The Manchester Central Convention Complex hosts the opening day of quarter-final action at the 2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championships today, with a host of exciting matches in store.
Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew – the only English player left standing across both the men's and women's draws – will meet World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy for a 23rd time on the PSA World Tour.
Matthew, who is 13-9 down on the head-to-head record between the pair, is playing his last ever World Championships after announcing his decision to retire at the end of the season and he will hope to claim a huge scalp over ElShorbagy, a player in red-hot form after disposing of last year's runner-up Ramy Ashour in round three.
The other men's quarter-final today sees Frenchman Gregory Gaultier take on New Zealand's Paul Coll for the second tournament in a row.
Meanwhile, two-time Women's World Champion Nour El Sherbini will look to reach a third successive Worlds semi-final against World No.5 Nouran Gohar, with El Sherbini eliminating her younger compatriot in each of the last two World Championships.
And there is guaranteed to be a new women's semi-finalist, with Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans – fresh from a stunning upset of 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro in the previous round – taking on U.S. Open winner Nour El Tayeb.
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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT)
14:30  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
follow on  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
19:00  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
follow on  Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
El Sherbini Books Semis Berth at Gohar’s Expense
Nouran Gohar (left) v Nour El Sherbini (right)
Words by Max Chesterton
Reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini became the first woman to book her place in the World Championship semi-finals after defeating compatriot Nouran Gohar in three games.
El Sherbini, the current World No.1, saw off the challenge of fellow Egyptian and World No.5 Gohar in just 30 minutes, winning it 11-7, 11-3 and 11-4 to move to within one win of a third successive World Championship final.
In a hotly-contested opening game, Gohar, who lost to El Sherbini in both the 2016 and 2017 finals, started the brighter of the two and built up a 6-4 lead, before a determined El Sherbini fight-back saw the 22-year-old muscle ahead.
El Sherbini, who is aiming to become the fourth woman of all time to claim three consecutive World Championship crowns, continued to frustrate Gohar by unleashing a flurry of unplayable shots to take the second game in comfortable fashion.
20-year-old Gohar staged a mini-comeback in the third, taking the first three points before again succumbing to the pace and power of El Sherbini, who is still yet to drop a game all tournament.
Great performance from— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 14, 2017
noursherbini</a> against <a href="https://twitter.com/NouranGohar?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">NouranGohar as she booked her place in the semi-finals!#AJBellWorldChamps pic.twitter.com/4CQHgLUVj6
After the match, El Sherbini commended the strength of her opponent and maintained her confidence of retaining a third world championship crown.
“I think it is very hard to play against someone that you are so used to playing against.” said El Sherbini, who has now beaten Gohar six times in a row, including at last month’s Hong Kong Open.
“You know she makes a plan based on the last match. It's hard to play players so close together because it makes it hard to change game plans. I try to mix the pace with her a lot.
“It’s always like a game of chess. You always try to change your tactics and mix it up and guess what they're thinking.
“There’s no pressure on me. I'm approaching it like a normal tournament – just like any others and enjoy my squash match by match. If I think about it then it becomes pressure, so I just try not to think about it.”
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (30m)
Gaultier Celebrates Son’s Birth with Quarter-Finals Triumph
Words by Alex Mason
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier’s imperious form in Manchester continued as he comfortably dispatched New Zealand’s Paul Coll to reach the semi-finals – just one day after wife Veronika gave birth to the couple’s second son, Liam.
And the French General celebrated in style with a dominant display against World No.8 Coll, coming through 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 in 44 minutes to reach the last four of the sport’s biggest tournament for the ninth time in his career.
PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 14, 2017
It was one-way traffic on court throughout the first game as Gaultier – who hasn’t dropped a game so far in the tournament – controlled the centre of the court working Coll ruthlessly and punishing the Kiwi with exemplary drop shots.
The second and third game followed in a similar fashion, as it was an afternoon of unforced errors for the dejected looking 25-year-old Coll.
The World No. 8 dug deep and tried to experiment with different tactics, but Gaultier’s sustained domination sent him through to within one win of a sixth World Championship final.
“With my wife giving birth yesterday I have been a bit tense so it has been difficult to concentrate and think straight,” said Gaultier.
“The past few months have been tough, but at the end of the day I’ve played for thirty years so I know I can turn it on when needed.
