The 2023 British Nationals continued today at St George’s Hill with Round One in the Men’s and Women’s draws
Top seeds off to solid starts at St George’s as Evens qualifies for men’s quarters
Defending champion ElShorbagy said : “I’m very happy. He’s a great player and I think he is one of the future players of this country. I didn’t take this match lightly at all, I really studied him a lot before the match, he’s very unorthodox and very, very talented.
“I definitely want to win the title. I think if there is a player in the draw who is playing this event and not thinking about winning the title, they shouldn’t be here. We are all here because we want to win this title.”
Kennedy, who was top seed last year but was forced to pull out through injury, said : “It’s nerve-racking having not played a competitive match since the Tour Finals, you sometimes feel like you are flying blind when you don’t really know what your level is and it was really tough.
“It’s weird to be the top seed, it’s weird territory for me. The competition is class because obviously you have SJ and Tesni as the two and three seeds and the depth of the British game is really strong.”
Defending champion Jasmine Hutton, former finalist Emily Whitlock and Scotland’s Georgia Adderley were the other women’s winners as the top eight seeds all progressed to the quarters.
In the men’s matches third seed Patrick Rooney eased through, Charlie Lee joined big brother Joe in the last eight, and Wales’ Emyr Evans became the only qualifier to get through as he beat eighth seed Curtis Malik.
The afternoon session saw all the women’s seeds prevail with former champions Tesni Evans and Sarah-Jane Perry both winning in three close games. Evans now meets Lucy Turmel, who was taken to four by Torrie Malik in the last match of the session, while Perry faces Katie Malliff, who won in straight games.
“I think to get past Saran in three is always a positive because she’s a great player,” said Evans. “There were three tough games there but it was the perfect start to the tournament, a tough match like that is ideal early on – as long as you don’t stay on court too long – as you can blow off all of the cobwebs and you get that challenge.
“I’ve come here with the aim to take a third title, but there are some very good players in the draw and there is a massive challenge ahead. It’s going to be really tough, but I think all of the girls are up for it this week.”
Perry was somewhat relieved : “I’m really pleased to get through in three because Alicia isn’t an opponent to be taken lightly and she came out firing. I lost my way a little bit in the first and found myself 10-6 down and had to really find my corners, and I managed to do that, hen had a shocking start to the second. I was really pleased to find my way through that second and get over the finish line in three.”
In the men’s matches second seed Joel Makin eased through and now meets former finalist Joe Lee, who overcame sixth seed George Parker in five games. Another former finalist in Adrian Waller will also line up in the quarters, where he’ll face Nick Wall who ended the run of St George’s qualifier Miles Jenkins.
“I was well aware of what Perry could do,” said Makin. “I’ve seen him play loads of times and he’s dangerous, he’s got some weapons and he’s not afraid to go for it. They’re all very attacking like that but I have been working hard on my squash, I’ve been doing a lot of training and I was happy with the way I was moving.”