LIU COMPLETES HOUDINI ACT TO DOWN TOMLINSON IN A THRILLER
A cagey start by both players as they came out playingyyj some rather defensive squash.
Millie got going slightly earlier as she built a 5-3 and then 6-4 lead on the strength of some marginally better consistency. A stroke took her to 7-4 before Liu responded with two on the trot for 6-7. Two uncharacteristic errors from Liu took Millie to 9-6. Some fine attacking play brought up game ball. Liu played a delightful back hand drop for 7-10 before Tomlinson took the first 11-7.
Liu had played a long five set match last night with her countrywoman Tong compared to Tomlinson’s straight game win but this seemed like a plainly tentative start from Liu.
Tomlinson came out smartly to open a 3-0 lead in the second looking more assured. Liu finally started asserting herself to level at 3-3. Two delicate drops for Tomlinson for 5-3 before Liu played a superb overhead for 4-5.
Tomlinson was in control yet again as she came up with an assortment of shots to take the next five points to move to game ball. Liu reduced the deficit but it wasn’t quite enough. Tomlinson 11-6
Finally Liu came out attacking and not surprisingly it began to reap dividends. A 4-0 lead doubled to 8-0 as Liu was showing greater resolve. The body language had changed and we finally had a match on our hands. Tomlinson got on the scoreboard finally before Liu completed the third at 11-1
A more absorbing contest followed as the rallies were more evenly contested. Tomlinson inched closer at 5-3. A no-let took her to 6-3 but Liu wasn’t done. A stroke to Liu followed by the point of the match thus far that ended with Liu wrong footing Tomlinson and it was 5-6 . Liu kept the momentum going as Tomlinson once again had her nose in front at 7-6. Another couple of precise finishes from Liu had her at 8-7. She followed that with a razor sharp back hand drop for 9-7 and the crowd was looking out for the decider now. A debatable decision where the referees were called for their call on Tomlinson’s pick up gave Liu game ball 10-7, at 8-10 there were some traffic problems from Tomlinson ensured four lets in a row before Liu got one that had forced the decider. Liu 11-8
A much sharper Liu took command in the decider at 5-2 and all the momentum was with her. A surprising no-let against Liu made it 3-5. Liu had an extra gear now as she accelerated to 7-4, Tomlinson responded with a couple of very consistent points for 7-7. It was getting tight now. An absolute beauty from Liu for 8-7.’ It’s in the inches’ someone from the crowd was overheard saying. Liu inched closer with two well constructed points. A no-let for Tomlinson and the Hong Kong girl fisted the air after a fine comeback to win the title.
Millie Tomlinson, “Disappointed after going 2-0 up to lose. Liu started playing much better from the 3rd game and I started forcing the points rather than sticking to the game plan.
Liu Tsz-Ling,” I am very happy as this the biggest tournament I have ever won. I think I played very well, specially when I was 2-0 down. Even in the semifinals I was 1-2 down. I never give up and I kept telling myself to just focus on the game, point by point and I could win the match.
WO TITLES FOR REDA IN TWO WEEKS AS HE DOWNS HARINDER IN STRAIGHT GAMES
The top two seeds lined up to take their appointed spots in the final. Harinder was on his home court but Reda has played a fair bit of squash here as well.
The tone was set straightaway with some long engaging rallies. They went stride for stride to 5-5 when Reda drew some errors from the Indian to lead 9-6 and 10-7. Harinder clawed back with his customary gritty play to take it to extra points. At 12-11 to Reda a mis hit by Reda caught the Indian out and the Egyptian blew a kiss to the sky.
The second was also a battle of attrition and both players were mixing some superb lengths with some artistry in the forecourt. At 7-5 to Reda, Harinder was awarded a stroke for 6-7, ‘Why.,,,,,, implored Reda – the decision stood. Reda moved to 9-7, and this game was going to be crucial for Harinder who’s been recovering from an attack of sinusitis all week. Two unforced errors from the Indian and Reda had Game 2 as well. 11-7
Harinder was up against it now as Reda marched on relentlessly to race to 5-0,
Harinder clearly was not at his best physically and it was now showing. He once again begun showing his resilient side as he won three in a row for 3-5. A fine attacking shot from Reda for hand out. The crowd egged on the local lad as another brace got him to 5-6. A superb back hand cross court from the Indian restored parity. At 6-6 this was nicely poised.
They then played the longest rally of the tournament- could easily have been forty or fifty shots, a length which was too tight by Harinder resulted in a no-let and the Induan had the lead, he applied some more pressure for 9-6 before Reda pulled one back. The next point was all Harinder as he took Reda all over but somehow managed to find the tin for an easy put away. In a hurry it was 9-9. A service return into the tin from Harinder and another unforced error and it was game and match to the Egyptian.
Mohd Ali Reda (Egy), ” I knew I had tough challenge playing against Harinder on his home court. But I have played on this courts several times so it helped me to win the final. Its great to win my 2nd tournament in 1 month on the PSA World Tour. I will definitely be back next year to play in the JSW Indian Squash Circuit”.
Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, “Disappointed to lose in the final at home. Work to be done and need to come back stronger for next year tournaments. Thanks to my coaches and all the juniors for supporting me today and all week.”