Friday, July 12, 2024

British Squash Nationals: ‘Willstrop tactics’ aids ElShorbagy to title defence

England’s Jasmine Hutton and Mohamed ElShorbagy retained their British Nationals Squash Championships titles in differing circumstances against Welsh opponents on Saturday night.

Hutton captured her second Nationals title after her match with two-time winner Evans was cut short due to an injury to the No.2 seed.

After fighting back from two games down to level, Evans pulled up when chasing down a Hutton drop mid-way through the fifth game. Despite treatment from the physio, Evans was unable to continue, handing the title to Hutton.

After the match, Hutton said: “I’m really gutted for Tesni. We were having an absolute battle out there and it’s a horrible way to finish and win an event.

“I wish her a speedy recovery. We have got a really busy season ahead so all the best to her. She is an absolute legend.

“I feel like I really took myself out of my comfort zone and flew over to Florida for a good four weeks [during the summer training block]. There was a lot of fitness, early mornings, every day no matter what and I feel really amazing.”

Meanwhile, men’s top seed ElShorbagy made it two Nationals titles from two Nationals appearances after he got the better of No.2 seed Makin by an 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 scoreline.

The pair were meeting in a repeat of last year’s final – with ElShorbagy winning in straight games on that occasion – with neither player dropping a game coming into today’s title decider.

Makin was appearing in his fourth successive final but couldn’t match ElShorbagy’s accuracy as the 32-year-old successfully defended his title.

“I think the tactic before the match was to try and play [James] Willstrop tactics a little bit, with the ball control and the accuracy,” said ElShorbagy.

“I’m really happy to win the title. It’s such a historic event and I want to show how serious I am about this event and how important it is for me. Being national champion is a big thing for me.

“I think it is such a great step from England Squash to have the Nationals at different events all across the country, and I will hope to be back again next year.”

Results – Men’s Final: 2023 British National Squash Championships

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt [2] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (53m)

Results – Women’s Final: 2023 British National Squash Championships

[5] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt [2] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 5-3 ret. (67m)

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