Today marked the second day of the Manchester Open, as players vied for a spot in tomorrow’s quarter-finals. Scroll down to read the reports and player reactions from all the matches on court three.
Today’s Schedule (all times local, GMT+1)
Nele Gilis 3-0 Haley Mendez
11-2, 11-3, 11-7 (28m)
Belgium’s No.6 seed Nele Gilis broke her run of back-to-back Manchester Open last 16 exits as she beat America’s Haley Mendez in straight games.
After her first-round win over Milou van der Heijden, World No.41 Mendez had spoken about wanting to control her nerves in today’s match. However, the 27-year-old initially struggled and her shots lacked conviction as 25-year-old Gilis raced into a 7-0 lead in the first, eventually taking the game 11-2.
Although Mendez did begin to look more assured as the match progressed, the impressive Gilis continued to dominate, taking the second game 11-3.
After two challenging games, Mendez was able to show more of her ability and range in the third, causing the World No.14 a number of problems in a closely-fought 11-7 loss.
After the match, Gilis said: “Haley is a very aggressive player and volleys well. I was aware of that and really tried to play at a high pace and get it past her racket.
“I’m feeling more and more confident with each tournament. I feel I can now not just compete with the top players, but beat them. I’m really looking to get into the later stages at all the events now.”
Mendez said: “I’m disappointed that I couldn’t get further. I think I felt ok in terms of nerves, as opposed to yesterday, but just struggled with my game plan in the first. I’d figured it out by the third, but by then it was too late.”
Gilis will play No.3 seed Tesni Evans in the quarter-finals at 12:00 on August 11.
Mazen Hesham 3-1 Lucas Serme
11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5 (53m)
No.7 seed Mazen Hesham went into the match having won all four of his previous PSA matches against Lucas Serme and made good progress towards continuing this run in the first game.
The first game was an even contest, with both Serme and Hesham looking in good form. It was Hesham, though, who finally broke the deadlock after a series of intense rallies, claiming the first game 11-8.
Just as in the first, neither player gave any ground in the second and every point was fiercely contested as Hesham and Serme exchanged the lead. Serme, though, eventually got the better of his opponent, who appeared increasingly frustrated towards the end of the game.
Both players continued to play aggressively in the third. Hesham, however, began to dominate, routinely troubling Serme with a number of accurate drops, taking the third game 11-5.
After the match, Hesham said: “I’m really happy with how I handled everything with the situation happening around the court and I managed to stay focused to win the match. I just thought to myself ‘ok, if there’s going to be one loser today it’s not going to be me. Whatever happens out there, I’m going to stay positive and focused. I deserve to be here, I deserve to win this match and get better in the rankings.’”
Serme, meanwhile, said: “I feel gutted. I lost my head at times, there were times I wanted to do too much or was too safe. I lost the tactic of being proactive.”
Hesham will play No.4 seed Joel Makin at 12:45 on August 11.
Sivasangari Subramaniam 3-0 Rowan Elaraby
11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (27m)
Malaysia’s World No.36 Sivasangari Subramaniam overcame Egypt’s World No.12 Rowan Elaraby 3-0 in a rapid match.
Ahead of the game, Subramaniam had spoken of her excitement of playing her old rival from junior days, and the 22-year-old certainly appeared to relish the contest.
Subramaniam took the first two games in relative comfort, winning both 11-7 against an out-of-sorts Elaraby, who after the match said she was still struggling with a recurring hamstring injury.
After game two, No.5 seed Elaraby required an injury break to receive treatment. Although the 21-year-old was able to play the third game, she struggled with her movement, going down 11-3 in the third.
“I felt much better than yesterday. Rowan has been playing really well and we haven’t played in a while, so I went in positively and wanting to play my best,” Subramaniam said.
On returning to court after the injury break, Subramaniam said: “When it’s happened before it has actually affected me quite a bit. So I think this time I was trying to stay as focused as I can, focusing on my match not on them.”
Subramaniam will play No.2 seed Sarah-Jane Perry at 13:45 on August 11.
Mohamed Abouelghar 3-0 Declan James
11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (40m)
No.6 seed Mohamed Abouelghar began his 2021 Manchester Open in convincing fashion, as the Egyptian produced an excellent performance to beat English World No. 29 Declan James 3-0.
