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World No.1 Ali Farag

British Open - Day Three: As It Happens

Day three of the 2019 Allam British Open takes place today as the oldest tournament in squash continues at the newly renamed Allam Sport Centre.

All of the action will be LIVE on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the PSA World Tour Facebook page (excluding Europe and Japan) from 12:00 local time (UTC+1).

On the glass court, Hong Kong’s Joey Chan and Egypt’s World No.7 Nouran Gohar kick start the day’s action, before being followed on court by an exciting battle between Egyptians Ali Farag and Marwan ElShorbagy.

Schedule: Glass Court

Dominant Gohar Reaches Quarter Finals

Egypt’s World No.7 Nouran Gohar was in confident form to despatch Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in straight-games and advance to the quarter finals of the British Open.

Gohar has a good history at the sport’s longest running tournament after reaching the final back in 2016, when she lost out to compatriot Nour El Sherbini in the final, and the 21-year-old Egyptian ensured she had a safe passage through to the last eight after a dominant performance.

It was a strong start from Gohar to take the lead with her relentless pressure, until in game two Chan, who secured a surprise win over Egypt’s Salma Hany yesterday, began to come back at the Egyptian to make the contest more competitive. However, she was unable to halt the charge of Gohar who powered to an 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 victory in 23 minutes.

“I expected that Joey would give it a fight and she did that in the second game,” said 21-year-old Gohar.

“Probably in the first game she couldn’t find her range, but in the second she was firing everything in at the front and it was really difficult to expect what she was going to do.

“I had to have a good lead in the third to be through in three. We are at the end of the season and everybody’s body is struggling, so we are trying to minimise effort and be fresh because all of the matches are difficult from the first round.

“I’m really happy with my performance today. On a glass court you really gain a lot of points if you are accurate and this court is really dead. On the plaster courts they are really hot and bouncy and so you have to do a lot of running, but here it is really punishing and if you put the ball in the middle then it is really hard to get it back.

“I like to play on these courts as it suits my game more.”

[7] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 (23m)

Farag Powers Past ElShorbagy

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag continued his progress at squash’s longest running tournament as he overcame compatriot and former World No.3 Marwan ElShorbagy in straight-games.

Bristol-based ElShorbagy has been known to cause Farag problems in the past when the two players have faced each other on the PSA World Tour, with ElShorbagy leading the head-to-head with four wins against Farag’s two. However, reigning World Champion Farag ensured he lived up to his top seed billing as he brushed aside his compatriot.

The first game was a tight affair between the two Egyptians with ElShorbagy causing problems for the World No.1, however, Farag was able to edge ahead to take a crucial lead.

That game proved to be pivotal as Farag, with the psychological advantage in his corner, was then able to ease away in the second, doubling his advantage for the loss of just one point.

The confidence continued to flow for 27-year-old Farag as his fluid movement came to the fore to close out an 11-8, 11-1, 11-2 victory in 31 minutes.

“It’s a very big win,” said the Cairo-born Egyptian.

“To play Marwan in the last 16 is a lot of pressure. I’m really happy with the way I dealt with it and the first game could have gone either way and I think that made a psychological difference and I’m really happy with the way I pushed on after that.

“He’s maybe not as sharp as he was yet, but next season he is going to be sharper than he was before and we will all have to be on our metal.

“I think it makes a big difference when you are used to the court. I think that helped me, but also that I played a tough match yesterday and Mostafa [Asal] was firing and I think that made me a bit sharper today.

“It would be very special to win this title. A lot of legends have engraved their names on this trophy and I would be honoured to be next to them, but I have to take each match as it comes. I’ll focus on the next one and hopefully I can go all the way.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-1, 11-2 (31m)

El Welily Conquers Sobhy in Three

Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily was in spellbinding form to book her place in the last eight of the prestigious British Open after she overcame United States’ No.1 Amanda Sobhy by a 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 scoreline in 26 minutes.

World No.1 El Welily has won her last three successive tournaments and the Egyptian certainly lay down a marker to show that she wanted to add the prestigious British Open title to her expanding collection.

This is the third tournament in a row that the two players have met, with El Welily claiming both of those wins and the Egyptian continued to show why she was World No.1 with a dominant performance against Sobhy.

