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Nouran Gohar

British Open - Quarter Finals: As It Happens

The quarter finals of the Allam British Open are today, with action beginning at 12:00 (GMT+1) at the Allam Sport Centre in Hull as the competitions for the sport’s oldest title heats up.

It’s an all-Egyptian battle in the first match of the day as World No.1 Raneem El Welily looks to continue her title charge at the tournament as she takes on compatriot Nouran Gohar for a place in the last four.

They are followed on court by another exciting match as World No.1 Ali Farag squares up against World No.7 Mohamed Abouelghar.

We will also see a rematch of last year’s men’s final in the last match of the day when Colombian ‘Cannonball’ Miguel Rodriguez battles against World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy.

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

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+1)

Gohar Stages Huge Upset Against El Welily

Egypt’s World No.7 Nouran Gohar caused the biggest upset of the tournament so far as she scalped World No.1 Raneem El Welily in straight games to reach the semi-finals of the PSA Platinum event.

El Welily had been on a 15 match unbeaten run, winning her last three tournaments in a row, and also boasted an 11-3 advantage on the head-to-head record against Gohar going into the match. However, the 21-year-old Egyptian turned recent history on its head to claim a huge victory against the top seed, whose search for a British Open title goes on.

Gohar, who reached the final of the British Open at 18-years-old in 2016, played the more accurate squash of the two players in the first to take an initial lead and kept her composure when El Welily saved two game balls to close out at the third attempt.

30-year-old El Welily tried to fight back in the second, taking an early lead before Gohar rattled off a string of impressive winners to claw the World No.1 back in and double her lead.

From then on Gohar, who has enjoyed an impressive season to show she is back to her best and could be a surprise contender for the title, continued to keep her focus to close out an 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 victory in 36 minutes.

She will now face either New Zealand’s Joelle King or compatriot Nour El Tayeb for a place in the final.

“There are some days when you wake up and feel in a really good mood,” said the 21-year-old Egyptian afterwards.

“You are feeling well and moving well on court and all that helps when you are playing against Raneem because she will punish anything you do wrong and that is why she is World No.1. You have to be on your toes every second and I’m really pleased with what I did today.

“She has beaten me in the last three tournaments on her way to winning the tournaments. It has been so long since I have beaten Raneem, and I think the head-to-head shows that. I’ve beaten her one or two times on the PSA Tour so it is huge for me today. I just tried to keep it simple and play the basic things because if you make it too complicated then it is so hard against her, so I just tried to straighten it up and play the normal game.

“My mum’s support means the world to me. She’s the main reason for everything I have achieved right now and the whole team behind me as well. Omar [Abdel Aziz] has been training me since I was 15 and everyone, my fitness coach, [Karim] Dariwsh, the head coach of our club. It’s huge, I have had some tough times but at the same time I’m having a good time right now, so I’m really happy with it.”

[7] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (36m)

Farag Conquers Abouelghar to Reach Semis

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag reached the semi-finals of the British Open for the first time in his career after he dispatched World No.9 Mohamed Abouelghar in straight games at the Allam Sport Centre.

Abouelghar is the only player to have beaten Farag in 2019, with the 25-year-old getting the better of the World No.1 at the Grasshopper Cup. However, Farag ensured lightning did not strike twice as he took another huge step towards claiming his first ever British Open title.

The lower seeded Egyptian started the brighter of the two players to go 7-2 up, however, Farag fought back to capitalise on Abouelghar’s errors and take the first game.

It was then the World No.1’s turn to build up a strong lead in the second, before Abouelghar pegged him back with a series of sublime winners to force Farag to utilise his experience, eventually doubling his lead by a narrow 11-9 margin.

Farag was then able to continue his confident run to comfortably close out in the third and book his place in the semi-finals where he will face either New Zealand’s Paul Coll or Egypt’s Mazen Hesham.

“The first game, he came out firing,” said World No.1 Farag.

