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14/03/2020
Black Ball Open 2020

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History | 2019 Event | 2018 Event

Black Ball Open 2020
Women's Draw
08 - 14 Mar
Cairo, Egypt, $180k

ROUND TWO
  9 - 10 FEB
ROUND THREE
  11 FEB
QUARTERS
  12 FEB
SEMIS
  13 FEB
FINAL
 14 FEB

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
11-8, 7-11, 11-2, 11-4 (36m)
Alexandra Fuller (RSA)

Raneem El Welily
Walkover
Yathreb Adel




Raneem El Welily

11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 (72m)
Nour El Tayeb
Nour El Tayeb
9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (46m)
Nour El Sherbini
Nour El Sherbini
11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11
Hania El Hammamy
[12] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (32m)
Joey Chan (HKG)
[16] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (26m)
Donna Lobban (AUS)
Rowan Elaraby
11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (32m)
Nour El Tayeb
[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (29m)
Tinne Gilis (BEL)
Farida Mohamed (EGY)
5-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (49m)
[6] Joelle King (NZL)
Farida Mohamed
11-5, 13-11, 11-7 (34m)
Coline Aumard
Coline Aumard
11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (27m)
Nour El Sherbini
Coline Aumard (FRA)
3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2 (70m)
[11] Salma Hany (EGY)
[15] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 12-10 (52m)
Hana Ramadan (EGY)
Nadine Shahin
11-2, 11-6, 11-5 (20m)
Nour El Sherbini
Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (31m)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA)
11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (26m)
Melissa Alves (FRA)
Camille Serme
9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11 (73m)
Hania El Hammamy
Hania El Hammamy
11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 (40m)
Amanda Sobhy
Hania El Hammamy
11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6
Sarah-Jane Perry
 
[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (25m)
Mayar Hany (EGY)
[13] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (58m)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
Olivia Blatchford Clyne
11-9, 11-2, 11-5 (30m)
Amanda Sobhy
[8] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
11-7, 11-6, 11-2 (23m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (26m)
Emily Whitlock (ENG)
Sarah-Jane Perry
11-7, 11-5, 12-10 (38m)
Nele Gilis
Sarah-Jane Perry
12-10, 11-7, 11-3 (31m)
Nada Abbas

 

[14] Nele Gilis (BEL)
11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (25m)
Rachael Grinham (AUS)
[10] Joshna Chinappa (IND)
11-4, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 (49m)
Nada Abbas (EGY)
Nada Abbas
Walkover
Nouran Gohar
Hollie Naughton (CAN)
11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (45m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)

ROUND ONE

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bye
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Menna Nasser (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 11-4, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8 (39m)
[12] Yathreb Adel (EGY) bye
[16] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bye
Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) 11-3, 11-9, 11-8 (23m)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 11-4, 11-7, 11-2 (19m)
[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bye
[6] Joelle King (NZL) bye
Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3 (56m)
Coline Aumard (FRA) bt Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (43m)
[11] Salma Hany (EGY) bye
[15] Nadine Shahin (EGY) bye
Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Rachael Chadwick (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-4 (35m)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bye
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bye
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 11-4, 11-3, 11-1 (27m)
Mayar Hany (EGY) bt Nadia Pfister (SUI) 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5 (30m)
[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bye
[13] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bye
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [WC] Salma Youssef (EGY) 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (20m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Rachel Arnold (MAS) 8-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (39m)
[8] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bye
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bye
Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10 (53m)
Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [WC] Nour Khaled Aboulmakarim (EGY) 9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (67m)
[14] Nele Gilis (BEL) bye
[10] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bye
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 (56m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Tessa ter Sluis (NED) 13-11, 16-14, 11-6 (28m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bye

REPORTS

Day 7

El Hammamy Beats El Sherbini to be Crowned Black Ball Open Champion

Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy defied the odds to be crowned the 2020 CIB Women’s Black Ball Squash Open champion after beating four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the final in Cairo, Egypt to lift her maiden Platinum title.

19-year-old El Hammamy had already enjoyed an impressive week on home soil, taking out three higher seeded players in France’s World No.3 Camille Serme, USA’s World No.8 Amanda Sobhy and England’s World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry en route to the final. And the World No.10 further cemented her place at the top of the women’s game with a formidable performance against El Sherbini in a thrilling five-game battle.

