Round two of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open continues today as the final places in the last 16 are confirmed.
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Kicking off the day's play is France’s Gregoire Marche against Hong Kong’s Leo Au. They will be followed on court by World No.3 Simon Rosner and Scotland’s Alan Clyne.
Coverage starts at 12:00 local time (UTC+2).
Schedule – Glass Court
All times are local (UTC+2)
Marche Mounts Comeback Against Au
France’s World No.36 Gregoire Marche mounted an incredible comeback from two games down against Hong Kong’s World No.28 Leo Au to reach the last 16 in Cairo.
Marche found himself staring down the barrel of defeat, as a masterclass from Au saw him take a commanding two game lead.
The Hong Kong player showcased some of his best squash as he lengthened the rallies to sap energy from the legs of Marche and looked as though he was going to power through to the next round.
"This is a slow death for
GregMarche</a>!"<br><br>The Frenchman is forced into some brutal movements by Leo Au - that looked like it hurt! <a href="https://t.co/oHOXQfoaMo">pic.twitter.com/oHOXQfoaMo</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) December 5, 2018
However, Marche had other ideas and came back well in the third to take it on the tie-break as he searched for a way back into the encounter.
It was clear to see in the fourth that the energy Au previously possessed earlier in the encounter had left him as there was a huge drop off in intensity from the Hong Kong player as Marche grew in confidence to level the scores.
The fifth saw Au struggle to cope with the squash that the Frenchman was producing, and he eventually was forced to retire as he went down with cramp and was unable to continue.
“I felt like I was too passive in the first two games,” said 28-year-old Marche.
“He was playing so well and didn’t make any mistakes. I want to watch it again because I can’t remember any unforced errors from him in the first two games.
“I played ok but it wasn’t accurate enough, I felt in the third there was a bit of break in his form so I though ‘ok let’s push’ and see how it goes but I didn’t want to go out without trying everything.
“At the end I felt bad for him, but I’m so happy to get through and it’s a great win for me.
“It feels good to finally have a good win, I just hope that I keep playing like I did in the last three games and it feels good to play on this court.”
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-3 (74m)
Rösner Through to Last 16
Germany’s World No.3 Simon Rösner progressed through to the last 16 of the Black Ball Squash Open after a straight-games victory over Scotland’s World No.43 Alan Clyne.
The two players had only met each other three times on the PSA Tour previously, with the tall German taking all of those victories and Rösner made sure to keep up that good record as he prevailed by an 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 scoreline.
It was a close first game between the pair, with Clyne refusing to go away easily against an in form Rösner – who recently reached the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open – however, the German was able to open up the advantage.
Hands are us!— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 5, 2018
Fast-paced battle between
simonroesner</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/Clynesquash?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Clynesquash #BBSO18 pic.twitter.com/d5nwr80Q69
From then on it was more comfortable for the World No.3 who grew into his rhythm in the encounter to seal a 3-0 win and will now face France's Gregoire Marche in the next round.
“It’s never easy in the first match,” said the 31-year-old German afterwards.
“You’ve got to get your body going and get your rhythm. I think I was struggling in the first to find my rhythm but I’m glad I got through that one and I’m ready to raise my game even more tomorrow.
“It’s been an unbelievable year for me, starting with New York in January and continuing, I couldn’t have asked for any more.
“I’m really glad with how I play these days and how I prepare for matches. I think I’m in a good state of mind at the moment and that makes a big difference.”
 Simon Rösner (GER) bts Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (31m)
Simpson Claims Big Win Over Salem
England’s World No.40 Chris Simpson claimed a huge win over Egypt’s World No.26 Zahed Salem to reach the last 16 of a PSA Platinum event for the first time this season.
The two players had only met once previously on Tour, with that encounter coming at the British Open in 2016 when Simpson took a 3-2 victory, and the Englishman maintained that record with this round two encounter which went the distance.
A controlled and smart performance from Simpson saw him take the first game, however, the resilient Egyptian fought back strongly in the second to draw level.
The 31-year-old Englishman dug deep once again in the third to mount pressure on Salem – who was playing in front of his home crowd – to take a 2-1 lead and put him in a commanding position in the match.
However, Salem refused to go away and showed dogged determination to force the match to a fifth after he drew level once more.
It looked as though the Egyptian was getting his reward as he built up a 4-1 lead in the fifth, however, Simpson soon came back strongly to whittle that lead down and level the scores at 4-4. From then on it kept being tight between the pair until a stroke decision on match ball saw Simpson claim his place in round three.
“It’s a massive win,” said the 31-year-old Englishman.
“So far this season I’ve not been confident, I lost from match ball up in my last tournament and then in the fourth I thought about that a little bit and I thought ‘right, concentrate’ but he came back. In the fifth when I was 10-7 up I think I again played some not so great rallies but I was just willing myself to win somehow.
“Sometimes it has to be a stroke, it’s not how I wanted to finish but I’m really happy to be through.
“I’m playing another tournament before the year is out, if I get a decent run in here and play well again tomorrow whoever I play against then hopefully I can carry that momentum into the next tournament.”
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 (75m)
Coll Powers Past Harrity
New Zealand’s World No.7 Paul Coll was in confident form to dispatch United States No.1 Todd Harrity in straight-games and reach the last 16 stage in Cairo.
It was the first meeting between the pair on the PSA Tour and Coll continued his strong performances that have served him so well throughout the first half of the 2018/19 season.
The Kiwi barely put a foot wrong, with his short game looking particularly sharp, to put Harrity to the sword in 35 minutes to win 11-6, 11-4, 11-3.
‘Superman’ Coll will now face Chris Simpson in the next round for a place in the quarter-finals of the PSA Platinum tournament.
“It was very good win,” said the 26-year-old.
