No.2 Raneem El Welily and World No.4 Marwan ElShorbagy are the 2018 El Gouna
International champions after they beat World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World
No.2 Ali Farag earlier today in an all-Egyptian finals line-up at the PSA World
Series tournament held in El Gouna’s marina.
El Welily came back from a game down to avenge her defeat to El Sherbini in the
final of the PSA Women’s World Championship 12 months ago at this very venue.
Alexandria-born 29-year-old played some spell-binding squash to go 2-1 up and
five match balls up in the fourth before nerves kicked in and she began to find
the tin with her shots, resulting in El Sherbini fighting back to force a
tie-break. However, a crucial tin from the two-time World Champion handed the
initiative back to El Welily and she converted this time to get her hands on the
title courtesy of an 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 victory.
“What a match that was, Nour played fantastic and was fighting back all the way
to the end,” said El Welily.
at 10-5 down at the end she wasn't letting go all the way to 11-10. I still
can't believe that, last time it happened I lost that match.
“I was thinking too much about that today, so I'm very happy that I managed to
win it at the end and that I pushed myself."
Meanwhile, ElShorbagy has lifted the first World Series title of his career
after he blitzed past Farag to complete a 3-0 victory in just 39 minutes.
The 24-year-old had won three of their five matches on the PSA World Tour, with
all of their previous meetings coming in semi-finals, including in the last four
of December’s PSA Men’s World Championships where ElShorbagy came through a
dramatic five-game, 75-minute thriller.
But ElShorbagy was rarely troubled by an out-of-sorts Farag tonight as he
dominated the U.S. Open champion and played an impeccable match of squash,
outclassing his compatriot to take an 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 victory to win a World
Series final at the third attempt, joining his brother on the list of El Gouna
International tournament winners in the process.
"To win my first ever World Series title here in Egypt means a lot to me," said
ElShorbagy, who will overtake France’s Gregory Gaultier to move to a career-high
World No.3 ranking on May 1.
to win it here at home means the world. I'm so happy, I'm over the moon and I
can't even describe how I feel.
"I've lost a few major finals before, but coming into this one I just had to
learn from the losses I had and I had to be more relaxed and more focused. Me
and my coach put a good game plan together before the match."
Both winners will take home over $24,000 of prize money while they also claim
the maximum 100 points on offer on the PSA World Series Standings.
the top eight players on the World Series Standings will qualify for June’s ATCO
PSA Dubai World Series Finals - which will take place at Emirates Golf Club
between June 5-9 - and all four finalists had already guaranteed their
participation at the season-ending event prior to the tournament.
ElShorbagy’s title win sees him move up to third on the men’s standings with 260
points, while Farag stays second, 75 points ahead of ElShorbagy. El Welily goes
joint second, level with World No.3 Nour El Tayeb, and the pair trail current
leader El Sherbini by 55 points.
The penultimate World Series tournament of the 2017/18 season will be held
between May 15-20 when the Allam British Open - the sport’s longest-running
tournament - welcomes the world’s greatest players to Hull’s Airco Arena, where
the battle for a place at Dubai will come to a thrilling close.
2017 tournament winner Gregory Gaultier and current World No.1 Mohamed
ElShorbagy saw their hopes of winning the 2018 El Gouna International dashed at
the semi-final stage as they bowed out at the hands of Ali Farag and Marwan
the fifth meeting so far this season between Elshorbagy brothers Mohamed and
Marwan, it was younger brother Marwan, the World No.4, who ended a four-match
sibling losing streak to book his place in the tournament’s show-piece match for
the first time in his career.
Marwan beat his brother here twelve months ago – his last victory over Mohamed
before consecutive defeats in the finals of the 2017 World Championships and
2018 Windy City Open prior to defeat at the 2018 Canary Wharf Classic last month
– and tasted success on the banks of the Red Sea once again as he prevailed in a
testing five-game battle.
always difficult to play against my brother – we both say it a lot but it is
really the case,” said Marwan, who won 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-2.
“He’s a nightmare to beat but that’s why he’s the World No.1. If I want to be in
his place I have to come through matches like this consistently.
“I probably could have won it in the fourth but he played the crucial points
better than me. The start of the fifth was so important, I had to be mentally
focused and I’m happy to come through.
“I’ve been very consistent this season. It’s another final and I’ll just enjoy
will face World No.2 Ali Farag – the man he beat to reach the World Championship
final – in the title-decider after he halted the run of Gaultier in a similarly
combative five-game affair.
