Round one of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open begins today as the final men's PSA Platinum tournament of 2018 gets under way.
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Up first on the glass court is Australia's Cameron Pilley against Malaysia's Eain Yow Ng at 12:00 local time (UTC+2). They are followed on court by Egyptian wildcard Shehab Essam against Scotland's Greg Lobban.
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12:00 Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
13:00 Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
14:00 Peter Creed (WAL) v George Parker (ENG)
15:00 Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
17:00 Vikram Malhotra (IND) v Leo Au (HKG)
18:00 Adrian Waller (ENG) v Todd Harrity (USA)
19:00 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
20:00 Lucas Serme (FRA) v Joshua Masters (ENG)
Ng Fights Back to Take Out Pilley
Young Malaysian Eain Yow Ng showcased an impressive fightback against Australia’s World No.27 Cameron Pilley to reach round two of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open.
The Malaysian has been playing some of his best squash so far this season but found himself 2-0 down against the experienced Pilley, who came out the blocks firing in the opening exchanges.
Despite Ng pushing him all the way, the Australian dominated at the front of the court and handled the big points better than his young opponent to take a 2-0 lead, however, a momentum shift in the third saw Ng mount his comeback.
World No.42 Ng dominated the third to take the game reduce the deficit, capitalising on Pilley’s mistakes as the Australian – who had surgery at the start of the season – began to struggle with his movement.
From then on, it was all about the young Malaysian as he continued to put Pilley under pressure, eventually taking the win by a 10-12, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 scoreline.
“I didn’t put any pressure on myself today,” said the 20-year-old Malaysian.
“I knew that Cam is an experienced player and a really good player. He came out firing in the first and second game and I couldn’t really find the answer to it. But I just stayed calm and focused and it worked out in the end.
“I’ve been playing good squash lately and my confidence is pretty high. I came in without any pressure so I just stayed focused and concentrated on playing well and hopefully I can continue doing the same.
Ng will face New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson in round two.
World No.41 Grayson was in strong form against experienced Fin Olli Tuominen to prevail in straight-games by an 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 margin.
“Campbell is a great friend of mine and we’ve been training together quite a lot lately. It’s always tough playing a good friend, so it will be a close match and hopefully it will be a good one.”
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-2: 10-12, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (62m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 (20m)
Wildcard Essam Scores Huge Win Over Lobban
Egyptian wildcard Shehab Essam scored a huge upset in the first round of the Black Ball Squash Open after he took out Scotland’s World No.31 Greg Lobban, 3-1, to reach his first second round at a PSA Platinum event.
The young Egyptian played with unrelenting pressure in front of his home crowd to get off to a bright start and cause problems for the Scottish player.
World No.80 Essam had his first chance to convert the match in the third but was unable to cross the line as Lobban fought his way back into the encounter playing with more assertiveness on court.
Essam then suffered a dead leg and was forced to take an injury break at 10-10 in the third and on his return to the court, Lobban played mature squash to take back a game, winning 12-10.
However, this did not disrupt Essam as the Egyptian continued his charge to win 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8 in 62 minutes and will now face compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in the next round.
“It feels great,” said the 23-year-old Egyptian following his win.
“I was lucky to get the wildcard, so thanks to Black Ball. It was a really good win for me and I needed it and I went for it for it with all I could.
“Abou is a good friend of mine, he is a great player and in the top ten now, so I’m looking forward to it and playing a good match with him.”
Meanwhile on court 12, Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip defeated England’s Nathan Lake to book his place in the second round.
The Hong Kong player will now face former World No.1 and recent Pakistan Open winner Karim Abdel Gawad in the next round.
[WC] Shehab Essam (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8 (62m)
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-4 (45m)
El Hammamy Claims Big Scalp Against Hesham
Egypt’s World No.56 Karim El Hammamy marched into the second round in Cairo following a stunning 3-1 victory over compatriot and World No.34 Mazen Hesham.
