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14/04/2017
El Gouna International 2017

LATEST | DRAW | NEWS | SCHEDULE  HISTORY

 

REPORTS & RESULTS BY ROUND 

Preview

Qualifying

Round One

Round Two

Quarters

Semis

Final

 

Latest

 

DRAW

El Gouna International 2017
05 - 14 April
El Gouna, Egypt, $150k
First Round
07-08 Apr
second Round
09-10 Apr
Quarters
11-12 Apr
Semis
13 Apr
Final
14 Apr
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-9, 11-7, 13-11 (43m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9 (74m
Mohamed Abouelghar
Mohamed Elshorbagy
11-5, 11-2, 11-4 (24m)
Marwan Elshorbagy
Marwan Elshorbagy
12-10, 11-4, 11-4 (51m)
Gregory Gaultier
Gregory Gaultier
11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (51m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (38m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
Cameron Pilley (AUS)
6-11, 5-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-9 (97m)
[Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL)
Cameron Pilley
11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (33m)
Marwan Elshorbagy
[6] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-5, 13-11, 11-5 (43m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY)
[5] James Willstrop (ENG)
9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (94m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
James Willstrop
11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (64m)
Paul Coll
Paul Coll
11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6 (72m)
Gregory Gaultier
Paul Coll (NZL)
11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (40m)
[Q] Tom Richards (ENG)
Tarek Momen (EGY)
11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 11-8 (53m)
[Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Mazen Hesham
11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (64m)
Gregory Gaultier
[WC] Marwan Tarek Abdelhamid (EGY)
11-6, 11-2, 11-6 (31m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 (76m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Fares Dessouky
11-9, 11-7, 1-11, 11-8 (60m)
Ryan Cuskelly
Fares Dessouky
11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 (127m)
Diego Elias
Fares Dessouky
7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 (61m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (34m)
[Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY)
Cesar Salazar (MEX)
10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (63m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Cesar Salazar
11-9, 13-11, 11-4 (51m)
Diego Elias
[7] Ali Farag (EGY)
11-9, 12-10, 11-8 (55m)
Diego Elias (PER)
[8] Simon Rösner (GER)
11-6, 12-10, 11-8 (46m)
[Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
Simon Rösner
11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (38m)
Karim Ali Fathi
Simon Rösner
13-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2 (52m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
Saurav Ghosal (IND)
5-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (71m)
[Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
Borja Golan (ESP)
11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (44m)
[LL] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Borja Golan
9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-5 (61m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
Zahed Mohamed (EGY)
11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

Qualifying


Qualifying finals:
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 12-10, 11-7, 11-1 (45m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 (41m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-8, 11-3, 11-1 (29m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (56m)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) bt Nicolas Müller (SUI) 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10 (48m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 12-10, 11-9, 11-8 (47m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2 (41m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 11-7, 11-2, 11-1 (28m)

1st qualifying round:
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (43m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Abdallah Yasser (EGY) 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (36m)
Mazen Gamal (EGY) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (46m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Mostafa Asal (EGY) 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Shehab Essam (EGY) 11-6, 15-13, 11-9 (42m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt Kristian Frost (DEN) 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (73m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Piedro Schweertman (NED) 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (82m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Mohamed Elshamy (EGY) 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (36m)
Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt Omar El Torkey (EGY) 11-5, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9 (35m)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) bt Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11 (50m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Khaled Labib (EGY) 11-2, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 (30m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 11-1, 12-10, 12-10 (51m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Karim Magdy (EGY) 11-4, 11-13, 11-4, 11-5 (57m)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 (71m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (64m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
 

 

REPORTS

 Final

Gaultier Beats Gawad in El Gouna International to Lift Fourth Successive Title

French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier lifted his fourth successive PSA World Tour title after the 34-year-old defeated World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 in the final of the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open, PSA World Series tournament held in the New Marina on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea.

Gaultier, who will lose his World No.1 ranking to Gawad next month despite the win, fell in last year’s final to World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy. But he made amends in the last stage of the 2017 instalment with the sort of imperious display that has seen him lose just once this year.

The charismatic Frenchman played at an unrelenting pace throughout the 51-minute encounter and gave Gawad no chance to utilise his shot-making talents as he powered to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory to lift his 38th career PSA World Tour title and become the first non-Egyptian winner of the World Series tournament.

