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18 May 2024

Perry Battles To Irish Open Final

25 Apr 2009

Irish squash star Madeline Perry delighted the crowd at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club by beating New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes in the semi-finals of the Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open to reach the final of the $25,000 WISPA World Tour event in Dublin for the fourth time in five years.

The world number nine from Banbridge, near Belfast, recovered from a game down to defeat surprise opponent Hawkes - the No7 seed from Auckland who upset England's defending champion Laura Lengthorn-Massaro in the quarters - 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 in 55 minutes.

Third seed Perry, winner of the trophy for three successive years from 2005, will now face top seed Alison Waters for the title.

Londoner Waters also faced an unexpected opponent in the other women's semi-final after unseeded compatriot Sarah Kippax surprised fellow English countrywoman Tania Bailey, the fourth seed, in the previous round.

After comfortably winning the first two games, Waters served for the match at 10-4. But Kippax took the game to a tie-break after saving six match balls before the favourite eventually clinched her 11-4, 11-1, 13-11 victory after 31 minutes.

A similar pattern emerged in the first semi-final of the men's $25,000 PSA World Tour event when French favourite Thierry Lincou seemed to be cruising to a straightforward straight games win over fifth seed Daryl Selby after taking the first two games against the Englishman.

The third game looked all over until Lincou served for the match at 10-4. Selby demonstrated that he has a game to match the former world number one by playing a series of exquisite drops and testing lobs to close the gap to 10-9.

It took his seventh match ball before Lincou finally took the match 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 in 44 minutes to reach the 38th Tour final of his career.

"I benefited from Daryl's concentration up and downs, which allowed me to lead 2/0," Lincou told www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. "Then a big scare to try and convert my match balls, with Daryl coming back into the match, playing superb, clean, efficient and error-free squash. I was happy to get through in three!"

The rising Egyptian star Mohamed El Shorbagy again put on an exciting display of wizardry to defeat English training partner Joey Barrington in the other men's semi. Sixth seed Barrington was well in the match but had to work extremely hard to win a point against the teenager from Alexandria.

The Englishman had a great chance to take the opening game, leading 10-8 - but Shorbagy replied with three consecutive nick shots to open up a one-game lead.. In the second game, Shorbagy continued his nick spree and finished the game with an incredible backhand high volley into the nick to take it 11/6. Barrington's hard work paid off and he took the third game with some panache. But Shorbagy wrapped up the fourth game to win 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 to earn his first Irish Open final place.

The final will be El Shorbagy's first meeting with Lincou since upsetting the former world champion in last year's World Open in Manchester.

Men's Semi-finals:
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [5] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 (44m)
[4] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Joey Barrington (ENG) 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (50m)

Women's Semi-finals:
[1] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-4, 11-1, 13-11 (30m)
[3] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [7] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (55m)