Day TWO : Round TWO at the NSC

The 2022 Malaysian Open continued   at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil with sixteen second round matches in the PSA Gold draws. Matches again take place across three courts – eight on the Glass Court and four each on courts 2 and 4 – with yesterday’s winners all up against one of the top eight seeds.

Malaysian Open 2022 - Day TWO, Round TWO

Men’s Round Two
[1] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Yahya Elnawasany (Egy)  6-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-1 (34m)
Addeen Idrakie (Mas) 3-2 [7] Raphael Kandra (Ger)  4-11, 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8 (66m)
[6] Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-2 Moustafa El Sirty (Egy)  8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7 (62m)
[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1 Ramit Tandon (Ind)  6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (44m)

[3] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-0 Faraz Khan (Usa)  11-1, 11-5, 11-6 (29m)
[8] Patrick Rooney (Eng) 3-2 Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)  7-11, 15-17, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (85m)
[5] Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-2 Shahjahan Khan (Usa)  11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9 (88m)
[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-2 Eain Yow Ng (Mas)  11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (69m)

Women’s Round Two
[1] Olivia Fiechter (Usa) 3-0 Julianne Courtice (ENG)  11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (24m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 [7] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)  11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 (40m)
[6] Melissa Alves (Fra) 3-0 Chan Yiwen (MAS)  12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (29m)
[3] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 Ineta Mackevica (LAT)  11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)

[4] Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-2 Nour Aboulmakarim (Egy)  11-6, 11-3, 11-13, 10-12, 11-7 (64m)
[8] Rachel Arnold (Mas) 3-1 Grace Gear (Eng)  10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (38m)
[5] Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-0 Ainaa Amani (Mas)  11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (21m)
[2] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-0 Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy)  11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (33m)

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Reports and Reaction

It’s Addeen Again

Addeen Idrakie (Mas) 3-2 [7] Raphael Kandra (Ger)  4-11, 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8 (66m)

Two five game upsets in five days, and local favourite Addeen Idrakie is into the quarter-finals !

Following up yesterday’s win over Omar Mosaad, Idrakie took on Germany’s seventh seed Raphael Kandra.  The first four games were shared, and by the time the decider started the stands were packed and the noise whenever Addeen won a point, deafening.

Slowly but surely the crowd favourite moved ahead, raising his fist to rapturous applause on every point won, From 10-6 Kandra fought back to save two match balls, but on the third Idrakie worked the rally to create a winning position and as he put the ball away the place erupted.

“I think this was my best squash. I knew that I had no pressure today and that the crowd were really supporting me and I pushed myself one point by one. I’m not sure why I’m playing so well at the moment but the crowd really helps me a lot.

“In yesterday’s match I caused an upset and my coach told me that they believed in me and I can pull off another upset.”

Fiechter in top form

[1] Olivia Fiechter (Usa) 3-0 Julianne Courtice (ENG)  11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (24m)

Women’s top seed Olivia Fiechter wasted no time in her second round encounter with England’s Julianne Courtice, winning in just 24 minutes to advance to the quarter finals.

Fiechter found a good length in her first outing on the all-glass court immediately and managed to assert herself in front of her opponent and dictate the pace of the game. The USA No.2 was able to fire the ball in short at will from the middle of the court which was causing the movement of Courtice many problems.

The Englishwoman tried her best to get into the match and showcase her quality short game but Fiechter’s accuracy was simply too good. The World No.11 seemed to hit every corner and constantly push Courtice into all areas of the court. After just 24 minutes, Fiechter was in the quarter finals, winning 11-3, 11-4, 11-3.

“I was really happy with that performance,” said Fiechter. “I was in Singapore last week and I wasn’t totally happy with my match so I really wanted to make a point of coming out here today and playing really positive squash and enjoying and expressing myself. Julianne is a really quality opponent and I think she beat me the last time we played, so I had extra incentive to come out here and really deliver and execute my game plan.

“I think the key for me today was being physical,laying my game, and enjoying my time out here. It’s my first time competing in Malaysia, and I’m going to try and do the same tomorrow.”

Marwan makes the last eight

[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1 Ramit Tandon (Ind)  6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (44m)

In-form Marwan ElShorbagy opened up his  campaign with a business like win over India’s Ramit Tandon. The Indian possesses great touch and skills at the front of the court and used these to full effect in the opening game, catching ElShorbagy slightly cold and capitalising on the slow start from the World No.6 to take game one 11-6.

ElShorbagy got himself moving in the second game and started to give Tandon less time on the ball to hit his shots to the from that were bringing him so much joy in game one. ElShorbagy dominated himself across the middle of the court and pinned the Indian behind him, giving him the freedom to attack the front of the court. The No.4 seed took the second and third games 11-6 to lead 2-1.

More of the same followed in the fourth game as ElShorbagy continued to dominate the ‘T’ and frustrate Tandon. ElShorbagy was able to mop up loose attacks from Tandon and always stay in control of the pace. Despite Tandon winning some cheap, quick points, it wasn’t enough to stop ‘The Jackel’ advancing to another quarter final.

