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25/03/2021
CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021

LATEST

Men's Event

$175,000 Men's CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021, Black Ball Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt, PSA World Tour Platinum

Women's Event

$175,000 Women's CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021, Black Ball Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt, PSA World Tour Platinum

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CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021
Men's Draw
19 - 25 Mar
Cairo, Egypt, $175k

ROUND TWO
13-14 MAR
ROUND THREE
15 MAR
QUARTERS
16 MAR
SEMIS
17 MAR
FINAL
18 MAR
[1] Ali Farag (EGY)
11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (37m)
[9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Ali Farag
6-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-8 (60m)
Mostafa Asal
Ali Farag
11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4 (67m)
Fares Dessouky
Fares Dessouky
11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (47m)
Tarek Momen

 
Fares Dessouky
11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 14-12 (72m)
Marwan Elshorbagy

 

[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY)
11-9, 14-12, 11-7 (50m)
Declan James (ENG)
[9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (36m)
Alan Clyne (SCO)
Omar Mosaad
11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (36m)
Fares Dessouky
[7] Fares Dessouky (EGY)
11-9, 11-2, 11-6 (30m)
Ramit Tandon (IND)
[9/16] Zahed Salem (EGY)
9-11, 11-3, 6-2 ret. (32m)
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Zahed Salem
6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (59m)
Mathieu Castagnet
Zahed Salem
12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 (67m)
Tarek Momen
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-3, 11-9, 11-7 (42m)
Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY)
[9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
11-4, 15-13, 11-8 (64m)
[9/16] Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
 Gregoire Marche
11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 (56m)
Tarek Momen
Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[4] Paul Coll (NZL)
11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (44m)
Nicolas Müller (SUI)
 Paul Coll
11-3, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4 (69m)
Gregory Gaultier
 Paul Coll
10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 (96m)
Marwan Elshorbagy
Marwan Elshorbagy
17-15, 11-9, 11-8 (69m)
Joel Makin


 
Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-7, 11-8, 15-13 (65m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
4-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 (61m)
Lucas Serme (FRA)
Youssef Ibrahim
12-10, 11-7, 11-4 (47m)
Marwan Elshorbagy
[6] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6 (67m)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
[8] Joel Makin (WAL)
10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (75m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG)
Joel Makin
11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (42m)
Mazen Hesham
Joel Makin
10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11 (91m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
[9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
11-9, 13-15, 11-6, 5-0 ret. (57m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
Tom Richards (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal
12-10, 11-9, 11-2 (49m)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
14-12, 11-7, 11-9 (43m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)

ROUND ONE

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bye
[9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bye
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bye
Declan James (ENG) bt Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (45m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt [WC] Ahmed Ismail (EGY) 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (38m)
[9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bye
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (46m)
[7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bye
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bye
[9/16] Zahed Salem (EGY) bye
Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) bt Benjamin Aubert (FRA) 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (55m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
[9/16] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bye
[9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bye
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [WC] Ahmed Wael (EGY) 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (32m)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bye
[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bye
Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 11-4, 11-6, 13-11 (33m)
Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 (34m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9 (67m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 11-9, 15-13, 11-7 (55m)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 13-15, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (62m)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 11-2, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 (61m)
[6] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bye
[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bye
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (39m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7 (98m)
[9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bye
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Edmon Lopez (ESP) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (40m)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bye
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Vikram Malhotra (IND) 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (19m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bye

CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021
Women's Draw
12 - 18 Mar
Cairo, Egypt, $175k

ROUND TWO
13-14 MAR
ROUND THREE
15 MAR
QUARTERS
16 MAR
SEMIS
17 MAR
FINAL
18 MAR
1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (22m)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
 Nour El Sherbini
11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (29m)
Tinne Gilis
 Nour El Sherbini
11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6 (46m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry
 
 Nour El Sherbini
11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
 Joelle King
 
Nour El Sherbini
13-11, 11-5,
6-11, 11-7 (42m)
Amanda Sobhy
Tinne Gilis (BEL)
11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (30m)
Emily Whitlock (WAL)
Olivia Fiechter (USA)
4-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-14, 15-13 (62m)
Melissa Alves (FRA)
Olivia Fiechter
11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (33m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
11-2, 12-10, 11-6 (30m)
Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[7] Joelle King (NZL)
11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)
Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
 Joelle King
11-5, 11-9, 11-3 (27m)
Nadine Shahin
 Joelle King
11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (47m)
Hania El Hammamy
 
Nadine Shahin (EGY)
11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 15-13 (59m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY)
Joshna Chinappa (IND)
11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)
Hana Ramadan (EGY)
Joshna Chinappa
11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (32m)
Hania El Hammamy
Lisa Aitken (SCO)
11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (76m)
[4] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA)
11-6, 11-6, 11-1 (25m)
Mayar Hany (EGY)
Camille Serme
11-5, 11-8, 11-6 (32m)
Hollie Naughton
Camille Serme
12-14, 11-4, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 (66m)
Amanda Sobhy
Amanda Sobhy
10-12, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (45m)
Salma Hany
 
Hollie Naughton (CAN)
10-12, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 (44m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
Farida Mohamed (EGY)
15-13, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4 (34m)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
Farida Mohamed
11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (27m)
Amanda Sobhy
[6] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
11-5, 11-7, 11-3 (26m)
Julianne Courtice (ENG)
[8] Salma Hany (EGY)
11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (39m)
[9/16] Nele Gilis (BEL)
Salma Hany
13-11, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10 (52m)
Rowan Elaraby
Salma Hany
11-4, 11-4, 11-2 (22m)
Olivia Clyne
[9/16] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
11-9, 13-11, 11-9 (35m)
Sana Ibrahim (EGY)
[9/16] Olivia Clyne (USA)
7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (47m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
Olivia Clyne
w/o
Nouran Gohar
[9/16] Alison Waters (ENG)
11-8, 11-3, 11-4 (32m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)

ROUND ONE

[Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [WC] Malak Fathy (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-0, 11-3 (20m)
Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-1: 11-2, 12-14, 11-3, 11-6 (36m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Menna Nasser (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (21m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Emilia Soini (FIN) 3-1: 11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-5 (55m)
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6,11-7 (23m)
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (28m)
Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (27m)
Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (61m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Tessa ter Sluis (NED) 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (32m)
Mayar Hany (EGY) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 14-12, 11-5 (27m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (29m)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-2: 10-12, 12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6 (62m)
Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 13-11, 11-8 (27m)
Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt [WC] Nadeen Kotb (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (19m)
Sana Ibrahim (EGY) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-2: 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9 (49m)
Sivasangari Subramanium (MAS) bt Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-1: 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (40m)
  MEN'S EVENT REPORTS
ElShorbagy Topples Dessouky to Win Men’s CIB Black Ball Open

Egypt’s World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy is the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open champion after he overcame defending champion Fares Dessouky in the final of the PSA World Tour Platinum event earlier today at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club.