Farag took the opening game but Gaultier responded to increase the intensity and
come through to take a 2-1 lead. But the French General paid the price in the
fourth as he began to fatigue – with Farag pouncing to swing the match back in
“Greg is such an experienced campaigner and knows exactly how to play to make
the game suit him,” said Farag.
kept changing his plan and I had to try and adapt. I was going to short too
early at times but I think coming back and taking that third game to a
tie-breaker, even though I lost it, gave me some momentum that I could take into
the fourth and fifth.
“Tomorrow against Marwan I think it will be a great match. I admire the way he
plays and we’ve had some big matches this season so I’m preparing for another
the women’s event World No.1 Nour El Sherbini will take on World No.2 Raneem El
Welily in a repeat of both the 2016 and 2017 World Championship title-deciders
as part of an all-Egyptian finals day.
El Sherbini, who prevailed when the pair last played in El Gouna in the 2016
World Championship final, put England’s Laura Massaro to the sword with an
impressive 3-1 win while El Welily had to dig deep into her mental resolve to
come through a thrilling encounter with Nour El Tayeb.
With both players at their spell-binding best, exchanging sublime winners with
abandon, the duo traded games to reach 2-2 before El Welily dug deep to overturn
an 1-5 fifth game deficit and seal the match 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9.
took a lot of mental strength today,” said El Welily.
“In the fourth and the fifth I was behind but I just kept digging in. I had a
feeling that she was starting to tire in the fifth and I just tried to build on
“Tomorrow will be another huge battle with Nour – if I can play as well as I did
today, both in terms fo attitude and charter, I will be happy so I hope I can
bring that into tomorrow’s match and we will see what happens.”
El Gouna International champion Gregory Gaultier moved a step closer to a third
successive final at the PSA World Series tournament as he defeated Colombia’s
Miguel Angel Rodriguez to set up a semi-final meeting with World No.2 Ali Farag
at the El Gouna Marina.
35-year-old Gaultier, who beat World No.7 Karim Abdel Gawad in last year’s
final, had only ever lost once to World No.16 Rodriguez and had won their last
four matches without dropping a game.
The World No.3 didn’t have everything his own way today though and the pair
contested a high-octane clash until Rodriguez twisted his ankle in a coming
together early on in the fourth game with Gaultier 2-1 up at the time. The
former World No.4 played on but Gaultier had too much in the tank and the
Frenchman held on to complete an 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 victory in 70 minutes.
“I’m happy I managed to get back on court but after the accident it was not
easy,” said Gaultier.
“It was tough to get the rhythm back but I'm happy that after losing the second
game I managed to find my length and my focus again.
“He is everywhere, he’s very skilful and moves around the court well so it is
very difficult to put the ball away.”
will go up against the man who took his World No.2 ranking earlier this month,
Egypt’s Farag, after the 26-year-old put in a mesmerising display against World
No.5 Tarek Momen to end a two-match losing streak to his compatriot which
encompassed semi-final wins at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and the
Canary Wharf Classic.
It was a windy evening at the marina and Farag adapted best to the conditions as
he put in a rampant display which saw him outplay Momen and he claimed an 11-4,
11-3, 11-7 victory in 33 minutes to book his place in the semi-finals of this
tournament for the first time.
“Today it wasn't about who was the better player, it was about who was going to
adapt to the conditions better,” Farag said afterwards.
Maybe I can thank [Wife] Nour [El Tayeb] as well. Nour is my main inspiration,
she plays very well herself and maybe I was lucky that she had a match before me
and she told me how the wind was. I had that to my advantage and I adapted."
win followed immediately after his wife, World No.3 Nour El Tayeb, earned her
place in the semi-finals of the women’s tournament courtesy of an impressive 3-0
win over England’s Alison Waters.
Waters came within a whisker of taking the opening game after El Tayeb recovered
from game ball down to go ahead and the Egyptian was in control from that point
onwards as she claimed a 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 victory to reach a fourth World
Series semi-final in a row.
“The conditions were very hard tonight for both of us,” said El Tayeb.
“It took us a while to adapt to the conditions. Last time we played she beat me,
so I was expecting a tough match, and I know how hard she is to beat.
