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Raneem El Welily

El Gouna International: Day Two - As it Happens

Day two of the El Gouna International, PSA World Series tournament sees women’s World Champion Raneem El Welily get her tournament up and running against rising Malaysian star Sivasangari Subramaniam at El Gouna’s Marina.

Also in action is El Welily’s compatriot – the in-form Nour El Tayeb – who gets this evening’s live coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player under way at 18:30 (GMT+2) against French qualifier Coline Aumard.

El Tayeb’s husband – World No.2 Ali Farag – also begins his tournament as he takes on ‘Swiss Rocket’ Nicolas Mueller, while defending champion Gregory Gaultier and Egyptian maverick Mazen Hesham bring today’s action to a close at 20:45.

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)

WATCH LIVE AND FREE: We'll be streaming the entire first round match between Grégory Gaultier and Mazen Hesham for free on our Facebook page from 18:45 GMT on Saturday April 21.
Visit the PSA World Tour Facebook Page to watch.

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)

King Shakes Off Commonwealth Games Fatigue to Reach Round Two

Joelle King (left) v Fiona Moverley (right)

New Zealand’s World No.4 Joelle King followed up her stunning success at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month with a 3-1 victory over England’s Fiona Moverley on the second day of main draw action at the El Gouna International.

King was in magnificent form on the Gold Coast as she claimed two gold medals in both the singles and women’s doubles event alongside a bronze medal in the mixed doubles.

Despite her gruelling schedule, King began the match on the front foot and duly took a one-game lead against a player she had beaten the only they had met previously, which came at the Saudi Masters in January.

Their match in Saudi Arabia saw King prevail by a 3-0 margin but Moverley ensured that wouldn’t be the case this time around as she battled back from two game balls down to bring the match back to all square.

King redoubled her focus in the third and fourth games as she pinned her opponent in the back of the court with some thunderous driving to put the ball out of Moverley’s reach and she was duly awarded with 11-5 victories in each of the final two games to seal her place in the last 16.

“It was tougher than I would like, that’s for sure,” said King, who will face one of Hong Kong’s Annie Au or Liu Tsz-Ling in the next round.

“She played pretty well, she had two tough qualifying matches but she had a day off, so I knew she was going to come and play a good match. Coming straight off the Commonwealth Games, I had to really try and focus and I’m happy to get off 3-1, she’s never an easy opponent.

“Every time I’ve played doubles and then come into a tournament I’ve actually played pretty well. Because of the speed of the doubles, when you come back to the singles you feel like you’ve got a lot of time but obviously you have to cover the whole court yourself, there’s no partner to cover the other side of the court for you.

“It’s always done my game a lot of good playing the doubles, so I don’t think about it much, I just try to stay focused on my match.

“It’s been a pretty good season for me so far but it’s far from over, we’ve still got the British to go and I want to finish in the way I started the season. I’m just enjoying my squash to be honest and it’s interesting that those results follow.”

World No.5 Nouran Gohar is also through to the second round after she dispatched former World Champion Rachael Grinham 3-0.

The match was a contrast of styles as Gohar’s raw power clashed with Grinham’s finesse and it was the former who marched into a 2-0 lead.

Grinham pushed ahead to 8-3 in the third but a composed showing from Gohar saw her fight back, taking eight points in succession to book her second round berth.

“[There’s] no doubt she is a legend,” said Gohar.

“It was very hard. She is tricky, with all what she has achieved now she only plays for the pleasure of it, she has nothing to prove and it makes her even trickier.

“I’m very happy with the way I handled the match, and kept my head, especially from 8-3 down in the third. Now I have a nice rest day, that is really a good thing.”

She will face England’s Alison Waters for a place in the last eight, with Waters seeing off Mariam Metwally.

Metwally struggled to get her game going in the early stages as Waters built up a comfortable two-game lead. The woman from Egypt finally found her range in the third to claw a game back but Waters remained focused and pulled away from 8-7 in the fourth to seal the win.

Result
[7] Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (26m)
[10] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7 (37m)

Kandra Upsets Lee to Reach Second Round

Raphael Kandra (right) v Max Lee (left)

Germany’s Raphael Kandra will appear in the second round of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time in his career after the World No.39 bridged a 17-place World Rankings gap to upset Hong Kong’s Max Lee.

The pair were meeting for the first time on the PSA World Tour, while Kandra already had 84 minutes of action at this tournament under his belt after coming through qualifying.

His final qualifying round victory over England’s Nathan Lake came in a gruelling five-game encounter but, after having a rest day yesterday, he came out all guns blazing to take the opener 11-4, with Lee unable to match his opponent’s pace of hitting.

Lee then squandered a golden opportunity to level the scores in the second after amassing game balls on two occasions, but Kandra came back both times before converting his first game ball to double his advantage.

