Welsh Ace Joel Makin Opens New Squash Season With Storming French Open Run To Final

Welsh squash ace Joel Makin.

Welsh Ace Joel Makin Opens New Squash Season With Storming French Open Run To Final

Joel Makin, the World number 12 from West Wales, powered to the French Open Squash Final in Nantes.

Second seed Makin played in-form New Zealander Paul Coll in the final, going down in an hour and 12 minutes.

Coll, ranked six in the World,  won 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 in 72 minutes to collect his 14th career title and said: “That was my best squash all week which is what you want to do.

“It was almost like a new event this evening because I only got four or five hours sleep, so mentally I had to be on it.

“Joel played really well, but I am happy with my performance and you cannot get better than starting the season with a victory at the first chance.”

The 24-year-old Makin, who is from Haverfordwest and later moved to Aberdare with his family, is the leading player Welsh player. He was among a number of highly ranked players to enter the French Open after it was upgraded to a silver event.

He faced Alan Clyne (Scotland) in the opening round and won 11-8, 11-9, 11-3, taking just over half an hour to earn the win.

Egyptian Fares Dessouky was Makin’s next opponent and the World number 15 was expected to prove a tough opponent.

Fifth seed Dessouky, though, was beaten 10-12, 11-5, 11-8 in 55 minutes.

Makin said: “I knew I had to take the middle back away from him because towards the end of the first game, he made himself big and played a lot of flat kills which were effective, making me work around him.

“I enjoyed this tournament three years ago when I last came and it has just got bigger. There are a lot of good players here, which is great. 

“All the players enjoyed it from the start, especially with a good crowd and a great atmosphere.”

Makin outplayed his opponent, who made seven unforced errors in the first game. Dessouky then settled into a far better rhythm, forced a tie break from 3-9 down and reeled off nine points out of 11 to win 12-10.

The Welshman, though, was not to be denied and emerged the winner 11/5, 10/6, 11/8 (57 minutes).

Makin then showed remarkable resilience when he fought back from two games down to beat home favourite Gregoire Marche in front of a partisan crowd.

The Frenchman, who had already knocked out top seed Simon Rostner (Germany) earlier in the week, won the first two games 11-8, 11-6.

However,  Makin, nicknamed the ‘Golden Tiger’ on tour, roared back into life, getting in front of Marche on court and piling on the pressure.

The match lasted a brutal 95 minutes with Makin battling fiercely to win 11-6, 11-7, 11-7.

In the final, Coll and Makin went head-to-head for 72 minutes. The New Zealander took the first game in 26 minutes, taking it 12-10 on a tie break.

The second saw Coll dominate, winning 11-3, and then powered into a 9-4 lead in the third.

Makin kept working and clawed his way back to 9-9, but was edged out 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 in 72 minutes.

Welsh squash ace Tesni Evans.

Premier Squash League 2019-20:

Welsh Wizards are back for the new Premier Squash League season which starts on Tuesday, October 1.

Egyptian ace Marwan ElShorbagy, the former World number three, returns for his second season and he is among seven men on the team.

Welsh ace Tesni Evans, ranked nine in the World, is among five ladies who have committed to Wizards.

Peter Creed, Emyr Evans, Elliott Morris Devred and Evans are the Welsh players selected.

The PSL format has changed for the 2019-20 campaign.

The new-look league will now feature three men and two women in every match, a change from 4+1.

North and South divisions remain, but the maximum number of teams will be reduced to 10 (five in each) to help avoid conflict with PSA World Tour dates and reduce the financial burden on teams.

Teams will be allowed to field a maximum of one male and one female player from outside the UK.

For 2020-21, the league will move away from parallel divisions to create a Premier League and a Championship League.

The top two teams from the North and South Divisions will automatically qualify for the Premier league, the bottom two teams will play in the Championship league, while the third place teams will play-off with the winner joining the Premier League.

Reaction to the PSL changes has been positive with more than 15 teams expressing an interest in participating in the new format. Ten, including Wizards, have been accepted.

The 2019-20 season promises to be one of the most entertaining yet. Matches will begin in October and run through to May.

Welsh Wizards confirmed squad for 2019-20 Premier Squash League

Men: Marwan ElShorbagy, Omar Mosaad, Edmon Lopez, Peter Creed, Emyr Evans, Elliott Morris Devred, James Peach

Women: Tesni Evans, Joshna Chinappa, Rachael Chadwick, Milou V Heidjen, Anna Kimberley

Welsh Wizards

Professional Squash League fixtures

October

Tuesday 1 

Warwick v Welsh Wizards

Round two

Tuesday 15

Welsh Wizards v St George’s

Round three

November 

Tuesday 5

Wizards – no game

Round four

Tuesday 26

Welsh Wizards v Coolhurst

Round five

Tuesday 10

RAC v Welsh Wizards

Second Half fixtures

Round six

January

Tuesday 7

Welsh Wizards v Warwick

Round seven

Dates to be arranged

St George’s v Welsh Wizards

Round eight

Wizards – no game

Round nine

Coolhurst v Welsh Wizards

Round 10

Dates to be arranged

Welsh Wizards v RAC

Semi-finals and final to be arranged

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