Abouelghar began the first game well, with his deft volleys keeping James guessing and unable to dominate. Though James began to wrestle some control of the game from Abouelghar, the Egyptian was able to close out an 11-6 opening-game win.
In the second game, it was James who had the better of early early proceedings and the 28-year-old used his body well to control the rallies. Abouelghar, however, recovered and with his play at the front particularly impressive, he was able to tighten his grip on the match with another 11-6.
The third was a simpler affair for the Egyptian, as he finished off the game 11-3 with an immaculate drop shot.
“I was a bit nervous before [the match]. I’ve played Declan so many times and when you play him on a court where he trains on a regular basis it give him a bit of an advantage. So I just wanted to make sure I hit my marks in the beginning and not give him any openings. I’m happy with how I played,” Abouelghar said after the match.
On tomorrow’s quarter-final match with Youssef Ibrahim, he said: “I’ve been working on my length game and being more patient. Youssef likes to go for it and he’s an extremely talented guy, so I need to take what I’ve done today into tomorrow and hopefully get the win.”
James, meanwhile, felt his performance did not reflect his ability. “I thought it was a poor performance. I felt more relaxed [than in yesterday’s match] and I was moving quite well, but I got into some long rallies and come out of the worst end on most of them. Although the scoreline wasn’t that close, I felt like I had a couple of chances. I let it get to 4-4 way too quickly after being 4-1 up in the second.”
Abouelghar will play Youssef Ibrahim in the quarter-finals at 14:30 on August 11.
Emily Whitlock 3-1 Nadine Shahin
11-9, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4 (40m)
Wales’ Emily Whitlock beat Egypt’s Nadine Shahin 3-1 in the pair’s first PSA meeting, to progress to the quarter-final.
Whitlock controlled early proceedings and stormed into a 4-0 lead/5-2, finding power and accuracy that Shahin struggled to match. After the early flurry of points, though, Shahin settled into the game, counterattacking well to lead 9-7. It was then Whitlock’s turn to fight back, and the World No.23 dug deep to regain the initiative, taking the first game 11-9.
Whitlock started the second game strongly, too. She dominated Shahin around court, going 8-4 up quickly.
Once again, though, Shahin showed impressive powers of recovery to level at 9-9.
Both players then traded points to go to 11-11 as the pace of the game ramped up. This time, however, Shahin was able to complete her comeback, taking the second game 13-11 after an intense rally that left both players struggling for breath.
Undeterred by the setback, Whitlock began the third game as strongly as the previous two and was soon 8-2 up. This time, however, the gap was too much for another Shahin comeback, as the No.8 seed went down 11-4.
When Whitlock once again took the first point of the game, it seemed likely that the fourth would follow the same script s the previous three. This proved to be true, as Whitlock powered into another lead, going up 8-3. As with the previous game, though, she refused to give Shahin a route back in and saw out the match with a 11-4 victory.
Speaking after the match, Whitlock said: “I feel good. It was a bit of a slog at the back of the court, but I feel fit.”
Describing Shahin’s comebacks in the first two games, Whitlock explained that her opponent’s relaxed body language had made her second guess some of her shots. She added: “I’m annoyed I let that affect my intensity, but it just happens. Once I got off after each game it was like a clean slate, so I just thought ‘Right, start as you mean to go on and if you have an 8-2 lead, finish it!’ and I carried on throughout instead of letting it get close again.”
Shahin said: “I think I just didn’t find my length or my shots today, I was tinning a lot and [Whitlock] was more controlling in the T. She didn’t really let me get into my pace… I didn’t really feel in control today.”
Whitlock will play Coline Aumard in the quarter-finals at 17:30 on August 11.
Omar Mosaad 3-2 Eain Yow Ng
12-10, 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4 (71m)
In the day’s sixth game , Egypt’s Omar Mosaad beat Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng in a hotly-contested match.
Between Eain Yow’s movement and Mosaad’s size, it was perhaps little surprise that the two found themselves frequently colliding, with the players tangling multiple times in all five games.
While the first game was a tight affair, with Mosaad taking the win 12-10, Eain Yow claimed the second more comfortably, seeing off the former World No.3 11-4 in the second.
The World No.17 reacted well, though, and restricted the space for Eain Yow to play, taking an 11-6 victory against a frustrated Eain Yow.
