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British Open - Side Courts: As it Happens

Follow us here as we bring you updates from the side courts on the opening day of action at the 2017 Allam British Open.

Stars such as 2013 champ Ramy Ashour, three-time runner-up James Willstrop, five-time winner Nicol David and the hard-hitting World No.4 Nouran Gohar get their tournaments under way at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre.

You can also keep up-to-date with our live scoring page!

Waters and Whitlock Set Up Second Round Clash

Alison Waters in action

World No.10 Alison Waters made it through to round two with ease after opponent Mariam Metwally retired midway through the second game in their first round tie at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre.

Waters, a former World No.3, took the opening game 11-5 and was 7-2 ahead in the second, before the Egyptian was forced to retire due to a virus that had hampered her fitness.

With the match lasting just 12 minutes, Waters will no doubt be fresh for round two where she will face compatriot Emily Whitlock as she bids to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2014.

“You don’t want to win when someone retires, but I felt like I was playing well, so I’m happy to get through to the next round,” said Waters.

“I felt like I was hitting the ball well and moving well, I suppose I’ll be fresh for the next round, but I might have another hit today to stay sharp.

“We love playing here in England, we don’t have many tournaments in England, so it’s nice when you’re in front of your home crowd. Hopefully tomorrow on the glass it’ll be a good atmosphere and I’m looking forward to it.”

Emily Whitlock in action

Whitlock, meanwhile, secured her place in the second round for the first time in her career after she defeated Liu Tsz-Ling of Hong Kong in four games.

The World No.15 started strongly and went a game ahead, before an onslaught from Liu brought the 25-year-old level for the loss of just a single point in game two.

However, Whitlock mixed up her height well to edge back ahead, and she closed out the win by an 11-8, 1-11, 11-6, 11-3 margin to progress beyond the opening round.

“She’s a good player and I got injured in Colombia with my hip, so the last week and a bit i’ve just been doing rehab solo,” said Whitlock, who limped out of her quarter-final match at the CIudad de Floridablanca a fortnight ago.

“I had my first match practice on Saturday, that went okay, I came here on Sunday night and I had yesterday. The leg feels fine and that’s all that matters to me really, I just wanted to feel fit.

“[In the second game] She played well and I just fell asleep. I think because I won the first game, I felt like I knew what to expect and I switched off. I went on auto-pilot, she was hitting winners and, at first I went 3-0 down and I thought that was fine as that’s what happened in the first game.

“Then, before I knew it, it was 8-0, 9-0, then I got a point. American scoring is brutal and you just can’t switch off, but she played well in that game.

“Alison’s playing well, it will be physically hard, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Hong Kong’s Annie Au also got her tournament off to a winning start, and she will take on defending champion Nour El Sherbini in round two courtesy of a come from behind victory against French qualifier Coline Aumard.

Au said: “I lost my concentration in the first two games, I played a lot of loose shots, but Coline played really well, taking the ball short and attacking really well. In the third, I tried to hit the ball harder and give her less chance to take the volleys and it worked.

“It’s not that normal for my game, because my game is usually lobs and drops, but this time I changed it a bit because she’s pretty strong taking on the volleys.”

“It was pretty lucky because in the last game it was 11-9, it could have gone either way, so I was really happy to win.”

[8] Alison Waters (ENG) vs Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 7-2 retired (12m)
[13] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-1: 11-8, 1-11, 11-6, 11-3 (36m)
[10] Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-2: 7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (55m)

Coll Takes Out Wildcard James as Momen and Pilley Also Claim Wins

New Zealand’s Paul Coll advanced to the second round after a gruelling 3-2 victory over tournament wildcard Declan James.

World No.37 James more than held his own in a match which lasted 75 punishing minutes, but after going 1-0 and then 2-1 down in games, World No.16 Coll rallied and blew James away in the fourth, impressively winning 11-2 to set up an intriguing fifth game.

With all the momentum with the New Zealander going into the final game, his quality was just too much for James and he took it 11-5 to secure his place in round two.

“It was more mentally tough than physically hard for me,” said Coll.

“I was feeling a bit awkward on there and I had to find a rhythm. I wasn’t really feeling it so I had to focus as much as possible.

“I played him [James] a few years ago back in New Zealand so I knew he was tough, he is very solid and got great hands. If I gave him anything loose I knew I’d be under a whole lot of pressure.

“I just tried to focus on my game and get him off the ’T’ as he was pretty up for it being as it is his home tournament. I got here in plenty of time and got used to the courts so the travel arrangements aren’t an excuse, I gave myself every opportunity to win.”

Next up for Coll is an encounter with Egypt’s Tarek Momen – a repeat of December’s Channel VAS Championship final clash which saw Coll win his biggest title to date.

