8:45 am
13 Apr 2024

Top Seeds To Contest Australian Open Finals

23 Mar 2024

The finals of the City Tattersalls Group Australian Open will be contested between the top two seeds in the men's and women's competitions of the Bronze-level event after Salma Hany, Amina Orfi, Victor Crouin and Youssef Soliman all prevailed in their semi-final clashes at the University of Sydney.

Women's top seed Hany maintained her excellent streak in Sydney after downing her Egyptian compatriot Sana Ibrahim 3/0.

The world No.11 has not dropped a single game on her way to the decider, as Hany's pinpoint accuracy in the front and the back of the court proved to be too much for Ibrahim to handle as the favourite won 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 in 36 minutes.

"I feel pretty pleased with that performance today," she Hany afterwards.

"I've been enjoying my time on court today and Sana is such a tough opponent. She had a very good win yesterday and she's very skilful with her hands. I prepared pretty well for the match and I had a solid game plan and I'm glad I was able to execute it.

"I wasn't very happy with the start of the second. She was firing attacking shots and I felt like I dropped my focus slightly, I needed to get back to my plan and length was a little bit short.

"I focused on that and I was going to find the rhythm again and once I was able to do that, count the points and that game was crucial."

It will be an all-Egyptian showdown in the women's event after 16-year-old No.2 seed Orfi overcame Tomato Ho 3/1 to reach a final on the PSA World Tour for the fourth time in her fledgling career.

Orfi, who's won one of the three finals she's appeared in, kept the error count low for a two-game lead before Ho reduced the number of mistakes she was making to halve the deficit. However Orfi was back on the front foot in the fourth, which she took comprehensively to progress to another final.

"I feel so happy to make it to the final," said the teenager. "It was a different match for me and a different game plan to usual. Most of the players on Tour run and they hit hard, whereas she plays a bit of a calmer game so it was a bit different but I'm happy to get through."

The No.1 seed in the men's competition Crouin dispatched Swiss No.2 Dimitri Steinmann in four games to earn his place in the final.

Crouin, a winner of the Australian Open on the PSA Challenger Tour, handled the testing court conditions the better while his physicality was also pivotal in securing his first appearance in a final since the Squash on Fire Open in 2023.

Having lost the first game, Steinmann responded well in the second as he found success in lengthy rallies contested between the two to restore parity. However Crouin regrouped to drive the ball deep into the corners and put plenty of work into Steinmann's legs to close out an 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-2 victory in just under an hour.

"First of all I'm happy to be back in the final of a Bronze event - that's what I came here for," he said.

"I've missed my shots to get into finals of Bronze events this season, so it was important for me to go all the way here and I'm going to enjoy the final.

"Regarding that match, I'm pretty happy about it. Usually I'd be happy to win in three games but I didn't have that consistency in the second game to close it out. But I was happy to come back in the third and the fourth and play some good squash, more consistent squash all the way through and get through the end."

It will be the second time Crouin meets Soliman in a final of a Bronze-level event after the No.2 seed produced an accomplished performance to beat Sebastien Bonmalais.

Soliman, who beat Crouin in the CIB Zed Squash Open 2022 decider, looked in complete control against Bonmalais to notch an 11-5, 13-11, 11-4 triumph to make it back-to-back final appearances in a Bronze-level tournament.

"It was a 3/0 win and what happened in the third was very unfortunate," he said.

"I forgot what the score was but it was pretty close, it was a close match and I'm very glad with how I managed the first two games. It was very unfortunate when this incident happened [Bonmalais' injury] and I'm happy to be through."