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Madeline Perry claims her sixth and last GillenMarkets Irish Open title
Madeline Perry played the ultimate match of her professional Squash career today in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in front of an absolutely packed center court. Facing Nicolette Fernandes, the world number 20 from Guyana, there was certainly an air of uncertaintanty whether Madeline would be able to overcome Fernandes, who had looked impressive all week. Nicolette established a lead in game one but Madeline found her range midgame and started wowing the crowd with some excellent shots to the front court. She claimed the first game 11:8 and established a quick 6:0 lead in game two. She never looked back after that and secured the game 11:5. Madeline continued her good play and Nicolette fought back trying to go in short quicker. It worked in parts, but Madeline’s relentless hitting brought her to 10:8 matchball. Fernandes, who gave it her all and dived full-length twice, pulled one point back but Madeline eventually closed out the game 11:9.
Madeline Perry and Ali Farag showing off their trophies with the Egyptian ambassador and main sponsor Rory Gillen of GillenMarkets
In her winning speech, Ireland’s most successful female Squash player was not only awarded a special lifetime award, but also thanked her support from over the years extensively.
“This is one of my favourite events and I want to also thank Nicolette, who is a very fun and fair player, for making it a good final, particularly since it is my very last“, said Perry.
Perry will still be representing Ireland in the European Team Championships in Denmark next week. With Perry Ireland has not faced outside the top 5 in the last ten years, and with today’s form from the final, Perry will remain a tough player to beat.
The men’s final aw a very worth finish to the fabulous week of Squash. Playing in front of the Egyptian ambassador and several countrymen and women, the young Egyptian player overcame Lucas Serme of France in a 81 minute five-set thriller. Farag looked impressive in game one, not only distributing the ball brilliantly, but wowing the crowd with his court coverage. Serme found a way to withhold the pressure in game two, but it was all Farag in game three, which he took convincingly. Game four saw Farag request an injury break at 5:6 down. There was uncertainty whether Farag, who seemed to have taken a slight knock to his calf, could continue, but the crowd was happy to see him continue after an 18 minute break. Serme won game four despite Farag beingtwo points away from matchball, but it was Farag who stormed ahead in game five. Serme fought back from 3:8 down, but in front of a vociferous Egyptian crowd, it was Farag who held his nerve and made his country proud.
Ali Farag, all smiles after his biggest career win, not only thanked the sponsors and organizers, but also paid tribute to Madeline Perry’s great career in his victory speech. “It is so great playing in front of our Egyptian ambassador to Ireland and all the Egyptians who came out to support me today. This title also means a lot, because my fiancé won the title here four years ago!“
The match concluded a great week of Squash, which will stay in memory not only for making the Egyptians very happy, but also for Madeline Perry finishing her career in her typical winning fashion!