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NetSuite Open 2018


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NetSuite Open 2018
Men's Draw
27 Sep - 02 Oct
 San Francisco, USA, $118k
Round two
28 Sep
29-30 Sep
01 Oct
02 Oct
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
11-3, 10-12, 11-3, 13-11 (61m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Mohamed ElShorbagy
11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
Mohamed ElShorbagy
7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (65m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
Mohamed ElShorbagy
11-9, 13-11, 4-11,
11-9 (64m)
Ali Farag
[5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2 (50m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY)
[7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4 (47m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Karim Abdel Gawad
7-11, 11-6, 11-6,
13-11 (74m)
Tarek Momen
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY)
9-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7 (71m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[4] Simon Rösner (GER)
11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (26m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
Simon Rösner
11-3, 11-5, 11-8 (42m)
Gregory Gaultier
Gregory Gaultier
2-11, 11-6, 9-11,
11-5, 13-11 (77m)
Ali Farag
[6] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-5, 11-9, 11-3 (39m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[8] Diego Elias (PER)
11-7, 10-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (86m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Diego Elias
11-5, 11-8, 11-1 (33m)
Ali Farag
James Willstrop (ENG)
11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)
Ali Farag (EGY)
Round One

Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (42m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (49m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-2: 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7 (68m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5 (63m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 15-13, 11-7 (52m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [WC] Charlie Johnson (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (32m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 12-10 (34m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (55m)

NetSuite Open 2018
Women's Draw
27 Sep - 02 Oct
 San Francisco, USA, $88k
Round two
28 Sep
30 sep-01 Oct
02 Oct
[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN)
Raneem El Welily
11-3, 11-6, 12-10 (30m)
Alison Waters
Raneem El Welily
11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (28m)
Laura Massaro
Raneem El Welily
11-9, 11-7, 9-11,
7-11, 11-7 (57m)
Sarah-Jane Perry
[7] Alison Waters (ENG)
11-7, 13-11, 11-6 (33m)
Coline Aumard (FRA)
[6] Nicol David (MAS)
11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (26m)
Fiona Moverley (ENG)
Nicol David
9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (49m)
Laura Massaro
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG)
6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
Donna Lobban (AUS)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA)
11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9 (41m)
Amanda Sobhy (USA)
Camille Serme
5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 (55m)
Annie Au
Annie Au
 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (25m)
Sarah-Jane Perry
[8] Annie Au (HKG)
11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (28m)
Milou van der Heijden (NED)
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
11-4, 11-5, 12-10 (28m)
Salma Hany (EGY)
Sarah-Jane Perry
7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6 (42m)
Joelle King
Nadine Shahin (EGY)
11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (28m)
Joelle King (NZL
Round One

Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (25m)
Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (41m)
Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-2 (24m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7 (42m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (23m)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (22m)
Coline Aumard (FRA) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-1: 11-3, 6-11, 11-7, 11-2 (38m)

Farag Dethrones ElShorbagy As England’s Perry Retains Oracle NetSuite Open Title

A sublime performance from start to finish saw Egypt’s World No.2 Ali Farag defeat 2017 tournament champion and World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final of the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open to claim his first major title in nine months on an evening of play that also saw England’s Sarah-Jane Perry stun World Champion Raneem El Welily to successfully retain the title she won here twelve months ago.

Farag, who lost four of five meetings with ElShorbagy during the 2017/18 campaign, underlined his intention to challenge his compatriot for the coveted World No.1 ranking spot this season with a clinical display that saw him nullify ElShorbagy’s power and pace to prevail an 11-9, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9 winner.

There was little to separate the pair as they battled it out for 64 minutes of spell binding action on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, trading points tit-for-tat during a series of physically punishing rallies to the delight of the crowd. But it was Farag who settled quicker, using his relaxed attacking style to edge a tight opening game, before doubling the lead courtesy of a dramatic second-game tie-break.

ElShorbagy replied in style to dominate the third game before Farag once again enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the fourth to come through and win his first tournament since February’s Swedish Open.

