Round two of men’s action at the 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions takes place today inside one of the most iconic venues on the PSA World Tour – New York's Grand Central Terminal.
Today will see a number of exciting men's matches take place with action from the glass court live on SQUASHTV starting with Egypt’s Fares Dessouky – in his second tournament back from injury – up against experienced Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet – who defeated England’s George Parker in a mammoth five-game battle yesterday – at 12:00 (UTC -5).
We'll also have reports and reaction from all of today's matches right here.
Schedule – Round Two (all times local UTC-5)
Dessouky Downs Castagnet to Reach Round Three
Fares Dessouky (left) v Mathieu Castagnet (right)
Egypt’s Fares Dessouky stepped up his return from injury as he overcame Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet to book his place in the last 16 of the men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
Dessouky tore his ACL at the Hong Kong Open back in November 2017, forcing him into a 14-month spell on the sidelines until he made a successful comeback at the CCI International earlier this month, reaching the final.
The 24-year-old has tumbled down the PSA World Rankings during this period – falling from No.13 to No.502 – but his undoubted talent with a racket came to the fore in his clash with Castagnet as he controlled the tempo well to take a one-game lead.
Castagnet emerged victorious from a gruelling 137-minute first round battle with England’s George Parker – which saw the Frenchman require treatment for a head injury – and the the World No.27 fought back to draw level against his Egyptian opponent.
"That's what you would expect from— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) January 17, 2019
RamyAshour</a>"<br><br>Outrageous shot from <a href="https://twitter.com/CastagnetMatt?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">CastagnetMatt#ToCSquash #TOC19 pic.twitter.com/nDjogUIKLS
But a composed Dessouky kept his head to halt Castagnet’s revival and he recorded 11-6 victories in each of the final two games to book his place in round three, where he will play the winner of Karim Abdel Gawad or Joel Makin.
“I’m really happy that I’m playing squash again and competing here again at this beautiful venue,” said Dessouky.
“I'm feeling really excited at the same time because at the end of the game I was playing at a fast pace, but I was nervous at the same time.
“I played [CCI] to prepare for this one and to see if I could play well or not.”
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6 (43m)
Lee Comes Through Against Salazar
Max Lee celebrates in Grand Central Terminal
Hong Kong’s Max Lee booked his round three berth courtesy of a 3-1 triumph against Mexico’s Cesar Salazar inside Grand Central Terminal which saw him come from behind to win.
It was all Salazar in the opening game as the World No.30 retrieved well and attacked efficiently to take an 11-8 lead against an opponent ranked 17 places above him.
But the momentum flipped completely from the second onwards as Salazar looked to be struggling with an injury and he was unable to halt a resurgent Lee who came back to claim an 8-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 victory in 40 minutes.
What a rally! What a finish from
cesarsm88</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TOC19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TOC19</a> <a href="https://t.co/Jmy5Vbbbuj">pic.twitter.com/Jmy5Vbbbuj</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) January 17, 2019
Lee will take on either defending champion Simon Rösner or Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly for a place in the last 16.
“I just tried to relax and keep my discipline all the way through today,” said Lee.
“I’m not sure [if he can break the top 10 this year]. I’ve just turned 31, if I was 21 I would have the potential to say yes, but at 31, I’m not too old but I’m trying to enjoy my squash.
“I love travelling around the world, there are lots of tournaments and people enjoy watching. I need to put more effort in playing and controlling my passion for squash.”
Max Lee (HKG) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 8-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (40m)
Salem Slays Eain Yow
Zahed Salem (left) celebrates after beating Eain Yow Ng (right)
Egyptian World No.25 Zahed Salem recovered from a one-game deficit to overcome Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng and move into the third round of this tournament for the first time in his career.
Salem had won their only previous encounter, but he was under severe pressure in the early stages as Yow displayed a fearless brand of attacking squash and the Malaysian snuck the opening game by an 11-9 margin.
