Day Two Side Courts – As it Happened

Allam British Open 2021 : Day TWO, Side Court Matches

Court 4
Rowan Elaraby (Egy) 3-1 Alexandra Fuller (Rsa)   8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (36m)
Raphael Kandra (Ger) 3-1 Victor Crouin (Fra)   11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 (51m)
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-1 Coline Aumard (Fra  ) 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (40m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 3-1 Adrian Waller (Eng  ) 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (59m)
Sabrina Sobhy (Usa) 3-1 Tinne Gilis (Bel  ) 6-11, 9-4 rtd (24m)
Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-0 Nicolas Mueller (Sui)   11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (34m)
Melissa Alves (Fra) 3-2 Nele Gilis (Bel  ) 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (71m)
Youssef Soliman (Egy) 3-2 [6] Fares Dessouky (Egy)   7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8 (74m)

Court 5
Olivia Clyne (Usa) 3-2 Milou van der Heijden (Ned)   10-12, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6 (52m)
Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-2 [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)   11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2 (71m)
Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-1 [8] Salma Hany (Egy)   11-7, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8 (34m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)   11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)
[7] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0 Jasmine Hutton (Eng)   11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (40m)
Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-0 Abdullah Al Tamimi (Qat)   11-2, 12-10, 11-5 (34m)
Donna Lobban (Aus) 3-2 Mariam Metwally (Egy)   11-9, 9-11, 2-11, 11-6, 11-8 (61m)
Iker Pajares (Esp) 3-2 Alan Clyne (Sco)   11-4, 11-3, 4-11, 9-11, 11-7 (74m)

Court 6
[6] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-1 Sivasangari Subramaniam (Mas)   9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 (41m)
Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-0 Todd Harrity (Usa)   11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (46m)
Rachel Arnold (Mas) 3-0 Lucy Turmel (Eng)   11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)
[7] Diego Elias (Per) 3-1 Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)   11-7, 2-11, 11-6, 11-3 (51m)
Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-1 Emily Whitlock (Wal)   11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 13-11 (48m)
[8] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 George Parker (Eng)   11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (43m)
Joshna Chinappa (Ind) 3-0 Haley Mendez (Usa)   13-11, 13-11, 11-6 (32m)
Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 3-2 Lucas Serme (Fra)   11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4 (67m)


Elaraby recovers from slow start to progress

Egypt’s World No.12 Rowan Elaraby impressed as she came from a game down to beat South Africa’s World No.40 Alexandra Fuller and progress to the third round.

Elaraby went into the match having beaten Fuller 3-1 two years ago in the pair’s only previous PSA encounter.

It was Fuller, however, who took the evenly-contested first game 11-8. 

The Egyptian, though, soon found parity with a dominant 11-3 win in the second, before keeping up the momentum to take the third 11-8.

The 21-year-old continued to impress in the fourth, sealing the match with an 11-7 win.

“I’m relieved I guess. Alex is a very tough player. After playing before I knew this one was going to be tough, so I tried to take as much as I could to take the win, because she was up a lot. I really didn’t want to lose the fourth because a fifth would have been really difficult.”

Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-1: 8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (36m)

Clyne completes exciting comeback

USA’s Olivia Clyne produced a thrilling comeback to beat the Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden in a five-game thriller.

World No.13 Clyne went into the match with a 3-0 PSA record against van der Heijden, although with the last encounter being in 2016, it was unlikely to weigh particularly heavily on either player’s mind.

In an exciting first game, it was the World No.38 who first seized the initiative, punishing Clyne’s errors and taking it 12-10.

The second game, too, was a balanced one, with Clyne coming out on top in an 11-7 win.

The tight affair continued into the third, with Clyne saving game ball to level at 10-10. However, van der Heijden recovered from the setback, taking the game 12-10 to leave her in the driving seat.

Clyne showed her mental and physical resilience once again, though, upping her level to take the fourth and fifth games 11-6 to secure a memorable victory.

