9:12 pm
14 Jul 2024

Home Hero Noah Meredith Stuns No3 Seed To Make Kent Open Semis

13 Jan 2023

Home hero Noah Meredith sprang a huge surprise by ousting No.3 seed Temwa Chileshe to reach the semi-finals of the Colin Payne Kent Open sponsored by 501 Fun.

Meredith, the 21-year-old from Brighton who plays No.1 for host club Tunbridge Wells, produced a sparkling display of skilful, attacking squash to beat the New Zealander 11-8, 11-4, 3-11, 12-10.

Cheered on by a packed gallery, Meredith fought back from 8-5 down in the first game to win six points in a row with a mixture of deadly accurate drops and volleys.

The eighth seed dominated the second game with a sustained attack, but later admitted that he tried to force the pace as he lost the third game after a flurry of errors.

Kiwi Chileshe, who has moved to the UK to be coached by three-times world champion Nick Matthew, powered through that third game and seemed to be gaining the ascendancy.

Chileshe looked set to take the match to a decider as he edged ahead in the fourth and he was first to game ball at 10-8. However, Meredith finished strongly to win the final four points to book his place in the semi-finals against top seed Valentin Rapp from Germany.

Afterwards, Meredith revealed: "My coach Ben Hutton used to call me 'Hollywood' because I was always looking to finish rallies as quickly as possible.

"But I have been able to play a lot more PSA tournaments this season thanks to the generous support of some of the members here at Tunbridge Wells.

"I had a good spell of results followed by a bit of a lull, but this season a few things have clicked into place mentally and I have been playing more patiently and waiting for the opportunity to go for the winner.

"Those tactics paid off for me tonight and I was really pleased with how I recovered after making so many errors in the third game.

"I was trying to force the issue and look for the win rather than build the rally to create the opening.

"It's been great to have the home crowd cheering me on but I want to thank Temwa for such a clean and fair game."

Number one seed Rapp dropped a game against 19-year-old Irishman Alex Smith before wrapping up a 3/1 win in 36 minutes.

In the bottom half of the draw, Perry Malik made it a great night for Sussex by beating No.4 seed Aqeel Rehman in three close games.

The vastly experienced Rehman hoped his short game would win it for him but the mobile Malik produced some outstanding retrieving matched by some high quality attacking shots of his own.

No.5 seed Malik made a powerful start to the opening game, quickly building up a 7-1 lead, and withstood a late surge from Rehman to win it 11-9.

He led 4-1 in the second before Rehman turned the tables to move ahead at 6-5, only for Malik to win five points in a row to reach game ball. Again, he survived a late flurry from the 16-times Austrian national champion before winning 11-8.

Rehman led 6-3 in the third and held game ball at 10-9 but Malik dug deep to win 13-11 to reach the semi-finals against No.2 seed Owain Taylor.

The Welshman wore down the resistance of England's Will Salter to win 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 in 44 minutes and looks a solid contender for the title after two wins in straight games.

In the women's competition, Scotland's Alison Thomson hit back after losing the opening game to take out No.2 seed Elise Romba of France, winning 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 in 33 minutes.

Thomson improved as the match went on and dominated the second and third games. She built a strong lead in the fourth but Romba hit back to draw level at 7-7. Thomson reeled off three points in a row to hold match ball and she survived a late fightback from her opponent to seal a victory that takes her into the last four against Ali Loke of Wales.

Loke won three very close games against Scotland's Katriona Allen, who held game ball at 12-11 in the first game before Loke took control to win 15-13, 11-9, 11-8.

In the top half of the draw, number one seed Torrie Malik completed a Sussex hat-trick by beating Polly Clark in straight games, but Malik looked far from comfortable for the majority of the first two games before winning 11-6, 13-11, 11-3.

Malik's semi-final will be Malaysia's impressive No.4 seed Yasshmita Jadishkumar, who won in straight games against French opponent Ella Galova.