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Nour El Sherbini (right) takes on Annie Au

BRITISH OPEN - Quarter-Finals: AS IT HAPPENS

Follow us here for reports and reaction as we hit quarter-finals day at the iconic Allam British Open – the sport's oldest and most distinguished tournament.

The tournament is still reeling from the shock exit of World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad at the hands of World No.22 Mohamed Abouelghar, who goes on to face 2013 champion Ramy Ashour for a place in the last four.

A win for Gawad would have seen the 25-year-old overtake compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy at the summit of the World Rankings – but he will still claim the World No.1 berth if either ElShorbagy or World No.3 Gregory Gaultier fail to lift the title.

Both defending champion ElShorbagy and Gaultier need to lift a third British Open crown if they are to sit at World No.1 next month – and they face World No.8 Ali Farag and World No.19 Mathieu Castagnet, respectively.

Home hero Nick Matthew is also in action in the Men's event and he go up against Tarek Momen.

The Women's event sees two blockbuster quarter-finals take place as 2013 winner Laura Massaro and World No.3 Raneem El Welily go head-to-head, while five-time champ Nicol David plays World No.2 Camille Serme.

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini clashes with Emily Whitlock, while Sarah-Jane Perry and Donna Urquhart meet in the other Women's quarter-final fixture.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT)
12:00 [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [13] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
13:00 [5] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [3] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
14:00 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [7] Ali Farag (EGY)
15:00 [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
17:00 [15] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
18:00 [6] Nicol David (MAS) v [2] Camille Serme (FRA)
19:00 [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
20:00 [5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)

Defending Champ El Sherbini Cruises Past Whitlock To Reach Semi-Finals

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini continued the defence of her Allam British Open title with a comprehensive straight games victory over Emily Whitlock in Hull’s Airco Arena to seal her semi-final berth.

El Sherbini – who last year became the first Egyptian female ever to win the iconic title – had beaten Line Hansen and Annie Au to set up the quarter-final tie with English No.4 Whitlock, who had reached the last eight at a World Series event for the first time in her career after an impressive scalp over compatriot and former World No.3 Alison Waters.

But El Sherbini – who beat fellow Egyptian Nouran Gohar in last year’s final – was too hot to handle for Whitlock, forcing her into several mistakes as she raced a game ahead in just seven minutes.

Another seven minutes passed and the World Champion continued to put Whitlock to the sword, taking a 2-0 lead having dropped just seven points in total.

Blink and you would have missed the third as 21-year-old El Sherbini took the final game 11-4 to book her place in the semi-finals and move one step closer to retaining her title.

“I’m definitely happy, I was playing well and all my shots were good,” said El Sherbini.

“I was really focused from the start of match, I didn’t want to go into her game because she always slows the pace and loves to drop, so I wanted to play with my game more. I think it worked, so I am happy.

“It’s good to be fresh and ready for tomorrow, but sometimes it’s better to stay on court. I think I’ll look at it [the short match] as an advantage. I just need to be ready for tomorrow, so I’ve saved some energy.

“We get used to upsets now, every tournament there is upsets, so I’m not surprised anymore because anyone can beat anyone now. The game is getting harder and challenging. I wasn’t thinking about whether she’d beat Alison, I was just focusing on my game.”

Result
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [13] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (23m)

Impressive Showing from Massaro Sees 2013 Champ Down Welily

World No.5 Laura Massaro gave her home fans at Hull’s Airco Arena plenty to cheer about after the 2013 champion took a step closer to the final after a strong performance against World No.3 Raneem El Welily.

Massaro, who last year bowed out at the quarter-final stage, led the head-to-head record between the two by 16 wins to El Welily’s nine and the Lancastrian began brightly in a first-game blitz, taking the ball early and volleying prolifically to go one game up for the loss of 3 points.

The 33-year-old kept her onslaught up at the beginning of the second, moving into a 6-3 lead, but El Welily stepped up the court to take the ball on the volley with more regularity, and the approach saw the Alexandrian reel Massaro back in to force a tie-break.

Both players squandered two game balls in a tense ending to the game, before El Welily finally converted at the third attempt to draw level.


The duo hit their corners well in the third until Massaro pulled away from 5-5 to restore her lead and, smelling the scent of victory amidst some terrific boasting in the fourth, she pressed on to close out an 11-3, 13-15, 11-6, 11-6 triumph – which will see her lock horns with 2016 winner Nour El Sherbini in a repeat of last year’s PSA Women’s World Championship final.

