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Declan James in action against Mohamed Abouelghar

DPD Open - Day Two: As It Happens

Round two action from the DPD Open begins today in Eindhoven, Netherlands as the top seeds enter the draw.

The action begins at 12:00 local time (UTC+2) when England’s Sarah-Jane Perry faces Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham. The last time the two players met was last month at the Texas Open, when Grinham claimed a shock win over the Englishwoman.

They are followed on court by Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar and England’s Declan James in the first men’s match of the day.

World No.1s Ali Farag and Raneem El Welily will also be in action today when they take on England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop and England’s Millie Tomlinson, respectively.

All matches are on the glass court and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and Facebook (excluding Europe and Japan).

You can also follow the live scores from the side courts here.


Perry Battles Past Grinham

England’s World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry overcame Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham to book her place in the last eight of the DPD Open Squash.

The two players met just over one week ago at the Texas Open, where 42-year-old Grinham secured a surprise win over the English No.1. However, Perry made sure to avenge that defeat as she got the better of the experienced Aussie in Eindhoven.

Perry started strongly to take the first game, before Grinham fought back in the second to draw level and put the pressure on the Englishwoman.

The Australian – who secured a good win over America’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne yesterday – utilised her quick movement at the front of the court to cause problems for the tall Perry, but the Englishwoman was able to keep her focus to take the third and go back in front.

From that moment on the momentum was fully with Birmingham-born Perry as she closed out an 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 victory in 35 minutes and will now face either Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb or Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the quarter-finals.

“I thought she played really well again,” said the 28-year-old following her victory.

“You never know where the ball is going and sometimes even when you do it is impossible to get it back because it is just that good. I think I just managed to get a bit more intensity into the game and hit the back corners a bit more compared to last week.

“I’m just pleased to get through that, it was a bit nervy, but Rachael is a quality player and I’m pleased to get the win.

“Physically, I think I’m in decent shape since I came back from surgery, but it’s the mental game I still got to work on. I did work very hard at it, and I think I was getting there, but now, it’s back to square one. I’ll keep working on it, and hopefully, it will be there on Friday. I play well in practice, so I know it’s there.

“It’s a little bit bouncier on court then when I practiced the other day as it’s a bit warmer with a crowd in, but it’s a really nice court. It’s a very different venue, but I really like it, so I’m really looking forward to playing again on Friday.”

[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-1: 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 (35m)

James Secures Huge Win Over Abouelghar

England’s No.1 Declan James produced one of the biggest performances of his career after he downed Egypt’s World No.8 Mohamed Abouelghar in straight-games to reach the quarter-finals.

The two players last faced each other earlier this year at the prestigious PSA World Championships in Chicago, where James took the Egyptian all the way to five-games before Abouelghar closed out to reach the second round.

James looked down and out in the opening stages of the first game as Abouelghar peppered the front wall with his artillery of shots to take a 10-5 lead. However, the tall Englishman soon grew into the game, capitalising on any loose shots that came from the racket of the Egyptian to take the first game on the tie-break.

The nerves appeared to continue to set in for Abouelghar as James took the lead in the second game with the Egyptian making a lot of errors to allow the Englishman to capitalise.

25-year-old James held numerous game balls in the second, but Abouelghar kept fighting back, however, James was able to get a handle on his nerves and close out on the tie-break to double his advantage.

World No.17 James then continued to keep the momentum fully in his favour as he closed out a 14-12, 12-10, 11-6 victory against just his second opponent in the top ten.

“I knew that I was playing well coming into this event,” said Nottingham-born James.

“Me and my coach went back after Grasshopper and worked on a couple of things and it seems to have made a difference quickly which I’m really happy about. I knew I was playing well coming into the match, but I didn’t find my range in the first half of the first game. I was too loose on the backhand side and Mohamed is just lethal any loose ball then he will just punish you.

“In the second half I found my range and that allowed me to get back into the match. Even though I was down in that initial phase, I wasn’t too worried about the scoreboard I just wanted to find my range.

“I held myself together, a couple of nerves towards the end of the second, but I manged to convert. It’s only my second time beating a top ten player so I’m still learning, but I’m proud of myself and just want to do more this week.

“I’ve learned more about myself in the last couple of years and I’ve tried not to let bad losses get me down or exciting moments getting me too excited.

“You put yourself in a position of 2-0 against someone like Mohamed Abouelghar and I just tried to stay level headed and play good squash and make good decisions. The reason why I’m finding some form this week is that I’m making good decisions and keeping level-headed.