ElShorbagy had spent over an hour and a half longer on court than Dessouky in the lead up to the final after backing up a 96-minute epic against World No.4 Paul Coll in the quarter-finals with a 69-minute victory over Welshman Joel Makin in yesterday’s semi-finals.

Despite strapping on his right leg, ElShorbagy showed few signs of being under any physical strain as he made a blistering start to take a two-game lead against his opponent, who was appearing in his first Platinum final. Dessouky - who beat World No.1 Ali Farag in December’s Black Ball Open back when it was a Gold event - dug in and, buoyed by the support of the Black Ball Sporting Club crowd, was able to claw the third game back.

The defending champion held a game ball in the fourth but made a huge error as he hit the ball back at himself. And ElShorbagy made no mistake in the tie-break as he closed out an 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 14-12 victory to win his first Platinum title since the 2018 El Gouna International.

The 27-year-old missed out on December’s Black Ball Open due to a suspension, but was in superb form throughout this week in Cairo and has been rewarded with the 11th PSA title of his career, as well as over $22,000 in prize money. ElShorbagy also qualifies for June’s CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which features all Platinum title winners as well as the highest ranked players on the CIB Road to Egypt Standings.

“I have won a couple of majors before, but this is the most special one of them all,” said ElShorbagy.

“I went through a lot before this event. To be able to back up the quarter-final match against Paul and to be able to win the semis and the final, it means a lot to me. It wasn’t just about playing a great match against Paul, it was all about backing it up.

“The next day I told my team that I was going to win this event and I’m so proud of how I’ve handled things this week. I think me and Fares could be World No.1 and World No.2 one day, the way we’ve been playing is different and we’ve both been playing really well. The way he is playing is quite inspiring, he could be changing the game.”

The next PSA World Tour event will be the Manchester Open. The PSA Silver tournament will take place between April 19-25 at Manchester's National Squash Centre.
 
Dessouky and ElShorbagy to Line Up Black Ball Open Final

Egyptian duo Fares Dessouky and Marwan ElShorbagy will go up against each other in the final of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open tomorrow after they achieved respective semi-final wins over World Champion Tarek Momen and World No.9 Joel Makin at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today.

World No.8 Dessouky will appear in his first PSA World Tour Platinum final after a masterclass from the 26-year-old saw him dismantle World No.3 Momen, winning 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 to reach back-to-back finals at the Black Ball Open.

Dessouky is the defending Black Ball Open champion after December’s win over World No.1 Ali Farag in the title decider back when this tournament was a Gold event. He will now have the chance to get his hands on the biggest title of his career when he takes on ElShorbagy in the final after a fine run of form which has now seen him beat the World Champion and the World No.1 at this tournament after his win over Farag in the quarters.

“Today, I was a bit exhausted,” Dessouky said.

“It was a mental game and even if I lost, I was going to give it 100 per cent and I would learn from that lesson. It was not very easy, every game I was down by two and I had to come back to win the games. He is a very tough opponent.

“Tarek is very fast and very accurate, very talented, and I am really glad to be through that’s for sure.”

ElShorbagy and Makin came into their semi-final fixture after a pair of marathon quarter-final matchups, with the former beating World No.4 Paul Coll in 96 minutes yesterday, while Makin defeated ElShorbagy’s older brother, World No.2 Mohamed, in 91 minutes.

And while Makin perhaps had the edge physically, ElShorbagy’s tactical nous and cleverness on the court set him up for a sublime performance which saw him nullify Makin impressively en route to a 17-15, 11-9, 11-8 victory.

ElShorbagy will now line up in his fourth Platinum final and will look to win his first Platinum title since the 2018 El Gouna International.

“I am very happy with how I backed up yesterday’s match, when I woke up this morning, I just said to myself that today is more important than yesterday because it was all about backing up and it was all in the mind,” ElShorbagy said.

“Fares is playing like he is the best player in the world right now. He has been fearless and relentless in the way he is playing. I admire him as a player, but I am going to try and win tomorrow. That is my aim and we both deserve to be in the final.”

The final will take place tomorrow (March 25) and play begins at 20:30 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
Makin and Dessouky Send Top Seeds Out of Quarters

World No.9 Joel Makin and defending champion Fares Dessouky sent the world’s top two players out of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open quarter-finals earlier today as they claimed stunning victories over World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy and World No.1 Ali Farag, respectively, in Cairo, Egypt.

Makin came back from two match balls down in a captivating 91-minute battle at the Black Ball Sporting Club where ElShorbagy’s fighting spirit saw him come back from 2-1 down to force a decider.

He held a match ball advantage twice, but the tenacious Makin dug in his heels and converted his first match ball after a tin from ElShorbagy at the front of the court to reach the last four of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the second time.

“You know what it’s going to be like with Mohamed, the intensity is there from the start,” said Makin.

“He clearly had a set tactic from the start and he was slow balling me, but I was trying to do the same back, so it became a bit of battle that way. The pace wasn’t necessarily fast all the time, it was a bit in and out, but he’s just so hard to put away. I thought I had him hurt from 1-1 but he made it so tough, he’s so clever, his shutouts, his subtleties, his soft hands and stuff, it was just a good battle all the way through.

“You have to back yourself or you wouldn’t be in those kind of positions in the match. If you don’t take it when it’s on there or back yourself to run and win the point, then you have no chance at this level. Mohamed is going to hit far too many winners, so you have to back yourself and commit to it.”

Meanwhile, Dessouky backed up December’s Black Ball Open final victory over Farag after he produced a mesmerising comeback from 2-1 down to win 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4.

Farag looked in control after he walked off court after the third game. But Dessouky - who came back from two games down to clinch victory in December’s Black Ball finale - clawed back three match balls in the fourth to draw level and looked unbeatable in the decider as he rattled off winner after winner to seal his place in the semi-finals.