El Hammamy and El Sherbini have met three times before with former World No.1 El Sherbini claiming comfortable victories each time. However, she came up against an entirely different prospect in the Black Ball Open final as El Hammamy showed how far she has come with a mature performance on one of squash’s biggest stages to hold off a resilient El Sherbini, who twice came back from a game down.

World No.10 El Hammamy took the opening game, taking advantage of a slow start from El Sherbini, before the reigning World Champion twice fought back to level the scores.

However, El Hammamy held her nerve at the crucial moment to save Championship ball from the grips of El Sherbini and then convert her own at the second time of asking on the tie-break to seal her maiden Platinum title.

The title win also means she has automatically qualified for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which are scheduled to take place in June.

“I’m out of words,” said El Hammamy. “I’m living a fairy tale. This morning, I was just hoping to play a good match, not like in the Worlds, after beating Camille [Serme] where I just didn’t show up. I just wanted to enjoy my first ever Platinum final, and prove to myself I’m not too far away from the top girls.

“I think I’ve played the toughest matches of my career this week. I’ve put in a lot of effort to win this title. I’m really proud of what I’ve done and hopefully I can keep going and keep making the same effort. I worked on my weaknesses, I improved my physical and squash game and I’m really pleased to be beating the top players now.

“I’ve played against Nour a few times and they were all straight-games. I kept learning from each match and playing against a four-time World Champion is not easy at all, she’s a fighter and a champion, I’m so happy to beat her today.”

El Sherbini added afterwards: “Hania showed today how much of a fighter she is and how much of a good player.

“She’s now there and has won her first Platinum event. Of course, I’m disappointed to lose, but it’s been very tough for me, playing a lot of tournaments, so I’ll try to forget this one and move onto the next one.”

The Black Ball Open is the final PSA World Tour event to take place until the end of April after the PSA announced yesterday the suspension of the PSA Tour due to COVID-19.
 
Day 6

El Hammamy and El Sherbini to Contest Black Ball Open Final

Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy and World No.4 Nour El Sherbini will contest the 2020 CIB Black Ball Open Squash final after they claimed respective wins over England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry and Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb in Cairo, Egypt.

World Junior Champion El Hammamy will feature in her first ever PSA Platinum event final after she twice survived a comeback against World No.7 Perry in a five-game thriller to advance to the tournament’s conclusion.

El Hammamy has enjoyed a formidable run on home soil in Cairo, beating France’s World No.3 Camille Serme and USA’s World No.8 Amanda Sobhy in the previous rounds, and the Egyptian ensured that streak continued as she played with experience beyond her years to take an 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 victory in 69 minutes.

“I’m over the moon,” said El Hammamy afterwards. “I can’t believe I’m playing in the final tomorrow. I think this is the toughest tournament I have ever played. I’ve had a lot of tough matches and I’m really proud of myself for pushing and winning such tough battles.

“SJ is very tricky. Whenever I gave her an opening or I changed my plan, she found herself and would take advantage of any loose ball or shot, so I had to be really consistent and stop making mistakes.

“I’ve been watching all the top players and have been dreaming of days like today and reaching these finals. I’ve worked so hard in the off season and in between tournaments to work on my weaknesses and I’m really pleased it’s paying off.”

El Hammamy will face reigning World Champion El Sherbini in the final after she recovered from a game down to beat compatriot and World No.5 El Tayeb in the semi-finals.

Former World No.1 El Sherbini reached the final in Cairo last year but was beaten to the title by World No.1 Raneem El Welily. However, last week’s Windy City Open champion ensured she will have another bite at the cherry as she took out El Tayeb in four games.

27-year-old El Tayeb picked up where she left off from last night’s five-game win against defending champion El Welily as she showed signs of getting back to her best form to take the first game.

It wasn’t long before El Sherbini was able to express her dominance in the match though and showcased her accurate shot-making skills to constantly keep El Tayeb at bay and close out 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 in 46 minutes to reach her fourth final of the season.

“Nour and I have been playing against each other for a long time now,” said El Sherbini. “It’s really good to see her playing back at near her best. I haven’t played for her a long time - I don’t think we’ve played this season. I was prepared for this match and I’m really pleased I won.

“It’s very tough mentally and physically playing two big events in a row. I’m really glad I’m in the final of another Platinum event and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match.