The 24-year-old Kiwi said: “I’m expecting a lot of shots from Tarek, we have played each other a few times in the last year, so we’re both familiar with each other’s games and it should be a good battle.”

Tarek Momen

Momen earned his place in the second round after claiming a 3-0 win over Scotland’s Alan Clyne.

“Alan has been playing really well over the past few months,” the Egyptian said.

“It was a match which I had to be 100 per cent prepared for. I think I handled it quite well today. I was very focused and I played some of my best squash today. The first two games were very tough, they were very close and I just managed to edge through until the end.

“I was happy to build up a good lead in the third and that gave me a confidence boost. From then on, I just kept playing my game and I'm very pleased to get off in three games.

“The fresher you are, the better chance you have in the next round.”

Meanwhile, World No.18 Cameron Pilley will join Coll and Momen in the next round of the tournament after he defeated English qualifier Adrian Waller by an 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 scoreline.

The affable Aussie will do battle with two-time winner Gregory Gaultier in the next round, with the ‘French General’ putting in an imperious display to take out former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in just 30 minutes in his first round encounter.

Despite Gaultier – who is looking for a third successive PSA World Tour title – representing a huge obstacle for Pilley, the 34-year-old is relishing the challenge of facing the in-form World No.3.

“He’s [Gaultier] clearly peaked too soon!” he joked.

“But we all know he is probably the most ruthless player you can meet in round one. I’m actually looking forward to it, it’ll be a challenge and he always performs in the British Open.

“I have beaten him a couple of times myself, so I’m just going to go on court and give it everything I’ve got. If you play well and he maybe has a bit of an off day or his head is not there, you never know what can happen, I’m just going to go in all guns blazing.”

Paul Coll (NZL) bt [WC] Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5 (75m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (35m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (46m)

Perry Powers Past Gilis to Reach Round Two as Hany Shocks King

Sarah-Jane Perry

England’s World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry advanced to the second round after a powerful performance saw her dismantle Belgium’s World No.34 Nele Gilis in straight games.

Perry, who stands 6ft tall, used her rangy build impressively as she pounced on any loose shots from Gilis before pounding the ball to the back of the court and following up with some deft touches to the front.

The 26-year-old – who has been in fine form of late and reached a maiden World Series semi-final at January’s Tournament of Champions – eventually prevailed 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 to progress to the second round stage for the fifth year in succession – and she will face Welsh World No.19 Tesni Evans for a place in the last eight.

“I’m really happy, Nele’s been qualifying for all of the World Series events so far this year and she’s been pushing a few of the players as well, so I’m happy to get off with a 3-0 win,” said Perry.

“I went on there pretty confidently and played pretty well I thought.

“Me and Tesni have had some really big battles in the past, it’s not that long ago that it was 11-9 in the fifth against her. It was pretty close, so I’ll be going on there, trying to play well and it would be great to get to the quarter-finals again.

“Tesni’s a tough opponent though, so I will have to go on there and play well.”

Tesni Evans (right) and Salma Hany Ibrahim (left) during the 2016 Wadi Degla Open

Evans claimed her fourth win in five matches against Egypt’s Salma Hany Ibrahim, the player sitting directly below her in the World Rankings.

The pair’s last meeting came in November’s Wadi Degla Open – where Evans prevailed to reach her biggest ever semi-final – and the 24-year-old from Rhys continued where she left off there to take an 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 victory in 38 minutes.

“I knew it was going to be hard today, but what I did seemed to pay off,” Evans said.

“It will be fun [to face Perry]. She’s playing really well at No.8 in the world, obviously she’s playing some of her best squash, so it’s going to hard, but I’m looking forward to having a go.”

World No.11 Joelle King went out in the opening round for the first time in her career after she relinquished a one-game lead to fall to a shock defeat against Egyptian qualifier Mayar Hany.

20-year-old Hany – who is ranked 22 places below King – played with guile and control to win 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9, consigning King to a second successive World Series round one defeat.

[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (26m)
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [16] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (38m)
[Q] Mayar Hany (EGY) bt [9] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (42m)

Farag and Selby Earn Round Two Berths

Egypt’s Ali Farag ended a two-match losing streak to Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly, completing a 3-1 victory to get his 2017 campaign off to a strong start.

The tall Harvard-graduate had lost to Cuskelly in the final of the Motor City Open in January, but went two games ahead after moving Cuskelly around the court skilfully, with the second game seeing the World No.8 drop just one point.

A resurgent Cuskelly found his way into the encounter in the third, taking it 11-9, but Farag went back up through the gears to romp to an 11-1 victory once more in the fourth, setting up a second round clash with Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip after his match with Stephen Coppinger was cut short due to a back injury to the latter.

“None of the games were easy, despite the scores, the rallies were tough from both of us,” said Farag.

