years after becoming the first Frenchwoman ever to win the historic
British Open Camille Serme, the 27-year-old from Creteil, wrote her
name into the squash history books once again by defeating World
No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the final of the 2016 Delaware Investments
U.S. Open and become the first Frenchwoman ever to lift the trophy.
Serme bowed out of her last tournament, September’s Al Ahram Open,
with a whimper in the first round as she struggled for form but has
turned her season around, producing a series of spellbinding
performances to defeat World No.2 Laura Massaro, World No.6 Amanda
Sobhy and World Champion El Sherbini to secure the win - in what was
only her third ever PSA World Series tournament final.
sharing the opening two games it was Serme who came through a
crucial third game, coming from 0-4 down to take it in a tense
tie-break courtesy of some sublime dropshot winners, and she
continued to play with pinpoint precision and accuracy to come
through in four games and seal an unexpected triumph.
“I cannot believe it,” said Serme.
“Two weeks ago I lost in the first round of the Al Ahram Open and
was so far away from this. If someone had told me then I’d win the
US Open I’d have laughed - so to now be the champion is crazy. I’m
so, so happy!
was a very difficult test. She’s not No.1 for nothing - it’s crazy
because I felt like I was behind all the time. I just kept pushing
and telling myself that I can do it.
“I had to trust in myself and be attacking. I knew I had the right
tactics so I just had to keep believing. It’s one of the biggest
victories of my career without a doubt.”
Speaking after the match El Sherbini said: “I gave it my all but she
was the better player today and she deserved to win.”
the Men’s final World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy put his name on the
trophy for the second time in his career - adding to his 2014
triumph - after injury once again brought a potentially epic
encounter with Nick Matthew to a premature end as the 36-year-old
Englishman was forced to retire in the fifth game of their title
decider inside Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
It marked the third time that Matthew has been forced to retire
during major encounters with ElShorbagy inside the past 18 months -
with injury also thwarting the Yorkshireman during the 2015 El Gouna
International and 2016 Windy City Open - bringing to an end what,
for 50 minutes, was shaping up to be one of the best matches of the
Matthew started brighter and managed to control the play to open up
a 2-0 lead after two punishing games but a hamstring injury suffered
during a lengthy exchange took its toll as the Wolf began to break
down, resulting with a handshake midway through the fifth game.
have great memories here, two years when I won it got me to the top
of the rankings and whenever I'm back I just feel really happy to be
here,” said ElShorbagy - who also goes top of the PSA Road To Dubai
Standings courtesy of the win.
“It gives me a lot of confidence and I'm really happy that I've
found my best squash this week. It's been a while since I played the
way I love to play and I'm really happy I've got it back again.
"I grew up watching Nick playing and he comes from a golden
generation. For me, he's the greatest out of all of them. He's
raised the bar for everyone and I've watched that and learned from
that, and every time I was coming close to that bar, he would push
it even further.
"He's the greatest champion I've ever seen in my life, the greatest
athlete I've ever seen in my life and the amount I have learned from
him is unbelievable.”
After the match Matthew said: “This week was about more than squash
“I haven’t won the tournament but I’ve won my squash back - on and
off court I’ve found a method to enjoy the game again and play with
a smile on my face.
“Ultimately my body just let me down at the end. My mind was in the
game and I was enjoying it. I love being on this stage and I was a
winner this week regardless of tonight.”
three-time World Champion Nick Matthew (right) and World No.1
Mohamed ElShorbagy will renew their rivalry in the final of the 2016
Delaware Investments U.S. Open after securing their place in the
title-decider courtesy of two outstanding performances during
semi-finals night at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
After producing the performance of the tournament so far to outclass
World No.6 Ali Farag in the quarters Matthew, the 36-year-old from
Sheffield, displayed the type of tenacious never-say-die attitude
that has epitomised his career as he came through a nail-biting
five-game battle with Karim Abdel Gawad - the World No.4 who won the
Al Ahram Open last month.
a highly competitive match that went all the way to a fifth game
tie-break it was Matthew who came through 11-4, 7-11, 16-14, 3-11,
12-10 to set up a 19th meeting, and a 7th title-decider, with
“I’ve lost here in the semis the last few years so I was really
motivated to try and make the final - I don’t know how many more
times I’ll be able to play at the US Open so I wanted to do my best
and leave it all on there,” said Matthew.
