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Joel Makin (fore) and Tom Richards on court at the National Squash Centre in Manchester

Manchester Open Side Courts: Day 1 Evening Session

The side court action continued into the evening on the opening day of the Manchester Open, as squash returned after it’s six-month hiatus.

There were four matches on the traditional plaster courts, with English hopes in all four, along with the British No.1, Belgian No.1 and a former World No.1.

Here is what happened in the evening session of action.

Turmel Shocks Abbas To Book Second Round Berth

Lucy Turmel (fore) in action against Nada Abbas

England’s Lucy Turmel made the most of playing on home soil to book her spot in the second round of the PSA Silver level Manchester Open.

The first game was very stop-start, and was littered with decisions throughout. Abbas eventually took the lead and had two game balls, but the young Englishwoman saved both in a four-point salvo which saw her win it 12-10.

Her comeback in the second game was even more impressive, as she was both 9-1 and 10-4 down. She saved seven game balls in total, including one in the tie-break, before winning it 13-11. The Ipswich-born Turmel saved another game ball in the third, but the young Egyptian was able to take it to close the gap.

It was the World No.37 that caused the first shock of the tournament, though, winning the fourth game 11-6 to record the victory in 55 minutes, her first over Abbas at the third attempt.

“I was down 9-1 in the second, but I know that I am very fit at the moment thanks to all the training I have done during the lockdown so I trusted myself to stick in and I went 2-0 up,” Turmel admitted.

“I am really happy. It is only the second tournament where I have got through to the second round and I am pleased that the hard work has paid off.”

Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt [13] Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6 (55m)

Makin Fights Past Richards

Joel Makin (left) on court against Tom Richards (right)

After a stop-start match, with decisions and even a slight injury delay, Welsh and British No.1 Joel Makin is through to the second round of the Manchester Open after beating England’s Tom Richards in straight games.

There were plenty of lengthy rallies in the opening exchanges, as both players tried to find their footing and rhythm. Richards saved two game balls late on, but Makin pulled away far enough to get over the line.

There were decisions galore in the second game, with the flow of play slowing down. This suited the World No.10, and he was able to take the second 11-6, before suffering a slight blood injury early in the third game.

He was able to recover, and came out strongly following the five-minute delay, going on to seal the victory in straight games, and setting up another all-English clash on Friday, against Scottish No.1 Greg Lobban.

“Great to get back into it. Although I’ve done a lot before coming and getting a lot of matches in, it’s always different adjusting to tournaments after 6 months off and especially with everything in place here,” the Welshman admitted.

“More stoppages for towel breaks without being able to touch the walls and not the usual preparation so you have to adapt and be on top of your quality of squash while you’re on there.

“It felt good to be back competing it’s what we need now for tournaments to get back even if it’s not ideal without crowds and isolated. Looking forward to getting into another match and on the glass Friday.”

[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (50m)

Gilis Eases Past Wildcard Taylor

Nele Gilis on court in Manchester

World No.16 Nele Gilis has carried on the form she was in prior to the suspension of the Tour, as she safely made her way into the second round of the PSA Silver level tournament, defeating wildcard Lily Taylor in just 27 minutes.

The Belgian No.1, who currently occupies her highest ever position in the World Rankings, restricted the Englishwoman to just 11 points across the entire match, as he used her nouse and experience to move through.

From wildcard to No.1 seed, it couldn’t be trickier for Gilis in the last 16. She will face World No.3, and the tournament’s top seed, Camille Serme on Friday evening.

[10] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt [WC] Lily Taylor (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 (27m)

Willstrop Cruises To First Round Victory

Willstrop in action on court in Manchester

Former World No.1 James Willstrop eased his way into the second round of the Manchester Open after a thumping win over Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam on the traditional plaster courts.

He only allowed the Pakistani No.1 five points throughout the entire clash, which lasted just 23 minutes, as he showed that ‘Marksman’ touch.

Willstrop faces the toughest of tests in the second round in Manchester, as he will do battle with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy on Friday evening.

[14] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 3-0: 11-3, 11-1, 11-1 (23m)

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