The 27-year-old from Paderborn then kept the player from Hong Kong at arm’s length in the third to complete an 11-4, 14-12, 11-5 victory in 39 minutes.

“I expected a hard match because we had never played before,” Kandra said afterwards.

“I was really looking forward to the match because I knew he was a fair player and can hit a really good ball. I was just trying to pick up the pace as much as I could and play faster so he had no time to his his good shots.

“After the first game I realised that he was struggling a little bit today with the pace that I was playing but in the second I slightly lost my game plan. He fought back and he almost won the game despite being 9-4 down.

“Somehow I managed to win the second game and throughout the match I had more confidence than him. I’m very pleased and it’s the first time that I’ve reached the second round of a World Series event.”

Kandra will aim to cause another upset on Monday as he goes up against the in-form World No.5 Tarek Momen after he got the better of tournament wildcard Mostafa Asal.

Kandra is wary of Momen’s racket skills, saying: “I think Tarek is very fast and tricky on court, he gives you many taxis on court. I’ll try to be as sharp as I can and give everything I can. I’ll try to slow down the pace a little bit and I’ll try to do my best and we’ll see how it goes.”

Tarek Momen (left) v Mostafa Asal (right)

Germany’s Raphael Kandra will appear in the second round of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time in his career after the World No.39 bridged a 17-place World Rankings gap to upset Hong Kong’s Max Lee.

The pair were meeting for the first time on the PSA World Tour, while Kandra already had 84 minutes of action at this tournament under his belt after coming through qualifying.

His final qualifying round victory over England’s Nathan Lake came in a gruelling five-game encounter but, after having a rest day yesterday, he came out all guns blazing to take the opener 11-4, with Lee unable to match his opponent’s pace of hitting.

Lee then squandered a golden opportunity to level the scores in the second after amassing game balls on two occasions, but Kandra came back both times before converting his first game ball to double his advantage.

The 27-year-old from Paderborn then kept the player from Hong Kong at arm’s length in the third to complete an 11-4, 14-12, 11-5 victory in 39 minutes.

“I expected a hard match because we had never played before,” Kandra said afterwards.

“I was really looking forward to the match because I knew he was a fair player and can hit a really good ball. I was just trying to pick up the pace as much as I could and play faster so he had no time to his his good shots.

“After the first game I realised that he was struggling a little bit today with the pace that I was playing but in the second I slightly lost my game plan. He fought back and he almost won the game despite being 9-4 down.

“Somehow I managed to win the second game and throughout the match I had more confidence than him. I’m very pleased and it’s the first time that I’ve reached the second round of a World Series event.”

Kandra will aim to cause another upset on Monday as he goes up against the in-form World No.5 Tarek Momen after he got the better of tournament wildcard Mostafa Asal.

Kandra is wary of Momen’s racket skills, saying: “I think Tarek is very fast and tricky on court, he gives you many taxis on court. I’ll try to be as sharp as I can and give everything I can. I’ll try to slow down the pace a little bit and I’ll try to do my best and we’ll see how it goes.”

Momen said: “The first game [against Asal] was close. A first round is always tricky, you have got to play on different conditions to the ones you are used to, and it takes a little time to adjust.

“Today, I played a young and hungry player, and a good one, it took me a little while to absorb all that.

“I think it was a good experience for Mostafa, who is still a junior. He wasn’t taken by the occasion and played to the best of his abilities. He is also very good in the middle of the court, anything loose and he would put me under pressure. I had to take him out of this area to regain control.”

Result
[Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-4, 14-12, 11-5 (39m)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [WC] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)

SJ on Song to See off Shahin

Sarah-Jane Perry (left) v Nadine Shahin (right)

England’s Commonwealth Games silver medalist Sarah-Jane Perry wasted no time in making her presence felt on the 2018 El Gouna International as she marched past Egyptian qualifier Nadine Shahin in just 17 minutes.

The World No.8 dropped just a solitary point in the opening game and that laid down a marker for the rest of her performance which saw her dominate the court in a clinical display.

Perry, who lost out to New Zealand’s Joelle King in the singles event final on the Gold Coast earlier this month, added an 11-5 victory and an 11-3 triumph in the final two games to book her place in round two – where either World Champion Raneem El Welily or talented Malaysian teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam will await.

“I was really pleased with how I played at the Commonwealth Games, I was obviously very disappointed not to win the final, but Joelle played better in the end so she deserved it,” said Perry.

“I took the positives out of it because I played some really good squash and I carried on where I left off really. It’s taken me a couple of days to get used to the courts here, I played doubles last week so the court felt a bit claustrophobic the first time I hit on it.

“It’s nice to get back into the swing of things though on a singles court and I’m really happy with my performance today, it was really controlled. I thought I kept it simple and hit nice lines.

“It’s perfect really, I’ll have a rest now and go and watch the match tonight to see who I’ll be playing. Last time me and Raneem played we had a really good match in Saudi.