“I’m feeling great right now, I’m very, very happy to have won this title,” said Farag.

“When I first saw the entry list I thought I would withdraw from playing because the draw was so strong. But my mentor Karim Darwish told me that I should play the event and show people that they should be scared when seeing my name in the draw - that is the kind of mentality that I need to have if I hope to be World No.1 some day.

“I wasn’t at my best last night (against Gaultier) but I was optimistic that I would play at a higher level tonight because sometimes you need matches like that to help get you into the rhythm.

“Tonight against Mohamed I had to be on my mettle throughout. He’s a great champion and such a determined fighter - which he showed even when I was ahead in the fourth game, so I’m very glad I managed to get this last few points.

“Last season I got off to a strong start but I couldn’t carry it through until the end of the season. I was maybe mentally tired towards the end of the year so I’m trying to learn from that experience and be more consistent this season and now I’m really looking forward to going to the U.S Open to defend that title next week.

“Winning there with Nour last year has been the highlight of my career so hopefully we can do it again this time.”

Speaking afterwards ElShorbagy said: “He played great tonight - he’s been the best player here all week. But it’s a long season so hopefully I can get back at him at an event coming up.”

After storming through the women’s draw to book a place in the final without dropping a game El Welily, the 29-year-old World No.2, picked up where she left off during the opening exchanges of the women’s final as she raced into an early 6-1 lead to set up what looked certain to be a comfortable opening first game.

But World No.8 Perry responded to the challenge, finding her own lethal streak mid-way through to swing the game on its head and take the opener 11-9 against the run of play. Buoyed by her comeback in the first, Perry continued to enjoy a purple patch as she dominated the second to double her advantage - leaving El Welily searching for a way to stop the onslaught.

The Egyptian though responded in kind, lifting her level once again to engage Perry in rally after rally of physically testing and tactically probing squash. With the finishing line in sight at 9-7 though a series of errors from the racket of Perry gifted El Welily a reprieve, and she took full advantage to gain a lifeline on the scoreboard before taking the fourth in just eight minutes to level the scores.

The crucial fifth and final game began with a series of cat-and-mouse exchanges with little to separate them but from 4-4 Perry turned the screw to set up match ball at 10-4. A series of sumptuous winners saw El Welily threaten to extend the match into a tie-break but Perry finally sealed the match, and her second Oracle NetSuite Open title, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7.

“I’m speechless,” said Perry afterwards. “She was making me work so hard and any time there was even a slight chance she was punishing me.

“I had to play as clever as I have ever done before and I was absolutely knackered in that fifth game but I just forced myself to keep pushing. I knew I was playing well and that I didn’t have to chance much tactically, I just had to execute.

“But even at 10-4 up she was coming back and she hit some fantastic shots to get it back to 10-7 so there was a lot of relief at the end alongside the elation.

“I dedicated the win here last year to my Nan (who passed away shortly before the event). My mum said she’s be looking down watching over me tonight as well so this one is defiantly for her again.”

After the match El Welily said: “Obviously I’m disappointed to lose tonight but Sarah-Jane played very well and deserved the win.”
World No.2 Farag Foils Gaultier To Join World No.1 ElShorbagy In Final

World No.2 Ali Farag escaped the clutches of defeat by saving two match balls to defeat in-form Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in a thrilling 77 minute five-game battle and set up a championship showdown against World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final off the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open - the PSA World Tour Gold event taking place in San Francisco.

Under the shadow of the city’s iconic Ferry Building 26-year-old Farag twice came from a game-down to take the match to a decisive fifth-game, which went all the way to a nail-biting tie-break that saw both men squander match balls before the Egyptian finally secured his place in the final courtesy of an 2-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 13-11 win.

The match began with 35-year-old Gaultier totally outclassing Farag, storming out of the gates to take an early 6-0 lead and secure the opening game. Farag duly responded in the second, slowing the pace to swing momentum in his favour and level the scoreboards before etc duo traded points back and forth en route to the tense climax that saw Farag book a berth in the 24th final of his career.