“Hania has been playing really well this week. She has beaten a lot of tough players, she’s very young to be in the final of a Platinum event, which is really good and hopefully it’s going to be a really good match.”

The final will take place on Saturday March 14 at 19:00 local time (GMT+2) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). 

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 

Day 5

El Tayeb Ousts Defending Champion El Welily to Reach Black Ball Open Semi-Finals

Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb took out defending champion and World No.1 Raneem El Welily in a thrilling five-game battle in Cairo, Egypt to reach the semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open.

It will be El Tayeb’s first semi-final at a PSA World Tour Platinum event since October’s U.S. Open, after she put in a confident display to take out El Welily, who beat Nour El Sherbini last year to win the inaugural title.

Both players pushed each other to their limits with the momentum of the match constantly swinging between the two talented Egyptians in the gruelling 72 minute clash.

El Tayeb, who recently won the Cleveland Classic PSA Bronze title, has suffered early round exits at the two previous Platinum events, but ensured she produced a performance of the highest calibre against the World No.1 in front of her home crowd in Cairo to come from 2-1 down and win 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9.

“She is the World No.1 and is one of my role models growing up,” said El Tayeb afterwards. “It’s easy to prepare for this match because there is very little pressure on me and I can’t believe I won. Every game and every point I was happy to be there because I am in a major quarter final for the first time in so long.

“After I won the first game, I thought that's good progress, a week ago I wouldn't have dreamed of taking a game off Raneem, so I told myself, if you lose the second game, it doesn't matter. And that helped me to keep pushing.”

El Tayeb will face reigning World Champion El Sherbini for a place in the final after she axed France’s Coline Aumard in straight-games to reach her fourth semi-final of the season.

Aumard, who was featuring in her first Platinum quarter final, was unable to prevent the charge of an in-form El Sherbini, who showed no signs of losing any momentum from her Windy City Open victory last week as she powered to an 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 win.

“Coline has been playing really well this tournament and has taken out two of the top Egyptian players,” said El Sherbini. “I was just trying to play my game and she was just coming back strong every game, so I’m really pleased to be in the semi-finals.

“It’s my fourth tournament and making it through to the semi-finals is really big for me and I’m really happy with my performance.

“It’s really hard mentally and physically [to play two Platinum events in a row]. My knee injury is not 100 per cent so to play two tournaments back to back is very hard to recover in between but I’m trying my best.”

The other semi-final will see England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry take on Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy after they claimed respective wins over Egypt’s Nada Abbas and USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

19-year-old El Hammamy, who reached the semi-finals of the PSA Women’s World Championship earlier this season, secured a big upset against France’s World No.3 Camille Serme in the last 16 and further backed that up today with a confident performance against Sobhy.

“It’s a second semi-final for me in a World Series tournament,” said El Hammamy afterwards. “It feels like a dream to be playing against all of the top players. I feel like I’m competing against them really well and pushing them hard, so it really feels good.

“Amanda is a very attacking player and she likes to hunt the volley. I wanted to escape that as much as I can, so I tried so hard to keep running and get every point because whenever I gave her an easy shot, she would go short.”

Meanwhile Perry, who has not dropped a game so far this week in Cairo, reached the last four at the Windy City Open in Chicago and will once again feature in a semi-final after she put in a professional performance to take out the unseeded Abbas.

Perry took a tight first game on the tie-break, with Abbas showing glimpses of having the potential to create an upset, however following that breakthrough for Perry she was able to cement her game plan and control the pace of the match to close out comfortably 12-10, 11-7, 11-3 in 31 minutes.

“Me and Nada have only played once before and that was a couple of years ago and she has improved so much, so I didn’t come into this one taking her lightly at all.

“There were a few more errors than I would have liked but I know that the way I play, there is always going to be a few errors. I just tried to stay focused and take the middle away from her and not let her wind up because she can be lethal.

“I watched Hania’s match against Camille [Serme] yesterday and their one in Chicago last week, she has been playing some fantastic squash and getting some really good results. She’s definitely earned that spot in the top ten and I don’t think she will be leaving there for a while. Hopefully it will be a battle of youth v experience and hopefully I come out on top.”

The semi-finals will take place on Friday March 13 at 19:00 local time (GMT+2) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). 

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Day 4

El Hammamy Beats Serme to Reach Black Ball Open Quarter Finals

Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy came from a game down to beat France’s World No.3 Camille Serme and reach the quarter finals of the 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo, Egypt.

