London Classic Day Three: As it happens

Round Two of the GillenMarkets London Squash Classi concluded today, with eight matches taking place inside the spectacular Alexandra Classic.

We’ll be bringing all the results here, while you can watch the action on SQUASHTV.


Perry Wins All-English Encounter

In the opening match of the day, Sarah-Jane Perry overcame England compatriot Alicia Mead to reach the last eight.

In the pair’s first meeting on Tour, Mead – who is playing in her first Gold-level event – looked confident early on, taking the game to the England No.2.

After settling in, though, Perry began to find her length more consistently, and the No.6 seed took the opener 11-9 before seeing out the second 11-5.

Afterwards, Perry said: “I’m really pleased to get through in two games. I don’t usually say ‘in two games – or three!’ It’s nice to get through in straight games.

“Alicia came out firing and I found my targets a bit more in the second. I play my best when I’m enjoying it and playing free squash.

“Players who like to attack and play their shots tend to have a bit of an advantage in best of three. My team all say ‘best of three, that’s great for you!’ and I actually need to remember that and play them instead of being passive. That’s why I don’t mind a couple of errors, I want to be that aggressive attacking player. We’re not here to play for two hours, we’re here to get a win.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Alicia Mead (ENG) 2-0: 11-9, 11-5 (17m)

Wildcard James Continues Dream Run

In the second match of the day, English wildcard Declan James upset the odds once again as he came from behind to beat French No.6 seed Baptiste Masotti.

In an even first game, Masotti was able to edge in front with an 11-9 win.

James, who is playing his first World Tour event for the first time in over a year after an achilles injury, came back spectacularly in the second, defending well and finding the corners accurately to draw level with a dominant 11-7 victory.

The Englishman continued his relentless assault in the second game, with the World No.76 hitting some brilliant winners while errors began to flow from Masotti.

In a frenetic ending, Masotti went all-out attack in a desperate bid to recover, with the fast-paced Sqush thrilling the crowd.

Although Masotti manages to pull a few points back, James was able to hold out, finding the nick to bring a gripping contest to a close.

“I’m delighted to stay composed. What a venue, what a crowd! These are the moments that you train for. I was so grateful to get through the first round and have an opportunity to play here,” James said afterwards.

“The intensity against these top 20 guys is a pressure cooker.

“Baptiste is a class act, we’ve played a lot through juniors and on the tour and the way he’s gone up into the top 20 is mega impressive. I’m happy to be hanging onto these guys’ coattails! 

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[WC] Declan James (ENG) bt [6] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 2-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)

Gohar Too Strong For Naughton

Former World No.1 Nouran Gohar will take on England’s Sarah-Jane Perry in the quarter-finals after beating Canada’s Hollie Naughton 2-0.

Tournament No.3 seed Gohar looked strong in the opening exchanges, dominating the first game en route to an 11-4 win.

Naughton caused more problems for the Egyptian in the second game, with the World No.21 finding her targets and keeping neck-and-neck with Gohar at 8-8.

‘The Terminator’, however, was able to make the telling contribution at the end, taking the match in two games with an 11-8 victory.

“It’s a very tricky format in general,” Gohar said afterwards. “You can’t afford to be 0-1 down because it’s half the match already.

“Hollie’s a very tricky player and I had to be on my toes and I knew she would be fired up. Always tricky to play someone like that.

“I felt I lost some of my accuracy in the second game. It’s warm today as well, the ball is bouncy so there were times I thought I’d hit a winner only for her to pick it up.”

“Sarah is one of the first players I played against on Tour, about 14 years ago. She’s one of the most skilful players on Tour and I really enjoy playing against her because it’s always fair and I’m looking forward to a good match tomorrow.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 2-0: 11-4, 11-8 (22m)

Gawad Clinches Close Contest With Ng

Karim Abdel Gawad successfully navigated his way past the dangerous Eain Yow Ng with a hard-fought 2-0 win.

In a high-quality 19-minute opening game, both players were severely tested.

Ng, without a win against Gawad since the 2021 British Open, had chances to take the lead when the Malaysian earned four game balls, but he was not able to convert, with Gawad eventually taking the first game 15-13.

Game two followed a similar pattern, with both players chasing well and playing entertaining squash.

Around the midway point in the game, Gawad appeared to be in the ascendency as he stretched his lead.

Ng responded well to bring the scores to 9-9, before Gawad pulled away once more to clinch an entertaining contest 11-9.

Afterwards, Gawad said: “Under pressure I can play better.  I can focus much better. Every time you come back to a best of three event you’re still under pressure, even if you’re very experienced.

“I’m glad I handled it really well and I’m pushing to the end.

