Singles Semi-Finals

It’s getting close to medal time in Birmingham, with eight players from five nations aiming to secure one in this evening’s semi-finals (and it’s getting close to the Doubles events, hence we’re calling in ‘singles semis’).

You can watch live on BBC (and other broadcasters around the world) and we’ll have brief reports on the matches and a roundup right here …

Commonwealth Games 2022 Day FIVE: SEMI-FINALS

[5/8] Hollie Naughton (Can) 3-1 [1] Joelle King (Nzl)    7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-1 (35m)

[1] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 [3/4] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)    11-9, 11-4 , 11-1 (43m)

[3/4] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 3-1 [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)  11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 14-12 (55m)

[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-0 [5/8] James Willstrop (Eng)  11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (45m)

Full Draws & Results  Photo Gallery  Watch on BBC iPlayer

Makin takes out defending champ Willstrop

If the women’s semi-finals were both upsets, the men’s favourites made no mistakes as they progressed to the final in straight games.

Wales’ Joel Makin was always ahead of James Willstrop, and although the Englishman battled away throughout, Makin wasn’t to be stopped as he ran out the 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 winner in 45 minutes to become the first Welshman to reach the final.

“I knew he was hurting physically, but he actually came on stronger in the third game than he did in the first.

“The support has been unbelievable. Everyone has booked so much time off and my family has travelled from all over.

“The Games bring in people who wouldn’t normally watch the sport. When it gets coverage on the BBC, that is where we reach a wider audience and people realise what it’s about. It’s exciting. It’s fast-paced. It’s so intense.”

Gina wins all-English thriller

Gina Kennedy, playing in her first Commonwealth Games, produced another stunning display as she came through a real nailbiter against compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry, the second seed and last time’s finalist.

The first two games were shared, Kennedy taking the opener 11-8 and Perry responding with the same score. Gina raced through the third 11-5 then built a 10-7 lead in the fourth.

Perry fought back, and thought she’d won the game 12-10 before a video review of pickups from both players led to a replay of the point. Gina took advantage and on her fifth match ball she was through to the final.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve had, ever,” an emotional Kennedy said afterwards. Sport is all about role models, SJ’s sportsmanship and her graciousness are amazing and everyone is inspired by her on court and off it.

“It’s really nerve wracking. I’m a bit emotional, my coach Ben Ford couldn’t be here today and he’s helped me out so much. I’m so grateful to him and thanks to everyone who’s come.

“I just didn’t want it to go to a fifth because her mental strength is her biggest asset. I think that if it had gone to a fifth I really would have struggled.”

Coll returns to the final

Top seed Paul Coll reached his second successive Commonwealth Games final with an impressive display against India’s Saurav Ghosal.

Ghosal was taking the ball in short from the outset, making clear that he wasn’t going to be drawn into a lengthy attritional battle, and it paid dividends as he kept pace with Coll in the first game.

After the Kiwi had edged the 20 minute first 11-9 though, he exerted more and more control over the match with Ghosal eventually running out of options and ideas as Coll completed the match 11-4, 11-1 in 43 minutes.

“There’s no feeling to describe it. I’ve really found my groove the past two matches. I’ve trained for four years to bring a medal back to New Zealand and obviously I really want it to be gold.”

Hollie downs defending champ Joelle !

The opening semi-final produced a sensational upset as Canada’s Hollie Naughton put in the performance of her life to oust top seed and defending champion Joelle King in four games.

Naughton had never taken even a game off King in four previous meetings, and when the Kiwi took the first 11-7 looking well in control, it looked like more of the same was on the way. But Hollie came out firing in the second, moving up the court and attacking at every opportunity to power through 11-3.

Joelle started the third better, but from 2-4 down Hollie started to impose herself again, taking the lead 11-8. The fourth was over quickly as Hollie powered into a 9-0 lead before completing the win 11-1 in 35 minutes.

The first Canadian woman to reach the semis is now guaranteed at least a silver medal!

“I don’t really know what happened there! “This is my first Commonwealth Games and I’m super happy with how I’ve dealt with the emotions and the atmosphere.

“I hope I’m doing my family and supporters proud. I want to try and inspire that next generation to follow in my footsteps. Hopefully that’s possible.”

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