“I was just lucky in the second and the fourth to run away with the first few points and I think that gave me the edge to play a little more freely. I’m very happy because the last few times we played, he beat me.

“Everyone looks forward to the British Open, it’s the second biggest tournament after the World Championship and it’s everyone’s dream to win it. I come to every tournament trying to win it and I will try to take it step-by step.

“Today was a tough one and tomorrow will be a tough one, nothing is easy, but I will give it my best.”

World No.15 Daryl Selby will also compete in the round after edging past qualifier Tom Richards in an intense match which lasted 78 mins.

Out of the two Englishmen, it was Richards who started very brightly and he could have very easily been 2-0 up, but he allowed Selby back into the opening two games and just managed to take the second on a tie-breaker.

Several refereeing decisions frustrated both players which led to match fuelled with passion and desire to reach round two, and the momentum swung in Selby’s favour when he got into his stride during the fourth and took the game 11-1 to make it 2-2.

The 34-year-old’s quality shone through to take the deciding fifth 11-6 and secure his place in the second round, where he will face off against number one seed Mohamed ElShorbagy – the World No.1 whom Selby beat in the opening round of December’s Channel VAS Championship.

“Me and Tom always have tough games, we have sort of similar styles I guess and it always makes for good squash,” said Selby, who has struggled with an ankle injury and illness over the past month and a half.

“I was disappointed to lose the third as well as I felt I was in a little bit more control than I had been in the first two. I think Tom played well in the first two games and he has been playing well the last week or so. As the match went on I felt better physically and I still felt good in the fourth and fifth which was the difference in the end.

“I started a little bit slow, he was on the ball, he played a tournament last week so he’s had four good PSA matches. Because I’m physically feeling good again, I opened the court up again, any squash player will know when you’re feeling better you can play brainless squash at times.

“Because I was feeling physically better I was playing less with my brain and more with my body, in the end I was able to use both and I’m happy to get through.

“It’ll be nice to play the World No.1. By the look of it, he had a tough game which I thought he would have against Fares [Dessouky]. I played well against him last time so I’ve got nothing to lose. It will be nice to play on the glass court, because I’ve been injured or ill here the last couple of years”

[7] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 11-9, 11-1, 9-11, 11-1 (54m)
[Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-0: 11-6, 6-0 ret. (19m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 10-12, 9-11, 11-1, 11-6 (78m)

Abbas Shocks 2016 Runner-Up Gohar in British Open Round One

Last year’s British Open runner-up Nouran Gohar fell to a shock defeat in the opening round of the 2017 instalment after she succumbed to 16-year-old Egyptian qualifier Nada Abbas.

Abbas, a two-time PSA World Tour title winner, counteracted Gohar’s trademark hard-hitting style brilliantly, with the World No.45 slowing the pace right down and controlling the ball well at the front of the court.

The opening two games both went to tie-breaks, with both players having two game balls apiece in the second, before Abbas finally converted at the third attempt.

Gohar refocused during the break between games and halved the deficit for the loss of five points in the third, but Abbas continued to put pressure on the World No.4 and she closed out the fourth to claim a win that will send ripples through the Women’s draw.

“It's a great feeling, it's the first time I've ever beaten anyone in the top 10, I can't believe it,” said Abbas.

“I tried to break her game and to not let her play a fast game. I tried to slow things down a little bit and go for shots in the front more.

“There's no pressure on me, so I want to play my best squash. I want to go as far as I can, if I play like this then I could go to the quarter-finals.”

Abbas’ second round opponent will be Australia’s Donna Urquhart after the World No.18 navigated her way past English qualifier Millie Tomlinson.

Buoyed on by her home fans, Tomlinson took the opening game and pushed Urquhart all the way to a tie-break in the second, before the woman from Yamba took it to draw level.

Urquhart really got into her stride during the third and she never looked back, taking the final two games in comfortable fashion to ensure that she will face Abbas for a place in the last eight – and Urquhart admits that the Egyptian teenager is something of an unknwon quantity.

“I wish I’d seen her [Abbas] play, but I’ve never played either of those two [Gohar or Abbas], so it’s nice to play someone different and I’m looking forward to getting out on the glass,” Urquhart admitted.

“I’m just happy to be in round two, Millie is a tough opponent and I’ve only played her once before back in November and she beat me 3-0, so I came into today knowing I couldn’t do any worse than that!

“I went out with a game plan of how I wanted to play, I think I went away from that for a while, but found it again in the third and fourth where I played better.

“I knew I need to keep it straight, deep and out of the middle because she is really good around that area. When I was hitting the ball there it was getting me into trouble.

“She doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses, she is a good all round player. She is, physically, really good, she’s fit and likes to get you playing in really long rallies. You need to get control of the rallies and I like to try and control the pace.”