El Welily started strongly to open up a lead, before Sobhy came back into it and looked as though she was going to take the first game when she went 10-7 up. However, El Welily had other ideas and showed great composure to save three game balls before going on to clinch the first game.

From that moment on, errors began to creep into the game from the racket of Sobhy and El Welily took full advantage as she ramped up the pressure to close out the match in three games.

“It was very important to take the first,” said 30-year-old El Welily.

“I gave her an opening and she took it right away. I was leading that first game and then all of a sudden she was 10-7 up. I had to push myself to at least finish the game fighting until the end and then I guess that gave me the push that I needed to carry on the plan.

“I’m happy to be trying my best in every match and that is something that I have been working on with my coach, who is here with me, and was giving me the right tactics at the right time. Doing my best is the thing that I’ve been doing.

“I’m enjoying myself and just trying to do my best in every match and wherever that takes me I will be pleased with it.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (26m)

Abouelghar Downs Marche in Three

Egypt’s World No.9 Mohamed Abouelghar showed his quality as he overcame France’s World No.16 Gregoire Marche in round three at the Allam Sport Centre.

The two players had not faced each other since 2016 on the PSA Tour, when the match went to five in the Frenchman’s favour. However, Abouelghar was in unstoppable form in Hull as he reached the quarter finals of the British Open for the second time in his career.

A lengthy 20-minute first game went the distance with both players producing some strong rallies, before Abouelghar was able to edge ahead at 8-8 to take a crucial first game.

From then on, a confident Abouelghar was in formidable form as he left Marche with no reply to his incredible shot making selection to power to a 12-10, 11-2, 11-2 victory in 40 minutes.

“I’ve played with Greg a lot and it has always gone to five,” said the 25-year-old Egyptian.

“I thought maybe that if I had a good start and turned the game my way that maybe I would have a bigger chance to win the match. I knew the importance of the first game, so I was happy it turned my way in the end.

“It’s one of my best performances this season. It’s not too dead and it’s not too bouncy on the court, so it’s perfect for me.

“It doesn’t get any bigger. Ali [Farag] is the man of the hour and he’s been consistent the whole season. I’m looking forward to playing him in the quarter finals of the British Open, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. I’ve made the quarters once before at the British and I hope I can go one step further.”

[7] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-2, 11-2 (40m)

King Eases Into Quarters

New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King eased into her fifth British Open quarter final after defeating England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters.

The Kiwi, who reigned victorious in England earlier this month to claim the inaugural Manchester Open title, faced Waters at the same tournament when she also claimed a 3-0 victory.

And King was on top form once again in Hull as she executed her game plan to perfection, to keep the experienced Waters at bay and close out an 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 victory.

She will now face either Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb or Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the next round on Friday.

“I felt much more focused today,” said the 30-year-old.

“I have played Al so many times, when we were four or five in the world and I definitely had to be at my best tonight. I didn’t make many errors and didn’t give much away so I’m happy with that performance.

“Normally I would like the hotter conditions and the bouncier court, but I’ve worked hard at trying to improve my short game and my overall squash and I’m now starting to like the colder conditions.

“It’s one of the most prestigious events on the calendar. Having such great players win it before me, I would love to get my name on that title, but it’s one game at a time.”

[5] Joelle King (NZL) bt [10] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (32m)

Hesham Takes Out Serme to Reach Last Eight

Egyptian maverick Mazen Hesham secured a place in his first major quarter final since the 2015 Qatar Classic after he defeated France’s Lucas Serme in round three of the British Open.

The talented Egyptian enjoyed a huge win over World No.8 Diego Elias yesterday when he downed the Peruvian in five-games on the traditional courts at the University of Hull. He then backed that up again with another win over Serme to secure one of his best runs at a major tournament in four years.

The Egyptian provided glimpses of scintillating squash at times as he took the opening two games. Serme, however, did provide a fightback in the third when he began to take the angles away from Hesham and nullify his attacking intent.

However, a change of ball at the end of the third turned the match back into Hesham’s favour as he came into his own again to see out an 11-4, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7 victory.

“He has been playing really well and has beaten two really good players,” said 25-year-old Hesham.

“It’s never easy to play against him, he started firing in the third and it was a different story. I tried to contain him as much as I could and of course I am really happy that I have got the opportunity again to perform on such a stage.