"I really prefer playing first, Ali [Farag] had to warm up watching me. I have
done it a few times and it’s not easy."
next for El Tayeb is a meeting with World No.2 Raneem El Welily, who put Hong
Kong’s Annie Au to the sword in a dominant display 12 months after losing the
women’s PSA World Championship final on this court to World No.1 Nour El
El Welily was in splendid form once again after following up a impressive second
round display against England’s Sarah-Jane Perry with a comfortable 23-minute
win over Au to move to within one win of what would be a fourth World Series
final this season.
“Annie's got a very strong game and like the previous players said, the
conditions on the court today are not the best,” El Welily said.
“I'm just happy to be through in three today against a tough opponent.”
The top four seeds in both the men’s and women’s events will meet tomorrow in
the semi-finals which will begin at 18:30 local time (GMT+2). The action will be
broadcast live on mainstream channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN
Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro as well as SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and
Eurosport Player (Europe only).
No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and his younger brother, World No.4 Marwan, will go
head-to-head for the fifth time this season as they advanced to the semi-finals
of the El Gouna International, PSA World Series tournament held at El Gouna’s
marina courtesy of respective wins over Germany’s Simon Rösner and 2017
runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad.
The two ElShorbagy’s met at the quarter-final stage of last year’s tournament
when Marwan eased past his sibling - who was out of form at the time - in just
24 minutes but he has lost their four previous meetings on the PSA World Tour,
including the final of the PSA World Championships in December.
Mohamed booked his place in the semi-finals this time as he defeated World No.6
Simon Rösner by a 3-1 margin, claiming an 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 victory to
ensure that he has now reached the semi-finals at 10 of his last 11 tournaments.
"Simon has been in great form this year, he’s at his highest World Ranking and
he won the Tournament of Champions in January, so I knew how tough it was going
to be," said ElShorbagy.
"I think we played here two years ago and it was tough as well. I just expected
it to be tough from the first point and it kept getting tougher and tougher. I’m
just glad that I pulled away at the end.
"I didn’t want to go to five games but with a player of his quality it was tough
going in the end but I’m glad I pulled through."
meanwhile, overcame 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad after a superb display
saw him mix up his shots well in a tactically-astute performance that saw Gawad
unable to sustain any kind of rhythm.
“My brother is a completely different player from 12 months ago so I’m expecting
a completely different match," said Marwan afterwards.
"Even when he’s not at his best I’m expecting a tough match, he’s never going to
give it to me easy, especially me because I’m his younger brother. He wants me
to have it the hard way, which is making me stronger. I’m just going to enjoy my
day off tomorrow and I’m not even going to think about my match with him until a
few minutes before my match.”
No.1 Nour El Sherbini joined her compatriots in the semi-finals as she sent
French World No.6 Camille Serme out with an 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 victory to
underline her status as the favourite for the women’s title.
The 22-year-old, who was 8-7 up on the head-to-head was majestic as she
dismantled her opponent pushing Serme deep into the back of the court, while her
precision at the front was too much for the Frenchwoman to handle as she stormed
to the win in 35 minutes.
“The match was tough even if it finished 3-0,” said El Sherbini.
“I’m used to playing with Camille in the semi-finals of the finals, so it’s
really hard to play two tough matches after each other. But I’m really glad that
I played well, I’m pleased with the way I’m playing and I’m happy to be in the
“I think today I just relaxed, didn’t put any pressure on myself, enjoyed my
game and I was just having fun.”
will face England’s Laura Massaro for a place in the final after the 34-year-old
World No.7 put in a clinical display to reach a fifth semi-final in her last
seven tournaments, winning 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 in just 23 minutes.
"I feel good and I felt like it was a solid performance,” said Massaro.
“It's probably just what I'm known for, consistent and solid, and I guess maybe
I haven't been consistent and solid recently, so it's nice to be back to playing
that sort of squash."
Quarter-final action continues tomorrow from 18:30 local time (GMT+2) and the
action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) & Eurosport Player (Europe
Zealand’s World No.4 Joelle King and Egypt’s World No.5 Nouran Gohar crashed out
of the 2018 El Gouna International at the second round stage after they fell to
Hong Kong’s Annie Au and England’s Alison Waters on day four of the PSA World
Series tournament held on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea.
King, a double gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this
month, twice took the lead against Au only to see her opponent fight back on
both occasions to unsettle the Kiwi.
King’s accuracy began to fade as she fatigued and she gifted Au a series of
strokes, before the player from Hong Kong took full advantage to complete a
surprise 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 victory.
