Day ONE : Wildcards Malliff and Malik advance

The British Open got under way today with 32 first round matches on four courts at the Edgbaston Priory Club. Today’s winners will advance to Round Two, where they may face one of the top sixteen seeds, or if the draw has fallen kindly, another of today’s winners.



Evening Roundup

Wildcard duo Katie Malliff and Curtis Malik both scored big upsets in the evening session.

World No.51 Malliff, defeated World No.25 Rachel Arnold in straight games to book her place in the second round, winning 11-8, 11-5 and 11-7.

“I am really pleased with it! This is the first time to get through to the second round of the British Open so it’s a mini win for me,” Malliff said.

“I am pleased with how I played, I knew I had to play well because anything loose, she can put away really easily. I am pleased to come out 3-0 from that one!

“When I played her [Joelle King] in Hong Kong, the first game was quite close, but then she worked me out quite quickly. She stepped up the court and was volleying more, playing more accurately. I have to be better on my game tomorrow!”

Fellow compatriot and wildcard Malik also notched a 3-0 victory, as he knocked Eain Yow Ng out in the opening round.

“That’s probably the biggest win of my career so far. I thought I put together a really good performance from start to finish against a quality opponent, who is obviously in form as well. Really pleased to get through that match, especially in three games as well,” Malik said.

“I know I have got the ability to do that, but it is just trying to do that for three games. Not just one or two, where you’re losing 3-1 or 3-2, I am not happy with that. To win three games is what you’re training for and that second was crucial. I came back from 8-5 down, played the big wins well and managed to get that two-game lead.

“Really looking forward to that! I don’t even think I have met the guy [Paul Coll] before, so to be on the same court tomorrow.. I am just going to try and show him how well I can play, push him as hard as I can, and I will try and believe I can will again.”

Satomi Watanabe ended hopes for Curtis’ sister, and another one of the tournament’s wildcards, Torrie Malik. Watanabe triumphed 3-1 to tee up a meeting in the next round against Nour El Sherbini tomorrow.

“I’ve known Torrie for a little while now and I know she’s a really good player. I really struggled today until the end – even if I was 2-0 up I knew she was going to come back. I’m really pleased with today’s win and to get through into the second round.

“The preparation for my matches is always the same, but mentally I was always the underdog until really recently or even now then all of a sudden I have to face someone who’s younger than me, she’s an upcoming star and I was really nervous.”

Malik’s fellow English Jasmine Hutton booked her place with a 3-1 victory over Fayrouz Aboelkheir, while Aifa Azman, Leonel Cardenas, Nathan Lake, Emily Whitlock also progressed through the same scoreline.

Elsewhere, Raphael Kandra came from behind to avoid a shock defeat to wildcard Simon Herbert, coming out on top 3-2 against the English youngster.

“Simon’s very talented – you could see that in the first game,” Kandra said afterwards.

“I struggled to find a balance with his shot selections and I expected him to win a few winners. It was up and down and he got the better of it for the first game. I came firing out in the second, which helped a lot, I found a good rhythm but then my shot selection and weird stuff was happening on court and it was crucial in the end.

“Overall I think he has a good future ahead of him if he keeps everything together, he’s a talented boy and we’ll see what he has in the future.”

Meanwhile, Adrian Waller, Greg Lobban, Dimitri Steinmann, Nick Wall, Alexandra Fuller, Hana Ramadan and Sana Ibrahim prevailed to reach the second round.

Afternoon Roundup

The opening day of the British Open saw a whopping 32 matches, with half of those taking place in the afternoon session in Birmingham.

The Edgbaston Priory Club played host to the tournament’s first day, with four courts of exciting action beginning at 12:00.

The biggest surprise of the day saw American Timothy Brownell get the better of World No.25 Sebastien Bonmalais in a four-game battle.

Brownell, ranked 28 places below the Frenchman, was in control of the early exchanges, and he raced into a two-game lead. Bonmalais fought back to win the third, but the American was able to regroup, and he came through in four to set up a clash with World No.8 Mazen Hesham.

“Seb is a phenomenal player, he is one of the fairest players on Tour so it is always good fun to play with him. It’s always going to be a clean game, and always about the squash,” Brownell said.

“I had a lot of nerves in this match. A lot of people think it is easy to play as the underdog when there is no pressure on you, but the way the Tour is, it is so tough at the Challenger 10 level that I really just wanted to make the most of this opportunity.

“In the third game, I obviously tightened up a little, I had to start the fourth well because he can back up physically. I knew it was never over, and I am so happy to get through! What a huge win for me!”

Frenchman Baptiste Masotti was one of three men to win in five games, as he got the better of former World No.1 James Willstrop. It was a match that swung both ways, but in the end, the French No.3 was able to get over the line to move through to the second round.

“When I saw the draw, I knew that it was going to be a nightmare playing James in the first round. I was very glad I didn’t play on the glass court in front of a full house, I was glad it was on a normal court,” Masotti said.

“You need to play good squash to win against him, even with him being older and older. I think he is a legend of the game, growing up watching his matches. His squash is so accurate, he sweats squash. He is squash!

“I was stressed, it was not easy for me to come out of this match. I evacuated all the stress that I had in my body since the draw came out and now I can focus on the rest of the tournament.”

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Tsz Kwan Lau and Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy also won in five, in very differing fashions. There were also victories for England’s Patrick Rooney, Spain’s Iker Pajares, Mexico’s Cesar Salazar and Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini, who all reached the last 32.

In the opening batch of matches, Egypt’s Mariam Metwally went the distance as she got the better of Hong Kong’s Ka Yi Lee. The pair did battle for 50 minutes, with the Egyptian eventually coming through a deciding game tie-break 14-12 to book her second round berth.

“I played Ka Yi in Malaysia and I lost, so today I was just trying to focus as much as I could and it worked well,” Metwally said after her win.

“I’ve been struggling with an injury since Black Ball, so I wasn’t playing my best. Today I was trying to stick to my game plan as much as I could. I was trying not to make it a long match, but I was happy to win.

“In the fifth I was struggling a bit with my ankle. I was trying to stay focussed and I was trying to keep pushing. I’m just happy with the way I managed the match today.”

Hong Kong’s Tomato Ho also won in five in her opening day contest, as she defeated Egypt’s Hana Moataz. The Hongkonger lost the third on a tie-break, but fought back brilliantly, reducing the number of opportunities she was giving the Egyptian, to come back from 2-1 down to win 3-2.

“I feel as though I didn’t play very good today, but I’m still happy to win 3-2 because she’s a tough opponent. I saw her recent result, which was a good result for her, so I’m happy I won 3-2 against her.

“I feel a bit tired now! Hopefully I can get some good recovery and the physio treatment helps and I get a good rest ahead of tomorrow’s match.

“In the fifth game I just forgot about what I’ve done in the previous four games. I just wanted to start afresh in the fifth game and I started pretty good with a 4/5-0 lead and I’m happy I could win it in the end.”

Nada Abbas and Yathreb Adel both added to the Egyptian contingent in the second round, while there were also wins for Frenchwoman Melissa Alves, England’s Lucy Turmel, Canadian No.1 Hollie Naughton and Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam.