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24 Jun 2024

Mighty Comeback Makes Eain Yow First Malaysian British Open Quarter-Finalist in 15 Years

6 Jun 2024

World No.15 Eain Yow Ng has become the first Malaysian male to reach the quarter-finals of the prestigious British Open since 2009 after completing a stunning comeback to upset world No.6 Karim Abdel Gawad at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.

It was all Gawad in the opening exchanges as the Egyptian powered into a 2/0 lead, displaying the incredible racket skills that have taken him to world No.1 and World Championship glory in the past.

Eain Yow rose to the occasion though and made the rallies more physical to sap Gawad's energy. The 26-year-old stormed back to take the next three games without reply, earning him a spot in the last eight - the first Malaysian to do so since Mohd Azlan Iskandar in 2009. He will play two-time British Open champion Paul Coll in the next round.

"I think it has been three years since I reached the quarter-finals of a Platinum event, so it has been a while coming," Eain Yow said afterwards.

"I have had some missed opportunities over the years, so today was really all about enjoying the crowd and the theatre. It's one of the best tournaments and one of the best crowds. We've had such a good turnout every day and I think that helped a lot at 2/0 down. My dad, my coach and my team are all here, so it's amazing.

"To be honest, I feel that neither of us played our best squash today. At 2/0 down, I was just kicking myself and saying that I couldn't go down like this in that way. There have been matches this season where I have let the match go when at 2/0 down. I was just telling myself that it is probably my last match of the season and to keep on fighting all the way to the end."

England's three-time British Open champion Mohamed ElShorbagy saw his title challenge come to an end after he pulled out of his third round match with Timothy Brownell due to illness. That means Brownell will become the first ever man from the USA to line up in the last eight of the British Open when he takes to the court against Mostafa Asal on Friday.

ElShorbagy's compatriot - women's world No.5 Georgina Kennedy - did book her place in the last eight on home soil, beating Egypt's world No.16 Fayrouz Aboelkheir by an 11-8, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6 scoreline.

Kennedy came out of the blocks quickly to take a two-game lead, but squandered five match balls in the third as Aboelkheir came back into the encounter. A fast start to the fourth laid the foundations for Kennedy to complete her win and she will take on World Champion Nouran Gohar next as she bids to reach the last four of the British Open for the first time.

Kennedy said: "I absolutely love playing in Birmingham. It's so good to play in front of a home crowd, and I obviously have amazing memories here because of the Commonwealth Games [where Kennedy won a gold medal].

"I'm just really grateful that I get to play another match here. I got a lead and then she got me edgy. I tried to start winning the point too early, and again in the fourth, I needed a bit of a kick in between games.

"It was really difficult against Fayrouz, she covers that middle really well. You kind of doubt what shot to play because she edges across a little and then back, so it was difficult."