It’s Gaultier’s fourth successive PSA World Tour title after wins at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open and British Open and his current unbeaten run of 19 matches is the longest of his glittering 17-year career.

"I knew it was going to be an unbelievable match, we're both fighting to get that World No.1 spot," said Gaultier.

"He took it from me yesterday, so all credit to him. Being World No.1 is not just about one tournament, it's a 12 month thing and he's always been a talented player. This is only one match, I'm grateful to win, to be that sharp at the moment and beat Karim.

"I'm just doing the right things, I'm quite relaxed on court and I've just been focused on what I have to do. After Christmas I had a good break and had some good preparation and I told myself to start from scratch again at the Tournament of Champions. That's what I did and now things are working great for me and I'm going to keep playing as much as I can."

The victory also sees Gaultier finish second on the Men’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings - just five points behind Gawad despite having played one tournament less - to qualify for a coveted berth in the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, which take place between June 6-10 when defending champion Gaultier will be one of the strong favourites to retain his title.

Gawad, who will take the World No.1 spot next month due to his points average over the last 12 months being higher than Gaultier’s, admitted that he found it difficult to focus mentally during tonight's fixture.

"I think my defeat today is based on two factors, one, Greg was playing incredibly well tonight, like he’s been since the beginning of the season," said the 25-year-old.

"The second factor is the mental point of view. The fact I heard that I was going to be World No.1 next month last night was a great news. I tried to keep focus, but so many people were sending me congratulations last night.

"I’m still learning. This is the first time this is happening to me, and I think that I am gaining the experience that will allow me to not feel so much pressure next time around. I was hoping to play my best squash here, but hopefully next time."
 
Semi Finals

Gawad Sets Up Final Clash With Gaultier to Become New World No.1

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad will become the new World No.1 in next month’s World Rankings after he beat fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky to reach the final of the El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament - and he will face the man he will dethrone, Gregory Gaultier, in the title decider.

Gawad, who started the season ranked at World No.8, has been in sensational form over the past eight months, lifting the World Championship title, Qatar Classic title and Tournament of Champions title to surge up the rankings.

He required just a quarter-final finish at last month’s British Open to take top spot, ultimately losing to compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in the round before, but held his nerve on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea to recover from a game down against World No.9 Dessouky, beating the 22-year-old 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 to become the fifth Egyptian to top the World Rankings.

"Today is extra special for me, reaching the finals here in El Gouna in front of this amazing crowd is a great pleasure for me," said Gawad.

"It makes me very happy. I didn't want to think about it [the battle for World No.1] because I've been thinking about it a bit in the last two tournaments and it affected my way of playing so much.

"Today I just wanted to go on court, do my best and reach the finals here in El Gouna. Winning today is a great feeling. Tomorrow is another day, I have to keep my focus and I have to concentrate as much as I can."

Meanwhile, Gaultier extended his unbeaten run to 18 matches, with a straight games win over Egyptian World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy sending the 34-year-old into a fifth successive PSA World Tour final.

Gaultier's incredible form has seen him lose just one match in 2017, with wins at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open and British Open over the past few months ensuring that he became the oldest World No.1 of all time in the PSA Men’s World Rankings for April.

And he will compete for a third straight World Series title after a 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 victory over ElShorbagy saw him through to the final against Gawad - the last man to defeat the rampant Frenchman in January’s Tournament of Champions final.

“I've been World No.1 before, for me it's just a pleasure to be there and I'm not over the moon like the first time I became World No.1,” Gaultier said.

“If you win, you deserve to be there, and if you lose then you deserve to go down in the rankings, that's how it works.

"All I care about is having a good time and having fun on the court, that is why I keep playing. The day I feel irritated or frustrated that I have to go back to training or if I don't take pleasure on the court then I will stop. I'm still hungry, I still want to win more titles and I still have something left in the tank to do good things before I put the racket into my wardrobe.”
 

