Ng Eain Yow and Rachel Arnold provided the shocks to book their places in the last 16 of the British Open squash championships in Hull. However it was end of the road for fighting Sivasangari Subramaniam in the second round.
In the men’s competition, World No.22 Eain Yow produced a masterful display to down the fifth seed Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2 in 71 minutes.
While this was Gawad’s first match at this year’s tournament, Eain Yow had already shown his quality in the first round, where he beat Benjamin Aubert in 30 minutes. The Malaysian took first game 11-7, courtesy of seven unanswered points to go from 5-3 down to 10-5 up.
Gawad, the former world number one, however, responded coolly, taking the second by the same scoreline. With the two looking well matched, it was little surprise they struggled to make a decisive breakthrough and the two traded games, with Eain Yow taking the third 11-5 and Gawad taking the fourth 11-7.
In the final game, however, the Malaysian was impeccable. The 23-year-old showed composure and tenacity, utterly dominating the court to record a 11-2 and progress to the next round.
After the match, Eain Yow said: “I’m feeling really good after that. Going in, I knew I had a chance but in the fourth game after I was leading 4-1 I was having flashbacks [to] last week [in the Manchester Open] against Omar Mosaad when I was 2-0 up and lost the fifth, so after I lost the fourth I told myself to remain calm and I played really well in the fifth game.
I came out firing and I don’t think he expected me to come out as quickly and as focused as that. I really felt a sense of relief at the end because I was playing really well. In the last few months I’ve been playing really well and not getting the wins, so today was a relief to be honest.”
In the women’s competition, Malaysia’s World No.43 Rachel Arnold played an excellent match to beat England’s World No.30 Lucy Turmel 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 in their first PSA meeting.
Things looked worrying for Turmel from the outset, as Rachel outmanoeuvred the 21-year-old and took the first game 11-4. This was followed by two more excellent performances from the 25-year-old, who looked confident, seeing the match through with 11-6 and 11-7 victories.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s the furthest I’ve been in such a big tournament, so I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved so far. Lucy and I are close friends so it was tough playing her. She’s a really good player and has great shots, especially from the back, so I was prepared for that and I think it was a good match,” Rachel said afterwards.
American No.6 seed Amanda Sobhy came back from behind to beat Malaysian World No.36 Sivasangari 9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8.
Both players went into the match with reasons to be confident. Sivasangari had won the only meeting between the two, a 3-2 victory in the 2019 Women’s World Championship, while Sobhy could point to her pedigree in the tournament, having made it to the quarter-finals in 2016.
In a tense first game, it was Sivasangari who was able to keep her nerve, taking it 11-9.
World No.5 Sobhy, however, came back in the the second with a vengeance, annihilating the 22-year-old 11-2 in just six minutes. In the third, Sobhy continued to press, taking it 11-6. Although Subramaniam battled well in the third, Sobhy was able to maintain her advantage, closing out the match with an 11-8 win.
Speaking afterwards, Sobhy said: “I’m happy to have won. I think it was a bit scrappy and she surprised me with how well she backed up her match from yesterday. I thought that maybe she’d come out a little slower out of the blocks, but actually I ended up starting slower. I think having isolated yesterday and not having played on this court until today, I’m happy to have won and come out using my B or C game. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be sharper. I think dropping the first game actually settled me more.”