“I’m very pleased to win against a tough opponent, Ramit is such a tricky player as you could see from the first game, he started very well and he was very fast and I didn’t know where the ball was going. He’s really good with the racket, very skilful, I was still sharp and telling myself to be sharp. I started better in the second, the match started to go my way, the fourth was crucial because he was coming back but I’m happy with my performance overall and happy to be in the quarter finals.

“I’m happy to be in Malaysia, this is my first time, the people are so friendly and the tournament organiser has done a great job to put this event on. I’ve always wanted to come here and participate in this tournament and everybody is so welcoming to all the players and I’m really happy to be here and just looking forward to the quarter finals tomorrow.”

First seed falls as Adel advances

Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 [7] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)  11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 (40m)

Egypt’s Yathreb Adel produced a great result, beating seventh seed Alexandra Fuller to move into the quarter finals.  Adel got off to a strong start in the match, using a good hold to stop the movement of Fuller and not allow her to get into any kind of rhythm in the game. After losing the first game 11-7, Fuller started to find her length in the following game and was able to step up the court and inflict her own pressure on the game. She equalised, winning the game 11-6.

The following two games were scattered with decisions and short, sharp rallies. Adel was able to secure both games 11-9 by digging deep to continuously chase balls down and put pressure on the South African. Adel found a consistent length which was being rewarded with outright winners as well as finding clinical winners at the front of the court.

“I’m very happy to be through, I knew Alex would be a tough opponent, she’s very talented too so I had to focus from start to finish so I’m just very happy to be through.

“I’m trying not to remember last year because I came and lost in the first round and it wasn’t the best result but its all part of the learning process and I’m just very happy to be through and hopefully this one is going to be one to remember.”

Rooney and Rodriguez win epic encounters

[8] Patrick Rooney (Eng) 3-2 Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)  7-11, 15-17, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (85m)
[5] Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-2 Shahjahan Khan (Usa)  11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9 (88m)

England’s eighth seed Patrick Rooney completed a spectacular fightback as he came from two games down to beat Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini 3-2.

With just six places separating World No.23 Rooney and World No.29 ElSherbini, this match always had the potential to be a tense affair, and so it proved as the match went the distance. ElSherbini deservedly took the lead with an 11-7 win in the opening game, before being forced into a long second game by an improving Rooney.

Despite his improvement, Rooney was left in a perilous position when El Sherbini edged the second game 17-15. The Englishman responded well to pull a game back with an 11-9 win in the third before levelling the tie with an 11-4 win in the fourth.

ElSherbini looked to slow the tempo of the fifth game to disrupt the Englishman’s momentum, but was unable to hold off the comeback, with Rooney clinching the match in 85 minutes with an 11-8 victory, to ElSherbini’s fury.

“I kept my head quite well, I had to be calm to win. In the first two games, he was getting the better of me, squash-wise, so in the second I tried to make it as tough as possible. It was tight towards the end of the second game and I was thinking that even if I lost it, he might be tired. He looked a bit shaky so then it was about keeping my head as he started disrupting play, getting the court wiped and arguing with the referee.

“He was fully focused, his tactic was to disrupt me and try to get into my head and it was up to me to keep calm and block that out. It would have been easy to have become frustrated with the amount of times he was stopping. It was a good tactic from him.

“I don’t usually come through stuff like that and I’m very happy to have come through it today.”

Rodriguez, too, came through a brutal affair against US No.1 Shahjahan Khan. No.5 seed Rodriguez made a strong start to take the first game 11-9, only to fall behind when Khan took the second 13-11 and 11-8.

The Colombian, though, was able to dig deep in an intense finale as he reclaimed the lead with an 11-4 win in the fourth and then sealed the match with an 11-9 in the decisive game.

Shahin survives in five

[4] Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-2 Nour Aboulmakarim (Egy)  11-6, 11-3, 11-13, 10-12, 11-7 (64m)

Egypt’s fourth seed Nadine Shahin came through a tense encounter with compatriot Nour Aboulmakarim to reach the next round, while France’ssixth seed Melissa Alves earned a quick win against Malaysia’s Chan Yiwen.

Shahin had looked comfortable when 2-0 up, only for a rally from Aboulmakarim to take the match into a fifth game. The World No.23 was able to regain her composure, though, to take the match with an 11-7 victory.

“That’s my first time playing her and it’s always so tough playing the young Egyptians. We know it’s so tough and everyone’s afraid of the young Egyptians now. They’re hungry and have nothing to lose and they play like that, they play their best squash.

“I was a bit tense from the beginning, even when I was 2-0 up. I was tense and worried, but I’m happy that I won that. Even though she made a little comeback, I’m happy I stopped the comeback!”

Gilis hungry for more success

[2] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-0 Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy)  11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (33m)

In the first match of the day, a confident performance from Belgium’s Nele Gilis was enough to overcome 16-year-old Egyptian Fayrouz Aboelkheir. Second seed Gilis made a rapid start to the match, finding her length instantly and taking the ball in short well as she took 1-0 lead with an 11-4 win.