The all-Egyptian battle proved to be a tight affair throughout with 23-year-old El Hammamy getting off to a better start to take a two-game lead.
El Hammamy showcased all of his best squash attributes on court, causing numerous problems for the ‘Black Falcon’ to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
Hesham managed to fight his way back into the tense encounter to take a 6-2 lead in the third, only to see that quickly cut down by a resilient El Hammamy who levelled the scores at 7-7.
Former World No.13 Hesham was able to utilise his experience in the big tournaments, however, to take a 12-10 victory in the third and push the match to a fourth.
However, it was to be El Hammamy’s day as he claimed a deserving 11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8 victory in a gruelling 81-minutes to reach the second round of a PSA Platinum tournament for the first time in his career.
He will now face World No.38 George Parker in the second round after he claimed a comfortable victory over Welshman Peter Creed, prevailing 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 in 26 minutes.
“I’d like to thank Mazen for a great match,” said the 23-year-old.
“He is a great opponent and one of the most talented players on Tour. It feels good to win the first round against him and especially for me as it’s my first time advancing to the second round at a major event, so that’s good for me.
“George Parker is a good player and I’m looking forward to the next match to see how it goes.”
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8 (81m)
George Parker (ENG) bt Peter Creed (WAL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 (26m)
Richards Through to Second Round
England’s Tom Richards denied wildcard Shady El Sherbiny a win in front of his home crowd after he prevailed with a straight-games win.
The meeting between the two players marked El Sherbiny’s first ever match on the PSA World Tour and he did not disappoint as he pushed Richards all the way in an entertaining match.
It was fearless attacking from the outset from the 19-year-old Egyptian as he put the experienced Richards under pressure, however, the Englishman was able to utilise his experience to guide his way through to the second round.
He will now face Germany’s World No.17 Raphael Kandra, after he received a bye into the second round.
“I didn’t know much about Shady coming into the match,” said 32-year-old Richards following his victory.
“He’s obviously very talented and playing in front of your home crowd gives you a bit more of a lift. He was strong, and he took it to me, so all credit to him.
“I’m in a good place. I feel like I’m playing well and I’m confident, I’m moving well and touch wood injury free. I lost to Mohamed [ElShorbagy in Hong Kong] but it was by no means a bad loss – I felt like I played well and I’m happy with my game.
“Raphy is a very attacking player and a very clean and fair player. It will be a good match and I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s Alan Clyne claimed a 3-0 victory in his first round against Omar Abdel Meguid after the Egyptian was forced to retire in the third. The Scottish player will now face Germany’s Hong Kong Open runner-up Simon Rösner.
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [WC] Shady El Sherbiny (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 (34m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 6-0 retired (27m)
Marche Prevails Against Reda
France’s World No.36 Gregoire Marche is through to the second round in Cairo after a straight-games win over Egypt’s Mohamed Reda in the opening round.
The two players have not met each other on the Tour since 2012, when Marche claimed a 3-1 win in the final qualifying round at the Hong Kong Squash Open.
'The Acrobat' Marche ensured he maintained that head-to-head record in Cairo after he played strongly to overcome a hard to beat Reda by an 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 scoreline in 43 minutes.
The Frenchman will now face Hong Kong’s Leo Au after he defeated India’s Vikram Malhotra in straight-games on the sidecourts to prevail.
“It’s never easy to play an Egyptian at home,” said the Frenchman following his win.
“It’s a good win. I didn’t feel really good on court today, but I think Mohamed took a bad start but he was coming back and he played much better at the end.
“I felt tired in the middle of the games, but I was just happy that I could fight mentally at the end of each game and it was a good 3-0 win.
“I put some different stuff in my training in the summer, so I started well but I felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself, so I tried to relax a bit and I want to play better towards the end of the year.”
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (43m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt Vikram Malhotra (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (29m)
Salem Takes Out Compatriot Gamal
Egypt’s World No.26 Zahed Salem prevailed in the all-Egyptian battle with compatriot and World No.63 Mazen Gamal with a straight-games win.
