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Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Day One: Player Reaction

The final gold-level event of the season gets underway today, as the Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Presented by Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels begins!

Play begins at 12:00 (GMT+4) with an all-Egyptian clash between former World No.3 Omar Mosaad and 20-year-old World No.52 Yahya Elnawasany, while England's former World No.1 James Willstrop brings the day's play to an end against India's Ramit Tandon.

Also in action today will be tournament wildcard and former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, who has returned from retirement and will take on England's George Parker at 17:30.

We'll be bringing all the reports and reactions right HERE, while you can watch all the action live on SQUASHTV. In addition, the match between Gautier and Parker will be shown for FREE on Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.

You can keep up with all the live scores from the event here, while you can also follow updates from the event on our social channels: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Order of Play: The Necker Mauritius Open 2022

Omar Mosaad

Mosaad enjoying his squash after getting through in three
Former World No.3 Omar Mosaad began the day with an assured performance to see off Egyptian compatriot and World No.52 Yahya Elnawasany. After taking the opening game 11-4, Mosaad appeared to struggle with an injury in the second.

Despite the injury and trailing for the majority of game two, the 34-year-old still had enough quality to force himself into the lead and take the second 11-9, before wrapping up the win with an 11-5 victory in the third.

Afterwards, Mosaad said: “I’m feeling good. It’s the end of season so I’m trying to push hard. But at the same time, I’m 34 years old, so I’m a bit old! But I’m really happy that I’m keeping going and I try to do my best and focus game by game, match by match and that’s what I’m doing for now.”

Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (36m)

Comfortable Serme win sets up Momen showdown

Lucas Serme

French World No.39 Lucas Serme comfortably saw off Qatar’s World No.81 Syed Azlan Amjad in three games to reach the second round, where he will play Egyptian No.4 seed Tarek Momen for a place in the quarter-final.

After taking the first game 11-4 and taking a 5-1 lead in the second, Serme’s control slipped, as Amjad pushed while the Frenchman slowed down. Eventually, though, the 30-year-old settled again to take a 2-0 lead with an 11-7 win, then ended the match in three with an 11-5.

Afterwards, Serme said: “I think [playing an exhibition earlier on this court] helped mentally, feeling a bit at home. Still a bit nervous and it’s different from Prague, where I train, so I still had to get used to the court a bit. But I definitely felt some positive vibes here!

“It feels like home here. Playing PSA and seeing all the players here, the top ten, coming here to play really against us, not for fun or exhibition, that’s great and a big difference.”

Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (32m)

Bonmalais sees off stubborn Gamal

Sebastien Bonmalais

In the final match before the mid-day break, France’s World No.37 Sebastien Bonmalais overcame a strong challenge from Egypt’s World No.59 Mazen Gamal.

The opening period of game one was tight, before Bonmalais upped the tempo to accelerate away to an 11-3 win.

Gamal responded fantastically in the second, which was even throughout as the pair traded the lead, and had a chance to level the match when he had two game balls at 10-8. Bonmalais saved both, before Gamal was eventually able to convert to take the game 12-10.

Bonmalais struggled for accuracy in the third game, relying on his excellent movement and work rate to wear down the 36-year-old as he moved back into the lead with an 11-4 win.

As Gamal struggled in the fourth, Bonmalais was able to press home his advantage, securing a second round match against compatriot Baptiste Masotti with another 11-4 win.

After the match, Bonmalais said he needed to improve his accuracy. He added: “I had too many balls in the middle and it was hard for me to move. I lost my focus in the game, it was a lot of up and down. I just need to reset and focus for the next match.

“[Playing close to my home in Réunion] I feel it’s really close and I feel the good vibe and good energy, so I’m happy to be here.”

Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4 (49m)

Nicolas Mueller

Switzerland’s World No.16 Nicolas Mueller charged into the second round after dismantling Czech World No.89 Martin Svec in 24 minutes.

Mueller took the lead in a six-minute first game, taking the game to his opponent as he attacked from the beginning.

After winning the first game 11-7, Mueller continued to attack in the second, and the ‘Swiss Rocket’ raced into a two-game lead with a five-minute 11-3 win.

Svec pushed hard in the third, but was unable to get past Mueller, and the 32-year-old swept into the second round with another 11-7 win to finish the match in three.

Reacting after the match, Mueller said: “I think it’s like a good wine. The more you preserve it – a good French wine, I heard they age very well! I’m just enjoying the game, my body’s feeling fine and my head’s in the right place. That’s the secret ingredient I’d have to say.”

On the difference between playing on this court for exhibitions and playing in a tournament, he said: “During exhibitions it’s more fun, you try to be a bit more experimental with your shots or play a few between your legs. This time it’s a tournament, so it’s more serious and more structured. Nevertheless, we’ve played in some amazing places but to play here, in the RM Club, the way it looks and the way they built it is amazing. I’m really happy to be playing here, that’s for sure!”

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Martin Svec (CZE) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (24m)

Gaultier rolls back the years to overcome Parker

Gregory Gaultier in action

Next onto court was the event’s wildcard and French squash legend Gregory Gaultier taking on England’s George Parker.

‘The French General’ retired from the PSA World Tour last summer, playing his final match at the World Championships in Chicago last July against Joel Makin. His appearance in this event is a one off due to his association with the sponsors of the event.