Salem recovered though in the second as he found his range and he hit some scintillating winners at the front of the court to draw level.
"That is a great finish. What a finish!"
Despite the dive from
EaiNYow</a>, it is <a href="https://twitter.com/ZahedSheren?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">ZahedSheren that wins this amazing point!
Great stuff here at
ToCSquash</a> in New York! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TOC19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TOC19</a> <a href="https://t.co/JfclLKh3EZ">pic.twitter.com/JfclLKh3EZ</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) January 17, 2019
The high-octane exchanges continued over the next two games, much to the delight of the spectators gathered at Grand Central Terminal, with Salem eventually emerging victorious by an 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 margin.
“It was a hard match, I played with Yow once last season and I won in four, but he’s improved a lot,” said Salem.
“I’m glad that I was able to win the important points. He got everything and I got everything, it wasn’t an easy match for either of us, but I’m glad that I’ve made it to the third round.
“Usually when you’re playing someone very fast, you go for more drop shots and more short balls and you start making errors. I’m happy that I didn’t make many errors today and my shots were working really well.”
Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (63m)
Pistol Pilley fires himself into the last 16
Cameron Pilley took less than half an hour to beat Tom Richards.
After all the long battles we have had so far in the Tournament of Champions, Cameron Pilley won what was the shortest match of the competition so far, beating Tom Richards in three games.
The first game was almost domination from Pilley, who took an 8-0 lead to start with. Richards then won the next couple of points, but the Pistol took the first 11-3.
Richards took a commanding lead in the second game, but the World No.29 came fighting back.
Pilley took the second game to double his lead, with the Englishman struggling to find a way back into the match.
It was plain sailing once again in the third game for the Aussie, who closed out the match in less than half an hour.
The Australian will play either Diego Elias or Marwan ElShorbagy in the next round, as he looks to reach the quarter finals.
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Tom Richards (ENG) SCORE: 11-3, 11-7, 11-5 (28m)
Gawad through after Makin retires through injury
Joel Makin was 2-0 up before injury struck.
Karim Abdel Gawad is through to the last 16 of the Tournament of Champions after Joel Makin was forced to retire with an ankle injury.
The Welshman had taken a two game lead in the match, before rolling his ankle midway through the third game.
It was a great start for the Golden Tiger, who took the first game with ease, while the Baby-Faced Assassin did not get started quick.
The second game was much tighter, with the pair level all the way through to 11-11. However, Makin went on to double his lead by winning the last two points of the game.
However, the match ended halfway through the third game, as the Welshman rolled his ankle, and was forced to retire due to the injury.
Because of the injury, and with the Welshman being unable to continue, Gawad moves through to the last 16, where he will face Fares Dessouky in an all-Egyptian battle.
“It is not a normal end to the match,” Gawad admitted. “He played really well and he was dominating.
“I was having a really hard time, especially today when I was not playing my best squash. He was playing his best squash so of course it is very bad for him.
“I wish him the best of luck to recover and be back for the World Championships next month.
“I am just thinking about every round. I am playing Fares next round. He is just back from an injury, back from almost a year and a half off.
“He is now playing amazing squash like he used to and he is back to [having] great performances, so I am thinking about the next round first before I think about anything else.”
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 4-11, 11-13, 3-4 retired (65m)
Rosner gets TOC defence off to a flyer
Simon Rosner beat Ryan Cuskelly in straight games to advance to the last 16
The Tree Chopper started the defence of his Tournament of Champions crown in resounding fashion, dispatching Ryan Cuskelly in three games.
The victory last year was Rosner’s first Platinum victory, and also Germany’s first victor in a tournament of this level, after he beat Egypt's Tarek Momen.
The German got off to a flying start, losing just four points in the first game as he took an early lead.
"— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) January 18, 2019
simonroesner</a> is on fire!"<br><br>The German Tree-Chopper is kicking off his <a href="https://twitter.com/ToCSquash?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">ToCSquash title defence in style#ToCSquash #ToC19 pic.twitter.com/kkFZrBKQ3M
The second game was slightly closer, but still Cuskelly was unable to match the might of Rosner, who doubled his lead.
Cuskelly took the lead in the third game, but it remained tight throughout. Rosner was able to sneak victory in the third and take the win overall to advance.
The German will now face Hong Kong’s Max Lee in the last 16 on Saturday evening.
“I think he [Cuskelly] is a really dangerous player, and I think we have never played before in a PSA match,” Rosner said after the match.
“I didn’t really know what to expect. I went off and played really well at the beginning and had a good start.
“He then kind of came back at me but I was really pleased with my performance. It was a good effort.
“There is a lot of pressure on your shoulders coming back as a defending champion, but I didn’t want to think about that too much.
“I just wanted to enter the tournament and play the best I can really. Exactly the same as last year, I think I went in without any expectations.”
 Simon Rosner (GER) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-9 (49m)
ElShorbagy cruises through to the last 16
The World No.1 booked his place in the last 16 within half an hour.
Mohamed ElShorbagy raced to victory in his second round match, beating Nicolas Mueller in less than half an hour.
The first game went the way of the World No.1, who came flying out of the blocks in his first competitive match of 2019.
The Beast took a commanding lead in the second game, but Mueller came back from 9-7 to serve at game ball, thanks to a series of winners.
However, ElShorbagy turned the game on its head once more to double his lead in the match, winning the second 12-10.
The Egyptian then controlled the third, and ultimately final game, to take the victory in just 27 minutes.
Zahed Salem is next up for the World No.1 with an all-Egyptian battle in the third round.
“The way he beat Mazen [Hesham], and the way he played yesterday was very good, and I know he plays really well on this court,” ElShorbagy said.
“Last year he played so well against [Karim Abdel] Gawad and he got to the quarters and I remember a few years ago that we had a four game battle where he played so well.
“I had to be sharp from the first point and to win three games to love is always a good feeling.
“He is very dangerous down the middle and also in the front so I had to make sure I had to be as tight as I could. There was a lot of moments where he was ahead of me and in front of me and I couldn’t match him.
“The second game could have gone either way, and it was a huge game for me to win and it feels great to be back.
“It is always such an honour to win this title, and to know that I have won this title twice before is such an honour but I would like to win it a few more times but it is not easy.
“There is a lot of challenges, a lot of players that are playing well right now.”
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10 11-4 (27m)
Elias overcomes Marwan ElShorbagy in four
Diego Elias won the last match of Day 2 with a stunning show against Marwan ElShorbagy
The biggest match of the night was also the last match of the night, with Diego Elias beating the No.5 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in four games.
ElShorbagy started the better of the two, taking an early lead in the first, but he was soon pegged back by the Peruvian.
Elias went on to take the game 11-8, and the early lead on the night shift at Grand Central Terminal.
The second game saw the Peruvian Puma race out to a 7-1 lead in no time at all. The Egyptian came back into it, but Elias took a two game advantage by winning the second 11-6.
It took just five minutes for the third game to finish, with ElShorbagy being completely dominant, and winning the game to love.
The final game went the distance, lasting four times as long as the third did. ElShorbagy moved out to an 8-4 lead, but he was pegged back by Elias.
The Peruvian went on to win the fourth, and the match, getting the job done in fifty minutes, to advance to the third round, where Cameron Pilley awaits.
“Apart from everything you see on court, he is my friend outside the court,” Elias said of his Egyptian opponent.
“It is good to see him back on court, and I am happy he is back, and he is not at 100% yet so I hope he can come back stronger soon.
“Well, he started playing really good in the third game and I didn’t really know what was happening.
“After a couple of minutes I was 7-0 down, so I was trying to concentrate from then for the next game and I think it worked. The last game was really hard and I am happy to win it.”
Diego Elias (PER) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 0-11, 12-10 (50m)