Semi-Final Report: Gilis v Subramaniam

Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam is through to her first ever PSA World Tour Gold-level final after coming from behind to upset Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the GillenMarkets London Squash Classic.

World No.4 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 No.16 stun World No.1 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 No.7 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 went 10-8 up.

The Belgian, however, held on incredibly as Subramaniam began to tense up, with Gilis pouncing on crucial errors from Subramaniam as the No.4 seed performed a great escape, taking game four 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.

Afterwards, Subramaniam said: “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.”

Result: [7] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [4] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-2: 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9 (94m)

The finals of the GillenMarkets London Squash Classic take place tomorrow, 01 April, at Alexandra Palace. Action will be streamed live on SQUASHTV and partner channels from 15:00 (GMT+1).

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.