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James Willstrop (centre left) and Georgina Kennedy (right) with the London Open winners' trophy

London Open: Kennedy and Willstrop Win On Home Soil

Home winners were guaranteed going into finals day at Cumberland Squash Club for the London Open with all four finalists coming from England, and it was former World No.1 James Willstrop and rising star Georgina Kennedy who picked up the titles.

Kennedy came into the tournament as the No.8 seed, and defeated compatriots Kace Bartley and Jasmine Hutton in straight games to make it through to the quarter finals.

The young Englishwoman, who already had seven titles to her name in 2021, then got the better of Hong Kong’s Tsz-Wing Tong to reach the semis, where she defeated South African No.1 Alexandra Fuller in a 33-minute contest.

The final saw Kennedy come up fellow Englishwoman Julianne Courtice, and it was the younger of the two who was dominant from the start of the match, playing at such a pace that had been pivotal to her recent success, and not giving Courtice any time at all to settle into the match. 

The second and third games followed suit with several unwelcome errors coming from the racket of Courtice and Kennedy capitalising on some loose attacks from her opponent. The 24-year-old maintained her concentration throughout and converted her first match ball to pick up her 8th and biggest PSA title. 

The World No.30 was extremely proud to pick up the title and was also looking ahead to bigger tournaments: “Really happy with that, happy with my performances all week. [It] helps being local, in my natural routine, with friends and family around.”

“I wanted to be top 50 by October-ish, I definitely didn’t expect to be where I am now. A lot of credit goes to my coach Ben Ford doing a lot of work with me mentally and physically, so I have him to thank.”

“I’m just very eager to compete against the top players, I don’t go in with any pressure so any win is a bonus but I know I’m going to learn a lot either way.”

Former World No.1 James Willstrop picked up his 22nd PSA title at one of his favourite events, the London Open. The Yorkshireman had won this event twice previously and claimed his third crown this week in confident style against compatriot Tom Richards.

As the tournament’s No.2 seed, the 38-year-old received a bye through to the second round of the Challenger 20 level competition, before then getting past the Hong Kong duo of Max Lee and Tsz Kwan Lau to make the semi-finals.

He then came up against compatriot George Parker, winning in four to book his spot in another final at the London One, where he would come up against Tom Richards.

From the off, Willstrop showed his class and quality, mixing heights and paces to to disrupt the rhythm of Richards and dominate the early exchanges. The second game was more competitive, with Richards finding ways to twist and turn Willstrop and not give him as much time on the ball. Willstrop however, was too accurate and often turned defence into attack with one shot. He took the second game 11-7 to lead 2-0.

Willstrop’s concentration seemed to dip in the third game with Richards racing out to a 9-4 lead and he looked certain to be taking the all-English final into a fourth game. But the former World No.1 regained his composure and started to battle back, asking difficult questions to which Richards had no answer. Willstrop won the final four points, including saving two game balls, to win it 12-10 to claim his third London Open crown.

“Everyone’s had really hard times, so it’s just great to be back playing again in front of crowds again,” the 38-year-old said.

“This is one of my favourite events, I’ve been coming back here for a few years now and I enjoy it every time. I managed to play some good squash this week, getting past some very good experienced players and some very talented up-and-coming players as well, so very pleased.”

Results: London Open
Men’s Final
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [4] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 (44m)

Women’s Final
[8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [3] Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-3 (32m)

Men’s Semi-Finals
[4] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (44m)
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [3] George Parker (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3 (45m)

Women’s Semi-Finals
[8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [4] Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-4, 11-1 (33m)
[3] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt [7] Tze Lok Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 14-12 (50m)

Men’s Quarter Finals
Ben Coleman (ENG) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (67m)
[4] Tom Richards (ENG) bt [7] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-2: 7-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8 (55m)
[3] George Parker (ENG) bt [5] Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1: 4-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-4 (66m)
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-2 (51m)

Women’s Quarter Finals
[8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (27m)
[4] Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt [6] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (30m)
[3] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Alison Thomson (SCO) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
[7] Tze Lok Ho (HKG) bt [1] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-2: 3-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (57m)

Men’s Round Two
Joe Lee (ENG) bt [1] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 (45m)
Ben Coleman (ENG) bt [8] Richie Fallows (ENG) 3-2: 11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 (96m)
[7] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (30m)
[4] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Chi Him Wong (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 13-11 (40m)
[3] George Parker (ENG) bt Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-8 (47m)
[5] Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Sam Todd (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (45m)
Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) bt [6] Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-2 (57m)
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 13-11, 11-4, 11-5 (37m)

Women’s Round Two
Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) bt [2] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 (51m)
[8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [5] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
[6] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (47m)
[4] Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Alicia Mead (ENG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-4, 11-1, 11-2 (43m)
[3] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-2: 11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9 (55m)
Alison Thomson (SCO) bt [L] Katriona Allen (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 (20m)
[7] Tze Lok Ho (HKG) bt Katie Wells (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (28m)
[1] Danielle Letourneau (HKG) bt Vanessa Chu (HKG) 3-2: 11-6, 11-7, 7-1, 11-13, 6-6 rtd (47m)

Men’s Round One
Joe Lee (ENG) bt [WC] Ayaan Vaziralli (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (19m)
Ben Coleman (ENG) bt Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) 3-0: 14-12, 12-10, 11-7 (35m)
Rui Soares (POR) bt [WC] Anthony Rogal (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 (35m)
Chi Him Wong (HKG) bt Henry Leung (HKG) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 13-11 (75m)
Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT) bt Rory Stewart (SCO) 3-1: 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 (40m)
Sam Todd (ENG) bt Tang Ming Hong (HKG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (47m)
Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) bt Nick Wall (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 16-14, 11-8 (50m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Jakub Solnicky (CZE) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (42m)

Women’s Round One
Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) bt [WC] Sanne Veldkamp (NED) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-8 (28m)
[8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Kace Bartley (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-4 (20m)
Ka Yi Lee (HKG) bt Torrie Malik (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 (17m)
Alicia Mead (ENG) bt Katriona Allen (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 11-1, 11-3 (15m)
(Katriona Allen advances as the ‘Lucky Loser’ after Rana Ismail withdrew)
Georgia Adderley (SCO) bt Rana Ismail (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 12-10 (27m)
Alison Thomson (SCO) bt Saran Nghiem (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (28m)
Katie Wells (ENG) bt Madina Zafar (PAK) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (22m)
Vanessa Chu (HKG) bt Emilia Korhonen (FIN) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-0 (16m)

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