England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry booked her place in the last 16 of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after she defeated Belgium’s Nele Gilis inside Grand Central Terminal.
Perry missed out on last year’s tournament due to an elbow injury but announced her return in style as she took out Belgium’s Nele Gilis in straight-games under the chandeliers of the Vanderbilt Hall.
A lengthy first game went in favour of Perry after some excellent retrievals from Gilis, which saw her push the Englishwoman all the way to 16-14 in the tie break.
The next two games proved to be more straightforward for the World No.8 as she regained her focus and was able to implement her own style of play to close out a 16-14, 11-7, 11-7 victory.
Next up for Perry is United States’ Sabrina Sobhy after she ousted Perry’s compatriot Victoria Lust at the River Club of New York.
“I think the first game was crucial,” said Perry.
“She put me under a lot of pressure in that first game and I wasn’t quite finding my targets to lengthen out the court. She was moving phenomenally well and picking everything up, I was really happy to win that one and then I think I relaxed a bit, gave myself a bit more freedom after that and played more like how I enjoy playing.
“Everyone knows that she is a good retriever and she volleys across the middle and puts pressure on you, so it’s quite easy to get a bit passive. I felt myself get a little bit passive at times, so I needed to get myself back up the court and be a bit more aggressive with my movement onto the ball.
“It’s one of my favourite tournaments of the year, so I was gutted to miss last year [through injury]. I’ve got fantastic memories here and every year I look forward to making more. It doesn’t feel like two years since I last played here, I feel very at home here.”
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 16-14, 11-7, 11-7 (39m)