No.6 seed and World No.55 Lucy Beecroft has produced a stunning comeback from 2-0 down against No.2 seed Lucy Turmel to reach her first British Nationals final.
The Northumbrian trailed Turmel by two games and faced four match balls in the third game before completely turning the match around to take the match 3-2 in 58-minutes to move into her first nationals final.
Turmel was in complete control of the opening two games and had Beecroft pinned behind her in the back corners, which nullified the attacking weapons that Beecroft has been displaying all week. Turmel earned herself three match balls in the third game but wasn’t able to convert which opened the door for Beecroft.
Beecroft showed no signs of slowing down after securing the third game and continued to find amazing winners to move further ahead on the scoreboard. The World No.55 ran straight through and set up a fifth and final game, winning the fourth game 11-7.
The No.6 seed completed the impressive comeback by the same scoreline in the fifth game and booked her place in her first British nationals final. The scoreline remained tight throughout the final game but Beecroft managed to pull ahead in the business end and convert the match at the first time of asking. The No.6 seed was a surprised as everyone as she spoke after her win:
“It was all or nothing for me there, I felt like the first three games, she was completely controlling the pace and I was on the back end of every rally and I don’t want to play like that. I tried to not focus on the score and just play each point as it is. I tried to just leave it all on there and my arm relaxed and the ball started to soften up which went in my favour in the fourth and fifth, so I’m shocked.
“I wasn’t necessarily thinking about the new ball in the third but once I got that game I thought it would open up and the first couple of points in the game, the ball wasn’t coming out the back as much. But I’m just really proud of sticking in that one and getting the win.
“I think the last time Jaz and I played I snuck it in four but Jaz is a great player and I’ll have to be on my game tomorrow. I was actually supposed to fly back to America tomorrow morning so I guess I’ll have to change that flight.”
Beecroft’s opponent in the final will be No.3 seed Jasmine Hutton who scored a win over the event’s No.1 seed Emily Whitlock to reach her second nationals final.
Hutton stormed out of the gates on the hot and bouncy all-glass court in the opening game and took the pace to the No.1 seed immediately. The crisp hitting of Hutton was giving Whitlock no time to impose her excellent short game and controlled lobs.
Hutton in action
After taking the opening game 11-9, Hutton continued to pile the pressure onto the Welsh No.2 and started to move Whitlock into the front corners more consistently to test her movement. Whitlock appeared to be struggling with her movement in the latter stages of the game and lost it 11-6.
Before the third game could even begin, Whitlock was unfortunately forced to withdraw through injury, handing Hutton the victory and a place in her second British nationals final.
In the men’s draw, both top seeds Mohamed ElShorbagy and Joel Makin have progressed through to tomorrow’s final setting up a repeat of May’s Manchester Open final that also took place at the National Squash Centre.
No.1 seed ElShorbagy overcame four-time champion James Willstrop in a difficult four-game battle to move into his first final in his maiden appearance in the British nationals.
The former World Champion controlled the opening two games of the encounter and used a devastating mix of pace and control to move the tall frame of Willstrop into all four corners of the court and mop up the loose retrieval of the Englishman.
With ElShorbagy leading 2-0, the arm of Willstrop completely relaxed and ‘The Marksman’ came to life. The undoubted skill and touch of the former World No.1 came to full fruition as he attacked the front of the court with superb accuracy and consistency with the score reaching an impressive 10-0. ElShorbagy managed to score a point on the board to avoid the dreaded ‘bagel’ but it was Willstrop who secured the third game.
ElShorbagy in action
In what was arguably the game of the tournament, the No.1 seed closed out the match, winning 14-12 in a quality fourth game. ElShorbagy kept setting himself up with match balls but the Englishman wouldn’t go away and refused to be beaten easily. After saving four match balls, another brutal rally finished the tournament of Willstrop as the No.1 seed booked his place in tomorrow’s final.
“I’ve never lost 11-0 in my life, so when I was 10-0 down I thought I just had to go for it,” said ElShorbagy.
“Full respect to James, I could see from mid-way in the second game he was getting better and better. In the third game I might have had a bit of a lapse of concentration, but your opponent still has to be 100 per cent focused to win every single point. It was unbelievable he stayed focused for 10 straight points like that.
“In the fourth it was all to play for. It was such a high quality match, and I always feel like we enjoy playing each other because there is always good squash played fairly and in a good spirit. We played in Mauritius last week, but that was his first tournament in ages, so you can see he keeps getting better and better.
ElShorbagy lost out to Makin at this venue during April’s Manchester Open and said: “Joel and I have so much respect for each other. On paper we are the two best players in the country right now, so it’s fitting that we are in the final to hopefully play a good quality match for the English crowd here.”
Welshman Joel Makin has moved into his third consecutive British nationals final after he overcame England No.2, Patrick Rooney, in straight games.
With the hot temperature in the venue, the ball was extremely lively throughout the match which played into the hands of the Welshman as he moved the ball at a fast pace to the back corners to put work into the legs of Rooney. Errors flowed from the racket of the England No.2 which handed Makin a 1-0 lead.
This continued in the second game as Makin established a healthy lead at 8-2. From here, however, Rooney started to showcase his excellent touch at the front of the court and strung together a flurry of winners to level at 8-8. Makin got back to his stubborn style of play to close out the next three points and earn a 2-0 lead.
The second game seemed to take its toll on Rooney and the streetwise Makin recognised this and started to turn the screw in the third game. He continued to pummel the back corners and restrict the Englishman’s attacking opportunities to run through and take the game 11-6 and book his place in the final.
Action continues from the British National Championships tomorrow, with eight players looking to claim places in the finals. Play starts at 17:30 (GMT+1) live on the SQUASHTV.
British National Championships Men’s SF Results:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt  James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-9, 1-11, 14-12 (47m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt  Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 11-6 (50m)
British National Championships Women’s SF Results:
 Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt  Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6 retired (23m)
 Lucy Beecroft (ENG) bt  Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7 (58m)
British National Championships Men’s Final:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
British National Championships Women’s Final:
 Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v  Lucy Beecroft (ENG)