Letourneau through in Mackevica rematch
Canadian World No.22 Letourneau cruised to a comfortable first-round victory, beating Latvia’s World No. 54 Ineta Mackevica in just 19 minutes. Today’s meeting, a rematch of the pair’s encounter at last week’s Manchester Open, followed much of the same pattern as the last one, with Letourneau again looking composed as she outmanoeuvred her opponent.
Although 29-year-old Mackevica responded well in the third and caused the 28-year-old a number of issues, Letourneau had enough to finish the match and record a 3-0 win.
After the match, Letourneau said: “I’m pleased to be on and off pretty quick, it saves me some energy for tomorrow. She came out today better than last week, so I wanted to do the same as last week and just adjust a little while sticking to what I need to do.”
Result: Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-8 (19m)
Assured Mickawy bests Bunyan
22-year-old Egyptian Mickawy produced an all-action performance to beat 27-year-old Canadian Bunyan.
In a thrilling first game, World. No. 32 Mickawy eventually prevailed, beating World No. 60 Bunyan 12-10. The second and third games also proved to be tight affairs, with Mickawy able to maintain an edge over her opponent to seal the win with two 11-8s.
Speaking after the match, Mickawy said: “I’m feeling well. At the beginning I was a bit tense, but I managed to win. I don’t know how! I was going through my shots and I haven’t played here for three years, so I was trying to get used to the court.”
Result: Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-8 (29m)
Fuller comes from behind to beat Gomez
World No.40 Fuller went into the match with reason to be confident, the 27-year-old South African beat her 23-year-old opponent 3-0 in their only previous encounter, at last year’s Edinburgh Sports Club Open. The Spanish World No.70, in her first British Open, started confidently though, taking the first game 12-10.
Fuller, however, fought back well, sealing the second game 11-6 with a devastatingly accurate volley. From here Fuller had the upper hand, taking the next two games 11-8 and 11-3.
“I’m really relieved to have won. It’s been a long time coming. I had to really tell myself to be patient in that game and hit my shots really well. When she was at the front of the court I knew that I was in trouble, so it was a conscious battle in my head the whole time as it was different to my usual game plan,” Fuller said afterwards.
Result: Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Cristina Gomez (ESP) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (35m)
In-form Eain Yow safely through
Malaysia’s 23-year-old Eain Yow Ng is safely through to the next round after beating France’s Benjamin Aubert in the pair’s first PSA meeting.
World No.22 Eain Yow started well, taking the first game 11-6. His impressive form continued in the second and third, with World No.54 Aubert struggling to match Eain Yow’s movement and going down 11-4 in both.
After the match, Eain Yow said: “I’m feeling good. I knew it was going to be a tricky match going in. Benjamin has got good record over the last year or so and I knew how tough he was going to be. I’m pleased with the way I approached it today and executed my game plan.”
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Benjamin Aubert (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (30m)
Harrity turns history to down Richards
USA’s Todd Harrity recorded his first PSA win in five attempts against England’s Tom Richards to progress to the next round.
World No.45 Harrity played well throughout, showing particularly strong determination to overcome World No.35 Richards in the pivotal second game.
Speaking after the match, Harrity said: “I feel great. I think it was my first win at the British Open, so I’m really pleased with that and looking forward to tomorrow. It was a tough match today, I was really pleased to win the second game, that was really close and crucial. I think I play my best when I’m relaxed and just settled down, so I want to cultivate that feeling.”
Todd Harrity (USA) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 (32m)
Calm Kandra beats El Hammamy
Germany’s World No.25 Raphael Kandra outlasted Egypt’s World No.47 Karim El Hammamy in a feisty 68-minute encounter to progress to the next round.
Kandra, a beaten semi-finalist in the 2018 edition, took an even first game 12-10 and a more comfortable second 11-6, only for El Hammamy to fight back well to take the third. Kandra, though, kept his nerve well to take the fourth, sealing the match with an assured 11-3 victory.
