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Windy City Open: Day 2 - As It Happens

Day two of the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & EquiTrust Life Insurance begins today inside the iconic University Club of Chicago’s Cathedral Hall and you can follow all of the day's exciting action as it unfolds here.

Following yesterday's play – which saw all of the top seeds sail through to round two – today, sees men's top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy and three-time Windy City Open champion Raneem El Welily both in action.

Here is the order of play:
Glass Court – live on SQUASHTV (Rest of the world) & Eurosport Player (Europe only)
12:00 [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
13:00 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
14:00 [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Victoria Lust (ENG)
15:00 [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [6] Tarek Momen (EGY)
17:00 Salma Hany (EGY) v [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
18:00 [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Q]
19:00 [Q] Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
20:00 Declan James (ENG) v [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Court One
[Q] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [9] Joelle King (NZL)
Diego Elias (PER) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Joey Chan (HKG) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG)
Paul Coll (NZL) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
[16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)

Massaro Defeats Urquhart in Three

England’s World No.4 Laura Massaro secured her berth in the second round of the Windy City Open after she came through a tough encounter against Australia’s World No.15 Donna Urquhart.

This was the first meeting between the pair in three years on the PSA World Tour, with Massaro winning all three of their previous encounters. However, Urquhart made things tough for the Englishwoman in the first as Massaro started the match tentatively and struggled to find her corners accurately against the strong Australian.

However, as the first game wore on the 2014 Windy City Open winner managed to become more purposeful with her shots to take the first by an 11-7 scoreline.

Australia’s Urquhart came back fighting in the second, however, to continuously challenge Massaro and managed to set herself up with three game ball opportunities.

However, the World No.15 failed to convert any of them as Massaro – who is famed on the Tour for her mental strength – fought back to convert her first game ball opportunity at the first time of asking.

From that moment on, Massaro went through the gears to put Urquhart to the sword in the third and secure a round two berth by an 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 scoreline.

“It was tough,” said Massaro following her win.

“Donna played really well and it’s always hard to play a left hander, especially when you haven’t played each other in a few years. I feel like it was just a bit of a mental pick-up on my plan.

“Her forehand is ridiculously strong so I just got punished so many times when I put it there.

“It was just about putting a good performance out there today, mentally more than anything. I had a couple of tough losses and haven’t quite been in the form I would have liked. If anything I have taken some things from those results and tried to learn from them and adjust like you always do and just wanted to come out today and find the so-called grit that I am known for and I guess what made me win those two games when my back was against the wall and I had no right to, and I’m really proud of that.

“After losses, you always talk about the player that you are and what you have won but you just want to keep going forwards. The Tour is so competitive that you can’t really look back and you have to keep looking forward and I guess that is what I have learnt over the last few months.”

Elsewhere, New Zealand’s Joelle King comfortably came through her first-round encounter with England’s Jenny Duncalf as she dispatched the Englishwoman by an 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 scoreline.

King and Massaro will now face each other in round two.

“To now have Joelle in the next round is a really tough draw,” said Massaro.

“She recently beat Raneem in Cleveland and she beat me in China in the first tournament of the season and we haven’t played each other since, so in a funny sort of way I feel like there is no pressure.

“She is playing really well and I just want to go out and perform well and have a good go like I did today and what will be will be and then we move onto the next one.”

[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 (35m)
[9] Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (26m)

Gawad Prevails in Five-Game Encounter with Golan

Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad held his nerve to prevail in a tight five-game encounter against Spanish No.1 Borja Golan, who came back from 2-0 down to force a fifth game.

Egypt’s Gawad looked completely rejuvenated from his recent injury troubles as he pushed his Spanish opponent, who struggled to apply much pressure to the Egyptian, in the opening two games with the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ in clinical form to take the opening two games.

However, in the third, the match began to turn in the favour of Golan as the Spaniard threw caution to the wind and looked to be moving more freely around the court as he switched up his game plan to put real pressure on Gawad and take the third game.

Golan then continued to pile on the pressure as he forced Gawad out of his comfort zone to take the fourth and force the match to a deciding fifth.

However, Golan began to fade in the crucial decider as Gawad picked up the pressure and was in relentless as he took the fifth for the loss of just a single point to close out an intense 72-minute battle.

“Today’s match was very tough mentally,” said Gawad.

“It is always tough to be 2-0 up and you are playing well and attacking well and then suddenly you find yourself at 2-2 and you’re playing a fifth with your opponent playing such great squash.

“It was very tough mentally especially 10-8 match ball and then a decision in the fourth so it was tough mentally and I’m glad to win a tough battle against a tough competitor.

