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Nour El Tayeb is in action on the glass court this evening

El Gouna International - Day Five: As It Happens

The fifth 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 four matches taking place during the afternoon session.

The afternoon’s action gets underway at 12:00 local (GMT+2), as Joelle King faces Mariam Metwally, and Laura Massaro battles Amanda Sobhy.

They will be followed by two men’s matches, with the seeded Simon Rösner and Paul Coll up against Adrian Waller and Joel Makin, respectively.

The glass court action gets underway this evening at 18:30 local (GMT+2), as current World No.1s Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag play their third round matches.

Also on court tonight are the two World No.3s, in Nour el Tayeb and Tarek Momen, who play Salma Hany and Saurav Ghosal, respectively.

Join us here for reports and reaction, or watch the glass court action LIVE on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) or the PSA World Tour Facebook page (excluding Europe & Japan).

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Schedule – Court One
12:00 – [7] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [13] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
12:45 – [5] Simon Rösner (GER) v Adrian Waller (ENG)

Schedule – Court Three
12:00 – Mariam Metwally (EGY) v [5] Joelle King (NZL)
12:45 – Joel Makin (WAL) v [7] Paul Coll (NZL)

Schedule – Glass Court

Joelle King Through To Quarter Finals

Joelle King (fore) in action against Mariam Metwally

Joelle King is into the quarter finals of the El Gouna Internationals afar she beat Egypt’s Mariam Metwally at the Squash Complex.

The Kiwi got off to a flying start, not letting her opponent get a rhythm going in the first game. She went on to take it 11-4, but Metwally fought back.

The World No.27 led for the majority of the game, as she tried to impose herself on the New Zealander. However, King came back to win it 12-10 on the tie-break, before taking the third 11-4 to win in under half an hour.

She will now play either World No.1 Raneem El Welily or Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in the quarter finals, on the glass court at Abu Tig Marina on Tuesday evening.

“She has obviously had a few good results recently. Beating Lusty [Victoria Lust] on the first day showed me that she is playing some good squash,” King said.

“The thing with the Egyptians is that they are so fearless, and they don’t really care who they are playing, they just really want to win. So I had to try and make it tough.

“I shut down her attacking game because it can be very lethal. I thought that being on that court was a bit of an advantage for my style of play, but I am really happy to win a tough second and then get off in three.

“It is quite warm, but not ridiculous out there. It is a nice court to play on if you play good squash. It is quite rewarding and it takes a good length and good short balls, which is the kind of squash I play, so it was nice to feel good on there.

“I will try and get on there [the glass court] as soon as possible. The conditions are obviously very different to here. I went down last night and it was quite windy around the time that my match will be played at so it will be nice to get on there on and just feel it out.”

[5] Joelle King (NZL) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)

Sobhy Battles Past Massaro

Amanda Sobhy (right) v Laura Massaro (left)

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy got her first win over a top eight player since October as she battled to a 3-1 victory against former World No.1 Laura Massaro to earn herself a spot on the glass court in the quarter-finals.

Sobhy was competing against Massaro for the first time since 2016 and had never beaten the World No.8 in five previous matches.

But Massaro looked off the pace in the opening two games as Sobhy hit clean lines and dominated the ’T’ to collect an 11-5 victory in game one, before following that up with an 11-6 triumph in the second.

Massaro dug into her mental reserves and came out fighting in the third as the steely 35-year-old stormed into a 7-0 lead. The Englishwoman lost her length though and made a succession of errors to let Sobhy back into the encounter, and the American built up two match balls to put herself on the verge of a straight games win.

Massaro rediscovered her rhythm at the crucial moments to take the third, but an attacking onslaught from Sobhy saw her power ahead to 7-3 in the fourth.

Massaro came back to within touching distance, but Sobhy kept her at bay to hold three match balls, and the 25-year-old converted this time around to complete an 11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8 victory in 44 minutes.

