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Harrow Mediterranean Open 2012
13-15 Dec, Sliema, Malta, $5k
15-Dec, Final:
Last Day in Malta
Arthur Curran reports

[2] Siyoli Waters (RSA) beat [Q] Salma Nasser (EGY)
                   12/14, 11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (32m)

And so to the final – it turned out to be a really exciting match played in a fantastic spirit. The first game was really tight all the way through until Siyoli eased out to game ball at 10/8 from 8/8, but Salma fought back valiantly to level, get game ball herself at 11/10, Siyoli fought back again to get game ball at 12/11, but Salma was not to be outdone and she came back to take the game 14/12, with the aid of a tin from Siyoli on the last stroke. However, from here on in Siyoli really took control of the match, with Salma showing signs of tiredness from her gruelling semi final earlier in the day, but still playing some beautiful squash, and Siyoli eased into a 5/0 lead then a 9/3 lead and eventually took the game 11/5. Salma, although still playing some great shots, was definitely tiring and Siyoli took advantage to ease her way to win the next two games 11/5 and 11/7.

A fabulous match played in a fantastic spirit, with Salma coming through qualifying to reach the final, and Siyoli was a really deserved winner of her third WSA title. Watch out for these two young ladies in the future because for sure they are going to move up the rankings very quickly.

That was nearly the end of proceedings, as there was a presentation ceremony to take place, where all sponsors and everybody else concerned were thanked, and the trophy was presented to the winner Siyoli Waters.

Until next year when I certainly hope to return to this lovely island.

Mediterranean Open 2012
13-15 Dec, Sliema, Malta, $5k
Round One
14 Dec  11.30 - 14.30
14 Dec
15 Dec
15 Dec
[1] Lucie Fialova (Cze)
11/9, 11/5, 6/11, 6/11, 11/9 (59m)
[Q] Salma Nasser (Egy)
[Q] Salma Nasser
8/11, 11/4, 11/0, 11/8. 23mins
[7] Zephanie Curgenven
[Q] Salma Nasser

11/6, 7/11, 14/16, 11/8, 11/4 (60m)

[3] Olga Ertlova

[Q] Salma Nasser


12/14, 11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (32m)

[2] Siyoli Waters

[7] Zephanie Curgenven (Eng)
11/5, 5/11, 12/10, 7/11, 13/11 (40m)
Julia Lecoq (Fra)
[3] Olga Ertlova (Cze)
6/11, 10/12, 11/5, 11/8, 11/9. 65
[Q] Nadine Shahin (Egy)
[3] Olga Ertlova
 11/8, 11/9, 11/6. 32 mins.
[5] Birgit Coufal
[5] Birgit Coufal (Aut)
12/10, 11/6, 4/11, 8/11, 12/10. 40
Melissa Alves (Fra)
[Q] Menat Nasser (Egy)
14/12, 11/7, 9/11, 2/11, 11/4. 40
[6] Maud Duplomb (Fra)
[6] Maud Duplomb
) 11/6, 11/7, 11/6. 27 mins
[4] Laura Pomportes
[4] Laura Pomportes

11/5, 11/5, 11/4.

[2] Siyoli Waters

[Q] Belen Etchechoury (Arg)
) 11/4, 11/7, 11/8. 25
[4] Laura Pomportes (Fra)
Coletta Sultana (Mlt)
11/8, 13/11, 11/8. 25
Chloe Mesic (Fra)
Chloe Mesic
) 11/3, 11/7, 11/4. 19 mins
[2] Siyoli Waters
Cyrielle Peltier (Fra)
11/9, 9/11, 11/9, 11/2. 40
[2] Siyoli Waters (Rsa)
13 Dec, Qualifying, from 11.00:
15-Dec, Semis:
Last Day in Malta
Arthur Curran reports
Here today at the Union Club in Malta we saw two completely different semi final matches.