“I think I’m good enough to become a top ten player. I work hard off the court and for me the mental side is the important thing, it’s a battle in my mind really and I think that’s the difference for me and if I can get it right there then that’s the key to becoming a top ten player.”

Declan James (ENG) bt [7] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 14-12, 12-10, 11-6 (42m)

Clinical El Tayeb Eases into Quarters

Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb eased her way into the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament after a clinical performance against Belgium’s Nele Gilis.

The Egyptian, who went out in round two at the Black Ball Squash Open last month, did not put a foot wrong as she displayed immaculate squash to claim an 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 win in just 26 minutes.

El Tayeb will now face England’s Sarah-Jane Perry in the last eight.

“We haven’t played in a PSA match before,” said the Egyptian World No.3.

“Funnily enough we played in an exhibition match last week, which I think played a very crucial part because I knew what to expect.

“I was very prepared, I knew that she could run and pick up everything, so I had to be ready for that. Mentally I was prepared for a hard match and I think I played very well and I’m very happy with my performance.

“I practiced on the court last night, I think I’m playing well. I keep telling myself to go for the shots even if they don’t come off, but thankfully they were coming so I just kept going. Hopefully I can play well again the next round.

“Last tournament didn’t go as planned, but I think it was very emotional losing in the final of the World Championships, but not an excuse to go out in the first round at Black Ball. I made sure this time that I was ready and prepared for the first round here. It is a learning experience and I learned a lot from my first round loss at Black Ball and I’m ready not to make the same mistakes any time soon I hope.”

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (26m)

Rösner Dominates Against Hesham

Germany’s World No.4 Simon Rösner secured a berth in the DPD Open Squash quarter-finals after a dominant performance over Egypt’s Mazen Hesham, which saw him claim an 11-5, 11-4, 12-10 victory.

The German didn’t put a foot wrong in the opening two games as he put Hesham, who defeated France’s Mathieu Castagnet yesterday, to the sword to take an early advantage.

Hesham battled back in the third to force proceedings to a tie-break, however, it was too little too late for the Egyptian to rescue the match as Rösner was able to close out in three.

He will now face England’s Declan James in the quarter-finals.

“It’s always difficult against Mazen,” said the 31-year-old German.

“He is such a unique player, you don’t know what you are going to get so you can’t prepare really. Even though I was 2-0 up, I knew that he could come back at any time, so I just tried to be on my toes and I think it was good for my confidence today. I was stepping onto the ball and moving well, which is good news.

“You try to keep it straight and not give him too many angles. I think I read his game quite well today, which I was happy with.

“It’s amazing to have a tournament here, just to see all of those packages running around the belts is quite amazing and it’s a cool new venue. I’ve been playing for about 15 years now on the tour and this is a completely new tournament and set-up, in Europe, which is great. It’s just a bit different from the other tournaments.

“Me and Dec have played a few times. It’s a new day and a new match and anything can happen.”

[4] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 12-10 (34m)

Sobhy Through in Three

United States’ No.1 Amanda Sobhy was in quickfire form to see off England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters and reach the quarter-finals of the DPD Open.

The American, who claimed her biggest PSA title last week at the Texas Open, started the match at a rapid pace, finding her length and accuracy quickly to never allow Waters to settle into any kind of rhythm as Sobhy looked comfortable on the all-glass court inside the brand new DPD Hub.

Sobhy, who defeated Canada’s Danielle Letourneau in round one yesterday, marched towards a two-game lead and never let her momentum falter to comfortably close out the win in straight-games with her accurate hitting to secure a place in the last eight.

“She’s tough,” said 25-year-old Sobhy.

“We haven’t played in a while. I knew what to expect, we’re right there in the rankings, so I saw this as a good opportunity, but she’s a fighter – she’s not been in the top ten for so long for nothing. I was just really pleased with how my length was and that’s kind of the key.

“I prefer the glass court, so knowing I was going to be on here put me a bit more at ease. I think Thierry [Lincou] would be really happy with my length game, we practice that a lot.

“I feel like I’m back at my best, if not stronger. The thing about being out for so long is that you kind of get a clean slate to start over, so whatever weaknesses I had before I was able to turn them into strengths and it’s nice to see it all coming together. It’s taken a while, I’m a bit of an impatient person, but good things take time and it’s nice to see them paying off.”

Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [7] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (24m)

Farag Powers Past Willstrop

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag ensured a safe passage through to the quarter-finals after he defeated England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop in straight-games.

The crowd inside the DPD Hub in Eindhoven were treated to a skill show from both players, but it was the recently crowned World Champion who claimed the win as he marched past Willstrop in 28 minutes.

