1:09 am
23 Feb 2024

Orfi Fells Favourite In Major Hong Kong Football Club Upset

24 Nov 2023

Egypt's Amina Orfi, 16, came from behind to upset No.1 seed Georgina Kennedy in a five-game thriller to progress to the Hong Kong Football Club Open final.

Orfi will take on Sivasangari Subramaniam in the women's final of the PSA World Tour Bronze event after completing an 11-4, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8 victory over world No.6 Kennedy in 66 minutes of breathtaking action.

Despite the pair having never faced each other on the PSA Tour, both players took no time in figuring each other out, playing at a lightning speed right from the very first point.

After Kennedy fought back from a game-down to take a 2/1 lead, the match seemed to be heading in Englishwoman's direction - but Orfi, ranked 18 in the world, raised her game yet again to force a decider.

At 9-7 up in the fifth, the teenager hit a sublime backhand drop into the nick to set up three match balls, and despite Kennedy saving one of these, the tie was sealed on a no-let decision against the England No.1.

After the match, Orfi said: "It was a very tough match because after the first game I was sort of tired even though I won 11-4, so after that, her experience won over me in the next two games.

"In the last two games I just tried to focus on my squash and more on moving her around and not giving her any cheap opportunities, and I think that worked out pretty well.

On her final against Subramaniam, she said: "Siva is in very good form, and she beat Nour El Tayeb, so I know it is going to be a battle. I'm going to do my best to claim this title. I came a long way and it is just a matter of patience."

Subramaniam will appear in her first PSA World Tour final since April 2022 after she claimed her third scalp of the week in No.2 seed Sarah-Jane Perry.

Despite falling 8-3 down in the opener and 8-1 down in the second game, the Malaysian rallied in both cases, pulling off strings of eight and nine points in succession to take a 2/0 lead and subsequently seal her victory after just 28 minutes on court.

"I feel really happy to be winning in the semi-finals today," the No.7 seed said after the match. "It was a bit weird on court today, in the first and second games I started off very slow, which I don't normally do.

"I was 8-3 down in the first and 8-1 down in the second, but I just told myself to try and refocus in each point and stay positive. I was a bit sluggish at the start of each game, but I tried to increase the pace and get my follow-through going.

"I tried to reduce my errors and I'm just really happy with how I fought today."

In the men's draw, No.2 and No.3 seeds Eain Yow Ng and Aly Abou Eleinen are both set to compete in maiden Bronze finals after coming through their last four bouts in straight games, respectively.

World No.21 Eain Yow toppled No.1 seed Mohamed ElSherbini in a confident and composed performance which lasted just 36 minutes.

ElSherbini's two lengthy five-game matches from the last two days seemed to start catching up with him as the match progressed, with Eain Yow happy to extend the rallies all the way to the conclusion of their encounter.

After sealing his victory, the Malaysian said: "It was a tough match today, even if the scoreline didn't really show it. There was a lot of discipline required in the first game and I had to make sure I kept to my game plan and not get too trigger-happy.

"I needed to play to my strengths as well, moving the ball towards the front, and after making a few errors early on, I think I got the balance right, putting the ball really deep, before hitting a few more short."

Eleinen was the last player to book a spot in the finals tomorrow after a near-faultless performance against Spaniard Iker Pajares.

The Egyptian, who has looked at home on the court in the Hong Kong Football Club Open all week, found an immaculate line and length right from the offset, and never looked back from there.

"I'm super pleased," Eleinen said after the match. "Getting a 3/0 win against Iker is never easy, it was physically tough, but I'm glad I got through.

"Like I've said all week, finding my length on this court has helped me a lot. I had never played Iker before, so I didn't know what his strengths and weaknesses were, and in situations like these, you just have to stick to the basics and adjust your game, stay aware and pick up things here and there that you can use to your advantage."