Semi-Finals : Another stunning upset for Siva

Semi-Finals Day at the Ally Pally

The inaugural London Squash Classic continued today with four semi-Final matches on the Glass Court at Alexandra Palace – played as best of five games.

A marathon session opened with anther stunning upset for Malaysia’s Siva Subramaniam as she beat fourth seed Nele Gilis in five games.

A men’s marathon followed top seed Paul Coll came from one-two down to beat Joel Makin.

Read on (or click on the winners) for reports and reaction …

Hania El Hammamy edged past compatriot Nouran Gohar in the secoind women’s semi and Mostafa Asal ended the run of wildcard Declan James to complete the final linups.

GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 : Day FIVE, SEMI-FINALS

[7] Siva Subramaniam (Mas) 3-2 [4] Nele Gilis (Bel)  10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9 (94m)

[1] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2 [4] Joel Makin (Wal)   5-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (86m)

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-1 [3] Nouran Gohar (Egy)  11-4, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6 (62m)

[2] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 [wc] Declan James (Eng)  11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (55m)

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Another superb upset for Siva

 [7] Siva Subramaniam (Mas) 3-2 [4] Nele Gilis (Bel)  10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9 (94m)

Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam is through to her first ever PSA World Tour Gold-level final after ousting Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the first semi-final.

Fourth seed Gilis went into the match with a 3-0 head to head record against Subramaniam, but will have taken absolutely nothing for granted after watching the World #16 stun top seed Nour El Sherbini in yesterday’s quarter-final.

Gilis led for the majority of the opener, attacking at the front with pace. Subramaniam battled back though and went game ball up at 10-9. The Belgian, however, fought desperately, saving game ball and then going on to win the tie-break after an epic 54-shot rally.

Subramaniam came back well in game two, finding the target with her winners as she levelled the score with an 11-7 win. The Malaysian continued to attack confidently in the game three, hitting eight winners to Gilis’ four as the seventh seed moved into the lead after taking game three 11-8.

Gilis requested a new ball between games, but it did little to affect the flow of the contest, as Subramaniam continued to attack at every opportunity, building a 7-4 lead as she moved towards the finish line. Gilis managed to find a few winners of her own to reduce the deficit, but went two match balls down as Subramaniam reached 10-8.

The Belgian, however, held on incredibly as Subramaniam began to tense up, with Gilis pouncing on crucial errors from Subramaniam as Gilis performed a great escape, taking the game 12-10 to take the contest into a fifth game.

In a nerve-shredding final, Gilis moved into the lead at 8-5 only for for Subramaniam to claw her way back to parity and then went match ball up once more at 10-9. This time, the Malaysian held on, with Gilis tinning on the backhand to hand Subramaniam a spot in the final.

“That felt like five hours on court! It’s crazy, I’ve played Nele three times and lost to her three times, it’s always close.

“When I had match balls and couldn’t convert… but I’m just so happy.

“Nele is a fighter. She fights for every point like we saw in the fourth. I spoke to Jesse [Engelbrecht], my mental coach and just tried to forget that as quickly as possible and just reset in the fifth.

“I kept believing in myself, staying focused and I’m just glad to make it.

“I tried to mix things up and move her around but she still picks up everything. I tried to stay with my my gameplan, there were a few errors here and there but but I tried to place the ball at the crucial times and thank God it went in!

“It’s been tough in the year-and-a-half since the accident, but I’ve had my family’s and coaches’ support, and my sponsors too, they kept believing in me, which made me believe in myself. There were times I doubted myself but I tried to push hard and take it a day at a time and the hard work is paying off.

“At this stage, when it’s 2-2 I think it’s the mental strength that’s going to take you far. I knew I was there with the top 10 players but it was the mental side that I had to work on. But it’s going well with Jessie and paid off today.”

Coll ousts Makin in five

[1] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2 [4] Joel Makin (Wal)   5-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (86m)

aul Coll is into the final of the GillenMarkets London Classic after coming from behind to beat Joel Makin in Alexandra Palace.

Makin took the first game 11-5, pouncing on mistakes and dominating a flat-looking Coll with his typical high intensity. The Kiwi responded in game two, moving more freely and attacking Makin’s counter drops to level the scores 11-7 win.