In typical Gaultier style, the former World No.1 got off to a great start and immediately found immaculate length and width to lead 4-1. His accuracy continued during the game and he earned a 1-0 lead, wining 11-7.

More of the same followed for Gaultier in the following game, the accuracy partnered with consistent hard-hitting was making life difficult for the Englishman. Parker showed his fighting spirit however and earned game balls to level the match. Gaultier took the second game after a conduct stroke was given to Parker for descent on Gaultier’s game ball at 14-13.

Parker raced out to a 5-0 lead in the third game and looked to have regained his concentration to give himself a lifeline in the match. Despite a comeback from the Frenchman, Parker clawed a game back to breathe more life in the exciting affair.

Gaultier got back to business in game four as his unmistakable strut returned. The 2015 World Champion pinned Parker on the side walls and minimised the attacking opportunities of the Englishman. Gaultier claimed his round two spot with a perfectly measured backhand drive that was always moving away from Parker. He closed the game out 11-9 in 60 minutes.

Gaultier had this to say after his win:

“It’s a pleasure to be here, of course, I was planning my retirement here but we had to postpone the event, the last two years, we came here and had a good party and we came to the agreement with the team to have one more go so I'm happy to be back on court.

“I've been on the other side, coaching a lot recently and sometimes you feel a little pinch and you want to be there but it’s time for something else, but I still enjoy being on court and practising and I like being on court with other players as much as possible. Obviously, I can’t train as before but I'm happy to step on court and have fun.”

[WC] Gregory Gaultier bt George Parker 3-1: 11-7, 15-13, 8-11, 11-9 (60m)

El Hammamy beats Soares to advance

Karim El Hammamy in action

Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy has moved into round two at the Necker Mauritius Open as he’s beaten Portugal's No.1, Rui Soares in four games to advance.

Karim El Hammamy (brother of Women’s World No.3 Hania) attacked the front of the court from the outset and forced several tough movements from Soares in the opening exchanges of the match.

After securing the opening game 12-10, El Hammamy’s concentration seemed to waver as the Egyptian made several unforced errors much to Soares’ delight. The Portuguese No.1 used that to his advantage and levelled the match at 1-1, winning 11-6.

Order resumed for the World No.28 in the third and fourth games as his quality at the front of the court proved to be too much for Soares to handle. El Hammamy stepped up the court and gave Soares no time to settle or impose his clean hitting style on the last two games. The Egyptian won both the third and fourth games 11-6 to advance to round two.

El Hammamy had this to say after his match:

“I was surprised by how the court was dead at the start of the match, although I thought it would be quite bouncy but it was surprisingly dead. But as the match went on I adapted to this and glad I could make it and win.

“It’s the hottest court I've ever played in my life, hotter than Egypt and hotter than by the pyramids so it's very humid and it's so hard to play, I'm enjoying everything here. I love the court and I love the crowd.”

Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-1: 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6 (41m)

Steinmann books RD2 place in Mauritius

Dimitri Steinmann celebrates

Dimitri Steinmann became the second Swiss player of the day to make it through to round two at the Necker Mauritius Open, beating USA’s Faraz Khan in straight games.

The match started with fast-paced, intense rallies with all four corners being utilised by both players. ‘The Jet’, Steinmann pushed and pulled Khan into the front corners with great accuracy and tried to limit the number of opportunities that the American had to go short.

Steinmann established a 2-0 lead by playing tight, accurate squash and pinning his opponent in the back corners and close to the side wall. Khan tried his best to get into the match and gathered some momentum in the third game to trouble the Swiss No.2. Steinmann squandered three game balls at 10-7 but managed to convert the game 12-10 and book his place in round two.

Steinmann has recently started working with Rob Owen and has this to say about the changes he’s made to his game:

“I’ve added a lot of discipline and structure for sure, irony mess around as much and don't go for as much flashy stuff, I did a bit at 10-7 in the third so I'm not too happy about that but certainly discipline.”

Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 12-10 (49m)

Willstrop beats Tandon to set up all-English clash in RD2

James Willstrop in action

The final match of day one saw England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop take on India’s Ramit Tandon for a place in the event’s second round.

Tandon showed his skill in the opening game and capitalised on a slow start from Willstrop to take the first game 11- to lead the match.

The accuracy of Willstrop shone through however and ‘The Marksman’ moved from strength to strength, taking time away from Tandon and dragging the Indian into all four corners of the court on a consistent basis.

After securing the second and third games, Willstrop found himself trailing in game four and Tandon looked sure to send the match into a fifth and final game. Willstrop had other ideas however and mounted a tremendous comeback to earn himself a match ball. He wasn’t able to convert first time but did on the second occasion.

With that win, Willstrop has set up a second-round match with new compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy for a place in the quarter finals.

Willstrop had this to say after the match:

“You have to battle away, I didn’t feel too bad at times, but he’s very good in the middle areas and in the front of the court so you’re going to feel a bit uncomfortable again someone like him, he’s soo prolific at the front so you’ve got to ride this phases.

“This court feels great, it’s a lovely, true court, it takes a shot in nicely even though it is warm, it’s taking the ball into the front, which is what we want, we don’t want to see the ball in the back all the time and that’s good. That’s why glass courts were made, as well as allowing more people to watch so it’s great.”

James Willstrop (ENG) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-1: 5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10 (49m)

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