Day SIX : Quarter-Finals Complete

Day Six of the British Open in Birmingham featured four quarter-finals from the bottom half of the draws this evening at The Rep Theatre.

All the matches went to seeding, and all finished in straight games, as Hania El Hammamy, Paul Coll, Nouran Gohar and Mostafa Asal advanced to the semi-finals. The crowd really got involved in the final two matches, getting behind England’s Gina Kennedy and USA’s Timmy Brownell.

Check out the match reports and reaction below the results ..

British Open 2024 : Fri 7th Jun, Day SIX, QUARTER-FINALS (bottom)

Women’s Quarter-Finals (bottom) :
[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 [7] Tinne Gilis (Bel)   11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (39m)
[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [6] Gina Kennedy (Eng)   11-8, 11-1, 11-4 (28m)

Men’s Quarter-Finals (bottom) :
[2] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 [9/16] Eain Yow Ng (Mas)   11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (28m)
[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 Timothy Brownell (Usa)   11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (40m)


Reports and Reaction

Asal ends Brownell run in entertaining ending

[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 Timothy Brownell (Usa) 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (40m)

World No.4 Mostafa Asal continued his faultless progress through the men’s draw with an entertaining three-game victory over Timothy Brownell in front of a fervent crowd in The Rep Theatre.

Asal, who is yet to drop a game at this year’s event following prior victories over Karim El Hammamy and Marwan ElShorbagy, defeated the American No.1 by an 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 scoreline to set up a box office semi-final encounter against Paul Coll.

Despite having never played Brownell on the PSA World Tour ahead of the match today, Asal started at a furious pace, matching his explosive hitting with some exquisite touch in the front two corners.

Brownell, who wore heavy strapping on his left knee throughout the encounter, struggled to match the hitting power of Asal in the first game, falling a game behind after 12 minutes.

The second game proved a far closer affair, with Brownell buoyed on by a home crowd who seemingly accepted the 26-year-old as one of their own. The left-hander displayed some expressive racket work to come from 7-4 down to 9-9, but unfortunately couldn’t draw level, with Asal hitting a screaming winner to double his advantage in the match.

The pair continued to open up the court and trade winners with regularity, but it was Asal who always held a significant buffer as the third game progressed. ‘The Raging Bull’ moved to match ball after 40 minutes and capped off his impressive victory with a thumping forehand drive.

“The crowd, it was like I was playing America! But it was fun today and Timmy is a really great player, and I’m really pleased to see players around my age doing really well. He’s a unique and talented player. He is super hard to play against, so all credit to him.

“I’m really happy to be performing like this right now, no issues, no bans or anything. Last year I didn’t get to play at the British Open, it’s an amazing crowd, so thank you to everyone. I’m consistent now, winning titles at Black Ball and in Florida – I didn’t get my hands on the trophy at the World Championships, but it’s about trusting the process.

“Lots of changes have happened this year, and hopefully, next season is going to be even better.”

On his upcoming semi-final against Paul Coll, he added: “It’s going to be an amazing night tomorrow. Hopefully, it’s not going to be as late as it was in Egypt, so I’m looking forward to it for sure.”


Gohar ends home hopes as World Champ despatches Kennedy

[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [6] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 11-8, 11-1, 11-4 (28m)

World No.2 Nouran Gohar sent out a statement of intent to the rest of the women’s draw after powering past England No.1 Georgina Kennedy in straight games at The Rep Theatre.

Gohar defied a partisan home crowd in Birmingham with some punishing, but equally controlled squash, to seal a 11-8, 11-1, 11-4 victory in 28 minutes and end hopes of a home winner in the women's draw.

The current World Champion held an immaculate head-to-head record coming into the encounter, having never dropped a single game to Kennedy from their six meetings, and continued this hot streak to set up a tantalising semi-final bout against long-term rival Hania El Hammamy.

The opening game proved to be Kennedy’s one big chance to land a knockout blow on her opponent, with the Englishwoman coming from 6-2 down to move 8-7 up with some smart volleying down both wings. However, ‘The Terminator’ kept her cool in the pressure moments of the opener, reeling off four straight points to move a game up.

From there, it was largely one-way traffic for Gohar, putting Kennedy under huge amounts of pressure at the back of the court before using her deception on the backhand side to cut the ball in short. Gohar raced through the second game in a flash before bringing up match ball in just under half an hour of play. At the first time of asking, the Egyptian sealed victory, continuing her quest for a fourth straight title on the PSA World Tour.

