Round Two continues at the MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open, with eight matches from the bottom half of the draws. Today’s matches at the OBCB Arena again see eight of yesterday’s winners up against some of the top eight seeds, including New Zealand Open Champion Joelle King and World University Champion Mostafa Asal.
You can Watch Live on SquashTV, check the results on Live Scoring and our Draws page, follow updates on our Social Media, and we’ll have photos going into the gallery all day with match reports and quotes here and a roundup at the end of the day.
Reports and Reaction
Hesham through in entertaining three
Egypt’s Mazen Hesham and Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi locked horns in the last match of the day, and it was the Falcon who got the better of all three games, thanks to a number of unforced errors from Tamimi in the first two games, and a well-timed comeback from 3-8 down in the third.
“It was really entertaining, I think we’re two of the most entertaining players on tour, it’s always tough playing him, he twists and turns you so I had to stay focused and try to absorb what I could.
“At the end of the third he started to find more winners so I had to be more careful because he hit some shots when I was 7-4 up and they didn’t go my way so I had to keep it tight and it paid off. We had a long rally at 9-9 then I had a good squeeze on the backhand side.
“It’s very tough, I played Diego a few times over the years, we’re good friends off court and I think it will be a good one for the crowd and a tough one for us.”
Sobhy stays strong to beat struggling Kennedy
USA’s Sabrina Sobhy produced the only upset on day three as she beat a physically struggling Georgina Kennedy to reach the Gold event quarter finals in Singapore.
A competitive first game featured some long, intense rallies with both players looking to work the attacking opportunity by finding a solid, consistent length at the back of the court. Sobhy managed to pull ahead in the crucial stages to take the opening game 11-8.
Kennedy has been struggling recently with injury problems and with the seventh seed evidently struggling, Sobhy powered on and continued to move the ball into space to test the movement of Kennedy. The end came quickly for Kennedy as the American moved through the gears to win both second and third games 11-4 to upset the seedings and reach the last 8.
“Gina is one of my best friends on tour, she has been so inspiring, we played in college together and I’ve seen her rise up throughout the rankings beating top players and knowing that she has been my teammate and friend for so many years, she’s a huge inspiration, said Sobhy.
“I knew it would be a tough one, obviously Gina is hurting physically, and I only wish her the best to get back on tour, the tour needs her, she’s such a strong presence and without her, it feels a little empty so this was not a great feeling of a win. Obviously, I’m pleased to win but you never want to win when someone is injured so I feel for her.
I feel good. I didn’t anticipate this. I was due to fly out tomorrow so I’ll have to change this. I’ve been away for over a month now and I’ve been battling this feeling of wanting to go home but also wanting to compete and play my best squash so I guess I’m sticking around for at least another day.”
Elias edges past El Sirty
U.S. Open Champion Diego Elias has confidently booked his place in the quarter finals of the MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open after beating young Egyptian Moustafa El Sirty in three difficult games.
The ‘Peruvian Puma’ seemed to be struggling to find his length in the match and got involved in some traffic around the middle of the court with both players looking to take their space. This seemed to eat more into the mind of the Egyptian as his error count was a lot higher than his opponents.
Elias set up a 2-0 lead and looked sure to be closing the match out in three, but back came the Egyptian. El Sirty fired off amazing winners and dominated the middle of the court, using his size and strength to keep Elias pinned behind him. El Sirty led 9-4 in the third game but momentarily lost concentration which opened the door for the Peruvian. Elias stayed solid, whereas El Sirty seemed to be magnetised to the tin. Severl errors came from the Egyptian’s racket which took the No.3 seed to match ball at 10-9. He converted at the first time of asking to steal the game and take the match.
That third was really close and I was down the whole time so very happy to win that, said Elias.
I started really bad, I gave him so many easy points, that third should have been way easier so I’m just happy I came back and won.”
Perry wins all-British clash
England’s Sarah-Jane Perry overcame fellow Brit Emily Whitlock in the first match of the evenings session on day three.
Wales No.2 Whitlock started in great style and took the game to Perry from the very start of the match. Loose balls from the Englishwoman were being picked off with fantastic winners from Whitlock and the lower ranked player, deservingly, took the first game 11-8.
Perry started to settle in the second game, but the short, sharp rallies were favouring both players allowing the physicality to stay absent in the match and the squash and shots taking centre stage. Perry managed to hang on well in the second game despite more Whitlock pressure and took the game 11-9.
As the score reached 5-5 in the third game, errors started to come from the racket of Whitlock as she started to force opportunities which weren’t there, which was either hitting the tin or feeding Perry. The Englishwoman recognised this and capitalised fully to take the next two games 11-7, 11-8 to move into the quarter finals.
“Emily is always a tough opponent. Every opponent at this level Is really tough. Every win is a good day.
