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Karim Abdel Gawad

El Gouna International: Day One - As it Happens

We're live on the banks of Egypt's Red Sea today as the main draw of the 2018 El Gouna International gets under way.

On the glass court in El Gouna's Marina, men's World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, the 2016 champion, is in action against March's PSA Men's Player of the Month Nafiizwan Adnan, while his younger brother, World No.4 Marwan, is set to face England's Ben Coleman.

Women's World No.1 Nour El Sherbini lines up against England's Emily Whitlock, with Whitlock's compatriot, World No.7 Laura Massaro, going up against Egyptian qualifier Mayar Hany.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player or follow our live scoring page.

Here's the SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+2)

We'll also be streaming live coverage from the side courts on our YouTube channel.

Order of Play
12:00 [10] Alison Waters (ENG) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
12:45 Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
13:30 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA)
14:15 Borja Golan (ESP) v [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)

France’s World No.6 Camille Serme booked her place in round two of the 2018 El Gouna Internatonal after she defeated India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik in straight games.

Pallikal Karthik had fallen to Serme in their previous five meetings but was coming off the back of two silver medals in both the mixed and women’s doubles at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month in Australia.

The World No.18 started well in the first and third games – going 4-1 up in the former and 9-2 ahead in the latter – but she was unable to hold onto her leads on both occasions as Serme began to hit her targets and stretch the play.

Serme prevailed 12-10, 11-7, 14-12 in 34 minutes to ensure that she will take on England’s Victoria Lust in the second round after Lust came out on top in a fiercely contested five-game battle with Egypt’s Salma Hany.

“I’m very happy to beat Dipika 3-0 because she’s not easy [to beat],” said Serme.

“These days every one is tough, but she has really good hands and can play shots from anywhere on the court like the Egyptians. I’m happy to win 3-0 especially because I was 9-2 down in the third game and I managed to come back.

“It was very intense and I really wanted to fight as much as I could. I was feeling good physically, not so much with the racket, but I continued to fight and she had some easy balls which she put into the tin, so I’m happy to win.

“I’ve been struggling a bit these last few months, so I just want to enjoy my squash again and find my attacking game again.”

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David was in action against Egyptian Zeina Mickawy and she defeated the qualifier by an 12-10, 11-2, 9-11, 11-2 margin to set up a second round meeting with Joshna Chinappa, who beat World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby 3-1.

David said: “I think I managed to step up on the 'T' today, except the moments in the match where she was playing extremely well and getting me off it. I have to step up against everybody, but especially against such a talented young Egyptian player.

“I’m very happy with my 3-1 win, and I'm glad I managed to pull my game together nicely.

“I have been working on my position, I know I work on my speed of course, but it’s all a question of consistency and systematically being in a position where you can be ready to react.”

[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 14-12 (34m)
[8] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 11-2, 9-11, 11-2 (32m)
[15] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Salma Hany (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11 (62m)
[16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [WC] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-4 (39m)

Gawad Comes Through to Beat Au

Karim Abdel Gawad (right) v Leo Au (left)

Last year’s runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad began his 2018 El Gouna International campaign with a 3-1 victory over Hong Kong’s Leo Au to set up a second round fixture with either Peru’s Diego Elias or France’s Lucas Serme.

Despite falling to eventual winner Gregory Gaultier in the final, Gawad’s run to the title-decider of last year’s tournament saw him overtake the Frenchman to become the fifth Egyptian male player to hold the World No.1 ranking.

Gawad, now ranked at World No.7, has struggled to hit the same heights over the past 12 months but he played some superb attacking squash in the opening two games to open up a seemingly unassailable lead against the World No.23.

Au improved in the third and finally started to work Gawad off the ’T’ to claw a game back, while he continued to have put points in the board in the fourth to set up the prospect of a fifth game.

But Gawad held his nerve to close out an 11-3, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8 win to move into the last 16.

“I played pretty well, especially in the first two games,” said Gawad.

“I think I came back pretty well in the fourth after he found a very good tactic in the third and fourth. Overall I’m happy with my performance today and to start with this win.

“The way he played in the third and the tactic he found meant that the ball was completely dead so it could have gone to a fifth but I tried my hardest not to make it go to five games so I can keep some energy for the rest of the matches.

“From the first year El Gouna was hosted here I was really happy to play such a great tournament in Egypt. I remember in 2010 I was playing in qualifying in Alexandria and I beat LJ [Laurens Jan Anjema] in the first round.

“I was very happy to come and play here on the glass court in the marina so I’ve had good memories here ever since the first year. I became World No.1 here also in El Gouna, so it’s a very special tournament for me.”

World No.6 Simon Rösner also booked his place in the second round courtesy of a 3-0 win over England’s Tom Richards, despite a slow start from the tall German.

Rösner said: “I was actually 8-2 [down] in the first game, won it 11-8 and was up 5-0 in the second, that makes 14 points in a row.