The past two times the two players have faced each other have served up contenders for ‘Match of the Season’, with El Hammamy coming from two games down to win at the PSA Women’s World Championship in November and Serme winning a thrilling five-game battle in Chicago last week. And today, proved no different as El Hammamy and Serme displayed their athleticism and skilful prowess to impress the crowd gathered inside the Black Ball Sporting Club.

Serme got off to the better start, playing calm and composed squash to keep El Hammamy at bay and take the first game, before the Egyptian fought her way back into the tie in the second to level the scores.

Serme and El Hammamy demonstrated squash of the highest calibre in the third, but it was the World No.3 who broke away first to hold three game balls. However, El Hammamy showed her mental determination to save all three and push the third to a tie-break before duly converting her game ball on the second attempt to lead the match 2-1.

The two players continued to battle it out deep into the fourth with neither player able to take a big lead in the match. El Hammamy was the first to hold match ball but Serme kept pulling her back in each time until the 19-year-old Egyptian was able to convert on her third attempt to close out 9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11 in 73 minutes.

“It was such a hard match mentally and physically,” said El Hammamy afterwards. “I’m so pleased to be able to beat one of the players in the top five. Playing Camille is always physical, we both like to run even if the shot is perfect, we still go for it and keep getting the balls back, so it’s always tough to play against her. The rallies never end.

“At the beginning, I was a bit nervous, I wanted to make sure I produced a good level of squash as I did in our last two matches, and I so wanted to win. But I never felt comfortable on there, I was struggling with my length, and made a lot of unforced errors.

“But from the second on, I was able to calm down, and stick to my game plan, which was very simple, stay away from her volley, and when I was managing that, things were a bit better.”

El Hammamy will face USA’s World No.8 Amanda Sobhy in the next round after she claimed a straight-games victory to come out on top against compatriot Olivia Blatchford Clyne.

“I knew she had a battle yesterday with Sabrina [Sobhy], but she’s so fit, so I knew that she would get everything and I just had to make sure that I was relentless in the pace,” said Sobhy.

“If you look at all of the other sports out there, you see a lot of disparity between the men and women in prize money and so to be a part of a sport that is really pushing the equal prize money and sees the value in having the men and women seen as equal in payment is truly huge for the sport. I think nowadays being one of those leading sports that is so progressive in equality is fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Serme’s compatriot Coline Aumard reached her maiden Platinum quarter final after she beat Egypt’s World No.49 Farida Mohamed in straight-games to set up a last eight clash with World Champion Nour El Sherbini.

The 30-year-old Frenchwoman, who was sporting heavy tape and bandages around her right leg, played with confidence and focus to claim an 11-5, 13-11, 11-7 victory in 34 minutes.

“I tried to forget who she was and which round I was in,” said Aumard afterwards. “I just tried to focus on rally after rally because if I felt the pressure or thought I was going to win then that’s when I can make a mistake and maybe not play the game that I wanted to play.

“Farida is a player that I follow the results of, she came with her mum to my club in Annecy, and I have the upmost respect for her. I believe that she is going to be very good, and I have a lot of time for her and I love the fact she has her own game.”

Elsewhere, World No.4 El Sherbini was firing on all cylinders as she took just 20 minutes to dispatch compatriot and World No.20 Nadine Shahin to reach her second successive Black Ball Open quarter final.

“Nadine had been playing really well from the start of the tournament,” said El Sherbini afterwards.

“You can see that when she has the opportunity, she kills any shot and she’s very fast to get everything back. I had to make sure that my shots were very good to make sure she doesn’t get them back.”

In the top half of the draw, Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb and World No.1 Raneem El Welily will face off for a place in the semi-finals after El Tayeb avenged her Windy City Open defeat to Rowan Elaraby, while El Welily received a walkover due to her opponent, Yathreb Adel, having to withdraw from their match due to injury.

World No.21 Elaraby had proven to be El Tayeb’s kryptonite in the last few weeks with the 19-year-old condemning the World No.5 to an early round exit in Chicago and beating her at the Egyptian Nationals prior to that.

However, El Tayeb got her revenge on home soil in Cairo as she showed glimpses of being back to her best squash to reach her first major quarter final since the PSA Women’s World Championship in November.

