Mélissa Alves (FRA) 3-1  Rana Ismail (EGY) 11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
MÉLISSA ALVES WINS THE MONTE CARLO CLASSIC 2022
World #30 Mélissa Alves had become the clear favourite of the Monte Carlo Classic 2022 after #1 seed Lucy Turmel’s retirement in the quarters, and the 28-year old from French Guiana lived up to the pressure. On Friday night, she clinched the 8th PSA title of her career after beating Egypt’s Rana Ismail in 4 close games.
The packed crowd was treated with a thrilling contest, filled with numerous momentum swings. Ismail started strongly but once Alves got into the match she was able to control the T and took the first game, 11-7. The second one looked very similar, with the 20-year old Egyptian building a big lead (8-2) that quickly disappeared. The French number #1 even saved three game balls but Ismail was clinical in the tie-break and levelled, 12-10.
The start of the third game was tense, with a few discussions between the ladies and referee Joaquim Rissetto. At 7-7 the more experienced player prevailed and Mélissa Alves was able to pile a string of points that put her ahead in the scoreline, 11-7. We thought that it could be over for her young opponent, but she showed her character by taking her another early lead at the beginning of the fourth, as well as her sportwomanship when she asked the referee not to award her a stroke after hitting Alves.
A few minutes later, the #2 seed asked for a 3-minute injury break, which would turn out to be the key moment of the final. Ismail was 8-2 up when play resumed, but she seemed unsettled and didn’t deal with the situation. Alves started narrowing the gap using her retrieving abilities, and soon took control of proceedings hitting some clinical winners. She won 9 points in a row and became the second French winner in Monte-Carlo, after Camille Serme in 2013.
“Obviously the injury break was crucial and broke her momentum,” admitted Alves. “I felt something in my hip, but nothing which could prevent me to continue. As in my two previous matches, I faced a fearless young girl who started the match very fast. Rankings don’t mean much against this kind of players and there are no more easy matches on the tour. I feel like I didn’t play my best squash this week but I am proud of my attitude, I kept fighting and found ways to win.
“Winning a title is always special and I am happy to join the prestigious players who put their names of this trophy, especially Camille Serme!”
In a few days, Mélissa Alves will be teaming with the former world #2 at the Women’s World Team Championship, which takes place from the 10th to the 16th of December in Cairo.