After the match, Clyne said: “That was tough, I feel relieved. Milou played fantastically, she was cutting off any loose cross-courts that I hit and my rubbish length was definitely punished. Honestly I’m glad to have hustled through that. [In the final two games] I tried my best to play more simple squash – I love to make a meal out of things and go for fancy stuff when I shouldn’t, much to the dismay of everyone who supports me – so I doubled down and forced hit to hit winners.”

Olivia Clyne (USA) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-2: 10-12, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6 (52m)

B or C game enough for Sobhy to progress

American No.6 seed Amanda Sobhy is safely through to the third round after coming from behind to beat Malaysian World No.36 Sivasangari Subramaniam 3-1.

Both players went into the match with reasons to be confident. Subramaniam had won the only meeting between the two, a 3-2 victory in the 2019 Women’s World Championship, while Sobhy could point to her pedigree in the tournament, having made it to the quarter-finals in 2016.

In a tense first game, it was Subramaniam who was able to keep her nerve, taking it 11-9.

World No.5 Sobhy, however, came back in the the second with a vengeance, annihilating the 22-year-old 11-2 in just six minutes.

In the third, Sobhy continued to press, taking it 11-6.

Although Subramaniam battled well in the third, Sobhy was able to maintain her advantage, closing out the match with an 11-8 win.

Speaking afterwards, Sobhy said: “I’m happy to have won. I think it was a bit scrappy and she surprised me with how well she backed up her match from yesterday. I thought that maybe she’d come out a little slower out of the blocks, but actually I ended up starting slower. I think having isolated yesterday and not having played on this court until today, I’m happy to have won and come out using my B or C game. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be sharper. I think dropping the first game actually settled me more.”

[6] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-1: 9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 (41m)

Kandra through after entertaining tussle with Crouin

2018 semi-finalist Raphael Kandra showed some of his best squash to beat France’s Victor Crouin and progress to the next round.

Both players had impressed in the first round, with Kandra besting Karim El Hammamy 3-1 and Crouin defeating England’s Ben Coleman 3-0.

It was the German who looked sharpest in this match, he was hustling and accurate from the beginning and took the first two games 11-9 and 11-6.

Crouin came back into the match in the third, finishing the 11-9 game with an excellent drop.

Ultimately though, it was not enough to derail Kandra, with the World No.25 closing out a tense final game 11-9.

“Crouin’s a very up-and-coming player. Although it was our first match I kind of had an idea of what to expect, he’s really hard to beat because he’s putting you under pressure consistently. But it seemed to me that I was finding my length and width pretty well today, which helped me a lot to stay comfortable and stay confident. In the end there was a bit of luck as well, I think we both gave it our all and it was a good match,” Kandra said after the match,” Kandra said afterwards.

Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 (51m)

2018 champion Rodriguez sees off Harrity

2018 British Open winner and World No.11 Miguel Rodriguez is through to the next round after beating spirited World No.45 Todd Harrity.

The match, the pair’s first meeting, was an entertaining one. Colombia’s Rodriguez was made to work hard in the first two games, with the American Harrity competing well in the 11-8 and 11-9 defeats.

The third was a simpler affair for the former World No.4, who finished the match with an 11-4 win.

Speaking after the match, Rodriguez said: “For me this tournament is very special so I had extra motivation for today’s match. I had to be on my toes because Todd is playing really good squash and is confident. I didn’t want to give anything to him today and I think it was a great performance from both of us. By the end of the second game and the beginning of the third I was much more confident in my shots and was more relaxed. I’m so glad and pleased to go through.”

Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (46m)

Eain Yow shocks No.5 seed Gawad

World No.22 Eain Yow Ng produced a masterful display to down No.5 seed Karim Abdel Gawad.

While this was Gawad’s first match at this year’s tournament, Eain Yow had already shown his quality in the first round, where he beat Benjamin Aubert in 30 minutes.

The Malaysian took first game 11-7, courtesy of seven unanswered points to go from 5-3 down to 10-5 up.

