first finalist after he defeated Israel’s Daniel Poleshchuk in four games. Second seed Smith pulled away at the end of a close opening game then raced through the second to go two up. Daniel came back well to take the third, and the fourth was close up to 8-all before Ben sprinted to the line.

“It was a tough match,” said Ben, “Daniel’s a strong opponent. I went two nil up and thought I had it in the bag but he came back well and I really had to dig in to take the fourth. Delighted to be in the final.”

Moment of the match : After the (very) Scottish  referee had explained to Daniel why he was only getting a let, Daniel asks Ben, “what did he say?”. Ben couldn’t really help.