“I can see Joelle is a little bit tired because she’s come here to play after
the Commonwealth Games,” said Au.
“Today I just told myself to be more patient, concentrate more, try to make the
rallies longer and then, when there are opportunities, take the ball short.
“I had to be really careful because when I played a loose shot, Joelle would
whack the ball and I would struggle, so I tried to focus and be patient."
Au will face World Champion Raneem El Welily in the next round after the
Egyptian saw off the threat of England’s Sarah-Jane Perry - who lost out to King
in the Commonwealth Games singles final - by a 3-1 margin.
England’s World No.10 Alison Waters will join Au in the next round after she
prevailed in a five-game battle with Egyptian World No.5 Nouran Gohar.
The match was a stop-start affair throughout with the referee called into action
on a number of decisions but Waters, who had been pegged back from 2-1 up,
managed to retain her composure to close out a big victory that will see her
clash with World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the next round after she beat compatriot
Hania El Hammamy.
Waters said: “I am happy with the result as I played her a couple of times and
didn’t manage to get a win.
“Today, after the Commonwealth [Games], I didn’t feel any kind of pressure and I
felt pretty confident.”
champion Gregory Gaultier moved into the quarter-finals in the men’s tournament
as he defeated England’s World No.44 Chris Simpson in straight games.
The World No.3 went two games up against a tenacious Simpson, who hurtled around
court to pick up Gaultier’s attempted winners, returning with some of his own to
go 7-4 ahead in the third.
World No.3 Gaultier fought back though and, with the game heading into a
tie-break, the 35-year-old held firm to take it 12-10 and book his place in the
“In the third he played much better, he coped better with my pace I think,” said
“I lost a bit of my length, I was also a bit impatient and I had to push very
hard at the end.
“He was very accurate and put me under more pressure. I was trying to twist and
turn him, but he was moving better and I lost a bit of focus. It’s a junior
mistake really, and I will have to make sure I keep my concentration better for
the next round."
World No.16 Miguel Angel Rodriguez will play Gaultier in the next round after
overcoming Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, while World No.2 Ali Farag earned his place
in the last eight courtesy of a superb display against Spain’s former World No.5
Borja Golan a day after his 26th birthday.
Farag was sublime as he did the fundamentals to absolute perfection, hitting
superb line and length to bury Golan in the back corners and complete an 11-4,
11-4, 11-6 win in 32 minutes.
“I knew he was really tricky at the front of the court so I couldn’t afford to
give him any loose shots,” said Farag.
“I wanted to stick to the back two corners and I think that was the key today.
My length hitting was the best I could have asked for and it paid off and and
gave me a lot of opportunities to be in front of him for most of the first two
Farag will line up against Egypt’s World No.5 Tarek Momen - who has beaten Farag
in their last two meetings - after he advanced past Germany’s Raphael Kandra.
The quarter-finals begin tomorrow (April 24) at 18:30 local time (GMT+2) as
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World No.6 Camille Serme get the action under
No.1 Joshna Chinappa came up with one of the biggest victories of her career as
she stunned eight-time World Champion Nicol David at the 2018 El Gouna
International to earn her place in the quarter-finals of a PSA World Series
tournament for the first time since November 2015.
David was off the pace from the outset and Chinappa, who won a silver medal in
the women’s doubles event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this
month, attacked well to quickly build up a two-game lead.
The World No.14 then stormed into a 7-1 lead in the third and, despite a late
fightback from her Malaysian opponent, she held on to claim her first ever win
over David at the sixth attempt on the PSA World Tour.
"I don’t know how I did it," Chennai-based Chinappa said.
"A few of us are just back from the Commonwealth Games, not just me, and that’s
one of the challenges of being an professional athlete.
"I knew I had a tough first round, then Nicol in the pre-quarters, so I had no
pressure, and I just wanted to play freely and enjoy myself."
Chinappa will play England’s Laura Massaro for a place in the quarter-finals
after the number four seed put in a professional display to overcome Hong Kong’s
Joey Chan in straight games.
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini kept up her 100 per cent record in El Gouna as she
defeated United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy in an entertaining five-game battle.
Sobhy recently spent 10 months on the sidelines due to a ruptured achilles but
put in one of her best performances since returning to action after fighting
back from a game down on two occasions to set up a dramatic fifth-game decider.