Former World No.1 Gawad, however, respond coolly, taking the second by the same scoreline.

With the two looking well matched, it was little surprise they struggled to make a decisive breakthrough and the two traded games, with Eain Yow taking the third 11-5 and Gawad taking the fourth 11-7.

In the final game, however, Eain Yow was impeccable. The 23-year-old showed composure and tenacity, utterly dominating the court to record a 11-2 and progress to the next round.

After the match, Eain Yow said: “I’m feeling really good after that. Going in, I knew I had a chance but in the fourth game after I was leading 4-1 I was having flashbacks [to] last week [in the Manchester Open] against Omar Mosaad when I was 2-0 up and lost the fifth, so after I lost the fourth I told myself to remain calm and I played really well in the fifth game. I came out firing and I don’t think he expected me to come out as quickly and as focused as that. I really felt a sense of relief at the end because I was playing really well. In the last few months I’ve been playing really well and not getting the wins, so today was a relief to be honest.”

Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2 (71m)

No.5 seed Perry in comeback win

England’s No.5 seed Sarah-Jane Perry reacted well to losing the first game with an impressive win over France’s Coline Aumard.

Perry, playing in her first match since her defeat in the final of last week’s Manchester Open, struggled in the first, with Aumard controlling the court well and taking the game 11-5.

Unsurprisingly, the World No.6 improved considerably in the second. She found her previously-missing accuracy to show the same dominance that World No.25 Aumard had in the first and took the game 11-6.

From here, Perry looked back to her best and she completed the match with confident 11-5 and 11-8 victories.

Speaking after the match, Perry said: “I’m just pleased to get through really. Coline had a great tournament last week [in Manchester] so she had plenty of confidence and she gave it everything today, which she always does. It’s really good to see her back from injury and playing some really good squash. Whenever I left anything loose, she was all over it. She definitely came out of the blocks better than I did. I thought I’d got myself into the first game but she just accelerated away and picked off everything that wasn’t glued to the wall. I had to find a way back in and get a bit more control, which thankfully I did.”

Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-1: 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (40m)

Excellent Shahin upsets predictions to knock out No.8 seed Hany

World No.16 Nadine Shahin played one of her finest matches to knock out fellow Egyptian, No.8 seed and World No.9 Salma Hany in 34 minutes.

Hany went into the match with a 3-1 record over Shahin in PSA matches, but it was Shahin who started with real purpose and drive, taking the first two games 11-7 and 12-10.

Hany found her natural game again in the third and looked to be setting up a comeback when she took the game comfortably, 11-3.

For Shahin, however, this proved merely to be a speed bump and the 24-year-old reproduced her energy and accuracy from the first two games to take the fourth 11-8.

Speaking after the match, Shahin said: “It’s been a while since I beat a top-ten player and it feels good. I hope that helps me push into the top ten myself. I feel confident and very good. After my [Manchester Open second-round defeat to Emily Whitlock] I was down a bit, but I decided I have nothing to lose anyway and I [would have to] come back stronger and better and that’s what I did.”

Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt [8] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8 (34m)

Excellent win for Arnold, as England’s Turmel crashes out

Malaysia’s World No.43 Rachel Arnold played an excellent match to beat England’s World No.30 Lucy Turmel 3-0 in their first PSA meeting.

Things looked worrying for Turmel from the outset, as Arnold outmanoeuvred the 21-year-old and took the first game 11-4.

This was followed by two more excellent performances from the 25-year-old, who looked confident, seeing the match through with 11-6 and 11-7 victories.

“I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s the furthest I’ve been in such a big tournament, so I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved so far. Lucy and I are close friends so it was tough playing her. She’s a really good player and has great shots, especially from the back, so I was prepared for that and I think it was a good match,” Arnold said afterwards.

Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)

Abouelghar bests familiar foe

Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar recovered from losing the first game to beat England’s Adrian Waller and progress to the next round.

Abouelghar, a beaten quarter finalist in 2017 and 2019, went into the match having beaten Waller in their last three PSA matches, including at this stage of 2019’s competition, though the overall record stood at 3-3.