“I started a bit slow, a bit sluggish, and Tom was playing very well, I know he is in form at the moment, he was in the Wimbledon [Open] final. So at 8-2 down, I told myself to just try and inject some pace and energy into the game, to prepare for the second. But then I started to win a few points and I realised that I could turn things round.

“Taking that first game was immense for the confidence, that opening game is crucial when you haven’t played any squash in five weeks, the first match can be a challenge.”

Rösner will face another Englishman, Declan James, with James seeing off World No.27 Zahed Mohamed.

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-3, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8 (39m)
[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (33m)
Declan James (ENG) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 (40m)

Sobhy On Form to See Off Evans While Kawy Returns

Amanda Sobhy (left) v Tesni Evans (right)

US star Amanda Sobhy claimed a big win over Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Tesni Evans after a superb display from the Boston-based 24-year-old saw her claim a 3-1 victory.

A ruptured achilles injury saw Sobhy miss last year’s Women’s World Championships which was the first women’s squash tournament to be held in El Gouna.

The former World No.6 entertained the world of squash with her Comments from the Couch last April but she was back on court today and showcased some of the form she was enjoying prior to her injury in a sublime performance.

The American regularly pulled Evans into all four corners of the court, with some wonderfully deceptive boasts in particular catching the Welsh World No.12 off guard.

After taking just three points in the opening game, Evans managed to steady the ship in the second as she began to establish herself on the ’T’ but she was powerless to stop a rampant Sobhy from powering through to victories in games three and four to book her second round berth.

“I loved the Comments from the Couch and I think all the players loved them too but it’s so much better to be playing,” said Sobhy, who will face either World No.1 Nour El Sherbini or

“I’m happy to be here, the weathers good which I appreciate so much more than in the States. I’m happy to play, I’m enjoying it and there is really no pressure, it’s nice being the underdog again.

“There aren’t many expectations for me apart from keeping improving, getting fitter and enjoying my squash, so I’m happy I did that on the day.

“I know that she’s a bit gassed mentally and had a brutal couple of weeks at the Commonwealth Games, so I kind of had that lingering in the back of my mind but I didn’t want to be too complacent.

“She’s in really good form and even if she is tired, she’s brutal and really strong so I wanted to go in there and play at a very high pace and high tempo to make it really exhausting. I was happy to make it through.”

Elsewhere, Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy made her first PSA World Tour appearance since January 2017 after the former World No.4 took time away from the court due to the birth of her son, Selim, in September.

The 32-year-old went down in three games to Joey Chan and will look to get back on track when she appears at the Allam British Open next month.

“It’s ok, it was just too early,” said Kawy.

“I only started training a month and a half ago, and it’s not at 100%, more of a 30% training, once a day, and sometimes I have to cut it short because of Selim. It’s not the level required level of training.

“I  will go to the British with no pressure, I just need to get back into things. Here I wanted to do well because of the expectation of people, they were expecting so much from me. I just know I can play better than this.”

Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [12] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt [14] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (19m)

Serme Shocks Elias

Lucas Serme (left) takes on Diego Elias (right)

France’s Lucas Serme claimed one of the biggest wins of his career after he overcame Peruvian World No.11 to earn his place in round two – where he will take on 2017 runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad.

Semi-final finishes at both the Oracle NetSuite Open and Channel VAS Championships in the opening stages of the season saw Elias poised to be a major contender in the latter half of the campaign but a hamstring injury sustained towards the end of last year has stunted the 21-year-old’s progress in recent months.

And Serme took full advantage as he triumphed in a tight tie-break, taking it 12-10, before dropping just three points in a second-game onslaught.

Elias fought back in the third to send the match to a fourth, but Serme remained composed to take an 11-8 win in the fourth to ensure he will appear in the second round of this tournament for the first time in his career.

“Diego didn’t seem quite 100% but I saw him looking like that in a few tournaments, pulling off some great wins, so I was wary and on my guard until the last shot,” Serme said.

“He looks very nonchalant but still gets all the shots and some ridiculous kills. It was the first time I beat him, so I’m very happy.

“I felt better than yesterday, I was attacking better. I didn’t have a plan at the start of the match, I had a few shots of his I was wary about but that was about it. But after the first game, Grégoire [Marche] and Philippe [Signoret] helped me to devise a plan.”

Serme will be joined in the next round by compatriot Mathieu Castagnet and former World No.3 Omar Mosaad after they defeated Egyptian duo Mohamed Reda and Ahmed Hosny, respectively.

[Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-1: 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8 (55m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 16-14, 8-11, 5-11, 11-5 (74m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [LL] Ahmed Hosny (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 (53m)

El Sherbini Through in Straight Games Against Whitlock

Nour El Sherbini (right) v Emily Whitlock (left)

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini saw off England’s Emily Whitlock in the day’s opening glass court match to continue her 100 per cent record in El Gouna.

