7:57 am
17 Jun 2024

Eain Yow Ng & Georgina Kennedy Secure Sportwerk Silverware

8 Apr 2024

Malaysia's Eain Yow Ng claimed his first PSA World Tour title after beating Switzerland's Dimitri Steinmann, while England's Georgina Kennedy upset No.1 seed Nele Gilis to earn her first Tour title of the season at the German Open Presented by Sportwerk in Hamburg.

Malaysian Ng seemed unstoppable as he dominated the rallies from the first serve at the start of the men's final at Sportwerk Hamburg and accrued a decisive 9-4 lead. His Swiss opponent grew into the match at the final phase of the first game, and picked up a series of late points to take the game to a tie-break from four game balls down. A stroke in favour of the Malaysian gave the No.4 seed a fifth chance to take a 1/0 lead, and took the game after Steinman struck the tin.

The second game played out in a similar vein to the end of the first, with close rallies from which both were taking points, but the Malaysian kept just ahead as he pushed to 10-8 and doubled his advantage after a Steinmann conceded a stroke on Ng's first game ball.

Game three was an equally close affair as the German-speaking crowd favourite was pushed on by the cheering Hamburg crowd. The 'Jet' covered well in the front of the court and continued to test the favourite to earn two game balls. The game went to a tie-break after Steinmann struck the tin, but the Swiss player kept composed and won the third game with a backhand drop into the nick.

The fourth game was a far less close-fought affair. Steinmann looked physically fatigued as Ng continued to rely on attritional rallies that the No.6 seed couldn't keep up with.

The Malaysian dominated the game and won 11-3 to win the match in four games and claim the first PSA World Tour title of his career.

"It was a big relief to get through today," said Ng after the match. "I think I played amazing all week so I was happy to pull through it. The final's always different. There's always some added pressure, there were different people messaging all day about my win yesterday so for me I knew today was going to be tough, especially against Dimi.

"He was just firing it in from everywhere and he wasn't missing much, so I had to dig deep - keep running, keep getting all the balls back and sticking to my game plan and I think I did that. Just happy to get the title this week."

In the women's final, Kennedy took on Belgium's Nele Gilis to win her first Tour event since the 2023 Cleveland Classic.

The Englishwoman took a 4-1 lead after winning a series of longer rallies, but errors crept into Kennedy's game as Gilis restored parity at 4-4. The No.3 seed kept ahead for the majority of the rest of the first game, and despite the Belgian levelling the points at 7-7, Kennedy pushed on and scored three successive points to give herself three game balls. A well-struck backhand kill from Gilis at 7-10, followed by a mistake by the England No.1 reduced the deficit, but Kennedy held her nerve and converted her third game ball with a cross-court after pulling the top seed into the front right corner.

Kennedy seemed to have found her stride in the second game, taking a quick 5-2 lead. The Belgian settled as she pulled back to 5-6, but the Englishwoman surged on to earn four game balls before doubling her game lead.

The Englishwoman got off to a confident start in the third with a boast from the back of the court. The rallies remained long and attritional and Gilis finally took the lead for the first time in the match at 5-4 in the third game, before finding her lengths and pushing on to an 11-7 third game win.

Kennedy seemed to have rediscovered her footing as she took a swift 4-0 lead to go within seven points of victory. a little bit of edginess seemed to come into the Englishwoman's performance as she hit the tin on her boast at 6-2, but Kennedy kept ahead, hitting an accurate counter-drop at 7-5 to take a three-point lead in the final phases of the game. Gilis fought back to a tense tie-break in which she had an opportunnity to take the match to a fifth game, but the England No.1 managed to edge the final game 14-12 to defeat the top seed and claim the title.

"I'm really pleased," said Kennedy after the match. "It's such a battle with Nele. She's won a lot of silverware this season and I hadn't won any yet so I'm really happy to finally get my hands on a trophy, but that match was so close. She had game ball in that fourth game to take it to a fifth, and she was definitely getting some momentum. I'm really happy to close it out in four. I wanted to win a title this week so I'm really pleased that I did."