 “First of all, I love Gina as a player, as a person and as a personality, and I’m sure she is going achieve even more in the game. We have known each other since we were very young, and its amazing to be competing against someone like her. I knew that she also had great memories here, having won the Commonwealth Games here, which is a very big deal. I knew the crowd was going to be behind her.

“It’s very enjoyable to always come back and play here. The British Open is obviously always at the top of my list to come and play here. I love being here and I feel very comfortable here.

“I think winning the World Championships definitely takes the pressure off. I think I have been close on a couple of occasions, but this year, winning it, it was pure happiness and also relieve. I think now I can relax more on court.

On her upcoming semi-final against Hania El Hammamy, she added: “It’s another huge semi-final of another big event, so obviously I’m going to play a great player. We’re on a theatre so it’s going to be a show, hopefully a good one. I’m really looking forward to a good match, and hopefully the crowd will enjoy it.”

Coll powers past Ng

[2] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 [9/16] Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (28m)

New Zealand’s Paul Coll is one win away from a third British Open final after he defeated Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng in straight games following a masterclass at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.

World No.2 Coll – who won the British Open in 2021 and 2022 – dominated the centre of the court and Eain Yow wasn’t able to adjust as Coll got on the volley and punished his opponent.

Eain Yow produced a superb comeback to beat former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the previous round, but Coll was ruthless tonight and dictated the tempo of the match to ensure there would be no threat of a repeat.

The Kiwi completed an 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 victory in just 28 minutes to set up a mouthwatering last four clash with either World No.4 Mostafa Asal or USA’s Timothy Brownell.

“I thought more than anything he might be emotionally flat given it was a big comeback and a big win for him [against Gawad],” said Coll.

“I wanted to get myself going and wanted to play at a pace that he was uncomfortable with. I haven’t done that so far in the first two rounds, and now we’re in the quarter-finals it’s time to step up.

“I’ve got some of my family over from New Zealand and I’ve got my best mate, my coach and my fiancé watching me. I’m going to enjoy this week, they give me a lot of energy and I felt that out there tonight. I felt pumped up and I wanted to do them proud.

“Dame Susan [Devoy, an eight-time British Open champion] has come over from New Zealand and that’s amazing too. I want to give them something to cheer about and make it noisy in here.”

“The crowd here is awesome. It’s a very knowledgeable crowd and they’re appreciative of good squash. That’s the why I like squash to be played, so I always love playing in England, they’re one of the best crowds we play in front of.”

Hammamy beats Gilis in three

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 [7] Tinne Gilis (Bel) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (39m)

World No.3 Hania El Hammamy booked her spot in the semi-finals of the British Open after defeating World No.8 Tinne Gilis in a clinical three-game performance.

El Hammamy, the 2022 British Open champion, delivered a tactical masterclass to negate the attacking weapons of Gilis and advance by an 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 scoreline.

The head-to-head record was heavily in El Hammamy’s favour entering the encounter, having won all nine of their prior meetings on the PSA World Tour, and the Egyptian played with the confidence of a title contender on the all-glass court at The Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Gilis, who is renowned for her attacking prowess on the backhand volley drop, was starved of her favourite shot throughout the 39-minute match, with El Hammamy lifting smartly onto the forehand wing of her opponent whenever dragged into the front two corners.

After falling two games down, the Belgian No.2 began to find her feet, pushing herself up the court and keeping pace to 5-5. Another mini-resurgence followed from the Belgian, taking four straight points with some aggressive squash to draw parity from 9-5 down. However, a comeback wasn’t to be, with El Hammamy keeping her cool to advance to her fourth semi-final at the British Open.

After the match, El Hammamy said: "I can't take anything for granted against her. We've played so many times, and even though she hasn't got a win against me yet, it is always a tough match. To be honest, in the last game, I felt like I was enjoying myself lots, I was 9-5 up and I started to run too much and enjoy it too much. I had to be very careful with that.

“Every time I lost a couple of points I looked up into the crowd and just tried to enjoy myself on court, and I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-final against on this court.”

On her relationship with coach Laura Massaro, she added: “It’s the first time for me to be working with a woman and I never knew how important it was until I tried. She’s been understanding me really well with everything that has been going on both on and off the court, so it’s been a bonus for me.”

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