“My great team around me do everything to make me feel good, but you’re the one responsible and you’re the one who has to do the job.
“I’m taking it one game at a time, so I don’t want to think about the trophy or the final because when I did that in the past that’s when I fail.
“Now we have entered the later rounds anyone can win so I need to stay focused.”
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (44m)
El Tayeb Secures First Ever World Champs Semis Berth
Nour El Tayeb
Words by Fiona Tomas
Egypt’s World No.8 Nour El Tayeb reached a World Championship semi-final for the first time in her career as she powered to a straight-games victory over Tesni Evans in an intense battle.
The eighth seed came through 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 to set up an all-Egyptian date with compatriot and defending champion Nour El Sherbini in the last four.
The first game was a close affair, with El Tayeb looking the sharper as two unforced errors from Evans put the Welsh No.1 on the back foot.
But as the rallies wore on, the game turned into a drop-shot duel, with Evans producing two consecutive drops to level at 7-7, before El Tayeb closed out proceedings, ferociously smashing a kill at 8-8 en route to closing the game.
The second was played at greater physical intensity, with El Tayeb profiting from an error from Evans in the front right corner to close out the game 11-7.
Previous meetings against the pair predicted that Evans would claw a game back with the last three matches between the duo stretching to four games or more.
Evans had got the better of her Egyptian opponent on only one of these attempts – having outplayed her in this year’s Windy City Open in a five-game duel.
But it wasn’t to be this time for the Welsh No.1 who, playing in her first World Championships quarter-final ever, could not match the clinical execution showcased by El Tayeb in the third.
Thumping nick from
NourElTayeb</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AJBellWorldChamps?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AJBellWorldChamps</a> <a href="https://t.co/7ifISlv2Za">pic.twitter.com/7ifISlv2Za</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) December 14, 2017
The result sees World No.8 El Tayeb oust her opponent in straight games – a feat which the reassured the 2017 U.S. Open winner given her pre-match nerves.
“I wasn’t as accurate or as aggressive as I hoped, but to get a 3-0 at the end of the day is a very good thing for me,” admitted El Tayeb.
“But I knew it was going to be tight, I was very, very nervous,
“I think having the match at night gives you a lot of room to keep thinking about the match, the what-ifs.
“Recently, I’ve been trying to accept the nerves. You have to be nervous, if you weren’t, it’s not normal. I try to accept it and keep my mind on the squash.”
El Tayeb will meet defending champion Nour El Sherbini – who she beat in Philadelphia en route to the U.S. Open Crown – for a place in the final.
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (40m)
ElShorbagy Sees Off Matthew in Thrilling Quarter-final
Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy once again looked the man to beat on court as he saw off England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew in the PSA World Championship quarter-finals.
Matthew – who was playing in his final PSA World Championships – started the match well as he took a 5-1 lead over the Egyptian. However, ElShorbagy – who has reached the final of every tournament he has played in so far this season – soon turned things around to take the first game by an 11-7 margin.
The Egyptian picked up where he left off in the second as he came firing out of the blocks and left Matthew struggling to keep up with the Egyptian’s relentless pace and accuracy to double his advantage.
‘The Wolf’ true to his competitive nature was determined not to leave without a fight and made it a battle in the third to take the game, much to the delight of the home crowd inside Manchester Central Convention Complex.
However, the form of the ‘Beast from Alexandria’ proved to be too much for the Englishman as he took the match 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 to set up a thrilling semi-final tie against World No.1 Gregory Gaultier on December 16.
“I was playing against someone who is one of the greatest in the game,” said ElShorbagy following his win.
“Whatever day it is you know he is going to step it up and I always step it up against him. He certainly gave a huge fight when he was 2-0 down and I certainly didn’t expect anything less from him.
“It was such a high-quality match as expected and it has always been a great rivalry between us and an interesting one as there is 11 years difference between me and him. To have a rivalry with him is something that I will remember for the rest of my career.
“If someone wanted to give me a tough draw for this event then they wouldn’t have done it any better than this one!
“I got to play Ramy and then Nick and now Greg. Normally you don’t get that in the same tournament but once I saw the draw I kept a positive attitude and told myself, it’s a challenge and I live for these kind of challenges and if I can win here with that draw then no-one can ever say I was lucky to win it.”
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 (53m)