Quarter Finals Lower Half

Egyptian Duo Gawad and Dessouky Advance to Semi-Finals

Day six of the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open saw both matches scheduled for the glass court - situated at New Marina on Egypt’s Red Sea - moved to the new squash complex in El Gouna due to unexpected rainfall, with World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and World No.9 Fares Dessouky ensuring that at least one Egyptian will reach the final on home soil.

The new squash complex, which only finished construction in the weeks leading up to the tournament and hosted the qualifying stages and some of the early main draw fixtures, saw Gawad take on German No.1 Simon Rösner on the traditional court.

The pair matched each other point-for-point for the majority of the 52-minute encounter, with Gawad’s big-game experience and the roar of his home crowd seeing him prevail in the crucial points to claim an 13-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2 victory.

"When I heard that we were transferred, I was a bit frustrated," admitted Gawad, who will overtake Gregory Gaultier at the summit of the World Rankings if he reaches the final of the World Series tournament.

"I hadn’t seen the complex at all, I had no idea what the court felt like, and I was really worried as Simon had played two matches there, when I hadn’t even seen the place.
On the bus coming here, I told myself that all conditions were part of the game, that when you want to be a top player, you have to adapt to what the game throws at you. And I told myself, forget about the conditions, just get on with it.

"The fact it was a small venue had some advantages, there was a lot of support for me I felt, and they really helped at the times I really needed support. So being here had positives and negatives, I just had to deal with the negatives to overcome them and finally win against a tough opponent."

Dessouky stands between Gawad and a place in the final after the 22-year-old overcame Peruvian two-time World Junior Champion Diego Elias in a feisty clash, which saw both player’s engaged in a heated discussion as they walked off court after the culmination of an acrimonious encounter.

The match started on the glass court - with both players taking a game apiece - before play was delayed for almost an hour due to the rain.

With the match relocated to the complex, Elias held four game balls in the third game, but squandered them to a resurgent Dessouky, and he held his nerve to triumph in a dramatic fourth-game tie-break to take it 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 in a mammoth 127 minutes, taking into account the delay.

They join fellow Egyptian Marwan ElShorbagy and Frenchman Gaultier in the semi-final stage, which will take place on April 13.
 

Quarter Finals Top Half

Marwan ElShorbagy Defeats Older Brother Mohamed to Set Up Semis Clash with Gaultier

Egyptian World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy claimed a second successive victory over older brother and defending champion Mohamed to set up a semi-final clash with World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament.

Marwan claimed his first ever win over his Mohamed during February’s Windy City Open, resulting in an outpouring of emotion from both brothers in Chicago.

And lightning struck twice in El Gouna as Marwan outfought and outplayed his brother – who looked well of the pace – with an impeccable display seeing the 23-year-old Egyptian prevail in just 24 minutes by an 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 scoreline.

“Maybe today it was a little bit different than the first time I beat him, the first time I beat him was the hardest time for me,” said Marwan.

“I was thinking about it too much when I was leading in the fourth and fifth games in Chicago. Today it was a bit different because I didn’t want to let the emotions go to my head. Of course the emotions were still there, but maybe I was dealing with it better.
I was focused from the first point to the last one.

"This is probably the best match I’ve played all season. Today couldn’t have gone any better for me, but I think it was a bad day at the office for him. It’s a big win for me, but I can’t celebrate it. It’s been a tough season for him, he’ll come back stronger though I’m sure. He just needs a good break.”

Marwan and Gaultier will face off in a repeat of the Windy City Open final, with Gaultier overcoming New Zealand’s Paul Coll by a 3-1 margin to extend his unbeaten run to 17 matches.

The Frenchman, who is targeting a fourth PSA World Tour title in a row, had an almost metronomic quality about him in the early stages as he dominated the court, with the ‘French General’ going two games ahead.

A resurgent Coll halved the deficit with victory in the third, but Gaultier soon found his way back on top again to close out an 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6 victory, reaching his seventh consecutive PSA World Tour semi-final.

"I felt a bit flat tonight," said Gaultier.

"In the first two games, I made the good choices on court, but I should have won in three. He plays at such a pace and I feel I fell into his pace instead of pushing and forcing mine a bit.

"When you are a bit too confident, you can fall in the trap of getting a bit too passive and not aggressive enough. I just didn’t push myself enough. I have a lot of time for Paul. He is one of the players that have improved the most. He managed to break James [Willstrop] and other players in the top 10."
 

