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James Willstrop

Canary Wharf Classic: Day Three - Player Reaction

Round two of the Canary Wharf Classic continues today LIVE on SQUASHTV as the seeded players continue to get their campaigns under way.

You can follow all of the reports and reaction from the players here.

Play at the iconic East Wintergarden begins as 18:00 (GMT), when England's James Willstrop takes on Frenchman Gregoire Marche, the tournament’s No.8 seed, and this match will be free to watch LIVE on our Facebook, YouTube and Twitch pages.

They are followed by another Englishman in George Parker, who takes on Peru’s Diego Elias. Also on this evening are Youssef Soliman and New Zealand’s Paul Coll, before British No.1 Joel Makin rounds off the night’s action, against India’s Saurav Ghosal.

You can catch all the action live from the East Wintergarden on SQUASHTV.

You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Order Of Play
(All times local – GMT)

Marche on Song Against Willstrop

Gregoire Marche

France’s World No.13 Gregoire Marche secured his place in the quarter finals of the Canary Wharf Classic after a commanding 2-0 victory over England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop.

The English veteran had rolled back the years in his previous round when he took out Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar – who is 10 years his junior – however, Willstrop was unable to repeat that feat as he came up against an accurate Marche who put in a dominant performance to advance 11-6, 11-4.

Next up for the Frenchman will be either Peru’s Diego Elias or England’s George Parker.

“It’s always a pleasure to play James,” said Marche following his match.

“I have always watched his matches since I was young. It’s always special to be on court with him, he’s done so much for squash, especially in England.

“I’ve been playing well recently and it’s good to get this kind of win. I was a bit worried about the court and conditions yesterday during training as I didn’t feel very comfortable on the court, but today I was really aware of the first few rallies to try and find my length. Then I could be a bit more relaxed in the second and I’m glad I managed to win all the way through and I didn’t give too many cheap points away.

“I was moving well and I was happy with some of the shots, I’m looking forward to playing again tomorrow. I’m going to watch Diego [Elias] and George [Parker] and hope they are going to have a big battle. I lost to Diego last time, so I hope that if I play him I can get my revenge.”

[8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-4 (32m)

Elias Progress to Quarters

Diego Elias

Peru’s World No.5 Diego Elias ensured a safe passage through to the quarter finals of the Canary Wharf Classic after he defeated England’s World No.37 George Parker in straight-games.

The No.4 seed continued his rich vein of form which saw him win his maiden Platinum title at the Qatar Classic last month as he prevailed in a tough first game before comfortably dispatching Parker in the second to storm through at London’s East Wintergarden.

“It’s always fun to play George,” said Elias. “You know what’s going to happen, it can be crazy or normal but it’s always fun. I’m happy with this win and I’m enjoying it.

“I grew up watching James [Willstrop] and Jonathon [Power]. I’ve learned a lot from them and of course, Jonathon has coached me for my whole career. It’s always great having him here, they came to watch last minute.

“Qatar was the biggest win of my career. I enjoyed it a little bit but I knew it was time to work hard again and I’m ready for this tournament. Paul [Coll] is one of my closest friends on Tour and it was great to play in the final and the first final with no Egyptians for years.

“I got to London yesterday and had a good practice this morning. I’ve been in Prague training with Gregory [Gaultier].”

[4] Diego Elias (PER) bt George Parker (ENG) 2-0: 11-8, 11-3 (32m)

Coll Storms Through to Last Eight

Paul Coll

New Zealand’s World No.3 Paul Coll defeated Egypt’s Youssef Soliman 11-6, 11-3 to advance to the last eight of the PSA World Tour Gold event in London.

The No.2 seed got off to a strong start and never looked back as he comfortably settled into his length and rhythm on the all-glass showcourt inside London’s East Wintergarden to axe Soliman in 32 minutes.

Coll will face the winner of Wales’ Joel Makin v India’s Saurav Ghosal in the next round.

“He’s a really solid player, strong around the middle and a very good mover,” said the New Zealander.

“You have to hit more than one good shot to win the point. I was happy with tonight, felt like I could have started sharper with my short shots but found the back of the court which is key to my game and pushed on from there. I’m happy to be back.

“I never left my routine, had my own routine through lockdown and kept it going. The Tour is very busy again now and we’re travelling all over the world again and it’s just great to have a more normal life. We don’t have a bubble here, so we’re not locked in our hotel room and it makes playing squash more enjoyable.

“Winning the British Open was huge for me and huge for my confidence. There was a lot of support from back home and I had my coach Rob Owen there with me. It was a real special moment for me and it’s such a prestigious event, it’s like no other when we win it.

“It was a tough one for me in Qatar. It was a tough one for me, I felt like I had chances but didn’t play the big points well and he had chances and played well. It was physically a really tough match, but I didn’t play the big points well and that’s what you have to do to win the titles and he played those points better than me.”

[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-3 (32m)

Makin Battles Past Ghosal

Joel Makin in action against Saurav Ghosal

Wales’ Joel Makin was forced to dig deep against India’s Saurav Ghosal in the second round of the Canary Wharf Classic as he claimed an 11-9, 11-8 victory in the best-of-three format.

Ghosal came out of the blocks firing to storm into a 9-4 lead in the first, but Makin played patient squash to buy his time and grind his way back into the game, rattling off seven points in succession to take the lead.

That momentum stayed with the Welshman in the second as he looked to have found his rhythm and assert his game plan more but Ghosal kept in it and the two players continued to not give each other an inch before Makin closed out an edgy second game.

He will go up against New Zealand’s Paul Coll for a place in the semi-finals tomorrow.

“I was stuck behind him at the start and he played some good stuff around the middle,” said Makin afterwards.

“I had to get a bit of pace back into the ball and get in front of him and take my chances, I was being a bit negative and you’re well aware of the importance of the start in best-of-three. You just have to find a way in those situations to get back on top.

“Saurav has got that real top end quality, he’s got the skills down the wall, you could see how tight he was hitting it down the backhand and when he has that time on the ball he has those really soft touches. He was really stretching the court out at the start, especially when my quality wasn’t there. You have to get pace into the game because otherwise he is very skilful.

“I’m just enjoying being back playing. We have crowds in now and it’s exciting again. We played for so long without crowds, which was what we had to do but wasn’t what anyone wanted. It’s exciting to be here this week and I’m looking forward to pushing on and going further.

“I did a lot of training with Mohamed [ElShorbagy] going into last season and he’s obviously struggled with a few things and is taking some time off to get himself sharp again. We did a lot of good work together, that wasn’t my best stuff and I feel like I can do better.

“It’s 1-1 with me and Paul this season and they’ve both been best-of-threes. It’s going to be tight, he’s in great form and it’s impressive to break the top Egyptians up. We need variety at the top of the game and hopefully we can all get up there and break it up as it’s more interesting I think.”

[5] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 2-0: 11-9, 11-8 (46m)

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