“I was digging in and on the back foot a lot. He nullified a lot of
my strengths - I’m proud of how I managed to problem solve and come
through. I tried to start the fifth as well as possible and that put
me in a good position.
“Mohamed is a great fighter,” added Matthew. “He’s already surpassed
the likes of Ramy (Ashour), Greg (Gaultier) and myself, in terms of
being World No.1 and top of the rankings, and he’s insatiable so I
know I’m going to have to be at my best tomorrow.
“But I’m just thrilled to be here, in the US Open final, so I will
come back tomorrow and do my best and play hard and fair.”
meanwhile denied the possibility of an all-English finale as he
halted the run of a resurgent James Willstrop - the 33-year-old
Englishman who downed Omar Mosaad in the first round in a return to
his best form - to secure a 3-0 win that belied the quality and
competitiveness of the encounter that saw them engage in rally after
rally of the highest quality.
ElShorbagy came close to exiting the event at the first hurdle,
scraping through against Cesar Salazar 3-2 having faced two match
balls, but has gone from strength to strength since then and put in
the best performance of his season to date as he dealt with
everything Willstrop threw at him in a display of defensive
the first round I thought I was already going back home,” said
“Next minute I’m into the US Open final. When you experience moments
like this you feel very, very lucky. I’m so happy to be back into
the final here and I’m really looking forward to the final now.
“Today I had to play my best squash and really bring out my A-game -
he’s been playing so well this week. How he’s got back to the form
he is in after his injury shows the great champion he is and it has
been inspiration to watch.
“But I’m here to compete and challenge for titles. I hate losing and
gave it everything today to get into the final.”
the Women’s draw France’s Camille Serme, the 27-year-old from
Créteil, secured her first appearance in a major final since winning
the iconic British Open in 2015 courtesy of a sublime performance
saw her defeat home favourite and World No.6 Amanda Sobhy.
Serme came through a mentally challenging five-game battle with
England’s Laura Massaro, the 2015 US Open champion, in the
quarter-finals of the PSA World Series tournament and showed the
characteristics of a true champion to back up from that performance
and put together another display packed with pinpoint accuracy and
tactical precision to thwart the aggressive attacking play of Sobhy
11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5.
so happy, I can’t believe it,” said Serme, who showed great mental
strength to recovered from losing match ball in the third game to
take the match in four.
“When you lost a match ball it isn't easy to re-group and stay
focused - I’m so glad I could do it.
“The tactic was to get in front of her and not let he play her
shots. She hits the ball so hard and today she was using her lob to
make it difficult for me but I wanted to make it more physical, and
make the rallies long, to try and tire her out.
“I’m just so, so happy to make it to the final.”
will now face World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the title decider after
the 20-year-old overcome Raneem El Welily 3-1 to book a place in the
final and earn revenge for her defeat to the former World No.1 in
the final of last month’s Al Ahram Open.
It was El Welily - the 27-year-old who downed Nicol David in the
match of the tournament so far to reach the semi-finals - who
started the stronger, using her limitless attacking talents to take
the opening game 11-8 in relatively straight forward manner but El
Sherbini stormed back to take three games in a row to run out an
8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 winner.
was a really hard match from the start,” said El Sherbini, the 2014
US Open runner-up.
“Raneem beat me a few weeks ago in Al Ahram and she has been playing
well the whole week and is in top form - so I didn't expect that I
would win today.
"But I'm really happy with my performance. I'm getting better every
match and I'm happy to be back in the final of the US Open once
again. Hopefully this time I can take the title.”
