The J.P. Morgan China Open – the first PSA World Tour Gold event to take place under the new tour structure – begins today at SECA Academy where a place in the last 16 is up for grabs.
The top eight seeds in both the men’s and women’s events have been granted byes into the second round but there is still a host of mouthwatering matches in store today.
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Welsh duo Evans and Makin Claim Second Round Berths
Tesni Evans (right) takes on Mariam Metwally (left)
Welsh pair Tesni Evans and Joel Makin got their seasons off to winning starts courtesy of opening day wins over Mariam Metwally and Eain Yow Ng at the SECA Academy.
Evans, the women’s World.12, was made to work hard for the win by a tenacious Metwally and snuck ahead to a two-game lead after taking the opening two games 11-9, 13-11.
A superb comeback from the Egyptian player saw her storm to an 11-6 victory in the third as she began to counter Evans’ game, but it was the Welshwoman who emerged victorious, edging to a tiebreak victory in a tense third game to set up a second round clash with World No.1 Nour El Sherbini.
“It was really tough, I hadn’t played her before and I knew what to expect but it was pretty tough,” said Evans.
“Credit to her, she played really well. Even though I won the first two games they were pretty close and she came out firing in the third and I was down quite a bit in the fourth as well but managed to somehow to win the game.
“She’s [El Sherbini] an unbelievable player and she had another great season last year. It’s going to be a really tough game tomorrow but one that I’m looking forward to.
“There’s no pressure for me and I’m just going to give it my all tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Makin earned his place in the last 16 after coming through to beat Eain Yow in straight games.
Joel Makin (right) against Eain Yow Ng (left)
Makin retrieved well and controlled the tempo of the match to build up a two game advantage and he made the most of a 7-0 lead in the third to vanquish the former World Junior Champion.
The World No.38 will now play men’s top seed Simon Rösner in the next round and will be joined in the last 16 by Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan who saw off Makin’s compatriot, Peter Creed, by a 3-0 margin in 51 minutes.
Salma Hany (left) plays Millie Tomlinson (right)
Egypt’s Salma Hany is also through after dispatching recently-crowned European Champion Millie Tomlinson in five games.
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt. Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10 (50m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt. Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (38m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt. Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 11-2, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 (53m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt. Peter Creed (WAL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (51m)
Al Tamimi and Waters Reach Last 16
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in action
Qatari World No.28 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi cruised through to round two after overcoming India’s Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu by a 3-0 margin.
Al Tamimi, 23, defeated Sandhu last week at the Asian Games and had won two of their previous three meetings coming into the match.
The Qatari is known for his shot-making skills but they largely took a back-seat today as he put in a mature, controlled performance against his opponent, keeping him in the back of the court and attacking from the front when the opportunity allowed.
Some unforced errors punctuated his game slightly in the third but he was still able to hold Sandhu at arm’s length as he rose to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 triumph in 34 minutes to set up a second round clash with Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.
“I just played him in the team events at the Asian games and had played him a few times before so I just had to keep the pressure on him at the back of the court,” said Al Tamimi.
“It’s not the way I love to play but it was the way to beat him, I had to get the ball deep in the corners and when he took my short I tried to attack him from the front.
“It worked out pretty well in the first two games, I was a bit up and down in the third but I played the big points a bit better than him and that’s what made the difference.
“Nicolas is a top player for sure, he’s been around the top 20 for ages and it’s always fun to play him. I’m looking forward to a fair game with him.”
Scotland’s Alan Clyne follows Al Tamimi into round two after overcoming England’s Ben Coleman 3-0 in an all-British clash, while Coleman’s compatriot Alison Waters earned her place in the next round after beating rising Egyptian talent Hania El Hammamy by the same scoreline.
Waters came back from 2-1 down to beat the World No.20 in five during February’s Windy City Open – their only previous meeting – but this time the Englishwoman built on a comfortable victory in game one to take the win, with a crucial tiebreak victory in the second going the way of the World No.10 as she completed the win without dropping a game.
Alison Waters (left) stares down the ball against Hania El Hammamy (right)
Next up for Waters is a match with World No.5 Camille Serme.
Waters said: “I played Hania in Chicago in February and I won 3-2, so I knew it was going to be a tough match.
“She’s the up and coming girl at the moment, so I came into the match with a good gameplan and wanted to mix the pace up as much as possible and wanted to unsettle her rhythm.
“I managed to do that today and I’m really happy to get a 3-0 win. The second game was a tiebreak so that was a really important one to get because 1-1 is obviously a different game but I’m delighted to get a 3-0 win.
“I’ve had a really good 11-12 week training block and I’ve been trying to work on the fitness but also to bring in some new skills into my game. I managed to play a few today so that was good and it’s a positive start.
