Day Two : Off to Ally Pally

The inaugural London Squash Classic continues today with eight Round Two matches on the Glass Court at Alexandra Palace.

In the women’s matches top seed Nour El Sherbini was taken to three games by Tesni Murphy, while Siva Subramaniam, Nele Gilis and Gina Kennedy all beat English opponents.

Men’s top seed Paul Coll got his title defence off to a solod start and he’ll meet surprise package George Parker in the quarters. Marwan ElShorbagy and Joel Makin won in contrasting fashion to book their last eight spots.

GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 : Day TWO, Round TWO (top)

Women’s Round Two :
[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 2-1 [9/16] Tesni Murphy (Wal)   11-5, 6-11, 11-6 (35m)
[7] Siva Subramaniam (Mas) 2-0 [9/16] Katie Malliff (Eng)   11-6, 11-7 (21m)
[4] Nele Gilis (Bel) 2-1 [9/16] Jasmine Hutton (Eng)   11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (40m)
[5] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 2-0 [9/16] Lucy Turmel (Eng)   11-8, 11-7 (24m)

Men’s Round Two :
[1] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-0 Timmy Brownell (Usa)   11-6, 11-0 (20m)

George Parker (Eng) 2-0 [8] Iker Pajares (Esp)   11-7, 11-7 (35m)
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (Eng) 2-1 [9/16] Raphael Kandra (Ger)   11-3, 5-11, 13-11 (41m)
[4] Joel Makin (Wal) 2-0 [9/16] Adrian Waller (Eng)   11-7, 11-2 (23m)

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Gilis holds off Hutton comeback

[4] Nele Gilis (Bel) 2-1 [9/16] Jasmine Hutton (Eng) 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (40m)

Belgium’s Nele Gilis put her loss in the Optasia final behind her as she became the first player to reach the quarter-finals with a three game win over British National Champion Jasmine Hutton.

Gilis held the upper hand in the first with Hutton unable to close down an early lead, but after dropping the first two points of the second Hutton began to find her range, forging ahead to level the match.

Gilis refocused and opened up a 5-0 lead in the decider before closing out the match 11-4.

“It feels amazing to be able to play in a new venue, especially if it’s a venue like this.

“Squash was made for theatres, it’s such a great atmosphere and I’m delighted to have a chance to play another match here!”

Marwan wins epic third

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (Eng) 2-1 [9/16] Raphael Kandra (Ger) 11-3, 5-11, 13-11 (41m)

Fifth seed Marwan Elshorbagy emerged victorious from an encounter with Germany’s Raphael Kandra that swung one way then the other.

Marwan was dominant in the opening game, but a couple of early errors in the second let Kandra in and he went on to dominate the second to level the match.

The third game was a level up from the first two in terms of quality and entertainment. Marwan pulled asway from 2-all to lead 6-2 but Kandra fought back, levelling at 7-all and going on to earn match ball at 10-9 courtesy of a pair of fine dropshots.

Marwan saved that and earned a match ball of his own with a perfect length, only to squander it with a tin. A stroke gave Marwan a second chance and he made no mistake this time, letting out a gutteral roar as he advanced to the quarters.

“I never felt comfortable, to be honest. I’ve always had tough battles with him and I know how dangerous he is, it’s how he makes you feel, you’re always on edge and he’s a tough player who believes he can beat any player.

“I had to be aggressive at the end because I felt I was being too nice. I feel I sometimes play my best when I’m aggressive. That third game, we both gave it everything.”

Gina sets Saturday date

[5] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 2-0 [9/16] Lucy Turmel (Eng) 11-8, 11-7 (24m)

English #1 Gina Kennedy, fresh from triumphing at The Edinburgh Open last weekend, moved into the quarter-finals with a two-game win over England team-mate Lucy Turmel.

Turmel kept pace with the fifth seed for the opening phases of both gamers, but from 7-all in the first Gina found three winners to set her up for an 11-7 lead. The second followed a similar pattern, even up to 5-all but Kennedy pulling away at the end to win 11-7 on her second match ball.

“Lucy knows my game and my weaknesses, she tries to expose them so I have to be very wary. I really needed to win, so many people have said ‘see you on Saturday’ when they have tickets, so I just had to make sure I’d still be in then!”

“I’ve been watching the men play in the Canary Wharf Classic for years, so to have the chance to play in this event, in front of a home crowd, is really good. It was also special because my coach Ben Ford was able to come, he’s the reason I am where I am today – thanks for everything and I hope we can go far.”

Makin marches into quarters

[4] Joel Makin (Wal) 2-0 [9/16] Adrian Waller (Eng) 11-7, 11-2 (23m)

Wales’ Joel Makin – also a winner in Edinburgh last weekend – overcame Adrian Waller in tow games to set up a quarter-final with Marwan ElShorbagy.

