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Amanda Sobhy

El Gouna International: Day Three - As it Happens

Second round action at the 2018 El Gouna International begins today on Egypt’s Red Sea with some mouthwatering matches in store.

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and United States star Amanda Sobhy meet in arguably the most anticipated match of the day with Sobhy looking to put her injury issues behind her as she aims to halt El Sherbini’s 100 per cent win rate in El Gouna.

The duo get action from the glass court under way at 18:30 local time (GMT+2) with men’s World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and former World No.3 Omar Mosaad following on at 19:15.

England’s Laura Massaro is also in action as she takes on Joey Chan of Hong Kong, while World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy and Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet bring tonight’s play 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 second round match between El Sherbini and Sobhy for free on our Facebook page from 18:30 GMT on Sunday April 22.
Visit the PSA World Tour Facebook Page to watch.

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

Order of Play
12:00 Declan James (ENG) v [7] Simon Rösner (GER)
12:45 [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA)

Rösner Takes Out James to Reach Quarters

Simon Rösner (right) v Declan James (left)

Germany’s World No.6 Simon Rösner overcame England’s Declan James in straight games to book his place in the quarter-finals of the 2018 El Gouna International – where either World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy or former World No.3 Omar Mosaad will await.

Rösner and James’s last meeting saw the match go the distance to five games in a bruising 79-minute battle but James lacked the dynamism he displayed in that encounter this time around and he fell to an 11-1 defeat in a one-sided first game.

However, James was able to test Rösner in the next two games as he began to go for more unorthodox shots and winners rather than playing the length game, which initially threw the big German as James pushed him all the way to a tie-break.

Rösner played the critical points well though as he edged the second to double his lead, while he took a similarly close third game to close out the victory 11-1, 13-11, 11-9.

“To be honest, I don’t think he was 100 per cent today,” said Rösner.

“I think he was struggling with maybe some stomach issues or something. I found that he was going for the shots after the first and it felt that he was going for everything and it made me feel very edgy.

“I didn’t know what to expect and he was going for some awkward shots so it was quite difficult for me to stay in front. These matches are the ones that you’ve got to win. Last time it was a hard-fought five-game match and I just tried to stay focused throughout the match, which wasn’t easy today. I’m just glad to get through.

“I’m not going to do anything much different to what I did the last few days, I’ll try to eat well, rest well and will try to get on court and move around a little bit to stay in the rhythm. Whoever I play I’ll just give everything I can and, like in New York [when Rösner won the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions], it just happens sometimes.

“If you feel good and comfortable on court you play your best squash and everything is possible so we’ll just see how it goes.”

Meanwhile, 2017 runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad also claimed his quarter-final berth after he came through a difficult battle against World No.40 Lucas Serme.

“I came on court really well prepared, I didn’t want to lose the first game but in the second, he changed his tactic completely, and he put me under pressure with his basic game,” said Gawad.

“I gave him a lot of opportunities to attack and his tactic was just spot on, he was playing great squash.

“I had never played Lucas but I have been watching him play, and he has improved a lot in the recent months. I had to change my game plan completely to win the match.”

[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-1, 13-11, 11-9 (35m)
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-1, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8 (58m)

Chinappa Claims First Ever Win Over Eight-Time World Champ David

Joshna Chinappa (right) v Nicol David (left)

Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa came up with one of the biggest victories of her career as she stunned eight-time World Champion Nicol David to earn her place in the quarter-finals of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time since November 2015.

David was off the pace from the outset and Chinappa, a Commonwealth Games silver medalist in Australia earlier this month, attacked well to quickly build up a two-game lead.

The World No.14 then stormed into a 7-1 lead in the third and, despite a late fightback from her Malaysian opponent, held on to claim her first ever win over David at the sixth attempt on the PSA World Tour.

“I don’t know how I did it,” Chinappa said.

“A few of us are just back from the Commonwealth Games, not just me, and that’s one of the challenges of being an professional athlete.

“I knew I had a tough first round, then Nicol in the pre-quarters, so I had no pressure, and I just wanted to play freely and enjoy myself.