“I don’t think I was dealing with it as playing Rowan, who is No.21 in the world, I was dealing with it as though I was playing a top ten player,” said El Tayeb afterwards. “It was very hard, you could see in the last game she let loose with the racket a little bit, but she was still very tough to beat.

“I was very focused from the beginning and I’m very happy to be through to the quarter final, it’s my first major quarter final for five months.”

The other quarter final will see England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry take on Egypt’s World No.27 Nada Abbas after the latter received a late walkover into the last eight due to World No.2 Nouran Gohar having to pull out of their match due to a foot injury.

Perry, meanwhile, displayed a controlled performance to take out Belgium’s World No.18 Nele Gilis in straight-games in the first match of the day.

“I think to get off 3-0 against Nele is a really good performance,” said Perry afterwards. “She pushed me in that third game. I thought I had good control in the first two and I was trying to attack and move the ball around to make the court big, twist and turn her.

“There were going to be a few errors, so I just needed to make sure there were more winners than errors. I got dragged into her game a bit in the third and she upped her level a bit, so I’m pleased to get off in three and get through to another quarter final tomorrow.”

The quarter finals will take place on Thursday March 12 at 17:00 local time (GMT+2) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). 

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 

Day 3:

Egypt’s Abbas Downs India’s Chinappa to Reach Last 16 of Black Ball Open

Egypt’s World No.27 Nada Abbas caused an upset in the second round of the 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open after she took out India’s World No.12 Joshna Chinappa at the PSA Platinum event taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The 19-year-old from Giza produced a skilful performance to take out the Indian No.1 as she played without fear to reach the last 16 at a PSA Platinum event for the first time since the 2017 British Open.

Abbas showcased her skill and athleticism, with a number of impressive dives, as she took a two-game lead, before Chinappa mounted her comeback in the third.

The Indian looked to be getting a foothold back in the match as she took a narrow lead at 4-3 in the fourth, but three unforced errors proved costly to give confidence to Abbas who was able to close out 11-4, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 in 49 minutes.

“I’m very happy to win this match,” said Abbas afterwards. “Joshna is a very experienced player, I had to be focused from the beginning until the end because I knew that if I gave her a chance she would get back into the match and grow in confidence.

“I’ve been playing really well this season, but there are some mistakes I always do in these types of matches, so I always try to learn from those mistakes. When she won the third game, I just told myself to focus on the other game and not let her win, play point by point and not give her any cheap points.”

Abbas will face compatriot and World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the next round after she axed Canada’s Hollie Naughton in four games.

It was their first meeting on the PSA World Tour and Gohar wasted no time in establishing her hard-hitting style of play on the encounter, storming to an 11-7 victory in the opening game.

World No.29 Naughton grew into the match in the second, with Gohar only just doubling her lead by a two-point cushion, but she dominated the third against a war-weary looking Gohar, who gave up on the game mid-way through as the Canadian took it 11-6. However, Naughton wasn’t quite able to hit her targets in the early part of the fourth as Gohar got back on top to take a 7-0 lead.

That lead proved crucial as the Egyptian really struggled with her movement in the latter stages following a collision at 6-0, and she walked gingerly off court after finally dispatching her opponent 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 in 45 minutes.

“It’s completely different this year, we’re playing a World Series [Platinum] and it’s straight after another World Series [Platinum] in Chicago, so to deal with it and recover is a little bit tough,” said Gohar.

Meanwhile, USA No.2 Olivia Blatchford Clyne was forced to come from two games down against compatriot Sabrina Sobhy to book her place in the last 16 where she will face Sabrina’s older sister, Amanda.

Sabrina, who after recently moving to Cairo now trains at the Black Ball Sporting Club, was on fire in the opening two games to take the lead with the higher seeded Blatchford Clyne struggling to break the rhythm of the World No.32.

The World No.16 regrouped well in the third to rally back though and showed her resilience to avoid an upset with a monumental 10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 comeback.

“I’ve watched Sabrina grow up, literally since she was in diapers, and there’s no doubt that she is an immense talent,” said Blatchford Clyne afterwards.

“I knew that if I could weather the storm a little bit I’d have a chance and I thought if she is going to win this, she’s going to have to pry it from my cold dead body and I will die getting every ball back. Sometimes that’s all you need and to refuse to give in.”

Blatchford Clyne will go up against USA No.1 Amanda tomorrow after the World No.8 powered her way past Egypt’s Mickawy by an 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 margin in 23 minutes.

