Irish women bow out

Olivia Blatchfor, the young American who beat Madeline Perry in five close games

On a day that started with three Irish players in the men and women’s draws, Arthur Gaskin was the only one to stay in contention of a title. The Carlow man held off his steely opponent Mark Fuller in a tight 3:1 encounter, and was delighted to win a tense tie-break in the fourth. Arthur has now reached the semi-finals for the first time, and faces number four seed of Scotland Alan Clyne. Asked about his opposition, Alan Clyne, who had a battled out a tough five-setter against countryman Greg Lobban, said: “I played Arthur before, last time here at this tournament and it went to five. Unfortunately for me, he always tends to play really well in front of a home crowd!” With almost fifty places between the ranking Clyne will go in the clear favourite, but Gaskin will give it his best shot come 6pm tomorrow.

It was a bad day for the Irish women, with both Madeline Perry and Aisling Blake losing in five games. Madeline Perry found herself 2:0 down against her tricky opponent Olivia Blatchford, and despite leveling the match at 2:2, lost the decider 11:8. Olivia surpised everyone, including Madeline, with some outrageous drops from all over the court: “I did have a game plan to begin with: I watched Madeline play Laura Massaro on SquashTV earlier today, and kind of looked for patterns. Madeline is a great attacker, so i really wanted to be the first to attack, to prevent her from attacking me!” The likeable American now faces Nouran Gohar of Egypt, who swept away her countrywoman Yathreb Adel in three games. Fact of the day: Olivia’s opponent Nouran is five years her junior – and Olivia is only 21!

Nouran Gohar and Yathreb Adel - teenage Egyptian Squash phenomenons

With Madeline Perry out of the tournament it was up to Aisling Blake to keep hopes alive, but her opponent Tesni Evans of Wales dug deep to recover from 0:2 games down, to win not only the third and fourth game, but the fifth decisively 11:3. The match was neck and neck throughout and Aisling held matchball in the third, but Tesni’s perseverance paid off. She now faces number two seed Sarah Kippax, who beat Lucie Fialova of the Czech Republic 3:1.

Matches start at 5pm tomorrow, as always streamed on!