“I’m over the moon to come through with a win, he outplayed me for most of that match,” said Farag.

“But sometimes it isn’t the better player who wins. Sometimes you just have to find a way out and that’s what I did today - I tried to focus on hitting the back corners and playing basic and it worked.

“I was very tense at the start and struggled to find my short game. I had to accept there were going to be times when he would be in control but I just tried to make it as hard as possible and make the rallies a long as possible - I was absorbing a lot but it paid off in the end.

“I’m very excited to face Mohamed in the final tomorrow. He brings the best out of me every time we play. I have trained very hard over the summer and worked on some specific things which I hope I can apply tomorrow.”

Farag will now go up against ElShorbagy after the 27-year-old prevailed in a compelling four-game encounter with compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad that saw him bounce back from losing the opening game to come through an 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 winner.

The match, a repeat of the 2017 tournament final, saw Gawad, who largely disappointed during the 2017/18 season, hitting clean, crips lines and moving with languid freedom reminiscent of the form that saw him clinch the World title in 2016.

But ElShorbagy proved equal to the task, responding to the challenge by increasing the pace and using his ferocious hitting power to counter Gawad’s guile and come through a riveting match that saw the duo duel through a series of captivating exchanges, trading points back and forth to the delight of the crown on the Embarcadero.

“I’m really happy to be back in the final once again,” said ElShorbagy. “I came here for the first time last year and it was a great experience so I’m looking forward to having the chance to defend the title tomorrow.

“We were playing a lot of very tough rallies out there - it was a high quality match - and I think that third game was crucial. He’s such a smooth player that you have to accept that there will be times when he will make you look like a fool. But you just have to accept that and come through it and find a way to win.

“Last season he wasn’t at his best. Sometimes you have those periods but it’s great to see him back and hungry again but I’m very happy I managed to get the win against him today.”

The women’s final will see World Champion Raneem El Welily, who booked her place in the decider with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Laura Massaro yesterday, go up against defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry after the Englishwoman swept aside the challenge of Hong Kong’s Annie Au with a ruthless 3-0 win.

Perry, who beat eight-time World Champion Nicol David in the title-decider twelve months ago in what was the biggest win of her career, was in complete control from the outset as she picked Au apart from the off set, taking the opening game for the loss of just four points and continued to enjoy complete control as she wrapped up the match in just 25 minutes.

“I’ve got fantastic memories here from last year.

“Tomorrow against Raneem I have no expectations. I just have to go out and do the best I can. I watched the match yesterday between Raneem and Laura so I know how well she’s playing at the moment but I’ll give it my best tomorrow to try and defend the title.”
Commanding Displays See Gaultier And Farag Set Up San Francisco Semi Clash

Egyptian World No.2 Ali Farag and World No.7 Gregory Gaultier of France are set to meet in a mouth-watering semi-final encounter at the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open, PSA World Tour Gold event taking place in San Francisco, after the pair dominated their quarter-final encounters against Diego Elias and Simon Rösner, respectively.

Playing with laser-like accuracy and moving with a speed and guile that belies his 36-years, Gaultier, three-time tournament champion, was simply rampant as he put Rösner, World No.5, to the sword 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 on the stunning all-glass court situated at the foot of the city’s iconic Ferry Building.

From the outset the Frenchman was in complete control, denying Rösner any opportunity to use his height and power to good use. An awkward lunge mid-way through the second game, which looked to have jarred Gaultier’s knee, threatened to derail the charge but Gaultier gamely pressed on and, after taking the second, continued to go from strength-to-strength to book his place in the semi-finals.

“I had a day off yesterday after the second round match so I took full advantage of that to rest my body and be as sharp as possible tonight,” said Gaultier.

“I have been training well over the summer and feel like I am on the way back towards my peak once again. I’m doing the best I can to compete against all the young players on Tour and show that even at my age I can get back to my best and challenge.