After the match, Kandra said: “I’m very relieved, I’ve known El Hammamy for many years and we’ve had a lot of big battles in the past already. I know what to expect, he’s hard to beat and he showed me today again. He never gives up and he’s always trying to find a way to get on his opponent’s nerves, but I stayed calm and did my best to perform well.”
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3 (68m)
Aumard convincing in ter Sluis win
France’s Coline Aumard progressed to the next round after an excellent performance to see off the Netherlands’ Tessa ter Sluis.
The first game was a tight affair, with Aumard eventually emerging the victor 11-8. From here, though, the World No.25 never looked like letting her lead slip and she took the next two games 11-4 and 11-5 to secure a 24-minute win.
After the match, Aumard said: “I’m pleased to have won 3-0. I think the court suited her game so I was trying to use my fitness and be patient, without worrying about not finding my target. I’m pleased I played my best with what I have today.”
Coline Aumard (FRA) bt Tessa ter Sluis (NED) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (24m)
Van der Heiden outclasses Stefanoni
Milou van der Heijden is through after an accomplished victory over Marina Stefanoni. World No.38 van der Heijden went into the match against the American having beaten her in their only previous encounter, a 3-0 victory back in 2018.
Van der Heijden was in good form in today’s match and replicated the pair’s previous meeting with a confident performance, beating Stefanoni in 27 minutes.
After the match, van der Heijden said: “I feel good and happy, very happy! I was really trying to focus on myself and keep the pressure on her. I didn’t want to let go or give her any thoughts that she was getting into it, so I started well and was then just trying to keep the pressure on for every point.”
Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-5 (27m)
Assured Arnold enjoys Ramadan revenge
Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold played an impressive match to beat Egypt’s Hana Ramadan. World No. 49 Ramadan went into the match having beaten World No.43 Arnold in the pair’s previous two PSA meetings, but was powerless to stop Arnold’s devastating attack as the 25-year-old took the first game. After losing the second, too, Ramadan did well to fight back and take the third, though Arnold was ultimately able to see off the fourth in relative comfort, taking the final game 11-4.
After the match, Arnold said: “I was a bit nervous and tense, but I’m just glad I got the win. In our last match I made a lot of errors and didn’t do my best, but I began to feel more confident today, which helped a bit.”
Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 11-9, 10-12, 11-4 (36m)
Crouin delight at first British Open win
France’s Victor Crouin turned in a strong performance in his first British Open to beat England’s Ben Coleman and set up a second round match with Raphael Kandra.
Crouin, who had lost to Coleman in their only previous PSA meeting, looked in sharp condition throughout the match and was ultimately good value for his 32-minute 3-0 win.
After the match, Crouin said: “I’m feeling really good. It’s always great to get through the first round and it’s not easy to play that first match on a new court and in new conditions. It has been around 38 degrees back home but here it’s very much Winter again! It’s hard to get used to those conditions. I was looking forward to playing this very prestigious event and now that I’m through the first round I’m going to give it my all in the second!”
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (32m)
In-form Ibrahim bests Bonmalais
Egypt’s World No. 18 Youssef Ibrahim continued his impressive form from last week’s Manchester Open to beat France’s World No.59 Sebastien Bonmalais in the pair’s first PSA meeting.
Ibrahim played well throughout, showing the trademark power and accuracy that took him to Manchester’s semi-finals, with the 23-year-old Bonmalais struggling to match the 22-year-old’s physicality.
Improving with each game, Bonmalais fought back well and took the third 11-9. Ibrahim, though, was able to respond and sealed the match with an 11-5 victory in the fourth to set up a second-round match with Paul Coll tomorrow.
“I’m feeling really good after that. The defeat in Manchester’s semi-final made me more hungry in this tournament and I knew I’d need 100 percent from the first match. It was a tough game, he came back in the third when I had all the momentum and there were a few key decisions. He played really well in that third so I’m happy I could recover and take the fourth,” Ibrahim said afterwards.
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 (46m)
Castagnet stuns Tandon to come back from two down
France’s World No.27 Mathieu Castagnet will face No.7 seed Diego Elias, after the 34-year-old came from two games down to beat India’s Ramit Tandon.
