12:43 pm
14 Dec 2018

Former World No.1s Numbed As Tomlinson & Adel Prevail In Hong Kong

21 Nov 2018

A pair of sensational upsets graced the courts at the Hong Kong Squash Centre where England's Millie Tomlinson and Egypt's Yathreb Adel ousted former world number ones Nicol David and Laura Massaro, respectively, on day three of the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open, the PSA World Tour Platinum event celebrating its 33rd edition since 1985.

David, the eight-time World Champion from Malaysia and 11-time winner of this event between 2005-2015 - unbeaten in Hong Kong over 50 matches in the process - fell victim to an inspired performance from world No.26 Tomlinson. The 26-year-old from Derbyshire came back from an 11-0 defeat in the second game to claim arguably the biggest win of her career.

"I'm really happy and it's probably my biggest win," said 26-year-old Tomlinson after her 12-10, 0-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 triumph.

"It's the first time I've won in the second round as well so it's a really good feeling. I had nothing to lose, she is such a legend and is so used to this court.

"It always helps being the underdog because you can just go out there and enjoy it, there is no pressure on my shoulders."

Tomlinson will contest her round three match against France's Camille Serme after the world No.4 dispatched former world No.1 Rachael Grinham, the 2002 champion, 3/0 in just 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, Adel will clash with world No.19 Joey Chan - the last remaining female Hong Kong player in the women's draw - after inflicting a surprise defeat on 2015 runner-up Massaro.

The English player looked off the pace as Adel played a measured game to build up a 2/0 lead. There was a resurgence from the world No.5 in the third as 35-year-old Massaro came back to close the gap. But it proved to be in vain as Adel stepped up and dropped just three points in the fourth game to seal a huge victory for the 22-year-old world No.24 from Cairo.

"I had to focus from the first game to the last," Adel said.

"I had to keep it tight all the time and had to go for my shots when I had the opportunity.

I'm very glad to be through and hopefully it can be another day, another match and I can take it forward."

World Champion Raneem El Welily got her tournament underway with a win against World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby and will take on Victoria Lust in the next round after the 13th seed from England defeated Canada's Hollie Naughton by a 3/1 margin.

World No.8 Nouran Gohar and world No.11 Alison Waters will also go head-to-head for a place in the quarter-finals after they overcame England's Emily Whitlock and Canada's Danielle Letourneau, respectively.

Spectators will also have a local player to cheer on in the men's draw as world No.25 Yip Tsz Fung claimed victory over England's George Parker in five games to book his place in the third round of the tournament for the first time.

The two players met earlier this season at the US Open, where Parker prevailed in five games. However, buoyed by his home crowd, Yip triumphed to progress to a third round clash with former world No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad.

"It's always a nice feeling to play in front of your home crowd," said Yip.

"They are very supportive and that gave me an extra boost. I hope to play to my capabilities and perform the way I have practiced [in the next round]."

The men's Hong Kong No.1 Max Lee came within a whisker of joining his compatriots in round three but fell in five games to world No.7 Miguel Angel Rodriguez after a gripping 79-minute battle.

The pair contested a high-octane match which saw both players entertain the crowd with some incredible feats of athleticism and a number of superb winners. But some gruelling rallies eventually took their toll on Lee as he began to suffer from cramp and he was unable to hold onto an 8-5 lead in the decider as Rodriguez came back to win.

"I'm so happy to go on court and see the crowd today," said Rodriguez.

"That definitely signals the improvement of squash here in Hong Kong. A couple of years ago, squash was a small sport here but thanks to the likes of Max, Yip and Leo [Au] it has grown a lot and I was delighted to play in a full court today. I knew it was going to be tough because he is the local hero and I had experience with Yip a few years ago when I lost 3/2, so I knew it was a tough place to play the Hong Kong guys."

Elsewhere, 2017 finalist Ali Farag kicked off his title challenge with a 3/0 win over Gregoire Marche to set up a third round clash with world No.12 Diego Elias, who was in red-hot form as he axed India's Saurav Ghosal in straight games.

Germany's Simon Rösner and Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller were the other victors in the men's event and the pair - who are close friends off the court - will do battle for a place in the last eight.