Willstrop – who prevailed in a tight five-game battle with Australia’s Cameron Pilley – showcased all the silky shots that have seen him earn the nickname ‘The Marksman’, but it was not enough to stop Farag who powered to the finish line and will now face either England's Daryl Selby or Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez in the next round.

“I have the upmost respect for James,” said the 26-year-old Egyptian following his win.

“I grew up watching him, Nick [Matthew], Greg [Gaultier] and Shabana and to be able to share a court with them is always an honour. I’m just happy that I am a few years younger, if I had have come at his peak peak years then I don’t think I would have stood a chance.

“I’m happy I got the win today, he came at me in the first and I guess he is more used to the court, but I’m glad I got that one in my favour because the mentality would have been different otherwise.

“It has been an amazing season, but I don’t want to stop here. There are a few tournaments left and I want to do well in them. This inaugural tournament, everyone is excited to play it and then Gouna next is a huge deal for us Egyptians, then there is the prestigious British Open and the World Tour Finals and I want to play well in those, but first I want to keep progressing at this one.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (28m)

El Welily Survives Against Tomlinson

Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily scrapped through to the quarter-finals of the DPD Open Squash after prevailing in a five-game battle with England’s World No.22 Millie Tomlinson.

The two players had never met before on the PSA Tour, but the 26-year-old Englishwoman pushed the World No.1 all the way as El Welily was forced to call upon her big match experience to dig her out of trouble.

El Welily took the first game, before Tomlinson battled back in the second to really cause problems for the World No.1 and draw level.

The third game proved to be similar with Tomlinson continuously putting El Welily under pressure and making the Egyptian look uncomfortable on court, however, the World No.1 was able to close out to take a slim 2-1 lead.

It didn’t last for long though as World No.22 Tomlinson, who displayed some of her best squash, refused to go away easily, consistently drawing El Welily into a battle and was able to draw level once again to push the match to a tense fifth game.

El Welily ensured she stepped up a gear in the final game and raced into the lead, with the Englishwoman’s resilience faltering as the Egyptian upped her quality to close out the match.

She will now face United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy for a place in the semi-finals.

“She made a point today,” said the 30-year-old Egyptian.

“She was really attacking, everything was going her way and in the nick all the time. It was a very tough match for my first round here but I’m happy to be through and survive the storm.

“I just tried to make sure my ball was hitting the back wall, it was a bit dead at the end as well so I was just trying to manage the conditions. I’m very happy I took the lead in that fifth, she almost came back but I’m happy to finish it in the end.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5 (45m)

Rodriguez Comes Back to See Off Selby

Miguel Rodriguez

Colombia’s World No.7 Miguel Rodriguez booked his place in the quarter-finals after coming back from a game down to beat English veteran Daryl Selby in the final match of the evening.

The pair were facing off for the eighth time on the PSA Tour, with Selby winning five of their previous seven meetings – including a marathon 105-minute battle the last time they played at the 2015 El Gouna International.

Three of those seven matches had gone over the 100 minute mark, so it was no surprise to see the duo engage in some lengthy, attritional rallies as they felt each other out in the early stages.

The pair traded blows throughout the first game, with Selby overturning game balls for Rodriguez on three occasions as he met the Colombian’s shots with some immaculate touches into the front corners.

Rodriguez’s wastefulness soon proved to be his downfall as a composed Selby took the opening game 16-14, but the 33-year-old from Bogota was in his element in the second and third games as the match was more open, allowing both players to show off their skills in a number of exchanges that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an exhibition match.

Rodriguez was quickly able to whittle away Selby’s lead and went 2-1 up after following up an 11-5 victory in the second with an 11-3 triumph in the third.

And he put in a composed performance in the fourth to keep his opponent at bay, closing out a 14-16, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 victory in 62 minutes, which will see him take on World No.1 Ali Farag in the next round.

“I enjoyed it a lot, I was pumped today,” said Rodriguez.

“It's been a long time since I've played with him and we used to play long matches when I started the tour. He's a gentleman on court, and the way we played today was very clean for the viewers and for us.

“I really liked it and I'm happy with my performance. In the first game, he played unbelievably well. He was patient, he was getting everything, and I had to come back stronger in the second.

“I tried to stop myself playing in exhibition mode, but that's Selby's fault! I think we had a little bit of fun in the second and third, but overall I think it was a good performance. I would like to congratulate him because he's still on the tour and he's still a strong guy.

“I'm happy with this win and hope to get a good rest tomorrow ahead of my next match.”

[5] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 14-16, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 (62m)