Free State’s John Kuhn outlasted local star Rudi van Niekerk in a thrilling final when the Madibaz Open squash tournament drew to a conclusion in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
The Bloemfontein lefthander, who is now studying at the Nelson Mandela University campus in George, saw three match points slip by before he finally won the fifth game 13-11 for a 3-2 win in his first appearance at the event.
After taking a 2-1 lead, Kuhn saw his opponent mount a strong comeback to take the match into a fifth game decider.
The contest was closely fought all the way before Kuhn edged ahead 10-8 in the closing stages.
Although Van Niekerk refused to give up, the Free Stater eventually took the final on his fourth match point.
The women’s final was equally well contested, with Jacqui Ryder fighting all the way before losing to title-holder Lizelle Muller 3-2.
Down 2-1, Ryder showed her fine shot-making ability and determination to level at 2-2.
The final game was marked by an unfortunate collision between the two players in the first point, which led to an injury time-out.
When they returned, it was Muller who was finally able to establish her superiority by taking the decider 11-4.