2015 Delaware Investments U.S. Open champions Laura Massaro and
Gregory Gaultier saw the defence of their titles come to a premature
end as they both bowed out of the 2016 iteration of the PSA World
Series tournament taking place in Philadelphia during a dramatic day
of quarter-final action that also saw home favourite and US number
one Amanda Sobhy storm into the last four.
who also lifted the trophy in 2013 and 2006, came into the
tournament in red hot form having won the NetSuite Open last week
but he fell to a 3-1 defeat to Hong Kong Open runner-up Karim Abdel
Gawad (right) in a match that saw the Frenchman implode from a
The 33-year-old was in total control as he took the opening game for
the loss of just three points before opening up a 6-1 lead in the
second. But, after becoming irritated with a series of calls by the
referees, his game began to break down as he lost concentration and
Gawad made him pay, storming through to seal the match 3-11, 11-9,
“I think that’s my best win ever in my career so far,” said Gawad.
is the No.2 in the World - it says it all - and one of the most
experienced players on Tour. Before today he’d beaten me 8-0 on head
to head record so it’s my first win against him and that means a
“At 11-3 and 6-1 down I knew I had to change something and really
just try and get some points. I pushed and pushed to get as many
points as possible and I’m really happy to get the win.”
Gawad will now face England’s Nick Matthew for a place in the final
after the 36-year-old three-time World Champion produced a
masterclass performance to defeat Egyptian World No.6 Ali Farag.
had lost out in his only two previous meetings with the talented
24-year-old but, after struggling against Simon Rösner in the second
round, cut a completely different animal on court as he played with
great variation in height and pace to deliver a stand out
performance and come through 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 to prove there is
still life in the old ‘wolf’.
“I had to pull that out of the pandora’s box of experience,” said
“I had to keep reminding myself just to dig in because I played him
twice and lost twice - so I was determined to prove a point and show
that there’s life in the old dog yet.
“He has that ability to make you feel a bit like Bambi on ice at
times but I dug in. It was 3-0, but mentally it felt much, much
tougher than that.”
Matthew’s compatriot and 2015 Women’s champion Massaro meanwhile was
on the receiving end of a sublime performance from Frenchwoman
Camille Serme that saw her emerge victorious 11-8, 8-11, 11-2, 6-11,
11-6 after a topsy turvy five-game encounter.
(rught)beat Massaro to win the 2015 British Open, the biggest win of
her career, and she played with unwavering confidence to seal a win
that sees her overturn a period of poor form during the past few
“To beat Laura, the defending champion, is a great win for me right
now and it feels amazing,” said Serme.
“It was a very tactical battle today. She’s such a fighter, it
doesn't matter if she’s down, she never gives up, so I’m so happy to
win that battle.
worked hard lately at trying to change my mindset in all areas - in
the gym, in practice - not just in matches, to try and push me even
harder. I’ve got things to focus on mentally every day and little
notes and reminders to help me.
“Today I was trying to keep that positivity throughout the match. I
knew what the tactic was and that I had to be in front and make her
work, and I think in the fifth the mental element was the key.”
Serme will take on home favourite Amanda Sobhy after the
Boston-based US number one downed 19-year-old Egyptian Nouran Gohar
to gain revenge for her defeat to the World No.4 in the final of
August’s Hong Kong Open.
It was the hard-hitting World Junior Champion who came through in
Hong Kong - the first PSA World Series tournament of the season - to
claim the honours and inflict a second major tournament final defeat
on Sobhy, but the 23-year-old ensured that result wouldn’t be
repeated as she produced a performance of high quality attacking
abandon to outgun Gohar at her own game.
was very determined to overturn that result from Hong Kong - there’s
nothing like getting a of redemption so I was focused on making sure
she didn’t beat me twice, especially not on home soil,” said Sobhy
‘I’m feeling great right now - it was such a tough match so to come
out and get the win and reach the semi-finals of the US Open is
amazing and I owe the crowd so much thanks.
“This is such a prestigious and great tournament and it’s fantastic
to play here. The support of the fans gives you that extra push and
they really picked me up and I hope they can continue and make it
even louder for tomorrow’s semi-finals. Hopefully I can do my best
to try and keep the trophy on home soil.”
Finals Top Half
click images for larger view
33-year-old World No.19 James Willstrop will compete in the
semi-finals of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time
since 2014 after he successfully navigated his was through a tough
last eight encounter with South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger at the
2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open today.
The former World No.1 hasn’t reached the latter stages of one of the
PSA Tour’s most significant events since undergoing surgery on a
potentially career-ending hip injury in the summer of 2014, but
showed signs that he’s approaching his best as he recovered form a
slow start to put together a standout performance to come through
11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 in just under an hour.
