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Nouran Gohar gets her campaign underway this afternoon

Manchester Open - Day Two: As It Happens

The Manchester Open continues today, as the second round action takes place at the National Squash Centre.

After yesterday’s matches, only 16 women remain in the tournament, the first PSA World Tour event to be held in Manchester since the PSA World Championships in 2017.

The day’s play begins at 12:00 local time (GMT+1) as England’s Emily Whitlock takes on Egypt’s Nouran Gohar, a finalist at the El Gouna International last month.

Along with Whitlock, there are five other Englishwomen in action today, as the seeded Laura Massaro, Alison Waters and Sarah-Jane Perry join Millie Tomlinson and Julianne Courtice in the draw.

The seeded players enter the tournament at this stage, with Nour El Tayeb and Joelle King seeded to face each other in the final on Monday.

Join us here for reports and reaction, or watch the glass court action LIVE on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) or the PSA World Tour Facebook page (excluding Europe & Japan).

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Day Two Schedule

Gohar Reaches Quarters

Egypt’s World No.7 Nouran Gohar was forced to come from a game down against England’s World No.21 Emily Whitlock to reach the quarter finals of the inaugural Manchester Open.

The two players have met four times on the PSA World Tour in the past, with the Egyptian claiming all four of those victories. However, it was England’s Whitlock who got off to the brighter start as she took the first game.

The 25-year-old Englishwoman continued her strong form from yesterday, when she despatched New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy in straight-games, as she used height well to nullify Gohar’s attacking intent.

Whitlock continued to perform strongly in the second game as she took an early lead, however, Gohar – who reached the final at the recent El Gouna International – soon reigned the Englishwoman back in as she implemented her game plan to draw level, despite Whitlock saving three game balls.

From that moment on, Gohar continued to keep her composure as she pushed through to close out the match by a 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline and book her place in the quarter finals, where she will face either England’s Julianne Courtice or USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

“She kept her form from yesterday,” said the 21-year-old Egyptian.

“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.

“I really love to play in Egypt, it seems like its my lucky place. The last two months have been good and I’m trying to play well on court and the results will come for sure.”

[4] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (37m)

King Overcomes Tough Gilis Test

New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King got her Manchester Open campaign up and running with a 3-1 win over Belgium’s Nele Gilis at the National Squash Centre.

Number two seed King started strongly to take the opener, before Gilis battled back and produced a strong showing in the second to open up a lead and looked as though she was going to draw level before King came back strongly to double her advantage and instead deliver a big blow to Gilis.

World No.24 Gilis continued to cause problems for the New Zealander though, as she put the 2018 Hong Kong Open winner under pressure in the third to eventually take the game and push the match to four.

However, King showed her class in the fourth as she comfortably found all of her targets to close out for the loss of just one point by an 11-5, 12-10, 8-11, 11-1 scoreline.

She will now face the winner of Alison Waters v Salma Hany in the next round.

“I felt like in the first I had my game plan pretty spot on,” said the 30-year-old.

“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.

“When you’re from New Zealand, anything under 24 hours is a bonus! Coming just a short drive is a nice change and it will be nice to finish the season here as well.”

[2] Joelle King (NZL) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-5, 12-10, 8-11, 11-1 (42m)

Waters Holds off Hany to Advance

England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters booked her place in the quarter finals of the Manchester Open courtesy of a tough 3-2 win over Egypt’s World No.14 Salma Hany.

The last two times the players have met on the PSA World Tour it ended in victories for Waters in straight-games, but the Englishwoman was pushed all the way in today’s battle at the National Squash Centre.

Waters, who withdrew from last week’s European Team Championships due to injury, started in strong form as she took the opening game. The former World No.3 then looked as though she was going to double her lead easily in the second before Hany put together a strong spell to battle back, however, it was not enough to stop Waters going 2-0 up.

The third proved to be a much tighter affair with the two players evenly exchanging points, before Hany showed her fighting ability to take the third and get a foothold back into the match.

The 22-year-old Egyptian continued her comeback in the fourth as she again prevailed in a tight battle with the experienced Waters to push the match into a tense fifth.

It looked as though Hany was going to complete her comeback as she raced into a 9-5 lead, but the experience of Waters proved pivotal in the end as she clawed back the deficit to close out an 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9 win.

“I was 9-6 up in the fourth and then I think at 9-5 down in the fifth I just relaxed,” said 35-year-old Waters.

“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.

“Sometimes you just need to not put so much pressure on yourself and let it flow and I did that and luckily I came out the winner.

“We were here each year for the Nationals and so I have some good memories. It feels a bit like a second home and I’m pleased to be back here in Manchester.”

[7] Alison Waters (ENG) bts Salma Hany (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9 (49m)

Sobhy Takes Out Home Hope Courtice

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy defeated home hope Julianne Courtice in four-games to set up a quarter final clash with Egypt’s Nouran Gohar.

The American was forced to work hard for her victory as Courtice, who enjoyed a strong win over Canada’s Samantha Cornett yesterday, took the opening game.

Sobhy came back strongly though to take the next two, before Courtice again made life difficult for the American as she continued to test Sobhy, but it was the World No.8 who advanced by a 4-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9 scoreline in 33 minutes.