Aboelkheir pushed Gilis harder in the second game, but was unable to prevent the Belgian taking a 2-0 lead with an 11-8 win, before the World No.14 ended the match with a composed 11-6 victory in the third game.

“There’s always some nerves involved in your first match of a tournament and I’m very happy to get a win in three against an up and coming player. I’m loving it here a lot so far – I’m loving the food so I’m hoping to go deep into the tournament!

“I was trying not to boast too much because she’s fast and got me with the counter drop. There’s always areas you can improve. With each round you feel better and more comfortable on the court. I’m sure I’ll play better tomorrow.”

Defending champ Aifa through in three

[5] Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-0 Ainaa Amani (Mas)  11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (21m)

In the opening matches of courts two and four, defending champion and fifth seed Aifa Azman overcame Malaysian compatriot Ainaa Amani, while third seed Tesni Evans beat Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica.

Last year Azman produced a number of surprises as she won the Malaysian Open as a wildcard. Now an established player on the tour, the 20-year-old showed no signs of nerves as she beat Amani in straight games to set up a quarter-final match with No.2 seed Nele Gilis.

Evans, too, was able to record a 3-0 victory, with the Wales No.1 seeing off Mackevica in 25 minutes.

“I don’t feel any pressure on me because there are better players here, like Olivia [Fiechter] and Nele Gilis. I don’t feel pressure and I just came here to play every match with a gameplan and win one match at a time.

“They’re both very good players. I’ve seen Nele improve a lot. I’ve seen her change her game, from long rallies and running but now she’s really improved as a shot player. I’ve never played Nele before, I’m looking forward to this match to improve myself.”

Hesham KO’s Khan

[3] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-0 Faraz Khan (Usa)  11-1, 11-5, 11-6 (29m)

Mazen Hesham put in a formidable display in his first match of the Malaysian Open as he comfortably saw off the USA’s Faraz Khan in straight games.

No.3 seed Hesham was devastating in the opening game, with the World No.9 playing with his usual flair as he blew World No.50 Khan away 11-1. To his credit, Khan battled back well in the second game and was good value for 5-5, before Hesham pulled away to an 11-5 win before ending the match with an 11-6 victory in the third.

 “I think I played well. It’s the start of the tournament and I just came from Singapore, I think did the right tactics today and played my game the way I wanted. I’m happy with the way I played the match.

“I’m happy with the way I attacked today and hopefully I can keep them all above the tin in the next few matches!”

Arnold comes from behind to beat Gear

[8] Rachel Arnold (Mas) 3-1 Grace Gear (Eng)  10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (38m)

Malaysia’s No.8 seed Rachel Arnold recovered from a challenging start to beat England’s Grace Gear. The two have met twice already this year, with Gear winning their first meeting, at the Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open, 3-1, with Arnold winning the most recent match, at the U.S. Open, 3-0.

In the opening game, Gear was able to beat Arnold’s defences as she took a hard-fought 12-10 win, before the Malaysian settled into a good rhythm. After levelling with a nervy 12-10 victory, the Malaysian went on the attack and completed the comeback with an 11-7 win in game three and an 11-9 in game four.

“I think it was a bit nervy from me. We’ve played each other a few times this year already and it’s usually close. I think that’s a good start with a second round win,” Arnold said.

“I feel great, last year I didn’t do too well, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Stubborn Makin Survives Yow Test

[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-2 Eain Yow Ng (Mas)  11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (69m)

Wales’ second  seed Joel Makin had to battle extremely hard to overcome in-form Malaysian No.1 Eain Yow Ng to reach the quarter finals.  Two solid opening games were shared between the two players as they looked to find their rhythm on the all-glass court. Yow managed to sneak ahead at 6-4 in the third game and held a two point advantage throughout the gamed was able to take a massive 2-1 lead.

The Malaysian started the fourth game in great form, helped by errors from Makin and his own outright winners, Yow lead 5-1 and looked certain to be claiming another scalp on the PSA World Tour. But, in typical Joel Makin style, the stubborn Welshman battled back and started to make life uncomfortable for Yow. Makin straightened up his play and forced the Malaysian into several errors to run through from 7-3 down to 9-7 up. He eventually took the game 11-9 to set up a fifth and final game.

The work done in the fourth game seemed to have taken its toll on the home favourite as Makin went from strength to strength in the fifth game, using the momentum to carry him through more tough rallies. Makin set himself up with five match balls and converted to win 11-5 and set up a quarter final clash with Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez.

“Again, we’ve played so many times, it’s always so hard. He had a big advantage today, I was up against it there, he was putting the pressure on, he’s just paying so much better through the middle now, he’s playing a good level and I was well aware of that. Him playing at home is a tough match-up for me and I was nearly down and out in that fourth but managed to find a way.

“It was all mental, he did a little shut out at 7-2 and that really got things moving in my body and then I just had to get the ball through, get back across the middle and play at a bit more pace.”