[Q] Salma Nasser (EGY) bt [3] Olga Ertlova (CZE)
     11/6, 7/11, 14/16, 11/8, 11/4. 60 mins.

This first semi final match was an absolutely fantastic exhibition of Squash at it’s very best, with two superbly athletic ladies battling as hard as they could. The scoring started evenly until Salma led 7/6, but from there she whizzed through the points to take the game 11/6. Again in the second the scores were even until Salma took a slight lead at 6/5, but this time it was Olga who came out strongest taking the game in two more hands at 11/7.

The third game turned into a really hard fought battle, with neither player willing to give way to the other. Olga took an early lead at 6/4, but then with a delightful range of shots Salma got to game ball at 10/7, game over possibly?

Not in the least, as Olga hauled herself back into the game to level and get a game ball at 11/10, Salma levelled, Olga got another game ball, Salma levelled again and this time she got game ball at 13/12.

Olga levelled again but Salma again got game ball, but Olga was very determined and taking the next three points took the vital game at 16/14. Olga took a slight lead of 5/4 in the fourth, but then she literally ran out of steam and could not quite hold Salma back as she took the lead and managed to finish the game off at 11/8. Olga unfortunately had very little left in the tank for the fifth as Salma raced from 5/4 up to take the game 11/4 and the match 3 – 2 after exactly 60 minutes of exhilarating squash, and book a place in the final as a qualifier.

[2] Siyoli Waters (RSA) beat [4] Laura Pomportes (FRA)
       11/5, 11/5, 11/4.

The second semi final was a complete contrast from the first, as Siyoli took a firm grip on the match from the start, and giving Laura very few opportunities to work her way into the match she soared  through three games to take a comfortable 3 – 0 win. Despite Laura playing some great squash Siyoli was far too strong and skilful on the day and looks very much on form for what promises to be a great final later this afternoon.

14-Dec, Round One:
Round One in Malta
Arthur Curran reports
[Q] Salma Nasser (EGY) beat [1] Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11/9, 11/5, 6/11, 6/11, 11/9. 59 mins.

First match of the day resulted in a huge shock when qualifier Salma from Egypt managed to stop a great fightback by No 1 seed Lucie from Czech Republic in what was a tremendously exciting if somewhat irritable match. In the first game Salma set off like an express train, typical Egyptian style, to take a quick 5/0 lead, but Lucie slowly got the edge to lead 8/7, Salma then led 9/8, Lucie levelled at 9/9 but then with a tin and a stroke gave Salma the game 11/9. In the second Salma was scoring 2 or more points to 1 for Lucie, and took the game 11/5. The match was starting now to get irritating with both players getting physical and complaining about many calls, but Lucie now managed to come more into the match and slowly increased her lead to win the game 11/6. The fourth followed a similar pattern, Lucie taking an 8/3 lead, Salma collecting the next 3 points only for Lucie then to do the same and take that game 11/6 also. The fifth turned into a real battle of attrition, with neither player giving anything away. Lucie led 4/2, Salma levelled, Lucie led 6/4, Salma levelled again then went ahead 8/6 then 9/7, Lucie levelled at 9/9 but Salma stayed strong to win the game 11/9, a really great win for the qualifier.

[7] Zephanie Curgenven (ENG) beat Julia Lecoq (FRA) 11/5, 5/11, 12/10, 7/11, 13/11. 40 mins.

Next match up was another 5 setter, not as much excitement as the first and certainly not as much niggle, a lot of good squash played and the score swung one way then the other all the way through the match. Zephanie started much the quicker but Julia levelled at 4/4, then Zeph got to game ballat 10/4, Julia saved one but Zeph took the next and the game 11/5. Very similar scorewise in the next, Zeph took a 5/4 lead but Julia finished off in one hand to take the game 11/5. In the third Julia took a 9/4 lead the game ball at 10/7, but Zeph dug deep to level then take the game 12/10. Julia tok the reins in the fourth to lead 8/1, Zeph managed to get to 7/9 before this time Julia finished off stronger to take the game 11/7 and the match to a decider. The lead changed several times early in the fifth with Julia keeping slightly in front until she seemed favourite with match ball at 10/7. Zeph however was not giving up, she levelled at 10/10, Julia got another match ball at 11/10 but Zeph kept her head and took three straight points to win the game 13/11 and the match 3 – 2.