“I think I played pretty well, most of my balls went in, but I was just thinking one point at a time. I didn’t come on court with any particular game plan, I just came to play, I didn’t think about the match before, just had a good night sleep, ate well, and came for my match.”

Chinappa will play either England’s Laura Massaro or Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in the last eight.

Meanwhile, French World No.6 Camille Serme also earned her place in the last eight courtesy of a comfortable 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 victory over England's Victoria Lust and she will play either World No.1 Nour El Sherbini or United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy in the next round.

Serme said: “I'm very happy with the way I played, I managed to play quite relaxed and when I'm relaxed I play my shots well and my attacking game is good as well.

“I'm very happy to be back on the glass court, the only thing I am worried about his the wind. Today is very windy and it looks like it's not going to be easy but I'm just happy to be back on there. It's a very nice venue and I'm sure I am going to enjoy it.

“I'll prepare for the match in the same way I did before. I'm going to watch the match tonight and see how they both play, even though I know them both. I'm going to enjoy my rest day tomorrow and I'll have a hit on the glass court as well.”

[16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [8] Nicol David (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (32m)
[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [15] Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)

El Sherbini Avoids Sobhy Exit to Reach Last Eight

Nour El Sherbini (right) v Amanda Sobhy (left)

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini prevailed in a thrilling five-game battle with United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy on El Gouna’s marina to set up a quarter-final meeting with World No.6 Camille Serme.

The pair have contested some exciting matches ever since their first meeting in 2013 and their head-to-head record was poised at three wins apiece, with Sobhy prevailing the last time the two met in the semi-finals of the 2016 Hong Kong Open.

There was little between the two for large periods of the match as Sobhy fought back from a game down on two occasions as she threw everything she had against her Egyptian opponent on an evening that saw blustery winds from Egypt’s Red Sea descend on the marina, which hosts the all-glass showcourt.

However with the scores locked at 6-6 apiece in the decider, El Sherbini managed to establish a lead once more as she mixed up he mixed up her attacking shots to take Sobhy out of any kind of rhythm and she rattled off five successive points to prevent the American from completing the comeback.

“They’re really hard conditions out there, the wind was ridiculous,” said El Sherbini.

“It’s my first time playing on a court like this and it was another experience. It was really hard to see the ball because you don’t know what to expect or what shots to play. I just kept running and trying to put the ball in the back of the court and I’m happy to be through.

“I was just trying to hit the ball hard into the corners and was trying to attack more because with the wind you’re drops go instantly dead.

“It’s really hard to play a player like Amanda that you’re used to playing in the semis or the quarters. She’s really getting strong and getting her form back and she’s soon going to be back in the top 10.

“I’m really surprised and happy to see her playing like this once again and hopefully she can get back into the top 10 so we won’t have to play in the second round again.”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6 (52m)

ElShorbagy Comes From Behind to Beat Mosaad

Mohamed ElShorbagy v Omar Mosaad (left)

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy had to dig in tonight as he came back from a game down to beat former World No.3 Omar Mosaad by a 3-1 margin of victory.

ElShorbagy had only ever lost to Mosaad once in nine previous matches but was on the back foot in the opening stages as Mosaad exhibited the kind of form that took him to the World Championship final back in 2015 as he adapted to the windy conditions well.

He hit some trademark thundering forehand drives to push ElShorbagy into the back corners and he duly built up four game balls in the opener before converting on his fifth after his opponent came back to send the match to the tie-break.

ElShorbagy responded by hitting some fierce efforts into the front of the court and he held his nerve in the business end of the game to draw level. He then followed that up by powering to an 11-5 victory in game three after some lengthy, attritional rallies took their toll on Mosaad physically.

The ‘Hammer of Thor’ looked to have found a second wind in the fourth as he began to find his way back into the match but ElShorbagy played the crucial points well to close out a win that will see him take on Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner for a place in a fourth El Gouna International semi-finals.

“Today Mosaad took me by surprise at the beginning of the match, he played so well,” said ElShorbagy.

“He played with the quality he had when he was World No.3 so I had to dig in deep and I’m just really happy I got out of jail.

