Owain Taylor reaches final of PSA Odense Squash Open 2024

March 07 2024

Despite another impressive and spirited performance from Owain Taylor in a thrilling men’s final at the 2024 Odense Squash Open, the UNSQUASHABLE player was eventually denied the title by England’s Declan James who claimed a hard-fought 11-5 11-9 9-11 11-7 victory on the all-glass show court at the Squash Center Danmark.

For Declan James, a former World No.15, the win marked a significant milestone in his journey back up the PSA World Rankings after enduring nearly a year on the sidelines due to injury and despite reaching two finals since his return, the 30-year-old had yet to taste victory.

Owain Taylor, buoyed by his thrilling 3-2 victory over Moustafa Elsirty in the semi-finals, started the final with a burst of momentum, surging to a 4-1 lead in the opening game. However, Declan James swiftly turned the tide, seizing control and clinching game one with authority after claiming 10 of the next 11 points. Undeterred by another early charge by his opponent in the second game, Declan James again mounted a remarkable comeback, rallying from a 6-2 deficit to win the game 11-9

The pendulum of momentum swung back and forth in the third game, which Owain Taylor won 11-9, and fourth game with both players displaying exceptional skill and resilience. Owain Taylor, refusing to relent, fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the fourth game, levelling the score at 7-7 and keeping the outcome uncertain. However, Declan James, drawing upon his wealth of experience, seized control when it mattered most, stringing together three crucial points to edge ahead before sealing the victory with a deft touch that left his opponent stranded after 75 minutes of entertaining squash.

Professional Squash Association (PSA) Odense Squash Open 2024, Squash Center Danmark, Odense, Denmark
[7] Declan James (ENG) bt [4] Owain Taylor (WAL) 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (75m)

UNSQUASHABLE player Owain Taylor beat Moustafa Elsirty 15-17 11-9 11-9 5-11 14-12 in 94 minutes to reach the final of the 2024 PSA Odense Open being staged at the Squash Center Danmark where he will play Declan James of England.

Owain Taylor, the fourth seed from Wales, secured a remarkable victory over the former World No.22 from Egypt, displaying nerves of steel as he saved two match balls on his way to clinching a place in the eagerly anticipated final. The win was significant as the Welshman will contend a PSA 12K World Tour final for the first time, having previously appeared in finals of 3K and 6K PSA World Tour events.

Owain Taylor and Moustafa Elsirty treated the audience at the Odense Squash Centre to a captivating spectacle, with the Welshman outduelling the Egyptian in a gripping five-game showdown.

The tone of the semi-final was established early on as the two players engaged in a marathon first game, which culminated in a nail-biting and intense tiebreak that spanned nearly 10 minutes which Moustafa Elsirty eventually won 17-15. Undeterred, Owain Taylor rallied to claim the second and third games, edging ever closer to victory. However, Moustafa Elsirty mounted a fierce comeback in the fourth, showing powerful shot-making to win the game 11-5 win and force a decisive fifth game.

As tensions soared, the match entered a gripping climax, with Owain Taylor clawing his way back from a 5-2 deficit to snatch a narrow lead at 7-6, and later at 10-9. With both players displaying immense physicality and determination, referee Nicolas Barbeau found himself increasingly embroiled in the proceedings, adjudicating numerous contentious calls as the match hung in the balance. In a dramatic turn of events, Moustafa Elsirty staved off his opponent’s first match ball, only to squander two of his own in the ensuing tiebreak.

Ultimately, it was Owain Taylor who held his nerve, delivering a masterful backhand drop shot that left Moustafa Elsirty scrambling, his pleas for a let falling on deaf ears. With this decisive stroke, Owain Taylor clinched a memorable victory.

Professional Squash Association (PSA) Odense Squash Open 2024, Squash Center Danmark, Odense, Denmark
[4] Owain Taylor (WAL) bt [9/16] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 15-17, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 14-12 (94m)
[7] Declan James (ENG) bt [9/16] Darren Pragasam (MAS) 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)

Owain Taylor of Wales defeated Valentin Rapp of Germany 11-6 11-5 11-4 in just 26 minutes in progress to the semi-finals of the 2024 PSA Odense Open being staged at the Squash Center Danmark where he will play Moustafa Elsirty of Egypt.

