The opening day of competition at the 2016 El Gouna International saw Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar pull off the biggest upset of the day as he downed Mohamed Abouelghar to move into the second round of a PSA World Series tournament for just the first time in his career.
The 28-year-old World No.30 came through a mammoth 112-minute encounter in the final round of qualification yesterday to book his place in the main draw and backed up with a superb performance against the talented 22-year-old Egyptian to emerge victorious after 73-minutes.
Overcoming a gap of eight places on the World Rankings, Salazar played with precision and focus from the start, coming from 2-1 down to pressure Abouelghar into errors in a never-say-die attitude that paid dividends in the end.
“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Salazar. “It’s my first time ever in the second round of a World Series tournament.
“I feel that the training I did with Miguel (Angel Rodriguez) in Bogota just before the tournament and the training I do with David Palmer in Orlando is really starting to pay off.
“Yesterday was tough but I woke with energy and confidence. I made sure I focused from the start and tried to make the rallies long and pressure him. I had to push really hard in the fourth and fight for every point because that's what you have to do to try and beat a top player.”
Salazar will now face Simon Rösner in the second round after the German came through a stop-start battle with Scotland's Greg Lobban, that was postponed twice for light failure and court maintenance, during what was a difficult day in humid conditions for competitors on the Red Sea.
World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy came through his opening encounter with compatriot Mazen Hesham in a testing and closely fought three games, coming through 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 courtesy of two tie-breaks.
“It was very tough conditions today,” said Elshorbagy. “It was hot and humid but we players have to go play all over the world and adapt to different conditions and I'm glad with how I dealt with it today.
“I think that tonight we presented ourselves in a way that made Egypt proud. Our country is very strong, we have 5 players in the top 10, which is remarkable in itself.”
World No.4 Omar Mosaad was the only other Egyptian winner on the opening day of action as he saw off Cameron Pilley 3-1 in a result that could end the Australian's hopes of making it to the PSA World Series Finals.
“I’m happy with my game today, the conditions are very hard, it’s very hot and humid,” said Mosaad.
Results – First Round (Top Half)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 (44m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 11-6 (60m)
[Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 1-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 (73m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (61m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 11-5 (48m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 7-11, 11-4, 13-11, 14-12 (59m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [WC] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (54m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (68m)
Draw – First Round (Bottom Half)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v Fares Dessouki (EGY)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Nicolas Müller (SUI)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)