Two games up and leading in the third, World No.55 Tandon may have been forgiven for thinking he had one foot in the next round. The former World No.6 hit back spectacularly though, showing the cool head and determination that has seen through on so many occasions.
Castagnet turned the match on its head in the third, stunning Tandon to take the game 11-7. From here, the confident-looking Castagnet had the beating of the 28-year-old, taking the next two games 11-3 and 11-4.
“I’m tired after that. Ramit is a great player and you never know what to expect against him. He can hit five or six winning shots in a row and then give up a couple of mistakes. [In the third] I felt I was starting to get a bit tired so I’m happy to have won that. I think in the first two games he hit a lot of shots to the front of the court and surprised me a lot with a great drop from the back. So I tried to be more focused on that and more present at the front of the court and play a more straight game because he likes it when you go across,” Castagnet said after the match.
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (64m)
Alves beats Stephan in all-French affair
World No.29 Melissa Alves beat World No69 Marie Stephan in an entertaining all-French affair.
Alves took a tight first game 11-8, though she may feel she should have won it more comfortably, having taken the first five points.
Although Stephan continued to push hard for the rest of the match, Alves was always able to keep ahead and took the next two games 11-7 and 11-8.
Speaking after the match, Alves said: “I’m feeling good. It’s the first tournament of the season and I’m just happy to go and get that first win, it doesn’t really matter what the score was or how I did it! I think I played great, my goal was to not lose a game and focus for the entire match, which is something I’d been struggling to do recently, so I’m happy with that. I’m feeling good on court.”
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Marie Stephan (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (30m)
Lobban pleased with improved performance in Serme win
Donna Lobban’s ninth British Open got off to a perfect start, after the World No.24 beat Czech World No.59 Anna Serme in their first PSA meeting.
The first game was an even encounter, with the players trading the lead. Lobban, however, pulled away impressively – sealing the first game with four unanswered points.
The second and third games, too, were close. Lobban, however, ultimately had enough to see out the match, winning the final game 11-8
“I’m feeling good. I’m really happy to get the win today, I felt really disappointed last week with how I played. I was far from my best [at the Manchester Open] and was disappointed, but the good thing after a tournament like that is we had another tournament coming straight away so I could work on the things I needed to do better. I wanted to improve and I think I did that. There were a few things I did wrong tactically this week and after doing match analysis I knew what I wanted to work on this week. It was a really enjoyable match today, a nice fair match and good squash!”
Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (27m)
El Sherbini rematch reward for Fiechter
World No.20 Olivia Fiechter smashed her way to a second-round clash with World No.1 Nour El Sherbini with a dominant win over World No.67 Nadia Pfister.
In the pair’s only previous meeting, back in 2019, Fiechter had romped to an 18-minute 3-0 victory and the American made a strong start again today when she took the first game 11-7, without Pfister causing any serious trouble.
The Swiss struggled in the second, too, with the American needing just five minutes to dispatch her 11-5.
Though Pfister may have taken consolation from Castagnet’s comeback on the same court in the previous match, in truth the 25-year-old always looked unlikely to repeat his recovery and Fiechter eased to victory, taking the final game 11-2.
After the match, Fiechter said: “I’m really excited to be here and get out there after spending all day yesterday in my room. Nadia played some really good squash, her kills were so severe out there and she took advantage of every angle I gave her, so I’m happy to get through in three.”
Ahead of her match against El Sherbini in the next round, against whom she lost 3-0 in the PSA World Championships in July, Fiechter said: “I’m extremely excited. It’s always a good opportunity to play the World No.1 at one of, if not the, biggest event of the year.”
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Nadia Pfister (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (20m)
Mueller recovers from slow start to best Soares
Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller came from behind to beat Portugal’s Rui Soares and set up a second-round meeting with Mazen Hesham.
In the pair’s first PSA meeting, Soares took the first game 11-9, only for Mueller to come back furiously in the second, blowing away the World No.74 11-3 in five minutes.
