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Camille Serme gets her Tournament of Champions campaign under way

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS - DAY FOUR: AS IT HAPPENS

Day four of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will see the top women's seeds join the fray as the likes of World No.1 Raneem El Welily and World No.5 Camille Serme get their campaigns under way at New York's Grand Central Terminal.

Defending men's champion Simon Rösner and World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy are also in action today, while former World No.1 Nicol David also features.

Live coverage is available on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while we'll also have live scoring available here.

Here's the SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Schedule
(All times are local GMT-5)

Serme Axes Van der Heijden to Reach Round Three

Camille Serme (right) takes on Milou van der Heijden (left)

2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winner Camille Serme earned her place in round three of the 2019 edition courtesy of a 3-0 victory over World No.36 Milou van der Heijden at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.


Serme, the current World No.5, became the first Frenchwoman to win this tournament two years ago and she ensured that she got her title assault off to the perfect start with an 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 win in 30 minutes.

The 29-year-old had to work hard for victory in the first two games as van der Heijden stuck in the rallies and refused to give the French player any easy points.

Serme took the opener by an 11-7 margin and held a 5-0 lead in game two, but van der Heijden came back to level. However, Serme kept her composure to take the game and she controlled proceedings in the third to book her last 16 spot.

“I saw Milou play yesterday and I knew what to expect,” said Serme.

“I knew she was going to play even better today because you’re on the glass and you have nothing to use. That’s when I think you play your best and the second game was crucial. I tried to stay calm and focused on each point.

“When I came on the court for the warm-up, I was like a child. I was excited and happy to be back here. I love playing in Grand Central station, it’s my favourite tournament and I just want to keep playing here.”

Serme will play either England’s Victoria Lust or Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling in the next round.

Result
[5] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 (30m)

Gawad Prevails in All-Egyptian Battle with Dessouky

Karim Abdel Gawad (r) beat Fares Dessouky in a five-game thriller.

World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad prevailed in a gruelling five-game battle with fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky to book his quarter-final spot in New York.

Gawad, known on tour as the Baby-Faced Assassin, won this tournament in 2017 and had won his last three meetings against Dessouky, who was appearing in only his second PSA Tour event since picking up an ACL injury back in November 2017.

Gawad was perhaps fortunate to line up in the third round round given that his second round opponent, Joel Makin, was forced to retire due to an ankle injury after going two games up against the Egyptian.

Dessouky, meanwhile, had reached the final of the CCI International on his comeback and got the better of Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in the previous round.

It was an untidy start to the match for former World No.1 Gawad as he conceded the opening game, but he was able to recover to take a 2-1 lead, with the match flitting between periods of high-quality and passages of scrappy play which saw the video referees being called into action.

Game four went the way of Dessouky as he managed to halt Gawad’s shot-making talents, but the latter dominated the decider to round off a 3-2 victory after 86 minutes.

“He had ACL surgery in September and now he’s coming back really strong,” Gawad said afterwards.

“He’s always been a very good player, but now he’s even better. He’s a fighter on court and I have a lot of respect for him. He didn’t come back too quickly, he came back when he was ready to be on court.

“When we’re out for a month or two, we struggle. Last season, I was on court and playing but I wasn’t doing really well. To come back after ACL surgery and to play such good squash in this tournament and the one before is unbelievable.

“In the last match, I felt like I wasn’t ready to be in this tournament and I felt like I wasn’t feeling the ball on the racket. I was moving badly, I was playing bad squash, but I think that [the injury to Makin] gave me another life.

“It made me feel like I’m playing another tournament and it’s another first round here at the ToC. I’m really happy with my performance against Fares, we always play really tough matches.”

Result
[8] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4 (86m)

Gohar Holds off Low to Set Up Au Clash

Nouran Gohar (left) during her match with Low Wee Wern (right)

World No.8 Nouran Gohar ended the ToC return of Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern after claiming a 3-1 victory to set up a third round clash with Hong Kong’s Annie Au.

Gohar, a semi-finalist at this tournament in 2016, unleashed her ferocious pace of hitting right from the off as she cannoned the ball around court to build a rapid two-game lead.

However, Low – making her first appearance in Grand Central since 2014 – absorbed Gohar’s pressure well in the third, before attacking at the front of the court to halve the deficit.


Gohar was back on top in the fourth though, and the Egyptian duly converted to advance to the third round.

The 21-year-old will take on World No.12 Annie Au next, with Au dispatching compatriot Joey Chan at the Harvard Club of New York earlier today.

“When I started playing, she was already in the top 10, she was playing really well and I was watching her every single match,” said Gohar.