2nd Round

Egyptian Hopes Gawad and Dessouky Triumph On Day Four

Egyptian duo Karim Abdel Gawad and Fares Dessouky gave the home fans at El Gouna’s New Marina plenty to cheer about after they claimed respective wins over Spain’s Borja Golan and Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly on the fourth day of main draw action at the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament.

World Champion Gawad lost out to Golan in their last meeting during February’s Windy City Open - a defeat which put a big dent in the 25-year-old’s attempts to reach World No.1 - but recovered from a game down in Egypt to claim a 9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-5 victory in 61 minutes.

"I didn't play my best in the last couple of tournaments, so mentally I really needed to focus in this tournament," Gawad said.

"I needed to have a good start in the beginning, especially against Borja. I just played him [in the Windy City Open] and lost to him in Chicago and, for me, he's one of the toughest players to play.

"I suffer playing my attacking game against him because he has very good counter-drops at the front of the court. Mentally, I just wanted to have a good start today, I wanted to win today and I wanted to keep the performance that I've had since August. I'm really glad to get through to the quarters here, especially in Egypt."

Gawad will line up against German No.1 Simon Rösner for a place in the semi-finals after Rösner claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory over Egyptian qualifier Karim Ali Fathi.

Meanwhile, Dessouky moved into the last eight courtesy of a 3-0 triumph over Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly.

Dessouky, who reached the semi-finals of the World Series tournament last year, caused one of the biggest shocks of the tournament in round one with a superb scalp over three-time World Champion Nick Matthew and he picked up where left off against ‘The Wolf’ to come through in straight games against Cuskelly, beating the World No.14 11-9, 11-7, 1-11, 11-8.

“I lost my concentration in the match a couple of times,” Dessouky admitted.

“I didn’t start well today then from 9-7 at the end, I started playing well and I won the first game 11-9. In the second, I played really well, I was focused, then I lost concentration again in the third.

“I went off court and said to myself that I had to give it everything, I had to win the game. He wasn’t going to give me any cheap points to grab the win."

Two-time World Junior Champion Diego Elias will meet Dessouky in the quarter-finals after the Peruvian got the better of Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, beating the World No.20 in straight games.

The duo - roommates for this tournament - played some fast and furious squash, with Elias displaying some fine retrieval skills to prevail by an 11-9, 13-11, 11-4 margin - earning his place in the quarter-finals of a World Series tournament for the first time in his fledgling career.

"What made me retrieve all of his shots is determination," 20-year-old Elias revealed.

"I have been losing in first round and second round matches that I should have won. I have been training very hard, so I am now ready for long matches, long rallies. It doesn’t matter if a match goes to five, I am ready. I can play those intense rallies because I trust my fitness, and I know I can recover."
 

2nd Round  Top Half

Coll Defeats Former World No.1 Willstrop on Day Three

New Zealand’s World No.13 Paul Coll claimed one of the biggest scalps of his career after he defeated former World No.1 James Willstrop to reach the quarter-finals of the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament held in Hurghada, Egypt.

Coll, 24, played his trademark game to retrieve everything Willstrop threw at him courtesy of his electric pace before finishing off any openings courtesy of solid, straight hitting.

"I'm extremely happy right now,” said Coll after his 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 victory.

“I grew up watching James so just to be competing at the same level as him is special – but to beat him is amazing, I'm ecstatic.

“When we played in New York [at the Tournament of Champions] he outplayed me and I learnt a lot from that one. I got sucked into playing his pace and his lines – and he's the best in the world at that. It was a lesson and I went away and made the changes that I needed to make sure I improved."

The third day of main draw action also saw the Bristol-based ElShorbagy brothers, Mohamed and Marwan , progress and they will go head-to-head for the first time since February’s Windy City Open, which saw Marwan claim his first ever win over his older brother, resulting in emotional scenes at the University Club of Chicago.

Mohamed, the World No.3 and defending champion, edged his way past fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar, prevailing 11-9 in the fifth game of an intense encounter that had seen Abouelghar - who stunned World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in last month’s British Open - fight back from two games down.

Marwan, meanwhile, claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over Australian World No.17 Cameron Pilley to add to his win over former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in round one.