“It was a really high-quality match and if I’m playing Raneem I’ll just be going out there and trying to play some really good squash again. But she’s playing Siva tonight and she’s been having some really good results. I had a game of doubles with her last week but it’s not quite the same and she’s playing some really good squash.”

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy completed a huge fightback against United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford to earn her second round berth.

El Hammamy, who three years ago became the first player born in the 21st century to win a PSA World Tour title, looked down and out after a Blatchford edged the opening two games to put herself on the verge of qualifying for round two.

But Blatchford was unable to close out a dramatic third game as El Hammamy came back to take it 15-13 and she followed that up with an 11-9 win in game four before taking the deciding fifth 11-8.

El Hammamy will take on the winner of Nour El Tayeb or Coline Aumard – who play later this evening – while Hong Kong’s Annie Au will also appear in the last 16 after she defeated compatriot Liu Tsz-Ling.

Result
[9] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-1, 11-5, 11-3 (17m)
Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-2: 10-12, 9-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-8 (67m)
[11] Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 17-15 (35m)

Rodriguez at His Best to See Off Abouelghar

Miguel Angel Rodriguez (left) v Mohamed Abouelghar (right)

‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez displayed the kind of form that took him as high as No.4 in the world three years ago as he ruthlessly dispatched Egyptian shot-maker Mohamed Abouelghar to book his second round berth.

Rodriguez has had the measure of the World No.10 in the past and had won their previous two encounters, with both of those matches going to five and lasting over the hour mark.

However, it was a different story today as Rodriguez forced Abouelghar into the back corners to prevent the talented Egyptian from playing his trademark winners.

Abouelghar was never able to knock Rodriguez out of his rhythm and the Colombian World No.16 swept to a comfortable 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 victory to set up a second round clash with Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, who defeated English qualifier Joshua Masters.

“I was very happy with my performance today, it was the cleanest of the year,” Rodriguez said after the match.

“I’ve played Mohamed three times in four years and he’s very skilful and very talented. I think I was very focused today, I was patient, attacking and very accurate, which was the key for winning the match.

“I was forcing him to play winners from the back and I didn’t give him any chances to attack in front of me. I’m very pleased with my performance today.

“We [Rodriguez and Salazar] know each other’s games and it will be a tough battle. I try not to think about my last results with him but the most important thing is to play like this in the first round and to keep my form in the second one.

“I’m trying to focus on my tournament and I want to do well this year. So far this year has been much better than last season because I had a lot of injuries two years ago. I’m playing much better this year and I’m 100 per cent fit.”

Meanwhile, England’s Chris Simpson followed up a successful qualifying campaign with a 3-1 victory over Frenchman Gregoire Marche, despite World No.44 Simpson currently sitting 15 places below Marche on the World Rankings.

Simpson had only beaten Marche once in their previous five meetings but he had the beating of the Frenchman this time around as he completed an 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 47 minutes.

Chris Simpson (right) v Gregoire Marche (left)

Simpson, who will take on either Gregory Gaultier or Chris Simpson in the next round, said: “I don’t know what happened there.

“In the 13 years of my career I’ve never came to an event that unprepared. For a few reasons I don’t want to get into, I even thought about not coming. But I had a good match against Youssef [Soliman], who was playing so well, and again today against Grégoire.

“I couldn’t have been more laid back today but that’s how squash is sometimes, there is no reasoning to it. I felt that I was freer with my racket work, I felt really light and flowing.”

Former World No.5 Borja Golan was also victorious as he defeated Karim Ali Fathi in four games and he will meet either Ali Farag or Nicolas Mueller in round two.

Results
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (33m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7 (47m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8 (54m)

El Tayeb Storms Past Aumard

Nour El Tayeb (right) v Coline Aumard (left)

Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb took just 20 minutes to dispose of French qualifier Coline Aumard as 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 victory saw her move into round two where she will go up against compatriot Hania El Hammamy.

It was the first time in six years that El Tayeb and Aumard had contested a PSA World Tour match, with El Tayeb getting the better of her opponent in both of their previous meetings.

And the World No.3 was ruthless as she rattled off winners at the front of the court and profited off a series of unforced errors from the French player.

Aumard showed signs of improvement in the early stages of the third as she began to put points on the board but her resurgence was short-lived as El Tayeb pulled away from 3-3 and took eight of the next nine points on offer to cap off a commanding victory.

“I’m very happy with my performance, I think I played very well and hopefully I can keep going,” said El Tayeb.

“I’m trying to lower my expectations as the season goes on. I played well at the beginning of the season and so far I have been playing alright, so I just have to keep the momentum going and stay focused on the match I’m playing.

“Every time I go on court I am excited and nervous at the same time. Being introduced as ‘World No.3’ is very big for me. I am trying to enjoy the moment because I know it’s not going to last forever and although I’m trying to reach that No.1 spot, it’s still huge for me.