Despite another impressive and battling performance at the 2024 PSA Odense Open, Iván Pérez was eventually denied a place in the semi-finals by Darren Pragasam of Malaysia who eventually closed-out a hard-fought 9-11 11-8 9-11 11-4 11-6 victory in 61 minutes.

Professional Squash Association (PSA) Odense Squash Open 2024, Squash Center Danmark, Odense, Denmark
[9/16] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) bt Ziad Ibrahim (EGY) 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 16-14, 11-4 (72m)
[4] Owain Taylor (WAL) v [9/16] Valentin Rapp (GER) 11-6 11-5 11-4 (26)
[7] Declan James (ENG) bt [9/16] Alasdair Prott (SCO) 8-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-3 (56m)
[9/16] Darren Pragasam (MAS) bt [2] Iván Pérez (ESP) 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6 (61m)

UNSQUASHABLE players Iván Pérez and Owain Taylor progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2024 PSA Odense Squash Open being staged at the Squash Center Danmark following 2nd round victories over Joeri Hapers and Hafiz Zhafri respectively.

Second seed Iván Pérez, who last week claimed his sixth PSA career title at the Club Euro Sport Squash Open 2024 in Spain, defeated Belgium’s Joeri Hapers 11-9 16-14 11-5 in 42 minutes, whilst fourth seed Owain Taylor overcame Hafiz Zhafri of Malaysia 6-11 11-7 15-13 12-10 in 61 minutes.

Fellow UNSQUASHABLE player Lwamba Chileshe was denied a place in the quarter-finals by Malaysian Darren Pragasam who overcame ethe New Zealand No.2 11-6 11-8 11-8.

Professional Squash Association (PSA) Odense Squash Open 2024, Squash Center Danmark, Odense, Denmark
2nd Round:
[9/16] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) bt [1] Mohamed Zakaria (EGY) 13-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6 (64m)
Ziad Ibrahim (EGY) bt [8] Mohamed Nasser (EGY) 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 12-10 (80m)
[9/16] Valentin Rapp (GER) bt [6] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8
[4] Owain Taylor (WAL) bt [9/16] Hafiz Zhafri (MAS) 6-11, 11-7, 15-13, 12-10 (61m)
[9/16] Alasdair Prott (SCO) bt [3] Mohd Syafiq Kamal (MAS) 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (41m)
[7] Declan James (ENG) bt [9/16] Macéo Lévy (FRA) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4
[9/16] Darren Pragasam (MAS) bt [5] Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (30m)
[2] Iván Pérez (ESP) bt [9/16] Joeri Hapers (BEL) 11-9, 16-14, 11-5 (42m)

Professional Squash Association (PSA) Odense Squash Open 2024, Squash Center Danmark, Odense, Denmark
1st Round:
[1] Mohamed Zakaria (EGY) bye
[9/16] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) bt Baptiste Bouin (FRA) 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (27m)
Ziad Ibrahim (EGY) bt [9/16] Ong Sai Hung (MAS) 12-10, 11-8, 11-7 (31m)
[8] Mohamed Nasser (EGY) bye
[6] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) bye
[9/16] Valentin Rapp (GER) bt [WC] Marcus Søby Jepsen (DEN) 11-7, 11-1, 11-5 (26m)
[9/16] Hafiz Zhafri (MAS) bt Laouenan Loaëc (FRA) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
[4] Owain Taylor (WAL) bye
[3] Mohd Syafiq Kamal (MAS) bye
[9/16] Alasdair Prott (SCO) bt Nilo Vidal (ESP) 12-14, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 (39m)
[9/16] Macéo Lévy (FRA) bt Sebastiaan Hofman (NED) 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (34m)
[7] Declan James (ENG) bye
[5] Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) bye
[9/16] Darren Pragasam (MAS) bt [WC] Kristian de Silva Nielsen (DEN) 8-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (35m)
[9/16] Joeri Hapers (BEL) bt [WC] Theis Houlberg (DEN) 11-8, 11-9, 13-15, 9-11, 11-4 (64m)
[2] Iván Pérez (ESP) bye