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Mohamed ElShorbagy

China Squash Open: Day Two Evening Session - Reports and Comment

The first tournament of the new 2019/20 PSA World Tour season continues today as the top eight seeds enter the draw at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open in Shanghai.

Glass court action takes place this evening when World No.1s Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag take to the court, along with 2019 British Open champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nouran Gohar.

You can follow live scoring from the tournament here and you will also be able to find out what the players have to say here.

Glass Court Schedule
All times local (GMT+8)
18:30 [1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Milou van der Heijden (NED)
19:15 Lucas Serme (FRA) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
20:30 Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
21:15 [1] Ali Farag (EGY) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)

El Welily Conquers van der Heijden

Raneem El Welily (right) v Milou van der Heijden (left)

Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily ensured her title defence got off to a winning start after she defeated Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden in straight games to reach the quarter finals.

El Welily started strongly on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai, which overlooks the Shanghai Bund, and never showed signs of slowing down as she completed an 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 win in 26 minutes.

“I’m definitely happy to start the tournament with a 3-0 win against Milou,” said El Welily afterwards.

“I’m not sure if we’ve played each other before or not, she is one of those players who you have either played just once or not at all. She’s skilled with the racket and has such great technique and you could see she has got different plans and tactics on court. She definitely worked me on court and I’m hoping that I can continue that form on here tomorrow.

“The venue is very beautiful. I’ve been here a couple of times and I think by far this is the best court that we have had here. This year past by really quickly for me and before you know it you’re in China again to start the season.

“I’ve had good memories here and bad ones, I’m just going with the flow and seeing what happens but hopefully it will be a good memory.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)

ElShorbagy Battles Back Against Serme

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Lucas Serme (left)

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy was forced to battle back from the brink against France’s Lucas Serme at the Peninsula Shanghai.

The Egyptian was staring down the barrel of a shock defeat to Serme after the Frenchman took a surprise 2-0 lead to put the experienced Egyptian under pressure.

However, ElShorbagy, as he has done many times before, was able to turn things around after a tough battle at the beginning of the third to claim the next three games and secure a last eight berth.

“Lucas played so well today,” said the former World No.1 afterwards.

“We used to train together back in Bristol and have played together for so many years. I’m really happy for him to be raising his level that way, he has so much potential and I’m glad that he’s living up to that now. If he keeps playing that way this season then you can expect so many good things from him.

“For me, that was the first match of the season and it’s always a tricky one. I feel like I train hard and I’m ready for the season, but I just went onto the court and played with emotion and excitement and after I lost that second game, I thought I really need to concentrate with my mind more and stick to my plan.

“We had a tough match at the beginning of the third game and from that moment I pulled through and had control of the match after, but all credit to him. I had to dig in deep to win this match and I’m very happy to live another day here.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-2: 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 (66m)

Gohar Dominant Against Letourneau

Egypt’s 2019 British Open champion Nouran Gohar was in dominant form to despatch Canada’s Danielle Letourneau in straight games to book her place in the quarter finals.

Letourneau secured a big win over higher-seeded Joey Chan yesterday to reach the last 16. However, she was unable to continue the upsets as Gohar utilised her hard hitting and range of shots to her favour to claim an 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 victory in 22 minutes.

She will now face compatriot Yathreb Adel for a place in the semi-finals.

“I’m always looking forward to this tournament,” said the World No.4

“You don’t get a lot of chances to stay in such a beautiful hotel and such a prestigious one. The venue is one of the best in the world and I have great memories here – beating Nicol [David] for the first time.

“It’s the first tournament of the year so that makes it extra special as well because you want to prove yourself and see how the summer training has paid off.

“I’ve been in the final three times so I hope I can break a little bit. It’s just one match at a time, I’m in the quarter finals which I’m really happy about and I’m just looking forward to the next match and we will see what happens next.”

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (22m)

Farag Reaches Last Eight

Ali Farag (right) v Youssef Soliman (left)

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag got his China Open campaign up and running with victory over compatriot Youssef Soliman.

Soliman endured a tough five-game battle with Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen yesterday to reach the last 16, but was unable to keep up his winning momentum as he faced top seed Farag on the glass court.

Farag took the first two game, before Soliman reduced the deficit in the third as he looked to make a comeback. However, it was not enough to disrupt the rhythm of Farag who was moving well on court to take an 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 victory in 41 minutes.

“I’m very happy,” said the 27-year-old from Cairo. “First match of the season is never easy, especially when it comes against someone like Youssef. We know each other’s games pretty well, we grew up in the same club and now I play for Wadi Degla, but we still play together a lot. I’m very happy to get away with a 3-1 win here.

“Our sport is beautiful, we get to put it anywhere in the world and to put it on top the Shanghai Bund is amazing. I’m really happy that fingers crossed the rain stays out of the area and we can keep playing on this venue.

“I’m expecting a lot of firey shots [from Tom Richards]. I wouldn’t say he has a traditional English game, he likes to go for it and I’ll try to keep my discipline and not get too erratic with him and we will see how it goes.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 (41m)

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