The last 16 will also see a re-match between France’s World No.3 Camille Serme and Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy following their thrilling five-game battle at last week’s Windy City Open in Chicago.

Serme axed French teammate Melissa Alves in straight-games to advance, while El Hammamy downed her compatriot, Mayar Hany, by an 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 margin.

“It’s the first time we [Serme and Alves] have played each other on the PSA Tour, which is quite lucky,” said Serme afterwards. “But still coming out all the way here and playing each other it’s not nice, but it’s our job and I gave everything to win 3-0 today.”

The other last 16 clash in the bottom half of the draw will see England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry take on Belgium’s World No.18 Nele Gilis for a place in the quarter finals in Cairo.

Perry was at her accurate best to take down fellow Englishwoman Emily Whitlock in 26 minutes, while Gilis enjoyed a straight-games victory over Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham to book her place in the third round.

“Last time I played Emily it was best of three,” said Perry afterwards. “I had a bit of a sluggish start and she was firing on all cylinders, so I tried to take that attitude into today and come out almost as if it was a best of three and back myself physically and make sure that I’m going from the start.

“I’ve got to two finals in the last couple of months, they were at Bronze level, so really I would like to push on and I reached the semi-finals last week in Chicago. I want to win a title before the end of the season.”

Yathreb Adel has been forced to withdraw from her match against World No.1 Raneem El Welily tomorrow due to an ankle injury, handing a walkover to El Welily.

The third round will take place on Wednesday March 11 at 13:45 local time (GMT+2) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). 

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 

Day2:

Mohamed and Aumard Cause Upsets on Day Two of Black Ball Open

Egypt’s World No.49 Farida Mohamed and France’s World No.36 Coline Aumard both caused big upsets on the second day of action at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open to claim respective wins over World No.6 Joelle King and World No.13 Salma Hany in Cairo, Egypt.

Round two of the PSA Platinum event taking place at the Black Ball Sporting Club saw the top seeds fall in the top half of the draw as 18-year-old Mohamed came from two games down to take out New Zealand’s King in a monumental comeback.

The Egyptian was staring down the barrel of defeat as King started the game well, looking relaxed and focused, to take a two game lead. However, Mohamed came out firing in the third to take it, before drawing level in the fourth.

Pressure continued to build on King in the final game with Mohamed having a revived sense of confidence on court as King eventually served out on match ball to allow the Egyptian to close out 5-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 in 49 minutes.

“I was trying to calm the game and I didn’t believe that I could win after being two games down,” said Mohamed.

“I saw her as Joelle King, and didn't really play my best. But in the second, I was down 10-2, and I only lost 11-7, which gave me a lot of confidence. I thought it's not that hard. But most of all, what helped me was that 2-0 down I was not tired, neither mentally nor physically and so, I knew I could push.”

She will go on to face Aumard in the next round after the Frenchwoman also enjoyed one of the biggest wins of her career as she took out Hany to claim her place in the last 16.

Aumard and Hany had faced each other just under two weeks ago at the Windy City Open where the Egyptian took a comfortable straight-games victory in 29 minutes. However, today’s match proved to be anything but straightforward for Hany, who was playing at her home club in Cairo, as Aumard produced a big performance to move into round three.

“In the first game, I had no length whatsoever and I was a bit weary with my leg,” said Aumard. “But in the second, you could see the rallies getting longer and more disputed. There were a few traffic problems, but nothing unusual considering we both like to attack and have an aggressive style.

“Thing is, when you are home, it's either you are on fire or it stresses you and today, I felt like she was more stressed than normal. I did my best to make her doubt and I tried to make it as hard as possible for her.”

Meanwhile, World No.1 Raneem El Welily got her title defence off to a strong start with a 3-1 victory over South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller, while the woman she beat in last year’s final – Nour El Sherbini – also got a round two win, beating England’s Millie Tomlinson to continue her winning streak following last week’s Windy City Open title triumph in Chicago.

"Alexandra played really good squash today and she put me under a lot of pressure in different corners of the court," said El Welily.

"It was a little bit of a flat start today but all in all I’m very happy with my performance. To come out today with the last two games and the way that I played them, I think I’m pleased with that and I’ll go home hungry for more for sure."

