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Karim Abdel Gawad begins his campaign in El Gouna today

El Gouna International - Day Four Side Courts: As It Happens

The fourth day’s play at the El Gouna International sees play split between the El Gouna Squash Complex and the glass court at Abu Tig Marina.

The day begins with action from the traditional plaster courts at the Squash Complex, with twelve matches taking place during the afternoon session.

The afternoon’s action gets underway at 12:00 local (GMT+2), as Hania El Hammamy, Tesni Evans and Annie Au all get their El Gouna campaigns underway on the three courts in use.

Twelve matches sees fourteen nationalities in action this afternoon, as seeded players in both the men’s and women’s draws enter the tournament.

The likes of Miguel Rodriguez, Karim Abdel Gawad, Sarah-Jane Perry and Nouran Gohar are just some of the big names in action at the Squash Complex this afternoon.

Matches – Court One
12:00 – Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v [15] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
12:45 – Youssef Soliman (EGY) v [WC] Fares Dessouky (EGY)
13:30 – [8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
14:15 – [6] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v Raphael Kandra (GER)

Matches – Court Two
12:00 – Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [10] Tesni Evans (WAL)
12:45 – Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
13:30 – [9] Alison Waters (ENG) v Nadine Shahin (EGY)
14:15 – Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)

Matches – Court Three
12:00 – [11] Annie Au (HKG) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
12:45 – Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
13:30 – Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v [6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
14:15 – [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Greg Lobban (SCO)

You can follow live scores from today’s action here.

You can also catch up with yesterday's action from Court Three at the Squash Complex below.

When the action gets going this evening, you can follow the 'As It Happens' page from the glass court in Abu Tig Marina here.

Au Advances To Round Three

Annie Au (fore) and Julianne Courtice in action

Annie Au avenged her compatriot’s defeat to Julianne Courtice, with a solid victory over the Englishwoman on day four of the El Gouna International.

Courtice had come through a tricky match agains Hong Kong’s No.2 Joey Chan in the first round on Thursday afternoon.

However, the first meeting between Au and Courtice went the way of the former, who took victory in straight games, the match lasting just under the half hour mark.

The World No.11 took control of the first game, but she fell behind to a Courtice revival in the second, and was four points back at one stage.

However, the Hong Kong star bounced back to win the second, before comfortably winning the third to move into the last 16 of the tournament, where she will face either

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, that was what I expected because I saw Julianne playing Joey [Chan] the day before,” Au said after her win.

“She is playing very well and moving very well, with a lot of good shots there, so I really had to be aware. I think today I just had to concentrate and be patient because once I made a mistake she would just take it.

“I think I got pretty lucky in the second game because I was 7-3 or 7-4 down and I just told myself to stay in the front longer and to see what happened. Luckily, it worked, and today I am really happy with my performance.”

Courtice said: “I had not played Annie before and in the first I definitely struggled. She was pulling me about with how she plays.

“I got a bit more involved in the second and third games but she is so accurate. You just can’t give her anything so it was a difficult day.

“I felt like I had a gameplan that I was able to put into play on and off throughout the match, but her game is so strong and she can just pull out rallies so well that she just came back with the momentum and I struggled from there.”

[11] Annie Au (HKG) bt Julianne Courtice 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (27m)

Evans Comes Through Five-Game Battle with Naughton

Tesni Evans (left) v Hollie Naughton (right)

Welsh World No.9 Tesni Evans earned her spot in round three after battling to victory over Canada’s Hollie Naughton, winning 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-2 to ensure that she will compete on the glass court at Abu Tig Marina next.

Evans had won all three of their previous matches and took a two-game lead after prevailing in some closely-contested rallies.

The third game was a feisty affair as both players got involved in some heated discussions with the referee, and it was Naughton who kept her composure to rattle off a number of winners on the volley to halve the deficit.

Naughton continued to have the better of the match in the fourth as she built up two game balls. A tin from the World No.33 gave Evans a lifeline, but Naughton was able to convert the second game ball to draw level, resulting in a huge fist pump.

However, she was unable to back it up in the fifth as Evans came flying out of the traps to take an 8-0 lead, and she soon closed out the win to set up a last 16 meeting with either World No.4 Camille Serme or America’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne.

“It was a bit up and down, the first two games were very closely-contested, and then I just got caught up in Hollie’s game,” said Evans.

“She played really well in the third and fourth , came back at me and stuck in really well. Mentally and physically, I didn’t match her at all.

“But I’m really happy with how the fifth went, I came back on court and got a really good lead, which helped me get through. It was really important mentally because she was coming back at me, was confident, and was playing really well.

