Prague 2018

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Prague Open 2018
27-30 Aug, Czech Rep, $5k

Final: Top seed Essam takes the title

We had some very good battles over the week here in Prague but the final was not to be another one.

Top seeded Shehab Essam was just too good today for Miko Äijänen. Miko probably felt his more difficult matches over the last few days and Shehab was able to use it very well.

He was trying to move Miko into all four corners of the court from the start and anything loose he was ready to volley and put even more pressure. Miko tried hard but could not find any answers for Shehab's play today.

Shehab dominated most of the rallies and managed to win in 3 games lasting just under half an hour.

Shehab Essam: I have played with Miko before and I knew he is really good so I wanted to be ready and focused from the beginning of the match. It has been a great week and I want to thank Tomas and the sponsors for their efforts. Now it´s time to enjoy Prague. I heard it´s a beautiful city.

Miko Äijänen: I think I did not play very well but all credit to Shehab who played very well and also congratulations to him. My basic game just wasn´t at the same level as in previous matches. He was able to put too much pressure on me while I struggled to get the ball properly behind him. Overall very well organized tournaments. Good courts, good hotel and cheap food. Will come back for sure.

Prague Open 2018
27-30 Aug, Czech Rep, $5k
Round One
27 Aug
Round Two
27 Aug
28 Aug
29 Aug
30 Aug
 Martin Kegel (Cro) *
11-5, 12-10, 11-7 (43m)
[wc] David Zeman (Cze)
[1] Shehab Essam (Egy)
11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6 (44m)
[wc] David Zeman
[1] Shehab Essam

11-2, 11-6, 2-11, 11-9 (43m)

Owain Taylor

[1] Shehab Essam

11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8 (64m)

Adam Auckland

[1] Shehab Essam



 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 (29m)



Miko Äijänen

 Tess Jutte (Ned) *
 11-9, 7-11, 11-2, 11-3 (48m)
Owain Taylor (Wal)
[8] Connor Sheen (Eng)
12-10, 11-9, 11-5 (47m)
Owain Taylor
Mark Fuller (Eng)
13-11, 11-5, 11-6 (38m)*
Joseph White (Aus)
 [7] Miles Jenkins (Eng)
8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (53m)
Mark Fuller
Mark Fuller

11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-3 (50m)

Adam Auckland

Adam Auckland (Eng) *
11-1, 11-6, 11-9 (28m)
Hasnaat Farooqi (Eng)
  [3] Matias Tuomi (Fin)
7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8 (77m)
Adam Auckland
[wc] Ondrej Vorlicek (Cze) 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 (29m)
Robert Dadds (Eng) *
 Robert Dadds 
11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (55m)
[4] Brian Byrne
[4] Brian Byrne

11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6 (58m)

Miko Äijänen

Miko Äijänen

11-6, 11-8, 15-17, 11-3 (77m)

Balázs Farkas

 Erik Jakobsson (Swe)
 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (24m)
Miko Äijänen (Fin) *
Miko Äijänen
11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (30m)
[6] Nick Mulvey (Eng)
[wc] Jakub Solnicky (Cze)
11-6, 14-12, 11-6 (38m)
 Roshan Bharos (Ned) *
[wc] Jakub Solnicky
11-7, 12-14, 11-8, 11-5 (40m)
[5] Jami Äijänen (Fin)
[5] Jami Äijänen

11-3, 6-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-2 (61m)

Balázs Farkas

[wc] Viktor Byrtus (Cze)
11-9, 11-7, 12-10 (34m)
Balázs Farkas (Hun) *
Balázs Farkas
11-6, 11-4, 12-10 (43m)
[2] Alex Noakes (Eng)
* = 9/16 seed

The first semifinal was the match of the tournament so far. Match was played in great spirit with only 7 decisions needed from the referee in 64 minutes.

Top seed Shehab Essam started well, got to 6/2 quickly and although Adam Auckland started to get back in the game it was not enough. 11/9, 1/0 Shehab. Second, third and fourth games were similar. Adam was more accurate and patient and after a close start he pulled away with a series of points. In the second from 4/4 to 7/4 and 11/6. In the third from 4/4 to 8/4 and 11/7.

In the fourth from 5/4 to 9/6 and 10/7 but this time he was not able to close out the game. Shehab saved all three matchballs and won the game on his second chance. In the fifth the start was close again till 4/4. Adam won next two points to go to 6/4 but Shehab managed to win next 5 points to 9/6. Adam narrowed the gap to 8/9 but stroke to Shehab gave him matchball and he used his first opportunity.

Shehab Essam: I knew this match was going to be tough. Adam is a good player he is very good with the rackect and he made me run all around the court today. So I had to dig deep every point and fight for it till the end, it‘s good to be back in final in the first tournament of the season and I will be 100% ready for tomorrow‘s match.