I just tried to get settled, Emily settled quicker than I did and found her marks on the court, I was leaving the ball around the middle a lot more than I wanted and she’s lethal when the ball is there so I had to improve.”
Crouin wins all-French affair
In the last match of the afternoon session on day three, Victor Crouin got the better of Gregoire Marche in the all-French battle at the OCBC Arena.
A crucial first game went the way of the World No.10, despite him being 7-2 down in the early stages. Crouin then found his lines, and employed good tactics to move in front in the game, eventually taking it 11-9.
Marche fought back, though, and the well-timed use of cross-court kills worked to his advantage, and he was able to come through to level the match. The third was then tight to 5-5, before Crouin went on a run of six straight points, winning the game and moving into the lead once again.
That form continued into the fourth game, where the French No.1 won the first seven points. Marche then tweaked something in his leg, requiring a three-minute self-inflicted injury break, but he was unable to continue at his best. He came back on to court, but Crouin reeled off the next four points to set up a clash with Mostafa Asal on Friday afternoon.
“Not sure it was our best performance today, for both of us. I think I was feeling a bit stressed today. I have grown up watching Gregoire, and then training with him in the South of France, so we know each other very well,” Crouin said.
“I have gone up the ranking and reached the national No.1 spot in the rankings, but it is never forever and I need to prove it every time I step on court. I am glad I got my first way against Greg, but not the way I wanted for sure.
“To be honest, the hard part is that I have played on this court. It took me a few minutes, a few rallies, to get into the game. The first game was crucial. Getting that first game 11-9 after being 7-2 down was crucial for the confidence. But to answer your question, I was trying to get the ball tight to the side walls so he couldn’t use the volley and use the attacking shots. Once I had my accuracy to the back, I was trying to use my drops from the middle.”
Tinne fights back to beat Salma
Belgium’s World No.12 Tinne Gilis booked her spot in the quarter finals at the OCBC Arena with a straight games victory over Egypt’s Salma Hany.
The Belgian fell behind in each of the three games, with Hany starting the stronger of the pair. She led 5-1 and 5-2, respectively, in the opening two games, but Gilis showed her qualities and her fighting spirit to come back.
Her movement was exceptional throughout the contest, as she she chased down every ball. That seemed to irritate Hany, who made errors at crucial times, allowing Gilis to make her move into the last eight of the Gold level tournament.
“I mean, it was a tough match for sure. It is the first time I have ever played Salma, so it is nice to play someone new! She has been playing good squash and she is an attacking player so I knew I had to be ready to go and run around from the beginning, so I am very pleased I managed to win this one in three today,” Gilis admitted.
“As soon as I had the opportunity, I tried to go for it, because I like to hit the shots to the front. That was definitely my gameplan, but the court is so dead, so I had to make sure I hit my targets first before I did that, otherwise I would have been under pressure for the whole time as well.
“The backhand volley drop is one of my favourite shots to play, so maybe that was why it worked pretty well today!”
Asal powers past Rooney
World No.4 Mostafa Asal showed his class in his opening match of the MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open, defeating England’s Patrick Rooney to book his spot in the quarter finals.
The Englishman started strongly in all three games, but Asal was able to steady the ship each time. Rooney showed glimpses of his abilities, but there was just a few too many errors from the World No.23 overall.
Meanwhile, Asal’s power game shone through, and he fought back in each of the three games to take a solid victory, moving through to the last eight at the OCBC Arena, where he will now face either France’s Victor Crouin or Gregoire Marche.
“I’m happy to be here, my first time in Singapore. I want to thank everyone who supported us to make this amazing tournament. It is an amazing crowd, since day one here!
“It was an amazing match today. I think the jet lag is killing us all together. Patrick is an amazing player. Clean, fair player, so I want to thank him for that, this is the way we want to play with free-flowing squash. I’m now looking forward to my next match!”
King in command in opening match
Just four days after winning the New Zealand Open, World No.5 Joelle King continued her great form to secure a commanding second round win over Canadian Hollie Naughton in Singapore.
The Kiwi came into the tournament as the No.2 seed, and after receiving a bye through the opening day’s action, she took on the Canadian in the first match of Thursday’s play.
King was in control throughout the contest, dropping just 12 points en route to the victory. She had spells in each game where she went on runs of points, and that was too much for Naughton to handle. The World No.5 will now face either Tinne Gilis or Salma Hany in the next round.
“Hollie came from the same event so we were in the same boat. I just wanted to come out and give a good performance, win or lose. Today, I felt like I was playing well so I am very happy to come away with a 3-0 victory.
“It’s the first time I have played on this court, along with everyone else. Obviously, it is very hot outside in Singapore, but the conditions are perfect here. I like a dead court, but it is still warm. For my first run out, I can’t ask for better!”