“I’m very happy for [quarter-final opponent Declan James]. We’ve missed him a lot, he’s one of the best personalities on tour and he’s very clean on and off court and I’m very happy to see him back. We’ve had a few tough battles and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 2-0: 15-13, 11-9 (33m)

Aboelkheir Squeezes Past Whitlock

In the first match of the evening session, Fayrouz Aboelkheir came through a tight contest with Emily Whitlock.

Only the barest of margins separated the two in the first game, with Whitlock often controlling rallies well while Aboelkheir targeted quick winners.

The clash of play styles made for an enthralling encounter, with the game going to a tie break as the two battled for dominance.

Both players had game balls, but it was the Egyptian who was able to close out, taking the lead with a 15-13 win.

Game two was equally intense, with Whitlock starting both players going on scoring runs.

Whitlock was the first to reach game ball, going 10-9 up as she had in the first.

Once again, though Aboelkheir dug in, saving the game ball and forcing another tie break before going on to win the match with a 12-10 victory.

Afterwards, Aboelkheir said: “I didn’t play my best squash today but am happy I managed to win it. Emily is a very good player and I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy – I went from 6-2 up to 6-9 down.

“Having Nour El Sherbini on my side is a huge advantage, thank you for your coaching today.”

“Confidence comes with playing a lot of matches. I’ve been playing on tour for three years so I have some experience, even if I’m not as experienced as some of the other players.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[8] Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) bt Emily Whitlock (WAL) 2-0: 15-13, 12-10 (30m)

Asal Takes Down Wall

Mostafa Asal is through to the last eight after beating Nick Wall in straight games.

Both players jockeyed for position at the beginning of game one, with Asal – who played excellent controlled squash throughout – then powering on to take the first game 11-6.

Wall came out well in game two, keeping Asal – who demonstrated his athleticism and improvisation by winning a point from the ground after losing his footing – guessing with a range of shots as he got to 8-8.

Asal, though, was able to hold off the challenge, with the former World No.1 earning his spot in tomorrow’s quarter-final with an 11-9 win.

Asal said afterwards: “It’s really difficult, he has his fans and I have my fans [the Willstrop family]. It’s full. Here and thanks to everyone who put the effort in to make this event so big, and thanks to everyone who’s been watching since the early morning. I hope it’s going to be a great week and Happy Easter everyone!

“I don’t know how [I played some of those shots]. It’s a glass court so I needed to do some breakdancing but I was super lucky!” 

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[2] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Nick Wall (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-9 (28m)

Impressive El Hammamy Crushes Watanabe

In a one-sided contest, Hania El Hammamy overcame Satomi Watanabe in straight games.

The Egyptian was dominant throughout, reading the Japan No.1’s short game perfectly and hitting numerous winners to the back as the No.2 seed eased through with an 11-5, 11-3 victory.

“I was fighting really hard from the first to last point. The format is very tricky and we need to be on our toes and fired up from the first point,” El Hammamy said.

“Playing Satomi is even harder in a best of three, she just came off a big win [at the Optasia Championship] last week and must be very confident coming into today’s match and I’m glad I came through in two.

“I tried to have good tactics but she’s such an attacking player and I had to get my length and everything connected today.”

“I’m very fortunate to have [Laura Massaro] with me today and having her in my corner and hearing her advice.” 

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Satomi Watanabe (JPN) 2-0: 11-5, 11-3 (24m)

Eleinen Downs Lake

In the last match of the day, Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen moved into the last eight with a win over England’s Nathan Lake.

The No.7 seed looked in excellent form throughout the contest, with his impressive speed and accurate length hitting proving the difference as he took the first game 11-6 and the second 11-5.

After the match, Eleinen said: “I’m super happy with that performance. Nathan is the guy I’ve played out on the PSA World Tour, the last time we played he double bagelled me at the British Open, I had a bit of a stomach issue and he had no mercy!

“I knew he was going to be tough, you can’t mess around in best of three. I tried to keep things simple, keep my length.

“When you play a leftie you try to use that backhand side. I discussed my plan with my coaches back in Egypt and I’ve got my mental coach Jesse Engelbrecht and it’s amazing having him by my side this week.

“For this week, we’re playing in such. Unique venue with so many people here to watch, he’s told me to be calm and not get ahead of myself and just take it one point at a time.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2
[7] Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-5 (26m)

The quarter-finals of the GillenMarkets London Squash Classic take place tomorrow, 30 March, at Alexandra Palace. Action will be streamed live on SQUASHTV from 13:00 (GMT).

For more information on the GillenMarkets London Squash Classic, visit the PSA website or follow the PSA on XFacebookInstagramTikTok, and YouTube. You can also keep track of all of the live scores from the event by clicking here.