“I’ve not played Camille in a while but I’ve had some good battles with her in the past, she’s a very tough competitor and physically strong so I’ll have to play well. If I can play like I did today then I’ll feel positive going into the match tomorrow.”
Joining Waters in the last 16 is Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa, who disposed of Australia’s Donna Lobban in straight games.
“I think this time I was a little bit more relaxed, I knew it was going to be a tough match and I was coming in from the Asian Games,” she said.
I didn’t have high expectations, I think that helped me stick to my plan as much as I could and I’m really glad to get off in three.
“It’s really important [to start the season with a win] because you have all this time off in the summer to work on things and you have to try and execute it as much as possible.”
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (34m)
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 15-13, 11-9 (40m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 (50m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (36m)
English trio Claim Wins
Victoria Lust (right) against Rachael Grinham (left)
English triumvirate Adrian Waller, Tom Richards and Victoria Lust all earned their places in round two after victories of varying difficulty.
Waller came up against the most resistance after the World No.41 was taken to four games by Egypt’s Mohamed Reda.
It took Waller a while to get his game going as a number of errors handed the initiative to his opponent in the opening game and the Egyptian duly accepted as he pushed ahead to an 11-8 victory.
Waller responded over the course of the next two games though as he posted an 11-8 triumph of his own in the second before coming back from 8-4 down to take the third.
And he dropped just four points in the fourth as he closed out the victory to ensure that he will take on 2015 winner Gregory Gaultier in the last 16.
“I’m very pleased to win the match in the end because Mohamed played very well,” Waller said.
“In the first game he was very disciplined and I made a few errors so I changed it around and I made it a bit harder for him in the second game.
“He then came back at me in the third and that was the crucial game because he was up 8-4 I think and I slightly changed my tactics, slowed the game down and just tried to control the ball a bit better.
“It really turned the match on its head. I ran through that game and I think I might even have won it 11-8. That was the big game in the match and I finished the fourth off very strongly.
“I had a good start to the game and that got me over the line which I’m happy about.”
Richards ensured that he too will appear in the next round of the tournament after storming past tournament wildcard Wang Junjie 3-0 in just 17 minutes, while Lust overcame former World Champion Rachael Grinham – in a 29-minute victory.
There was also a victory for Hong Kong’s Joey Chan as the World No.21 recovered from a 2-1 deficit to dispatch US No.1 Olivia Blatchford.
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt. Mohamed Reda (EGY) 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (57m)
Victoria Lust (ENG) bt. Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (29m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt. [WC] Wang Junjie (CHN) 11-1, 11-0, 11-3 (17m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt. Olivia Blatchford (USA) 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 (49m)
Wildcard Li Upsets Kawy
Li Dongjie (left) in action against Omneya Abdel Kawy (right)
Tournament wildcard Li Dongjin claimed the biggest win of her career thus far after surging to a stunning 3-0 upset of Egypt’s former World No.4 Omneya Abdel Kawy to ensure that she will star in front of her home fans at the glass court overlooking Shanghai’s famous Bund.
World No.88 Li has appeared at the China Open since its inception in 2008 and had made it to the second round of the tournament only once, in 2010, over the past decade.
Kawy, meanwhile, was ranked in the top 10 as recently as March 2017 but has appeared at just three tournaments over the past 18 months due to the birth of her son.
And she was powerless to stop Li from racking up a 3-0 victory in 26 minutes, with tie-break wins in the first and third games sandwiching a comfortable 11-7 triumph in the second.
Up next for Li is a stern test against reigning World Champion and 2015 winner Raneem El Welily, with the pair set to clash atop the Peninsula Shanghai tomorrow.
2013 champion Nicol David was also in action today as she got the better of India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik to claim a seventh successive win against the World No.19.
Nicol David (right) against Dipika Pallikal Karthik (left)
“I’m always happy to have a 3-0 win in the first round and against Dipika too,” said David.
“I was pleased with my performance and I’m adjusting to every moment with each game. I’m looking forward to my match tomorrow with Laura.”
Scotland’s Greg Lobban is through after ousting Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in three games, while Germany’s Raphael Kandra and Karim El Hammamy brought the first round proceedings to a close with a marathon 97-minute battle.
Kandra’s last tournament on the PSA Tour saw him stun the squash world to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious British Open but he was put through his paces by a dogged showing from El Hammamy, with the World No.22 eventually coming through to win 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6.
Kandra will take on Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the next round in a repeat of their British Open semi-final fixture.
[WC] Li Dongjin (CHN) bt. Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 12-10 (26m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt. Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6 (97m)
Nicol David (MAS) bt. Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 3-0: 11-3, 14-12, 11-9 (29m)
Greg Lobban (SCO) bt. Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (45m)