“I thought I was a bit too passive and with Mohamed you have to find that balance to not be too passive but also not too erratic. He is more skilful than I am and I had to find that balance, which I couldn’t at the beginning and I pushed to at least get into the game and I was rewarded by winning it.

“In the second it was the opposite way around and I was 7-2 up and made some errors to allow him back in and squash is all about those fine margins. You really want to keep pushing on but overall I am very pleased with how things unfolded today.

“I think it’s natural [to relax more at 2-0 up], the shoulders start to get bigger in a way and you see him not as intense as the first two. If it had have been 1-1 or 2-0 to him, which could have been the case, then it would have been a totally different story. Stepping up is something that I have been working on for the past few years with Karim Dariwsh, he was the master at it so I’m trying to emulate it, but it takes years and doesn’t change over night but I’m pleased it’s starting to pay off.

“It’s weird in a good way that during the weekdays it is a full house, so thank you to the crowd for coming and they make it more special and thanks to the Allam finally to always getting us back here, you make us feel at home and hopefully I can win two more matches.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [7] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)

Tayeb Eases into Semis

Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb followed her husband’s, Ali Farag, lead as she booked her place into the semi-finals of the prestigious British Open for the first time in her career.

The Egyptian had clearly taken a lot of confidence from her 3-2 comeback against Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the previous round as she did not give an inch to New Zealand’s Joelle King to overcome the World No.5 in straight games.

The World No.3 was on fire, establishing her length and range quickly to settle into the match and set the tempo as she cruised to an 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 win in 28 minutes.

She will now face compatriot Nouran Gohar for a place in the final in Hull.

“Joelle has been playing really well recently,” said 26-year-old El Tayeb.

“That’s why I went into the match with no pressure. I think she has been playing better than I have throughout the whole season and only Raneem and Nour have done that this season.

“I thought that I had to keep it simple and not over complicate things. The last few times I have been 2-0 up I have lost and so I needed to not see the finish line too soon. Throughout the third game I kept trying to look at Ali to relax, you’re playing against one of the best players in the world and I just needed to relax. Thankfully I was able to hold onto my level, I don’t think Joelle was playing at her best today and I took full advantage of that.

“I had to re-watch my last match so many times to believe that I actually won it. It gave me a lot of belief that I have this fighting spirit because I haven’t done it in a while and it gave me a lot of confidence that I can do it on a not so good day or when my opponent is playing well and today was a bonus really.

“Nouran’s head-to-head with me is that she is winning by a margin. If Nouran can beat Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily in the space of three weeks then she has got something and I don’t feel the pressure. I am happy to be in the semis, my first ever semis at the British Open, now I match Ali – he’s not better than me anymore! I’m very happy to be in the semi-final.”

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (28m)

Coll Survives Hesham Test

New Zealand’s World No.6 Paul Coll was pushed all the way to five-games by Egypt’s World No.34 Mazen Hesham in an epic quarter final battle at the Allam Sport Centre.

‘Superman’ Coll and ‘Black Falcon’ Hesham had never played each other on the PSA Tour before and the first time certainly proved to be a thriller as they pushed each other all the way much to the delight of the packed house in Hull.

Coll was dominant in the first game to take the lead by an 11-3 margin, before Hesham hit his stride in the second to flip the momentum on its head and level the scores.

The Kiwi was soon back ahead as he extended the rallies to test the physicality of the Egyptian, who has struggled with a series of injuries the past few years that has seen his ranking drop, to take the third.

However, the Egyptian soon battled back to show that he was enjoying a return to form as his shot-making prowess rose to the occasion to once again put the two players on level terms.

In the fifth, 27-year-old Coll reverted back to the tactics that served him well in the first game as he kept his composure to close out an 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 victory in 74 minutes and will now face World No.1 Farag for a spot in the final.

“It was interesting,” said Coll afterwards.

“We have played a couple of times in League and he’s very hard to read and makes you very unsettled on court. I was fighting myself a bit in the head, almost seeing the finishing line too soon and got caught up in a bit too much frantic stuff up front, where he thrives.

