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Simon Rösner

China Open - Semi-Finals: As it Happens

We've reached semi-finals day at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open as the battle commences for a coveted final spot atop the Peninsula Shanghai, which overlooks the stunning Shanghai Bund.

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World No.5 Camille Serme get proceedings under way before the first men's semi of the evening pits top seed Simon Rösner against New Zealand's Paul Coll.

World Champion Raneem El Welily then takes on World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in an all-Egyptian clash and they will be followed onto court by India's Saurav Ghosal and Egypt's Mohamed Abouelghar.

Live streaming of all four matches is available here (China only).

Or stay up to date with all the action from the PSA World Tour Gold tournament by visiting our live scoring page.

Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+8)
18:30 [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [5] Camille Serme (FRA)
19:15 [1] Simon Rösner (GER) v [4] Paul Coll (NZL)
20:30 [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
21:15 [6] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [5] Saurav Ghosal (IND)

Serme Ends El Sherbini’s Title Defence

Camille Serme on the stretch

World No.5 Camille Serme ended a four-match losing streak to World No.1 Nour El Sherbini to end the Egyptian’s title defence at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open after a sensational five-game battle.

Serme was magnificent in the opening two games as she opened up a 2-0 lead, only to see a superb fightback from El Sherbini take the match to a dramatic decider.

Both players fought for every point in an absorbing contest that eventually came to an end when Serme finally completed the victory on her third match ball to take it 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 13-11.

“I think I managed to find the right tactics from the start and I guess she was a bit nervous to be 2-0 down,” said Serme.

“But she’s the World No.1 and she’s such a fighter, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Even though I was way up in the third and fourth she came back really strongly and I think I was just right with my tactics and kept pushing.

“I think everyone saw I was a bit angry with myself [at the end of the fourth game], I lost my mind a bit and couldn’t find my targets anymore. My coach told me to be quiet and listen to him and I had to calm down and it worked really well.

“I didn’t even reach the final last season of any tournaments so already it’s very positive for me. It’s very positive to see that I can be at that level again, so I’m happy to be in the final and I can’t wait to be back on that amazing court.”

Camille Serme (left) takes on Nour El Sherbini (right)

29-year-old Serme started slowly as an attacking onslaught from El Sherbini saw the top seed power ahead to 7-3 in the opening game but a magnificent response from the French player saw her hit all the best shots in her arsenal as she took eight of the next 10 points to go a game to the good.

The second game was neck and neck until Serme moved up a gear and she dominated the latter stages of the game as she put the ball short and moved El Sherbini into the corners to great effect.

Serme pulled away from 8-8 to double her advantage and couldn’t put a foot wrong at the beginning of the third as she surged into a 5-1 lead, only to concede the game after El Sherbini came back at her, with the Egyptian winning it in controversial fashion after the referee adjudged one of Serme’s retrievals not to be good.

It was a similar story in the fourth for Serme as she failed to capitalise on a 7-3 lead, which saw El Sherbini rattle off a number of winners en route to drawing level, but she held her nerve at the crucial stages of the fifth to complete the win which will see her appear in a first PSA Tour final since February 2017.

Result
[5] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 13-11 (66m)

Coll Beats Rösner to Seal Final Berth

Paul Coll (right) lunges against Simon Rösner (left)

New Zealand’s World No.10 Paul Coll will appear in the final of the China Open for the first time after defeating Germany’s Simon Rösner in a brutal 90-minute battle to set up a final clash with either Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal or Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar.

Rösner was on the verge of earning a final berth after going 2-1 up and 9-6 ahead in game four but Coll showed nerves of steel to come back into the encounter and level the scores, before edging a tight decider to record an 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 triumph.

“That was a real classic battle out there with Rösner,” said Coll.

“I was focusing on being really tough in my head because I was going through patches of playing well then I would give away points really quickly. For me, it was a mental battle out there to stay focused whilst dealing with the conditions and I’m really happy to get through that.

