Women's World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and former Men's World No.1 Ramy
Ashour claimed the honours at the 2017 J.P. Morgan China Open,
prevailing in two all-Egyptian title-deciders to take the first major
honours of the 2017/18 PSA World Tour season.
Atop The Peninsula Hotel overlooking Shanghai's iconic Bund, El Sherbini
dominated compatriot Nouran Gohar to take the Women's crown in
straight-games while Ashour - who last tasted tournament success in
nearby Hong Kong twelve months ago - came through a captivating five
game affair with tournament top seed Ali Farag.
Ashour started strong, replicating the form that took him to straight
game wins over Daryl Selby and Marwan ElShorbagy during the past two
days as he varied the pace to unsettle Farag and take a 2-0 lead.
Undeterred Farag managed to fight his way back into proceedings and,
following a drop in level from Ashour, forced a decisive fifth game.
But, over eager to reach the finish line, the younger man began to give
away errors, allowing Ashour to come through 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 2-11,
"I'm very, very happy to win," said Ashour.
"I've enjoyed being here this week - it's my first time competing in
Shanghai. I always seem to play well in the Far East, I'm not sure why
but I feel comfortable in this part of the world.
"And with a venue like, with these views, it's make me proud of our
sport. But I couldn't have done it today without the team who've been
behind me both at this event and back home.
"Ali is a very fair and smart player and it was a great battle on court
today - and I hope we are going to have many more in the future."
After the match Farag said: "It was a great match. He's one of the most
naturally gifted players ever to play the game so to be on court pushing
him to five games in a final was a privilege for me. We both gave it our
For 21-year-old El Sherbini the win sees her extend her lead atop the
Women's World Rankings courtesy of a routine 3-0 win that saw her
inflict a fourth consecutive China Open final defeat on 19-year-old
"I'm really happy - it's a great start to the season," said El Sherbini.
"I'm happy with the way I played and the level of my performance. I had
no real expectations today - I was just focusing on my game plan and I
think the first game gave me a lot of confidence.
"So I'm happy with the way it came together today and hopefully I can
continue to play well throughout the season."
World No.1 Ramy Ashour put in a dominant display, in which he looked
back to some of his best ever form, to overcome Marwan ElShorbagy and
lead a quartet of Egyptian players into the finals of the 2017 J.P.
Morgan China Open - the PSA M100 tournament taking place atop The
Current World No.14 Ashour was at times mesmeric as he overpowered and
outmanoeuvred World No.6 ElShorbagy from start-to-finish to record a
straight-games victory that sees him reach his first tournament final
since the 2016 World Championship - when injury derailed his title bid.
"For me it's not just about the match and the result," said Ashour
afterwards, having wrapped up the victory in 41 minutes.
"It's beyond that - it's about the long term. I'm proud of my past
achievements but it's about now. There are other players coming up and
I'm trying to stay there and today I showed that I can still be up
"In the past few seasons I'd do well in one event but not be able to
back it up or have that consistency. I'm trying to get things right,
find that balance, and at the moment, it's good."
Ashour will face tournament top seed Ali Farag, World No.5, after he
defeated New Zealand's Paul Coll over four games while 21-year-old
Women's World No.1 Nour El Sherbini will hope to get her season off to a
winning start against her younger compatriot Nouran Gohar, the
19-year-old who will be competing in her fourth consecutive China Open
who has lost out in the showpiece event for the past three years
running, booked her place in the decider after a hard fought four-game
win over World No.3 Camille Serme, using her pace and power to keep the
Frenchwoman on the back foot and enforce her style on proceedings.
"All my past matches with Camille have been very tough and she won the
last few meetings, so I knew what to expect from her today," said Gohar.
"She's been on top of her game recently but I tried to focus on enjoying
the match. I didn't put any pressure on myself, I just concentrated on
enjoy being here and giving it my best.
"I like this event and I've a good record here - it's an amazing
location. I've made the final here three times and the first time I
reached the top ten, my first win over Nicol David and my first big
final all came here.
"I've got great memories here so hopefully I can add another one by
winning the final tomorrow."
24 hours after dethroning 2016 tournament champion Laura Massaro in a
dominant four-game affair New Zealand's Joelle King notched up a second
big name scalp at the 2017 J.P. Morgan China Open, defeating eight-time
World Champion Nicol David 3-2 to reach the semi-finals of the PSA M100
King, who had fallen victim to David in all ten of their past encounters
stretching back to 2010, showed impressive resilience as she twice came
from behind to out-muscle David after 66-minutes of play in a
performance that will have been noted by her title-rivals.
"It's been a while since I've played as well as this so I'm trying to
enjoy the moment - to beat two legends of the game back-to-back is a
great achievement," said World No.11 King.
"I had never beaten Nicol before and I was behind twice today. I'm
pleased with the way I managed the mental side of the game and stayed
tough - and it's nice to finally get that win over her.
"It's pleasing to be playing some of my best squash but it's all well
and good to get those two wins - there are two more matches to come if I
want to win the tournament. So I need to refocus and make sure I'm at my
best again tomorrow."