Sobhy will now take on either World No.3 Nour El Tayeb or World No.14 Salma Hany in the last eight.

“I think it was the refusal to lose [that got her through it] and being able to back myself while having the confidence of being able to scalp the top eight players,” Sobhy said afterwards.

“I saw this as an opportunity, I haven't played Laura in a number of years, and I wanted to see how I would do up against someone other than Nour El Tayeb or Nour El Sherbini.

“In the first two games, I think she was a bit sleepy, but she came back firing in the third. I wanted to close it off in the third because I know how gritty she is and how determined she gets, especially when she doesn't want to lose.

“I'm happy with how I regrouped, hung in there and backed myself to win in four. I think playing those matches [against the top players] and learning from those tough losses every time [is key to turning the losses into wins].

“I feel like I've been getting stronger and stronger, so it's just a matter of time before I scalp a win, but again it is just about gaining that confidence and believing that I can win, instead of just waiting on them to give me the match.”

[13] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [7] Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8 (44m)

Rösner Downs Waller in Three

Simon Rösner (right) v Adrian Waller (left)

German No.1 Simon Rösner earned his place in the last eight after claiming a 3-0 victory over England’s Adrian Waller.

All seven of their previous matches had gone the way of Rösner, although Waller was coming into this match off the back of an upset over World No.18 Gregoire Marche in the previous round.

But Rösner played some of his best squash during the encounter as he put in a composed performance to win 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 in just 29 minutes.

The tall German will now play either World No.3 Tarek Momen or India’s World No.10 Saurav Ghosal on the glass court for a spot in the semi-finals.

“I played really well, I was really focused throughout, and Adrian lost his focus every once in a while,” Rösner said.

“I really tried to use those moments to my advantage, and I think I did really well today. I'm glad with how I felt physically as well, which is quite a good sign for the upcoming matches.

“[To prepare for his next round] You go back and watch the matches from last time you played them. I've played Tarek and Saurav since I was a junior, we know each other's games quite well, so it's always good to watch replays from their matches to get back into their rhythm.

“It's much cooler than last year, and I think Tuesday is around 20 degrees, so it's quite a good temperature for a European. Over the last few years, it's felt like 30 degrees on court, which is quite difficult for a European.

“It's much better and suits my game, so I'm looking forward to it.”

[5] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (29m)

Coll Fights Past Makin To Reach Last Eight

Paul Coll (l) is into the last eight after beating Joel Makin

Paul Coll followed compatriot Joelle King into the quarter finals of the El Gouna International, after he defeated Wales’ Joel Makin at the Squash Complex.

The pair had only met twice on the PSA Tour before this clash, with the Kiwi getting the better of Makin at the Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Classic in March.

It was a battle all the way through, which lasted over an hour. Coll eventually took the first on a tie-break, after coming from behind midway through the game.

The New Zealander, who is up to a career high World No.5, then put his foot down in the second, and when the Welshman started to get frustrated in the third, Coll pounced to take the victory.

“I knew exactly what it would be like. We have had battles before so I knew what to expect. I just wanted to focus on my game, I knew if I could play good squash, my best squash, I could do the job.

“So I just focussed on myself and my game, and just mentally I had to say calm. He got a bit frustrated in the third and I felt like I could take advantage.

“The court was bouncy but it is very true. It stays in the corners if you play good shots. It stays there so you can open up the court and put it away. It is exactly a very nice court, and you can really make someone work on there if you are accurate.

“I went down there [the glass court] last night to check out a few matches and I will go down tonight to watch Ali [Farag] and Diego [Elias], Tinne [Gilis] as well.

“It looks fun on there. It is a new challenge and I love challenges, and challenging myself, so I am looking forward to playing there, and whoever wins, hopefully I can get the job done.”

[7] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (65m)

El Welily Beats Gilis to Advance to Last Eight

Raneem El Welily (l) in action against Tinne Gilis

Defending champion Raneem El Welily saw off the threat of Belgium’s Tinne Gilis to earn her spot in the quarter-finals after an 11-8, 11-8, 11-2 victory on a windy night at El Gouna’s Abu Tig Marina.

