After a busy opening day the MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open moves into Round Two, with eight matches from the top half of the draws.
Today’s matches at the OBCB Arena see eight of yesterday’s winners up against some of the top eight seeds, including #1 seeds Amanda Sobhy and Paul Coll.
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
Momen survives Rodriguez fightback
In a battle of two of the most experienced players on the PSA World Tour, Egypt’s Tarek Momen overcame Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez in a five game battle.
Momen found top form in the opening two games of the contest and was controlling the pace of the match superbly well. The Egyptian was using his trademark short game to keep Rodriguez constantly on the move into the front corners. Momen sealed the first two games 11-8, 11-5 and looked on course to move into the quarter finals in straight forward fashion.
But you can never discount the ‘Colombian Cannonball’. Rodriguez changed up his approach and started to move further up the court to nip around Momen and hit deep from the Egyptian’s attacks. The former British Open Champion then was able to showcase his own short game which caught Momen by surprise it seemed. Rodriguez took the third and fourth games 11-4, 11-7 and had a heap on momentum heading into the decider.
The rallies in the crucial fifth game became long and gruelling with both players not prepared to give any opportunities away. With the score level at 5-5 it was Momen who was able to string some winners together and partnered with some uncharacteristic errors from the Colombian, took the fifth game 11-6 to set up a quarter final match up with former compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy.
“He has a way of enjoying himself on court the whole time, and some days he can do that and play really well. In the third game, he started to find his range and play really well, I was disappointed with my third game only because I had the lead and worked hard to get a 2-0 lead but lost focus in the third which gave him momentum and I gave it away so easily.
I tried to get into the fourth but he was controlling the pace, so in the fifth, I started to push ahead and play at a higher pace. Thanks to Rowan [Elaraby] for reminding me of these things in between games and I’m just glad to get the win because I could have lost that match.
The mentality I had in the fifth was big, we’re both so experienced and even though he came back I knew that if I played my game I could turn it around again. Halfway through the fifth, it was 5-5 and I had to stay mentally sharp and focused and just believe that I could run away with a few points and thankfully this happened again.”
Elaraby recovers to deny Arnold
In the final women’s match of the day, Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby didn’t have things all her own way against Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold but managed to come through in four games to set up a quarter final match up with Nour El Tayeb.
Elaraby was solid and aggressive In the opening exchanges of the match and pushed Arnold deep into the back corners before attacking well to the front. The Egyptian held 3 game balls at 10-7 but back came Arnold. The Malaysian fire off several outrageous winners to mount a comeback and eventually take the game 14-12 to take a shock 1-0 lead.
The second game was tight all the way through with both players looking for opportunities to take the ball in short. Arnold snuck ahead at 9-7 but wasn’t able to double her advantage as Elaraby ended the game superbly to draw level.
Arnold quickly faded as Elaraby grew stronger in the third and fourth games. The World No.7 started to take full control of the match and move Arnold into all four corners to test the physicality of the Malaysian. The Egyptian ran out 11-5, 11-3 in the final games to take the match in 39 minutes.
“We played like four times this season and each time was very tense, so I wasn’t expecting less. Rachel is a very tricky opponent and I have a lot of respect for her so I’m glad I’m through.
“I’m just looking forward to tomorrow.”
ElShorbagy storms past Kandra
In-form Englishman Mohamed ElShorbagy secured his place in the MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open quarter finals with a clinical win over Germany’s Raphael Kandra.
‘The Beast’ was fast out the blocks and gave no time for Kandra to settle. ElShorbagy chopped and changed the angles constantly and caught the German completely cold to win 11-2 in the first game. The dominance continued from ElShorbagy as he stepped up the court further and took Kandra short at any opportunity.
After securing a 2-0 lead the pressure from the England No.1 continued. He continued to fire the ball in short and used a savage boast to drag the frame of the German into the front two corners and look to volley the next ball. ElShorbagy took the third game 11-7 to win 3-0 and move into the quarters.
“I’m very happy with the win, Kandra is a great player and he beat me the last time we played, I never need extra motivation to play but when someone beats me I feel extra motivated.” said ElShorbagy.
“We’re the same generation so we’ve seen each other’s progression, we played hard and I’m glad to win.
This is the first time in my generation that we’ve had an event here. Thank you to Singapore for having us, so far we’re loving our time here and I can’t wait to come back and play more for you guys.
I’ve known Alex Wan for many years and I’m very glad that the event is happening. Thanks to him and all the sponsors who support this event, we’re very lucky to have great support here and I hope we can come back here every year.”
El Tayeb ends Azman run
Egypt’s third seed Nour El Tayeb confidently booked her place in the quarters after defeating Malaysia’s Aifa Azman in straight games.
The World No.6, El Tayeb, came out to the perfect start in the first game, moving her younger opponent around the court with ease and capitalising on the loose balls being presented to her by Azman.
After securing a comfortable first game, Azman started to find her form in the contest. The Malaysian was strong and aggressive around the middle and showed her attacking abilities to keep El Tayeb on the run for long periods of time. Azman wasn’t able to secure the game despite two game balls and El Tayeb took the game 16-14 to earn a crucial 2-0 lead.
