Day TWO saw eight first round winners taking on the the top eight seeds who were waiting in Round Two – and who all progressed with varying degrees of difficulty.
Top eight trough to quarters in Manchester :
Joelle King looked in charge in the first game against Nele Gilis, but the Belgian fought back, spurning three game balls in the second before taking her third in the third, but it was all King in the fourth.
Alison Waters provided a first home win as she held off a comeback from Salma Hany – Waters took the first two and was 9-6 up in the fourth before the Egyptian leveled, but returned the favour in the fifth, taking six points in a row from 5-9 down to triumph.
Amanda Sobhy denied home favourite Julianne Courtice, coming from a game down to progress to a quarter-final against Gohar.
In the evening session there was a trio of home wins as Tesni Evans beat close friend Milou van der Heijden in three, Sarah-Jane Perry beat Nicol David in four – although the retiring Malaysian threatened to take it further – and Laura Massaro saw off compatriot Millie Tomlinson in three to make sure she has at least one more match in Manchester.
Massaro will play top seed Nour El Tayeb who came through against Coline Aumard, recovering from 2-8 in the third to seal the win.
Quarter-finals start at 17.00 on Saturday.
Nouran Gohar : “She kept her form from yesterday. I watched her match yesterday and she was playing really well and didn’t make any wrong choices, she was so accurate as well. Last time we played it was on a fast court, so it suited my game, this time the front wall is a little slower and so it suited her game and I had to adapt to it.
“Her length was immaculate today, usually I’m the one who plays it in the backside and hit the ball in the right positions, but she did that today and I had to try and find another solution.”
Joelle King : “I felt like in the first I had my game plan pretty spot on, but she just doesn’t go away and that’s credit to her. She has had some good results of late and has been pushing the top players so her resilience doesn’t go away. She has improved as a squash player a lot and I know it was going to be tough today and it was.
“It’s like any court, when you are playing well then you enjoy it and when you’re not then it’s not the best day. I felt like I got some good game time today and I found areas on the court that worked well and hopefully it can continue tomorrow.”
Alison Waters : “I was 9-6 up in the fourth and then I think at 9-5 down in the fifth I just relaxed. I just thought if I’m going to lose this then I need to go out trying something. My shots came off and I just tried to be relaxed and I think that was my whole thing for the game.
“It’s not been the best couple of months and coming back from injury and I just felt like there were no expectations coming in and I felt like I was flowing a bit and sometimes it’s about getting the balance right.
Amanda Sobhy : “Last time we played it was on home soil for me, we played in Chicago, I had the home crowd which helps a lot and the home court advantage, it was the reverse this time and she has been playing really well. She has improved a ton since we last played in February, so hats off to her for really making me push this round and I’m really happy to be through.
“It’s the end of the season so everyone is kind of tired, but I’ve been getting better each tournament, so I’m hoping just to continue on with the momentum and carry on.”
Laura Massaro : “I had to adapt as I was on there. I went with it, sticking with the bits that were working, and trying to work out the bits that weren’t. I felt pretty focussed on there more than anything, despite it being such a tough week.
“It has been an emotional week, and I was really nervous today, just because I have got so many amazing people and I didn’t want to let them down on what could have been my last performance.”
Nour El Tayeb : “I thought we were going to a fourth! She has improved so much from the last time we played and I could see that because I’ve been following her results recently. She can attack anything that was short and would attack it very well. It was a very hard game and I’m pleased with how I played.
“I’m in the state of mind where the seeding is just a number. I’m just happy to be in the quarter-final of another tournament and hopefully, whoever I play I can play well.”
Sarah-Jane Perry : “When I saw the draw, Nicol had announced she was going to retire and there was that bit of dread in your mind that will the occasion get into my head a bit. But on the other side I was actually really happy because she is such a fantastic player and I wanted that thrill of competing against Nicol one last time.
“It’s fantastic to have such a big women’s event in England. We haven’t had many of them and so I would like to thank the support of Manchester City Council and the PSA and everyone else who has made it possible.”
Tesni Evans : “Any time I play Milou and come out with a 3-0 win then I’m really happy. She is playing some really good squash at the moment and it definitely won’t be long until she is moving up more than she already is.
“I think the court suits me and I just love playing here. It’s so close to home and I’ve had good wins here and good memories, so I hope that will have a part this week.
“The women’s tour is amazing at the moment and for us to have standalone events and show what we can do is really important.”
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