The 22-year-old became a double World Champion this time last year when she defeated compatriot Raneem El Welily in the first ever women’s professional squash tournament to be held in El Gouna.

And she picked up where she left off there as she stormed to an 11-3 victory in game one, with Whitlock unable to pin the Egyptian in the back of the court.

Whitlock was able to get on the front foot in the second as she put in some deft touches at the front of the court and she was rewarded with three game balls.

However, she was unable to capitalise on the advantage as El Sherbini came back to take five successive points, levelling the scores before the tournament top seed powered to an 11-2 victory in the third to complete the victory in 24 minutes.

“Emily is a tricky first round and we’ve not played a lot of matches together,” said El Sherbini, who will take on United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy for a place in the quarter-finals.

“The second game was important for me and I didn’t want to lose it and I think that made the difference. I just went for my shots and I think she made an error or two, so that second game was important and I just played point by point.”

“I’ve not played Amanda since she has come back from her injury and it seems like she’s playing well and getting her form back. Mentally and physically she’s getting better, I’m excited for the match and let’s see how it goes.”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 12-10, 11-2 (24m)

ElShorbagy Sees Off Adnan Challenge

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Nafiizwan Adnan (left)

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy claimed a fourth successive win over Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan to take a 3-0 victory into the second round.

Adnan made headlines earlier this month when he claimed a bronze medal during the singles event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and he tested ElShorbagy during their 36-minute encounter.

ElShorbagy looked the fresher of the two as he took a comfortable 11-5 victory in game one but Adnan played some quality squash in the second as he pushed the Egyptian powerhouse and went 6-4 ahead.

Two tins then followed from the Malaysian though and those errors proved to be costly as the momentum shifted in ElShorbagy’s favour and the 2016 El Gouna International champion overturned the deficit to double his lead.

ElShorbagy continued to repel everything Adnan threw at him in the third and he closed out the win by an 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 victory to set up a second round battle with former World No.3 Omar Mosaad.

“I’m happy to win, he’s a very good player,” said ElShorbagy.

“He showed what a great player he is in the Commonwealth Games when he got a bronze [medal] and beat Nick [Matthew] in the quarters. He is one of those players that, when he plays well, is able to play at a top 10 quality, that’s why he’s able to get wins over them [top 10 players] from time to time.

“I knew how dangerous he is and I had to step it up from the beginning of the match. I’m really happy to win in three because it could have gone either way in the second or the third.

“To get a 3-0 win in the first round always gives you confidence, especially with having a rest day tomorrow.

“You can never underestimate a player [Mosaad] who once played at the top of the game and was World No.3 and got to the final of the World Championships and U.S. Open. Even though his ranking has gone down, you have to be on your toes from the first point.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (36m)

Massaro Defeats Hany

Laura Massaro (left) v Mayar Hany (right)

England’s Laura Massaro overcame rising Egyptian player Mayar Hany in straight games to earn her place in the last 16.

Hany showed glimpses of her potential at times during the match but, for the most part, Massaro put in a professional performance that saw her hit her targets and make few errors to wrap up a 3-0 win and she will face India’s Joshan Chinappa in the second round.

“I really enjoyed coming here last year, it was the World Championship,” said Massaro.

“But I played two matches on the back court and only one here on the glass, so it’s nice to be back here in this amazing arena.

“I just played a week of a ridiculously low tin that makes you run a lot, so it’s nice to be back on a higher tin. But it’s all about getting used to play singles again.

“I had played Mayar at the British Open, so I watched that match again. You cannot take any player likely nowadays, especially Egyptians in Egypt.

My body language in the match was a reflection on how I feel at the moment. I had a couple of results I would have rather not have, but I wanted to show today that I lost against those players because they were playing very well. That I still believe in myself, and in my squash, and show that I am still strong, and that I am still here.”

[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Mayar Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-8 (27m)

Marwan Takes Out Coleman

Marwan ElShorbagy (left) v Ben Coleman (right)

World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy joined his older brother in round two after dispatching England's Ben Coleman to ensure that all four glass court matches were won in straight games.

ElShorbagy played a composed brand of squash as he rose to 11-5, 11-4 wins in the opening two games and he fended off a resurgent Coleman – who had recovered from two games down to beat Tsz Fung Yip in the final round of qualifying – in the third to set up a second round meeting with World No.28 Mathieu Castagnet.

“I’m happy to be back, Gouna is one of the best events out there, so thanks to [Tournament Promoter Amr] Mansi and his team for their great work,” ElShorbagy said.

“I lost in the semis last year, I have been playing pretty ok this season so let’s see how this year goes.

“Ben is a great player, we played a couple of years ago. He had a very hard match yesterday. All credit to him, he pushed really hard in the third.”

[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (35m)

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