Adam Auckland: First of all I want to say well done to Shehab and good luck in the final tomorrow. Really happy with the way I played tonight, the summer training has paid off and I feel like my fitness has made a big difference. Got myself into some good positions but couldnt close it out today but definite positives to take away. Thank you to everyone in Prague. I have really enjoyed my time here and hope to come back soon.

The second semifinal started with Miko Äijänenhitting the ball very hard as usual. Balasz Farkas was forced to defend most of the times but when he worked out his openings he was not as clinical in the front as he was in his previous matches and made quite a few mistakes as well.

Miko always managed to win a series of points towards the end of first and second. In the first he went from 4/5 to 9/5 and 11/6. In the second he went from 7/8 to 11/8. The third was very close all the way. From 7/8 Miko made three points again to 10/8 matchball. Balasz managed to save both of them and also three more later in the game and won 17/15.

His efforts took a lot out of him and in the fourth he looked a bit tired and Miko raced to 8/0 lead quickly and although Balasz managed to save sixth matchball at 10/2 next point went to Miko thanks to a stroke and he managed to complete Äijänen family revenge for his brother´s loss to Balasz from yesterday.

Miko Äijänen: Very happy to be in the final tomorrow. I felt I played quite wisely today. I knew that I might be in a better shape than Balasz today because he had a tough match yesterday against my brother. I tried to play as long rallies as possible and make him do a lot of work. This tactics worked very well. I am expecting a good and tough match tomorrow.

Balasz Farkas: I fight until I can but Miko played better today. I try to focus and play always the perfect shot but this time he moved well and beat me at the back of the court. I think I pushed as hard as I can but today that was not enough.


Only one seeded player left in the tournament for tomorrow´s semifinals in Prague. Other two remaining seeded players were beaten today.

Shehab Essam started his quarterfinal against Owain Taylor very fast and won first two games quite easily. Owain came back well to win the third. Shehab led from the beginning of the four and at 7/2 and 9/4 it looked like it was over but Owain kept fighting and got back to 9/9.

Next rally Owain tinned backhand volley drop from a very good position and Shehab was very happy when his crosscourt hit the nick in the backhand back corner in the next rally.

Shehab Essam: I think I started good and sharp in the first two games and then in the third I lost concentration and he played some really good shots so I had to come back in the fourth strong again and I managed to win in the end.

Owain Taylor: At the start his pace was too high. I gradually got into the match and being more positive. Last two games were more in my favour. I was unlucky not to get the fourth game. It´s been a great tournament in a very nice club with good atmosphere and very well run.

Adam Auckland and Adam Fuller know each other´s games very well. They play each other very often and Mark is helping Adam as one of his coaches as well. Adam length was a bit better in the first and as he is also more attacking of the two he used his opportunities well and won the first.

Mark´s length got a bit better in the second and the score was always very close but Mark had to work a little harder in the rallies which made the difference at the end of the second. Mark got a lead at the beginning of the third thanks to his great length and Adam went short a bit too early which Mark punished well to win the third.

Adam made Mark work very hard at the beginning of the fourth again. He just kept putting more and more pressure on Mark and points started to go his way again and he won the game comfortably to get through to the semifinal.

Adam Auckland: Really happy to reach the semifinals here in Prague. Its not easy playing one of your best mates. Me and Mark train together so we know each other´s game very well so every game was very close. I tried to play at a high pace and use my holds to my advantage which seemed to work well. Happy with how I am playing so far and hope to play well tomorrow.

Miko Äijänen was a better player in the first two games. He was hitting the ball hard and tight and he was controlling the rallies. Brian seemed to struggle with the high pace and his length was not accurate at all. Brian managed to slow the pace down in the third which enabled him to get in control at times and it was enough to win the third.

In the fourth Miko upped the pace again and managed to get back control of the rallies. From 2/4 down he won 6 points in a row and although Brian kept fighting he won the fourth to become the second unseeded player in the semifinals.

Miko Äijänen: First of all I am glad I won in four games. I think I played quite well and made him make some errors in the first two games. In the third I felt he improved his game a bit. And in the fourth I was able to put some pressure on him again.

Brian Byrne: He just played better on the day. He controlled the middle and I did not find a suitable solution.

Balasz Farkas dominated in the first game against Jami Äijänen. He was hitting winners from all over the court. Jami managed to stop him in the second and won the game. In the third Balasz dominated the rallies again. He was creating openings which he was using with some great front court shots.

Miko saved two matchballs at 8/10 down to force the decider. Balasz regrouped well for the fifth and started to dominate the court again and prevented Äijänen brothers meeting in tomorrow´s semifinal.

Balasz Farkas: That was a fight. Really good and hard fight. Jami played very well and took me under pressure. I try to play a really nice squash and fight until I can. Every game was really hard but at the end of the match I tried to push more and finally I won the match. I can´t wait to play against Miko tomorrow so now its time to rest and keep pushing on.

Jami Äijänen: It was tight match. I think Balasz was a little more active than I was. He was controlling the pace and I made a couple of mistakes at the wrong time. Fifth game did not start well. But Balasz played well and he was better.


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