[3] Olga Ertlova (CZE) beat [Q] Nadine Ayman Mohamed Shahin (EGY) 6/11, 10/12, 11/5, 11/8, 11/9. 65 mins.

This match appeared to be going the same way as the first, with the 15 year old Egyptian Nadine taking a 2 games to nil lead by virtue of an 11/6 in the first, which included 7 points in one hand, then in the second she battled back from game ball against her at 10/6 to take 6 in one hand to win the second 12/10. However Olga came in much stronger in the third and with Nadine appearing to tire a little she fled into a 9/3lead then finished off at 11/5. The fourth was more even with Olga easing out to an 8/6 lead, Nadine levelled at 8/8 but Olga finished off at 11/8. Olga took an early 4/1 lead in the decider but Nadine eased closer and kept the score fairly even up to 9/9, but with extra , Nadine was very upset at the end of the match, possibly because of one or two calls that did not go her way, but she certainly had no need to feel disappointed as the promise she showed for a 15 year old was fantastic, following in the fashion of all the young Egyptians.

[5] Birgit Coufal (AUT) beat Melissa Alves (FRA) 12/10, 11/6, 4/11, 8/11, 12/10. 40 mins.

Another match that was destined to go to 5 games, with Birgit taking the first two and Melissa taking the next two to leave a decider. The first was fought very evenly throughout with Melissa eventually taking game ball at 10/9, but Olga proved stronger to take the game 12/10. The second was close up to 6/6 but then Olga took control and finished in one hand to 11/6. The match then swung completely in the third, with Melissa taking control and taking it comfortably 11/4, and similarly in the fourth but Olga got a little closer with Melissa taking the game 11/8. A real battle in the last game as Melissa took a 5/1 lead, Olga broke back to lead 6/5, then Melissa led 8/7 and got match ball at 10/8, but Olga used all her experience to level then take the game 12/10 and the match 3 – 2.

[6] Maud Duplomb (FRA) beat [Q] Mennat Nasser (EGY) 14/12, 11/7, 9/11, 2/11, 11/4. 40 mins.

And yet another 5 setter to come!! Mennat took an early 7/1 lead in the first, but Maud fought back to lead 8/7, before Mennat got to game ball at 10/9, but Maud used all her experience to save three game balls before taking the game herself 14/12. In the second Mennal again took an early lead 4/2, but Maud again showed her experience to slowly overhaul her opponent and eventually take the game 11/7. Mennat showed the typical Egyptian fighting spirit in the third, staying fairly even up to 6/6 but then began to take control getting game ball at 10/7 and despite Maud saving two game balls Mennat took the game 11/9. Maud appeared to be visibly tiring in the fourth and Mennat zoomed through the game to win 11/2. However Maud again showed her experience in the fifth as from 2/4 down she took complete control of the game to take 9 straight points to win the game 11/4 and the match 3 – 2.

[4] Laura Pomportes (FRA) beat [Q] Belen Etchechoury (ARG) 11/4, 11/7, 11/8. 25 mins.

Finally a 3 game match. As No4 seed Laura took on qualifier Belen, she raced through the first game for an 11/4 win, then although Belen fought well and scored a little better, Laura took the next two comfortably 11/7 and 11/8.

[8] Chloe Mesic (FRA) beat Colette Sultana (MLT) 11/8, 13/11, 11/8. 25 mins.

