Joel Makin in action during the British Nationals.

Former Champions Makin, Evans & Perry Begin with Wins

The afternoon session in round one of the 2023 British National Squash Championships saw former winners Joel Makin, Tesni Evans and Sarah-Jane Perry all claim wins to get their tournaments off to the perfect start at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

Makin is looking to reach his fourth British Nationals final in a row after his win in 2021 and runner-up finishes in 2020 and 2022. The Welshman got the better of World No.100 Perry Malik in straight games, winning 11-3, 11-0, 11-2.

Makin, the World No.10, played at a relentless pace and was able to outmanoeuvre his opponent, setting up a quarter-final clash with No.10 seed Joe Lee, who battled back from 2-1 down to beat No.6 seed George Parker.

“I was well aware of what Perry could do, 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,” said Makin, the No.2 seed.

“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. 

“Obviously it was a bit frustrating that he couldn’t push a bit more, because I would have liked to see where he is and where I am a bit, but you can’t complain at being through relatively quickly either. 

“We had a tournament in Cleethorpes a couple of weeks ago and I felt really off the pace when I started because it doesn’t matter how much training you do, a match is always a little bit different. Once I played those few matches I felt back in the swing of it and I felt sharp today. 

“It’s a good benchmark of where you are. Everyone is in different parts of their summer training coming into the season, everyone isn’t really sure where they are yet, but personally it’s a title I want to win, I enjoyed winning it a few years ago and I think it carries a lot of weight still.”

2021 runner-up Adrian Waller got his tournament under way with a comfortable win against  World No.84 Ben Smith. Waller, the No.3 seed, dominated proceedings at the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club and dictated the tempo of the match en route to an 11-7, 11-2, 11-4 win.

“It’s good to get off to a good start and get the tournament under way,” said Waller.

Adrian Waller (left) takes on Ben Smith during the British Nationals.
Adrian Waller (left) takes on Ben Smith during the British Nationals.

“I think it is always quite nervy in the first round because you’re very fresh and you don’t know where you are physically, while mentally you’re trying to get dialled into the tournament.

“It’s nice to hit the court running, so I’m pleased to win 3-0 and take some momentum into the next round.”

No.5 seed Nick Wall will be Waller’s last eight opponent after he beat home hero Miles Jenkins in four closely-contested games.

In the women’s event, No.2 seed Tesni Evans began her title challenge with a 3-0 win against the tricky Saran Nghiem.

Evans – who is the only female Welsh player to win the British Nationals following wins in 2018 and 2019 – nullified Nghiem’s undoubted skills with the racket as she completed an 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 win after half an hour of action.

“I think to get past Saran in three is always a positive because she’s a great player,” Evans said.

Tesni Evans (right) takes on Saran Nghiem during the British Nationals.
Tesni Evans (right) takes on Saran Nghiem during the British Nationals.

“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.”

Evans is rewarded with a quarter-final match against No.6 seed Lucy Turmel after she fought to a narrow 3-1 win against the unseeded Torrie Malik.

Three-time Nationals champion Sarah-Jane Perry will join them in the last eight after she got the better of fellow Englishman Alicia Mead in a tight encounter which belied the 3-0 scoreline.

Mead was unable to convert four game balls in both of the first two games as Perry hung on to build up a 2-0 lead by the skin of her teeth. The third game saw Perry cut out the errors as she closed out a 12-10, 12-10, 11-8 win which will see her take on No.7 seed Katie Malliff for a place in the semi-finals.

Perry said: “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. 

Sarah-Jane Perry in action during the British Nationals.
Sarah-Jane Perry in action during the British Nationals.

“I had an absolutely shocking start to the second game, I think I was just trying to force things and not playing with enough margin. I was making far too many errors and leaving her with far too many opportunities, but Alicia took them, which is a credit to her. I was really pleased to find my way through that second and get over the finish line in three.

“I think I’ll have to find my corners more consistently tomorrow to be in with a chance of winning, I’ve just got to keep improving. I think we are all a little bit rusty from the summer break, but I have worked really hard over the summer and I’m pretty confident in my fitness.”

The evening session gets under way at 18:00 (GMT+1) today. Action from the glass court will be shown live on SQUASHTV, while matches from court one will be shown live on the Nationals website.

For updates on the British Nationals, follow England Squash on XFacebookInstagram and TikTok.

Results – Men’s First Round Afternoon Session: 2023 British National Squash Championships

[4] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt [9] Ben Smith (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-2, 11-4 (25m)

[5] Nick Wall (ENG) bt [Q] Miles Jenkins (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2 (57m)

[10] Joe Lee (ENG) bt [6] George Parker (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7 (70m)

[2] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [Q] Perry Malik (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-0, 11-2 (31m)

Results – Women’s First Round Afternoon Session: 2023 British National Squash Championships

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Alicia Mead (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-8 (27m)

[7] Katie Malliff (ENG) bt [Q] Alison Thomson (SCO) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (48m)

[6] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Torrie Malik (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 3-11, 14-12 (43m)

[2] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [Q] Saran Nghiem (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (30m)

Schedule – First Round: Evening Session

(All times are local GMT+1)

Glass Court

18:00 [1] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v Lowri Roberts (WAL)

18:45 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) v [12] Finnlay Withington (ENG)

19:30 Asia Harris (ENG) v [4] Emily Whitlock (WAL)

20:15 [11] James Peach (ENG) v [3] Patrick Rooney (ENG)

Court One

18:00 Emyr Evans (WAL) v [8] Curtis Malik (ENG)

18:45 Grace Gear (ENG) v [8] Georgia Adderley (SCO)

19:30 [7] Charlie Lee (ENG) v Jordan Warne (ENG)

20:15 [5] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v Millie Tomlinson (ENG)