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Mohamed ElShorbagy

Oracle NetSuite Open - Day Two: As it Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the quarter-finals of the 2017 Oracle NetSuite Open get under way in San Francisco.

Justin Herman Plaza will play host to a trio of exciting matches today, with all matches from the all-glass Oracle NetSuite Challenge Court shown LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy takes on England's Daryl Selby in the men's tournament, while last year's runner-up James Willstrop will play Australia's Ryan Cuskelly.

Women's defending champion Laura Massaro also stars on the glass court against Salma Hany Ibrahim, while there are also three women's matches taking place at the Bay Club San Francisco, with Nicol David and Sarah-Jane Perry two of the biggest names in action there.

You can watch coverage from the Oracle NetSuite Challenge Court LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Not able to watch? Check out our live scoring page.

Here's the Order of Play at the Glass Court
(All times are local PDT)
19:00 [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [7] Daryl Selby (ENG)
19:45 [1] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [8] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)
20:30 [8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [4] James Willstrop (ENG)

Order of Play at the Bay Club San Francisco
14:00 [7] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
14:45 Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v [6] Olivia Blatchford (USA)
15:30 [5] Victoria Lust (ENG) v [2] Nicol David (MAS)

Perry Powers Past Urquhart

Sarah-Jane Perry (left) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)

England’s Sarah-Jane Perry surged through to the semi-finals of the 2017 Oracle NetSuite Open, PSA W50 tournament after a powerful display from the World No.6 saw her inflict a dreaded bagel on Australia’s Donna Urquhart en route to a straight games victory.

Perry led the head-to-head record by four wins to one leading into the match and she had the better in the early stages as her strong, consistent hitting saw her bury the ball in the back corners time and time again.

A resurgent fightback from Urquhart saw the World No.18 fight back from 8-3 down to draw level at 9-9 as Perry began to find the tin but the player from England steadied the ship and ground out two further points to go a game ahead.

Urquhart couldn’t come close to Perry in the second game as the 27-year-old from Birmingham dominated the court and she duly doubled her lead without dropping a single point.

Urquhart was clearly frustrated with her display in game two but she came on court determined to make amends and she pushed Perry all the way in the third, with one magnificent rally in particular sending both players into all areas of the court and testing the retrieval abilities of the duo to the delight of the crowd.

But Perry again got the upper hand at the crucial points and she held her nerve to close out an 11-9, 11-0, 11-9 triumph in just 25 minutes to become the first semi-finalist at this year’s event.

“Donna’s such a tough opponent, last time we played it was really close and we’ve had some epic matches so I know how dangerous she is,” said Perry.

“Even at 2-0 up i wasn’t counting my chickens. Nobody goes out there to win games 11-0, you just try and play well. I didn’t want to let her have any momentum and I just wanted to keep playing the way I was playing and keep my focus. She came out fighting in the third game, so I just had to keep playing my shots.

“I’m feeling good and it will be great to play on the glass court, I’ve got good memories from two years ago. Whoever I play will be tough but I love playing on the glass court, it’ll be pretty awesome.”

Perry, the 2015 runner-up, will line up against either compatriot and top seed Laura Massaro or Egypt’s Salma Hany Ibrahim in the next round, with the pair set to face off at the glass court later today.

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [7] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-0, 11-9 (25m)

Pallikal Karthik Upsets Home Hero Blatchford to Seal Place in Semis

Dipika Pallikal Karthik (left) v Olivia Blatchford (right)

India’s World No.21 Dipika Pallikal Karthik made it two wins over seeded players in as many days as she overcame United States’ number six seed Olivia Blatchford to reach the last four.

The 26-year-old has had a difficult 2017, making it past the first round of a tournament just twice, while she also fell as low as World No.26 in January – her lowest World Ranking in six years – but she has been in fine form in San Francisco and followed up a surprise opening day victory over fourth seed Emily Whitlock with a 3-0 victory over Blatchford.

The two had met at this tournament in 2015 – with Blatchford coming out on top in their first round clash – but Pallikal Karthik was on it right from the off as some composed squash and well-structured rallies saw her go four game balls up in the opener.

Blatchford then came into her own as she fought for every point and she managed to bring the scores level but, after she had overturned a further game ball in the tie-break, the US No.2 tinned an attempted volley drop under pressure from Pallikal Karthik to go a game down.

It was one-way traffic in the second as Pallikal Karthik dominated the ’T’ and gave Blatchford no time on the ball as she doubled her advantage, while a tightly-contested third game saw Pallikal Karthik go match ball up when a contentious no-let decision was given against Blatchford to bring an end to the match.

“I’ve played Olivia all through the juniors and I knew that she was a tough opponent, we’ve had tough matches before,” said Pallikal Karthik.

“I’ve really worked hard this summer, I didn’t get the results I wanted in China and Hong Kong and I just wanted to come here, play well and enjoy myself. Things are finally falling in place and we’ve got Ashraf el Karagui who has joined us as a national coach in India.

“He’s been there for the last year, so things are picking up and I feel like I’m playing a lot better and I’m a lot more composed. He’s been a very big influence in both today’s and yesterday’s wins and I’m just glad that I could do it for him because he has worked really hard for me.

“I love playing on the glass court, I’ve not played in San Francisco on the glass court. I know it’s a bit hard because it’s quite windy but I’m just going to enjoy the win today and think about it tomorrow because I have a rest day tomorrow.”

Either Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David or England’s Victoria Lust will await Pallikal Karthik in her biggest Tour semi-final since 2014.

Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) bt [6] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-6, 11-9 (35m)

David Fights Back From Match Ball Down to Beat Lust

Nicol David (right) v Victoria Lust (left)

Malaysian superstar Nicol David had to draw on all of her experience and mental strength to come back from match ball down against England’s Victoria Lust to avoid a shock defeat.