“My plan against Raneem is always just to work hard and try not give her too many angles,” said Massaro.

“We know each other’s games so much, it’s almost like trying to second guess each other in a way. It’s just about going on there, moving well, picking up well and hitting the ball well.

“Then you can genuinely go on against anyone who is top four in the world and see how the game progresses and pans out and whoever plays the best on the day will come out on top.

“I was pretty livid after the second, [husband and coach] Danny [Massaro] and DP [coach David Pearson] were trying to calm me down. I forgot that I was up so much in the second, but I knew I definitely had a couple of game balls. I was really angry with myself because, playing a player of that level, you just can’t let leads slip.

“It was a big quarter-final. It always feels like a big match when you play Raneem, it definitely felt bigger than a quarter-final.”

Result
[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 13-15, 11-6, 11-6 (47m)

ElShorbagy edges past Farag in Hull Humdinger

“I felt like I’m kind of having a bad period this season, but I feel like this period is turning out to be one of the greatest periods of my life.”

Mohamed ElShorbagy moved one step closer to retaining his Allam British Open title – and his World No.1 crown – after beating World No.8 Ali Farag in a remarkable quarter-final tie.

The two players have sparked up a fierce rivalry in recent times due to a feisty match at September’s Al Ahram Open – in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza – and the bad blood between the two continued at the World Championships in Cairo.

The latest episode of their rivalry – which looks set to light up the Tour over the next few years – did not disappoint, with a spectacular standard of squash drawing loud applause from spectators at Hull’s Airco Arena.


ElShorbagy – who is the tournament’s number one seed – took the opener with relative control, but Egyptian No.5 Farag fought back impressively and took the second.

The momentum well and truly swung in favour of Farag during the third as he pulled away to 10-7 and went on to secure the game with a fantastic drop shot.

It looked as if there was no way back for ElShorbagy in the fourth, with Farag going 9-4 up, but ‘The Beast’ showed why he has been the undisputed World No.1 for the past 28 months with a phenomenal comeback and he kept up the pace in the decider to move through to the semi-finals for a fourth year in a row.


“At 9-4 down, I felt like I was giving up a little bit, then I looked at my mother and she gave me a look which told me not to go down like that and that it wasn’t the kind of body language you go out on court with,” said ElShorbagy.

“So I thought, ok I’ll fight, whether I lose or whether I win, I wanted to go out with no regrets. Of course that’s not the reason why I won from 2-1 down and 9-4 down, he had to help me little bit of course.

“He lost a little bit of focus maybe because he thought I gave up with my body language. All of a sudden I changed gear, pushed myself and started fighting again. It can sometimes mess with your opponent’s head.

“It was one of the best times I’ve seen him play and it was by far the best match I have played this season.”

Despite the duo striking up an intense rivalry this season, ElShorbagy had praise for the vanquished Farag, saying: “We were congratulating each other on playing a great match. I thought it was played in great spirit, we might have had our issues in the past, but because of how much we pushed each other, it made us have so much respect for each other at the end of the match.

“When we were shaking hands, we were both looking at each other knowing that we’d pushed each other point by point. We were both thinking the same way, that this is the way we’re going to kill each other for the rest of our careers.

“For me, the rankings don’t matter, they’re far from my mind right now. I’ve been [World No.1] for the last 28 months, whether I lose it or keep it, I’ve lived every single second of it and enjoyed every single second of it.

“If I keep it for longer, it’s a bonus, if I don’t, I’ve already done it. For me, this is not about keeping the ranking, not about winning the British Open, it’s about playing like a winner and that’s what I’ve been doing since I played that fifth game against [Fares] Dessouky.”

Results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 (82m)

Matthew Comes Through Five-Game Battle with Momen

Three-time British Open champion Nick Matthew advanced to the semi-finals of the iconic tournament for the seventh time in his glittering career after ‘The Wolf’ narrowly got the better of Egyptian World No.10 Tarek Momen.

Matthew, the World No.4, relinquished a one-game lead on two occasions to a tenacious Momen, but he pulled through in the decider, prevailing by an 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 margin of victory to set up a mouthwatering semi-final meeting with defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy.


“It was like a rollercoaster, he’s that type of player you’ve got to stay consistent against because he’s going to have his periods where he plays incredible and then makes mistakes,” revealed Matthew.

“I saw Laura’s [Massaro] game earlier and I was inspired by her getting through. The crowd were great supporting her, but I didn’t give them that much to cheer about in terms of my positive play. Hopefully I’ll get a bit more of that tomorrow with them right behind me.