The 31-year-old’s momentum continued unchecked in the third and fourth games, as Soares went down 11-5, 11-5, for Mueller to complete the comeback.
“I’m obviously happy I won the match, it was a bit tough circumstances in the beginning as we started 15 minutes late and he managed that better than me. I was a bit off in the first but then I managed to get more involved and control the T much better. [In the next round, against Hesham] I need to be ready from the get go. The match starts at 0-0 in the first game, not 0-0 in the second!”
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-1: 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)
Al Tamimi bests Khan in exciting matchup
Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi and USA’s Shahjahan Khan played out a freewheeling encounter.
World No.38 Al Tamimi, lauded for his performances in last week’s Manchester Open, where he had match-ball against Marwan ElShorbagy in the quarter-final, took the first two games of an entertaining affair, 11-8 and 11-7.
Khan fought back well in the third, as the World No. 48 forced Al Tamimi into a number of errors and took the game 11-4.
Sensing an opportunity, Khan continued to press in the fourth, winning the game 12-10 to force Al Tamimi into a fifth.
Al Tamimi, however, regained his composure well in the final game, completing the match with an 11-6 victory.
Speaking after the match, Al Tamimi said: “I feel pretty relieved, [Khan] played unbelievably well today. In the first two, I controlled the games a lot better but then he started picking more balls up as the match went on and I tried to go lower and lower, which was the wrong thing to do. I really had to push myself to 200mph in the fifth, because although I get really fatigued, I know if I play at that pace I can win a few rallies in a row. I learned from the ElShorbagy game to make sure I played decent, longer rallies instead of just going for shots.”
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-2: 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 10-12, 11-6 (66m)
After brutal 100-minute-match, Serme emerges victorious
France’s Lucas Serme outlasted Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann to claim victory after an intense, 100-minute long duel.
The two went into today’s match with a keen understanding of each other’s game, with this their third meeting in 2021.
Although Serme had won those two matches, it was Steinmann who took the first game 11-8.
The second was initially even, too, until six unanswered points for Serme swung the balance decidedly in his favour, taking the second 11-6.
With a game apiece, the third was a hotly-contested one, with neither player giving any ground. Eventually though, Serme won the 30-minute-long slog 13-11.
Steinmann, however, was far from finished and came back hard to force Serme into a fifth with an 11-9 win.
Both players continued to push each other to their limits in the final game. However, just as the clock ticked towards 100 minutes, it was Serme who finally made the breakthrough to bring the almighty match to a close, 11-9.
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-2: 8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9 (100m)
Sobhy shows class in rapid win
America’s Sabrina Sobhy produced a destructive match to blow away England’s Lily Taylor and progress to the next round, where she will meet Belgium’s Tinne Gilis.
In truth, World No.21 Sobhy had far too much quality on the day for the World No.72, with the 24-year-old comfortably finishing the match in 19 minutes.
Speaking afterwards, Sobhy said: “I’m obviously really pleased with the win after my draw was changed quite late, it was a little bit of a shock but Taylor’s a great player and Im sure the last-minute change of plans was difficult for her, too. Luckily it’s a great opportunity for both of us. I was pleased with the match and coming all the way to England is always exciting and I’m happy to get the first one out of the way!”
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Lily Taylor (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (19m)
Metwally marches on
Egypt’s Mariam Metwally is through to the next round after a comfortable 19-minute win against England’s Rachael Chadwick.
World No. 34 Metwally started the match at breakneck speed, swatting World No.63 Chadwick aside 11-2 in the first.
Things got little better for Chadwick in the second and third, as the excellent Metwally totally controlled the court, seeing off her opponent 11-4 and 11-2.
“I feel good after that match and ready for the next one. I think today I was trying to put the pressure on her as much as I can and it worked very well. I was relaxed and trying to give my all on court and not let her into the game. I was sticking to my game plan as much as I could and I did that. I felt like my brain was excited and I wanted to bring it on court, so I think I played well. Chadwick played well, too. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match and hopefully I’ll play like this again!” Metwally said afterwards.