In an enthralling first game, it was World No.21 Waller who seized the initiative, beating the World No.12 12-10 to take the lead.

Abouelghar responded well in the second and third, both of which were incredibly tight, with the 27-year-old eking out 11-9 and 12-10 victories.

After a battling three games, the fourth was a more straightforward affair, with Abouelghar finishing the match with an 11-7 victory.

“I’m feeling great after that. Adrian is a very tough opponent, we’ve played many times before on the tour and it has always gone to the wire. Today the court was very bouncy and that doesn’t suit my game too much. I had a chance to close the first game but I didn’t, but in the second game I regrouped and adapted to the court, so I’m happy with that,” Abouelghar said after the match.

Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (59m)

Marche pleased to progress despite misgivings

France’s Gregoire Marche played out a competitive 3-0 match against Spain’s Borja Golan to proceed to the next round.

The two have played each other plenty of times over the years and Borja went into today’s game with a 4-2 record in PSA matches, though Marche won their last encounter – a meeting in 2019’s British Open – 3-0.

In this match, it was Marche who again prevailed. Despite the 3-0 result, though, this was an intensely competitive match, with Marche’s 11-8,11-9,11-8 victories fought to the last.

Speaking after the match, Marche said: “I have to say I feel relieved. The first match is not easy and I struggled to get into the tournament. Mentally, it was tough at the beginning and the feeling today wasn’t the best. But I’m glad I managed to win in three because you never know what can happen with Borja, he’s a big fighter! We’ve played so many times and we know each other’s game perfectly. I just feel good to win that kind of match 3-0. I used to struggle to win that kind of match, so it’s good and now I can enjoy a day off tomorrow to get ready and I hope I’ll feel better on the glass court.”

Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP): 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)

No.7 seed Elias safely through despite Castagnet scare

No.7 seed and Manchester Open champion Diego Elias entered the British Open in assured fashion, beating World No.27 Mathieu Castagnet 3-1.

Ahead of today’s meeting, Peru’s Elias would have taken confidence from his 3-0 PSA World Championship victory over Castagnet in July and his Manchester Open title last week. France’s Castagnet, meanwhile, entered the tournament in good form, beating Ramit Tandon 3-2 in an entertaining first-round encounter.

World No.8 Elias started the match quickly, dominating the court in an 11-7 first-game win.

However, the 24-year-old was shocked in the second, as 34-year-old Castagnet flipped the match on its head with a commanding 11-2 win.

Elias, though, reacted excellently and quickly put the second game out of his mind, taking the third 11-6 and the fourth 11-3.

Afterwards, Elias said: “I’m feeling good after that. It was a good test after the tournament last week. Mathieu’s a great player and I needed to play my best and I think I played well. I think he played really well in the second, I had a bad start and it was tough to come back, but after that I tried to focus on playing my best squash again.”

 [7] Diego Elias (PER) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 2-11, 11-6, 11-3 (51m)

Sobhy through after Gilis injury

USA’s Sabrina Sobhy progressed to the next round in difficult circumstances, after Belgium’s Tinne Gilis was forced to retire injured.

Gilis, 9-4 down in the second after winning the first, pulled up soon after playing a shot at the front. Although it initially looked innocuous, the severity of the injury was such that a distressed Gilis had to be helped off the court.

It was quickly determined that Gilis could not continue and Sobhy would progress.

Speaking afterwards, Sobhy said: “It never feels good [to see another player injured]. I hope she’s ok, you’d never wish an injury upon an opponent because we’ve all been through them and they are horrible no matter the severity. I hope she’s ok and has a speedy recovery.”

Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 6-11, 9-4 retired (24m)

King overcomes injury to beat England’s Hutton

New Zealand’s No.7 seed Joelle King recovered from an injury to her right ankle to beat England’s Jasmine Hutton in the pair’s first PSA match.