“When she had her injury, we were meant to play at the British Open in the first round, but she had her ACL injury, so unfortunately we couldn’t play. I’m really happy she’s back and she’s one of the toughest opponents to play against because her game plan is to never give up.

“She’s always trying to retrieve everything and she plays the basics very well, so it was hard to play against her today. She was playing with a slower pace than I usually do, so I had to find my pace again and find my killing shots at the front.”

Result
[6] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 3-1: 11-4, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6 (39m)

Elias Ousts Pilley In Entertaining Battle

Diego Elias triumphed in a thrilling encounter with Cameron Pilley

Peruvian World No.11 Diego Elias required four games to see off a tenacious Cameron Pilley in a highly-entertaining spectacle which brought spectators at Grand Central Terminal to their feet.

The pair were meeting for the first time since 2014, with Pilley winning on that occasion and he proved to be a thorn in Elias’s side once again as he hit some superb winners to put his opponent on edge.

Elias was able to sneak a 2-0 lead but found himself up against it in the third as Pilley built on a good start to claw a game back.

The fourth game saw a change of approach from Elias, with the 22-year-old playing the percentages and only going short when absolutely necessary. Pilley forced him into a lot of work, but Elias kept his head to complete the win by an 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 scoreline.

“He’s playing better every tournament after his injury and I knew it was going to be a tough match because he won both of his matches 3-0, so he was really fresh,” Elias said after the match.

“I was trying to make the rallies longer. Sometimes, I was going too much to the front, but it wasn’t working, so at the end I had to play some longer rallies.

“He’s been at the top of the game for so long and I’ve always admired him. It’s a pleasure playing with him, I was trying to enjoy every point and I was having fun with him.”

Result
Diego Elias (PER) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 (55m)

Raneem runs riot in second round

Raneem El Welily (right) won in resounding fashion against Mariam Metwally (left)

Raneem El Welily was triumphant over compatriot Mariam Metwally in the second round of the Tournament of Champions in New York, winning comfortably inside twenty minutes.

The first game started off pretty even, but the World No.1 was able to string off seven straight points with a wide array of shots to take it in just five minutes.

Welily was able to manoeuvre the ball around the glass court in the second game to create the advantage she required.

The reigning World Champion went on another run of points which saw her secure the second game in just six minutes, doubling her lead in the match.

It was plain sailing in the third as well, as the World No.1 cruised to a 3-0 victory in just 20 minutes at Grand Central.

“When I got to No.1 I was just trying to enjoy myself on court and to do my best in every single game,” Welily said after he victory.

“To stay in the same form, I have to do the same things that got me to No.1, so I am still trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

“It is definitely good to be back in New York at Grand Central Station. It is one of may favourite tournaments all year, and I am just happy to be through to the next round.

“Mariam is a very dangerous player, she is very skilled. As you can see, she just dunked twenty nicks in a row so I had to be on my toes.

“I had to watch very carefully, and I am just pleased to be through, especially after that performance.”

Welily will now face the No.14 seed Joshna Chinappa in the third round of the tournament, after the Indian defeated Tinne Gilis 11-8, 11-8, 13-11 today.

Result:
[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (20m)

The defending Champion beats Max Lee to reach the quarters

Simon Rosner (right) is through to the quarter finals after defeating Max Lee (left)

Defending Champion Simon Rösner beat Hong Kong’s Max Lee to book his place in the quarter finals of the Tournament of Champions.

The first game was a tight affair between the two, with the man from Hong Kong looking to play at a frantic pace.

There was a stoppage in the latter part of the first game, as the ball got caught in the netting and lights above the court. In Max Lee’s attempts to knock that ball down, he managed to get a second trapped up there.

After the stoppage, and the time needed to warm a third ball up, it was Rösner that won the two points required to take an early lead.

The World No.3 also took the second game, to double his lead in the match, and take control of the affair on the glass court at Grand Central Terminal.

Rösner continued his good form into the third, and what would be final, game. The German was able to wrap up the match despite Lee’s best efforts, and secure a safe passage through to the last eight.

“I think he kind of deserved the first two games as well, it was very close,” Rösner admitted.

“He just clipped the tin a few too many times. Apart from that we were pretty even so I was lucky to get those first two. A 2-0 lead is pretty important.

“Really glad with how I played today. I felt good and I hope I can keep on pushing for the next couple of round and give my best.

“I like these tactics these days. It doesn’t just work with one or two players, it works with a few. I used to always crack the ball like crazy but nowadays I try to play more smart.

“I try to play my positions out and get into a good position to then attack. That really has added to my game the last few months.

“I love Grand Central, I love New York and I love playing on this glass court. Hopefully I can get another win but no matter how I go I am just enjoying being out here.”

