Kennedy Casts Out No.2 Seed To Reach Cincinnati Semis
15 Feb 2023
England's Georgina Kennedy made it four wins in a row over world No.7 Rowan Elaraby when the world No.9 recovered from a game down against the No.2 seed to advance to the semi-finals of the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Gaynor Cup in the USA.
Kennedy and Elaraby had already met twice in the opening two months of 2023, with Kennedy overcoming the Egyptian in a five-game thriller at the Tournament of Champions before recording a more comfortable win in straight games at the DAC Pro Squash Classic last week.
Today's match in the PSA World Tour Silver event at the Cincinnati Country Club was a fiercely-contested affair, with Elaraby's impressive shot-making and touch at the front of the court enabling her to take a one-game advantage. However, Kennedy was able to turn the tables and, despite surrendering four match balls in the fourth game, held her nerve to seal a 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10 victory in 48 minutes.
"Rowan and I had a really close game last week and I knew it was going to be a tough battle again, one that could have gone either way," said Kennedy.
"The scoreline was so close in each game. I'm really happy with how I came out after losing that first game, I had my game plan a bit wrong, so I changed a few things and I felt really good and really positive.
"It's not the first time I've lost my way and thought I was Ramy Ashour trying to go for all these shots. That's not really my game, so I lost my discipline and I was fuming at 10-10. I had to give myself a little talking to and I think that I played some positive rallies, which I'm happy with because if it went to a fifth it would have been stressful."
Kennedy will line up against Olivia Clyne for a place in the final. The unseeded American, appearing in a third successive semi-final for the first time since 2010, came back from a game down to vanquish Canada's Hollie Naughton, winning 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5.
"I was trying to fight my way through, I didn't feel as sharp as yesterday, but at the same time I'm really proud of my fight and determination," said Clyne.
"After going down in that first game I knew I had to make changes and find a way. I felt like I did adjust well. Hollie played fantastically, she was taking risks and hunting well, so I'm very happy to get through."
World No.1 Nouran Gohar is one win away from her second successive Cincinnati Gaynor Cup final after the defending champion put in a powerhouse of a performance to dispatch fellow Egyptian Sana Ibrahim.
After a closely-contested opening game, Gohar dominated the next two and hit immaculate line and length for the rest of the 29-minute contest. The 25-year-old will now aim to reach her fifth PSA final of the season.
"I'm pleased with the way I played," said Gohar.
"Sana has had two big wins this tournament, so I knew what to expect. I've been in her place before, so I know how it feels to play big players. Coming in against the world No.1, you have nothing to lose, so I was ready for this."
No.5 seed Salma Hany will be Gohar's opponent in the last four after she got the better of Lucy Turmel. The English player was appearing in her first Silver-level quarter-final after toppling No.3 seed Sarah-Jane Perry in the previous round, and the world No.34 proved to be a difficult opponent for Hany to overcome.
However, the class of the Egyptian and the quality of her short game ultimately pulled her over the line after three tight games to reach back-to-back semi-finals for the first time since 2014.
"I'm very happy with my performance today," said Hany.
"Lucy played so well the whole week and we played last week in Detroit. I knew today wasn't going to be easy, I knew she was going to come strongly at me this time. There were three tough games and I'm glad I kept my focus at the end of each game."