This tournament will be the first Platinum event not to feature either ElShorbagy or Farag in the semi-finals since the 2017 El Gouna International.

“It was a very tough match, Ali today was unbeatable,” Dessouky said.

“I had to dig really deep to find the turning point to win the match. I found it at 10-7, match ball down, and I’m really glad that I found it. He was getting everything back, I was a bit disappointed on court that he was getting everything and it was hard to beat him and to win a point against him. All credit to him, today I had to take advantage from this match, I was solid again and was able to grab the win.”

Makin will now look to take out the younger ElShorbagy brother - World No.6 Marwan - as he bids to reach his maiden Platinum final.

ElShorbagy came through an absorbing 96-minute clash with World No.4 Paul Coll in one of the matches of the season so far. It was an extremely high quality affair, with ElShorbagy closing out an 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 win to reach his second Platinum semi of the season.

“It was a tough match and I just hoped everyone enjoyed it,” said ElShorbagy.

“I gave it more than 100% today and Paul gave it more than 100%. It’s always tough playing Paul, especially in those conditions, I think we gave it everything. I stayed calm, I learnt my lesson and that’s why I won the match.”

Meanwhile, Dessouky will go up against World Champion Tarek Momen in the next round after the World No.3 overcame Egypt’s Zahed Salem, who was appearing in his first Platinum quarter-final. Momen had a slight dip in the third game against a resilient opponent, but he held firm to close out the victory in the fourth, winning 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7.

“I don’t think it was my best performance of the tournament, there were far too many errors, and he made a few errors which helped me a bit,” Momen said.

“I would’ve loved to have played better today, but it’s ok, I’m allowed to have a performance that is not 100%. Still, I managed to play the important points well. Both the first two games went to the tie-break and I managed to close them out, so that was a positive thing.”

The semi-finals will take place tomorrow (March 24) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
 
Salem Reaches Maiden Platinum QF

World No.18 Zahed Salem will appear in the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time in his career after he beat Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in round three of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open earlier today.

Salem, from Alexandria, Egypt, defeated 2018 champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the last round after he was forced to retire due to injury, and he came from a game down to overcome Castagnet, winning 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 to set up a last eight fixture with World Champion Tarek Momen.

“Castagnet is a very tough player, he’s a former World No.6 and we’ve always had very tough games,” said Salem.

“It’s my first time beating him. I think he’s beaten me four times, so I’m happy to get the win today.

“Today is the first time I have played this well in Egypt. I always lose in the first round or maybe in the second round. I’ve never had a good performance in Egypt, but I’m proud to win and get through and play tomorrow in the quarters.”

Meanwhile, World No.1 Ali Farag had to come from behind to overcome World Junior Champion Mostafa Asal in an absorbing contest.

Asal, the World No.12, was unstoppable in the opening game as he overpowered Farag who, at 28, is nine years Asal’s senior. However, Farag’s big match experience paid off as he weathered the storm and absorbed Asal’s pace to avoid an upset against his teenage opponent.

“Playing [Mohamed] Abouelghar in the second round and then potentially either [Mostafa] Asal or Declan James in the third round, I knew I had a tough task at hand,” said Farag.

“I keep telling Nour [El Tayeb, Farag’s wife] that I haven’t lost before the quarter-finals since El Gouna in 2017, so I didn’t want to break that record here. That was the first goal of the tournament and now that is done, it is time to focus on the quarters.”

Farag continues his tournament against defending champion Fares Dessouky next after Dessouky got the better of former World No.3 Omar Mosaad.

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy is also through to the quarter-finals as he made it 10 wins in a row over Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal. The 30-year-old, who is appearing at his first tournament in Egypt since June 2019, won 12-10, 11-9, 11-2 to ensure he will play training partner Joel Makin in the next round.

“Saurav always plays well against me, even though our head-to-head is crazy in my favour,” ElShorbagy said.

“I think the last time I lost to him was in 2008, which is a crazy record to have against someone of his calibre. The last two matches we had we went to a tie-break in the fifth and then a tie-break in the third, so I knew I had to dig in deep in the first two games and win those big crucial points, which I did, and I am thankful for that.”

New Zealand’s Paul Coll was also in action as he got the better of 38-year-old Frenchman Gregory Gaultier. The World No.4 dropped the third game during an otherwise solid performance which saw him contain the former World No.1 and hit his targets well.

Coll will take on World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in the next round after he defeated fellow Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim.

“That was one of the highlights of my career,” Coll said.

“I look up to Gaultier a lot and that moment at the end when he just gave me a pat on the head there, that was huge for me. I loved every second out there. I went and trained with him early in my career, he taught me a lot and he taught me some more lessons today.”

The quarter-finals start tomorrow (March 23) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

 
Makin Scrapes Past Rooney to Reach Third Round


World No.9 Joel Makin narrowly avoided a shock defeat in the second round of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Platinum event after he overcame England’s Patrick Rooney after 75 minutes of absorbing squash at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today.

Rooney had won their only previous meeting on the PSA World Tour back in 2015 when Makin was ranked outside of the world’s top 100. Since that match though, Makin has soared up the World Rankings to sit inside the top 10, 43 places above Rooney.

However, Rooney was every bit Makin’s equal for large phases of the match as he took Makin to a decider. But the Welshman held his nerve to play the crucial points well, and he closed out an 10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 victory to reach the last 16.

“I just felt flat with my movement, something wasn’t quite right,” said Makin.

“I wasn’t relying on getting on the ball early, he was getting in front of me all the time. That allowed him to use his skills and he was putting the ball away unbelievably to be fair to him.

“He didn’t give me much chance to settle, so I really had to dig in hard towards the end because I wasn’t feeling right. His quality going in short was pretty unbelievable on a glass court like that, so I just had to deal with it like I did and find a way. The quality wasn’t right, I’m not sure why but we haven’t played in four months so you can’t be perfect.”

Makin will play World No.14 Mazen Hesham in the third round after the Egyptian’s match with Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu was cut short due to a knee injury to the Spaniard.

Meanwhile, World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy marked his return to Egypt with a 3-0 win over Frenchman Baptiste Masotti. ElShorbagy hadn’t played on home soil since June 2019 when he lined up at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals and he had to be at his best to fend off the talented World No.37 today.