“I had a great year last year, but then had a bad run of getting injuries but fingers crossed this year I can play injury free because I have more goals that I want to achieve.”

Gaultier’s opponent, 26-year-old Farag, was equally sublime as he made light work of World No.11 Diego Elias, recording an emphatic 33-minute straight game victory through which he rarely looked troubled.

“Most of our matches have gone to the wire in the past,” said Farag afterwards.

“He’s such a sound player but I did my homework this morning and knew what I had to do. It never felt convincing on there but thankfully I managed to do it well and play attacking squash.

“I’m very glad that I’ve put in a few good performances this week so far. I’ve never made it past the fist round here before so I’m really glad to be in the semis and hopefully there’s two more matches to come for me.”

In the women’s draw World Champion and tournament top seed Raneem El Welily dispatched England’s Laura Massaro, the World No.6 and former World No.1, in just 28 minutes, playing with free-flowing attacking accuracy to come through an 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 winner and book her place in the final on her first ever appearance at the event.

“I’m really happy to be through to the final,” said El Welily. “Playing Laura is always very tough. She’s mentally so strong.

“I’m trying to do my best every point, and in every rally and see where that takes me. I’m playing here for the first time and it’s a beautiful location - even more impressive in real than I thought it would be from pictures - so I want to make the most of it.”

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets
Hong Kong’s Au Stuns Serme As Seeds Falter In San Francisco

A display of impressive resolve and patience saw Hong Kong’s Annie Au, the World No.11, twice come from behind to score a surprise defeat of World No.5 Camille Serme of France in the quarter-finals of the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open on a day that also saw World No.4 Joelle King exit the PSA World Tour event taking place in San Francisco, USA.

The diminutive 29-year-old Au, a Gold Medal winner at the Asian Games this summer, hadn’t beaten Serme since 2011 but continued to display the type of relaxed and composed squash that has propelled her to victories over the likes of World No.1 Nour ElSherbini during the past month as she countered Serme’s physicality with intelligent attacking play and pace variation.

After coming from behind in the fourth game to force the match into a decider, Au profited mid-way through the fifth when the pressure and expectation of winning looked to play on Serme’s mind, leading to a series of error’s from the racket of the Frenchwoman that gifted Au the advantage.

“I’m feeling really happy - its been long time since I beat her,” said Au. “She’s been playing very well over the last few years so I’m very happy with my performance today.

“We had the Asian Games this summer, which is a very important event for Hong Kong, and I think that has helped me start the season in good form. I knew today I had to patient and that there would be a lot of long rallies. But I tried to relax and just go for my shots when there was an opening.

“There was no pressure on me and I could see she was tense so I tried to make the most of it. I’m very excited now to have the chance to play on the glass court here. It’s an amazing location so I’m looking forward to it”

Au will go up against 2017 tournament champion Sarah-Jane Perry in the semi-finals - in a match that will be played in an all-glass court set up in the shadow of the San Francisco Ferry Building - after the Englishwoman came from a game down to overthrow second seeded Joelle King and keep the defence of her title - the biggest of her career to date - alive.

New Zealand’s World No.4 King was on fire during the opener, leaving Perry searching for a way to counter the momentum, and looked to be en route to doubling her lead before Perry mounted a huge comeback late in the second game, saving multiple game balls to overturn the momentum to level the scores.

As the third game progressed King’s movement began to falter and Perry made the most of the opportunity to power through and complete a 3-1 win.

“I was being very predictable in the first game,” said Perry.

“I’ve never beaten her before but I tried to put that out of my mind before the match. I really enjoy playing here in San Francisco. I’ve done amazingly well here and the title last year was the biggest of my career.

“I haven’t looked past this match in the draw, it was a huge match against Joelle. I’d love to do really well again but it’s one match at a time for now and I’m excited for another semi-final now.”

The second semi-final will see current World Champion Raneem El Welily, who dispatched England’s Alison Waters in straight-games, take on 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro after the World No.7 prevailed in a highly competitive four-game match with eight-time World Champion Nicol David in what was the duo’s 33rd meeting on the PSA World Tour.