“I had to show her that I wanted to win, and getting the 8-0 lead in the fifth really sent a message out early doors.

“I didn’t make it to the glass last year, I lost first round here, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure it’s going to be a bit windy, but I’m looking forward to another opportunity on the glass court.”

Zeina Mickawy (left) v Hania El Hammamy (right)

Meanwhile, World No.26 Zeina Mickawy got the better of fellow Egyptian Hania El Hammamy to reach the third round of a PSA World Tour Platinum tournament for the first time.

World No.16 El Hammamy, the British U19 Junior champion, took the opening game by a narrow 11-9 margin, and looked to be cruising as she went 8-2 and then 10-7 up in the second.

But she was unable to hold onto her advantage as as succession of tins handed the game to Mickawy.

El Hammamy was unable to recover as Mickawy hit a number of winners on her backhand to book her round three spot against either compatriot Nouran Gohar or England’s Millie Tomlinson.

“Hania is my sister, we train together, we room together, and I know how tough a player she is,” Mickawy said.

“She managed to get into the top 15, and she is only a junior, that shows how amazing she is. I’m very happy with the way I played. In the second, I thought I had lost it, but I’m happy with the way I kept pushing, and thanks to my coaches that kept supporting me, I managed to clinch it and keep going.”

[10] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-2: 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-2 (54m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt [15] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7 (57m)

Mueller Battles Past Clyne

Nicolas Mueller (fore) and Alan Clyne in action in El Gouna

Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller and Scotland’s Alan Clyne battled for well over an hour at the Squash Complex, with the former eventually winning out in five games.

The pair had never met before on the PSA World Tour, despite both having been professionals for over a decade.

The Scotsman took the first game 11-9, but Mueller battled back to win both the second and third games to take the lead in the match.

Clyne took the fourth to put some pressure on the Swiss player, but Mueller raced out to a 10-3 lead in the decider. The Scot started to come back, but it was too little, too late, as Mueller won out 9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6.

“Alan is one of the toughest competitors out there. He is very fit, very physical, and he made me do a lot of work in the first even though I know I put a lot of work into his legs as well.

“It was more his pace than my pace and I was always reacting instead of acting. I am happy with the way I stayed in the game. I felt quite good out there, and I have been working on my fitness for the last two months or so and it paid off in the end.

“I know he had to do a lot of work early on so I knew he was getting tired. I ever so slightly dropped in the fourth. I gave him the little finger and he took the whole hand.

“I needed to make sure I had a good start in the fifth. Luckily I did, and I went 10-3 up but obviously the usual, can’t finish it, but eventually with a 10-3 lead, you are going to make one of them.”

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-2: 9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 (69m)

Mosaad Escapes against Pajares as Dessouky Advances

Omar Mosaad (left) v Iker Pajares Bernabeu (right)

Former World No.3 Omar Mosaad avoided a surprise defeat against Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu as he stormed home to an 11-2 victory in the deciding fifth game to bring an end to a pulsating 73-minute contest.

Mosaad, the 2015 World Championship runner-up, was playing Pajares for the first time on the PSA Tour but was well off the pace in the opening game as his opponent dominated proceedings to go a game up, dropping just three points in the process.

Pajares took an early lead in the early parts of the second game, but Mosaad responded with some thundering drives into the back of the court to move his opponent off the ’T’, and he was rewarded with a tie-break victory.

The third was nip and tuck as Mosaad pulled away from 5-5 to take a 2-1 lead, but Pajares stormed to victory in a one-sided fourth to restore parity.

But an early lead from ‘The Hammer of Thor’ Mosaad in the decider saw the Egyptian finally vanquish the Spaniard to set up a meeting with either 2017 runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad or Scotland’s Greg Lobban in the next round.

“It’s the first time I’ve played with Iker, I saw his match against Lucas Serme, he played really well, and I knew this match was going to be really tough,” Mosaad said afterwards.

“He’s a really good player, and he’s had many good wins this season, especially in the last few months. He played his game, and I didn’t have my choice of shots. My first game wasn’t good, and it pushed me a bit in the second game to start up again.

“He was leading in the second game, and for me it was a big challenge because I needed to get back and win that game. It was tricky, I had to dig deep a lot to win this game, and I won the tie-break.

“I think this game changed the match, so after the second I was trying to get the third to make myself more relaxed. It worked a little bit, but in the fourth he played really well, and I made many mistakes. I lost the fourth, so in the fifth it was really important to start well.

