Mighty Meredith Removes Top Seed Rapp To Reach Maiden Tour Final
14 Jan 2023
Royal Tunbridge Wells has a new Squash King after local hero Noah Meredith toppled top seed Valentin Rapp to reach the final of the Colin Payne Kent Open, sponsored by 501 Fun - the first PSA Tour final of the Englishman's career.
Meredith, the 21-year-old from Brighton who plays number one for the Tunbridge Wells team, played brilliantly to win 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 in 51 minutes of hugely entertaining squash.
The packed gallery roared with delight as No.8 seed Meredith, ranked 215 in the world, continued the attacking form that produced a similarly stunning win the night before against New Zealand's No.3 seed Temwa Chileshe.
The opening game was even all the way through until Rapp, ranked 117, pushed through from 6-7 down to win on a tiebreak.
The players were evenly matched, with some brilliantly skilful exchanges at the front of the court.
Meredith conjured up a sustained spell of magical squash in the second game to win five consecutive points to lead 8-3. Rapp fought back but Meredith hit a stylish winner to take the game.
With his confidence sky high, Meredith dominated the third and fourth games as the winners flowed from his racket, winning each one 11-5.
He said: "Valentin is such a good player but I was very pleased with how I played tonight. I was focused and more patient than usual.
"Winning the second game was very important. I could hear Valentin breathing harder and that was a sign for me to prolong the rallies, which is not my normal game!"
Meredith faces No.2 seed Owain Taylor in the final and he will be aiming to achieve another upset having beaten the Welshman last time they played in the Ostrava Open in Czech Republic last year.
Taylor overpowered No.5 seed Perry Malik in the other semi-final, winning an ill-tempered match 11-5, 11-7, 11-9.
Malik's sister, top seed Torrie, squeezed through to the women's final, beating Malaysia's No.4 seed Yasshmita Jadishkumar on a fifth game tiebreak.
Malik started strongly, winning the first two games, but she lost concentration as her opponent began to dominate.
Jadishkumar wasted two match balls in the fifth as Malik won the final three points to triumph 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 13-11.
Malik meets Scotland's Alison Thomson in the final. Thomson, who took out No.2 seed Elise Romba in the quarter-finals, has looked stronger every day this week.
Against No.3 seed Ali Loke of Wales she won a tough opening game after being 6-3 down, and then powered through the next two to win 11-9, 11-2, 11-2.