However with the scores locked at 6-6 apiece in the decider, El Sherbini managed
to establish a lead once more as she mixed up her attacking shots to take Sobhy
out of any kind of rhythm, rattling off five successive points to prevent the
American from completing the comeback.
"It’s really hard to play a player like Amanda that you’re used to playing in
the semis or the quarters," El Sherbini said.
"I’m really surprised and happy to see her playing like this once again and
hopefully she can get back into the top 10 so we won’t have to play in the
second round again."
El Sherbini will go head-to-head with World No.6 Camille Serme in the next
round, with Serme dispatching England’s Victoria Lust 3-0 in just 21 minutes.
No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy come from a game behind to see off former World No.3
Omar Mosaad in the men’s event in a match that saw the 2016 El Gouna
International champion dig in to avoid an upset.
Mosaad started the match on the front foot as he showcased the thundering
forehand drives that earned him the ‘Hammer of Thor’ moniker.
But ElShorbagy responded by hitting some fierce efforts into the front of the
court and he came back to claim an 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 victory in 61 minutes
to set up a quarter-final meeting with Tournament of Champions winner Simon
Rösner - who beat World No.25 Declan James.
“Today Mosaad took me by surprise at the beginning of the match, he played so
well,” said ElShorbagy.
“He played with the quality he had when he was World No.3 so I had to dig in
deep and I’m just really happy I got out of jail.
“I could have been 2-0 down but these are the kind of matches that sharpen you
up for the tournament. I’m just really happy to be through and to beat a tough
opponent like Mosaad in the second round gives you confidence."
prospect of a semi-final matchup with younger brother Marwan remains intact
after the World No.4 overcame Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet 11-7, 11-13, 11-3,
11-8 to ensure he will take on last year’s runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad.
Gawad prevailed in a 58-minute battle with France’s Lucas Serme and he will look
to avenge a defeat to Marwan in the quarter-finals of December’s PSA World
Championships that prevented Gawad from retaining his crown.
Round two continues tomorrow (April 23) from 12:00 at the El Gouna Squash
Complex. Glass court action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and
Eurosport Player (Europe only) from 18:30 local time (GMT+2) onwards.
champion Gregory Gaultier had to draw on all of his experience on
day two of the 2018 El Gouna International as he battled through to
a 3-1 victory over Egyptian maverick Mazen Hesham to move through to
the second round of the PSA World Series tournament taking place on
the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea.
35-year-old Gaultier, who beat Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad in last
year’s final, had the better of the first game as he went a game
ahead until Hesham, known on the tour for his shot-making talents,
played some measured and controlled squash to draw level after
taking the second.
While Hesham’s incredible racket skills were still on show
throughout the match, the World No.30 played with a newfound
maturity as he rattled the Frenchman, with only a late charge from
Gaultier at the end of the third game seeing the World No.3 avoid
going 2-1 down. Gaultier pressed home his advantage in the fourth
though as Hesham began to fatigue and he closed it out 11-7, 6-11,
11-8, 11-4 to reach the last 16.
"I knew it was probably the toughest first round and Mazen, when he
is on fire, you have to be on your toes," Gaultier said afterwards.
"It’s coming from everywhere and he’s very talented. The weather
tonight made it difficult to control the ball and he made a couple
of mistakes because the ball is moving around, so I just tried to be
as accurate as possible.
"I lost my concentration a bit at the beginning of the third but I
managed to push myself and go for every single shot to make him
tired. It paid dividends in the fourth game and I’m really glad I
managed to move that well in these hard conditions."
Gaultier will meet England’s Chris Simpson in round two after the
World No.40 upset Gaultier’s compatriot, Gregoire Marche, while
Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez was on red hot form as he defeated
World No.10 Mohamed Abouelghar.
was never able to knock Rodriguez out of his rhythm and the World
No.16 swept to a comfortable 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 victory to set up a
second round clash with Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, who defeated English
qualifier Joshua Masters.
“I was very happy with my performance today, it was the cleanest of
the year,” Rodriguez said after the match.
“I’ve played Mohamed three times in four years and he’s very skilful
and very talented. I think I was very focused today, I was patient,
attacking and very accurate, which was the key for winning the
Meanwhile, there will be two German players in the second round of a
World Series tournament for the first time in PSA World Tour history
after World No.39 Raphael Kandra defeated Hong Kong’s Max Lee to
join compatriot Simon Rösner in the last 16.