“I feel great right now - it’s such a pleasure to be out here at the
US Open and to reach a semi-final again feels very good,” said
“Each player on Tour is so different these days. I played well
against Omar (Mosaad World No.3) in the first round but it was
completely different type of test again today. Stephen puts so much
pressure on you and he was getting onto everything I played - so I
had to think of ways to switch him and move him around.
“I had to be very clear in what I was doing to open up the spaces
and at 1-1 there it was becoming a real battle - it was definitely a
tough, tough match.
“Experience was maybe the one card I had on him. I’ve been in that
situation before and I had to remind myself that I knew how to do
it. That can go out the window in play because there are so many
tough competitors out there - but in the end I just had to beat the
guy and thankfully that’s what I did.”
will now face World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy - the man he stunned
during the 2015 World Championship - for a place in the final after
the 25-year-old Egyptian defeated his younger brother, and World
No.6, Marwan ElShorbagy in straight games.
“To be able to finish three-nil today is lucky because mentally it’s
tough for us on there,” said ElShorbagy.
“I have such great memories of playing here at the US Open. It’s
where I got to the No.1 ranking for the first time and today was the
first time this season that I felt like I was moving and playing
well and it should be a good match against James in the next round.”
the Women’s draw Egyptian duo Raneem El Welily, the World No.5, and
Nour El Sherbini (below left), the World No.1, will face off in the
semi-finals in a rematch of the Al Ahram Open final after they came
through their last eight encounters in contrasting fashion.
El Sherbini put in a display of pure dominance as she out-muscled
Alison Waters of England 3-0 while El Welily had to produce some of
the best squash of her season to take out a hungry and fired up
Nicol David, the eight-time World Champion who came out with a point
to prove in what turned into an exhibition of squash at the highest
who scraped through 3-2 in her second round encounter with Nour El
Tayeb, played positive attacking squash from the off and, in a
feisty spirit not normally associated with the Malaysian, she took
on El Welily at her own free-firing game. Both players dragged each
other around in a blur of spell binding movement but it was El
Welily who sealed it when David showed the honesty and integrity
befitting her status as one of the all time greats by conceding a
double bounce on match ball.
“I’m so, so happy to win,” said El Welily.
“There were so many points when I didn't think I was going to make
it - she was playing so well. I think I was always behind and she
was controlling it so I just had to dig deep and keep on pushing to
stay on court as long as I could.
“I was so happy to finish that fourth game because I don’t think I
could have played a fifth one. I don’t know how I turned it around -
I’m so happy to be in the semis.”
Englishman Nick Matthew fought back from 2-1 down in trademark style
to thwart the charge of German Simon Rösner and secure his place in
the quarter-finals of the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open - the
PSA World Series tournament taking place at Philadelphia’s Drexel
Matthew, the 2007 US Open winner, suffered a surprise first round
defeat during last week’s NetSuite Open and looked like he was
facing a first ever defeat to the World No.12 when, after taking the
first game, he found himself behind to an inspired Rösner.
But Matthew responded in style, using every ounce of the Yorkshire
grit that has epitomised his career to respond in emphatic style and
go 9-0 up in the fourth and force a decider that he ultimately took
11-8 to set up a last eight encounter with rising Egyptian star Ali
“I was probably down and out there at 2-1 but thanks to my team in
the corner - without them I might have lost the belief,” said
“I got a good start in the fourth and just told myself to stay
patient. I feel like I haven’t won a match like that in a little
while so it was important for me to win it any way possible. I kept
telling myself I had the experience of seeing out these matches and
ultimately that proved to be the case.
“I came into this match thinking Simon was the favourite and that I
have nothing left to prove and it’s the same thing in the quarters.
I’ve played Ali twice and he’s beaten me twice, so I’m just going to
was joined in the quarter-finals by perennial rival Gregory Gaultier
, the defending champion who beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll in
The Frenchman, who won the NetSuite Open last week to come into this
event in good form, will now face Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in
“Every game was tough until about 6-6 and then I just managed to up
the pace which I think made the difference,” said Gaultier.
“There were a lot of tough long rallies and he was reading me well,
so I’m pleased it ended 3-0. I’m here to play whoever is in front of
me - I’m training to win and to play as hard as possible and do
whatever it takes. I’m playing Gawad next but I have no fear and
I’ll be ready for him.”
