6:47 am
14 Jun 2024

Tesni Takes Out Tinne To Make Sportwerk Semis

6 Apr 2024

In a career-first win over the world No.8, Wales' Tesni Murphy upset Belgium's second seed Tinne Gilis in a thrilling 62-minute encounter to book a place in the women's semi-finals of the German Open Presented by Sportwerk in Hamburg.

Sixth seed Murphy looked fired up in the first game, as she got the better of a number of her rallies. The Welshwoman used a combination of holds and flicks. Despite a strong fightback from Gilis, errors from the Belgian helped Murphy over the line to win the first game 11-8. Gilis responded well in the second game, staying in rallies and not rushing her shots. There were still signs of edginess in the Belgian's game, but she seemed in control of most of the rallies as she pushed to an 11-7 second game win.

Murphy fought back in the third game, improving her shot selection, and forcing Gilis across the court to take a decisive 6-1 lead. The No.2 seed grew into the game, but the deficit was too great to overcome as Murphy took a 2/1 lead in the match. Gilis made the rallies longer in the fourth game, playing to her physical advantages and trying to tire out her opponent to good effect, as she pushed on to a conclusive 11-3 win to restore parity at two-all.

The decisive fifth game saw an even start, as the pair traded points with both playing a slightly more conservative play style. A fault from Murphy at 5-4 gave Gilis a mental advantage as she pushed on and maintained a narrow advantage in the match to 8-7. Despite the lead that Gilis kept in the fifth game, it was Murphy who earned the first match ball, and the Welshwoman claimed the win after Gilis hit the ball out to set the Welshwoman up with a semi-final against England No.1 Georgina Kennedy.

"It was a tough match," said Murphy after the match. "I'm pretty pleased to get the win. I thought it was really good squash from both of us.

"I've got huge respect for Tinne. She's a really good friend off the court so it's really a difficult one to balance that emotion after the match."

In the men's event, Egypt's Mohamed ElSherbini defeated No.5 seed Raphael Kandra to end home interest in the PSA World Tour Bronze event at Sportwerk Hamburg.

ElSherbini had a strong start to the match and put Kandra, who had the full support of a packed crowd, under pressure from the opening rally. Both players produced moments of skills, using clever movement and deception, and through a tie-break, the Egyptian took the lead, winning 12-10. In a similarly close-fought affair, ElSherbini remained accurate in the crucial moments as they fought to 9-9, but a forehand drop from ElSherbini gave the Egyptian a chance to double his advantage and Kandra struck the tin to give the No.3 seed the game.

The Egyptian looked to be cruising to a 3/0 victory over the home favourite as he leapt to a 7-2 lead in game three, but the German fought back to 9-9 with the crowd cheering every point. The pair were inseparable as they traded points into a tie-break. Despite some missed opportunities from Kandra as he hit the tin in crucial moments, ElSherbini failed to punish the German and the home favourite won the game 14-12 with a well-disguised cross-court.

The fourth game was just as close-fought as the third as the two players battled for a place in the semi-finals. ElSherbini again earned a seemingly-decisive lead at 9-4, and the Egyptian held his nerve at the second time of asking to win the thrilling encounter with a pin-point accurate cross-court into the back-right corner.

"He's such a great player and in front of this amazing crowd, it's hard not to play your best squash and give your best effort," said ElSherbini, who now faces Switzerland's Dimitri Steinmann. "Raphael is a very talented player and he was very strong today. I'm glad to have finished it in four even though I could have finished it in three."

Elsewhere, No.1 seed Joel Makin played through pain to defeat USA's Timothy Brownell, and Egypt's Salma Hany produced a clinical performance to defeat home favourite Saskia Beinhard.