“I really enjoyed being back playing and competing again, it has been a long time,” said ElShorbagy.

“Since March last year, I have only played two events and in one of those, I lost in the second round. I haven’t really played for a long time, but at the same time, I was really looking forward to being back on the glass. I am a competitor, so I enjoy playing, I enjoy winning, and I am really happy to be back.”

ElShorbagy will go up against India’s Saurav Ghosal next as he looks to increase his current nine-match win streak over the World No.13.

Elsewhere, French veteran Gregory Gaultier defeated Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in straight games to earn his last 16 berth. The 38-year-old was masterful in the opening stages to take a 2-0 lead and, while he tired as the match went on, he was able to keep his opponent at bay to record the victory.

“I felt really sharp and good during the first two games,” said Gaultier.

“My movement was great for me, I felt okay and comfortable. It was boiling inside [the court], the ball was very bouncy, so I was just trying to hit with little pace, not to rush for all the shots or volley too much. I just tried to hit my targets to then get the openings and make him move around.”

He will play World No.4 Paul Coll after the Kiwi got the better of Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, winning 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 in 44 minutes.

“He [Gregory Gaultier] is playing really well for his age,” Coll said.

“It is incredible how he keeps going and keeps playing at such a high level. I’m really looking forward to the match tomorrow, it is going to be very tough, he is super experienced and still very high quality, but I am really excited for it. He has one of the best backhands in the world, so it will be a battle down that side and I will just have to look out for the backhand kill that he loves.”

Egyptian pair Marwan ElShorbagy and Youssef Ibrahim will go head-to-head in the third round after they completed wins over Karim El Hammamy and Lucas Serme, respectively, in the day’s other two fixtures.

The third round begins tomorrow (March 22) and play starts at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
 
Injury Halts Gawad’s Title Challenge

World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad has seen his title challenge at the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open come to an end as he was forced to retire from his second round match against fellow Egyptian Zahed Salem earlier today after a reoccurrence of the heel injury that has plagued his season.

Gawad won the inaugural men’s Black Ball Open in December 2018 when he toppled current World No.1 Ali Farag in the final of the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament.

But his attempts to win this title for a second time have come to a premature end after he shook hands with Salem midway through the third game of their match at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today. It marks the first time since 2014 that Gawad has gone three tournaments in a row without reaching the quarter-finals.

“I didn’t want to win like that,” Salem said.

“Karim is a top five player and one of the strongest players I’ve played with. It’s a tough match of course, I’m based in Alexandria and I had heard about his injury, but you don’t know sometimes, he has clever shots and if I’m not focused and I don’t push from the beginning and he finds his game even with his injury then that’s not good for me.

“I wish him a very quick recovery, we miss him on the tour.”

Salem will line up against Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in the next round after he defeated Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini in straight games. It was a good day for France as Gregoire Marche also booked his place in the third round after he upset Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez at the fifth attempt after four previous defeats to the World No.10.

Marche was sublime as he overcame the 35-year-old in an entertaining 64-minute encounter, with an 11-4, 15-13, 11-8 victory sending him through to the last 16.

“The second game was crucial,” said Marche.

“Even if I had the lead at 10-8 there were a few weird decisions at the end of the second. I just tried to stay calm and focused as much as I could. I think I played the crucial points pretty well, that’s something that I’ve been working on for the last few months.”

Meanwhile, defending champion Fares Dessouky kickstarted his title defence with a 3-0 win over India’s Ramit Tandon.

Tandon threatened at times in the opening game but World No.8 held firm to complete an 11-9, 11-2, 11-6 victory in 30 minutes. He will play former World No.3 Omar Mosaad next.

“The last time I came here I was hungry, but I wasn’t looking to reach a final,” Dessouky said.

“This time I’m more hungry, I’ve trained really well and pushed really hard over the last three months. I feel more ready than last time and more fresh. I have to remember that I’m the World No.8 and not the World No.1 yet, so the pressure is on the other guys, not on me, so I’m going to enjoy that.”

The man Dessouky beat in December’s Black Ball Open final - World No.1 Ali Farag - also began his tournament and got the better of World No.11 Mohamed Abouelghar.

The fixture was a banana skin tie for Farag, who has lost to his compatriot on two of their previous six PSA World Tour fixtures. But he was in fine form and, aided by a knee injury to Abouelghar which required treatment in the second game, he completed a 3-0 victory to ensure he will play Mostafa Asal in the next round.

“I don’t think I’ve felt that nervous for a match for over a year and a half,” said Farag afterwards.

“It’s not my type, I’m usually a laidback person but ever since I got the draw I was alright because I wasn’t into the heavy training, I was only focusing on myself. Then as the tournament was approaching, I was having sleepless nights and things that are not really me and this is what Abouelghar does to you. I’m really sad for him, but I have to look at it in a selfish way and be happy for myself.”

Asal defeated Englishman Declan James in straight games, while World Champion Tarek Momen got the better of Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng.

The second round continues tomorrow (March 21) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
 

Tandon Upsets Lobban as Men’s Black Ball Open Gets Under Way

India’s World No.56 Ramit Tandon overcame Scotland’s World No.21 Greg Lobban as day one of the men’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Platinum event got under way.

One day after World No.1 Nour El Sherbini took the women’s title, the men’s instalment began and Tandon led the way with an impressive 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 victory over Lobban to set up a second round with defending champion Fares Dessouky.

It’s the first time the World No.56 has reached the last 32 stage of a PSA Platinum event since the 2018 Hong Kong Open.

“Greg and I train together when he is in New York,” said Tandon. “He is also working with Nick Matthew and I have played a bit with him, so I knew Nick would have given him a plan. In the first game, I just tried to find out what he was planning to do and then from the second game on I was able to implement my game more.

“In the fourth, I think he got a bit tired from the running around of the previous games and I was lucky enough that he gave me a few points at the end.”

Meanwhile, World No.35 Youssef Ibrahim was one of four Egyptian players to prevail on the opening day of action after coming from two games down against England’s Richie Fallows.

The 22-year-old was staring down the barrel of defeat but held his nerve well to turn things around by an 13-15, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 scoreline and secure a second-round meeting with France’s Lucas Serme.

“I was really nervous,” admitted Ibrahim. “I haven’t played for a while in a competitive game. I’ve been struggling with a knee injury for about three months since the last Black Ball and I’ve been trying to push and push.