“Last time we played in Chicago it was very emotional, it was the first time that he had beaten me,” said Mohamed.

“It was a big day for us and the family, but other than that it's going to be the first time that we've played together in Egypt. It's going to be a new experience for us to handle, it's going to be an interesting match, but I think we'll both give it our best.

“Whoever plays better on the day will come out on top in the end, I'm sure.”

Elsewhere, French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier made it 16 matches unbeaten after he continued his sensational form in 2017 to ease past Egyptian qualifier Mazen Hesham, setting up a quarter-final meeting with Coll.

Gaultier, the oldest ever World No.1 at 34, has lifted the Swedish Open, Windy City Open and British Open titles in recent months and dominated Hesham, the former World No.13 who was making his comeback from a seven-month injury layoff, to win in just 24 minutes.

“I knew I had to be on my toes with Mazen because he puts the ball away really quickly,” said Gaultier.

“He’s come back from a nasty injury, so as it was his first tournament back I could see from the beginning that he was moving a bit roughly. I had to stretch him a lot and make him do a lot of work by injecting enough pace to avoid giving him enough time to put the ball away."
 

1st Round Lower Half

Dessouky Topples Matthew on Day Two of El Gouna International

Egypt’s Fares Dessouky announced his arrival as a bonafide top 10 player after a superb victory over three-time World Champion Nick Matthew on the second day of the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament – a month after he lost out to the Englishman in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.

Dessouky twice fell behind to the 36-year-old veteran, but an impressive fightback in the fourth and fifth games saw the tide turn in the World No.9’s favour and he battled to a 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 triumph in El Gouna’s New Marina to record one of the biggest wins of his career.

"I’m very happy with the win, last time it was a close game and I lost it 3-1,” said Dessouky, a semi-finalist here last year.

“He’s very experienced and today I don’t know how I won. The crowd was always behind me from the first point, so that was a great thing for me today. It gave me a push and I kept on going from the first point to the end of the game.

“I love playing here and I always dream of winning this tournament. I didn’t play well in Al Ahram, so I hope to play well here and achieve more than the semi-final. I’m just thinking about things step-by-step. It’s always great to be here playing in front of this great crowd.”

Dessouky’s compatriot, World No.6 Ali Farag, couldn’t follow him into the second round after a surprise defeat to Peruvian World No.22 Diego Elias.

Elias, two-time World Junior Champion, has struggled to translate his junior success into senior triumphs, but looked to have turned a corner in his still fledging career as he put in a mature and focused performance to overturn a recent, and painful, losing streak against Farag.

In their last two meetings, Elias found himself on the wrong side of a 3-2 scoreline – having squandered 2-1 game leads on both occasions – but turned the tables as he took advantage of a misfiring Farag early on to secure a huge win that takes him through to meet Mexican Cesar Salazar in the second round.

“I knew it was going to be a very tough match because I lost to him 3-2 the last two times,” said Elias.

“Those two defeats really hurt – I was 2-1 up in both – so I was very determined today to try and turn it around and I'm really happy. I knew the crowd would be behind him but I stuck to my plan and kept my focus.

“I came in with a plan and it worked. I have been on Tour for a few years now and lost a lot of very tough matches. I feel like I know how to deal with the situation much better now and I'm really looking forward to playing Cesar in the next round.”

Elsewhere, World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad bounced back from a disappointing second round exit at last month’s Allam British Open with a 3-0 win over compatriot Zahed Mohamed.

Gawad, the World No.2 who could top the World Rankings next month if results go his way in El Gouna, claimed an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 victory to set up a second round clash with Spain’s Borja Golan - the former World No.5 who scalped Gawad during February’s Windy City Open.

"It's very important to come back, mentally and physically, after playing so many tournaments this season," Gawad said.

"I had a tough loss in the British Open, but it's part of the game and you have to try to learn from it and try to move on and play your best squash possible in the next tournament."

Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly defeated Egyptian qualifier Mohamed Reda to claim a second round berth against Dessouky, while World No.10 Simon Rösner and Karim Ali Fathi will go head-to-head after they beat Raphael Kandra and Saurav Ghosal, respectively.
 