He’ll face the in-form World No.5 Tarek Momen in the next round,
while there were also wins for World No.3 Ali Farag and former World
No.5 Borja Golan.
No.2 Raneem El Welily got her tournament under way with an exquisite
showing against rising Malaysian star Sivasangari Subramaniam that
saw her topple the 19-year-old.
12 months after losing to fellow Egyptian Nour El Sherbini in the
final of the PSA Women’s World Championships, El Welily put in a
sublime performance that saw her rattle of winners to set up a
mouthwatering second round fixture with England’s Commonwealth Games
silver medalist Sarah-Jane Perry.
“I know Siva, she’s a very good player and I know she has more than
what she showed today,” said El Welily.
“She has very good qualities and is very talented. She’s different
than other juniors that you see and I expected a tough battle today.
I’m definitely happy to be through in three.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be another battle between the two of us
[El Welily and Perry], we’ve had close matches and many 3-2s. I’m
just going to relax tomorrow, we’re playing in two days so there’s
still so much time to prepare for it."
meanwhile, showed no signs of fatigue after her exploits on the Gold
Coast as she stormed to an 11-1, 11-5, 11-3 victory over Egypt’s
Nadine Shahin in just 17 minutes.
“I was really pleased with how I played at the Commonwealth Games, I
was obviously very disappointed not to win the final, but Joelle
played better in the end so she deserved it,” said Perry.
“I took the positives out of it because I played some really good
squash and I carried on where I left off really. It’s taken me a
couple of days to get used to the courts here, I played doubles last
week so the court felt a bit claustrophobic the first time I hit on
The woman who beat Perry in the final of the singles event, New
Zealand’s Joelle King, overcame England’s Fiona Moverley in four
games and she will line up against Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the last
Elsewhere, World No.3 Nour El Tayeb joined husband Farag in round
two after she defeated France’s Coline Aumard in a commanding 3-0
win and she will clash with Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy after she
overturned a 2-0 deficit to defeat United States No.1 Olivia
World No.5 Nouran Gohar and England’s Alison Waters also claimed
wins over Rachael Grinham and Mariam Metwally, respectively.
The second round of the El Gouna International begins tomorrow
(April 22) and glass court action, which will be shown on SQUASHTV
(Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), begins at 18:30
local time (GMT+2).
No.1 Nour El Sherbini and former World No.6 Amanda Sobhy will
contest a mouthwatering second round fixture at the 2018 El Gouna
International after they claimed respective wins over British duo
Emily Whitlock and Tesni Evans at the PSA World Series tournament
held on the banks of Egypt's Red Sea.
El Sherbini became the first woman to win a professional squash
tournament in El Gouna when she defeated fellow Egyptian Raneem El
Welily to win the PSA Women’s World Championships last April.
This year is the first time that a women’s El Gouna International
has been held alongside the men’s and El Sherbini kept up her 100
per cent record in El Gouna as she claimed a 3-0 win over England’s
Whitlock by an 11-3, 12-10, 11-2 margin at the El Gouna Marina.
"Emily is a tricky first round and we’ve not played a lot of matches
together," said El Sherbini.
"The second game was important for me and I didn’t want to lose it
and I think that made the difference. I just went for my shots and I
think she made an error or two, so that second game was important
and I just played point by point.
"I’ve not played Amanda since she has come back from her injury and
it seems like she’s playing well and getting her form back. Mentally
and physically she’s getting better, I’m excited for the match and
let’s see how it goes."
meanwhile, missed the World Championships last April due to a
ruptured achilles but she marked her maiden El Gouna appearance with
an impressive 3-1 win over Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans at the El Gouna
Evans won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia
earlier this month but, despite fighting back from a game down to
level, the 25-year-old was unable to resist a strong showing from
Sobhy and the United States No.2 closed out an 11-3, 9-11, 11-5,
"I’m happy to be here, the weather's good which I appreciate so much
more than in the States. I’m happy to play, I’m enjoying it and
there is really no pressure, it’s nice being the underdog again,"
"There aren’t many expectations for me apart from keeping improving,
getting fitter and enjoying my squash, so I’m happy I did that on
Laura Massaro is also through courtesy of a 3-0 win over Egyptian
qualifier Mayar Hany and she will face Joey Chan, who cut short
former World No.4 Omneya Abdel Kawy’s return to action after she
took time away from the tour due to the birth of her son.