“I had to get myself pumped up [in the fourth], I had an early lead in that game and I had to get myself back into it. I was annoyed at myself for letting that lead slip and managed to channel that emotion in the right way thankfully.

“I really enjoy this tournament in China, it’s my third time here now and I’ve done okay here and had a few good wins. To win it tomorrow in such an amazing complex would be amazing.”

Paul Coll

The two players have had some gladiatorial battles in the past – with the average match time between the pair totalling 86 minutes – and today’s match was no different in an attritional and physical affair.

Rösner, who came into the clash leading 2-1 on their head-to-head record, struck first as he made the most of a 9-5 lead in the opening game to draw first blood but a couple of errors in the second allowed Coll to draw level.

There was little between the two in the third until Rösner was able to build up a head of steam towards the latter period of the game, moving ahead from 7-7 to hold three game balls and an error from Coll handed the initiative back to the tall German.

However, the Kiwi turned the screw in the fifth and was able to close out the win to reach his biggest PSA Tour final since December 2016.

Result
[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [1] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 (90m)

El Welily Halts El Tayeb to Set Up Serme Clash

Raneem El Welily (left) up against Nour El Tayeb (right)

Reigning World Champion Raneem El Welily will appear in the final of this tournament for the second time in her career after she dispatched World No.3 Nour El Tayeb by a 3-1 scoreline to set up a fixture with World No.5 Camille Serme.

The pair last met at the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals in June – with El Welily winning the best-of-three clash – and the 2015 China Open champion took the opening game atop Peninsula Shanghai today.

El Tayeb struck back in the second but was unable to truly break El Welily’s stride as the World No.2 took the next two games without reply to earn her spot in the title decider where she will look to extend a four-match unbeaten run against Serme.

“I’m really happy with my win today over Nour, it’s never easy, she’s very persistent and her retrievals are very good,” said El Welily.

“I’m really happy with my win today over Nour, it’s never easy, she’s very persistent and her retrievals are very good,” said El Welily.

“Other than that, she’s very skilful, very powerful and she never gives up, so I’m very happy to come out today with the win.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a very tough battle [against Serme] and may the better player win.

“Winning her would be amazing, I won the tournament back in 2015 and it was very good timing for me back then.

“Since then so many things have changed on Tour, it’s so different now and I’m very happy that the tournament is growing every year. I’m very happy to be in the final again and to start the season well would be great for me.”

Result
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (38m)

Abouelghar Beats Ghosal to Reach Biggest Ever Final

Mohamed Abouelghar (right) v Saurav Ghosal (left)

Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar will line up against New Zealand’s Paul Coll in his biggest ever PSA Tour final after he overcame Saurav Ghosal in a gripping 3-2 triumph in the evening’s final match to follow up a stunning shock of No.3 seed Gregory Gaultier in the previous round.

The pair had met on three previous occasions on the PSA Tour, with Ghosal winning two of those fixtures, including a 3-2 victory at the Channel VAS Championships last October.

This time though it was the Egyptian who claimed the upper hand in a match which saw momentum shift between the two players throughout.

Ghosal twice clawed his way back into the match after going a game behind but Abouelghar got the bit between his teeth in the deciding fifth to complete the win and he will compete for the most prestigious PSA Tour title of his career in tomorrow’s title decider.

“I feel great, especially after beating Greg last night, it didn’t sink in and even this morning I was still getting texts saying congratulations as if I’d won the tournament,” said Abouelghar.

“I tried to take that out of my mind because it was just one match and just one step closer to winning the title hopefully. To play here in the semis in this amazing venue is unbelievable for me.

“I expect a lot of running [from Coll], he’s an amazing athlete and the way he has evolved to have his own game is really special. I’m looking forward to playing the final against him tomorrow and I’m 100 per cent sure it’s going to be a great one for the crowd.

“I’ve been working hard this summer and to see my work paying off is a great way to start the season and hopefully things go my way tomorrow.”

Result
[6] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [5] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8 (63m)

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