Au Downs van der Heijden As Gawad Eliminates Al Tamimi
Hong Kong’s Annie Au put in a commanding performance to record a 3-0 win over Dutch player Milou van der Heijden while 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad kicked off his Oracle NetSuite Open campaign with an impressive 3-1 victor over Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.
The former World No.1, a traditionally slow starter, started sharply against Tamimi to take the opening game. Tamimi though managed to press Gawad in the second and utilised his speed to up the pace and put Gawad on the back foot to level.
What followed that was a spell-binding third game that saw both produce squash of the highest calibre, opening up all four corners, but it was Gawad who enjoyed the better of the exchanges, anticipating Tamimi’s attacks to make the court as big as possible.
With Tamimi’s tank running empty Gawad continued to increase the pace in the fourth and punished Tamimi at every opportunity, taking the game 11-3, and with the it match.
“It was the time I’ve played him and it’s always difficult to play a player for the first time,” said Gawad.
“He has some spectacular shots in his locker so you have to be on your toes always. But I changed some things with my training and I’m trying to be smarter on court. I’m trying to be fitter and move faster and I’m looking forward to this season.”
Gawad in full flight
Massaro Wins Fesity Encounter With Lobban
2017 tournament runner-up Laura Massaro opened up her 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open bid with a 3-1 win over Donna Lobban in what was a feisty 35-minute affair.
It was Lobban, who married Scotland’s Greg Lobban this summer, who started the stronger as she out-manoeuvred Massaro in the opening game, playing with real attacking intent to take a 1-0 lead.
Massaro though equalled her in the second and began to find better length and line to level the scores. A series of debatable decisions stopped the rhythm mid way through the third, with both players looking questionably to the referee. Visibly irritated, both players looked to use the frustration to their advantage, but it was Massaro who converted with profit, coming through to prevail 3-1.
“She’s a very dangerous player and mixes it up a lot so you have to be focused against her,” said Massaro.
“I found my range better the more the match went on. She played well in the first and I had to adjust and mix things up tactically and it paid off in the end.
“I’m just pleased to have come through and get the win and be into the next round.”
Collision with Massaro & Lobban
Momen Outlast Ghosal In Thriller
Egypt’s Tarek Momen and Indian Saurav Ghosal served up a thrilling 71-minute clash, full of outlandish winners, pulsating rallies and unbelievable court coverage that went the way of the World No.4 in by a narrow 9-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7 margin.
“We play a very similar game,” said Momen. “He’s a very tough opponent so I’m just very pleased to get through today
“It was my first match of the season and it’s sometimes hard to get into the zone so I’m really happy that I was able to regroup mentally at the end.
“Last year was the best season I’ve had on Tour. A couple of wins at the beginning gave me some confidence and I was consistent throughout. I’m hoping to building on that momentum this season and hopefully go further and winning some titles.”
Momen at full stretch against Ghosal
Serme Ends Sobhy’s Hopes As King & El Welily Cruise Through
Hopes of home success were crushed by Frenchwoman Camille Serme as she knocked out lone-standing American hope Amanda Sobhy in the second round, while World Champion Raneem El Welily and the recently resurgent Joelle King also booked their quarter-final spots.
Serme, who lost out to Sobhy at the recent Women’s World team championship, made amends for her defeat in Dalian as she produced an intelligent performance to nullify Sobhy’s impressive attacking arsenal in the 41-minute match. After losing the first game, Sobhy showed all her attacking prowess as she stormed through the second game hitting winner after winner, but Serme managed to regain control of the centre of the court in the third and then came from behind in the fourth to profit as Sobhy began to tire.
“When I saw the draw I knew it would be tough,” said Serme. “She beat me a few weeks ago in the World Teams but I tried to learn from that.
“I knew it would be a big battle, which it was, but I tried to just enjoy being out there. I wanted to try and get her into the back and attack as soon as I could so I’m very happy to get the win.”
A delighted Serme
Results So Far- 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open: Women’s Second Round
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (28m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9 (41m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-1: 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 12-10 (28m)
Results So Far- 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open: Men’s Second Round
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4 (47m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 9-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7 (71m)
Defending Champions Perry And ElShorbagy Through To Oracle NetSuite Open Quarters
2017 Oracle NetSuite Open champions Sarah-Jane Perry and Mohamed ElShorbagy began the defences of their respective titles with victories over Egyptian Salma Hany and Frenchman Gregoire Marche on a busy second day of action at the PSA World Tour event taking place in San Francisco.
“I knew the danger of playing against him in first game of season, I had to be sharp and I had to play well to beat him today,” said ElShorbagy.
“I started my season well here last year and proved a lot of things to myself during the season. But I have more things to prove and I want to get better every day. I know what it feels to lose the number one spot and I want to make sure that I only lose it again when someone raises the bar over me, not because of me losing hunger or motivation like before.”
ElShorbagy frustrated during the match