R2: Nele Gilis 3-1 Torrie Malik

[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1 Torrie Malik (ENG) 11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7 (42m)

One to watch, definitely Torrie is. Very stubborn with her mental side, she took a little time to adapt – she never played outside – but she really impressed me with the way she stood up, took her chances – in particular on the return of serve, she won 5 or 6 points there. Also, she was not afraid of making the rallies last, and got great volleying skills. Coached by her brother, Curtis, I have to say talent definitely runs into the Malik family.

PSA Report :

World No.4 Nele Gilis advanced to the last 16 of the 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships after she got the better of England’s Torrie Malik in straight games in the evening’s opening match.

Gilis, who came through a testing match against USA’s Marina Stefanoni in the opening round, had beaten Malik 3-0 during last month’s German Open in their only meeting so far on the PSA Tour but found it more difficult this time around as she completed an 11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7 victory to reach round three.

It was a confident start from the Belgian, who dropped just three points in a one-sided first game. Malik showcased some of her undoubted racket skills, but Gilis was the more assertive player of the two as she went a game up.

Malik stayed ahead for the opening stages of the second game as she took the attacking opportunities away from Gilis, but once the No.4 seed’s short game got going she overturned the deficit to double her lead.

Malik, who is appearing at her first PSA World Championships, put her opponent under severe pressure in the third game as Gilis struggling to deal with her aggressive hitting into the back corners and she duly halved her opponent’s lead.

The Englishwoman continued to test Gilis in the fourth but the experience of the Belgian eventually told as she held her nerve to earn the win in four games. World No.19 Fayrouz Abdelkheir will be her opponent in the last 16.

Torrie :  A bit of mixed emotions. I had a very slow start. But I felt I started to get into it. Very different conditions from the side courts, it’s very windy tonight as well, but I never played on a court outside, on an all glass court, especially at that sort of level, as in the World Champs!

Too many cheap points I feel. I gave away too many tins, I needed to hit that length better before I took it in.

So I am proud of myself but I’m also annoyed at myself for not trying to convert another game, like I could have. But overall, it’s my first world champs, so I’m not too upset.

Nele :  “It was definitely a tricky one. Torrie is such a tricky player and she’s still young and an up and coming player. As you saw in the third set she’s such a dangerous player and lethal around the middle of the court. It’s all about sticking to my game plan and trying to find the back corners. I’m very relieved to get away in four.

“Fayrouz  is very strong and an up-and-coming player. She’s improved a lot over the last couple of years. I feel like I’m growing into the tournament, and I’m going to fine-tune a couple of things. I’m really looking forward to playing her and a big battle.

“It’s difficult having to change courts inside a tournament. Playing on this glass court first may have prepared me better than Fayrouz. Hopefully, it’s an advantage. You have to adapt quickly and also with the weather, it was a bit windy today so that was an adjustment too.”