Malaysian David enjoyed a comprehensive 3-0 victory when the pair last met at the China Open earlier this month but Massaro gained revenge courtesy of a feisty display that saw her go from one-game down to see out a 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 win.

“The second game in particular was huge today,” said Massaro. “The first three games were all very tight and could have gone either way because the rallies were long and hard and well contested.

“She played so well in China - especially in comparison to how she played last season - and I underestimated her in that match I think. Today I was fully prepared for the physicality she would bring to the match and I’m really pleased with how I stayed focused and came through it.”

In the men’s draw defending champion and World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy produced a masterclass to beat World No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez of Colombia, the man he lost to in the final of the British Open in May, and underline his position as the man to beat this week.

ElShorbagy began his defence with a comfortable defeat of Frenchman Gregoire Marche yesterday and he continued to go from strength-to-strength against the dynamic and dangerous Rodriguez, playing with guile, patience and deadly attacking intent when necessary to come away with an 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 victory.

“Miguel obviously beat me in the final of British Open and completely deserved it,” said ElShorbagy. “I know just how hard he works and his success as recovering from a drop in form to get back to number six in the world shows his strength of character.

“As much as I was disappointed to lose the British, it was great for the sport to have a South American win the event, but today I was happy that it was me who won our first battle of the season

“Every-time you go on court the conditions are different. I’ve got the experience to know that and I’m really happy to be back on court and playing here in San Francisco and I’m looking forward to the semi-finals now.”

ElShorbagy will go up against compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in the last four after he prevailed in a difficult encounter with World No.4 Tarek Momen.

Gawad, the 2016 World Champion, had no answer to Momen’s attacking weapons in the first game but he switched the match on its head in the second before storming home an 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 winner.

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.
Defending Champions Perry And ElShorbagy Through To Quarters

2017 Oracle NetSuite Open champions Sarah-Jane Perry and Mohamed ElShorbagy began the defences of their respective titles with victories over Egyptian Salma Hany and Frenchman Gregoire Marche on a busy second day of action at the PSA World Tour event taking place in San Francisco.

Victory here twelve months ago set the foundations for ElShorbagy to dominate during the 2017/18 season, with the Egyptian going on to claim the World Championship crown and regain the World No.1 ranking, and his bid to begin the 2018/19 campaign in a similar vein began in style with a comfortable 3-1 defeat of the dangerous.

After the pair traded the opening two games, ElShorbagy injected his ferocious trademark pace and power into the play to send Marche into all four corners of the court and make each and every rally difficult for the Frenchman. While Marche gamely stuck with him, ElShorbagy ultimately had to much quality at the critical moments and prevailed 11-3, 10-12, 11-3, 13-11 after just over an hour of play.

“I knew the danger of playing against him in first game of season, I had to be sharp and I had to play well to beat him today,” said ElShorbagy, who will now face Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the last eight.

“I started well here last year and proved a lot of things to myself during the season. But I have more to prove and I want to get better every day. I know what it feels to lose the number one spot and I want to make sure that I only lose it again when someone raises the bar over me, not because of me losing hunger or motivation like before.”

Rodriguez secured his place to face ElShorbagy with a 3-1 win over the maverick Mazen Hesham, while World No.4 Tarek Momen prevailed in the match of the day, coming through a thrilling 71-minute clash, full of outlandish winners, pulsating rallies and unbelievable court coverage, against Indian Saurav Ghosal by a narrow 9-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7 margin.

“We play a very similar game,” said Momen. “He’s a very tough opponent so I’m just very pleased to get through today

“It was my first match of the season and it’s sometimes hard to get into the zone so I’m really happy that I was able to regroup mentally at the end.

“Last year was the best season I’ve had on Tour. A couple of wins at the beginning gave me some confidence and I was consistent throughout. I’m hoping to building on that momentum this season and hopefully go further and winning some titles.”