Makin’s own response was a fierce one, with the World No.11 taking the first five points of game three as he regained the advantage with a hard-fought 11-8 in 20 minutes. Once again, Coll hit back to find parity, securing another 11-7 win to take the match into a fifth game.

This time, the former World No.1 was able to maintain the momentum, pushing on in a brutal finish to take the match with yet another 11-7 victory.

“I’m very proud of myself to get through that, it was riddled with errors from me and I was trying to play things but it wasn’t working and I wasn’t hitting my targets.“

Those are the ones I’ve been speaking to my coach about, we want to have that consistency of working a way through those matches and finding a way to win. “

I’m proud of that and it’s something we’ve discussed over the last month that we wanted to get better and doing and today was one of those ones where I had to find a way through, change my game plan a bit and find something that was working for me. I’m proud of that and pumped for it, I’m sure the squash will be 10 times better tomorrow.

“I was about to punch myself, but I had to calm myself down and knew what we had to do and I’m proud of that.”

El Hammamy wins all-Egyptian semi

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-1 [3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 11-4, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6 (62m)

Hania El Hammamy is into the final  after overcoming Nouran Gohar in the latest instalment in their long running rivalry.

In a one-sided opener, El Hammamy stormed into the lead, taking advantage of Gohar’s conservative T-positioning to win game one 11-4. Gohar came into game two fired up and aggressive, pushing up the court far more in game one.

Despite the improvement, the former World #1 found herself four game balls down as El Hammamy pushed on. ‘The Terminator’, though, gave nothing away, scrapping for every point as she saved all four game balls to force a tie break.

Despite the swing in momentum, El Hammamy gathered herself well in the tie break, hitting her targets to take the next two points as the World No.2 doubled her lead.

Gohar’s late surge in game two seemed to give the third seed confidence as Gohar fired back at her rival, outgunning her compatriot to take game three 11-7.

El Hammamy, however, regathered her composure, rediscovering her accuracy to win the last game 11-6.

“I’m definitely very happy with my performance today. The crowd is definitely hyping me up as well. They’re amazing, I’ve been watching them since Nele and Siva’s match and they were amazing. I was hoping to have that quality cheering during my match and they didn’t disappoint. They definitely gave me hype and gives me memories of my first win against Gohar in the British Open couple of years ago.

“It was a bit similar tonight and I’m really happy to get through.

“Laura Massaro just kept reminding me to get back to the tactics. We were trying to execute from the first point and I’m very lucky to have her between my games today. She made me focus point by point and that made a huge difference today.”

Asal ends wildcard James’ run

[2] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 [wc] Declan James (Eng)  11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (55m)

In the last semi-final of the day, Egypt’s Mostafa Asal ended the Alexandra Palace crowd’s hopes of a home winner with a straight gameswin over English wildcard Declan James.

World #76 James, back on the PSA World Tour after over a year out with an achilles injury, has already shocked Mohamed ElSherbini, sixth seed Baptiste Masotti and third seed Karim Abdel Gawad but today’s contest against the former World ‘1 proved one too many.

Asal moved ahead taking the first 11-6 before cruising into a 2-0 lead 11-3 in the second, with Asal’s attacks now free-flowing.

The second seed took no prisoners early in game three, playing creatively as he took the first seven points of the game.

To the delight of the crowd, James began to plot an unlikely comeback, winning points in quick succession to reduce the deficit to 8-7.

Asal seemed to have recovered when he earned two match balls at 10-8, but could not convert, with James whipping the crowd into a frenzy as he saved both to take the game to a tie break.

This time, though, Asal made no mistake, winning the tie break at the first opportunity 12-10 and set up a final against Paul Coll.

“Lots of things happening in that match. Declan’s a unique player, it was really difficult for me to play someone with the quality of Declan.

“We’ve had some great battles and to see him coming back and beating Gawad, beating Baptiste, that’s something very special and unique. He’s a quality player, he’s charismatic and it’s such a pleasure to play alongside him.

“I was going for shots and attacking from the beginning then this stopped a bit and I stopped finding my game. Credit to him, he’s 30 years old and is playing in front of this amazing crowd.

“I’m pleased for him and his comeback and are getting ready for tomorrow.

“Even before I trained with James Willstrop I liked to play the windmill fake shot with my brother. It’s an amazing shot and I’m trying to copy it and today I’m glad it came through!”