1st Round Top Half

ElShorbagy Kickstarts El Gouna International Title Defence While Hesham Returns

World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy got his El Gouna International Squash Open tournament off to a winning start after the 2016 champion overcame Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet on day one of the World Series tournament staged in El Gouna’s New Marina.

ElShorbagy was making his first PSA World Tour appearance since losing his World No.1 spot to Castagnet’s compatriot, Gregory Gaultier, and the 26-year-old came out on top to prevail by an 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 margin.

“I've been World No.1 for 28 months and I enjoyed every single minute and every single day of it,” said ElShorbagy, who will take on Mohamed Abouelghar in the next round.

“I felt free from pressure today and I have nothing to lose. I can enjoy my squash again, I haven't enjoyed it this whole season.

“At the British Open, I felt like I was back mentally, my hunger was back, my passion was back, but this time, knowing I have absolutely nothing to lose, there is no pressure on me.
It's just about enjoying my game and I'll see how it goes. My main goal this week is to enjoy my game."

Former World No.13 Mazen Hesham - whose injury issues have seen him fall outside the world’s top 50 - stepped up his return from a seven month absence with a superb 3-1 win over World No.11 Tarek Momen.

Hesham, the 23-year-old from Cairo, became one of the most popular players on the PSA World Tour after a breakthrough 2015/16 campaign and, speaking after his 11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 11-8 win over Momen, says he is delighted to be back.

"Tarek was the worst draw I could have had, he twists you, he tests your body like nobody else, he flicks the ball all over the place, wrong foots you, then plays a strong basic game,” said Hesham.

“But then again, I came on court with no pressure. Sometimes, it just works out fine. I’m just so happy I’m healthy.”

He will face Gaultier in the next round after the 34-year-old Frenchman extended his unbeaten run to 15 matches courtesy of a 3-0 victory over tournament wildcard Marwan Tarek.

Gaultier, the 2016 runner-up, was pushed hard by British Junior Under 17 champion Tarek, but soon took command as he closed out a 11-6, 11-2, 11-6 triumph to progress to the next round.

"I don't think about the big picture, I just think about having a good time and enjoying every practice on the Tour," said Gaultier.

"A few months ago I was really down mentally because of too many injuries in 2016 and being away from the squash court can frustrate you.

"But if you take it positively, it gives you the anger to come back and this is what I tried to prove when I came back in January."

Former World No.1 James Willstrop is also through after he scraped past Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in five games, with New Zealand’s World No.13 Paul Coll awaiting him for a place in the last eight after he dispatched English qualifier Tom Richards.

Australia’s Cameron Pilley claimed his first win on Egyptian soil since 2010 over New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson to set up a meeting with World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy - who overcame former World No.3 Omar Mosaad.
 

Previews

ElShorbagy’s Hunger is Back As He Plots Title Defence

Defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy says that he is excited to respond to the challenge of losing his World No.1 ranking earlier this month as he looks to capture his second successive title at the El Gouna International Squash Open - the World Series tournament taking place in El Gouna’s New Marina between April 7-14.

It will be the first time since December 2015 that current World No.3 ElShorbagy has not topped the World Rankings heading into a tournament after a loss of form, combined with mental and physical fatigue, saw him concede top spot to Frenchman Gregory Gaultier after the 34-year-old’s title win at last month’s Allam British Open.

But ElShorbagy, who sat atop the World Rankings for a total of 28 months since first reaching World No.1 in November 2014, admits that the loss of that ranking has resulted in the pressure being lifted as he targets a second World Series title of the season.

"To know that this is the first tournament I will play since 2015 that I haven’t been World No.1 is actually something that I’m proud of at 26 years of age," said the Bristol-based Egyptian, who has also slipped below World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the rankings.

"It makes me realise that I have already achieved so much in my career, when I still hopefully have many years left in me to try and achieve more.

"I haven’t been playing as well as I have been over the last two seasons, but I am a human being before being an athlete and the amount of finals and World Series tournaments I have won while carrying the pressure of being World No.1 has made me play more matches than everyone else over the past two years.

"It left me feeling very tired mentally and physically since the start of this season and I couldn’t get things together. But I feel I am starting to find my form and my hunger is definitely back again.