Salem started confidently to take a 2-0 lead, before Gamal struck back in the third to make things difficult for the 26-year-old Egyptian with Gamal pushing him right until the end, where he took home an 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 victory.
Salem will now face the winner of Spain’s Edmon Lopez v England’s Chris Simpson in round two.
“It’s not the first time I’ve played with Mazen,” said the World No.26 from Alexandria.
“We have played a few times, so I knew it was going to be tough. Today is my first match here and I want to get confident and that will push me for the next round.
“I was very focused that I didn’t want to lose one game. I wanted to play well and that worked in the first and the second, in the third he played really well and we were always on the same points, so it was tough mentally.
“I’m happy that I’m playing in Egypt, at home. We always travel around the world so it’s a good chance for us to play in front of Egyptian crowds and I’m looking forward to the next round and hope I play well.”
Meanwhile, United States’ Todd Harrity is through to the second round after his opponent Adrian Waller was forced to retire due to injury in the third game of their match.
He will face New Zealand’s Paul Coll in round two.
Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 (43m)
Todd Harrity (USA) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 5-8 retired (37m)
Simpson Through to Second Round
England’s Chris Simpson powered through to the second round of the Black Ball Squash Open after defeating Spain’s Edmon Lopez in straight-games.
The Englishman was made to work hard to earn his victory against the 22-year-old Spaniard – who is almost ten years younger than Simpson.
It was the first meeting between the pair on the PSA Tour and Simpson was pushed all the way by a resilient Lopez, who refused to be beaten right up until the last moment, but in the end the experience of the Englishman proved vital to claim an 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 victory.
HUGE rally between— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 3, 2018
simposquash</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/EdmonLopez?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">EdmonLopez
The Englishman currently holds a 2-0 lead against the Spaniard #BSSO18 #squash pic.twitter.com/xvTxrL8keK
He will now face Egypt’s Zahed Salem in round two.
“Edmon didn’t let me feel comfortable,” said the 31-year-old following his victory.
“He’s tough and keeps the ball tight, he didn’t give me many opportunities at all and the pace was high. I’ve not been happy with my squash recently and at the start I was a bit nervous but I felt like the longer the game went on the more I settled and hopefully I can continue that and feel more settled tomorrow.
“To come here and I’ve never really seen him play before so I had to study his style and adapt as the game wore on, so it was a new experience and really enjoyable.
“I think I have played just once against Zahed and it was really close. I just want to concentrate on my squash and he seems to have hit the ground running so I’m sure it will be a great match.”
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Edmon Lopez (ESP) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (47m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-4 (36m)
Asal Comes Through Lengthy Battle with Soliman
Egypt’s World Junior champion Mostafa Asal came through a lengthy encounter with compatriot Youssef Soliman to book his place in the second round after 89 minutes.
The two young Egyptians had never met before on the PSA World Tour and they ensured that their first meeting went the distance, with both players enjoying patches of dominance.
A mammoth first game – which lasted 37 minutes – went in the favour of 17-year-old Asal, who started strongly against his compatriot. However, Soliman battled back in the second to level the scores.
World No.52 Asal started the third strongly to take a commanding lead, eventually claiming it 11-7, before a blood injury to the young Egyptian brought a halt to proceedings in the fourth.
However, once back on court the 17-year-old picked up where he left off and dominated to take home an 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 victory.
Asal will now face England’s Declan James in the second round on Wednesday December 5.
“I’m so happy that I managed to win today,” said the Cairo-born Egyptian.
“It was not easy to get the win today, but I want to thank my coaches and family who are here today.”
Meanwhile, France’s Lucas Serme claimed a 3-1 win over England’s Joshua Masters to set up a second round clash with Egypt’s World No.2 Ali Farag.
Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-1: 16-14, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6 (89m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Joshua Masters (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (52m)