Monday, June 24, 2024

British Open Squash 2024: Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng reaches last eight in thriller

The British Open reaches the last eight stage with a Malaysian whose name isn’t Nicol David still in the draw at this stage for the first time in 15 years.

World No.15 Eain Yow Ng, in the men’s draw, staged a remarkable comeback to book his place in the quarter-finals of a platinum event for the first time in three years.

Elsewhere, Gina Kennedy joined Joel Makin as the only two home hopes left after Mohamed ElShorbagy was forced to pull out through illness and brother Marwan surrendered meekly to in-form Mostafa Asal.

First, to Yow. It was all Gawad in the opening exchanges as the Egyptian powered into a 2-0 lead, displaying the incredible racket skills that have taken him to World No.1 and World Championship glory in the past.

Eain Yow rose to the occasion though and made the rallies more physical to sap Gawad’s energy. The 26-year-old stormed back to take the next three games without reply, earning him a spot in the last eight – the first Malaysian to do since Mohd Azlan Iskander in 2009. He will play two-time British Open champion Paul Coll in the next round.

“I think it has been three years since I reached the quarter-finals of a Platinum event, so it has been a while coming,” Eain Yow said afterwards.

“I have had some missed opportunities over the years, so today was really all about enjoying the crowd and the theatre. It’s one of the best tournaments and one of the best crowds. We’ve had such a good turnout every day and I think that helped a lot at 2-0 down. My dad, my coach and my team are all here, so it’s amazing. 

“To be honest, I feel that neither of us played our best squash today. At 2-0 down, I was just kicking myself and saying that I couldn’t go down like this in that way. There have been matches this season where I have let the match go when at 2-0 down. I was just telling myself that it is probably my last match of the season and to keep on fighting all the way to the end.”

Three-time British Open champion Mohamed ElShorbagy saw his title challenge come to an end after he pulled out of his third round match with Timothy Brownell due to illness. That means Brownell will become the first man from the United States to line up in the last eight of the British Open when he takes to the court against Asal on Friday.

ElShorbagy’s fellow English player – women’s World No.5 Kennedy – did book her place in the last eight on home soil, beating Egypt’s World No.16 Fayrouz Aboelkheir by an 11-8, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6 scoreline.

Kennedy came out of the blocks quickly to take a two-game lead, but squandered five match balls in the third as Aboelkheir came back into the encounter. A fast start to the fourth laid the foundations for Kennedy to complete her win and she will take on World Champion Nouran Gohar next as she bids to reach the last four of the British Open for the first time.

Kennedy said:  “I absolutely love playing in Birmingham. It’s so good to play in front of a home crowd, and I obviously have amazing memories here because of the Commonwealth Games [where Kennedy won a gold medal].

“I’m just really grateful that I get to play another match here. I got a lead and then she got me edgy. I tried to start winning the point too early, and again in the fourth, I needed a bit of a kick in between games. 

“It was really difficult against Fayrouz, she covers that middle really well. You kind of doubt what shot to play because she edges across a little and then back, so it was difficult.”

Results – Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half): 2024 British Open

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (40m)

Timothy Brownell (USA) bt [7] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) w/o

Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 6-11, 3-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (75m)

[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-2 (39m)

Draw – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played June 6th

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY)

Joel Makin (WAL) v [3] Diego Elias (PER)

Draw – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played June 7th

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Timothy Brownell (USA)

Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [2] Paul Coll (NZL)

Results – Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half): 2024 British Open

[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Tomato Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-1 (22m)

[6] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6 (49m)

[7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (29m)

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-1, 11-8 (38m)

Draw – Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played June 6th

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [8] Olivia Weaver (USA)

[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Salma Hany (EGY)

Draw – Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played June 7th

[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [6] Georgina Kennedy (ENG)

[7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)

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