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Mohamed ElShorbagy

World Tour Finals - Day Two: As It Happens

The CIB PSA World Tour Finals action continues today as round one concludes and round two gets under way at the Mall of Arabia in Cairo, Egypt.

Players competing at the World Tour Finals will compete in group stages, which are held under a best-of-three games format, with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout semi-finals and beyond.

Points are on offer for all results in group matches, apart from a 2-0 loss. If a player was to lose 2-1, they get one point. If a player was to win their match 2-1, they would receive three points, and if they win in straight games 2-0, they get the full four points.

It’s an all Egyptian battle to start the day as PSA World Championship runner-up Nour El Tayeb faces 2019 British Open winner Nouran Gohar in their round one clash.

They are followed on court by Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the first men’s match of the day.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+2)

El Tayeb Conquers Gohar

Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb overcame compatriot and World No.4 Nouran Gohar by a 2-1 scoreline as she got her World Tour Finals campaign up and running with a win in Cairo.

The two players last met at the British Open last month where Gohar got the better of El Tayeb with victory in the semi-finals en route to lifting the coveted title in Hull. However, El Tayeb ensured she got her revenge under the lights at the Mall of Arabia.

A determined 26-year-old El Tayeb started strongly to take the opening game, 11-4, before Gohar fought back strongly with her hard-hitting brand of squash to level the scores.

It was neck and neck for a lot of the decider game, before El Tayeb was able to edge ahead to seal an 11-4, 7-11, 11-8 victory in 40 minutes.

“I think I wanted to finish the season well,” said Cairo-born El Tayeb following her win.

“I don’t think I have been playing extremely well this season but Nouran is playing extremely well and so I had to be fired up. Watching yesterday’s matches also made me fired up, they were all really good matches, very exciting, and it’s an honour for anyone to be playing the best eight in the world. I’m very happy with my performance tonight and hopefully I can keep it going.

“If I do well here, I have a chance to return to the top four – this is a goal of mine to finish the season in the top four, but more importantly I wanted to play well. I wanted to show good fighting spirit, nothing against Nouran, Nour or SJ but I wanted to be fired and pumped up for my sake. I was happy with how I did it and luckily I won tonight.”

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [6] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-8 (40m)

Gawad Claims Win Over Coll

Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad got his World Tour Finals campaign off to a winning start as he overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll in Cairo, Egypt.

The 27-year-old Egyptian, who got married last week, was in dominant form in the opening stages as he settled into his rhythm quickly to take the first game.

Kiwi Coll grew in confidence to settle into his game plan in the second as he began to break up the free-flowing squash that Gawad was producing in the first. However, it was not enough to prevent Gawad from claiming victory by an 11-5, 13-11 scoreline in 40 minutes and claiming the maximum points on offer and move him into a strong position in Group A.

“Paul is one of my toughest players on tour to play with,” said 27-year-old Gawad.

“He’s very tough physically. It’s always hard playing him, he has improved his game a lot in the last couple of seasons and he is one of the best now, he’s in the top ten and went into the top four so he is an amazing player.

“It’s great to have her as my wife now because not anyone can understand what you’re doing and what your job is. You get married on Friday and then on Monday you are on court playing a tournament instead of going on honeymoon. So, thank you to her for her continued support and everything she is doing for me. It’s great having her in my life.”

[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [5] Paul Coll (NZL) 2-0: 11-5, 13-11 (40m)

El Welily Edges Past Serme

Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily put herself in a strong position to qualify for the semi-finals of the World Tour Finals after she defeated France’s World No.3 Camille Serme in three games.

The two players have faced each other many times on the PSA Tour, with El Welily claiming the last five wins and the Egyptian ensured that good run continued against the Frenchwoman as she came from a game down to defeat Serme by a 10-12, 11-7, 11-5 scoreline in 38 minutes.

Serme, who defeated Joelle King yesterday, started strongly to move into the lead, before El Welily rattled off five winners to get back in contention. It was the French No.1 who was able to see things out though as she took a tightly contested first game.

El Welily stayed composed, however, and utilised her experience to battle back and take the next two games as errors began to affect Serme's game in the third, to leave the Egyptian on seven points at the top of Group A.

El Welily faces New Zealand’s King in the final group match tomorrow.

“I think I was a bit patient in that last game,” said 30-year-old El Welily.

“She made a few errors. It’s very tough mentally to push ourselves in the last tournament, we are all pushing ourselves and working really hard. I’m definitely not going to go off court without leaving everything on here, hopefully I can go one more tomorrow and qualify.

“My movement is an aspect of my game that I work on really hard. Not just with my fitness coach, Ahmed Faragallah, but also Haitham Effat – they push me really hard when it comes to movement and technique, so it’s something I work really hard to do, but I actually think it could be better today.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [4] Camille Serme (FRA) 2-1: 10-12, 11-7, 11-5 (38m)

Elias Claims First World Tour Finals Win

Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias claimed his first PSA World Tour Finals victory after he defeated Germany’s World No.5 Simon Rösner in a thrilling battle.