“And as tomorrow is Ali’s birthday, I hope he can win so we can celebrate it properly.”

Result
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 (20m)

Farag Joins Wife El Tayeb in Round Two

Ali Farag lunges against Nicolas Mueller

World No.3 Ali Farag joined his wife Nour El Tayeb in the second round of the El Gouna International after he came out on top against Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.

Farag had won all three of their previous PSA World Tour matches but he had to dig in at times during the opening game against a tenacious Mueller, who was very efficient at the front of the court as he pulled Farag short and pounced on his loose shots.


Farag managed to triumph though to take a one-game lead on the tie-break, while the second game was a procession as he dropped just three games to double his lead.

The Egyptian then held three match balls in the third and, despite Mueller’s best efforts, he converted to wrap up the win in straight games.

“Nicky is so talented and he’s always attacking,” Farag said.

“You always have to be on your toes and I think I managed the match pretty well. I think the first game was crucial, had he got that one maybe psychologically it would have made a difference. After that one I stuck to my game plan well and I won the last one.”

Farag will take on Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan in the next round in what will be there first meeting since 2010, when a shoulder injury to Golan cut the match short.

“I’m really looking forward to it, he’s a very unorthodox player and he’s got different shots. I do like playing on this court so much but it’s the first time I’ve ever won a match on the glass court.

“I’m really happy to get through this one and I’m looking forward to hopefully many more in this tournament.”

Result
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 (33m)

El Welily at her Best to See Off Subramaniam

Raneem El Welily (right) v Sivasangari Subramaniam (left)

World Champion Raneem El Welily got her tournament off to a winning start after she put together an exquisite performance to overcome Malaysian up-and-comer Sivasangari Subramaniam.

El Welily, who made it all the way to the final last April when the PSA Women’s World Championships were held in El Gouna, stormed out of the traps and her shot-making talents were in full flow as she hit good lines to open up the court before using her racket skills to finish off the points.

Subramaniam showed glimpses of the talents that have made her stand out as a potential successor to Malaysian superstar Nicol David but she was unable to counter an impressive El Welily performance and it will be the Egyptian player who takes on England’s Commonwealth Games silver medalist Sarah-Jane Perry in the next round.

“I know Siva, she’s a very good player and I know she has more than what she showed today,” said El Welily.

“She has very good qualities and is very talented. She’s different than other juniors that you see and I expected a tough battle today. I’m definitely happy to be through in three.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be another battle between the two of us [El Welily and Perry], we’ve had close matches and many 3-2s. I’m just going to relax tomorrow, we’re playing in two days so there’s still so much time to prepare for it.

“It’s definitely great to be playing at home and to have the crowd’s support. It’s always different playing here in Egypt, especially in El Gouna because it’s very relaxing. To have people come and cheer for you is amazing.”

Result
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (21m)

Defending Champ Gaultier Comes Through to Beat Hesham

Gregory Gaultier (left) celebrates his win over Mazen Hesham (right)

Defending champion Gregory Gaultier had to draw on all of his experience as he battled through to a 3-1 victory over Egyptian maverick Mazen Hesham to move through to the last 16.

The pair’s previous three matches all went in Gaultier’s favour, while the ‘French General’ beat Hesham at the second round stage of last year’s tournament.

35-year-old Gaultier, who beat Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad in last year’s final, had the better of the first game as he went a game ahead until Hesham, known on the tour for his shot-making talents, played some measured and controlled squash to draw level after taking the second.

While Hesham’s incredible racket skills were still on show throughout the match, the World No.30 played with a newfound maturity as he rattled the Frenchman, with only a late charge from Gaultier at the end of the third game seeing the World No.3 avoid going 2-1 down.

Gaultier’s physicality began to wear Hesham down though and he pressed home his advantage in the fourth to close out the win by an 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4 scoreline to book a second round berth against England’s Chris Simpson.

“I knew it was probably the toughest first round and Mazen, when he is on fire, you have to be on your toes,” Gaultier said afterwards.

“It’s coming from everywhere and he’s very talented. The weather tonight made it difficult to control the ball and he made a couple of mistakes because the ball is moving around, so I just tried to be as accurate as possible.

“I lost my concentration a bit at the beginning of the third but I managed to push myself and go for every single shot to make him tired. It paid dividends in the fourth game and I’m really glad I managed to move that well in these hard conditions.

“During my 25 years of playing squash, sometimes your body pays the price, it is such a tough sport. I had the most amazing run in my career last year, everything was floating and everything was unbelievable.

“But I had bad injuries at the start of this season in September and it was a nightmare. I tried to catch up with very little preparation in each tournament. I’m not 20 years old anymore, I have to do so much work to come back.”

Result
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4 (60m)

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