"Now I have a very different challenge in my career that I haven’t had before and I’m really excited to see how I can respond to it. The only positive thing about the challenge is that I will play free from pressure for the first time since I got to World No.1 because I have nothing to lose. I hope this will bring the best out of me again."

Last year’s final saw ElShorbagy fight back from two games down to defeat Gaultier, with a partizan crowd cheering him on to victory at the third attempt after successive final defeats to long-term rival Ramy Ashour in 2014 and 2015.

And ElShorbagy paid tribute to the Egyptian crowd while also praising the atmosphere around the tournament.

"The crowd was amazing last year, especially in the final," ElShorbagy said.

"But at the same time, I did feel pressured and nervous and felt that I couldn’t lose the final, so it didn’t make me relax for a second during the match. However, I was very proud with how I was able to make a huge comeback in that final.

"Playing in El Gouna is special as it’s an amazing event. It’s always a good mix as you have the pressure of the matches, but at the same time it’s easy to relax after the matches and take your mind off things."

ElShorbagy begins his title defence against French World No.26 Mathieu Castagnet, with a potential rematch with Gaultier on the cards if both players make it through to the semi-final stage.

Qualification for the El Gouna International Squash Open is held between April 5-6, while the main draw begins on April 7.
 

In-Form Gaultier Targeting Maiden El Gouna International Title

World No.1 Gregory Gaultier will head to the upcoming El Gouna International Squash Open - staged between April 7-14 - in the midst of some of his best ever form, one year after his controversial final defeat to former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy on Egypt’s Red Sea.

The 34-year-old Frenchman has been in stunning form of late, going 14 matches unbeaten and capturing three Tour titles in a row at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open and British Open - the latter of which saw him overtake ElShorbagy at the summit of the World Rankings to become the oldest World No.1 of all time.

Gaultier’s last appearance in Egypt saw the 2015 World Champion forced to pull out at the semi-final stage of the PSA Men’s World Championship in November, but he is firing on all cylinders this time around as he aims to lift a third World Series crown in succession.

"I’m very confident at the moment and hope I can carry on with the same positive dynamic," said Gaultier.

"I have been training hard since I got back from my last injury in the World Championship. I take really good care of my body with lots of work with all my physios and coaches. That’s really the key in between tournaments for me to stay as fresh as possible.

"At my age there is no more pressure. I just play as hard as I can and take as much pleasure as possible during my matches and during the events."

Gaultier led defending champion ElShorbagy by two games in last year’s final, but a virtuoso fightback from the 26-year-old Egyptian saw him bring the match back to all square in front of a passionate home crowd.

The match then ended in controversial style when ElShorbagy appeared to have spoken during one of Gaultier’s serves before slotting the ball into the nick, putting himself match ball up, despite Gaultier’s remonstrations with the referee.

"I just served and he spoke after I finished my swing, which stopped me totally," revealed Gaultier.

"I looked at him, but then he played that ball. I couldn’t react at all, but what happened, happened. I tried to explain the situation to the referee, but he couldn't hear me or wasn't trying to.

"You are not supposed to talk to your opponent during a rally. It was at a crucial time and I was really frustrated, but that’s the way it is. I should have dealt better with it for the next point, that's how I see it.

"I would have liked to win of course as I have never won before in El Gouna in that fantastic venue, but overall we had a fantastic match. Mohamed was playing great squash and did well to come back.

"My regret probably was to have let it slip from being 2-0 up, I barely lose in this situation. All these situations you face in your career need to be analysed so you deal with it better in the future."

The qualifying stage for the El Gouna International Squash Open takes place between April 5-6, with the main draw beginning on April 7 and lasting up until the final on April 14.

Gaultier will line up against tournament wildcard Marwan Tarek in the opening round and the ‘French General’ is seeded to face ElShorbagy in the last four for a place in the final.
 

 

NEWS

 

HISTORY

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2010
 

Schedule

First Round
07-08 Apr

second Round
09-10 Apr

Quarters
11-12 Apr

Semis
13 Apr

Final
14 Apr

 

INFO

The 2016 El Gouna International takes place from April 21-24 at the Movenpick Hotel and between April 24-29 at the New Marina, El Gouna

 


 

 

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