The two players have only faced each other twice on the PSA Tour previously, with Rösner claiming both of those victories. However, Elias did not let that phase him as he came from a game down to claim an important win over the German.

31-year-old Rösner began the match confidently to find his length and accuracy and take the lead by an 11-5 scoreline. Elias, who narrowly lost out to Mohamed ElShorbagy yesterday, soon fought back in the second as he found his confidence to produce a solid comeback and level out the scores.

The final game saw both players exhaust themselves as they traded blows and pushed each other into all areas of the court with some intense rallies. However, it was the ‘Peruvian Puma’ who came out on top as he closed out a 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 victory.

That win now means that Elias holds four points in Group B and will face Egypt’s Tarek Momen on Wednesday June 12.

“It’s really tough playing in these conditions,” said 22-year-old Elias.

“After my match yesterday [against ElShorbagy] I didn’t think I was going to recover, especially after that last game. My body felt good today and I think I played well today, it was a really tough battle with Simon.

“This is my first tournament playing best of three, so I think I like it because usually I get a bit tired towards the end of matches.

“I think I’m enjoying my squash here. The conditions are really tough, but coming from summer in Peru – I’ve been training in similar conditions, so I like it here and the tournament is great.”

[7] Diego Elias (PER) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 2-1: 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 (57m)

Evans Gets First Points on the Board

Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans got her first points on the board at the season-ending World Tour Finals after she defeated New Zealand’s World No.6 Joelle King in round two.

That win means that Evans now has three points in Group A, while the Welshwoman’s result also means that World No.1 Raneem El Welily has automatically qualified for the semi-finals at the tournament.

Evans, who lost out 2-0 to El Welily yesterday, put in a gutsy display against King – who defeated her last month in the final of the Manchester Open – as she prevailed in a tight 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 battle.

The Welshwoman took the first game, before King countered to level the scores in the second. From then on it was a battle to the finish line as the two players consistently traded blows until at 8-8 when Evans was able to break the resilience of King to close out the victory.

Evans will need to beat France’s Camille Serme in round three to qualify for the semi-finals in Cairo.

“I’m really happy with that,” said 26-year-old Evans.

“I was a bit disappointed yesterday because I was only on court for 18 minutes. I know it’s best of three, but I still felt like I could have given it more. I wanted to come out here, no matter what the result, and give it everything I have and I think I did that. I think John is to blame for most of it because he gave a decision and she got all fired up again!

“When it was 8-8 I just had to switch back on and luckily hit some good shots. I think when I straightened it a bit more that worked well for me, a few times I was cross courting it straight onto her forehand, which she’s absolutely lethal on and she put me away a few times and I kept doing it.

“It was one of my really big goals at the start of the season to make this tournament. I didn’t just want to turn up and be like ‘I’ve made it, so I’m happy’ I really want to play well this week. It’s special and it’s even more special to be in Cairo, which is basically the home of squash.”

[8] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 2-1: 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 (38m)

ElShorbagy Qualifies for Semi-Finals

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy has qualified for the semi-finals of the season-ending World Tour Finals after he defeated compatriot and World No.3 Tarek Momen in three games in Cairo.

The British Open winner defeated Elias yesterday by a 2-1 scoreline and backed that up again today against Momen to continue his title defence as he looks to win his third consecutive World Tour Finals title.

ElShorbagy came out of the blocks firing in the first to take the lead, before Momen, who has just come back from a hamstring injury, showed the kind of consistency that has seen him became a permanent fixture at the latter stages of major tournaments as he drew level.

However, an injury break for ElShorbagy before the start of the third did not seem to affect the Bristol-based Egyptian in the slightest as he battled back from 3-0 down to close out an 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 victory.

“It was very humid today,” said World No.2 ElShorbagy.

“Way more humid than yesterday. The thing with an outdoor court is that it makes it more interesting to see how each player deals with it every day because the conditions keep changing and you have to deal with it differently.

“When I was 3-0 down, I felt like we were both feeling it physically. He has been out with an injury recently and physically he is not back to his best, but even though he is not back at his best you are still playing the World No.3. When there is a rivalry, even if you’re not that ready, then things switch on and he showed the great player he is.

“He has had a great season, the last three years he has been a player who has been a contender for every World Tour event. I’m really happy that he has been playing this quality, he is an inspiration. I’ve seen him for years training hard, having bad losses and coming back stronger and he’s an example for a lot of juniors to watch of never giving up and always working hard.

“I think Ali said it right after his interview yesterday when he said he had to do something different and stay fresh for here. He wasn’t going to do any training, it’s about getting yourself fresh mentally and I think we’ve both have had a similar life the past couple of years. Instead of just doing my normal routine, I’ve been doing some different group fitness sessions and just do something a bit out of the book to freshen yourself mentally.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-1: 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 (46m)

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