“It’s also mental, I was very conservative in every point, that’s not how I play but I was very worried about every point, I wanted to win every point badly. I think that played into his game very well, I don’t want to take anything away from him, he played my weak points really well and all credit to him, he made me work for this win.”

Despite Fallows’ defeat it was a strong day for the other English players in the draw with Patrick Rooney leading the charge after defeating German No.1 Raphael Kandra in straight games as Tom Richards and Declan James also progressed.

“I think I might have played a bit smarter today,” said Rooney afterwards. “I chose the moments to attack and even when I was making an error, it was the right shot to play at the right time.”

Elsewhere, former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier was in full flow earlier as he headed up the French interest at the Black Ball Sporting Club.

The 38-year-old played without a knee brace for the first time since returning from his career-threatening injury as he axed compatriot Victor Crouin 3-0 in 34 minutes.

“He won three events in a row in France and beat most of the French players,” said Gaultier. “I’m not wearing the knee brace anymore and mentally, it’s a big difference for me. I was wearing something heavy and as long as you wear something you feel restricted.

“It’s a big bonus, especially now at my age, I’m training really hard, but my leg was a pain when I started to play again last year - it was always on and off in my training and at tournaments. Sometimes it was sharp pain and other times it was playable. The good thing now is that I can play squash twice a day, which is unbelievable for me coming from being on crutches to running pain free.”

Gaultier’s compatriots Lucas Serme, Baptiste Masotti and Mathieu Castagnet all followed suit with respective 3-0 wins against Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann and India’s Vikram Malhotra and Mahesh Mangaonkar to reach the second round.

The longest match of the day went to Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu and USA’s Shahjahan Khan who played out a thrilling 98-minute battle with the Spaniard prevailing in five, despite losing his suitcase en route to Egypt, to set up a last 32 clash against Egypt’s Mazen Hesham.

“I had a few blisters at the end, nothing too bad, but basically my suitcase was taken by mistake by someone else [at the airport],” admitted the 24-year-old afterwards.

“The case is coming back soon hopefully, but today nothing was mine. New shoes bought today, borrowed racket, shirt and shorts.

“Shahjahan is a very complete player, very good at the back and solid at the front. He made very few errors and I had to work very hard to win a single point.”

The second round begins tomorrow (March 20) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). The likes of World No.1 Ali Farag, World Champion Tarek Momen and defending champion Fares Dessouky will all begin their title charges. All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

WOMEN'S EVENT REPORTS

El Sherbini Captures Women’s CIB Black Ball Open Trophy

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini has finally got her hands on the women’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open trophy after two previous runner-up finishes following her 3-1 win over USA’s Amanda Sobhy in Cairo, Egypt, earlier today.

El Sherbini, 25, had suffered final defeats to compatriots Raneem El Welily and Hania El Hammamy at the Black Ball Sporting Club in the past, while Sobhy got the better of the four-time World Champion in the quarter-final stage of December’s Black Ball Open.

However, the Egyptian has put a number of peerless displays at the PSA World Tour Platinum event this week and she continued that form into her final fixture with Sobhy to win 13-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 in 42 minutes.

Sobhy, bidding to become the first US player ever to win a major PSA title, had opportunities and looked to have the edge physically in the latter stages. But El Sherbini’s racket skills saw her come up with winners at the crucial moments to collect the 23rd PSA title of her career as well as over $22,000 in prize money.

It is El Sherbini’s second title of the season after winning the CIB Egyptian Open in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza in October. It sees her extend her lead atop the CIB Road to Egypt Standings, with her wins at the Egyptian Open and the Black Ball Open seeing her secure qualification for the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which will take place in June.

“I’m really glad that I finally won the Black Ball Open,” said El Sherbini afterwards.

“It’s one of the biggest tournaments and a very special one in Egypt. I’m definitely really happy to finally win this tournament.

“I’d like to dedicate this tournament to a very special person that passed this year. Hany Hamouda [Former Egyptian Squash Board Member and Squash Federation of Africa President] has been one of the main supporters for me and he attended all four World Championship wins. I’m really sorry we lost him, he was a very special person to me, so I’d love to dedicate this trophy to him.”

The men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open gets under way tomorrow at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club at 11:00 (GMT+2). The final will be held on Thursday March 25.
 
USA’s Sobhy and Egypt’s El Sherbini Set Up
Black Ball Open Final


USA’s World No.7 Amanda Sobhy and Egypt’s World No.1 Nour El Sherbini will go head-to-head in the final of the women’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open following respective wins over Egypt’s Salma Hany and New Zealand’s Joelle King.

Sobhy and El Sherbini memorably faced each other in the quarter finals of this tournament in December last year when the American took a shock victory in a thrilling five-game battle and the two players will once again cross paths in Cairo, Egypt as they compete for the PSA Platinum title tomorrow.

For Sobhy, it will be her first PSA Platinum final since the 2016 Hong Kong Open and four years after she had surgery on a career-threatening Achilles injury after she came from a game down against Hany to win 10-12, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 in 45 minutes.

The American showed little signs of fatigue from her thrilling 66-minute battle with France’s World No.3 Camille Serme last night as she recovered well to produce a calm and collected performance against an in-form Hany.

“She started really strong and I started a bit flat from yesterday and the high of it,” said Sobhy afterwards. “It took a while for me to get myself going, but I started to feel my groove in the second. I felt like I was running a bit more and my movement was getting a bit better, I was pressing up on the T instead of being a bit passive and just told myself to stay aggressive and take it to her. If I was going to lose then I was going to go down fighting.

“This is my first final post-injury, four years ago on this date I had my surgery on my Achilles and now to see I’m in the final of a Platinum is something special, so I’m going to give it my all.”

El Sherbini, meanwhile, will feature in her third final at the event as she looks to get her hands on the CIB Black Ball Open trophy for the first time in her career following two runner-up finishes in 2019 and 2020 to Raneem El Welily and Hania El Hammamy respectively.

King had upset the form book in the last round with her victory over former champion El Hammamy. However, the 32-year-old was unable to maintain that run today as El Sherbini showed her class and was firing on all cylinders to prevail 11-5, 11-8, 11-4.

“It feels amazing,” said El Sherbini afterwards. “I’m really glad I won it in three, it was a very tough three games. Joelle played amazing yesterday, she beat Hania, one of the top players now on her form.