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Rachael Chadwick (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (19m)
Wildcard Malliff makes impact in Mendez defeat
In an eagerly-anticipated match, USA’s Haley Mendez beat wildcard entrant Katie Malliff in an entertaining 47-minute encounter.
Despite the difference in the World Rankings, with Malliff ranked No.376 and Mendez No.41, 18-year-old Malliff gave an excellent account of herself and will surely find herself far higher in the tables before long.
28-year-old Mendez took the first game, though she was made to work hard for it, eventually edging it 11-9.
Malliff responded well to the disappointment and took the second by the same scoreline to sow the seeds of doubt in Mendez’s mind.
The American, however, kept her nerve and took the third game, another 11-9.
This proved to be as close as Malliff would come to a memorable victory, as Mendez eventually closed out the match with an 11-5 victory.
Speaking after the match, Mendez said: “I didn’t know what to expect [from Malliff] having never seen her play, so I just wanted to go out there and play some good squash.” She added that she wasn’t surprised by how even the match was and that “I knew she was a talented player who’s just starting out, so her ranking didn’t reflect her ability.”
Ahead of her match against World No.10 Joshna Chinappa in the next round, she said: “I’m excited. I haven’t played her in a few years and am really happy to make it to the second round!”
Haley Mendez (USA) bt [WC] Katie Malliff (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 (47m)
Soliman sails through
World No.30 Youssef Soliman cruised into the next round, and an enticing match against fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky, after beating England’s Richie Fallows.
The first game was a relatively close affair, with Fallows pushing his opponent hard and neither player looking their sharpest, with Soliman taking it 11-7.
The 24-year-old, however, kicked on from this point and won the following matches in relative comfort, taking the second 11-4 and the third 11-3.
Speaking after the match, Soliman said: “I feel I’m playing well, but I think he was suffering with an injury, especially in the last game he wasn’t moving well, but it’s good to have a solid 3-0 win before my tough match tomorrow, I have to be sharp and I need to offer as much as I can.”
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (25m)
Clyne satisfied with win, rather than performance
Scotland’s World No.42 Alan Clyne put in an efficient performance to beat France’s World No.57 Auguste Dussourd 3-0.
In an even first game, in which both players made more mistakes than they would be happy with, Clyne eventually made the breakthrough to claim an 11-9 win, thanks in part to Dussourd’s error.
The next two games were simpler for the 35-year-old, as he found his previously missing accuracy to close them out 11-5 and 11-3.
Speaking after the match, Clyne said: “I’m happy to get the win, I’m not sure it was the best match I’ve ever played, but to get the win I’m happy with that. The first game was tight all the way, when I was 10-7 up I gave him two cheap ones to get to back, but then he gave me a cheap one back, which summed up the first game really. In the second I feel like I stepped it up and was more positive in the way I played, the way I set the ball up was with more purpose. I think getting through the first gave me confidence.”
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 (37m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu comes from behind in all-Spanish battle
In the day’s final game, Iker Pajares Bernabeu came from behind to beat Bernat Jaume in an all-Spanish affair.
Given their record of one PSA win each, this match was anticipated to be a close encounter.
Bernabeu will likely reflect on a longer match than was necessary. 8-1 up in the first game and coasting, the World No.33 inexplicably allowed the lead to slip as World No.66 Jaume closed the gap and took the game 12-10.
Rather than lament his missed opportunity, Bernabeu responded well. A Jaume mistake handed him the second game 11-6, and Bernabeu ramped up the pressure with a hotly-contested 11-7 win in the third.
In the final game, despite a spirited fight from Jaume, Bernabeu looked to have the game under his control, with the 25-year-old sealing the match with an assured 11-6 victory.
Speaking after the match, Bernabeu said: “I’m really happy with the win. I only had one week preparation for this tournament and I got injured at the Chicago Open. I had a few weeks off and with only a week to prepare I felt no pressure today. I felt really good, I didn’t get tired, I was sharp and fast. So I’m very happy with this win against a very dangerous opponent. After losing the first game when 8-1 up, I just kept going and didn’t think about the first game.”
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (50m)