Women’s champion Laura Massaro also secured her place in the
quarter-finals as she continued to impress, this time evilly
dispatching Indian number one Joshna Chinappa 3-0.
The 32-year-old Englishwoman dictated the play from the off to
assert her dominance on Chinappa and secure a straight-games win
that takes her through to face Frenchwoman Camille Serme in the last
eight - a player she has lost her last three encounters with.
“Joshna is a very dangerous players and if you let her play her
shots she can be trouble,” said Massaro.
“So I’m really happy to come through 3-0. I felt like I found my
length a lot better today than I did in my first round. I was
hitting the corners and was really happy about that and felt like it
“A quarter-final match these days is always huge and it’s anyones
game. Last time we played in the British Open I wasn't at my best
and she played really well. So in a way the pressure is off, so I’m
just really looking forward to it.”
No.1 and World No.6 Amanda Sobhy, the Harvard graduate, also stormed
into the quarter-finals courtesy of a comfortable win over
Sobhy, the 23-year-old Harvard graduate, came through 3-1 to down
Urquhart and set up a last eight encounter with 19-year-old Egyptian
Nouran Gohar, the World Junior champion who beat Sobhy in the final
of August’s Hong Kong Open.
“It feels amazing to be in the quarters,” said Sobhy.
be last eight at US Open is huge but I hope to keep going further. I
love playing on home turf so I’m hoping to do the best I can for the
fans coming out to support me.
“Nouran has been on the rise and has been playing amazingly
this past year. She’s the player in form and we had a big match in
the final in Hong Kong. There’s maybe bit of redemption on offer for
me but my focus is on just trying to play well.”
Former Men’s World No.1 James Willstrop
(right) and eight-time Women’s World
Champion Nicol David held off an Egyptian charge to come through
testing five-game battles in their 2016 Delaware Investments U.S.
Open second round encounters and secure a place in the
quarter-finals of the second PSA World Series tournament of the
World No.19 Willstrop, who produced a masterclass performance to
eliminate World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the first round, had to call on
all his experience to get the better of World No.20 Mohamed
Abouelghar in a gruelling 70 minute encounter that saw the
23-year-old playing with fearless attacking intent that unsettled
WIllstrop from the off.
But the 33-year-old showed why he’s considered one of the finest
squash tacticians around as he managed to counter everything
Abouelghar threw at him to keep his tournament hopes in tact.
“That was an hour and a bit of frantic intensity,” said Willstrop.
“Hats off to him, he made me work so hard.
“I couldn’t get the ball off his racket in the middle area and he
was playing excellent shots across me and that got me on edge. I had
to play very, very well to beat him.
“I’m just so pleased to get through. I want to keep on playing - I
don’t want to stop. I feel in a bit of a groove so I was so pleased
to get through at the end and hopefully I can keep progressing.”
Willstrop will now go up against South African Stephen Coppinger for
a place in the semi-finals after the 32-year-old - who’s place at
the tournament was cast in doubt due to Hurricane Matthew wreaking
havoc in his current home state of Florida - came out on the winning
side of a huge 82 minute match with Malaysian qualifier Nafiizwan
Adnan secured one of the biggest wins of his career when he took out
Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the first round but his run came to an end
as Coppinger powered through a series of dramatic exchanges in the
fifth to secure his place in the last eight of a PSA World Series
tournament for the first time since 2013.
“I’m lucky to be here in the first place, let alone be competing in
a second match so I’m thrilled to get the win,” said Coppinger.
“I have plenty to work on squash wise but I’m in there and that’s
what counts at this point. He’s ranked below me and on paper I
should have won easier - but what it says on paper and reality is
different, so I’m just very pleased to win.”
The winner of their encounter will face either World No.1 Mohamed
ElShorbagy or his younger brother Marwan, the World No.7, after they
came through their second round fixtures to set up a last eight
head-to-head while in the Women’s draw three-time U.S. Open champion
Nicol David came back from the brink to keep her campaign alive and
defeat 2015 runner-up Nour El Tayeb.
David was caught flat footed in the first two games as El Tayeb
dictated the play, hitting winners for fun, with David looking
powerless to resist the charge but the experienced star - who has
won a total of 80 PSA Tour titles - managed to turn the match around
in the third and launch a comeback that was completed after 53
minutes when she sealed the win 4-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.