“I just focus on my own stuff and let that take care of itself. Obviously we’re very proud to represent England, but every time I step on court I’m representing myself, my family, my club, my city, Yorkshire, England and everything else.

“I heard [daughter] Charlotte crying when I was 8-5 up and getting a bit tense, but it really relaxed me for the last few points. It made me remember life is more important than a game of squash.

“I was chasing after her for my warm down, she’s a character and she’s brilliant, that sort of stuff is more important than squash.”

It took Matthew and Momen a while to get into their rhythm, with errors coming off the rackets of both players in the opening game. Momen managed to sharpen his game enough to take a 9-6 lead, but three tinned shots in a row allowed Matthew back into it and the 36-year-old took full advantage to go 1-0 up on games.

Momen began to hit the ball to the front of the court more in the second, narrowly taking it 12-10 to level the scores, but Matthew stepped up on ’T’ and utilised a series of attacking volleys to reclaim the lead.

Momen came back at Matthew once again in the fourth to send the match into a dramatic decider, but the English veteran held his nerve to see out the win.


Matthew also commented on the battle for the World No.1 spot – a three-way battle between ElShorbagy, World No.2 Gawad and World No.3 Gaultier – and reminisced about the 19 months he spent atop the rankings between 2010 and 2014.

“Good luck to all the guys playing for World No.1, but I’ve literally not given it a second thought, it’s nothing to do with me. I’ve had my time there and whoever gets the World No.1 position, at any stage, they always fully deserve it.

“It was an amazing feeling walking on court being the World No.1 and if Karim goes for it good luck to him, but Mohamed isn’t going to give it away easily. Greg wants to be the oldest number one, which is a bit of sub-plot.”

Result
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 (82m)

Perry Comes Through In 5 Against Urquhart

England's number two Sarah-Jane Perry downed Australian Donna Urquhart in a gruelling five-game encounter in just under an hour to reach the semi-finals of the Allam British Open for the first time in her career – where she joins compatriot Laura Massaro.

It all looked to be going to plan for Perry as she took the opener 11-4 with Australian number one Urquhart making too many errors. But Urquhart tightened up her game and started to move Perry around the court, resulting in a second game win.

Both players went into the third all guns blazing with the game eventually settled by a tie-break going in Perry's favour 13-11 before Urquhart again bounced back in determined fashion to take the match to a decisive fifth – with Perry visibly tiring during the fourth.

But with the crowd behind her Perry produced a devastating fifth game that Urquhart had no answer to, taking it for the loss of just four points to secure her first ever appearance in the storied tournament's semi-finals.

“I’m just delighted to be there myself but Laura being in the other one shows the strength of English squash at the moment,” said Perry.

“We’ve got some great young players coming through as well particularly on the women’s side, we keep fighting whoever we are playing and I’m just thrilled to get through to the semi-finals of the British Open for the first time.

“Donna is such a difficult opponent she is so lethal in the middle of the court, she just doesn’t let you get any rhythm. In that fourth game, which was probably the shortest, I just found myself running in circles point after point.

“I had to change something coming off in the fifth, I managed to get the ball in the back corners a bit better and somehow win it. I just knew I had to make it on my terms again rather than reacting to what she was doing.

“The British Open is pretty much the most prestigious tournament, I’ve not made a World Series final before but I’ve had a lot of firsts this year. At ToC I made my first semi-finals so now I want to push on and show everyone that I’m not just here to make up the numbers, I’m here to try and win these big events.”

Result
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [15] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-2: 11-4, 7-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-4 (58m)

David Masterclass Halts 2015 Champ Serme

Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David rolled back the years with a superlative performance against World No.2 Camille Serme to move to within one win of a first World Series final since the Hong Kong Open in December 2015.

David, a five-time British Open champion, had beaten Serme in all 15 of their previous matches on the PSA World Tour, but Serme came into the encounter as the tournament number two seed having won both the US Open and Tournament of Champions titles to send her to the top of the PSA Women’s Road to Dubai Standings.

However, David gave a performance reminiscent of the ones she provided with aplomb during her unprecedented nine-year stint atop the World Rankings between 2006-2015, retrieving well and pushing Serme to the back of the court for much of the 39-minute encounter.

Serme just couldn’t get into the match despite her strong form and David duly completed the win by an 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 scoreline to claim her first win over a player ranked inside the world’s top three since she beat Laura Massaro in the aforementioned Hong Kong Open final.


“It’s a sheer bonus, having beaten the British Open champion [from 2015],” David said.