King, a five-time quarter finalist, was playing her first match in the tournament, having received a first-round bye. Hutton, meanwhile, had beaten Enora Villard 3-0 to reach this stage.

There was some concern for the 32-year-old King when she appeared to injure her right ankle early in the first game, with the World No.8 requiring medical attention.

However, when King returned, with strapping, she looked impressive and took the first game 11-6.

Hutton improved and the second and third games were closer, though King ultimately had enough to see both through 11-9, 11-8.

[7] Joelle King (NZL) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (40m)

Evans wins Welsh derby

World No.11 Tesni Evans progressed to the next round after beating World No.23 Emily Whitlock in an all-Wales matchup.

Both players have some pedigree in the competition, with Evans making the quarter final in 2018 and Whitlock doing the same in 2017.

Whitlock went into the game with a strong head-to-head record against her opponent, winning all three of their previous PSA meetings, though the most recent was back in 2016.

The 27-year-old made the stronger start, moving Evans around well at the beginning of the first game. The 28-year-old soon grew into the contest, though, and took the game 11-7 with a powerful cross-court drive.

Evans continued to look strong in the second, with her control and poise allowing her to rack up a healthy lead and she took the second game 11-4, finishing it with five unanswered points.

Whitlock improved significantly in the third, taking the game 11-5 with a well-masked straight drive. 

This was followed up by an excellent fourth game, in which both players had game – and for Evans, match – ball. It was Evans who eventually prevailed, as she held her nerve to take the game 13-11 and the match 3-1.

Speaking after the match, Evans said: “I’m feeling good after that, it got a bit close in the end. I was pretty happy with how I started and then she changed her tactics, which took me off my game for a bit, but I’m really happy to have saved four game balls and get the win. I think [in the final game] I stepped up again, I think I dropped back a bit off the pace earlier, a bit on my side and a bit because Emily pushed up in front of me so it was a battle, because whoever could get in front of the other was winning the points.”

Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-1: 11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 13-11 (48m) 

Dangerous Hesham sees off Mueller

World No.14 Mazen Hesham is through to the next round after beating World No.34 Nicolas Mueller 3-0.

Hesham went into the match with a 2-1 PSA record against Mueller, with their last meeting a narrow 3-2 win for Hesham at this year’s El Gouna Open.

Hesham, a quarter finalist in 2019 and 2015, was playing his first match having had a bye in the first round.

Mueller, meanwhile, recovered from one game down to beat Rui Soares in the first round and spoke afterwards about targeting a quicker start in today’s match.

Unfortunately for Mueller, Hesham was in no mood to allow this. The Egyptian flew out of the blocks, taking the first two games 11-7 and 11-4.

Mueller battled back in the third, and initially looked like he would find a route back into the match. However, this was soon nipped in the bud by Hesham, who came back to take the third game 11-7.

“I’m really happy to get through in three today, it’s always tough playing Nicky. When we played our El Gouna match a few weeks ago, that was really tough, so to win like this on a court like this is a really good thing for me,” Hesham said after the match.

Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (34m)

Former World No.3 Mosaad through after convincing Al Tamimi win

Egypt’s Omar Mosaad overpowered Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi to record a 3-0 win and progress to the third round.

Former World No.3 Mosaad started in brutal form, taking the first game 11-2.

In the second, a much-improved Al Tamimi reached game ball, but was unable to convert, with Mosaad taking the game 12-10.

From here the match looked effectively over as a contest, and despite Al Tamimi’s game battling, the superior Mosaad eased to an 11-5 victory in the third.

Speaking afterwards, Mosaad said: “I’m really happy to get my consistency. Abdullah is a very talented player and I knew it was going to be tricky today because he has a very good hand, especially on the forehand volley. I was lucky that he played a long match yesterday and I think that gave me an advantage in the first game. In the second game he started really well so I had to push as hard as I could, I’m really happy to be in the last 16 of this tournament.”

Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 11-2, 12-10, 11-5 (34m)

England’s Parker falls to No.8 seed Asal

No.8 seed Mostafa Asal is safely through to the next round after dispatching England’s George Parker, who broke his racket after the match in frustration.