“I had shin splints since the start of the season in October and in my off-season I had an injury which meant I could practice for more than a month which meant I didn’t have a very good pre-season and I’ve been suffering with the shin splints.

“Today, I felt good and felt like I was moving well and so that gives me confidence for the next round.”

Gawad will now take on Peru’s Diego Elias in the next round after he defeated Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, 14-12, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10.

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-2: 11-5, 11-3, 9-11, 10-12, 11-1 (72m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 14-12, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 (63m)

Sobhy Sees Off Lust in Three

United States Amanda Sobhy flew the flag much to the delight of the home crowd as she saw off England’s Victoria Lust in straight-games to reach the second round of the Windy City Open.

Sobhy recently made her return to playing after an achilles injury – which saw her sidelined for 10 months – and the current World No.30 was in strong form to see off Lust and ensure a safe passage through to the next round.

The American got off to a blistering start to take five points in a row in the first game as she started with pace and despite some good shots from the Englishwoman, was able to close out an 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 victory.

“I feel really good,” said Sobhy.

“Considering five weeks ago I was playing ToC and that was my first tournament back and each week I feel like I’m getting better and stronger at tournaments.

“Coming into this I knew I would be facing Lusty and she is a really good player. She took Laura to five at ToC and she’s playing good squash but I wanted this to be a good test to see where I’m at after a month of coming back and a tough first round is a good thing to see where I’m at.”

[12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (29m)

El Hammamy Produces Huge Upset to Knock Out David

Egyptian teenager Hania El Hammamy produced the biggest win of her career to knock-out eight-time World Champion Nicol David in round one of the Windy City Open.

The two players previously met each other at the same stage of last year’s Windy City Open and it looked as though it was going to be a routine win for former World No.1 David when she took a 2-0 lead.

However, a brilliant response from 17-year-old El Hammamy saw her secure a second-round berth for the first time at the tournament.

El Hammamy played without fear after going 2-0 to fight back to level the scores before going on to take the fifth game to claim the biggest win of her career to date by an 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 scoreline in 54 minutes.

“I’m delighted,” said El Hammamy.

“It was such a good match against a legend like Nicol. I cannot believe it, I was 2-0 down and I tried to stay positive and not let myself get down and not want to play. I just wanted to focus and play as well as I could.

“I was telling myself that I’m playing against a legend, I’m 2-0 down and I haven’t played my best, so I thought ‘let’s go and keep your mind positive’.

“It’s my first win over somebody in the top ten and it’s not just anyone in the top ten, it’s Nicol and it’s an amazing feeling.

“I’m more confident than ever now and I can go and enjoy the next round and I don’t have to put pressure myself. I will just go and play whoever and enjoy it.”

Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [6] Nicol David (MAS) 3-2: 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 (54m)

Momen Celebrates Birthday with Win over Marche

Egypt’s World No.7 Tarek Momen made sure it was a birthday to remember as he booked his place in the second round of the Windy City Open with a 3-1 win over France’s World No.30 Gregoire Marche.

Momen – who was celebrating his 30th birthday today – looked strong in the opening two games as he took them comfortably by an 11-7 and 11-2 scoreline, respectively.

However, Marche – who defeated United States Dylan Cunningham and Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan in qualifying – hit back in the third to cause the Egyptian a few problems as he battled to force a tie-break, as the points constantly ebbed and flowed between both players, before Marche took it 14-12.

The Frenchman was unable to keep up the pressure though as Momen’s accurate hitting saw him take the fourth, 11-7, and close out the win and will now face compatriot and three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour, who defeated Hong Kong qualifier Tsz Fung Yip in straight-games.

“It would have been a real shame if I lost on my 30th birthday,” said Momen following the match.

“It’s not my ideal celebration to play a squash match on my birthday but I got the win, so I can have a happy ending to the day.

“The past two or three times I have played Greg it has always gone to five and he has beaten me before, so I knew I had to be very sharp today and it helped me a lot to get the 2-0 lead.

“He stepped it up a lot in the third and fourth and he was a completely different player, so I had to adapt to that and I’m very happy it didn’t go to five and I got through.

“I’m trying to get better at the back court, I have been working with my coach on that for a long time and it is starting to pay off and it has been helping me a lot.”

[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 11-2, 12-14, 11-7 (51m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (35m)

Gohar Safely Through to Round Two

Egypt’s World No.6 Nouran Gohar produced a strong performance as she ousted compatriot and World No.19 Salma Hany in four games.

Hany had a sublime start as she showed her excellent skill and looked the brighter of the two players as she claimed the first game by a 12-10 margin.