World No.1 El Welily beat compatriot Nour El Sherbini to win the inaugural title 12 months ago and was tested at times in the opening two games against Gilis, who was appearing in her first Platinum third round after scalping Egypt’s Mayar Hany and India’s Joshna Chinappa.

Gilis cut the ball into the front well to finish the first two games within three points of the Egyptian, although the third was one-way traffic as El Welily dropped just two points to close out the win.

The 30-year-old will face New Zealand’s Joelle King in the quarter-finals. El Welily ended a three-match losing streak to the Kiwi when she prevailed in their last meeting, which came at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January.

“I think the timing had a lot to do with the court conditions today,” said El Welily.

“The wind didn't really help us build rallies or get the ball to the back. It was more about whoever had the opportunity to try for the shot, and I'm pleased with the way I handled the conditions.

“It's probably the first time Tinne has played on a windy glass court, so to be honest I took advantage of that a bit, but I'm pleased to be through to the quarters and I'm looking forward to my match with Joelle.

“It's tough to find a spot to get the ball to the back. You don't want to hit it too hard, you don't want to hit it too soft, you want to hit it somewhere in between. You need to make the most of every opportunity that comes up.

“We've [El Welily and King] had great, close matches recently, not just this season, but the one before as well. I'm expecting her to be very sharp and very strong as usual, and hopefully it will be a good match.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-2 (22m)

Farag Holds Off Elias in Five-Game Thriller

Ali Farag (right) v Diego Elias (left)

Men’s World No.1 Ali Farag weathered a storm from Peru’s Diego Elias to prevail in a gripping five-game contest – setting up a quarter-final clash with Kiwi World No.5 Paul Coll.

The 81-minute encounter saw some high-quality squash played from both players, with Farag taking a two-game lead, only to see a stunning resurgence from Elias put the World No.9 on the verge of an incredible win. However, Farag refocused and made the most of a strong start in the fifth to run out an 11-8, 11-3, 14-16, 6-11, 11-5 winner.

“I played really well for almost three full games, up until 9-5 [in the third], I had a good lead and I was controlling it, Farag said.

“Once I lost that one, he let his racket go and he's very dangerous when he does that. That tensed me up a little bit, and I lost my way. But I'm glad I found my way back in that fourth, even though I lost it, I think it gave me a big boost for the beginning of the fifth.

“I'm very thankful to be through that one. I never look at myself as the favourite to win any tournament, I look at myself as one of the contenders for sure, but not the favourite, so that releases me a little bit.

“People in Egypt, they lift me up, and the fact that my mum is here gives me a huge boost.”

Farag constructed his rallies superbly in the opening two games and forced his opponent to defend time and time again, with Elias struggling to get out of the back corners.

The third looked set to go the same way as Farag pulled ahead to 9-5, but then everything changed as Elias pulled out some of the best attacking shots from his arsenal to send the match to a tie-break.

With the drama rising at the Abu Tig Marina, Elias moved ahead to two game balls, while Farag could have closed the match out there and then as was able to build up a couple of match ball opportunities.

But he couldn’t convert as Elias finally brought a 27-minute third game to an end on his fourth game ball. The momentum stayed with Elias as he hit some immaculate winners to take game four, levelling the scores in the process.

The Peruvian’s energy levels dipped in the fifth as the physical exertion took its toll, and Farag re-established himself on the match to close the win out and book his place in the next round.

Farag turns 27 tomorrow and says he will aim to celebrate with wife Nour El Tayeb if she can come through to beat Salma Hany later tonight.

“I hope Nour wins and then we can have a proper celebration It would have been a bad one had I lost, but I have to recover well, that's the most important thing.