“I was really looking forward to this one, I’m really glad I played well and hopefully I keep going.”

The final will take place tomorrow (March 18) and play begins at 20:30 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
 
El Sherbini Halts Perry’s Title Defence at CIB Black Ball Open

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini has taken a step closer to a maiden title at the women’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open after ending World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry’s title defence at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today.

El Sherbini is a two-time runner-up at the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament, which is one of the few omissions on the four-time World Champion’s glittering CV. England’s Perry captured her biggest ever title when she felled World No.5 Hania El Hammamy in December’s Black Ball Open final, but she went down in four games to a confident El Sherbini today.

“It was a really tough one,” El Sherbini said.

“SJ loves playing here, she plays really well and she’s on top form now, but I was really digging deep in every game and as you can see it was close until the end.

“I’m just taking it step by step, match by match. Every day its different and I’m in the semi-finals now, so I’m just going to focus on the next round and hopefully it goes well. I don’t want to be distracted and hopefully I’ll reach the end.”

El Sherbini will face World No.8 Joelle King in the last four after the Kiwi defeated the other of December’s finalists - El Hammamy - in a hugely impressive 3-0 victory.

King had lost her two previous matches against El Hammamy, who won the Black Ball Open 12 months ago, but this time around the 32-year-old put in a powerful and accurate performance to dismantle the young Egyptian.

“Hania is class, there’s no doubt she’s a class player,” said King.

“I’m ecstatic with that performance and to beat a player like her in three, but the job’s not done, so I don’t want to relax too much and get too excited when I’ve got another match to play. It’s a good feeling but I just feel like it’s not done yet.”

Meanwhile, World No.10 Salma Hany will appear in the first Platinum semi-final of her career after she overcame USA’s No.2 Olivia Clyne in straight games.

Clyne advanced to the last eight after her third round opponent - World No.2 Nouran Gohar - was withdrawn from the event due to a breach of PSA’s COVID-19 protocols. But she was unable to make the most of the rest day as Hany put in a clinical display to book her last four spot.

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Hany.

“The score doesn’t tell the story, Olivia is one of the closest people to me and to be able to come out there with this aggression and focus the whole match was really hard. She’s an amazing player, I knew how dangerous she is and I’m glad I stuck to my plan and came out with this performance.”

Clyne’s USA teammate - World No.7 Amanda Sobhy - has booked her place in her first Platinum semi-final since April 2019 after a sensational display saw her oust World No.3 Camille Serme.

The 27-year-old found herself facing nine game balls in a nail-biting third game but came back from the brink to hold a 2-1 lead. Serme recovered to take the fourth but there was no stopping a resilient Sobhy, who held firm to record a 12-14, 11-4, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 victory in 66 minutes.

“I’ve been training really hard and mentally and physically I’m in a good place, so I was actually really excited to go out there and show what I am capable of,” Sobhy said.

“I have a pretty bad record versus Camille, she's got me on the physical part, but I’ve been working really hard on it and I knew I could hang in there this time. If I was going to lose, I knew it was going to be because she beat me playing better, I didn’t want to lose because I was tired. She played some really good points at the end but I’m so glad I snuck it, it was an awesome match.”

The semi-finals will take place tomorrow (March 17) and play begins at 20:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

 
Defending Champ Perry Sets up Quarters Clash
with El Sherbini


Defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry will line up against World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in a mouthwatering quarter-final fixture at the women’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Platinum event after they achieved third round victories at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today.

Perry - who beat World No.5 Hania El Hammamy in December’s Black Ball Open final to win her biggest PSA World Tour title - booked her last eight berth courtesy of an 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 victory over USA’s Olivia Fiechter.

“I know Liv has had some good wins and she’s really dangerous when you let her play, so my aim was to try and get in front and stop her playing,” Perry said.

“I sort of did that in patches, but not as much as I would have liked. I was a little bit sluggish today and I’m not really sure why. I felt really sharp the other day, so I’m sure tomorrow I’ll get everything right and I’ll be back again.

“I’ve been guilty of being complacent with a serve, as they like to keep reminding us in the commentary box it’s the only shot that you have complete control over, so I tried to actually use it a bit more. I thought I served well the other day and tried that again today, any day you don’t serve out is a good day, especially when I’m trying to throw a few lob serves out there. It was probably one of the aspects I was most happy with.”

Perry has often proven to be a tricky opponent for El Sherbini with four wins over the two-time Black Ball Open runner-up and they will lock horns for the 13th time on the PSA World Tour tomorrow (March 16). El Sherbini claimed a comfortable win over Belgium’s Tinne Gilis to secure her quarter-finals spot.

“It was good to play a tough one. I haven’t played her before, she is fast and the court is bouncy so she gets everything,” El Sherbini said.

“It is good to play different opponents and I am sure we are going to have a lot of tough matches. Playing a tournament in Egypt, in your country, is always big and special. The Black Ball tournament is still missing for me, I am going to try my best and hopefully it will be mine this time.”

It was a comfortable day for the other seeds in action with six of the seven third round fixtures being won in straight games. World No.3 Camille Serme was on form to dispatch Canada’s Hollie Naughton in three to set up a last eight meeting with World No.7 Amanda Sobhy.

“I had never played Hollie before, so I had to watch a few of her matches to know what to expect,” Serme said.

“I knew she was a big fighter. She has already played five games with two of the strongest girls in the world in [former World No.1s] Raneem [El Welily] and Laura Massaro. I knew it was going to be tough. I am happy to be back in the quarter-finals because last year I lost to Hania I the second round, so it is a bonus for me.”

World No.5 El Hammamy took a step closer to a third successive Black Ball Open final after she overcame India’s Joshna Chinappa 11-6, 11-5, 11-6. The 20-year-old will take on the experienced Kiwi Joelle King, who dispatched Egypt’s Nadine Shahin in the opening match of the day.

“I think I’m much more pleased with myself today than I was the first round,” said El Hammamy.

“It took me a lot of effort in order to be able to come here and perform this way. I think I was unstable in the first round mentally and I worked really hard last night to prepare myself and be ready for today’s match. Joelle is a great player, talented and very physical as well, I think tomorrow’s match will be really interesting and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The final match of the day would have seen World No.2 Nouran Gohar take on USA’s Olivia Clyne. However, due to a breach of PSA's COVID-19 protocols, Gohar has been withdrawn from the event, meaning Clyne has received a walkover into the quarter-finals.

