11:45 am
21 Apr 2024

Gilis Grabs NZ Open Semi Slot After Battling Back To Beat Beecroft

8 Dec 2023

No.1 seed Nele Gilis survived a scare as she came back from two games down to beat England's fifth seed Lucy Beecroft and reach the semi-finals of the women's Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open.

Meanwhile, in the men's Lucino Vanities New Zealand Open, Marwan ElShorbagy edged a thrilling all-England affair with Patrick Rooney, and home favourite Paul Coll maintained his perfect record.

In an entertaining clash, world No.28 Beecroft went after Gilis from the beginning, using the angles perfectly with an aggressive gameplan as she went 2/0 up with 11-9, 11-7 wins.

Gilis, who had struggled for consistency in the opening games, looked far better in game three, reading her opponent and forcing errors as she won game three and four 11-5 each.

In a tight fifth game, the world No.4 was able to hold her nerve against a resurgent Beecroft, taking it 11-8 to close out.

Afterwards, Gilis said: "I'm proud of myself that I found a way to win. Lucy wasn't missing and I was missing my targets - you can't do that against her because she'll pick you off!

"But I found a way. It was one of those days that I had to dig deep."

Gilis will face No.4 seed Aifa Azman in the semi-final after the Malaysian cruised past Hong Kong's Ka Yi Lee to reach a Silver-level semi-final for the first time.

The other semi-final will be contested by Neles' sister Tinne Gilis and last year's runner up Tesni Evans of Wales after Gilis dispatched Hong Kong's Tsz-Wing Tong and Evans came from behind to beat Hong Kong's Tomato Ho.

In the men's event, ElShorbagy started his contest with Rooney well, unsettling the lower-ranked 26-year-old with accurate play to the front.

Rooney, ranked 24 in the world, responded well though, moving ahead in the contest with 12-10 and 11-4 wins.

After the setbacks, world No.8 ElShorbagy reset, moving back level with an 11-7 victory before clinching the fifth game 11-9.

"That was a tough match and we both gave everything. Patrick is very skilful of course and came back very well. He's a great player and if he keeps working this way he's going to be in the top 10 very soon," ElShorbagy said afterwards.

ElShorbagy will play Wales' Joel Makin in tomorrow's semi-final after the No.3 seed beat No.5 seed Baptiste Masotti of France in straight games.

The other semi-final will see New Zealand No.1 and World No.3 Paul Coll play France's Victor Crouin, after Coll came through a physical match against Frenchman Auguste Dussourd, and Crouin earned a straight-game victory over compatriot Gregoire Marche.