Saturday semis decided in Sydney

Published Fri 22 Mar 2024

Sana Ibrahim (EGY) and Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) are into the semi-finals of a PSA World Tour event for the first time after they progressed to the last four of the 2024 City Tattersalls Group Squash Australian Open in Sydney. 

Ibrahim has been a quarter-finalist at best at Bronze and Silver-level tournaments previously, but the Egyptian advanced to the last four for the first time with an accomplished performance against Rachel Arnold (MAS). 

Ibrahim’s unrelenting aggressiveness forced key errors from Arnold’s racquet as she claimed an impressive 3-1 (11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5) victory over the tournament’s No.3 seed.

“I feel so happy about this [reaching a semi final of a PSA World Tour event for the first time],” she said. “I was thinking about whether I was going to win today or not and reach the semi finals as it’s something big for me.

"I’ve played Rachel before at the Squash on Fire, but I lost in the quarters there. It wasn’t going to be easy today as I knew she would play better today and I wanted to reach the semi-finals.

When I was 2-1 up and leading I was thinking about it, but I told myself it’s 0-0 and just focus on each point. I’m so happy about this.”

Top seed Salma Hany (EGY) awaits Ibrahim in the semi finals tomorrow following her 3-0 success over Aira Azman (MAS). 

Hany was in excellent form in round two yesterday, and the World No.11 picked up where she left off against Azman to secure her spot in the last four with her accuracy paying dividends.

The other semi final in the women's event pits the No.4 seed Tomato Ho (HKG)  against the No.2 seed Amina Orfi (EGY). Ho fought back from one game down to see off Yiwen Chan (MAS) 3-1, while Orfi delivered a clinical display against Marie Stephan (FRA), winning in straight games. 

In the men's competition, Bonmalais earned his maiden semi-final appearance on the World Tour after defeating Henry Leung (HKG) 3-0.

The Frenchman's patient play was rewarded as he extended the rallies to force a number of errors from Leung, helping Bonmalais go two games up.

World No.33 Bonmalais, who's been a quarter-finalist at PSA World Tour events three times before, found the back corners well in the third to round off an excellent performance over Leung in 42 minutes. 

"It sounds good [being in a semi final of a World Tour event for the first time]," he said afterwards.

"It's been a long time since I started going up the rankings and playing the bigger tournaments, and I'm happy I managed to win 3-0 today and keep some energy for the rest of the tournament.

"I played well today. Henry [Leung] is a tough player and a fighter. Last time I played him I knew I had to have a lot of pace and move him around the court.

"That's what I did today and I'm happy and I'm looking forward."

Bonmalais meets No.2 seed Youssef Soliman (EGY) for a place in the final tomorrow night. The World No.12 overcame David Baillargeon (CAN) in straight games. 

Soliman absorbed plenty of pressure from the Canadian No.1, as the Egyptian came out on top in the majority of the lengthy rallies between the two. Soliman sealed the match 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 in 39 minutes. 

The men's top seed Victor Crouin (FRA) will take on No.4 seed Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) for the third time on the World Tour in the other semi-final. French No.1 Crouin dispatched Tsz Kwan Lau 3-0 in 35 minutes, while Steinmann won by the same scoreline against Ryunosuke Tsukue (JPN).

The semi-finals of the City Tattersalls Group Australian Open 2024 will take place tomorrow on Saturday 23 March, with play getting underway from 6pm AEDT. All the action will be streamed live on 7plus.

** After the semi-finals, tournament partners City Tattersalls Group and City Houses Squash Racquets Association have generously invited the squash community to the Castlereagh Club to celebrate a wonderful week of action as the PSA World Tour makes a welcome return to Australian shores.

DAY 3 | FRIDAY 22 MARCH 2024


[1] Victor Crouin (FRA) d [5] Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)
[4] Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) d [8] Ryunosuke Tsukue (JPN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (27m)
[3] Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) d [7] Leung Chi Hin Henry (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (42m)
[2] Youssef Soliman (EGY) d [6] David Baillargeon (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (39m)

[1] Salma Hany (EGY) d Aira Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
[5] Sana Ibrahim (EGY) d [3] Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-1: 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 (45m)
[4] Tomato Ho (HKG) d Yiwen Chan (MAS) 3-1: 5-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (36m)
[2] Amina Orfi (EGY) d [8] Marie Stephan (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (39m)



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