El Welily will face World No.15 Yathreb Adel in the next round after she came from a game down against Hong Kong’s Joey Chan, while El Sherbini will face World No.20 Nadine Shahin following her five-game thriller against compatriot Hana Ramadan.

The last 16 will also serve up a re-match between World No.5 Nour El Tayeb and former World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby after the youngster knocked out El Tayeb in last week’s Windy City Open.

El Tayeb displayed a business-like performance to take out Belgium’s World No.19 Tinne Gilis in straight-games. While, Elaraby enjoyed her own strong performance to axe Australia’s Donna Lobban by an 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 margin.

“I knew that Tinne had been playing well recently and she had just got into the top 20,” said El Tayeb. “So, I was very focused about that.

“I’ve never done well in Egypt, playing in front of a home crowd, but it’s nice when your family can come and support. Hopefully I can play well here, and we’ll see how it goes.”

The second round continues on Tuesday March 10 at 13:45 local time (GMT+2) official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). 

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 

Day 1:

Ramadan Leads Egyptian Charge on Day One of Black Ball Open

The opening day of action at the 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open saw Egypt’s World No.67 Hana Ramadan take out compatriot Mariam Metwally in five-games as she led the Egyptian charge on the first day of action in Cairo, Egypt.

Ramadan was one of five Egyptians who booked their place in the second round as the Black Ball Open returned as a PSA World Tour Platinum tournament following the inaugural Gold event that took place last year, which saw World No.1 Raneem El Welily crowned champion.

22-year-old Ramadan, who is ranked 33 places below Metwally and was initially a reserve player for this tournament, started brightly and showed her talented racket skills to take the opening game.

Her resolve began to wane in the next two games as Metwally fought back to take the lead, before the World No.67 got back to her strong tactics to take an 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory in a quickfire five-game battle.

“I came into this tournament as a reserve player,” said Ramadan. “So, I had the mentality that I have nothing to lose. I’m excited to be in the tournament and really looking forward to the second round.

“I had to calm down a bit [after the second] and try to get back my length. She was putting me under a lot of pressure with all of her kills and short shots and I was just trying to keep her away from the T.”

Ramadan’s compatriot, Zeina Mickawy, also faced her own five-game battle as she was forced to come from two-games down to secure her victory against Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold. She will face USA’s No.1 Amanda Sobhy in the next round.

“I didn't think about my game, I was thinking about not losing,” said Mickawy. “After I lost the second game, I just cried and cried, and I guess I poured out all the negative emotions I felt. During the first two games, I kept complaining, looking at my coach Omar Abdel Aziz, and saying to him that I just couldn't focus and that I wasn't in the match.

“But after I cried it off, I just did what my coach told me: I played point after point, I kept hitting and retrieving every single shot, I fought for every ball, and played point by point. It worked out. This win means a lot for me.”

Joining their compatriots in round two are Farida Mohamed, Mayar Hany and Nada Abbas after they all got their Black Ball Open campaigns off to winning starts.

Meanwhile, Former World No.1 Rachael Grinham and USA’s Sabrina Sobhy both took out the wildcards to set up respective round two matches against Belgium’s Nele Gilis and USA’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne.

2007 World Champion Grinham was forced to save two match balls as she battled back from the brink to down 17-year-old Nour Aboulmakarim in an entertaining five-game encounter. While Sobhy’s match proved to be much more straightforward as she axed Black Ball Sporting Club player Salma Youssef comfortably in straight-games.

“I have absolutely no idea how I managed to win,” said Grinham following her win over the World No.136.

“The match begun and I felt like I wasn’t timing the ball well, I was loose and she was absolutely killing it. She was smacking it around and I felt like I didn’t have any time to think about what was going on and somehow, I managed to pull the third back and I was basically telling myself to hang in there.

“I knew she was going to be in a position where she felt like she should win from this and I thought that instead of giving her easy shots, I needed to try and put it in the back and make her go for things and at least try to make it a bit harder.

“It’s incredible, whether it’s Nour or any of the other young Egyptians, you can never underestimate them no matter how old they are.”

Elsewhere, South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller confirmed a second round clash against defending champion and World No.1 El Welily after her opening day win over Egypt’s Menna Nasser.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play Raneem once before in Chicago last year,” said Fuller. “So at least it’s not my first time and I know what to expect. I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can get some more people to watch and cheer us on. Playing those top players, you have to treat it like a learning experience and give it your all and hopefully you can test them too.”