And another 3 game match, this one that the local crowd was waiting to see, but unfortunately their local star Colette, although she played some fabulous squash, finished on the losing end. Chloe was slightly the stronger player in the first, just keeping ahead of Colette and taking the game 11/8, but Colette showed some fine talent in the second and kept the score very close until Chloe had game ball at 10/9. Colette saved two game balls and got game ball herself at 11/10, but the slightly more experienced Chloe managed to save the game 13/11. Again in the third the score was very even up to 8/8 but Chloe again managed to serve out for the game and match 11/8.

[2] Siyoli Walters (RSA) beat Cyrielle Peltier (FRA) 11/9, 9/11, 11/9, 11/2. 40 mins.

And so we came to the final match of the afternoon session, which saw No 2 seed Siyoli having to fight very hard against an accomplished player in Cyrielle, with Siyoli eventually taking the first game 11/9 and Chloe taking the second by the same score, then Siyoli taking the third by the same score again. However in the fourth the strength of Siyoli showed through as she eased her way to a win with an 11/2 score.

And so we come to the end of a most enjoyable but lengthy afternoon session, and we return again at 5.00 pm for the four quarter final matches.

13-Dec, Qualifying:
Qualifying day in Malta
Arthur Curran reports

Here we are at the Malta Union Club for the start of the Harrow Mediterranean Open 2012, where after several withdrawals there is a slight alteration to the main draw and now we have only 8 players in the qualifying round, which means four matches with the winners going through to the main draw.

Belen Etchechoury (Arg) bt Christina Vrahimis (Cyp)
             11/3, 11/7, 11/3. 18 mins.

First match on court saw the qualifying favourite from Argentina against a young lady from Cyprus who has never played a professional match before, and the experience of Belen showed all the way through, although Christina showed some fight in the second game but still could not get the better of Belen, who cruised through in three straight games. Belen now plays Laura Pomportes.

Christina told me afterwards that she does not play often because of the difficulty of travelling from Cyprus, but she entered this tournament because it is near to home and although she was well beaten she told me she had really enjoyed the experience.

Mennat Nasser (Egy) bt Frania Gillen-Buchert (Sco)
            11/5, 11/8, 11/7. 22mins.

The next match was much tighter than the first, but Mennat proved stronger than Frania in most aspects of the game, easing into a 6/0 lead in the first and holding that lead to win 11/5.

Again Mennat took an early lead 5/1 then got to game ball at 10/4, Frania fought back to 8/10 then Mennat took the next point for the game 11/8. The third was very level up to 6/6 but then Mennat again came strong to take the game 11/7 and the match 3 – 0. She now plays Maud Duplomb.

Nadine Mohamed Shahin (Egy) bt Theresa Brouson (Mlt)
             11/4, 11/5, 11/9. 16 mins.

The third matched the youngest and the oldest player together, with 15 year old Nadine against 50 year old Theresa, a local Malta girl playing for fun. N

adine, as most other young Egyptian players of recent years have done, just literally ran the legs off her older opponent and took the match comfortably in 3 games in just 16 minutes, despite Theresa bravely saving 3 match balls in the third. Nadine now plays Olga Ertlova.

Salma Nasser (Egy) bt Johanna Rizzo (Mlt)
            11/3, 11/2, 11/3. 16 mins.

Final match of the qualifiers was another Egyptian against another local Malta player, and in this one the Egyptian flavour was even stronger than the previous match, with Salma playing in the typical Egyptian style of strong smashes, delicate touches and very strong running, and literally tour through the game in a short 9minutes to win 3 – 0. She now plays No 1 seed Lucie Fialova.

A first WSA event for Malta

The 2012 Harrow Mediterranean Women’s Squash Open is making its debut on the women's world tour from 13th to 15th December. The Maltese squash community is delighted to have the professional women come and play the event. They are looking forward to seeing for the very first time a women’s professional tournament.

