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24 Jul 2024

Yasser Takes First PSA Tour Title In Worldgate

19 Feb 2007

After upsetting seeds all the way to the final of the Worldgate Sport & Health Open, Egyptian qualifier Yasser El Halaby produced the perfect conclusion to his campaign in the US state of Virginia when he beat No7 seed Jan Koukal to lift the first PSA Tour title of his career.

The 22-year-old from Cairo brought his shock and awe game back for one more day at the Worldgate Sport & Health Club, mixing in precision straight drops between his crushing forehand cross court and straight drives to take the first two games against the stoic Koukal.

Throughout the first thee games, the quiet Czech number one committed to cleverly absorbing the El Halaby onslaught by using his quick hands to reflect the pace from the Egyptian and former US college star. This eventually paid off and culminated in a series of mistakes from El Halaby in the third game, taking the match to a fourth, much to the delight of the packed gallery.

Koukal's accuracy and defensive posture had ensured it was El Halaby who had done the majority of the work in the first three games and the scene was set for a comeback and a dramatic five gamer. Although starting to look fatigued, El Halaby rallied in the fourth and began absorbing pressure himself as Koukal began to display his own firepower with a series of lovely snap cross court drops.

The end of the fourth game was characterized by very long, searching rallies as both players held on grimly. In the end, it was Koukal who hit a few uncharacteristic errors and El Halaby capitalized to take the lead and the match 11-9, 11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-6 in 57 minutes - but not before three or four of the most enthralling rallies of the entire tournament.

"The area squash community has been highly energized by PSA squash," said tournament organiser Rod Barnes, of AussieNick Squash. "Inspired by this and with the support of Sport and Health and other major sponsors, AussieNick are now planning to secure an all wall glass court for a 2-star event in the first quarter of 2008."

[Q] Yasser El Halaby (EGY) bt [7] Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-9, 11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-6 (57m)