At the opposite end of the draw, Canada’s Hollie Naughton overcame Netherlands Tessa ter Sluis in straight games to set up a second-round meeting with No.2 seed Nouran Gohar on Tuesday March 10.

Day one of the PSA Platinum event also saw wins for French duo Melissa Alves and Coline Aumard after they defeated compatriot Enora Villard and Hong Kong’s Tsz-Wing Tong, respectively. Alves will now face World No.3 Camille Serme in the next round, while Aumard takes on Egypt’s Salma Hany.

Other wins on day one came from England’s Emily Whitlock and Millie Tomlinson, along with Belgium’s Tinne Gilis and Hong Kong’s Joey Chan, with the latter forced to come from 2-1 down.

“For the second and third game, she was controlling the T,” said Chan afterwards. “I was finding it hard to find my length, but from the fourth onward, I managed to slow down the pace, and in my mind, that was the key to the match.”

The second round takes place on Monday March 9 at 13:45 local time (GMT+2) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of  the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). 

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Previews

Main Draw Released for Black Ball Open

PreviewsThe main draw for the women’s 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open has been released, with defending champion Raneem El Welily predicted to play World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the final of the PSA World Tour Platinum event held between March 8-14.

El Welily beat reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini at the Black Ball Sporting Club in March 2019 to capture the inaugural title and she will once again be the favourite this time around as a 48-woman draw battles for the $180,000 total prize fund.

The Egyptians have been drawn on the same side of the draw and are seeded to meet in the semi-finals, which would be their first encounter since the 2016 U.S. Open not to take place in a PSA World Tour final.

El Welily will play either South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller or compatriot Menna Nasser in round two, and could face the likes of Yathreb Adel and World No.5 Nour El Tayeb as she looks to reach a second straight Black Ball Open final.

Meanwhile, El Sherbini will go up against one of Millie Tomlinson or Rachael Chadwick in round two, with further matchups against the likes of World No.14 Alison Waters and World No.6 Joelle King predicted to follow.

On the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seed Gohar will take on either Canada’s Hollie Naughton or Netherlands’ Tessa ter Sluis in the last 32. Her path to the final contains the likes of India’s Joshna Chinappa and World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry, while she is seeded to play J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winner Camille Serme in the last four.

The wildcards for the tournament are Egyptian duo Salma Youssef and Nour Aboulmakarim, who take on American Sabrina Sobhy and 2007 World Champion Rachael Grinham, respectively. Wales’ Tesni Evans and Hong Kong’s Annie Au have both withdrawn from the event since the entry list was announced.

The winner of the tournament will also qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals. The World Tour Finals brings together the world’s top eight male and female players and features the reigning World Champions as well as all PSA Platinum title winners. The other places will be allocated to the highest ranked players on the Road to Egypt Standings, with points on offer at all PSA World Tour events throughout the 2019/20 season.

Action from the glass court stages at Black Ball Sporting Club will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official PSA World Tour Facebook page (excluding Europe & Japan).

Tickets for the event are available via: blackballsquashopen.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up-to-date will all the latest news from the tournament by visiting blackballsquashopen.com or following the Black Ball Open on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.



2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open – Draw

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]
Menna Nasser (EGY) v [17/32] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
[17/32] Joey Chan (HKG) v Ineta Mackevica (LAT)
[14] Yathreb Adel (EGY) [bye]
[13] Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
Tze Lok Ho (HKG) v [17/32] Donna Lobban (AUS)
[17/32] Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
[6] Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
Farida Mohamed (EGY) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Coline Aumard (FRA) v Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG)
[11] Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
[12] Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
Lisa Aitken (SCO) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Rachael Chadwick (ENG)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [bye]
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
Enora Villard (FRA) v [17/32] Melissa Alves (FRA)
[17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Mayar Hany (EGY)
[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [bye]
[15] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) [Bye]
[WC] Salma Youssef (EGY) v [17/32] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Rachel Arnold (MAS)
[8] Amanda Sobhy (USA) [bye]
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v [17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[17/32] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [WC] Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY)
[16] Nele Gilis (EGY) [bye]
[10] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [bye]
Lucy Turmel (ENG) v [17/32] Nada Abbas (EGY)
[17/32] Hollie Naughton (CAN) v Tessa ter Sluis (NED)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]

 


 

 

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