“I’ve been struggling badly and still struggling slightly, but there is hope at the end of the tunnel. I need to thank Omar Abdel Aziz, my coach, who persuaded me to come to Hull. I had such a bad season, I hadn’t had a good win against a top 10 for three or four years. Omar is not just my coach, he cares, and really wants me to do good, so I kept pushing.

“I was feeling the pressure and was struggling to get over the excitement of yesterday. I was so happy yesterday that I couldn’t even sleep, but thank god I managed to start a little better than him and that made the difference. I’m really happy to back this up.

“I will try to recover as much as I can, I’ve learned through the years that I need to recover as much as I play.”

Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-4, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7 (48m)

El Tayeb Battles Back from Brink to Win

Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb was forced to battle back from the brink of defeat against Hong Kong’s Annie Au to book her place in the quarter finals of the British Open.

El Tayeb found herself staring down the barrel of defeat after Au found her accuracy quickly on court to set the tempo of the match and take a 2-0 lead.

The Hong Kong player was at her best as she pushed El Tayeb into all areas of the court and utilised her lob to full effect to make the Egyptian player look uncomfortable on court.

El Tayeb managed to turn things around in the third as she produced a gutsy display to get a foothold back into the match before upping the pace once more in the fifth to draw level.

The fifth went all the way down to the wire to decide who would book their place in the quarter finals of the prestigious tournament as Au held two match balls, before El Tayeb once again showed her tenacious style of play to fight back and secure an 11-13, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 13-11 victory in 50 minutes.
She will now face New Zealand’s Joelle King for a place in the semi-finals.

“Ali and Raneem kept pushing me on,” said El Tayeb afterwards.

“They gave me the motivation to try harder after the second game. I don’t know if I wasn’t trying hard enough or you all know Annie when you get stuck in her game, it’s suffocating to get out of, so Raneem and Ali were trying to push me on.

“I just kept pushing and told myself that you would learn even if you lose if you’re trying and I’m very glad I got over the finish line. I have been on the wrong end of being 2-0 up and losing, so I’m glad to get one on my side.

“I told Ali that I could do it on my own, but apparently not yet. I thought I didn’t need him, but apparently I’m not over that! He gave me a big push and just knowing someone is there and believes in you makes a lot of difference.

“I came into this tournament wanting to make it to the quarter finals and this was my goal. I’m glad I have a day off tomorrow, yesterday was very emotional, it’s like I won the tournament already beating Nicol [David]. Today was a huge bonus and I can’t wait to play against Joelle tomorrow as me, Joelle and Camille are almost switching up in the rankings, so it’s going to be an exciting match.”

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [11] Annie Au (HKG) 3-2: 11-13, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 13-11 (50m)

Coll Flies into Quarter Finals

New Zealand’s Paul Coll advanced to the last eight stage of the British Open for the second year running after a strong performance over Egypt’s Fares Dessouky at the Allam Sport Centre.

Dessouky has enjoyed a few big wins in recent tournaments after returning to the tour following a torn ACL, but the Egyptian was unable to overcome ‘Superman’ Coll as the Kiwi put in a composed performance to triumph.

The New Zealander controlled the first two games, before Dessouky battled back in the third, showcasing some of his shot making abilities as he pulled a game back.

A blood injury to Dessouky at the end of the third caused a stoppage, but World No.6 Coll kept a cool head and did not let it affect his concentration as he pounced on a number of unforced errors from the Egyptian to close out an 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 victory.

He will now face Egypt’s Mazen Hesham for a place in the semi-finals.

“I think I just closed the court down and tried to have that intensity,” 27-year-old Coll.

“Anything volley height he can put away like no-one else and I guess in the third there were two flat rollers, which I have never hit in my life! He is such a talented player that I had to use my head and really focus on my tactics to close him down.

“I felt really good this morning, there was nothing in my legs and I did all my usual nutrition and recovery, so for me it’s not massive. I would love 87 minutes, not 88 but what can you do.

“He [Hesham] has a similar sort of style to Dessouky, but I have got a great team here this week and it’s wicked to have some home support.

“It’s amazing opportunity for them both and I’m really proud of Nele, she has been on the edge of something big for a while now and hopefully she can join me in the quarters.”

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5 (66m)

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