Home Hero Weaver Wins First Title Of Season In Cincinnati
5 Feb 2024
USA's Olivia Weaver is the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Gaynor Cup 2024 champion after dispatching Belgium's Tinne Gilis in straight games to earn her first title of the season without dropping a single game all tournament.
The match at Cincinnati Country Club began with several gruelling rallies, as both players played from deep, hitting a good length and making the other player dig the ball out of the back left corner. Weaver took a particularly brutal rally at 2-1 that lasted over two minutes, where she produced a backhand kill that drew applause from the spectators.
What separated the two players was Weaver's accuracy, playing the same clinical brand of squash that knocked out top seed Georgina Kennedy in the semi-final while only conceding eight points in total.
Gilis played accurately, but a few errors made the difference and the near-perfect play of the American won Weaver the first game 11-8.
Weaver looked unstoppable in the second game as she pushed higher up the court and put more pressure onto the Belgian. Despite the close nature of the first game, Gilis struggled to keep up with Weaver's physicality, appearing to have some difficulties with her ankle, and the faultless play of the American propelled her to an 11-1 win to come within a game of the Gaynor Cup title.
The No.4 seed, with the full support of the Cincinnati crowd, continued to prey on every error from Gilis and looked to resolve the match quickly as she took a 5-0 lead.
The world No.8 rallied back as she pushed herself to take the ball quickly and battled back to 9-7, but the deficit was too much to overcome and the Belgian hit the tin to end the final rally, sealing victory for Weaver as she won the Gaynor Cup without dropping a single game.
"I'm over the moon, just so happy to get the title," said Weaver after securing the sixth Tour title of her career, two years after finishing as runner-up in Cincinnati. "There were so many strong players in the draw this week and I had a tough loss last week in Brooklyn and so I really just wanted to focus on coming here, enjoying my squash and I really do feel like I played some of the best squash of the season and things just really just came together.
"Tinne's in such good form, and has been having such a incredible season and I knew it was going to be incredibly tough. She didn't seem 100% physically but still it was just that I had to earn every rally. I'm just really pleased with how I closed it out.
"I think I just put some pressure off of myself and really focused on enjoying my squash. I really love what I do. I feel really lucky that I get to play squash every day for a living and sometimes it's easy to forget that.
"I love coming to this tournament, I love the family I stay with, I love being in this club so all these factors played into my mentality and I was just in a really good headspace and I think that really translated into my squash.
"[Before Detroit] I just need to look after my body, enjoy this, soak it in, appreciate the squash I've been playing this week. In a couple of days I'll be in Detroit and it's a whole new event, a whole new field. The biggest thing is I'm just really enjoying my time on court so I'm actually really looking forward to continuing and playing more players and hopefully I can continue to play this way."