She will now face tournament top seed and World No.1 Nour El Sherbini
for a place in the title decider where either Camille Serme or Nouran
Gohar will await, while in the men's draw King's compatriot Paul Coll
finds himself surrounded by Egyptian threats.
who today broke into the World Top 10 for the first time in his career,
overcame Fares Dessouky to set up a last four clash with top seed Ali
Farag, with second seeded Marwan Elshorbagy set to face former World
No.1, and the man Coll knocked out of the Top 10, Ramy Ashour in the
bottom half of the draw.
Ashour, who's last tournament win came over 12 months ago in Hong Kong,
produced a second consecutive performance of intent as he downed
England's Daryl Selby 3-0 in just 36 minutes to earn his place at the
stunning glass court, situated overlooking Shanghai's Bund.
"Its been going well for the first two matches of the season, which is
good, and hopefully I can keep it up," said Ashour.
"We'll see what happens in the next round. It's all about consistency.
Changing courts is always a challenge but whatever the court or the type
of match I train to adapt under any circumstance.
"You have to prepare for anything and it's my first time in Shanghai -
the court on the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel is pretty impressive, so
I'm looking forward to it."
champion Laura Massaro crashed out of the 2017 J.P. Morgan China Open at
the very first hurdle earlier today after falling to a 3-1 defeat
at the hands of New Zealand's Joelle King.
The 33-year-old World No.4 could find no answer to King's early attacks,
slumping to a staggering 11-0 defeat in the first game before King
quickly doubled her advantage.
Massaro managed to gain some momentum in the third, playing with better
control and length, but the early damage couldn't be recovered and she
bowed out 11-0, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4 as World No.11 King celebrated one of
her most impressive wins of the year.
"I felt good out there, Laura is no mug, she won here last year, so to
come out and win in four is really positive," said King.
"I was seeing the ball early from the first rally. I was just in front
of her throughout that first game and to take it 11-0 was beyond
expectation. It can be easy to drop concentration after that kind of
score though so I tried to stay calm and not get too excited.
"It's early in the season, but I put in a lot of work in the summer and
if I can keep playing my game and produce more of the same then who
knows what will happen."
King will now face Malaysian eight-time World Champion Nicol David for a
place in the semi-finals while another English player, Sarah-Jane Perry,
fell victim to an upset, losing out to Egypt's Nour El Tayeb in a tense
The duo last met ten years previously, in the World Junior Championship
when El Tayeb squandered a two-game lead, but in what was a lengthy,
high quality duel the Egyptian, playing with increased disciplined and
control, overturned an early defecit to secure an important win.
"I'm very pleased with that result," said El Tayeb.
"These are the kind of matches I need to win to get back inside the top
eight. I have been working very hard in the off season to improve and
especially work on my mental strength. I think that came through in the
end today, so that is very pleasing.
"It's a good start to the year and hopefully I can keep it going. To
beat Sarah, who's in the top eight now, is a good beginning."
Elsewhere. top seeds Camille Serme and Nour El Sherbini came through
their opening encounters unscathed while the men's quarter-finals
Egyptian eyes will be looking towards a clean sweep of victories.
maverick Ramy Ashour ensured his season began in winning fashion
courtesy of a straight-games win over Mexico's Cesar Salazar, with
compatriots and tournament top seeds Ali Farag and Marwan ElShorbagy
also triumphing 3-0.
Competing on the all-glass court overlooking Shanghai's Bund, ElShorbagy
- whose brother Mohamed won the title here 12 months ago - was just too
good for the ever-improving Scotsman Greg Lobban, while top seed Farag
made light work of wildcard Joe Wong.
Despite starting flat-footed and losing the first exchanges, the
Egyptian soon got into his groove and looked at ease as he moved into
the quarter-finals to face Peruvian Diego Elias.
"It's never easy playing someone for the first time and who you don't
know anything about - I didn't know what to expect from him today," said
"He hit some good shots and moved well so I'm happy to be through in
three. I wanted to get used to the court as much as possible ahead of a
big match with Diego tomorrow.
"We've played a few times recently and it's always tough so hopefully I
can carry that momentum forward."
Fares Dessouky ensured Egyptian interest in all four last eight matches
while Daryl Selby, Paul Coll and Simon Rösner join Elias in flying the
Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan pulled off a huge upset as he defeated former
World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the final round of qualification to secure his
place in the main draw of the 2017 J.P. Morgan China Open - the PSA M100
tournament which gets underway in Shanghai tomorrow (August 31).
No.32 Adnan recovered from dropping the first game to impress as he
starved the hard-hitting Mosaad of attacking opportunities, grinding his
way to a 3-1 win that sees him go through to take on England's Daryl
Selby in the first round.
While Mosaad bowed out, there was joy for another Egyptian, Karim Ali
Fathi, as he overturned the seedings to defeat number one seeded
qualifier Alan Clyne in a four-game encounter. Fathi will now face
Germany's Simon Rösner in the main draw.
Clyne's compatriot, Greg Lobban, ensured there would be at least one
Scottish presence in the event as he defeated Hong Kong's Tsz Fung Yip,
with India's Saurav Ghosal completing the line up of qualifiers in the
Ghosal's compatriot Joshna Chinappa, will also be competing in the main
draw of the Women's event after coming through a tense and tough
five-game encounter with national rival Dipika Pallikal Karthik.
Chinappa will now face World No.1 and tournament favourite Nour El