“I wasn’t firing in the first game and a half and she made it very
hard for me,” said David.
“I knew I had to fight all the way. I trained really hard over the
summer during the off season and I wasn’t going to go down without a
fight - I pushed to the limit and I’m really pleased to win that
“I didn’t let up - I knew I wanted to keep going until the very end
and that’s what I did.”
David will now take on former World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the
quarter-finals, after she saw off the challenge of New Zealand’s
Joelle King, while current World No.1 incumbent Nour El Sherbini
will take on Alison Waters after the Englishwoman edged Egyptian
qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim.
Waters required 63 minutes, and a fifth game tie-break, to get the
better of the talented youngster, securing the win at the second
time of asking to come through 12-14, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 14-12.
“It was a tough game and it was hard to get into a rhythm,” said
Waters. “One game she was chopping it in and the next I was in
front, so it was a case of trusting yourself.
“I just tried to keep hitting my targets and push until the end and
luckily it was my day. I enjoyed it and was happy that it went the
right way for me.”
Delaware Investments U.S. Open champions Laura Massaro (right) and
Gregory Gaultier got their 2016 tournament campaigns off to winning
starts courtesy of dominant victories over Kanzy Emad El Defrawy and
Daryl Selby during the second day of first round action at
Philadelphia's Drexel University today (October 9).
The duo both tasted success during last week’s NetSuite Open and
carried their form into the second PSA World Series tournament of
the season, commanding the court to breeze into the second round.
“I played well last week in San Francisco and I got some good
training in before coming here for this event,” said Massaro after
her straight-games win over Egyptian qualifier El Defrawy.
“I’m feeling good and I’m happy to get off to a winning start. Kanzy
is great fun to watch but horrible to play - the ball always comes
back and that can make you edgy, so I’m happy with how I came
cut a polished figure as she outclassed El Defrawy in all areas of
the court to extend her current winning streak to nine consecutive
matches and set up a second round encounter with India’s Joshna
Chinappa, who beat Egypt’s Heba El Torky in five games, while Indian
number two Dipika Palikal Karthik lost out to home favourite Amanda
Sobhy (left) in a topsy-turvy encounter.
Pallikal Karthik stormed into a one game lead, out gunning and out
muscling the traditionally relentless attacker that is World No.6
Sobhy, but the match was flipped upside down after that as the Hong
Kong Open runner-up from Boston moved through the gears to put the
Indian to the sword in a ruthless display of attacking intent.
“Dipika came out firing - she’s a strong attacking player and I was
scrambling and defending the whole time in that first game,” said
“I knew at some point she'd start making mistakes so I just relaxed
and found my shots and was happy to come out with a 3-1 win.
“There’s definitely a bit of pressure on me coming here having
reached the final in Hong Kong, but this is like a home tournament
for me. It’s the US Open, its one of the best tournaments in the
world and it’s exciting to play in front of a home crowd, so
hopefully I can do well here this week.”
(right) meanwhile was equally as ruthless and impressive as both
Massaro and Sobhy as he dismissed seasoned English campaigner Selby
in straight games in the Men’s draw, remaining calm during a lengthy
injury enforced break in the first game to assert himself on
proceedings and get his defence off to the perfect start.
“Daryl is one of the toughest first round matches you can get but
sometimes a tough first round match is good because it can activate
you and get you in a good dynamic from the start,” said Gaultier.
“The interruption at the start with the injury break made it a
little more difficult because it can mess with the rhythm but
thankfully we were able to play the match and I’m pleased to get off
to a winning start.”
Frenchman will now face qualifier Paul Coll in the second round
after the World No.34 from New Zealand upset Australia’s World No.15
Ryan Cuskelly in their first round encounter. Gaultier’s compatriot
Mathieu Castagnet was the only seed to fail to make it into the
second round in the bottom half of the draw after he lost out 3-0 to
an in-form Ali Farag (left) - the Al Ahram Open runner-up - who
produced a masterclass performance to reach the second round of the
US Open for the first time in his career.
