London Classic Day Two: As it happened

Gilis: Squash was made for theatres

In the first ever PSA World Tour match at Alexandra Palace, No.4 seed Nele Gilis of Belgium overcame England’s Jasmine Hutton 2-1.

Game one was a close contest, with Hutton looking to attack and Gilis content to play further back.

The strategy proved effective for Gilis, with the World No.4 able to maintain a narrow lead throughout as went 1-0 up with an 11-9 win.

Hutton responded well in the second, with the left-hander continuing to attack as she forced a third game with a deserved 11-6 victory.

Gilis improved in the third game, hitting higher on the front wall to disrupt Hutton’s gameplan, with the Belgian eventually closing out 11-4 to progress.

Afterwards, Gilis said: “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!”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [4] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 2-1: 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (40m)

ElShorbagy survives Kandra scare

In the day’s second match, England No.2 Marwan Elshorbagy made short work of Germany’s Raphael Kandra.

The No.5 seed came out quickly, taking advantage of an uncharacteristic number of errors from Kandra to take game one 11-3.

Kandra improved dramatically in the second game, hitting his counter drops perfectly to wrestle momentum from ElShorbagy’s grasp with an 11-5 win.

In a stop-start third game, both players pulled out all the stops, with some thrilling attacking play at the front of the court wowing the crowd.

Kandra had a golden chance to seal a famous victory with match ball at 10-9 in game three, but could not convert, with ElShorbagy surviving a video review to force a tie break.

ElShorbagy then went match ball up at 11-10, only for Kandra this time to hold on to force another tie break.

The Englishman went ahead once more and this time was able to convert, with the 30-year-old celebrating passionately as he progressed to the quarters with a 13-11 victory.

“I never felt comfortable, to be honest. I’ve always had tough battles with him and I know how dangerous he is,” ElShorbagy said.

“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.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [5] Marwan Elshorbagy (ENG) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 2-1: 11-3, 5-11, 13-11 (41m)

Kennedy wins all-England encounter

Georgina Kennedy can through a tough all-English affair with teammate Lucy Turmel to set up a quarter-final meeting with Nele Gilis.

Kennedy struggled early on, with Turmel playing the court conditions better as the No.5 seed struggled for consistency.

Eventually, though, Kennedy found the assured touch that had previously been lacking, clinching the first game 11-7 and then taking the second 11-7 to go through in two.

After the match, Kennedy said: “It was really 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.

“I’ve been watching the men play [the Canary Wharf Classic, the precursor to the London Classic] since I was young and have wanted to play this. The chance to play in front of a home crowd is so exciting. It adds to the pressure and nerves, but that’s what sport is about!”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [5] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 2-0: 11-8, 11-7 (24m)

Makin storms into last eight

In the last match of the afternoon session, Joel Makin overcame England’s Adrian Waller in a tough battle.

Makin, who has been playing his way back to form and fitness after injury, looked confident in today’s contest.

The Welshman looked in good touch throughout, reading Waller’s attacks well and hitting his targets consistently as he booked a place in the last eight with 11-7, 11-2 wins.

“Waller’s got a world-class game I’d say. His ball striking is as good as anyones 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.

“This is a seriously nice venue, Canary Wharf was always one people loved and it’s great that we’ve got another venue of this level. This is what squash needs; exciting venues and exciting matches.  A different format with the best-of-three and hopefully it’s quick fire and people get to watch some great squash.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [4] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 2-0: 11-7, 11-2 (23m)

Subramaniam Enjoys Format Debut

Malaysian No.7 seed Sivasangari Subramaniam impressed in her first ever best-of-three match with a comprehensive win over England’s Katie Malliff.

Malliff, who beat Subramaniam at last year’s Richmond Open, competed well early on, but made too many errors as the Malaysian took the first game 11-6.

The No.7 seed then pressed home in the second game, using the court’s pace well to fire beyond Malliff repeatedly as she finished the match with an 11-7 win.

Afterwards, she said: “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.

“With the best-of-three format being so tough, you have to reset every point. I think I did well today. I had Jesse [Engelbrecht], my mental trainer here by my side to help me. I had to reset every point and change the pace to break her down a bit.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [7] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt Katie Malliff (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-7 (21m)

Brutal Coll Bagels Brownell

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 initially competitive but could not consistently find a way past the Kiwi, who took the lead with an 11-6 win before mercilessly putting the American to the sword with a bagel in game two.

Afterwards, Coll said: “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.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Timothy Brownell (USA) 2-0: 11-6, 11-0 (20m)

World No.1 El Sherbini Sees Off Murphy Challenge

In 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 with an 11-6 win.

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 with an 11-6win.

“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.”

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 [1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) bt Tesni Murphy (WAL) 2-1: 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 (35m)

Parker Continues Swashbuckling Run

England’s George Parker continued his brilliant run at the London Classic with a top performance to take down No.8 seed Iker Pajares of Spain.

World No.49 Parker, who upset World No.30 Auguste Dussourd yesterday, continued his run in front of a packed Alexandra Palace crowd with a brilliant performance against World No.17 Iker Pajares.

Pajares, who beat Parker earlier this month at the Optasia Championships, had initially dominated the match only for Parker to score seven unanswered points when 4-7 down to take game one 11-7, with the 27-year-old completing the rout with another 11-7 win in game two.

Parker will face top seed Paul Coll in the quarter-final after the Kiwi beat USA’s Timothy Brownell 11-6, 11-0.

“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,” Parker reflected after the match.

Result: GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 Round 2 George Parker (ENG) bt [8] Iker Pajares (ESP) 2-0: 11-7, 11-7 (35m)