Monday, April 15, 2024

Tesni Evans topples Sarah-Jane Perry to reach New Zealand Open semi-finals

By DAVE WORSLEY (Squash Mad Correspondent in Tauranga)

Tesni Evans made it back-to-back wins over Sarah-Jane Perry earlier today as she sent the No.2 seed out of the quarter-finals of the New Zealand Open taking place at Tauranga’s Trustpower Baypark Arena.

Welsh world No.14 Evans is clearly back to form and fitness as she overcame world No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry in the women’s draw sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson.

Evans had beaten Perry over a best-of-three games scoring format at the Grasshopper Cup last month, but hadn’t defeated the Englishwoman over a best-of-five format since May 2019.

However, the 30-year-old, who beat wildcard Kaitlyn Watts in the previous round, produced a superb performance to nullify Perry, running out an 11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5 winner after 59 minutes. She will face Belgium’s Nele Gilis next.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” said Evans afterwards. “It’s going to be very tough, because she’s in very good form. She played great last week and great this week already.

Nele Gilis volleys against Hollie Naughton

“I played her in Nantes in September, so at least I’ve played her pretty recently, but it’s going to be very tough. It’s a completely different game style to today, but I’m well up for it and I’m going to give everything I’ve got for tomorrow.”

Gilis will take on Evans for a place in the final of the PSA World Tour Silver event after she defeated Canada’s Hollie Naughton 11-3, 14-12, 11-7 in 42 minutes.

Gilis, partner of men’s top seed Paul Coll, hopes that her local connections will swing the crowd in her favour.

She revealed: “I’m basically playing in front of my home crowd because Paul’s entire family is here and I love them as much as I do my own.

“It kind of added an extra pressure and I was actually very nervous at the start. It means a lot to me to play in front of them. I spend most of my day with them, just hanging around them, and I feel the love and it really helps my game on court. I just feel so relaxed and happy at the moment with them around.”

Mohamed ElShorbagy shakes hands with Leandro Romiglio after his quarter-final win

In the men’s Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open, World No.4 Mohamed ElShorbagy booked his spot in the last four for a third successive PSA event after he dispatched training partner Leandro Romiglio.

Romiglio, the Argentinian No.1, was coming off the back of a superb win over No.5 seed Saurav Ghosal in the previous round and more than played his part in an entertaining match, which went the way of Englishman by an 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 margin.

ElShorbagy, who often trains with Romiglio when he visits his coach Gregory Gaultier in Prague, said: “It can be a good thing or a bad thing (playing a training partner] because a lot of the players, when you play them for the first time on tour, I would have enough experience to know how to play them because of the stage, but it’s the first time he’s on a really big stage on the PSA World Tour.

“I’m super happy for him. He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve met and I’m really happy to see him having a big win and playing on that big stage. Hopefully that’ll inspire more Argentinian players to come through the rankings at some point. He’s leading the way for them right now.”

Victor Crouin faces Mohamed ElShorbagy in the semi-finals

ElShorbagy will lock horns with World No.10 Victor Crouin in the next round in what will be a repeat of the Qatar Classic final, which ElShorbagy won to take the first Platinum title of the season.

Crouin went up against USA’s Andrew Douglas in his semi-final tie and, while he took the first two games in comfortable style, he was up against it in the third as some attacking play from Douglas saw him break the Frenchman’s rhythm.

However, Crouin was able to recover to wrap up an 11-2, 11-7, 13-11 victory to reach his fifth semi-final of the season.

“I’m very happy, though it’s quite late, I’m usually already in bed by 9pm,” said Crouin.

“I’m going to go back and get a good night’s sleep, then tomorrow I will do some video analysis.”

Looking ahead to playing ElShorbagy, he added: “We have played a few times, but I’ve watched him thousands of times on SQUASHTV. I need to remind myself of my strengths instead of playing on his weaknesses because he doesn’t have many of them.”

The semi-finals of the New Zealand Open take place tomorrow (November 12). Play begins at 18:00 local time (GMT+13) and all of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.

New Zealand Open, Trustpower Baypark Arena, Tauranga:

2022 Robertson Lodges Men’s New Zealand Open
Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half):
[3] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Andrew Douglas (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 13-11 (36m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Leandro Romiglio (ARG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (29m)

Semi-Finals (November 12):
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[4] Victor Crouin (FRA) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)

2022 Barfoot & Thompson Women’s New Zealand Open
Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half):
[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt [7] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0: 11-3, 14-12, 11-7 (42m)
[6] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5 (59m)

Semi-Finals (November 12):
[1] Joelle King (NZL) v [5] Tinne Gilis (BEL)
[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) v [6] Tesni Evans (WAL)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour 


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