Momen will face 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarter-finals, which will also see Simon Rösner of Germany and French former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier face-off with Peru’s Diego Elias taking on World No.2 Ali Farag.

In the women’s draw 28-year-old Perry, who claimed the biggest title-win of her career here last year, began her title-defence with a comprehensive straight-games win over Egyptian Salma Hany to set up a last eight clash with second seed Joelle King of New Zealand.

World Champion Raneem El Welily will face Alison Waters of England after both secured comfortable wins while one of the longest running rivalries on the women’s tour will be reignited when eight-time World Champion Nicol David and 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro of England go head-to-head.

The pair met at the China Open earlier this month, when David secured a 3-0 win, and Massaro will be hoping to gain revenge for that after overcoming an early one-game deficit against Australian Donna Lobban to book her last eight berth.

“Donna is a very dangerous player who mixes it up a lot so you have to be focused against her,” said Massaro.

“I found my range better the more the match went on. She played well in the first game and I had to adjust and mix things up tactically and it paid off in the end.

“I’m just pleased to have come through and get the win and be into the next round.”

Speaking after her victory over Fiona Moverley, David said: “I was very pleased with how I played today and the performance I put in.

“I took some time off at the end of last season and really felt that hunger come back. I’ve had a good few months so far with the Asian Games and other events so I’m excited to keep building on that through this week and the season.”

Hong Kong’s Annie Au will go up against Camille Serme of France in the last quarter-final.

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website: www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.

Mixed Fortunes For American Hopes As NetSuite Open Gets Underway

There were mixed fortunes for America’s two top ranked female squash players Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford in the first round of the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open as the PSA World Tour event got underway today in San Francisco.

Sobhy, the highest ranked American-born female player of all-time, was in scintillating form as she romped to a straight-games victory over Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham.

The 25-year-old, who missed most of the 2017-18 season after rupturing her achilles tendon, played with aggression from the outset and utilised her full attacking arsenal to secure an 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 win after just 22 minutes of play.

“I’ve worked really hard this summer and had a good training block to work on the issues that developed after the injury and on any imbalances in my movement,” said Sobhy, who will now face number three seed Camille Serme of France in the second round.

“Rachael in incredibly tricky to play and hits some incredible shots, so I’m just happy to get a decent performance in and get that first win. I’ve played a few team events in the last month but its a completely different vibe at a major event so I’m happy to get that first one out of the way.

“I’m exited to play Camille tomorrow. I’m the underdog now and have no pressure on me but I want to go out there and prove that I belong on this stage. I want to get my ranking back to where it was before the injury and I’ll have the home crowd, and some friends, behind me so there’s even more incentive to win.”

Blatchford, who, following injury to Sobhy, has overtaken her as the US No.1, however fell to a 3-1 defeat to Frenchwoman Aumard on a day that also saw Milou van der Heijden, Donna Lobban, Fiona Moverley, Salma Hany, Hollie Naughton and Nadine Shahin book their places in the second round.

In the men’s event the opening round featured a compelling all-French battle between Mathieu Castagnet and Lucas Serme which went the way of Castagnet after 63-minutes of compelling, attritional squash.

The opening game alone lasted 20 minutes as the pair probed for openings before the more experienced Castagnet struck the first blow as he sneaked the opening game. The 31-year-old then doubled his lead courtesy of an equally tight second game and while Serme struck back to take a comfortable third, Castagnet regrouped to take control in the fourth game and complete the win.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries over the past few years so I’m just enjoying being on court and I’m trying to have fun out there as much as possible,” said Castagnet.

“We are friends but we both train very hard every day to win matches so we have to go on there and do a job. It’s a nightmare to play someone you know very well, but I’m just happy to have won and be in the next round, which I’m excited about.”

Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi prevailed in arguably the match of the day as he outlasted Mexican Cesar Salazar in a 68-minute five-game thriller, coming back from 6-3 down in the decisive fifth to clinch a second round berth where he will take on Germany’s Simon Rösner.