World No.6 Camille Serme and Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion
Nicol David are also through to the last 16 after respective wins
over Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Zeina Mickawy.
No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy got his tournament off to a winning start
after the 2016 winner defeated Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan 3-0 to set
up a second round meeting with former World No.3 Omar Mosaad.
“I’m happy to win, he’s a very good player,” ElShorbagy said.
“He showed what a great player he is in the Commonwealth Games when
he got a bronze [medal] and beat Nick [Matthew] in the quarters. He
is one of those players that, when he plays well, is able to play at
a top 10 quality, that’s why he’s able to get wins over them [top 10
players] from time to time."
younger brother, World No.4 Marwan, is also through after he saw off
England’s Ben Coleman in straight games to ensure that he will face
France’s Mathieu Castagnet (right, Blue top) next, while French
World No.40 Lucas Serme upset Peru’s World No.11 Diego Elias, coming
through to win 3-1.
Semi-final finishes at both the Oracle NetSuite Open and Channel VAS
Championships in the opening stages of the season saw Elias poised
to be a major contender in the latter half of the campaign but a
hamstring injury sustained towards the end of last year has stunted
the 21-year-old’s progress in recent months and Serme put in a fine
display to win it 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8.
didn’t seem quite 100% but I saw him looking like that in a few
tournaments, pulling off some great wins, so I was wary and on my
guard until the last shot,” said Serme.
“He looks very nonchalant but still gets all the shots and some
ridiculous kills. It was the first time I beat him, so I’m very
Serme will play last year’s runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad - whose run
to the final saw him take the World No.1 spot last May - while
Germany’s Simon Rösner and England’s Declan James will go
head-to-head after wins over Tom Richards and Zahed Mohamed,
Round one of the El Gouna International continues tomorrow (April
21) with action from the glass court shown on SQUASHTV (Rest of
World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) from 18:30 local time
World No.37 Zeina Mickawy was one of five Egyptian winners on the
final day of qualifying at the 2018 El Gouna International after she
defeated top qualifying seed Samantha Cornett to progress to the
main draw of the PSA World Series tournament, where she will face
Malaysian legend Nicol David.
Mickawy, the 19-year-old who hails from Alexandria, took the opening
game before a mammoth second game went the way of Canada’s Cornett,
who claimed it by a 12-10 margin.
However, Cornett’s exploits at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold
Coast - in which she reached the quarter finals of the Women’s
Doubles event less than a week ago - soon caught up with the
27-year-old as she began to fatigue and she succumbed to an 11-6,
10-12, 11-5, 11-3 defeat.
"I am very happy with the way I played in the first game," Mickawy
told the tournament’s official website.
"I was really focused, playing tight drives, finding my targets in
the corners, and preventing her from volleying. I was patient and it
paid off. But in the second I wanted to win too quickly and kept
fighting back. I had nothing to lose I told myself, and I just tried
to make the rallies last playing tight drives again.
"After that game I was very, very tired, but I know I have been
working very hard recently on my fitness, so I just decided to trust
it and just dig in and pick up all her shots, as I thought she would
be pretty tired too."
Mickawy headed up a trio of Egyptian victors in the women’s
qualifying draw as compatriots Nadine Shahin and Mayar Hany also
progressed to the main draw courtesy of wins over Yathreb Adel and
Danielle Letourneau, respectively.
Malaysian teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam, the World No.42, also
caused an upset as she disposed of England’s World No.29 Millie
Tomlinson to set up a meeting with World Champion Raneem El Welily,
while Belgium’s Nele Gilis fell to Liu Tsz-Ling, despite being
ranked five places above the player from Hong Kong.
Also through to the main draw is England’s Fiona Moverley, who
dispatched local player Jana Shiha in a fiercely-contested five-game
battle, with former World Champion Rachael Grinham and France’s
Coline Aumard joining her in qualifying.
In the men’s draw, home player Mohamed Reda beat fourth qualifying
seed Omar Abdel Meguid for the first time since 2013 to earn his
place in the main draw courtesy of a straight games victory over the
"Meguid beat me the last couple of times and I guess that today was
my turn," Reda said.
"It was my day, he didn’t play as well as he can play but I did I
"The third was crucial, he was up 8-4, he was volleying beautifully,
so I went back to basics, keeping the rallies going with tight
squash. I’m very happy to win 3-0 and I’m looking forward to another
day of squash."