“Todd is a quality player, he’s fast and it was coming fast off the front wall. I played on this court a couple of months ago in Egyptian League and felt good on there – really liked the court, so today it was no surprise to me and I enjoyed playing on here.
“I just want to keep pushing further into these tournaments, I don’t want to be satisfied with just reaching the quarter-finals anymore, I’ve managed to do that a couple of times, so I’d like to keep pushing these top four guys and keep pushing hard to try and go further and further in these events.
“Chris [Simpson] is a quality player, has got lots of experience and very talented with a racket. I’m going to have my work cut out for me and hopefully we have a good match.”
Meanwhile Harrity said afterwards to SquashSite: “Paul is a great player I have a tremendous respect for him.
“I fought as hard as I could and lost 3-0 and in a very decisively manner. If I could go back and do things differently, I think I would take more chances. He beat me in the back corners – which is his game.
“I would like to go back now and watch the match and see what I can do to improve and get to Paul’s level but still I’m happy with the way I fought the whole way.”
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (35m)
Mosaad Takes Out Rodriguez
Egypt’s former World No.3 Omar Mosaad played some of his best squash to take out Colombia’s World No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in an epic five-game battle in round two.
The two players have met each other nine times so far on the PSA Tour, with the two being no stranger to mammoth matches in the past, with one of their encounters last year lasting an impressive 108 minutes.
Cairo-born Mosaad started strongly in front of his home crowd and was able to survive two comebacks from the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ to book his place in the last 16 of the PSA Platinum tournament.
The Egyptian will now face either compatriot Karim Ali Fathi or India’s Saurav Ghosal in the next round.
“I was expecting this tough match,” said the 30-year-old Egyptian.
“I have played a couple of matches with Miguel and they have all been 3-2, so I just played my game and focused. Played point by point and I’m really happy to be through today.
“Playing against Miguel is really tough, he’s so fast around the court. I had to be strong mentally more than physically, so I’m really happy with my performance today.
“I tried and learned from the experience of other players on the tour, like James or Miguel. They all struggle at some point or another. Look at Miguel, he was top player, then dropped his ranking very low, fought back, and went on to win the biggest tournament on the tour.
“I didn’t have much training this summer because of my wedding, but I am training and working hard, I go from tournament to tournament, I am doing my best, and because I am confident, the win will come.”
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt  Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 11-6, 2-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (79m)
Ghosal Through to Last 16
India’s World No.12 Saurav Ghosal was in dominant form to dispel Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi in straight-games and book his place in the last 16 of the Black Ball Squash Open.
Ghosal took the first two games comfortably and looked as though he was heading towards a straight-forward victory, when at 10-5 up in the third, Fathi began to fightback to save five matchballs to put the Indian under pressure.
However, Ghosal utilised his experience to stay calm and convert on the tie-break and will now face Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in the next round.
“These Platinum events are so hard these days,” said the 32-year-old afterwards.
“The depth in the men’s game is so high, so winning any match 3-0 – I’m happy. I think I executed how I wanted to play for 99% of the match until I was 10-5 match ball and I kind of went walkabout – which you can’t do at this level. Karim is a top player and he took advantage and he made it really hard at the end.
“It’s good that I could close it out and be fresh moving into the next round.
“The Egyptians are playing really well, so I don’t think playing in or outside of Egypt affects the level they are playing at.
“Omar is a fantastic player, he has made No.3 in the world and has reached the World Championship final so that shows the kind of pedigree he has. Hopefully I can do the things the way I want to and play the way I want to and do the business.”
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-1, 13-11 (36m)
Farag Eases into Last 16
World No.2 Ali Farag was in confident form on home soil in Cairo, after he dispatched France’s World No.35 Lucas Serme in straight-games to reach round three.
The Egyptian has enjoyed a formidable first half of the season, claiming both the Oracle NetSuite Open and Qatar Classic titles and reaching the final of the Hong Kong Open just two weeks ago and Farag showed no signs of slowing down as he overcame Serme.
Farag played strongly to set up an encounter with either England’s Declan James or compatriot Mostafa Asal in the next round.
“It’s a pleasure to play in front of an Egyptian crowd,” said the 26-year-old
“To be staying at home, sleeping in your own bed and having a normal day all while playing a tournament.
“My parents have been helping me a lot since I started playing squash and so to play in front of them is great and I hope I can keep progressing through the tournament.”
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (30m)
Asal Claims Huge Win Over James
Egyptian rising star Mostafa Asal claimed a huge victory in a tense five-game battle with England’s World No.19 Declan James to reach the last 16 of the Black Ball Open.
England’s James found himself one game down after Asal started strongly to nick the tight first game on the tie-break.
However, James’ class soon shone through as he remained calm to hit his targets and take the next two games with a mature performance and nullified World Junior champion Asal’s attacking intent.
The young Egyptian refused to be ruled out, however, as he came back strongly in the fourth to force the encounter for a fifth and with the crowd on his side pulled off some outrageous shots and skill to get back on level terms.
HOW DID HE GET THAT?!
Some outrageous athleticism on show from
mostafassaloof</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BBSO18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BBSO18</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/squash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#squash</a> <a href="https://t.co/I16F4V7O3s">pic.twitter.com/I16F4V7O3s</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) December 5, 2018
From then on, the Egyptian teenager showed he had what it takes to be a true contender on the PSA Tour as he battled through to defeat James by a thrilling 15-13, 4-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-8 in 89 minutes.
“It feels incredible to play in front of this atmosphere,” said the 17-year-old.
“I want to thank all of the people that came to cheer for me.
“It feels amazing, to be able to play the World No.2 – he is my idol and I hope to be able to play a good match with him.”
Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 15-13, 4-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-8 (89m)