It’s a busy day of squash action at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as we reach the gold and bronze medal matches in the mixed doubles and the semi-finals of the men’s and women’s doubles.
England will take on New Zealand tonight as they bid to win a first ever mixed doubles gold at the Commonwealth Games, with the hosts also sending two men’s and one women’s team into the semis. Scotland and Malaysia complete the men’s draw, with Malaysia also sending two women’s teams into the semis, alongside New Zealand.
Play begins from 12:00 (GMT+1) and will be will be shown live by broadcasters around the world.
The mixed doubles final promises to be an epic bout. No.2 seeds Alison Waters and Adrian Waller will step onto court no doubt backed vociferously by the home crowd as they seek to improve on the silver medal won by Waters and Peter Barker in 2014 as well as further silvers in 2006 and 1998.
The hosts have impressed in their run to the final, with the 38-year-old Waters putting in a particularly brilliant performance in last night’s 2-0 win over the defending champions Australia.
New Zealand, too, have looked deadly, with Birmingham 2022 singles champion Paul Coll and 2010 silver medallist Joelle King supporting each other fantastically. They too saved their best doubles performance for the semi-finals, with Coll displaying boundless energy even by his own meteoric standards as they downed top seeds and reigning World Champions India.
The mixed doubles final is scheduled for 19:00 and follows the conclusion of the bronze medal match between Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Saurav Ghosal of India and Australia’s 2018 winners Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley.
Both King and Waters will have already played once today when they step onto court in the mixed doubles final.
King, the defending women’s doubles champion alongside partner Amanda Landers-Murphy, plays in the first match of the day, when she and Landers-Murphy take on surprise semi-finalists Ainaa Amani and Chan Yiwen of Malaysia.
Amani and Chan, 5/8 seeds, caused the upset of the tournament when they shocked No.1 seeds India 2-0 in the quarter-final, with the 20-year-old and 21-year-old putting in a determined performance to grind down the 2014 winners and 2018 runners up.
Their compatriots, fellow 5/8 seeds Rachel Arnold and Aifa Azman, also recorded a shock result to become the first ever Malaysian women’s team to reach the semi-finals of a Commonwealth Games when they beat Australia’s 3/4 seeds Rachel Arnold and Donna Lobban 2-1.
Despite their strong chemistry on court, Arnold and Azman are an inexperienced doubles pairing, with Arnold’s usual partner Sivasangari Subramaniam having to pull out just before the Games began after being injured in a traffic accident.
Malaysia face tough opposition in their semi-final against No.2 seeds Waters and Sarah-Jane Perry of England. Waters, who won a bronze medal in the event at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, has excellent chemistry with Perry on and off court, with the pair usually rooming together on the PSA World Tour before Waters’ retirement last year.
For the hosts, the tantalising prospect of an all-English final may dominate preparations for the men’s doubles tonight.
In the first men’s semi-final, 2018 silver medallists Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller face No.2 seeds Greg Lobban and Rory Stewart of Scotland. The Scottish pair have been one of the outstanding teams so far in Birmingham, with Commonwealth Games commentator and doubles gold and bronze medallist Paul Johnson describing Stewart as the finest male doubles player at the Games.
3/4 seeds Selby and Waller have done things the hard way to reach this stage, coming from a game down in both their second round match and quarter-final to reach this stage.
In the second semi-final, top seeds Declan James and James Willstrop face Malaysia’s 5/8 seeds Eain Yow Ng and Ivan Yuen.
James and Willstrop, who won bronze in 2018 and are the reigning World Champions, have recorded impressive wins to reach this stage, with the pair effortlessly beating Malta in 13 minutes in the second round, before stepping up to beat Australia’s Cameron Pilley and Rhys Dowling 2-0 in yesterday’s quarter-final.
Their opponents today have also looked strong as they became the first Malaysian men’s doubles team to reach this stage of the competition. Eain Yow, who moves excellently, and Yuen, who has an eye for a winner, have looked a cohesive duo on court in wins over New Zealand’s Lwamba and Temwa Chileshe and India’s Velavan Senthilkumar and Abhay Singh.
Birmingham 2022 Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match:
19:00:  Alison Waters & Adrian Waller (ENG) v [3/4] Joelle King & Paul Coll (NZL)
Birmingham 2022 Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal Match:
18:00:  Dipika Pallikal Karthik & Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [5/8] Donna Lobban & Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Birmingham 2022 Women’s Doubles Semi-Final Draw:
12:00: [5/8] Ainaa Amani & Chan Yiwen (MAS) v [3/4] Joelle King & Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
12:45  Sarah-Jane Perry & Alison Waters (ENG) v [5/8] Rachel Arnold & Aifa Azman (MAS)
Birmingham 2022 Men’s Doubles Semi-Final Draw:
14:30:  Declan James & James Willstrop (ENG) v [5/8] Eain Yow Ng & Ivan Yuen (MAS)
13:45:  Greg Lobban & Rory Stewart (SCO) v [3/4] Daryl Selby & Adrian Waller (ENG)