India’s Joshna Chinappa also earned a second round spot courtesy of a 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10 win over four-time British Open champion Rachael Grinham.

“Every time I play Rachael it’s a battle,” said Chinappa, who will take on World No.3 Raneem El Welily in the next round.

“I have to bring everything to the table every time I play her. It was a tough match, the last game was close and it really could have gone either way

“I was just lucky to take that last game.”

Result – First Round: 2017 Women’s Allam British Open
[Q] Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [4] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 14-12, 5-11, 11-8 (45m)
[15] Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [Q] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-5 (46m)
[12] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10 (40m)

Castagnet Upsets Willstrop on Home Turf

Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet caused the latest upset at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre after he claimed a sensational 3-1 victory over home favourite James Willstrop in a tight round one match.

Castagnet looked assured taking the opening game before Willstrop recovered to level the scores on the second-game tie-break.

Both players were part of what was a great exhibition of squash, with some fantastic rallies throughout the course of the 71-minute affair.

But Willstrop, a three-time runner-up at the prestigious World Series tournament, squandered a game ball in the third, which allowed Castagnet back in to steal the game, and the Frenchman closed out the fourth – with an almighty roar at match point – to record an impressive 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 victory.

The Frenchman has had his struggles with injury this season and he admitted that his win over Willstrop was ‘special’.

“I have had a groin strain since November which hasn’t been easy, my ranking has gone down as I haven’t played properly on the Tour for three or four months now,” he said.

“To beat James, who is in great form at the moment and 6th in the world is something special for me. This is the end of the nightmare for me.

“I can feel his [Willstrop’s] depression, it’s such a big tournament for him it’s so important for him to represent his country at the British Open. It is a big tournament for me but it is different because it is not my county.

“I am going to enjoy it, have a day off tomorrow and prepare for my next match. I just want to play my best game so far and enjoy it, I’m not feeling any pain anymore so I can have a game plan on the court and focus on what I have to do.

“I feel good – other than a dead arm on my bicep – we have a physio with the French team, my friends are behind me, my girlfriend lost in the first round of qualification but has stayed to watch and support me.”

Hong Kong’s Max Lee will be his second round opponent after the World No.17 completed a superb comeback from two games down against World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy.

The 29-year-old came into the encounter off the back of a poor run of form that had seen him bow out at the first round stage in his last three tournaments – but he points to an extended period of rest after last month’s Windy City Open as crucial to his recovery.

“It was amazing, but I have no idea how I did it,” Lee admitted.

“The court was very bouncy, but I don't think we did anything different in the third game.

“They were just lengthy games into the back court. But I'm happy to get through. I've played Marwan quite a few times in Macau and Shanghai and maybe I've gotten used to playing his rhythm.

“I've been ready to play the last three tournaments, but it didn't go well. The matches were even, long matches but my body cramps has been quite strange. That's why I rested a bit after Windy City. I didn't play Canary Wharf or any other tournaments and I'm a bit fresher.”

Germany’s Simon Rösner, meanwhile, has set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Nick Matthew, with a 3-0 win over French qualifier Gregoire Marche seeing him through to the next round.

The World No.9 said: “Today actually felt really comfortable, you know when you have those days on court where everything seems to go your way, that was one of those days, I don’t think I can play better squash than that.

“If I can play these sort of matches on a consistent basis I feel I can break into the top six again. If I can show this performance more often, that will certainly help my results.”

Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 (71m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (61m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (41m)

David beats Blatchford, While Ashour Sees Off Mohamed

Malaysia's eight-time World Champion Nicol David and Ramy Ashour moved through to round two after they beat US No.2 Olivia Blatchford and Zahed Mohamed.

David, who has won this tournament on five occasions, came up against Blatchford two weeks after she beat the American in the final of the Ciudad de Floridablanca, and the result was a mirror image of their result in Colombia, with David winning 3-0.

“After that match I'm sure she got more comfortable from playing me once and she came in a bit stronger and clearer from what she had to do from the beginning,” David said.

“It was a challenging match all the way through. I had to stick to my game and do what I had to do and that got me through the first two games.

“In the last game I really found my rhythm. This is the most prestigious tournament on the Tour and there is so much history involved here.

“There are so many people who appreciate it and it's great to soak up all the atmosphere.”

Ashour, meanwhile, saw off Zahed Mohamed with a comfortable victory, which never looked in doubt for Ashour who asserted his authority early in the first game, displaying an array of top quality shots of which World No.24 Mohamed had no response for.

Mohamed showed fight in the second as he looked to mount a comeback, but Ashour stepped it up another level and cruised into the third game with a 2-0 lead.

It wasn’t long before the 29-year-old had completed the victory taking the third game 11-5 to book his place in round two, where he will face Peruvian Diego Elias.

[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (29m)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (30m)

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