WSA tour director Anneli MacDonald said: "The Women’s Squash Association is delighted to have Malta join the professional tour. We know Malta have some promising and talented players, and are sure that the first Mediterranean Open in December 2012 will be an excellent addition to the Women’s Professional Squash Tour."

The draw is a strong draw with top seed Lucie Fialova of the Czech republic (WR 34), followed by Siyoli Waters of South Africa (WR 47), Olga Ertlova of the Czech republic (WR49) and Laura Pomportes of France (WR 63), and many others from several different nations all looking to take the title.

Local players. Local rising star Colette Sultana has demonstrated hard work, dedication and sacrifices to achieve her goals while being based at the Milfield schools under the guidance of Jonah Barrington and thus been awarded the wild card position into the main draw. This is a fantastic opportunity for Colette to get valuable professional tournament experience.

Local traditional warriors Theresa Brousson and Johanna ‘Yoyo’ Rizzo have been granted local positions to the qualifying event.

The event is free of charge and everyone is welcome to come, however there is limited seating so be in quick to get your place.

On the TV in Sliema
Arthur Curran in Malta

Yesterday evening here in Malta I had the privilege to be invited to a recording of a live TV broadcast on Malta’s TVNews Channel of their sport’s programme Sport Extra, on which the tournament director of the Mediterranean Open, Bradley Hindle, was interviewed by Malta’s top Sports Journalist Charles Camenzuli about the forthcoming Squash Tournament.

Also on the programme were M. Simon A Bonello, President of the Maltese Wrestling Federation, Laurie Pace, formerly Malta’s top lady Judo player, and Nicky Farrugia a former triathlete who at 53 years of age is still participating in ultra triathlons, which I believe are doubled and sometimes treble what a normal triathlon is.

I was informed that in days gone by he had swum the English Channel and also swum from Sicily to Malta, which I am told is about 100kms. It was fascinating to see how the programme was made, and to hear the stories from these different people talking about their own sports.

One thing I did discover at this broadcast that only last week our tournament director Bradley had received a Gold Award at Malta’s Sports Awards ceremony – something which would be nice in Britain.

Tournament Venue:

The Malta Union club, Tigné street, Sliema will be hosting the event.

The Malta Union Club was founded in 1826 by military officers and civilians who leased the original building for its members to meet and socialise. The club has stayed strong since 1826 and is a fine highly respected community establishment in the heart of Sliema, Malta. The club is a private members based club that has many activities for its members such as 2 ASB squash courts, 2 tennis courts, Darts room, skittles library, Cards rooms, snooker, cafe and many more activities on offer.

‘We at the Malta Union Club are delighted to host Malta’s first ever Women’s Professional Mediterranean open. We are a traditional ‘quiet club’ and delighted to be opening our doors for these fine professional women to demonstrate their fantastic skills. We wish all the contestants the very best of luck.’

Malta Union club. www.maltaunionclub.com

Tournament hotel

The Plevna hotel is a charming traditional 100 room hotel which is situated in a quiet residential area in Sliema, yet is only a short 5 minute walk away from the lively Sliema centre with it’s shops, restaurants and cafes.

A 200 metre stroll brings you to the seafront where a beautiful 3 km promenade leads all the way to St Julians, which is the island’s nightlife centre. The capital city of Valletta is only a short bus ride or ferry ride away whilst the old City of Mdina, Rabat, Mosta, St Paul’s Bay and other towns and villages are all accessible by bus.

The management and staff at Hotel Plevna show guests genuine friendliness and care whilst maintaining a high level of service where nothing is too much trouble. The personalised service offered ensures that there are numerous guests who return year after year from diffrent countries to enjoy the hospitality and cuisine.

‘The Plevna Hotel is delighted to be hosting the squash players for the 2012 Harrow Mediterranean Squash Open. Wishing all the athletes a safe trip, a pleasant stay and success at the event!’

Plevna Hotel www.Plevnahotel.com  

Links for Malta www.new.visitmalta.com  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malta


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