However, the momentum of the match soon changed and Gohar was able to strike back as the Egyptian played with pinpoint accuracy to hit all of her targets and close out the win by an 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 scoreline.

Gohar will now face United States Sobhy in the next round.

“It is extremely difficult to play against Salma,” said Gohar.

“After the warm-up they showed the head-to-head and I was really surprised that we have only played once on Tour but actually it was a junior rivalry and we played in all the Junior World Championships and we actually played five days ago at the Nationals – I won in five and it was a really tense match.

“It’s really tricky to play against her because she has a really tough game to play and has really good hands.

“The last time we played was a year ago before her [Amanda Sobhy] injury and we didn’t play that much we have only played two or three times before and it was in the final of Hong Kong so it’s funny that we are now playing in the second round here but that’s the seeding and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Elsewhere England’s Alison Waters set up a round two clash against El Hammamy after the Englishwoman defeated Hong Kong’s Joey Chan 3-2.

[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Salma Hany (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (47m)
[10] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-2: 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 4-11, 11-4 (49m)

Max Lee Stuns Abouelghar In Three

Max Lee pulled off a huge first round upset as he dumped World No.9 Mohamed Abouelghar out of the Windy City Open in the first round courtesy of a comprehensive straight-games triumph that saw him produce some of his best squash of recent years.

The Hong Kong number one has struggled with repeating cramp issues during the past year, falling from World No.12 to No.30, but looked to have put his issues behind him as he moved with ease to dominate the court against Abouleghar and prevail in what was a high quality exhibition of shot-making.

The opening game saw both men produce winner after winner of the highest calibre before Abouelghar gifted Lee the game with a simple error on game ball. And it was wayward play from the Egyptian that allowed Lee to open up a 6-0 lead in the second.

After doubling his lead Lee continued to profit from rash play from Abouelghar to run out a 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 winner.

“Today I think I played very well and I'm very, very happy to win,” said Lee.

“He's a very good player and is still young – I just tried my best in every point. I think the court played a big role in the match – I had a few lucky bounces at times and the conditions maybe suited me better.

“He was, as expected, going for his shots from all corners and today he made a lot of errors.

“But I've been suffering a lot with cramp over the past couple of seasons so it's good to be winning matches again. I played a few events before coming here and I feel like I have some momentum behind me now.

“Last year I was losing a lot and had a losing momentum. Now I feel like I'm back towards a winning momentum and that my game is getting back, so it's good.”

Elsewhere, Colombian 'Cannonball' Miguel Angel Rodriguez saw off New Zealand's Paul Coll by an 11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6 scoreline in 70 minutes.

[Q] Max Lee (HKG) bt [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6 (70m)

El Welily Eases Into Round Two

A sterling performance from glass-court debutante Tinne Gilis wasn't enough to prevent defending champion Raneem El Welily from securing comfortable passage into the second round of the 2018 Windy City Open.

The 2015, 2016 and 2017 winner came through 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 to complete a routine win. But there were plenty of positives for Gilis, who was appearing in the main draw of a World Series event for the first time in her career, to take after the match as she troubled El Welily in patches with some well constructed and varied play.

“The first match of any event is always hard mentally and emotionally,” said E Welily.

“It takes time to adjust to it and she's been playing very well. You can see from her recent results and how she was on court today that she's hungry.

“She's a good player and I think she can go on to be a very good player, but for me I just try to come here and be positive and enjoy every moment of being here.”

Elsewhere, England's Emily Whitlock defeated French qualifier Coline Aumard in straight-games to reach round two where she will now face El Welily.

[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
[16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (35m)

ElShorbagy Dominant to Defeat James

Tournament top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy comfortably saw off England’s Declan James in round one of the Windy City Open.

The Egyptian – who will return to the top of the World Ranking next month – was in explosive form as he saw off the threat of World No.26 James to take the match by an 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 scoreline in just over half an hour.

2016 Windy City Open champion ElShorbagy will now face France’s Mathieu Castagnet in the next round.

“I feel good,” said ElShorbagy after the match.

“I came here and wanted to play well and I’m really looking forward to seeing how I can do this year. I have made it to two finals before and I really enjoy playing here and I hope I can go all the way here this year.

“I had a very tough season last year, where I lost a lot of tournaments and my ranking and I had to go back in the summer and regroup.

“I felt I was out of form last year and lost my hunger. I had to tell myself that this is not why I play the sport, I play because I want to be a winner and I don’t think a lot of people thought I could get it [World No.1] back again but I’m just really glad I am able to get there again but there is still a long way to go for me and it’s always hard to keep defending that spot.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (32m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2: 13-15, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (69m)

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