Parker had gone into the match in good form, with the 25-year-old looking sharp in his 3-0 victory over Sam Todd in the first round. Asal, meanwhile, came into the match fresh, having benefited from a bye in the first round, though his preparation had been disrupted by issues with his bags, leading him to play against Parker using borrowed kit.

In the match, the pair’s first PSA meeting, Asal quickly got after the World No.39 and took the first two games 11-3 and 11-4.

Parker improved in the third and briefly threatened a comeback. However, the World No.9 was able to shut the game down, taking the game 11-8 and the match 3-0.

Speaking after the match, Asal said: “I’m really glad to make it through. I was thinking a lot about the match and what had happened [to his kit] so it was difficult for me. George Parker today was a very tough opponent. It was a clean and fair match between us tonight. It was tough, I’ve tried to watch him a lot recently. He’s a very scary player to play in my first match so I’m just happy to be through to the next one.”

Asal also thanked a number of his fellow professionals and sponsors, who had helped to provide kit and rackets for Asal to use.

[8] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (43m)

Alves wins 71-minute slog against Gilis

France’s Melissa Alves emerged victorious in a constantly-shifting 71-minute match with Belgium’s Nele Gilis.

Ahead of today’s match, Gilis had the stronger record, having beaten Alves in their two PSA meetings, the most recent a 3-1 victory this June.

It was Gilis who made the first move in this match, with the 25-year-old looking strong in her 11-6 first-game victory.

27-year-old Alves, however, hit back well, matching Gilis’ first-game score in the second.

Alves carried the momentum from the second through to the third, which she took 11-8 after a battling rally.

Next, however, it was Gilis’ turn to flip the match. The World No.14 dominated the fourth, with eight unanswered points handing her the game 11-4.

With the tie delicately balanced, it was Alves who was finally able to take the decisive fifth, which she won 11-8.

After the match, Alves said: “Against Nele it’s always a tough one. It was such a great match, so fair and two players who wanted to play and I’m just so happy I won. 11-8 in the fifth, that could have gone either way but I fell like I played great and it’s one of those wins that gives you confidence for the rest of the season and the rest of the tournament.

“I felt I was consistent today, I attacked a little more and took my chances at the right time and it paid off today.”

Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-2: 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (71m)

Lobban credits tactical focus

Australia’s Donna Lobban is through to the next round after beating Egypt’s Mariam Metwally in a gripping five-game match.

The pair went into the match with an even record in PSA matches, with Lobban winning the last meeting – in the first round of the 2018 British Open – 3-0.

The match was a fiercely contested one and with both players competing for space there were a number of collisions, with Lobban requiring ice at one stage after an accidental collision with Metwally’s elbow.

With both players trading games, including an 11-2 win for Metwally in the third, the final game was impossible to predict. It was Lobban, though, who kept cool, sealing the 61-minute match with an 11-8 win in the fifth.

Speaking afterwards, Lobban said: “I’m so happy and so relieved. I knew it was a match that I could win if I put the right game together today. But she’s a really tricky opponent and the match was so up and down. When I was getting the tactic right I was winning comfortably and in others, if I wasn’t getting it right, she’s so skilful that you can get in trouble very easily. In the end I had to be smart and patient and pick the right times to go for it.

“I think the difference was me being steady and sticking to my game plan. I learnt more when I was losing, especially in that third game. Once I refocused and got her moving again the points started coming my way. It was one of those matches that were night and day, when you get it right it’s easy, when you get it wrong it’s easy to be losing!”

Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 2-11, 11-6, 11-8 (61m)

Chinappa through after strong performance against Mendez

India’s World No.10 Joshna Chinappa produced an accomplished performance to beat USA’s World No.41 Haley Mendez in three games.

Chinappa went into today’s match having beaten Mendez in the pair’s only previous meeting, a 3-2 victory in the 2019 Women’s World Championships.

