9:56 pm
24 May 2024

Jaume & Cardenas Set Up Maiden World Tour Final In Cleveland

10 Mar 2024

In an action-packed day of squash in Cleveland, Bernat Jaume upset No.2 seed Youssef Ibrahim and Leonel Cardenas defeated No.3 seed Greg Lobban to set up the pair's first PSA World Tour final appearance in the Squash in the Land Presented by Greater Cleveland Squash.

In the women's event, Georgina Kennedy survived a resurgent Sivasangari Subramaniam and Nour El Tayeb knocked out home favourite Olivia Weaver to set up the final predicted by the seedings.

Spaniard Jaume, ranked 58 in the world, fought back from a game down to beat Egypt's world No.18 Youssef Ibrahim in four games.

The Egyptian cruised to a 10-3 lead in the opener and claimed the first game with a shot into Jaume which forced the Spaniard into a reactionary shot that left the court.

Jaume seemed acclimatised to the aggressive style of Ibrahim in the second game. Underdog Jaume fought back to draw level before Ibrahim took a resounding 5-1 lead at the start of the third game. But Jaume rallied, and slowly reduced the deficit until the pair were level at 9-9. The 'Gunslinger' found himself with the first game ball opportunity, but Jaume restored parity after a contentious no let decision. Ibrahim squandered a second chance to regain the lead a precise flick from Jaume gave him the lead in the match.

Jaume looked refreshed as he dominant the early stages of the fourth game, accruing five unanswered points capped off with a vicious straight drive. Ibrahim looked out-of-sorts as the Spaniard kept creating issues for the fading Egyptian until he held a 7-4 lead. Ibrahim regained his footing in the match and levelled that score at 7-7 after Jaume conceded a stroke. Jaume clinically dispatched his No.2 seed opponent with four successive points, and finished the match with a roller to secure his spot in Sunday's final.

"I had nothing to lose," said Jaume after the match. "I knew it was going to be a very tough challenge. He schooled me in the first game and I had to do something different. I had a 6-0 lead in the fourth and I could see the finish line and he managed to come back.

"If it went to a fifth it would have been very tough. This is the biggest win of my career so far, this is an amazing venue and it still feels surreal. When I go back home and I'm with my close family when I can chill by myself, it's going to be emotional for me. But I don't want to think too much because there's one more to go and hopefully I can produce the same quality again tomorrow."

Mexico's Leonel Cardenas produced yet another upset to down Greg Lobban after five exacting games. The world No.26 from Scotland took the opening game but Cardenas, ranked eight places lower, fought back to take a 2/1 lead.

The new ball, requested by the Scotsman, seemed to work wonders for Lobban as he rediscovered the dominance of his first-game win. The colder ball made Lobban's accurate winners even harder to get, and the No.3 seed soared to six game balls. The match was taken to a fifth game after a poor movement from the Mexican gifted Lobban a stroke.

The ball warming up favoured the Mexican, and Lobban struggled again. The Mexican found himself with six match balls and Cardenas took down Lobban on the first time of asking with a precise reverse boast to earn a spot in his first World Tour final of his career.

"I had a slow start," said Cardenas after the match. "I didn't feel comfortable with Greg, he's a great player and he's got a lot of experience and it seemed like he had all the answers to my game. At the beginning I couldn't find a way, but then I kept working and I feel great. I just keep working, keep grinding. I felt I've been having up and downs recently but i always give my 100% and I'm feeling great, I'm playing great and I'm feeling good with my physicality and my mind."

England's Georgina Kennedy earned a chance to defend her title with a thrilling five-game encounter with Malaysia's Sivasangari Subramaniam in the women's semis.

"That was ridiculously tough," claimed No.1 seed Kennedy after the match. "I said to Siva at the end that it was one of those matches that no one deserved to lose."

Egypt's Nour El Tayeb claimed the last place in Sunday's Squash in the Land finals after a ruthless performance to beat out home favourite Olivia Weaver in straight games.

"I felt confident, but then she takes it away from you when she's hard to beat for every point," said El Tayeb after the match.