The World No.13 will take on World No.10 Salma Hany in the last eight. Both players are vying for a maiden Platinum semi-finals berth, with Hany booking her quarter-final spot after defeating World No.14 Rowan Elaraby in four games - the only match of the day to go further than three.

The quarter-finals begin tomorrow (March 16) and play begins at 17:30 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
 
Plain Sailing for Seeds on Day Three

All four of the top eight seeds in action on day three of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open booked their spots in the last 16 of the PSA World Tour Platinum event, with Nouran Gohar, Camille Serme, Amanda Sobhy and Salma Hany all prevailing at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today.

Gohar, the World No.2, began her tournament with a comfortable 3-0 victory over experienced Englishwoman Alison Waters, winning 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 in 32 minutes.

The pair met in December’s Black Ball Open when Gohar snuck a captivating five-game contest 14-12 in the decider. This time around, the No.2 seed was firing on all cylinders and she moves on to face USA’s Olivia Clyne in the next round.

“Getting Alison first round isn’t easy at all, it’s one of the toughest draws you can get,” said Gohar.

“She’s one of the most experienced players on tour right now. We had such a battle on the same court [in December] and this scenario never happens when you play the next tournament on the same court against the same player. It could have gone either way last match, so I was really careful from the beginning.

“Last time the crowd was very tense and they had a heart attack I think, so I didn’t want to do the same to them today.”

World No.3 Serme is looking to bounce back from the disappointing quarter-final exit she suffered in December’s Black Ball Open and she made a strong start to this edition with a commanding 3-0 win against Egypt’s Mayar Hany.

An 11-6, 11-6, 11-1 victory will see the Frenchwoman take on Canada’s Hollie Naughton for a place in the quarter-finals.

“It was quite demanding physically and mentally as well,” said Serme, who won the French Nationals last week.

“I tried to find my mark on the court, I wasn’t creating enough sometimes but I was fighting and trying to get every ball she would throw. That was the good point, I felt good on my legs. I’ve been at home, struggling a bit with a small injury, so I’m not 100% fit yet but I’m happy to be competing again and we’ll see what happens this week.”

US No.1 Sobhy also began her tournament today in Cairo and recorded a 3-0 victory over England’s Julianne Courtice. The World No.7 from Boston will line up against Egypt’s Farida Mohamed in the next round after the Egyptian defeated World No.27 Millie Tomlinson.

“I was really, really excited and had so much pent up energy, so I was very happy to be out there,” Sobhy said.

“I’ve had some decent results [at the Black Ball Sporting Club] especially at the last one, so I’m coming off some good vibes which I’m excited about also. My dad lives between here and the tournament hotel, so it’s a home club type of vibe which is very nice. It makes me feel comfortable and happy to play.”

World No.10 Salma Hany was also a victor as she navigated a tricky tie against World No.12 Nele Gilis with relative ease, winning 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 in 39 minutes. Two-time World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby lies in wait in the third round after she took out Sana Ibrahim in straight games.

“I felt pretty good out there to be honest,” said Hany afterwards.

“I was very excited for the match, it's an exciting first round for me. Nele is an amazing athlete and she keeps improving her squash every tournament. I had a game plan and I'm glad I stuck to it, I just had to accept that in some rallies, I'm going to have to run and dig deep but I enjoyed it all the way, and I’m really happy I managed to get through in three.”

The third round begins tomorrow (March 15) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

For more information on the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
 
El Hammamy Survives Aitken Test to Reach CIB Black Ball Open Last 16

Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy avoided a shock exit on day two of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Platinum as she overcame Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in a nail-biting five-game battle at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club.

World No.5 El Hammamy, 20, was a runner-up at this tournament back in December, while she claimed her maiden Platinum title by winning the CIB Black Ball Open in March, 2020. However, her strong run of form at this venue was under threat as she struggled to see off a tenacious Aitken, who battled away and made a series of impressive retrievals to send the match to a fifth game.

El Hammamy’s quality was evident though in the fifth as she put her opponent under relentless pressure and she eventually closed out the win by an 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 margin to set up a third round clash with India’s Joshna Chinappa.

“It was definitely a tough match today,” El Hammamy said.

“Lisa took me by surprise, to be honest. I wouldn’t say I played my best but I am glad to get through. All credit to Lisa, she is very talented and she really played well today.

“I managed to push to the end. I didn’t give up at some points when Lisa was really in control and I was behind her. She had a very good plan and the positive thing was that I found a way to get through it. With the pressure and playing five-gamers in the first round, it gave me the feeling of playing in the final, but it was slightly different.”

Earlier in the day, USA’s World No.33 Olivia Fiechter booked her spot in the third round of a Platinum event for the first time in her career after she overcame France’s Melissa Alves in an enthralling five-game contest.

It was a gargantuan contest between the two, with Fiechter squandering two match balls in the third as World No.31 Alves dug in and took the match to a deciding game. It was Fiechter’s turn to fight back from the brink in the fifth game though as she saved three match balls to finally get the upper hand in the fixture and she soon struck a fatal blow to win it.

“She’s a huge fighter and I’m just so pleased to pull that out, it really came down to the end there,” said Fiechter.

“I was literally just trying to focus on my breathing and trying to make sure that I hit shot-by-shot. I was trying to take it step-by-step and break it down rather than trying to think about finishing the match.”

Fiechter will play defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry for a place in the quarter-finals after Perry dispatched Egypt’s Mariam Metwally in straight games.

Perry, who won the most recent Black Ball Open in December, said: “I have won a couple of other tournaments after winning them the previous year and I am taking that for this one as well because they are different calendar years, even though it is literally the next tournament, so it is a bit different.

“Obviously everything is different with the COVID rules and that but the PSA have done a great job, so I am just trying to tick all the boxes with my preparation and then see what I can do on court.”

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini also began her tournament with a hugely impressive dismantling of USA’s No.3 Sabrina Sobhy, which saw the two-time runner-up win 3-0 in just 22 minutes.

“Every time I come here, I always want to put my name on the trophy but it never happens,” said El Sherbini.

“I will do my best this week and let’s hope I do so. It wasn’t a good one for me last time so it is hard for me mentally to come back and to play the same opponents as well. I am working hard on my mental game.”