Top qualifying seed Karim Ali Fathi is also through after beating
Shehab Essam and he will take on Spain’s Borja Golan in round one,
while there was also triple success for England after Chris Simpson,
Joshua Masters and Ben Coleman all claimed wins - with the latter of
that trio overturning a 2-0 deficit against the in-form Tsz Fung
March’s PSA Men’s Player of the Month Nafiizwan Adnan is also
through to the main draw action after he defeated India’s Mahesh
Mangaonkar and he faces a difficult test in round one, where he will
look to get the better of World No.1 and 2016 El Gouna International
winner Mohamed ElShorbagy.
France’s Lucas Serme and German’s Raphael Kandra were the other
players to claim wins on the final day of qualification.
The main draw of the 2018 El Gouna International begins tomorrow,
while selected matches from the glass court staged at the El Gouna
Marina will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport
Player (Europe only) from 18:30 local time (GMT+2).
Matches not held on the glass court will be staged at the El Gouna
Squash Complex, which hosted the qualifying action, from 12:00 local
El Sherbini and El Welily on Course to Meet in Final
of First Women’s El Gouna International
No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World Champion Raneem El Welily are seeded
to meet in the final of the first ever women’s El Gouna
International between April 20-27 after the draw for the PSA World
Series tournament - which takes place at the El Gouna Marina - was
El Sherbini and El Welily contested the final of the women’s PSA
World Championships at this venue 12 months ago, with the former
prevailing on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea to claim a second World
This year’s tournament features a women’s World Series tournament
alongside the men’s event for the first time in history, with a
total prize fund of $330,000 split equally between both draws.
El Sherbini and El Welily are joined in a top-class draw that also
features the likes of Windy City Open champion Nour El Tayeb, the
in-form New Zealander Joelle King, former World No.1 Laura Massaro
and eight-time World Champion Nicol David.
El Sherbini gets her tournament under way against England’s Emily
Whitlock in round one, while El Welily, El Tayeb, King, Massaro and
David all face qualifiers.
Should the tournament go to seeding, El Sherbini will line up
against Massaro in the semi-finals, while the other last four
fixture will be contested between El Welily and El Tayeb.
Meanwhile, there is a return to action for former World No.4 Omneya
Abdel Kawy, who makes her first PSA World Tour appearance since
January 2017 after taking time off the tour due the birth of her
son, Selim, in September.
The 32-year-old will play Hong Kong’s World No.22 Joey Chan in round
one and could come up against Massaro in the second round.
World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy heads up the men’s draw opposite
number two seed and defending champion Gregory Gaultier, who faces
Egyptian maverick Mazen Hesham in the opening round, while
ElShorbagy will line up against a qualifier.
ElShorbagy is set to meet younger brother Marwan in the semi-finals
as he looks to improve on last year’s quarter-final finish, where he
lost out to Marwan in what was only the younger ElShorbagy’s second
win over his older sibling.
World No.2 Ali Farag is seeded to meet Gaultier in the other
semi-final, with the 25-year-old Harvard-graduate playing
Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller in round one.
Last year’s runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad also features and he plays
Hong Kong’s Leo Au in the opening round of action.
The qualifying rounds take place between April 18-19 at the El Gouna
Squash Complex, while the main draw will be staged between April
20-27, with matches split between the glass court situated at El
Gouna Marina and the qualification venue.
Points for the PSA World Series Standings are also up for grabs as
players aim to join the ElShorbagy brothers, Farag, Tarek Momen,
Simon Rösner, El Sherbini, El Tayeb, El Welily and King in
guaranteeing a top eight berth on the standings, which brings with
it qualification for June's PSA World Series Finals.
Glass court action from the main draw will be shown live on SQUASHTV
(Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while matches
from the semi-finals and finals will be broadcast live on mainstream
channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox
Sports Australia and Astro.
Main Draw – 2018 Men’s El Gouna International
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Qualifier
Paul Coll (NZL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Leo Au (HKG)
Diego Elias (PER) v Qualifier
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Qualifier
Qualifier v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Qualifier
Max Lee (HKG) v Qualifier
[WC] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cesar Salazar (EGY) v Qualifier
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Qualifier
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Main Draw – 2018 Women’s El Gouna International
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Emily Whitlock (EGY)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Salma Hany (EGY)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
[WC] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
Qualifier v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Qualifier
Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
Qualifier v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Qualifier
Qualifier v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Qualifier
Qualifier v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)