Makin was never seriously troubled, opening up a 5-1 lead in the first game then pulling away again after Waller had recovered to 6-8, taking the lead 11-7.

The Welshman was on top form in the second, working his opponent round the court, defending brilliantly and finishing off most rallies with well-positioned winners as he took nine points in a row as he moved from 2-all to an 11-2 victory.

“Adrian’s got a world-class game I’d say. His ball striking is as good as anyone’s and even though I’m a little higher ranked, I’m aware of his quality. In the first game, I tried to nullify him a bit and hurt him and then use the corners more as it went on.

“I’ve taken a lot of damage over the last 10 years, training like I do. It’s always been an evolution of my squash, the quality in my ball striking is where the improvement is going to come.

“I love training hard and the physicality of the game but the real next stage for me is that the best guys are that little bit more astute and tidy with their squash. But I’m enjoying my squash at the moment and am playing well.”

Siva sails past Katie

[7] Siva Subramaniam (Mas) 2-0 [9/16] Katie Malliff (Eng) 11-6, 11-7 (21m)

The evening session started with a comfortable win for Malaysia’s Siva Subramaniam, who took out Katie Malliff in straight games, taking advantage of a few too many errors from the English youngster.

“This glass court is really beautiful – I love purple and I think the colours are really nice!

“I came in with a gameplan and executed it well. Katie’s a really good player and I lost to her last time we played which was in the back of my head. I didn’t want to think about that and I’m pleased to get through.

“The crowd is pretty intimidating when you’re playing a local. It’s nice to see a lot of people here. It’s a great venue and a nice court and I’m really happy to be here.

Coll crushes Brownell

[1] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-0 Timmy Brownell (Usa) 11-6, 11-0 (20m)

In a brutal performance, top seed Paul Coll blitzed past USA’s Timothy Brownell in just 20 minutes. Brownell, who impressed in a 12-10, 12-10 win over Fares Dessouky yesterday, was competitive in the first game  but could not consistently find a way past the Kiwi, who took the lead 11-6 before mercilessly putting the American to the sword with a bagel in game two.

“Tim’s playing well at the moment, beating Fares Dessouky last night who’s a quality opponent. It’s best of three so I’m coming out here ruthless and I know the danger he possesses. You can’t come here relaxed.

“I almost tapered my training coming into this event because you can’t come in flat. I’ve come in flat before in a best of three and lost matches I wasn’t happy with. It’s been hard training with a couple of sessions off to be itching to play.

“Playing here is amazing. I watch the darts every Christmas, I love it, the atmosphere’s crazy.”

Sherbini survives Murphy challenge

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 2-1 [9/16] Tesni Murphy (Wal) 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 (35m)

n the last women’s match of the day top seed Nour El Sherbini booked her spot in the last eight with a hard-fought win over Wales’ Tesni Murphy.

El Sherbini was initially watchful in game one before accelerating away to take the opener 11-5. Murphy threatened to spoil the World No.1’s London debut in game two, with the Welshwoman – who was backed well by the crowd – taking the game by the scruff of the neck by pushing up the court and attacking early to level 11-6.

The Egyptian, however, was able to navigate her way through in the third, with the much-improved 28-year-old lining up a match with Sivasangari Subramaniam.

“I was a bit nervous. It’s the first match of the tournament and Tesni’s an amazing player,” El Sherbini admitted. At 1-1 when it’s best of three, knowing you only have one more game made me a bit nervous. But I had a good start and I’m glad I kept the momentum.
“I always try to prepare and be ready for every opponent. It’s a rest day, so I’ll try to be active tomorrow.

“It’s amazing seeing the crowd, venue and court. I think they’re celebrating us with the pink court. We’ve finally joined the men’s event – I’ve been watching the men’s Canary Wharf Classic for 20 years now and I’m really happy that we’ve finally joined the men and we have a big women’s event. Hopefully it’s going to keep getting bigger, I’m really happy to be here in London.”

Parker takes out Pajares

George Parker (Eng) 2-0 [8] Iker Pajares (Esp) 11-7, 11-7 (35m)

England’s George Parker continued his brilliant run with a top performance to take down eighth seed Iker Pajares of Spain. World #49 Parker, who upset Auguste Dussourd yesterday, continued his run in front of a packed Alexandra Palace crowd with a brilliant performance.

Pajares, who beat Parker earlier this month at the Optasia Championships, initially dominated the match only for Parker to score seven unanswered points when 4-7 down to take game one 11-7, and completing the rout with another 11-7 win in game two.

“It’s been a weird couple of years. I’d been finding it hard to get motivation. I’m very up and down mentally, a bit unstable in my day-to-day life but playing in an arena like this makes me appreciate what a sport it is.”