“I could have been 2-0 down but these are the kind of matches that sharpen you up for the tournament. I’m just really happy to be through and to beat a tough opponent like Mosaad in the second round gives you confidence.

“We’ve [ElShorbagy and Rösner] played 12 times and I’ve won all of the times we’ve played but he got really close in Dubai and a couple of times last year. This time we’ve played twice and I beat him in three in the U.S. Open and 2-0 in Canary Wharf but that doesn’t take from his quality, he has been playing well.

“We have high quality matches and I’m happy to live another day in this tournament. I’ve had a few problems before this tournament, for two weeks I had a niggle in my back and it was the first day I felt completely pain-free. That’s why I was stretching my back a little bit during the last two matches but today it was more in my head than actually feeling the pain so I’m really happy I beat him in three and it’s given me a lot of confidence.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (61m)

Massaro Motors Past Chan to Set Up Chinappa Clash

Laura Massaro (left) v Joey Chan (right)

England’s Laura Massaro put in a professional performance to dispatch Hong Kong’s Joey Chan by an 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 scoreline in 27 minutes, extending her unbeaten run over the World No.22 to six matches.

Massaro looked like a woman on a mission as she played an immaculate length and kept the ball away from the middle of the court to follow up a similarly impressive display against Egyptian qualifier Mayar Hany in the previous round.

The 34-year-old from Preston will take on Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa in the next round after she upset Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David earlier on in the day, and Massaro is steeling herself for a tough challenge.

“You prepare to do the best you can and that will be the same for Joshna when we play,” said Massaro, who has never lost to Chinappa in five previous meetings on the PSA World Tour.

“She’s a great player and if you don’t play her in the right way then she’ll finish the ball in the right way. She’ll be full of confidence on the back of that win for sure.

“You go into each match as if you’re fresh. You expect to come up against people at their best level and it was the same with Joey tonight. I don’t think she’s ever beaten me but that doesn’t mean that tonight she wasn’t going to.”

[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (27m)

Marwan Prevails in Four-Game Battle with Castagnet

Marwan ElShorbagy (left) v Mathieu Castagnet (right)

Egyptian World No.4 Marwan ElShorbagy was put through his paces by a tenacious Mathieu Castagnet, but emerged victorious courtesy of an 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 triumph.

ElShorbagy and Castagnet were playing on the PSA World Tour for the first time in three years and their head-to-head record was locked at four wins apiece prior to tonight’s encounter.

The first game went the way of the man from Egypt as he pushed Castagnet into the back of the court before going on the offensive and utilising his racket skills to put the ball short.

Castagnet looked to be running out of ideas midway through the second as Marwan dictated the tempo but he continued to fight on and was rewarded for his tenacity with a 13-11 victory on the tie-break.

An attacking onslaught in the third then saw Marwan restore his lead, with not even a burst ball doing anything to slow down the 24-year-old’s rhythm.

Castagnet, who had been forced to do a lot of retrieving throughout the match, began to fatigue the longer the fourth game went on and despite battling on he was unable to prevent a clinical ElShorbagy from closing out the victory.

“It was a rough battle, Mathieu played very well and I’m really happy to see him back playing at the top level again,” said ElShorbagy.

“He got to World No.6 and a lot of people underrated him but he is so tough to play. I have so much respect for him and for what he has achieved.

“I think he won the Nationals ago so he’s been playing with a lot of confidence. As for me, I think I made a lot of mistakes today which I need to work on with my coach. Overall I’m happy with my performance, I was enjoying it but maybe I was enjoying it a bit too much.

“I’m happy with the win today and looking forward to my day off tomorrow.”

ElShorbagy will line up against last year’s runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the semi-finals, four months after he ended his compatriot's World Championship title defence in Manchester.

When asked about the prospect of facing Gawad, ElShorbagy said: “When you reach the quarters all of the players start to play their best.

“Karim has been having a difficult season but I’m sure he can step up his game any day. I’m expecting a tough battle, I think he’s playing well so let’s see what happens.”

[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 (58m)

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