A closely-contested encounter saw the scores poised at two games apiece before Lust stormed out of the traps in the decider to go 7-2 up and she managed to hold off a resurgent David long enough to go 10-9 ahead.

However, a loose shot saw a stroke awarded against the World No.16 and that gave David a lifeline as the 34-year-old took the next two points to claim an 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10 victory.

And the match ended in comical fashion as David prepared to serve for the next point – only realising she had in fact won when told so by an incredulous Lust.

“I thought I was match ball down, so I was thinking that I had to stay in the match,” said a laughing David.

“I was getting ready to serve but then found out I won! I just felt that I worked really hard and I knew I wasn’t really putting my game together, so I had to dig deep and stay solid.

“I stuck to my game plan and I knew that I couldn’t let her in. I had to raise my game when I was down and even though she was leading I knew that if I could put her under a bit more pressure than I might have an opportunity to put it away.

“I came through it and she made some errors at the end which gave me some confidence so I’m happy to win it 3-2.

“I’m looking forward to being on the showcourt next and I’ll take a lot from this game. I played really well in patches and maybe lost some of my focus at times. She was playing really well too so I have to keep consistent in my semis match.”

David will play Dipika Pallikal Karthik in the last four.

[2] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5] Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-2: 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10 (76m)

ElShorbagy Ousts Selby to Become First Men’s Semi-Finalist

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Daryl Selby (left)

World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy became the first man to book his place in the last four after ‘The Beast of Alexandria’ overcame England’s Daryl Selby in straight games.

ElShorbagy had come through a tough 75-minute match with former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the previous round and was up against an opponent who had claimed a shock win over him at the Channel VAS Championship last December.

The Egyptian powerhouse took a few rallies to get his game going as Selby went 4-0 up in the opener but he soon hit his stride, taking 11 of the next 12 points on offer to go a game ahead courtesy of some sublime line hitting and expert width.

Selby started well again in the second game as both players mixed up the pace of their shots in an effort to catch the other off guard and the Englishman held a game ball before ElShorbagy came back with some classy touches to take it on the tie-break.

The relentless hitting from ElShorbagy continued into the third game as he had Selby against the ropes and he closed it out to take an 11-5, 13-11, 11-6 triumph.

“At the beginning of the match I struggled a little bit,” said ElShorbagy, who will face either James Willstrop or Ryan Cuskelly in the semi-finals.

“Playing on the glass court is completely different [to the traditional courts] and I couldn’t see the ball. Daryl is very experienced, he took full advantage of that and full credit to him, he was leading in the first two games and I had to work really hard to come back.

“We both played a really high quality match in a good spirit like always, it was a good battle. I always stay positive and I felt like I really put some work into his legs in that second game.

“Luckily it went my way, I got his game ball back and it was huge for me to be 2-0 up. It’s my first year here and I’m absolutely loving it.

“The goal for me this season is to get my World No.1 spot back. I didn’t play very well last season and I want to prove to myself that I can still get the wins when I play well.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 13-11, 11-6 (50m)

Massaro Sets Up All-English Meeting With Perry

Defending champion Laura Massaro defeated Egyptian youngster Salma Hany Ibrahim to set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry as she bids to become the first player to win the Oracle NetSuite Open twice.

21-year-old Ibrahim had claimed a surprise win over Massaro in their last meeting two years ago at the Carol Weymuller Open but Massaro took the first game with ease as she dominated an out-of-sorts Ibrahim who just couldn’t get herself in the rallies.

Ibrahim returned to court a much better player in the second game though and she pushed the former World No.4 all the way to a tie-break, overturning game balls on two occasions to draw level.

But the lacklustre Ibrahim of the opening game reared her head again in the third as Massaro marched into a 10-1 lead – ultimately seeing it out 11-4 – and the Englishwoman used that momentum to come out on top in a high quality fourth game to seal her place in a second successive Oracle NetSuite Open semi-final fixture.

“I had to keep myself really upbeat and had to have a lot of positive body language,” said Massaro.

“I had to be really alert, had to keep my body language up and had to be 100 per cent respectful of a player with that talent and I’m really happy to get off with a win.

“It’s a lively court, we’ve played on it a few times in other cities. For me personally, it’s just about trying to stay positive at the front of the court.

“It’s not natural for me to want to do that but once I’ve hit on a court that’s as cold as this I want to be positive when I go short and I think I had that balance towards the end.”

Massaro and Perry will go head-to-head in a repeat of March’s British Open final, with Perry looking for her first ever win over her older countrywoman.

[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [8] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 12-14, 11-4, 11-7 (47m)

Willstrop Sees Off Cuskelly in Tough Three-Game Affair

England’s James Willstrop advanced to the last four of the Oracle NetSuite Open for the second successive year after he came through a tight three-game encounter with Australia’s World No.15 Ryan Cuskelly.

The match was much closer than the 3-0 scoreline would suggest, with Cuskelly pushing Willstrop hard and not giving ‘The Marksman’ any room to breath as he narrowly went down 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 in 59 minutes.

Up next for Willstrop is a mouthwatering semi-final fixture with World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy in what will be there 21st meeting on the PSA World Tour – with Willstrop currently leading the head-to-head record 11-9, although ElShorbagy has won the last four meetings between the two.

“You’ve got to try not to forget that, even though you’re down on points, you’ve still hopefully put him through some work and played the rallies well,” said Willstrop, who came from behind to win both the second and third games.

“There’s pressure that might accumulate but I try not think about it because the more you think about the scoreline the worse it will be. You have to concentrate and forget about the scoreboard.”

[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (59m)

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