The end came quickly for the Malaysian, as she struggled to get back in front of El Tayeb who took full advantage, winning 11-4 and closing the match out in 28 minutes.
I had a lead in the second game but then I lost a bit of focus, then she played very well and played a lot better than she did so I’m very glad I stayed in there. It was crucial to go 2-0 up and then I managed to stay confident and overall, very happy.”
Makin gets past Mueller
Welshman Joel Makin came through a tricky test against Swiss No.1 Nicolas Mueller, downing the World No.14 in a four-game battle at the OCBC Arena.
Makin was on form from the outset in the opening game, dropping just two points to hold the early lead, but Mueller came fighting back. He started hitting winners from all over the court to level up the match, and he then had his chance in the third game as well.
The Swiss No.1, who is currently at a career-high of World No.14, led 7-4, but Making fought back. A string of points gave him the third game 11-7, to hold the lead once more. The Welshman also requested a new ball, and that was key in the fourth game. He took the first five points, and never looked like relinquishing the lead. Makin advances and will now face Eain Yow Ng in the last eight.
“Obviously, it was hard. I started the match and I was playing well, but it quickly changed. The ball dropped off and he started hitting his spots, got around the middle and he made it difficult,” the Welshman said.
“I struggled on this court. It is nice but it is a little bit dead, so I just needed to adjust. I had to play to the conditions, I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and the conditions allowed that. As the conditions changed, I had to go with it. He was 6-2 up in the third, and I had to attack short quickly when I had my chance, commit and play through the ball.
“I was lucky today, that I always have that [good movement] there. It wasn’t what I wanted to do today, but it is never going to perfect. We are travelling all over, different court conditions, humidity, jet lag , you just have to adapt. That is the thing at this level, the better players get through those matches where it is a mess and you just have to win!”
Gilis ousts Fiechter in four
Belgium’s Nele Gilis made her way into the last eight after coming from a game down to defeat USA No.2 Olivia Fiechter in four.
It was a quick start as both players were finding their winning shots early on. A quick run of points gave the American the advantage though, as she took the opening game 11-6.
In each of the next three games, there was nothing to separate the two players in the middle part of the game. They all followed the same pattern though, as the Belgian came through to win them all, fighting back from a game down to win in four, and to set up a clash with US No.1 Amanda Sobhy on Friday afternoon.
“I’m happy that I mentally stuck to that, and I kept being patient. I am very proud of that performance. She is such a fighter!
“Her strengths are on the volley and with anything in the middle, she is lethal. Honestly, I tried to focus on taking those weapons away from there, and I am glad I managed to do that!”
Ng comeback takes out top seed
Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng caused a huge upset early on in proceedings on day two, s he got the better of World No.2 Paul Coll, coming from two games down to beat ‘Superman’ in five.
The Malaysian came into this match off the back of beating Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal in a 90-minute battle on Tuesday, but showed no signs of fatigue. Coll, who was playing just three days after the Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open final, took the early lead though.
The Kiwi won both of the first two games by an 11-9 scoreline, moving into the lead in the match, and looking like he would take a straight games victory. However, the Malaysian fought back. He went 5-0 up in the third, but Coll brought it back to 8-8. Ng was able to regroup to win three of the last four points, winning it 11-8.
The World No.24 continued his fight back with a rapid start in the fourth game, where despite Coll saving a couple of game balls, he won it comfortably 11-5 to set up a tense deciding game. Everything seemed to work in the fifth for Ng, who came through to down the tournament’s top seed, and to move through to the last eight in Singapore.
“It has felt like forever since I got a win against a top ten player, and I have gotten close a few times. To pull through today, to the finish line, I am really proud of myself! I just want to say thanks to Andrew Cross, who is here helping, my parents supporting and to the crowd for their support, it’s been amazing!
“Once I went 2-0 down, I stopped thinking. In the first two games, I was thinking a bit too much, trying to play a little bit too perfect.
“From the third game onwards, I just believed in myself and tried to play my own game, playing with my own instincts. I kept running, and I hit a lot of winners today compared to what I normally do. That was encouraging, but it was still a big mental battle. I was 5-0 up in the third and he came back strong. I really had to dig deep to get that third game and it really helped me in the fourth and the fifth.”
Top seed Sobhy safely through
Women’s top seed Amanda Sobhy took the first victory of the second round, as she overcame Nadine Shahin in a rapid-fire battle at the OCBC Arena.
The pair are used to quick matches, with Sobhy downing the Egyptian in just nine minutes last year at the Oracle NetSuite Open. This match was no different, with the majority of the rallies being short, with either errors or winners being the name of the game.
From 3-3 in the first game, Sobhy went on a run of eight straight points to win it 11-3, before then finding herself 7-3 and 10-8 down in the second. She saved both games ball before taking the game on a tie-break. The US No.1 was then 5-0 down in the third, but a lapse in concentration from the Egyptian allowed Sobhy to fight back into it, and she won nine straight points, before going on to close out the victory in three.
“She doesn’t make it easier, her game is not the most structured so I am just happy to win in three, and to close it out on the big points where it mattered.
“I am just trying to work on new things with my game and to try and implement them in my matches. Regardless of what happens, hopefully I can see the improvements over time and keep projecting forward, which is what I want to do. I am just taking it one match at a time!”