“I’m really happy to make a lead, and I’m rally happy for the win today. I think I could play Iker in my next tournament in Wimbledon, if he can win his first match. I’m going to try and relax a bit now, maybe in the swimming pool or in the sea, and I’m going to look forward to the next match.”

Fares Dessouky (right) v Youssef Soliman (left)

Mosaad will be joined in the last 16 by wildcard Fares Dessouky, who led 7-4 in the opening game of his match with fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman, before Soliman was forced to retire with an injured calf.

Dessouky will play the winner of World No.7 Miguel Rodriguez or World No.14 Raphael Kandra, who do battle later today at the Squash Complex.

Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-2: 3-11, 12-10, 11-6, 4-11, 11-2 (73m)
[WC] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 7-4 ret. (8m)

Perry Battles Through Injury To Record Win

Sarah-Jane Perry (r) against Rowan Elaraby

Sarah-Jane Perry had to battle against Rowan Elaraby, and an unfortunate ankle injury, to book her place in the third round of the El Gouna International.

The pair had never met on the PSA Tour before and the young Egyptian, who still wears goggles because of her age, seemed to catch the Englishwoman by surprise.

She took the first game, but Perry came fighting back to take the second and third games in quite a comfortable fashion.

However, at the start of the fourth game, there was a collision between the pair, which left the World No.6 struggling to stand up.

After receiving strapping to her ankle, and a 15 minute delay, Perry came back on to court and carried on where she left off, winning the fourth game 11-8 to seal the victory in just under an hour.

“Eventually, I was just pleased to win but I wasn’t particularly happy with my performances for most of the match.

“There were patches where I was playing quite well and quite controlled, but I think I just lost my concentration a bit more than I would have liked to.

“She is a very dangerous player, and because we have not played before, I think she just caught me out a bit in the first game. She was firing a few different shots in.

“I have seen her play before, but not loads so she just caught me out with a few little boasts and things. She is a quality player, but I am just trying to keep upping my level to get back to where I was. I am getting there and I am looking forward to playing Annie [Au] in the next round.

“We have had some good matches in the past and hopefully, my ankle will be fine, so fingers crossed. I think she [Elaraby] might have stood on my foot as I went to change direction but it was one of those that just happened to quickly and then there was a big shock of pain.

“One of those unlucky ones, but I just managed to strap it up and I think it was alright for the rest of the match, so fingers crossed a bit of ice and some painkillers and I should be good to go on Monday.”

[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-8 (59m)

Shahin Upsets Waters as Gohar Advances

Nadine Shahin (right) v Alison Waters (left)

Egypt’s Nadine Shahin claimed her first ever win over a top 10 player as she overcame World No.10 Alison Waters to claim her first ever round three berth at a PSA Platinum tournament.

Shahin, the World No.30 from Cairo, claimed crucial tie-break victories in the first and third games en route to winning 12-10, 4-11, 12-10, 11-3 in 37 minutes.

A third round fixture against either World No.2 Nour El Sherbini or World No.18 Yathreb Adel awaits Shahin at the glass court.

“It’s one of my biggest wins so far, I’ve never beaten a top 10 player,” Shahin said.

“I was feeling really excited, and I played her once in Chicago two months ago. I lost 3-0 really quickly, so I was determined to do better in this one. I had to not lose focus, not even for a second. To beat someone like Alison, you have to be determined, and you have to be 100 per cent focused.

“I switched coaches, so for the last couple of months I’ve been working really hard with my new coach, Omar Abdel Meguid, and I think mentally I’m tougher and stronger. Even two months ago, I was not like this.

“Now I’m studying every player and doing my preparations well.

“It’s an amazing scene [at the glass court], I’m really looking forward to playing it, and I’m going to be prepared.”

Nouran Gohar

Meanwhile, World No.7 Gohar defeated England’s Millie Tomlinson by a 3-0 scoreline and will play fellow Egyptian Zeina Mickawy in the next round.

The hard-hitting Gohar took the opening two games as World No.22 Tomlinson struggled to deal with her opponent’s pace, but a slight drop in energy levels from the Egyptian saw Tomlinson take the game to her in the third.

Some impressive retrieving and sublime winners on the backhand from Tomlinson saw the English player come back from 8-4 down, and then two match balls down to force a tie-break, while she held a game ball of her own.

But Gohar wasn’t to be denied as the 21-year-old came back to claim the win on her third match ball.

“She is playing very well these days, she just had a five-setter in Holland against the World No.1, Raneem El Welily, so she’s got a lot of confidence and nothing to lose,” Gohar said.

