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Joel Makin (left) in action against James Willstrop (right)

Tournament of Champions RD3: Makin Wins Battle Against Willstrop

World No.12 Joel Makin secured a place in his first J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions quarter final after he overcame 2010 winner James Willstrop in four games in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

Makin claimed a statement win over the higher-ranked Diego Elias in a five-game battle in round two, and the 25-year-old combined accuracy and athleticism to claim an 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10 victory over the experienced Englishman to set up a mouthwatering last eight clash with two-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Makin had the better of the opening two games, but Willstrop’s class eventually came through as he won the third game to halve the deficit, before going 10-6 up in the fourth. However, a tenacious fightback from Makin saw him rattle off six points in a row to finally book his place in the last eight.

“It’s obvious to try and go fast and upset the rhythm of James because you get too worried about exchanging up and down the walls with him,” said Makin.

“But I think if you try to move the ball too quickly then he’s far too good for that. I know I had to really try and straighten up across the backend and try to play squash how I wanted to there and take the middle away from him.

“As he came back in the third game you could see him disrupting me again. He came from match ball down and won that game and he was well up in the fourth, so it was really tough.

“It’s massive [to be in the quarter finals], the win against Diego [Elias] was huge for me and I knew that was going to be hard today. James has been in great form, he beat Gawad in the last tournament and he was coming into this fresh, so I was well aware that was going to be tough even though I’m higher than him ranking wise. I take that as a really good win.”

Joel Makin (WAL) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10 (69m)

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