Last time the pair met came during the Windy City Open in March and
it was Castagnet who triumphed on that occasion, coming from 2-0
down to save match ball and come through a five game thriller, but
with that result fresh in his mind, and with Castagnet struggling
with an adductor injury, the Egyptian put the pressure on from the
start to secure an impressive win.
“Mathieu is such a warrior and we all know it but he’s been
struggling of late so I’m lucky to get the win in straight games,”
“Last time we played at Windy City I was 2-0 up and he came back and
won so I was wary of that today and he didn’t make it easy at all
even until the end.
“I had match ball last time as well and I didn’t want that to happen
again so I was focused throughout and I’m very happy to be through.”
Farag will face compatriot Fares Dessouky for a place in the
quarter-finals on Tuesday.
No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy narrowly avoided a shock first round exit at
the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open as he came from 2-1 down,
saving multiple match balls, to defeat Mexican qualifier Cesar
Salazar during an opening day of action at Philadelphia’s Drexel
University that saw the Men’s draw blown wide open.
ElShorbagy, who won the tournament in 2014 to go top of the World
Rankings for the first time in his career, struggled to contain an
inspired Salazar during their 77 minute battle but managed to do
just enough in the end to escape the clutches of defat and avoid
joining World No.3 Omar Mosaad and number seven seed Miguel Angel
Rodriguez in exiting the event at the first hurdle, as they fell at
the hands of former World No.1 James Willstrop and Malaysian
qualifier Nafiizwan Adnan, respectively.
“Being World No.1 isn’t always about playing the best, but about
finding the way to win,” said ElShorbagy.
“In the past two seasons I have played more matches than anyone else
and lately things have been going wrong with my body. I’ve had
stomach problems and fevers and been struggling.
“Today I fought and fought. I won - that’s what matters - and I’ll
keep fighting until the end. I’m really happy to come through -
finding the way to win is the most important thing and I know that
I’ll definitely be better next round after that match.”
Englishman Willstrop evoked memories of the form that took him to
the top of the World Rankings in 2012 as he produced a virtuoso
display of complete control to knock out 2015 runner-up Mosaad in
Willstrop, currently ranked No.19 in the world after slowly working
his way back from a serious hip operation in 2014, rekindled his
form during last week’s NetSuite Open when he reached a first high
profile tournament final since that surgery and he picked up where
he left off as he controlled the ball and lived up to his ‘Marksman’
moniker to put Mosaad to the sword.
“I’m feeling good,” said Willstrop. “But it’s been a long time since
I’ve put together a tournament winning, or latter stages, run.
“Last week in San Francisco was good but doing it at a World Series
event is even tougher. I’m feeling good and if I can keep the
intensity then you never know what could happen.
“The enjoyment is there for me and there’s a freshness about how I
feel which is pleasing.”
will now face Mohamed Abouelghar in the second round of a draw that
is now wide open after Miguel Angel Rodriguez’s shock first round
Adnan - the 30-year-old Malaysian qualifier who came through in
straight-games to reach the second round of a PSA World Series
tournament for only the third time in his career.
“I’m really, really happy,” said Adnan. “I almost lost to Charles
Sharpes in the first round of qualification when I was 0-2 down. I
told myself just to play - that I had nothing to lose - and relax.
That worked and I tried to do the same today, and it is really
pleasing to win - it’s a big win for me.”
Elsewhere in the Men’s draw there was a impressive win for Peruvian
qualifier Diego Elias as he downed Frenchman Gregoire Marche while
England’s Chris Simpson came through against Egyptian Karim Ali
was more straightforward for the top seeds in the Women’s draw as
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, three-time US Open champion Nicol David
and World No.5 Raneem El Welily all set down impressive markers to
stroll into the second round.
After returning to form at last month’s Al Ahram Open, where she
claimed the honours with victory over El Sherbini in the decider, El
Welily continued to impress as she saw off Belgian qualifier Nele
Gilis courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 win .
“I’m always happy to be back in the US Open - I always enjoy coming
back here,” said El Welily.
“Looking back at Al Ahram really makes me smile but it is in the
past now. I want to make a strong push now and carry on that kind of
form for the rest of this tournament.”
El Sherbini was equally as impressive as she downed Japanese
qualifier Misaki Kobayashi 3-0 wile three-time US Open champion
David got off to a positive start to defeat Denmark’s Line Hansen in
straight games and set up a second round battle with Egyptian Nour
El Tayeb - the 2015 runner-up.