“I’m happy with my first match back on since my injury. Five days after Black Ball, I was playing a match, and on the last ball, I twisted my knee and strained the ligaments. The doctor told me I was very lucky that I didn’t break anything. So now I’m 100% fit, but you know how it is, you lose a bit of match fitness.

“So I guess that’s what happened today, I started very well controlling the ’T’ and volleying as much as I could, but in the third, l took the foot off the pedal, and she took full advantage of it.

“But I’m very happy to go out in three today, and it felt good to have a hard match like that to open the lungs and test my movement.”

Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt [9] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 4-11, 12-10, 11-3 (37m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-2: 3-11, 12-10, 11-6, 4-11, 11-2 (73m)

Rodriguez Beats Kandra in Five-Game Thriller

Karim Abdel Gawad overcame Greg Lobban

Karim Abdel Gawad is into the third round of the El Gouna International after knocking out Scotland’s Greg Lobban at the Squash Complex.

The former World Champion had beaten the Scot in all four of their previous meetings, but it looked like it was going to go the other way to start with.

The Egyptian, seeded No.4 for the tournament, got off to a slow start, and could only manage to tally four points in the first game, as Lobban came out hot.

However, from there, Gawad had it all under control, reversing the scoreline in the second, before going on to take the third 11-6.

The fourth was much tighter, as Lobban tried to fight back and force the match into a fifth game, but the Egyptian was able to hold on to claim victory and move into the last 16.

“With Greg, we have always played very tough matches. In the three or four times we have played, it has always gone to four or five games.

“So today, it was really tight and I am glad we did not go for a fifth, especially at the beginning of the tournament. I did not want to play a very tough five-setter in the first round, so I am glad I got through in four very tough games and I am looking forward to my next game.

“He came out very strong in the first game and I came out very slow. I didn’t playing tight shots or any good shots. In all the long rallies in the first game, he played really well.

“I know I am a slow starter, it happens to me a lot so I have gained experience not to worry too much after the first game. Second game was mine. I played really well and won 11-4, so there was no pressure on that game.

“That came in the third when I got a little bit comfortable. Fourth game was a very critical and crucial game so I am very glad I won that.”

[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 4-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 (33m)

Rodriguez Beats Kandra in Five-Game Thriller

Miguel Rodriguez (left) v Kandra (right)

Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez and Germany’s Raphael Kandra played out a five-game thriller – with the former coming back from two games down and winning 12-10 in the fifth to book his spot in the last 16.

Rodriguez had beaten Kandra in two of their three previous meetings – including in the semi-finals of last year’s Allam British Open – but Kandra got the win the last time they played in September’s China Open.

The German played some high-calibre squash to go two games up at the Squash Complex, saving a game ball in the second.

World No.7 Rodriguez was able to impose himself more on the match though after that point as he ramped up the pace and picked up all of Kandra’s shots at the front of the court as the German lost his basic length hitting.

After levelling, the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ made the most of a great start in the fifth to go two match balls up. Kandra fought back to level but, to the disappointment of the German contingent in the crowd, Rodriguez found his winning shots to complete an 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 12-10 victory.

“I didn’t start very well, he did though,” Rodriguez said.

“He really played his best squash there, so from that point on, I changed my strategy. Instead of going with a slow pace, I increased it and made the rallies longer. He seemed to give up mid-game. I realised he was probably going to be back fighting in the fifth, which he was, and I was ready for it.

“I had lost to Kandra in Shanghai, so I’m happy with the win. Today was not physical as much as it was mental and tactical, the ball was very bouncy, and you had to find the right pace to get the ball in the back corners.”

Cesar Salazar (right) v Nafiizwan Adnan (left)

Rodriguez will play wildcard Fares Dessouky in the next round, while over at the glass court, Mexico’s Cesar Salazar will play either World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy or Hong Kong’s Max Lee after he overcame Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan 3-1.

Salazar said: “I’m so happy with my performance today, I know that Nafiizwan is playing maybe his last tournament of the season, so I think I was trying to focus in the first game.

“He has a lot of experience on the tour, he likes to change the pace, and I tried to start winning points with good intensity.

“I tried to be really focused, and the first game was really important. In the second game, I didn’t start very well, and he was better than me. I made some mistakes, but after the second game I played more basic squash with more intensity, and I think that was the difference today.

“It’s going to be a nice match with Mohamed or Max. I played with Mohamed in the World Championships, and Max is a good player too. Tomorrow, I will try and rest, recover, and after that I think I will be ready for my next match.”

Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-1: 13-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-4 (56m)
[6] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-2: 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 12-10 (75m)

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