“Once I stuck to my game plan and sorted myself out in the head then I was alright, but there was too many lapses for a player of his calibre.

“I thought I was going to close out the fourth but I got too ahead of myself and he is such a talented player, he can hit shots out of nowhere, so credit to him for fighting. Everyone sees the fancy stuff, but the dug in deep today, credit to him because he has had a good tournament.

“Physically I’m feeling good and it was more in the head today. Coming towards the end of the season and my body is one piece and feeling match fit and so taking each day as it comes and just trying to keep it together and keep pushing and I’m looking forward to my next semi-final today.

“I have massive respect for Ali, he has achieved so much, on and off court he is a deserving No.1 but that doesn’t mean tomorrow that I’m not going to come out and try and smash him.”

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-2: 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 (74m)

Serme Edges Gilis

France’s World No.4 Camille Serme had to be on her metal to overcome Belgium’s Nele Gilis by a 3-0 scoreline and secure semi-final berth at the prestigious British Open.

Serme, who won the title in 2015, had to call on all of her experience at the top level as she saved six game balls in total against the 23-year-old Belgian to ensure a safe passage through to the last four.

Serme started strongly to take the first game by an 11-4 scoreline, before Gilis put herself in a strong position and forced Serme to use her mental strength to save three game balls and close out on the tie-break to deliver a big blow to the Belgian and double her advantage.

However, Gilis did not let the setback affect her and came out firing once again in the third, but it was not enough against Serme who once again came back to save three game balls to reach her fourth semi-final in Hull.

She will now face either Egypt’s World No.2 Nour El Sherbini or England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry in the next round tomorrow.

“It was great squash today,” said 30-year-old Serme.

“She showed why she made it to the quarters and this tournament she has played top ten for sure. I’m really pleased to be through in three because it was a tough battle.

“With my mental coach we noticed that every time I am behind in the score then I play better, which is weird. I wish I could play that well when I’m leading, it’s good to come back and win in three.

“Nothing against the Egyptians but there are so many and they are so talented and strong, so it’s nice to see the Gilis sisters coming strongly. We’ve seen them on the European tour and you can see they are coming strong.

“It’s a special event for everyone. Everyone says how it’s prestigious, after the World Championships, it’s the one everyone wants to win. I’m just happy to make it through to the semis and hopefully I can go one better this year than the previous one.”

[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-4, 14-12, 13-11 (51m)

Gawad Edges Past Rösner

Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad prevailed in an epic 89-minute battle with Germany’s Simon Rösner to reach the semi-finals of the PSA Platinum event for the second time in his career.

It was a monumental effort from the German as he saved numerous match balls throughout the entire encounter, but was unable to stop Gawad from converting deep into the fifth game as he triumphed 11-8, 11-6, 14-16, 10-12, 11-9.

The Egyptian started the match brightly with his spectacular shot making ability on show to take the opening two games.

Rösner grew into the match in the third and started to move well on court to edge out the stylish Gawad and prevent him from converting his numerous match ball attempts to get a foothold back into the match after taking it 16-14 on the tie-break.

The German continued to push on in the fourth in another edgy affair between the two players as Rösner once again closed out on the tie-break to level the scores.

Gawad once again built up a lead in the fifth and once again put himself in a strong position to close out, however, Rösner came out firing again to reign the Egyptian’s lead back in, before a controversial referee decision at the death allowed Gawad to close out an 11-8, 11-6, 14-16, 10-12, 11-9 victory in 89 minutes.

“He made me work really hard,” said former World No.1 Gawad.

“He really fought for every point and for the match. I can’t even remember how many match balls I had in this match, but I would have been very disappointed if I had have lost this one. All credit to Simon, the first two games I played really well and then lost the two games and he played absolutely amazing.

“In the fifth we both played well and I panicked on my match ball, when you have had a lot of match balls and you couldn’t win any of them, then you have another match ball you start to panic, especially in the fifth. I’m really glad to win and get through this and play the semi-finals tomorrow.