“I lost in my first tournament of the season in Pakistan before I came here so I was a bit nervous at the beginning,” said Fathi.

“I was trying to give it everything I’ve got. I was chasing everything and that got to his head, and I think that’s how I won. Sometimes you just have to throw tactics out the window and fight for everything. We were both tired and breathing hard at the end but I guess it went my way this time.”

England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop was amongst the other winners on the opening day as he beat Scoland’s Alan Clyne 3-0 with Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, Saurav Ghosal, Ryan Cuskelly, Gregoire Marche and Mazen Hesham also triumphing.

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website: www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.
Perry Opens Up on ‘Emotional’ Oracle NetSuite Open Title Win

England’s World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry will appear at the Oracle NetSuite Open, PSA World Tour Silver event in San Francisco later this week, 12 months after taking the biggest title of her career there in emotional scenes.

Perry, a runner-up in 2015, overcame compatriot Laura Massaro for the first time ever in the semi-finals of the 2017 edition, before launching an astonishing comeback from two games down against Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David in the final to claim her most significant title to date.

What followed was an outpouring of emotion from Perry, who revealed that the death of her grandmother shortly before the tournament gave her extra determination to fight for the trophy.

"Last year was very special to me" said Birmingham-born Perry.

"It was my biggest PSA title so far and I had to fight so hard in the semis and the final.

"I was so emotional at the end because my nan passed away just before and I wanted to win so badly for her. She was one of my favourite people and she was always very proud of me, so I was determined to fight until the end."

In addition to her Oracle NetSuite Open triumph, Perry enjoyed a fruitful 2016/17 season which saw her reach a career-high World No.6 ranking in addition to securing a place at the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals for a second successive season.

The 28-year-old is targeting a top four spot by the end of the new campaign and, after a quarter-final finish at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open earlier this month, is aiming to find her best form in San Francisco.

"History says I do well here and, whilst the draw is even stronger this year, I'm confident I can perform well and hopefully that will win me some matches," she said.

"My goals this season are to consolidate my top eight spot and get some results against the girls above me, I would love to be top four by the end of the season. The World Championships in Chicago is obviously the main event to aim for.

"Summer training went really well, I didn't manage to put everything into practice in China, but hopefully I can here. Consistency is something I've been working hard to improve, without losing my own style of play."

Perry will begin her 2017/18 campaign in San Francisco against either World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby or World No.15 Salma Hany in the second round after after the number five seed received a bye into the last 16.

Also appearing in the women’s draw are the likes of World Champion Raneem El Welily, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Joelle King and former champions Massaro and Amanda Sobhy, while World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy headlines the men’s tournament.

The tournament’s largest ever prize fund of $206K is split between the men’s and women’s tournaments - both of which will feature a 24-player draw after the new PSA tour structure came into effect on August 1, while the tournament will take place on San Francisco's Embarcadero Plaza between September 27 - October 2.

First and second round action will be played at the Bay Club Redwood Shores, Squash Zone, Bay Club San Francisco, the Olympic Club and the University Club, while the quarter-finals onwards will be held at the all-glass Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess court erected on Embarcadero Plaza from September 29 – October 2.

Fixtures shown on the glass court will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website: www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.

World No.1 ElShorbagy to Kick Off Season in San Francisco this Week

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy will play his first tournament of the season at the Oracle NetSuite Open between September 27 - October 2 as he aims to defend the title he won with style last year at San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza.

ElShorbagy’s debut appearance at this tournament 12 months ago culminated in a final victory over fellow Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, which laid the foundations for a dominant season for the 27-year-old from Alexandria, who went on to claim seven further PSA Tour titles - including a maiden PSA World Championship crown - and returned to the summit of the PSA World Rankings.

Speaking ahead of the PSA World Tour Gold event, ElShorbagy outlined how much he enjoyed the tournament last year and says he is raring to go after the summer break which saw him link up once again with coach and two-time World Champion David Palmer, one of the key figures behind the Egyptians resurgence during the last campaign.