Result:
[3] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (48m)

King advances after victory over Mickawy

Joelle King (r) triumphed over Zeina Mickawy in four games.

Joelle King secured her first win of the calendar year against the up-and-coming Zeina Mickawy to book her place in round three.

The World No.4 got off to a flying start in the first game, as she used her experience to outsmart the younger Mickawy.

However, the Egyptian came back into it late on in the game, and put pressure on King. The Kiwi was able to get across the line in the end, though, to take the first 11-9.

The 20-year-old bounced back after losing the first to record victory in the second game 11-9.

She did so by reeling of a succession of winners to come from behind and level the match.

The second game was nip and tuck all the way through to 8-8, but King then showed her prowess to take the lead in the match once again.

The Kiwi carried her momentum into the fourth game, winning the first five points.

Mickawy was able to grab the next, but the World No.4 showed he experience and skill to win the fourth game 11-1 to advance through to the third round.

“I haven’t played her before and to be honest, I haven’t seen much of her,” King admitted after the match.

‘There is quite an age gap between the two of us so we didn’t come through juniors together or anything.

“These Egyptians are so dangerous and when you don’t know their game, it is even more scary so I am even more happy to get through today.

“I would like to think that this age has some experience with it but I think just being in these moments before is what got me through.

“To come out strong in the fourth was good and to get a day off tomorrow.”

Result:
[4] Joelle King (NZL) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-1

The Beast powers through to the last 16

Mohamed ElShorbagy won in straight games once more.

Mohamed ElShorbagy showed his class to defeat compatriot Zahed Salem in the third round.

ElShorbagy showed exactly why he is the best player in the world during the first game, racing out to an 8-0 lead.

Salem tried to come back, but the 30-year-old had too much for his compatriot, and took the first game 11-2.

The World No.25 bounced back at the start of the second game, trying to gee up the crowd with every point he won on the glass court in Grand Central.

Salem took a 7-2 lead as he tried to level up the match, but the World No.1 started to claw his way back into the second.

The 26-year-old went on to have two game balls but ElShorbagy came back to take the victory in the second, 12-10.

The third game started in a tight fashion, before Salem had to change his racket with the score at 3-2.

The racket change did not seem to have an effect on the young Egyptian, who was able to go step-for-step with his compatriot throughout the third.

However, ElShorbagy showed his class to finish the game off, and with it the match. He will face Diego Elias in the quarter finals.

“I think before I talk about everything, and the match, I need to pay respects to Zahed,” ElShorbagy said.

“I saw him since he was a little kid training at my club back in Alexandria. If you ask many of the greatest coaches if he had any chance of playing in venues like this, no-one would have said that he had the chance.”

“I have seen how hard he has worked and I have so much respect for him. He is improving every day, we train together a lot in Alexandria.

“It is a good time for Egypt right now, but I am proud to be one of the generation that is ruling the squash world right now.

“Diego has been playing well this season. We played once this season in Qatar where he got the better of me. It was the first time he got the better of me.

“Of course, I want to play him. He is someone who is going to keep me playing for so many years to come. There is no doubt he is a future No.1 and future World Champion.”

Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 12-10, 11-9 (39m)

David beat Elaraby to reach the last 16

Nicol David won in three to reach the third round.

Nicol David showed her experience as she defeated 18-year-old Rowan Elaraby to reach the last 16 in New York.

The young Egyptian got off to the better start in the first game, but it was the former World No.1 that came back to take the early lead in the match.

The 18-year-old, who still has to wear goggles on court because of her age, continued to push the eight-time World Champion.

David was able to use her experience to pull out a lead at the end of the second game, though, and she doubled her advantage in the match with an 11-7 win.

Elaraby played much better in the third game, and had chances to win the game. However, it would be David that won it to secure a place in the third round.

The Malaysian will face the World No.4 seed Joelle King in the last 16 on Monday afternoon.

“I haven’t played her [Elaraby] before and I haven’t really seen her play, but I knew she was a World Junior Champion and that she is a fighter.

“She was really gusty out there. 18 years old, that was when I started on tour, she wasn’t even born yet.

“It is really a thrill to be here in Grand Central, with equal prize money. It is an amazing event and we really are thrilled to be here.

“Watching Joelle before, she was saying that the experience takes over and I knew if I put my gameplay together a little bit better just to put the pressure on, it might falter.

“I was just keeping to my game plan and keeping focused and I was really pleased with my match today.

“I think it is going to be a great match. I am really excited to play Joelle. We have good battles and it is going to be fun.”

Result:
[11] Nicol David (MAS) bt Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 (33m)

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