“Mentally today was really important and not to focus on how many match balls I had. In the third game I had a lot of match balls and a lot of winners that I missed and that made me panic a little in the match. It’s a new experience for me, I have been in matches where I had match ball and lost but, today in the quarter finals of the British Open it’s different.

“It will be a tough match, it is the defending champion and Mohamed, the most experienced player on the tour now, and it will be a tough match. I will focus on myself and my body as to how it recovers and be ready for tomorrow.”

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [3] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 11-8, 11-6, 14-16, 10-12, 11-9 (89m)

Perry Takes Out Defending Champ El Sherbini

England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry gave the home crowd inside the Allam Sport Centre something to cheer about as she took out defending champion and current World Champion Nour El Sherbini in a spectacular performance.

The last time the two players faced each other was at the 2018 Hong Kong Open, when Perry also recorded an upset to take out the Egyptian. However, since then Perry has had surgery on her elbow and has struggled to kickstart her form in 2019, while El Sherbini has been a regular in the major finals and secured her third World Championship title. But that recent form was turned on its head as it all changed for the Englishwoman in her favour in Hull to pull off a shock result to reach the semi-finals.

El Sherbini started strongly to take the first, before then building up a comfortable lead in the second. Perry, who reached the final in 2017, soon chipped away at that lead though and was able to level the scores on a 14-12 tie-break.

The Englishwoman then continued to stun the three-time World Champion as she pulled out some of her best squash for the big occasion to outplay El Sherbini and set up a semi-final meeting with France’s Camille Serme tomorrow.

“I don’t really know how I won that,” said the 29-year-old from Birmingham.

“As everyone saw I was very down in that second game, I actually told myself ‘don’t worry about this game, just play your way back in like you did in the first game’ and then every time I won a point the crowd was right behind me and that helped.

“Everyone is a fighter on the tour and you just have to try and keep pushing. I told myself to keep pushing, I was a bit tired at the end of the third and fourth but the less I think about the squash the better I play.

“I just wanted to keep the home crowd happy and have some home cheering on tomorrow. I’ve got a tough match tomorrow but it’s great to see the crowd packed. We don’t get to play in England that much so its fantastic and thank you to everyone who has put the tournament on.”

[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-8 (49m)

ElShorbagy Avenges Final Defeat By Beating Rodriguez

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) and Miguel Rodriguez (left) in action

Mohamed ElShorbagy is into the semi finals of the Allam British Open after beating defending champion Miguel Rodriguez to avenge his loss to the Colombian in the final in 2018.

The pair met in last year’s main event, which saw 102 minutes of fantastic squash, as the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ came back from 2-1 down to beat the ‘Beast’, becoming the first South American to win a major title on the PSA World Tour.

In their other 16 meetings, Rodriguez had only secured victory in one other, as he overcame the Egyptian in the XV Abierto Colombiano De Squash Club El Nogal Bogota back in 2012.

ElShorbagy took both the first and second games rather comfortably, as his style of play countered Rodriguez’s fast and fluid movement.

However, the third game saw the World No.7 fight back, and he held the lead at several stages. It would be the two-time champion that took victory those, as he closed the match out inside 45 minutes to book his place in the last four, and a meeting with Karim Abdel Gawad.

“Miguel is, of course, a very dangerous opponent, and when he is playing well, he is one of the toughest opponents to play on tour,” ElShorbagy said after the match.

“I had to be really sharp from the first point. I controlled it really well for the first two games, but I felt like he was getting back into it at the end of the second. He was getting sharper and he was starting to put me under more pressure, so I knew at the start of the third, I had to dig in deep.

“Every situation is different and I have been in a lot of situations in my career where I have had to perform differently to try and get the best result possible to be able to come back the next day and still be able to perform at my best.

“Of course, playing the last match of the evening, and especially with all the matches before it being delayed, I had to make sure I was sharp from the first point onwards. I had to make sure that I took my opportunities when they came.”

[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (43m)

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