In the fourth game, Eain Yow reacted to Mosaad’s domination of the centre by trying to force his opponent deeper. This proved to be effective, as World No.22 Eain Yow took the fourth 11-7, though he continued to be frustrated by his opponent’s physicality throughout.
At two games apiece and a quarter-final place on the line, both players went all-out in pursuit of victory. Eain Yow struck first, taking the game’s first point with a delicate drop to leave Mosaad stranded. From 3-0 down the Egyptian fought back well though, taking a number of points from Eain Yow with long, brutal rallies.
As the fifth game wore on, Mosaad further dominated and, though Eain Yow continued to fight hard, Mosaad eventually sealed the win in relative comfort, taking the final game 11-4.
After the match, Mosaad said: “The last few of months have been hard for me, last April I lost my Dad and got coronavirus as well, so I had a month-and-a-half of not doing anything, so of course to get back again is hard. In the [July] World Championships I tried hard to reach the last 16 but George Parker played really well. I know it’s going to take time to get back again and confident and I’m really happy with the game today because it was a tough match with a lot of pressure.”
Eain Yow said: “It was a tough loss. I think I did well to get to the fifth, but then from being 3-0 up I’m not sure what happened. I’ll have to look back and reassess what happened.”
Tinne Gilis 3-0 Danielle Letourneau
11-6, 11-8, 13-11 (36m)
No.7 seed Tinne Gilis progressed to the quarter-finals after beating Danielle Letourneau 3-0.
Despite Gilis’ seeding at the tournament, the two went into the match separated by only three places in the World Rankings, with the Belgian Gilis ranked 19 and the Canadian Letourneau ranked 22.
Although the scoreline was seemingly comprehensive, Gilis was made to work hard for her win, with the 28-year-old Letourneau causing Gilis problems in all three games and pushing her all the way in the third.
Ultimately, however, the 23-year-old had too much quality on the day. She moved around court well and dictated the pace for most of the match.
“I’m feeling very relieved to be honest,” Gilis said after the match. She added: “I was just trying to stay focused and not focus on [Letourneau] because she can be really tricky on court. I think I did that really well and the last game was crucial and I was losing my focus a bit, so I was very happy to find it again.
“For a second I thought I was going to lose [the last game], but I told myself ‘No, you’re not going to lose it. Push, push, push!’ and I did well. I’m very relieved and proud of myself.”
Letourneau said after the match: “[I feel] a bit disappointed with my performance. I didn’t really relax or start playing my way until the third. I got a bit caught up [with Gilis on court] and I just needed to focus on me and doing what I needed to do.”
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 3-1 Miguel Rodriguez
11-9, 1-11, 11-8, 11-7 (48m)
In a thoroughly entertaining match, Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi closed out the day’s play with a 3-1 win against No.5 seed Miguel Rodriguez, in the first PSA meeting between the two.
The first game was a close one, with both players looking sharp and accurate. Eventually, though, Al Tamimi was able to eke out a win, taking the first match 11-9 with a wonderfully-crafted drop.
In the second, however, the 35-year-old Colombian was rampant. Rallies were short and Rodriguez dominated, sweeping Al Tamimi aside 11-1.
Al Tamimi recovered well from that chastening second game and had the better of the early stages of the third game. Rodriguez, however, soon settled into his rhythm and brought the score to 6-6 after forcing a mistake from Al Tamimi.
Though Al Tamimi was taking a lot of points when dropping at the front, he also lost a number, with his frequent kill shots often tinning.
However, the strategy ultimately proved effective. Al Tamimi was able to keep the score moving and finished the third with a perfectly-guided volley into the front, taking the game 11-8.
That third-game win seemed to give Al Tamimi a major lift and the World No.38 started the fourth at furious pace, roaring into a 7-0 lead.
Former World No.4 Rodriguez refused to succumb easily, though, and impressively fought his way back into the game, reducing the deficit to 8-6.
Al Tamimi, however, ultimately had enough to close out the match and he sealed his place in the quarter-finals with an 11-7 win.
After the match, Al Tamimi was full of praise for his opponent. He said: “Miguel’s a really experienced player, one of the fittest guys on tour. I like the way he plays, he likes to open the court and play the angles, which is how I like to play, too, but today I had a game plan to stick to basic squash and try to counter when he opens the court.
“The strategy worked for most of the match, I totally lost concentration in the second game… but was really happy to get back in the third and fourth.”