El Sherbini will play Belgium’s Tinne Gilis next after she got the better of Wales’ Emily Whitlock, while there were also wins for Joelle King and Nadine Shahin, who beat the higher ranked Yathreb Adel in five games.

The second round continues tomorrow (March 14) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).

All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, please visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter or Facebook.
 
Ibrahim Upsets Lobban as CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open Gets Under Way

Egyptian teenager Sana Ibrahim claimed the biggest win of her career to date earlier today as she got the better of Australia’s Donna Lobban on day one of the women’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Platinum tournament.

The CIB Black Ball Open - held at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt - is the first PSA World Tour to take place in 2021 following the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and Ibrahim was one of six Egyptian players to prevail on the opening day of action.

The 18-year-old from Cairo is ranked at World No.67 - 45 places below Lobban - and only came into the draw yesterday following the withdrawal of Menna Hamed. Ibrahim fought back from 2-1 down to earn an 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9 victory in 49 minutes, which will see her take on World No.14 Rowan Elaraby in the last 32.

“I’m so happy,” said Ibrahim.

“I didn't think I'd get to play Black Ball because I was the first reserve. It’s a big chance and I had to take it.

“I said to myself that I’m not losing anything if I lose, so play and be happy when you play. My family and my friends are here, I’m so happy because my mum, my dad, my brother and coaches are here and I hope the Egyptians come and support me.”

Elsewhere, Scotland’s World No.40 Lisa Aitken mounted a superb comeback to get the better of England’s Lucy Turmel.

Aitken looked down and out after falling to a 2-0 deficit but started hitting the back corners with regularity from the third game onwards as she turned the tables over the World No.36. She will go up against World No.5 Hania El Hammamy next, who won this tournament in March 2020 before going on to reach the final of the most recent CIB Black Ball Open in December of last year.

“It was a really scrappy affair between myself and Lucy,” said Aitken.

“It certainly wasn’t our best squash. I was a little bit disappointed, I have been playing and training really well but nothing replicates that tournament environment and match pressure on the day. The nerves definitely got the better of me there and I’m just a bit out of practice in that situation.”

World No.20 Sabrina Sobhy was also in action on day one as she went up against 15-year-old Malak Fathy in the final match of the day.

Sobhy, 24, broke inside the top 20 in January of this year and will look to replicate the kind of form that saw her test the likes of World No.3 Camille Serme towards the end of 2020. However, she has a tough second round clash against World No.1 Nour El Sherbini up next where she will aim to avenge her defeat to the Egyptian in December’s Black Ball Open.

“I played Sherbini not too long ago in the last Black Ball a few months ago and obviously there’s no pressure on me, so that’s always an advantage in my opinion,” Sobhy said.

“I enjoy those matches, you can relax a bit and you’re not so anxious, I’m always looking forward to any opportunity to play a top ranked player and in this case the World No.1. Everything on court she does is inspiring and noteworthy.”

The longest match of the day saw England’s Millie Tomlinson take out Dutch player Tessa ter Sluis, winning 10-12, 12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6 after 62 minutes of action.

“She has a flick that really caught me up, and she is also very agile,” Tomlinson said.

“She moves around very well, and I helped her at the start by making far too many errors. I didn’t play my best today but I’m happy to get through, happy I didn’t fold mentally and that I didn’t give up.”

The second round begins tomorrow (March 13) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). The likes of El Sherbini, El Hammamy and defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry will all begin their title charges. All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, please visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter or Facebook.

PREVIEW

CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open Draws Released

The draws for the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, PSA Platinum tournament have been released, with Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club hosting back-to-back women’s and men’s events between Friday March 12 - Thursday March 25.

In the women’s event - held between March 12-18 - 18 of the world’s top 20 will line up in Cairo. World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry (right)returns to defend her title and receives a bye through to round two where she will take on either Egypt’s Mariam Metwally or Latvia’s Iveta Mackevica.

The Englishwoman is seeded to meet World No.1 and two-time Black Ball Open runner-up Nour El Sherbini in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, the woman Perry beat in December’s Black Ball Open final - World No.5 Hania El Hammamy - features on their side of the draw and is seeded to play the victor of Perry and El Sherbini’s predicted last eight battle.

El Hammamy is a former Black Ball Open champion after beating El Sherbini in the title decider in March, 2020 to lift her maiden PSA Platinum title.

World No.2 Nouran Gohar will get her tournament under way against experienced Englishwoman Alison Waters. Waters came within a whisker of eliminating the Egyptian at December’s Black Ball Open, only going down 14-12 in a nail-biting fifth game of their second round match.

Gohar is seeded to play France’s World No.3 Camille Serme in the semi-finals as both players bid to reach their maiden Black Ball Open finals.

In the men’s tournament, World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy will line up at the Black Ball Open for the first time since 2018. ElShorbagy, who reached the quarter-finals on that occasion, is hot on the heels of compatriot Ali Farag in the battle for the World No.1 spot and will look to bounce back from a surprise third round exit to World No.35 Youssef Ibrahim on his last PSA World Tour appearance at November’s Qatar Classic.

ElShorbagy is seeded to play World No.4 Paul Coll in the last four, while younger brother Marwan ElShorbagy and tenacious Welshman Joel Makin also feature on his side of the draw.

Farag also has a dangerous path to the title decider and is seeded to play defending champion Fares Dessouky (left) in the quarter-finals, before a prospective semi-final matchup with World Champion Tarek Momen. Karim Abdel Gawad, the 2018 Black Ball Open champion, is predicted to play Momen in the quarter-finals.

Ahmed Ismail and Ahmed Wael take the wildcard spots in the men’s tournament and will play Mexico’s Cesar Salazar and Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng, respectively. Malak Fathy and Nadeen Kotb have been named the women’s wildcards. Fathy will take on USA’s Sabrina Sobhy, while Kotb will come up against England’s Julianne Courtice.

Action from the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). The semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on the channels of contracted broadcast partners.

The CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open will be held in accordance with strict COVID-19 protocols. All players and staff will be tested prior to travelling to the tournaments before taking a further test upon arrival. Once a negative result has been received, that person will then be allowed to enter the tournament bubble, with further testing every four days during the tournament.

For more information on the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, please visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter or Facebook.
 


 

 

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