Day TWO : Round Two begins

The 2022 Optasia Championship continued tonight at The Wimbledon Club with three second round matches.

Home interest was provided by Wales’ Joel Makin and England’s James Willstrop – Makin is 2-0 up against his Malaysian opponent Eain Yow Ng, while Willstrop enjoys a 4-2 advantage over fourth seed Marwan ElShorbagy.

Top seed Ali Farag gets his quest for a first title in England under way with a match against fellow Egyptian Mohamed ElSherbini, with an all-European match with plenty of history between Gregoire Marche and Nicolas Mueller wrapping up the day’s play.

You can Watch Live on SquashTV, follow on Live Scoring and our social feeds, and we’ll have updates and reaction here with a roundup at the end of the day.

Optasia Championship 2022 : Round TWO (top), Mon 7th Mar

[5] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (Mas)    11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (60m)

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)   11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (32m)

[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) w/o James Willstrop (Eng)      James w/d injured

Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-1 [7] Gregoire Marche (Fra)    2-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (53m)


Mueller rallies to oust Marche

Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-1 [7] Gregoire Marche (Fra)    2-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (53m)

Day Two concluded with a comeback win for Swiss star Nicolas Mueller, who recovered from a heavty first game loss to oust France’s seventh seed Gregoire Marche.

“We go back roughly 20 years at least,” said Mueller.

“We have been playing all through juniors, I think when we first played we were 11 or 12, it’s still the same difference in height. But he’s become a much better of a player in the last couple of years and has been playing very well. I don’t know how I won that, I think for the first one and a half games he played at another level and I had to dig deep to win that second was crucial to get some confidence to win it.

“He’s No.11 in the world, so the pressure was on him. I played well yesterday and got some confidence and when I’m confident, I think I’m a dangerous person to play.

“The temperature helps to keep the ball short. When I’m playing with confidence I think all the shots go in easy, no matter how crazy the shot is if you commit 100% then you know you can do it and may as well go for it.”

On Roger Federer : “He’s one of the biggest athletes, if not the biggest athlete on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him a few times and sit down and watch his training because he used to play squash when he was younger. It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been playing solo drills when he was sitting outside. I was shaking but then he introduced himself as Roger and that was quite impressive.

Farag safely through to quarters

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)   11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (32m)

Top seed Ali Farag is safely through to the quarters after a straight games win over compatriot Mohamed ElSherbini to keep his quest for a first title in England on track.

“The venue is special and different and we enjoy that,” said Farag.

“In our careers we rarely go to new places, so it’s exciting in front of you guys and it’s definitely exciting for us players.”

Studying at Harvard :  “I think it was a once in a lifetime experience, I really enjoyed it out there. It’s different, college squash is exciting, you’ve got millions of players and teammates that are cheering you on. My teammates were amazing and my coach, Mike Way, he has left a big stamp on my character and my squash. It was great and now to see more and more players doing it. To be fair the people that are doing it now are even more impressive, you just saw Youssef Ibrahim and Victor Crouin yesterday 14-12 in the fifth and they are already in the top 20 in the world. Back then, I wasn’t playing professional much in college and afterwards I decided to go down the professional route and I don’t regret it one bit.

Playing in Egypt : “I play for Wadi Degla, it’s the biggest sports and squash centre in Egypt and I train under Karim Darwish, who is a former World No.1 himself. You know how good it is to live in Egypt and play squash, you train with so many of the world’s top players day in and day out and we all lift each other up. We share the same fitness trainers, same coaches and even if we don’t share I train with Tarek Momen, Omar Mosaad and it’s something I’m so grateful for and hopefully we can inspire the generations coming up.”

Makin first into the quarters

[5] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (Mas)    11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (60m)

Welshman Joel Makin is the first quarter-finalist after beating Malaysia's Eain Yow Ng in four entertaining games. Ng stuck in well for the first three games, but it was all Makin in the fourth.

“That was tough today. The court played really nicely but it’s just so cold. To get the ball through and elongate the rallies a little bit was hard. He’s so skilful and quick around the front, and if you take him in without too much pace or running it in tight, he’s quick onto it and he has a lot of options.

“You really need to get your tactics right on there and it’s a difficult thing to do, but it’s a good quality match I thought.”

Wales and the Commonwealth Games : “The teams haven’t been finalised yet, we’ve still got a few more Doubles events to play. We’ve got the Europeans before then and a load more PSA tournaments, but the Commonwealths are a big one for the end of the season and that’s what everything is building up to.

“I’m playing with Tesni for this one. We haven’t done as much training as we’d like. It’s been so busy and we’ve been away so much. We’ve got the World Doubles in Glasgow a couple of weeks and that’s the big one, it’s like a qualification for the Commonwealth Games.”

The British Tour : “I’m going to play everything, we’ve got the British Open and Manchester after Canary Wharf. It’s busy but it’s great having them all here and playing them all in a row, it’s what we need at this point in the season.”