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Squash: Malaysia’s Low, England’s Willstrop win China Open titles

Second seed Low Wee Wern (right) takes on top seed Camille Serme in the 102-minute women’s final at the China Open, which was held on the 11th floor of The Peninsula Shanghai.

Second seed Low Wee Wern (right) takes on top seed Camille Serme in the 102-minute women’s final at the China Open – Squash Stars on the Bund, which was held on the 11th floor of The Peninsula Shanghai.

September 8, 2014: Low Wee Wern lifted the China Open trophy for the third time in four years after the Malaysia No. 2 edged top-seeded French star Camille Serme 3-2 (11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10) following a sensational 102-minute final on the 11th floor of The Peninsula Shanghai.

 

The second-seeded Low, the World No. 7, looked in charge after taking the first two games before World No. 5 Serme battled back by taking both the third and fourth 11-8. Low, 24, then ran out to 3-0 and 7-3 leads in the fifth and served at 10-8, and although Serme saved two match points, the Malaysian eventually won the marathon contest.

 

Low Wee Wern won the China Open for the third time in four years.

Low Wee Wern won the China Open for the third time in four years.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Low, who hails from Penang along with World No. 1 Nicol David. “It was such a battle with Camille and I’m very, very happy to win the fifth game 12-10.”

 

Men’s top seed James Willstrop, also World No. 7, then claimed his first PSA World tour title of the year by defeating fellow Englishman Peter Barker 3-2 (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 11-5) in the final of the PSA International 70 event.

 

The 31-year-old Pontefract-based player got the better of Barker in a mammoth 98-minute battle, surviving a thrilling comeback to win his first tour title since beating the Essex man to honours at last year’s Canary Wharf Classic.

 

Willstrop was runner-up to Nick Matthew at the Commonwealth Games in late June, but suffered a disappointing early loss to Tarek Momen at last month’s Hong Kong Open, which marked the Englishman’s first first-round exit in a PSA tour event since 2006.

 

Willstrop on his way to beating Barker for his first PSA title of the year. Photo: PSA.

Willstrop on his way to beating Barker for his first PSA title of the year. Photo: PSA.

The former World No. 1 rebounded in Shanghai to put in impressive back-to-back performances against Egyptians Marwan Elshorbagy and Omar Mossad to reach the final of the inaugural China Open men’s event and he looked to be easing to the title after taking an early 2-0 lead.

 

But the resilient Barker, one of the sport’s most physical players, dug deep to level the match after producing some fine play during the third and fourth games.

 

However, he fell short in the final game as Willstrop managed to find an extra gear, surviving everything Barker could throw at him to grind out the victory and lift the trophy with an 11-5 win in the decider.

 

James Willstrop (centre) and Low Wee Wern won the men’s and women’s titles at the China Open – Squash Stars on the Bund, beating Peter Barker and Camille Serme respectively in five-game finals at The Peninsula Shanghai. Photos: Squashsite.co.uk.

Champions Willstrop and Low beside runners-up Barker and Serme at the prize presentation. Photo: Squashsite.co.uk.

 

Source: PSA (www.psaworldtour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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