"I absolutely loved my time last year in San Fran," said ElShorbagy.

"I really did enjoy the tournament, and it’s not a surprise knowing [Tournament Promoter] John Nimick over the years. He has always known how to make the tournaments he has done very enjoyable, professional and very comfortable for the players to just focus on their game during his events.

"My summer training has been going well with mixing it between training in Bristol and now at Cornell [University] with [David] Palmer before the season starts. Of course, before I start my summer training I start to analyse myself first on what kind of weaknesses in my game I need to improve and work on, and I have been working on a few things this summer that will hopefully improve my game for next season."

ElShorbagy’s dominant 2017/18 campaign came off the back of a disappointing 2016/17 season, which saw him lose his grip on the World No.1 spot and pick up just one major title.

However, the Bristol-based powerhouse says that the experience gained in suffering that slump in form has helped him scale new heights over the past 12 months and he envisages becoming an even better player during the upcoming season than the one who dominated the PSA Tour over the previous campaign.

"I have already proved a lot of things last season with my comeback to the top," he said.

"But I have been to the top before and lost it and I know how it made me feel, and this time if I lose it I want to lose it because someone else raised the bar over me, because someone else played better than me, not because I lost hunger or motivation.

"I think that’s always the advantage I will have, that I went through a lot of phases in my career at such a young age and that I have gained a lot of experiences, and now getting back to the top with that kind of experience, it will definitely make it harder for someone to get me out of it this time.

"Hopefully I am going to be better next season. All I want is to be better than the player I was last season, that’s my main competition right now."

ElShorbagy will headline a star-studded line-up in San Francisco alongside the likes of U.S. Open champion Ali Farag, Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner and British Open champion Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

A women’s PSA World Tour Silver event will also be held, with top seed and World Champion Raneem El Welily, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Joelle King and eight-time World Champion Nicol David just some of the big names that will compete to dethrone defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry, who also features.

A record prize fund of $206K is split between the men’s and women’s tournaments, both of which will feature a 24-player draw after the new PSA tour structure came into effect on August 1.

First and second round action will be split between the Bay Club Redwood Shores, Squash Zone, Bay Club San Francisco, the Olympic Club and the University Club, while the quarter-finals onwards will be held at the all-glass Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess court erected on Embarcadero Plaza from September 29 - October 2.

Fixtures shown on the glass court will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.

United States Harrity Secures PSA World Championships Place

The player entry list for the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open has been confirmed with Egyptian reigning world champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily headlining the men’s and women’s events, respectively, and the strongest field in tournament history set to descend on San Francisco, September 27-October 2.

The Oracle NetSuite Open boasts one of the most unique and eye-catching venues in squash and this year celebrates its seventh year held on Embarcadero Plaza, which is located on the spectacular San Francisco waterfront in front of the famous Ferry Building.

Defending champion ElShorbagy will appear alongside world No. 2 Ali Farag in the men’s draw, which boasts eight of the world’s top 10, including British Open champion Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Tournament of Champions winner Simon Roesner, and past Oracle NetSuite Open champions Gregory Gaultier and Ramy Ashour, who will join the battle for honors at the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

In the women’s tournament, El Welily makes her first ever appearance at the event and competes in a draw full to the brim with world-class players, including 2016 winner Laura Massaro, defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry and the player she beat in the final, Nicol David.

Perry’s title-winning displays last October made up for a runner-up finish at the 2015 installment, where she lost to United States favorite Amanda Sobhy. Sobhy missed last year’s tournament due to an achilles injury but she makes her return this year to join compatriot Olivia Blatchford in the draw of the PSA World Tour Silver women’s event.

The Oracle NetSuite Open is one of the most highly-anticipated tournaments on the PSA World Tour and offers in excess of $200,000 worth of prize money across both draws.

The prestige of the tournament and the lucrative prize purse has helped draw in stars from across the world, with seventeen different nationalities represented across both the men’s and women’s events.

Squash fans can follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website: www.oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.