“Then maybe tomorrow, the two of his will have a nice dinner with my mother, but we haven't planned anything yet.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-8, 11-3, 14-16, 6-11, 11-5 (81m)

El Tayeb Beats Hany in Three

Nour El Tayeb (right) v Salma Hany (left)

World No.3 Nour El Tayeb joined husband Ali Farag in the quarter-finals after dispatching fellow Egyptian Salma Hany in straight games.

El Tayeb went on court moments after Farag had come through a gruelling five-game battle with Elias, and she said the mental drain of watching her husband’s match contributed to a slow start against Hany.

“I think today's match was tough, first of all it's Salma, secondly because Ali's match kept going and going, and he was so nervous, so I got nervous,” said El Tayeb afterwards.

“I think I started the match too tired in the end, not physically, but emotionally because of Ali's match. But I'm glad that I managed the conditions.

“I didn't start well in the first two games, but I managed to play well in the end, and I'm very happy with my performance. Salma is a very tough opponent, we practice a lot together, and I'm very happy to be in the next round.”

World No.14 Hany really took the game to El Tayeb at the beginning of the first and second games, and she had the World Championship runner-up on the ropes as she displayed some serious attacking intent.

But El Tayeb grew into the match as she played the big points well and came from behind to win both of the opening two games. She then made short work of the third to book a quarter-final spot against United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

El Tayeb and Sobhy have met eight times on the PSA Tour – with four wins apiece – while their last three matches have gone all the way to five games.

“I don't know what's up with the draw, we [El Tayeb and Sobhy] seem to be playing each other every tournament,” El Tayeb continued.

“I think since she came back from injury, we've played five or six times. We know each other very well, Amanda has been playing very well recently, and she's shown she's back to her best form.

“I'm really looking forward to the next round.”

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [12] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (24m)

Momen Downs Ghosal to Bring Day Five to a Close

Tarek Momen (right) v Saurav Ghosal (left)

Egypt’s Tarek Momen moved through to the last eight after beating Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal 3-0 in the final match of the day.

Momen beat Ghosal last month at the Grasshopper Cup and only just survived after winning 14-12 in the fourth, despite looking out on his feet in Zurich.

But ‘The Viper’ looks refreshed after electing not to play the DPD Open last week and he was electric in the first two games as he played some scintillating shots into the front of the court.

Ghosal more than played his part in the spectacle with some sublime counter-dropping of his own, while his retrieval abilities matched Momen’s. But the combative rallies resulted in the World No.10 suffering a back injury and he required treatment from the physio in the game break after the second.

He returned to the court for the fourth as Momen made a strong start, but Ghosal fought through the pain barrier to hold a game ball. However, Momen stayed firm to close out the win in four.

“I’ve always played Saurav and never had a 3-0 win against him,” said Momen, who will play World No.4 Simon Rösner next.

“It was always very tough because we play a very similar game. I knew today that I had to be up for it, and I don’t need to give him any windows of opportunity. It’s hard to do that against a good a player as Saurav, and I thought I did really well to win the first two games.

“In the third, when I saw he had an injury break, I tried so hard not to think about it, and I did really well at the start of the game and didn’t think about his injury. When I got the big lead, I started to relax a bit and thought that it was a shame, it was a good match, and I felt sorry for him.

“With these injuries, the body adapts and gets warm so you can’t feel the pain. He’ll probably feel sore in half an hour, but he was getting the momentum back, and it was so hard for me to switch on again.

“I’m really glad that I managed to win the last game in a tie-break because I didn’t want it to go to a fourth because you never know what might happen. I’m very pleased with the win, and I’m looking forward to playing after tomorrow.”

Ghosal said: “My back trouble is not an injury, I think it’s more the back stiffening up because the quantity of squash and travelling I have done in the past two months or so.

“From the beginning, I knew I had to rely more on my squash than on my physicality. To be honest, playing Tarek on a cold court while not 100 per cent physically is probably not the best combination.

“But Tarek is playing so well at the moment, he is World No.3 for a reason and truly deserves this victory and in three.”

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 13-11 (45m)

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