Rising Egyptian squash star Karim Ali Fathi saved a match-ball in the final of the Madison Open against Englishman Joel Hinds to win the PSA Challenger 10 event at Madison Squash Workshop in Madison in the US state of Wisconsin – and claim the sixth PSA World Tour title of his career.
Third seed Ali Fathi (pictured above in the final), the 20-year-old world No56 from Cairo who upset No2 seed Martin Knight to reach the final, took the first two games.
But unseeded Hinds, 26 and ranked more than 30 places lower, battled back to draw level – and opened up a 9-5 lead in the decider.
“Karim seemed to have pulled an muscle on the inside of his thigh,” explained Egyptian club member Ahmed Afifi. “He walked around the court for a few minutes. Everyone thought it was all over for Karim, and he himself later admitted he thought the same.
“Ironically, this worked to his advantage; it took off the pressure. He then went on to produce his best points of the tournament, playing solid offensive squash that you only see from the players ranked in the top 20. He climbed back to 9-9.
“Joel got a match ball at 10-9, but Karim was simply on fire by now and was not going to let go. He won three points in a row to win the best game in the tournament.”
The 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10 triumph in 98 minutes marks the first Tour title of the year for Ali Fathi – but the sixth of his career.
Jubilant tournament promoter Damon Bourne described the match as “the best final in the Madison Open five year history”.
Image courtesy of Tom McInvaille
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Joel Hinds (ENG) 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10 (98m)
Article and image courtesy of the Professional Squash Association