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Sarah-Jane Perry in action during the second round

Manchester Open RD2: Perry Battles Back To Defeat Naughton In Five

England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry had to battle through a tough clash with Canadian No.1 Hollie Naughton, coming back from two games down to eventually win a five-game thriller in just under an hour.

The pair had met four times before on the PSA World Tour, with Perry having a 100% success rate. However, she did not start well in this one as the World No.25 applied all the pressure in the early running.

Naughton had the tournament’s No.3 seed running ragged early on, and she was able to use that momentum to take a two game advantage. However, Perry was able to use the fighting spirit she has to battle her way back into the match.

She fought from two games down to take the victory for the first time in almost two years, having last done so against Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans in the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open in November 2018.

“It is never all over. I don’t know when the last time I came back from two games down was. I haven’t even won 3-2 for an awfully long time,” she explained.

“I know Hollie is a great player. She has been down training with me and I know how well she is moving. She put a lot of pressure on me in the first two games by getting a lot back.

“You’re supposed to start with confidence and then see where it goes but I felt a bit lost in that first game. I prepared well, and mentally I thought I was in a good place but it was just that shock of getting back into the pace of tournament matches.

“I am sure I said a few things out loud but most of it was in my head today. I felt like I was lacking a bit of energy. I don’t think I am lacking in fitness, I felt like my energy levels were a bit low today. I had to use every ounce of it to get to where I wanted to bit. I knew if I got there then I had a good chance of coming back but Hollie was fighting.

“Even in that last game, she wasn’t going to let me win when I was 10-1 up. She wasn’t going down without a fight. All the plaudits to her and it made me fight. Maybe I was just craving that extreme battle out there.”

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-2: 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (51m)