Kemp Retires On A High After Kent Open Win
15 Jun 2014
England's Jonathan Kemp brought the curtain down on a distinguished squash career in impressive style by winning today's final of the Select Gaming Kent Open against top-seeded Australian Steven Finitsis.
Kemp delighted the packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone with a devastating display of skill in the climax of the PSA Challenger 10 event as he reeled off a succession of winners into the front corners.
Local fans had renamed the front right area of the court 'Kempy's Corner' in tribute to the left-hander's cultured backhand drop shots.
However, the 33-year-old No2 seed was forced to battle hard throughout the match by his tenacious opponent, who frequently matched Kemp's quality in that very same corner.
The opening rallies were full of intelligent, patient squash as defending champion Kemp built a 9-5 lead. Finitsis then enjoyed a purple patch to lead 11-10 before Kemp regained control to nick it 13-11.
Finitsis, the 31-year-old world No50 who is based in The Hague, began the second game well to lead 5-2. Kemp drew level at 5-5 and 6-6 but Finitsis won four points in a row to hold game ball. Kemp hit back again to make it 10-10 but Finitsis hit two quick winners to level the match.
Kemp surged ahead in the third to lead 6-2 and then 9-4 and although Finitsis recovered to take four more points, the experienced left-hander from Ipswich closed out the game 11-8.
Kemp won the first three of points of the fourth game and constructed a run of six points to move within touching distance of his second Kent Open title. Finitsis fought back to draw level at 8-8 and 9-9, but Kemp won the final two points to end his career on a positive note.
"Once I had made my decision to retire, I almost felt like pulling out of the tournament - but I am glad I didn't," said Kemp, who has rounded off his career with 15 Tour titles from 20 final appearances. "It's great to go out on a high like this, and I'd like to thank Steve for making it such an enjoyable final. I'm glad it didn't go to five."
As well as receiving his trophy for a second year, the champion was presented with a special commemorative shirt with the words "The Kemp Open" on the back!
Finitsis added: "I was trying my hardest to win that match but if I had to lose to anybody I'm glad it was Jonathan. He's a great player and I wish him all the best in his coaching career. This is a great tournament and all the players are grateful for the way they are looked after.