Just as in 2019, today’s match was a close one. Despite the 3-0 margin, it could easily have been different, with Chinappa eking out 13-11 wins in games one and two, before a more comfortable 11-6 in the third.

Speaking after the match, Chinappa said: “I feel relieved. The first match is always really tricky and at this level everyone is really good and solid and playing well, whoever it is, you can be in trouble. So to get off today in three, I’m very pleased about that. The last time we played was a huge battle, so I’m pleased to have started well. I’m [pleased with] how I hung in there and battled it out when the situation got tough.”

Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 13-11, 13-11, 11-6 (32m)

No.6 seed Dessouky in shock defeat to World No.30 Soliman

No.6 seed and World No.7 Fares Dessouky suffered a shock defeat at the hands of his fellow Egyptian, World No.30 Youssef Soliman. 

Dessouky went into the match with a 2-0 PSA record against Soliman, and it was little surprise when the 26-year-old took the first two games 11-7 and 11-5.

Soliman, however, then rallied spectacularly, taking the third game 11-7 and the fourth 11-2.

Although Dessouky fought hard and for every point in the fifth, Soliman doggedly stuck to his high-pressure game and secured a memorable win with an 11-8 victory, to leave Dessouky stunned.

Speaking after the match, Soliman said: “Coming back against Fares is definitely difficult. The only thing to do when you go 2-0 down is to believe that you can come back against someone like Fares. I really look up to him, he’s definitely more skilful than me, but my advantage is I’ve watched him a lot and learnt from him. But today was all about belief.”

Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt [6] Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8 (74m)

Bernabeu survives dramatic Clyne fightback

Iker Pajares Bernabeu secured his place in the last 16 with a well-earned victory over Alan Clyne.

Bernabeu went into the match having won in the pair’s only previous encounter – a 3-0 victory in last year’s Windy City Open – and it initially looked as though he would repeat that feat, with the Spaniard taking the first two games 11-4 and 11-3.

Scotland’s Clyne, however, fought back to claim the third game 11-4 and force Bernabeu into a fourth, which he took 11-9 to level the match.

With both players having expended so much energy during the first four games, it was no surprise that the fifth was fiercely contested. Neither player was able to dominate and any leads were quickly reeled in.

Eventually, though, Bernabeu was able to get the better of his opponent, taking the final game 11-7.

After the match, Bernabeu said: “That felt good. I had to [isolate] in my room [due to a COVID precaution] and although I took a test and it was negative, I couldn’t do anything until tomorrow. It was mentally very tough to prepare on my own and train separately from the group. It was so tough mentally so I’m really happy to win this.”

Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-2: 11-4, 11-3, 4-11, 9-11, 11-7 (74m)

Masotti beats Serme in all-French affair

World No.24 Baptiste Masotti beat his friend and fellow Frenchman Lucas Serme 3-2 to progress to the next round.

Despite this only being his second match of the tournament, Serme went into this evening’s encounter with 100 minutes of game time under his belt, courtesy of his brutal first-round showdown with Dimitri Steinmann.

Masotti, meanwhile had a more serene affair in his first match, beating Joshua Masters 3-1 in 31 minutes.

This game, just as in Serme’s last, was another challenging encounter, with both players going flat-out for 67 minutes.

The first two games were particularly tight and competitive, with Masotti taking the first 11-8 and Serme the second 11-7. 

After these two, though, each player dominated and then shrank back. Masotti took the third game by a comfortable-looking 11-4 scoreline, only for Serme to peg him back in the fourth, 11-3.

Masotti, however, was eventually able to finish off the gruelling encounter, taking the final game 11-4. 

Speaking after the match, Masotti said: “It’s always difficult to play a friend and a guy from the French team, so I knew that I needed to put a lot of pressure won him during every point, because if you don’t there is no chance you win the match. I was trying to play with pace and at times got frustrated, so I’m glad that in the fifth I went back to my plan and made fewer mistakes. I’m very happy to win and am looking forward to the next round.”

Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-2: 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4 (67m)