Fiechter Marks Career-High At Malaysian Open
25 Nov 2022
While Egypt's Mazen Hesham recorded a first tour victory over Welshman Joel Makin to set up a men's Malaysian Open final against top-seeded compatriot Tarek Momen, USA's Olivia Fiechter reached the biggest final of her career after she came back from a game down to beat Welsh No.3 seed Tesni Evans and set up a clash for the women's title with Belgium's Nele Gilis.
Top seed Fiechter had a tough battle beat Evans, the third seed. The Welshwoman has been in great form of late and carried that into the opening game, which she took 11-7 on the back of impressive accuracy into space.
Fiechter responded calmly, though, with the 27-year-old constructing her rallies well as she moved 2/1 ahead with 11-7 and 11-3 victories, before ending the clash with an 11-7 win in a scrappy fourth game.
"I'm really proud to get through that," said Fiechter. "Tesni has been playing some incredible squash in the last few months; she's in great form and I knew I would have to play some of my best squash to get past her."
Fiechter's opponent in the final, Belgian world No.14 Gilis, also had to come through a tough encounter as she ended home hopes with a 3/2 win over world No.26 Rachel Arnold to reach her third final this season.
Arnold, spurred on by the home crowd, started the first game in great style, firing the ball in short as she edged the opener 12-10.
Gilis hit back in the perfect style as she recorded a brutal 11-0 win in game two and then moved ahead with an 11-9 win in game three.
Arnold dug in well to force a fifth game with 11-7 victory in the fourth, but fell away to the superb energy of Gilis in the decider, with the Belgian reaching the final with an 11-6 win.
Afterwards, Gilis said: "Rachel was on fire today.
"I knew she would be with the home crowd and I guess it fired her up and it made me a bit anxious. She made my life very difficult and I just went into survival mode and I'm just happy to scrape that one."
Mazen Hesham went into his men's semi with Makin having steamrolled his two previous opponents, Faraz Khan and Patrick Rooney, and was in excellent form again today as he recorded a first win in four meetings against the world No.11.
The third-seeded Egyptian was dominant throughout as he went 2/0 up after 11-7 and 11-9 wins, before Makin - the No.2 seed appeared to be carrying an injury - clawed the third game back 13-11.
That proved the Welshman's final act of resistance, though, with Hesham quickly wrapping up the match with an 11-3 win in the fourth game.
"I haven't been beating some of the top guys for a long time now and with injuries it has been very stop-start for me so I couldn't get momentum, so I was really happy I could play last week fine and this week as well," Hesham said afterwards.
Momen, too, was in top form as he guaranteed the event would have its first Egyptian winner since 2014 by ruthlessly dispatching Mueller, who had upset No.4 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the last round, 3-0 in just 27 minutes.
"I'm very happy with the way I played today, there was so many challenges. Playing after 10:30pm, it's been a long day, coming up against a tough opponent in Nicky," Momen said.