“She’s had a really good season, winning several World Series events, so I just went in with nothing to lose. I went in with my game plan to try and gun down everything I could see, everything paid off and I was really pleased with my performance today.

“She volleyed well, I did the same and I don’t think there was any balls that we let go. It was some really solid squash. I went in there with a bang and I just want to bring it through to tomorrow now.

“I’m just taking every moment as it comes, you don’t get these opportunities every day. My body is feeling at the top of its game, so why not have fun out there!”

David, who will appear in her first World Series semi-final since August, lines up against England’s Sarah-Jane Perry for a place in the iconic final.

Result
[6] Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (39m)

Gaultier Continues Title March After Downing Castagnet

World No.3 Gregory Gaultier took one step closer to a fifth British Open final – and the potential of claiming the coveted World No.1 berth – after he romped past fellow Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in their last eight clash.

Gaultier has been in imperious form thus far, beating former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Australian No.2 Cameron Pilley with a combined match time of just 61 minutes, and showed no signs of abating against Castagnet with a dominant display in the opener, taking it 11-4.

Castagnet improved from the second game onwards as he began to find his range, but Gaultier was too strong for his compatriot as he pushed forwards to take it 11-4, 11-6, 11-6.

Ramy Ashour will await the 34-year-old next in a repeat of last year’s semi-finals and a win for Gaultier could see him face defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the showpiece finale – where ElShorbagy’s World No.1 ranking will be on the line.

“I’m confident, I’m hitting the ball well,” said Gaultier.

“Every day is different, you have to play a different player and maybe the tactics are different with a different approach.

“Today I was dealing with playing a friend, but I managed to do well, the second game was really hard and we put on some really tough rallies. I felt it for the first time since I have been here which is good because I need that for tomorrow.

“Mathieu has done well to make the quarters with the situation he has come from, it’s nice to have him back playing with no pain. It’s now time for my recovery to try and feel as fresh as possible for tomorrow.


“We play a lot in practise but not much in tournaments, I have played him three or four times on the PSA in my career. It’s different to the Egyptians who play each other in every tournaments, you have to forget about feelings and put your energy and focus into the ball.”

Result
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)

Ramy Comeback Fells Inspired Abouelghar

Former World No.1 Ramy Ashour battled back from 0-2 down to thwart Mohamed Abouelghar in a thrilling five game match that saw him secure his place in the Allam British Open semi-finals for the second consecutive year.

Abouelghar stunned World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in round two to set up the match with Ashour and it looked as if there was going to be another huge upset as Abouelghar continued to impress with some fantastic squash.

The 23-year-old took the opening two games thanks to a ferocious style that saw him rifle the ball into the nick with abandon – forcing Ashour into uncharacteristic mistakes in the process.

Abouelghar couldn’t have looked more assured in his first World Series quarter-final as he went 9-6 ahead in the third, but he allowed Ashour – who last won the British Open in 2013 – back into the match with a series of unforced errors.

From then on the momentum swung in favour of Ashour as the World No.5 took the fourth, finding his groove on court, before coming out razor sharp in the fifth and it wasn’t long before Abouelghar was left wondering what could have been at the end of a truly phenomenal game of squash.

“He wasn’t just playing like any normal day, he wasn’t playing like any normal player, he was playing extraordinary,” said Ashour speaking about Abouelghar after the game.

“He was slamming every ball in the nick, it takes a lot for someone to take me out of my rhythm and my momentum. He did that in the first two games because first of all he was playing amazing but I wasn’t on it mentally, I didn’t have that explosive edge.

“It was a very interesting match there was a lot of tactics happening out there, there was a lot of different strategies that I used and I had to pay attention carefully and closely to what he was doing.

“I was a bit sleepy and lazy, but when I watched what he was doing closely I started to understand what he was doing then I could capitalise. I had a plan and a couple of strategies and one of them worked.

“I knew what to expect from him but that’s not normal, that’s not every day squash. He can’t play like that every time, eventually when you play like that you run out of nicks and deceptions.

“He was very close to winning, I had to do something. I’m glad I played smartly rather than spontaneous or impulsive, I wanted to keep hitting the ball and running around but that wasn’t the right strategy.

“He never gets any hard games before the semi-finals, he is normally very dominant in the first couple of rounds and it gives him an edge because he is in better body shape.

“Obviously I’m not in 100% condition I’ve played a couple of tough matches, I’ll try to recover the best I can and see how it goes tomorrow.”

Result
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (64m)

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