David struggled at the first PSA World Series tournament of the
season, the Hong Kong Open, as she failed to hit her stride in the
early stages but she cut a different figure as she played with
confidence and precision to put in an assured 30 minute win over
“It has been great to see the US Open grow over the past few years
and be involved in this great tournament,” said David.
“A 3-0 win is always a good start for me and I’m pleased to get
through and get into the rhythm here on the glass court. You just
have to keep working harder and harder with each and every round and
I’m looking forward to playing against Nour (El Tayeb) in two days.”
The main draws for the Men’s and Women’s 2016 Delaware Investments
U.S. Open -
the second PSA World Series tournament on the 2016/17 Road To Dubai
- have been
finalised following an action-packed day of qualification
competition that saw eight
seeded players crash out against lower ranked opposition.
With a place in the main draw of the pioneering tournament, which
takes place at
Philadelphia’s Drexel University from October 8-15, at stake, there
were big wins for
former Trinity student Kanzy Emad El Defrawy, as she knocked out top
Nicolette Fernandes to reach the main draw, and New Zealand’s
who claimed the biggest scalp in the Men’s competition to down
seeded Nicolas Mueller.
Egyptians Karim Ali Fathi, Salma Hany Ibrahim and Nadine Shahin
joined El Defrawy and
Grayson in securing upsets wins, with Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi
Nele Gilis also upsetting the odds while Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi
ended the hopes of
fancied American hope Olivia Blatchford - halting the PanAm Games
Gold medalist with
a 3-0 win.
Main draw action gets underway from 12 noon local time at Drexel
Daskalakis Athletic Center on Saturday October 5, with tickets for
the PSA World
Series tournament available to purchase by visiting
The 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open looks set to be one of the
most competitive events on the PSA World Tour this season after the
official tournament draws released saw a host
of top stars pitted against each other from the off in a
Philadelphia’s Drexel University will play host to the 10-day event
- the second stop on the 2016/17 Road To Dubai - which gets under
way on October 8 and will see defending champion Gregory Gaultier
begin his campaign with a tough opening round fixture against
England's top twenty ranked Daryl Selby.
Gaultier will be relieved to see title rivals Mohamed ElShorbagy,
the World No.1, and Omar Mosaad given the unenviable tasks of facing
World No.11 Tarek Momen and former World No.1 James Willstrop in the
first round, respectively while former Harvard student star Ali
Farag, the World No.10, faces World No.9 Mathieu Castagnet in what
could be the match of the round.
The action in the Women's tournament looks set to be equally
competitive and could see all of the world's top eight clash at the
quarter-final stage in what could be a mouth-watering two days of
action to send ripples through the PSA Road To Dubai Standings.
Philadelphia’s Drexel University will once again play host to the
prestigious 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash
Championships—the second tournament on the 2016/17 PSA Road To
Dubai—October 6-15, when 112 of the world’s best squash players will
descend on the city for the PSA World Series tournament.
For the fourth consecutive year the U.S. Open will offer equal prize
money for men and women, with $150,000 on offer in each draw, and
will be headlined by world No. 1s Mohamed Elshorbagy—the 2014
winner—and Nour El Sherbini, the 20-year-old Egyptian World
El Sherbini headlines a stellar Women’s field that will also include
Team USA’s top stars Amanda and Sabrina Sobhy. Fresh from reaching
the final of the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the new season,
Amanda will be hoping to keep her form going and claim a maiden
World Series title while Sabrina, the second year Harvard student,
will hope to consolidate her position as a top 100 player as she
combines studies with limited professional events.
Also competing in a standout field will be defending champion Laura
Massaro, three-time champion Nicol David and former world No. 1
Raneem El Welily while the men’s draw will see the former champions
returning with Elshorbagy joined by 2007 winner Nick Matthew and
2015 winner Gregory Gaultier, the Frenchman who also holds the World
American Chris Gordon occupies the men’s main draw wild card
position and will hope to go one better than his first round exit
here twelve months ago and will find out his first round opponent on
Wednesday September 14, when the full draw is set to be
released.World’s Top Players Confirmed For 2016 U.s. Open