“Last time we played it was on home soil for me, we played in Chicago,” said the 25-year-old from Boston.

“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.

“We haven’t played recently, but we played a couple of years ago when I came back on tour after being injured. She had a really good week in El Gouna and I had a pretty decent week as well. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and it should be good.”

[8] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-1: 4-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9 (33m)

Evans Powers Through to Quarters

Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans secured a quarter final berth at the National Squash Centre after overcoming Dutch No.1 Milou van der Heijden in straight-games.

The Welshwoman enjoyed one of her biggest wins at Manchester’s National Squash Centre when she was crowned British Nationals champion and Evans ensured that good run of form continued as she put van der Heijden to the sword in 30 minutes.

Evans took a tight first game, before going 8-4 down in the second and was forced to battle hard to double her advantage. In the third game it proved to be straightforward for the Welshwoman as she closed out her second round by an 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 margin.

“Any time I play Milou and come out with a 3-0 win then I’m really happy,” said 26-year-old Evans.

“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. She’s been staying with me for a week, so maybe I’ll stop those trips!

“I love playing here, 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 and hopefully many more to come.”

[6] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 (30m)

Perry Takes Out David

England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry conquered eight-time World Champion Nicol David to reach the last eight stage of the Manchester Open.

The tall Englishwoman got off to a strong start to take the first two games, before Malaysian icon David, in her last appearance in Manchester, fought back to nullify Perry in the third and reduce the deficit.

However, Perry soon regained her composure and focused on her game plan to come back and close out the win by an 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 margin.

“I want to say congratulations to Nicol on the most amazing career that squash has ever seen,” said 28-year-old Perry.

“She is a fantastic ambassador for the game and there has never been anyone that has come close to her. We’re very lucky to have her and also very lucky that she still wants to use that to push the women’s game and squash as a whole forward.

“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.

“I’m pleased that I managed to push through when she started to play some amazing squash in the third. I dropped off a bit and she took full advantage, I have been playing better since coming back from my injury and I was pleased with how I started the match and in the end I had to grit my teeth.

“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. I’m really pleased that I get to play on this court again tomorrow with some friends and family coming to watch me tomorrow.”

David added: “I won my first British here, the World Championships here and there have been so many good moments. When I come back here to Manchester it really gives back good memories. It’s nice to play well with SJ and she’s really coming strong after her injury and really pushing the girls again, so I am pleased with how she has been playing and I wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.

“Having this tournament here has been really great and the support of Manchester City Council to push the women’s game to another level and supporting all the English girls as well.”

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 (42m)

Top Seed El Tayeb Topples Aumard

Egypt’s top seed Nour El Tayeb produced a dominant display inside the National Squash Centre to ensure her Manchester Open campaign got off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory over France’s Coline Aumard.

Going into the encounter the Egyptian had a 100% record against the Frenchwoman and ensured she kept that immaculate streak as she put the World No.35 to the sword in straight-games.

El Tayeb started strongly, but almost allowed Aumard a way back into the first game as she levelled the scores at 9-9 before El Tayeb was able to close out the first. The Egyptian then doubled her advantage in the second as she began to step up a gear to ease ahead of her French opponent.

Aumard battled back well in the third, however, as she built up an impressive lead, but World No.3 El Tayeb chipped away at the Frenchwoman’s margin to ensure she wrapped up the match in three.

“I thought we were going to a fourth,” said the 25-year-old Egyptian.

“So I decided that I needed to get my head right in the third to get some momentum going into the fourth. Thankfully I was able to close it out, at the point at 8-8 I saw it as good and I know Coline saw it as double, but I would never cheat and I don’t want her to think that I would.

“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. My plan was always to keep her away from the ‘T’ area. 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. So many great players are playing in this tournament – Laura, Amanda, Joelle – all players I’ve lost to the last time we played! I’m just happy to be in the quarter-final of another tournament and hopefully, whoever I play I can play well.”

[1] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (35m)

Massaro Masters Tomlinson To Reach Quarters

Laura Massaro (right) in action against Millie Tomlinson

Laura Massaro is into the quarter finals of the Manchester Open after getting the better of compatriot Millie Tomlinson in straight games.

The pair had met twice on the PSA World Tour, with this being the first clash not to take place on the 7th October, after facing each other on that date in the last two US Open Championships.

The former World No.1 started brightly, as she tried to impose her gameplan onto her younger compatriot, in what is her final tournament in Manchester.

Having announced her retirement before the tournament started, she got off to a perfect start in this one, winning out 11-8, 11-4, 11-8 to set up a clash with No.1 seed Nour El Tayeb in the last eight.

“I was happy. I set out with a gameplan and I reckon I probably stuck to it for about 70%, but in a good way,” Massaro said.

“In the way that there were some rallies that I didn’t quite execute the way that I wanted but I was still controlling the rallies.

“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.

“It just goes to show, that when you take your foot off the gas, how Millie can play in the end, like the third, and I am just happy to get over the line.

“Me and Nour [El Tayeb], we are two feisty players, we both want to win. She is in great form and I have got nothing to lose. My goal was to get through today and set myself up with a match against the No.1 seed, so I am excited.”

[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-8 (38m)