Sharpes Shocks Aziz In Jersey Classic

Charles Sharpes stunned Egypt's second seed Omar Abdel Aziz in today's semi-finals of the Jersey Squash Classic to ensure an English winner of the inaugural PSA World Tour Challenger 10 event at the Jersey Squash & Racketball Club in St Clement, Jersey.

The third seed from Surrey will take on Chris Simpson, the favourite from Guernsey.

Aziz, who had won his afternoon quarter-final in about half the time it took Sharpes to progress, was unable to dominate his opponent.

Sharpes - ranked almost 40 places below the Egyptian - played steady, solid squash, going for shots when he could but never as often as the Egyptian. The London-born 21-year-old took advantage of Aziz errors in the first game to establish an 8-5 lead. Aziz won a huge rally to level at nine-all, but it was the English underdog who took the next two points to take the lead.

Sharpes was always ahead during the next two games - the world No36 from Cairo's best efforts falling short as the third seed delightedly clinched a place in the final, winning the match 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 in 49 minutes.

"As a top 30 player he's very experienced and has some great shots," said Sharpes. "But I was really happy with how I managed to contain him and I'm so pleased to get through to the final, especially in three games.

"Tournaments like this are great for giving us the chance to play people like Omar and Chris so thanks to everyone involved for putting it on," added Sharpes, now in his sixth Tour final, but his first for more than a year.

Simpson faced Steven Finitsis, the No4 seed from Australia who had blasted his way through his opening two matches, dominating both with ferocious attacking squash.

The big Aussie made his intentions clear as he hammered away a winning nick on the first rally of the semi-final, but Simpson was so effective at neutralising the game that had destroyed Finitsis' previous opponents that it wasn't until midway through the third that he managed to hit another.

World No26 Simpson had to work hard to keep his opponent in check - but he did so effectively, maintaining a lead throughout the three games. A 6-1 advantage in the first was converted 11-4. He was always a point or two ahead during the second which he took 11-7, and he pulled clear from midway through the third as Finitsis started finding the tin more frequently.

Simpson took the final game 11-6 to earn a place in the final after 50 minutes of intense action which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

"Steve is very talented, and he can find the nick from anywhere, especially on his forehand," said the Yorkshire-based 26-year-old, now in his eighth Tour final - and his second in a month. "So I knew I needed to keep the ball out of the middle and keep him deep as much as I could. When I took it short I tried to play it softly to take away the pace he likes, and I'm pleased with the way I managed to execute that.

"I'm pleased to be in the final of course," he concluded. "But I'll be more pleased if I can win it!"

RESULTS: PSA Challenger 10 Jersey Classic, St Clement, Jersey
Quarter-finals:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Rory Pennell (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (25m)
[4] Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Johan Bouquet (FRA) 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (22m)
[3] Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 (53m)
[2] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (34m)

Semi-finals:
[1] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [4] Steven Finitsis (AUS) 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (50m)
[3] Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [2] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (49m)
 
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