Two players have stamped their authority on New Zealand domestic squash as Evan Williams and Kaitlyn Watts continued their winning streaks, this time at the PSA Challenger tournament, the Panmure Technifibre Open.
Watts, 20 was looking for her third Challenger title and her third over top seed and 97th ranked Emma Millar from the Waikato, the current New Zealand Champion.
On the two previous occasion the scores had gone the full distance and Millar had match points, however this time Watts from Palmerston North took control of her final almost from the word go to win 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 in just 22 minutes.
It was a win which even had Millar shrugging her shoulders at the ruthless efficiency from Watts who looks set to improve her world ranking dramatically from 234 after taking 18 months away from the sport.
Only in the first game did Watts find herself significantly down when Millar held a 6-3 lead. However from then on it was all the Manawatu player as she added the Panmure tournament and the Ross Norman trophy to other titles at Royal Oak and the Waikato Open.
In the men’s final, top seed and world No 86 Evan Williams kept his record of PSA Challenger wins in 2021 with a five game victory over Lwamba Chileshe the second seed.
Williams has already won the Henderson Challenger and the Waikato Open and started well in Panmure taking the first game 11-4 with Chileshe struggling to find his feet in the match and any rhythm.
But Chileshe fought his way back in the second game as he started to show an array of winning for a 12-10 scoreline. The third game reverted back to Williams, 31 winning 11-5, before Chileshe, 22 took command and hit half a dozen backhand winners to take the fourth game 11-5.
In the final game a couple of errors cost Chileshe ranked 143 in the world the title as the experience of Williams came through for an 11-6 win and his ninth career PSA title.
The win which was also the Ross Norman trophy will give Williams confidence going into the big Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Open featuring a number of Australian players in just over a week’s time and then the NZ Championships in Wellington next month.
Results - Panmure Technifibre Squash Open:
(1)Emma Millar bt (4) Ella Lash 11-5, 11-5, 12-14, 11-6,
(3) Kaitlyn Watts bt (2)Abbie Palmer 11-7, 11-5, 11-3,
Watts bt Millar 11-6, 11-7, 11-4
(1)Evan Williams bt(3)Temwa Chileshe 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-6,
(2)Lwamba Chileshe bt (4)Arscott 7-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-9.
Williams bt Lwamba Chileshe 11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6.