5:37 am
14 Jun 2024

Major Upsets See Nghiem & Marche Make Manchester Quarters

24 May 2024

Day two of the Manchester Open 2024 saw France's Gregoire Marche down top seed Marwan ElShorbagy and women's wildcard Saran Nghiem score a second successive upset to overcome English compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry, the former world No.5, to make the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Silver event at the National Squash Centre.

Marche entered the match without a win against the Englishman in 10 attempts and after losing the two opening games, looked to be again on the receiving end of an ElShorbagy win.

The Frenchman battled back to score the third game and breathe more life into the contest. The Elshorbagy frustration was increasing point by point, which was working to Marche's advantage. 11-5, 11-2 were the scores in the fourth and fifth games as Marche completed the comeback to earn a spot in a fifth World Tour quarter final this season.

"It's a great win for me. I think that's the first time I've ever beaten him on the tour so it's nice to finally break that record," said Marche after his win.

"I lost the first two games and I had some game balls I think but as I said, I knew something was going for me. I felt I was playing much better than yesterday, I just needed to clinch one thing, just one point maybe at the end of the third and that gave me a bit of confidence. I just had to stay calm and focused because the end of the third game was a bit tricky. Then, I started well in the fourth and the fifth as well, so yeah it's a really good win for me.

"I had a few issues during this season. I had surgery in my eyes in January, so I had to stay away from the court for two months. It was a good time off, maybe that's why I feel a bit more fresh compared to the others. I just wanted to play well at the end of the season, there's this tournament and then the British Open next week."

Marche will now play Scotland's Greg Lobban, who ended the run of 18-year-old Englishman Jonah Bryant, for a place in the semis. All the other men's seeds successfully advanced through to the last eight, including close wins for Iker Pajares and Youssef Ibrahim, who both needed five games to move past European duo Yannick Wilhelmi and Declan James.

Women's wildcard Nghiem continued her impressive form as she scored another upset to down No.8 seed Perry and reach her first World Tour quarter-final. Nghiem raced to a 2/0 lead, playing structured, accurate squash which was proving too much for the experienced Perry to deal with.

It wasn't long before the England No.2 found her shots however as she moved through the gears to draw level at two-all. Despite losing the previous two games, the local player was determined to take advantage of the opportunity and after a positive start to the fifth, ran through to win 11-5 in the decider.

"It's amazing!" said Nghiem. "I was a bit worried about giving her so much respect because I know how big a name SJ is, I've been looking up to her since I started playing so to get the win in Manchester of all places feels great, I'm just loving it.

"It's great when they [friends and family] can watch in person, it feels great to have people rooting for you. It gives you the extra edge when you think you're down, it just gives you that little boost, so it's amazing to get these big wins in front of friends and family, it means a lot to me."

Nghiem will take on Egypt's Salma Hany in the last eight after the No.4 seed defeated Tesni Murphy on the all-glass court in the National Squash Centre. The other women's upset of the day came from Egypt's Nour Aboulmakarim, who recorded the best win of her career so far as she beat compatriot Farida Mohamed in five games earlier in the day.