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19 Jun 2024

Top Seeds Rodriguez & Gilis Take Australian Open Titles

30 Oct 2022

Colombian Miguel Rodriguez and Belgian Nele Gilis fulfilled seeding predictions at the 2022 City Tattersalls Club Australian Open by claiming the PSA World Tour titles at the Sydney University Sport and Fitness Centre.

Gilis beat Sabrina Sobhy, the second seed from the USA, in straight games to etch her name in the Spalding-Heather McKay Perpetual trophy, while Rodriguez defeated Scot Greg Lobban 3/1 in the men's final to become the first South American player to claim the Australian Open title.

In the women's final, Gilis produced an outstanding performance to power past Sobhy without ever trailing in the score. The Belgian world No.13 was first off the blocks, building a five-point lead in the middle of the first game to go up 8-3. With the game slipping away, Sobhy's reaction was fierce, but the American could only deny three game balls before eventually dropping the game, the first of her Australian Open, at 9-11.

The second game followed a similar script, with Gilis taking four of the first five rallies and Sobhy always determined to bridge the gap, but never able to turn the momentum around. Up 2/0 and in control of the match, Gilis closed out the final in straight games to take the PSA Challenger 30 title.

"I've known Sabrina for a long time so I knew it was going to be a clean, but tough contest," said Gilis after claiming the ninth Tour title of her career.

"I tried to focus on one point at the time and reset after every rally. I knew that if I was going to think ahead I might be getting edgy and nervous, so I just tried to focus on every ball and give it my all. It worked and I am so happy!"

The men's final lived up to the expectations with Rodriguez having to dig deep to overturn a one-game deficit before beating surprise opponent Lobban in four games.

The match proved a tight contest right from the beginning, with Lobban, the third seed, getting the upper hand in a hard-fought first game. The Scottish No.1 and Rodriguez continued trading blows in the second game, going point for point until the Colombian took a huge rally to set up two game-balls and tie the match at one game all.

Rodriguez carried on in the third game producing a few masterful drop shots that earned him an early 5-0 lead and the applause of the crowd. The top seed went on another impressive 6-0 run to wrap up the third game 11-1 in just over 5 minutes. Balance was restored in the fourth game with neither player giving up ground. With the game tied at 7-all, Rodriguez eventually took a slender lead and finally overcame Lobban's resistance to take the match and the Australian Open crown in four games, for the 30th PSA title of his career.

"He played the first and second game very well," Rodriguez said after the match. "He was crossing from backhand to forehand and I wanted to play on his backhand, so there was a lot of cross-court game. I got confident after winning that second game and I started changing that pattern and played some different shots, using a much softer touch. That worked and was something I should have done right from the beginning.

"Physically, I think I was feeling much better. The conditions of the court were more favorable to me and the crowd was very supportive. That's what I was thinking in the back of my mind all the time - this is my court, this is my atmosphere. But I had to wait until the very end!

"I am so glad to get this title, it was one of my goals for this season and it is very special to win here in Australia," he said.