Pilley comeback stuns Shorbagy

The second round continued at the KC Stadium with eight more matches which completed the quarter-final lineups. Meanwhile over at the University of Hull the Masters competitions gather pace.

 Allam British Open, Round Two (continued):

[8] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 3-0 Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 14/12, 11/4, 11/4 (25m)
[8] Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 9/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/4 (55m)
[3] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-0 [11] Madeline Perry (Irl) 11/7, 12/10, 11/4 (25m)
Cameron Pilley (Aus) 3-2 [6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 13/15, 4/11, 11/9, 11/6, 13/11 (74m)
[14] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-0 [5] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 16/14, 11/7, 11/8 (29m)
[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Chris Simpson (Eng) 11/2, 11/4, 11/9 (22m)
[2] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [15] Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 7/11, 12/10, 1111/9, 11/6 (45m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 Simon Rosner (Ger) 11/9, 11/1, 11/6 (106m 41m play)

Weather dominates as quarter-finalists are decided in Hull

SP_1834A cold, wet and windy day at the KC Stadium started with a quick win for England’s Jenny Duncalf who, after edging the first against Nour El Tayeb, took control of the match to advance to the quarter-finals, where she will meet another Egyptian in Raneem El Weleily,, the third seed who beat Madeline Perry in straight games.

The cold conditions didn’t make for long rallies in either match, and whereas Duncalf managed to keep her young opponent’s attacking instincts at bay, Perry was definitely out of her comfort zone in these conditions against the attacking talents of El Weleily. Tayeb came close in the first before fading away – despite some gallant dives towards the end – and Perry was a little unlucky to lose in three having come so close in the second. SP_1848

“It doesn’t matter if we play in the Sahara desert or in the middle of the snow,” said Duncalf, “it’s still the British Open, and if you are a good squash player, you’ll play well on any court.”

“It’s the first time I played with sleeves on,” admitted El Weleily, “so definitely not my favourite conditions. But it’s a good court, and I like it, but no, it’s not as easy as it looks, plus it’s a very risky game so you need a plan B! “Jenny and I have had some pretty nice battles, and last year, I reached the semis after beating her in the quarters, so I hope we’ll have another great battle tomorrow.”

SP_1841In the opening men’s match a determined performance from Borja Golan saw the Spaniard come from a game down to beat qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad in just under an hour, and a seeded Egyptian fell when Cameron Pilley came from 0-2 and 3-9 down to beat Mohamed El Shorbagy in the match of the tournament so far. ”

At the start of the match, anything that was short would be a winner,” said Golan, “which means that it was so difficult mentally, you had to be alert on every shot. Very tough indeed. After that, I really was glad I asked for a ball change, it really made a big difference in the third.” SP_1864

Unseeded Aussie Pilley, who had never been past round two, seemed to relax as his opponent tightened up, taking eight points in a row to win the third and continuing the momentum to level. Shorbagy, the sixth seed, had his chances in the decider but couldn’t convert match balls at 10-8 and 11-10, tinning on Pilley’s first match ball to bring an end to the match of the tournament so far.

“At 9/3 in the third I relaxed a bit, but more importantly, up to then, there was no purpose to my game, I was going through the motions, and hitting terrible shots at the front, he was killing me,” admitted Pilley. “What drove me was the determination I had. I’m so happy, so happy to get to the quarters of such a prestigious tournament.”

The evening session, with the temperature dropping, saw a trio of matches featuring short sharp exchanges. SP_1869First was an all-Egyptian between last year’s finalist Nour El Sherbini and Omneya Abdel Kawy, – their first meeting, as it turned out. It was the experienced Kawy who prevailed, just getting ahead at the end of each of the three games.

“I think the difference today came from the pressure she felt, because she is the highest ranked player, and that she got into the final last year,” said Kawy. “But also, maybe the way I played surprised her, I thought she was going to play a lot more shots at the front, but she didn’t.”

SP_1871Then it was another Egyptian who lost out in last year’s final. Ramy Ashour raced to a 10-0 lead over England’s Chris Simpson, who scored his first point with a service return into the nick.

Ashour was soon a game ahead though, and not much afterwards was two games ahead. Simpson made a real game of it in the third though, and Ashour’s fist pumps at the end of the match demonstrated his desire to finish the match as quickly as possible – and the continuation of his year-long unbeaten record.

“I learned a few things from my first game on the court, so today I made sure I would be ready from the start,” said Ashour. “In the third he played better, and I tried to stay focused and alert at all times, and I’m really happy I managed to win in three.”

SP_1877India’s Dipika Pallikal took advantage of the conditions to quickly establish a one-game and 8-3 lead over second seed Laura Massaro, but the Englishwoman dug deep to take six points in a row to level the match, and was always marginally in front in the next two.

“I wasn’t even thinking about the score, I didn’t realise I was that far behind in the second,” admitted the winner. “It’s such tough conditions on there I just had to concentrate on each point, and it might have seemed a bit excessive but I needed to keep on geeing myself up and that was the only way to do it.” SP_1886

The final match of the night was cut short midway though the first game as rain found its way onto the court at the KC Stadium. So, with England and Yorkshire’s James Willstrop trailing 5-6 in the first, he and Simon Rosner moved to the Hull and East Riding Club to conclude their match.

Willstrop started strongly to take the first, raced through the second with Rosner becoming quite frustrated with the decisions he was getting, and pulled clear from 3-all after a hard-fought opening to the third.

“It’s a much different game from what you get on the glass court, so much faster and more intense. We both wanted to play at the KC, but it’s same for both and Simon made it really tough on there,” said Willstrop.

“Glad to be through of course, and hopefully the event will carry on to be a great success and we won’t have to use this place again, even though I was really surprised and pleased to see such a big crowd at this time of night!”

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