Follow the action from the semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open as we find out who the finalists will be for the first tournament of the new PSA World Tour season.
All the matches will now take place on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai which overlooks the Bund, starting with World No.1 Raneem El Welily against the only unseeded player left in the competition – World No.15 Hania El Hammamy.
The young Egyptian has knocked out two higher seeded players so far in the competition, with Hong Kong’s Annie Au and New Zealand’s Joelle King both falling victim to El Hammamy.
El Welily meanwhile, has enjoyed a strong tournament so far as she looks to keep her hands on the title which she won last year. The World No.1 has not dropped a game so far, knocking out the Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden and compatriot Salma Hany.
They are followed on court by a sibling rivalry as brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy go head-to-head for a place in the final.
Marwan booked his place in the last four yesterday courtesy of a 3-0 win over compatriot and former World No.3 Omar Mosaad, while Mohamed prevailed in a big battle with Hong Kong’s Leo Au.
The other two semi-finals see World No.4 Nouran Gohar and World No.5 Nour El Tayeb face each other for the last spot in the women’s final, while World No.1 Ali Farag takes on India’s World No.10 Saurav Ghosal for a place in the men’s final.
Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+8)
18:30  Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
19:15  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
20:30  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
21:15  Ali Farag (EGY) v  Saurav Ghosal (IND)
El Welily Reaches Final
Raneem El Welily (left) against Hania El Hammamy (right)
World No.1 Raneem El Welily swept aside compatriot and World No.15 Hania El Hammamy in straight games to advance to her second successive China Squash Open final, after winning the title last year.
The two players had only faced each other once before, which came last season at the PSA World Championships in Chicago, where El Welily won comfortably. However, 19-year-old El Hammamy showed just how much she had improved and grown in confidence as she took the match to the World No.1.
El Hammmamy had recorded two upsets so far this week, knocking out higher seeded opposition in the form of Hong Kong’s Annie Au and New Zealand’s Joelle King. But it was not meant to be for the World Junior champion against El Welily as the reigning China Squash Open champion utilised her experience to complete an 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 victory.
“I’m very pleased to be through to the final here in China,” said the 30-year-old Egyptian.
“It’s such a special place for me now, I’ve got good results almost every time here now, so I’m really pleased.
“We train together a lot together back home, as we train with the same coach [Haitham Effat], so we see each other’s games a lot. She is definitely improving every day and she is a solid contender to soon be in the top ten and a top player for sure.
“My squash been a bit up and down mentally and playing in patches throughout the entire week. I’d like to see myself more consistent and more solid.
“Nour [El Tayeb] and Nouran [Gohar] are both such strong players and it will definitely be an interesting match coming up between them. Whoever I play, it doesn’t matter, as long as we have a good and fair match tomorrow.”
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (37m)
Mohamed ElShorbagy Wins Battle of the Brothers
Mohamed ElShorbagy in action against younger brother, Marwan.
Mohamed ElShorbagy Wins Battle of the Brothers
Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy came out on top in the battle of the brothers as he conquered younger sibling, Marwan, in a brutal battle on court atop the Peninsula Shanghai.
The two brothers had not faced each other since the 2019 DPD Open quarter finals, where Mohamed walked away with a 3-0 victory.
Marwan started well to put Mohamed under pressure as he took the first game, however, the experience Mohamed soon showed as he battled back to close out an 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 victory in 64 minutes with both players pushing each other to their limits in the humid conditions.
“It’s very tough, physically and emotionally, to play against my brother,” said 28-year-old Mohamed afterwards.
“We know each other very well. Mentally it’s so hard when you know each other, whoever came out of this match was definitely going to feel it the day after. It’s something we are used to now on tour, but this is the first summer we haven’t tried together.
“It was a high quality match and played in good spirit as well. Very clean match between us and I’m really glad that I pulled through especially at such a crucial time.
“It’s hot and humid, so to get that confidence in yourself is important. I’m the type of player who needs to get those tough matches at the start of the season and get out of them as well to get that confidence physically. Winning today will give me a huge confidence in my physicality for the rest of the season.
“I’m really happy for him to be playing like that. He’s been out and had a hard time last season. He’s definitely up there and being No.11 in the world is going to be so hard for all of us that have to play him in the earlier rounds.
“I’m taking it each match at a time. Tomorrow is where I want to be and winning tournaments. To play first tournament of the season and to win it would be a huge confidence boost and send a message to the rest of my opponents. I’m here to get back to World No.1, I’m not here to do the same results I did last season because it wasn’t good enough and I fell to No.2.
“I’m back and want to be playing in finals and winning tournaments and tomorrow is another step towards doing that.”
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (64m)
Nour El Tayeb
Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb powered past compatriot and No.2 seed Nouran Gohar to book her spot in the first PSA World Tour final of the new season in Shanghai.
El Tayeb has been in fine form this week, spending as little time on court as possible as she swept past both former World No.1 Rachael Grinham and compatriot Nadine Shahin in the previous rounds.
And the 2017 U.S. Open champion started quickly to find her length and accuracy and never allowed an out-of-sorts Gohar to settle into any kind of rhythm as she completed an 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 victory.
“Today was one of my best performances,” said 26-year-old El Tayeb afterwards.
“I’ve been very focused during the off season and this match just proves that I am on the right track and that I’m playing well.
“My main tactic was to start well. Usually with her, she catches me by surprise all of the time with her hard hitting, so I think the key for me was to start as early as possible and warming up in the room clearly works for me!
“I’m very excited to be in the final of my first tournament. It gives me a lot of confidence and obviously it doesn’t get any better than playing the World No.1, defending champion and the best player of the last 12 months. I’m very excited for it.”
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (28m)
Farag Through to Final
Ali Farag (left) against Saurav Ghosal (right)
World No.1 Ali Farag prevailed against the only non-Egyptian left in the tournament, India’s World No.10 Saurav Ghosal, to reach the final of the China Squash Open.
Farag, who survived a tough five-game battle against England’s Tom Richards yesterday, put in his best performance so far to get the better of Ghosal as he aims to get his hands on the China Squash Open trophy for the first time, after finishing runner-up to Ramy Ashour in 2017.
The Egyptian follows in the footsteps of wife Nour El Tayeb, after she defeated Nouran Gohar to reach the final in the women’s event. The World No.1 will take on rival and 2016 China Open champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the men’s final tomorrow.
“It was a good performance and I’m very happy,” said 27-year-old Farag.
“It is the best I have played all week. I couldn’t afford to let Saurav get in front of me and I think I did that very well today. All thanks to PSA Physio, Shonagh – I was really sore last night and she spent a lot of time massaging me and then again today and I did a lot of recovery work.
“We haven’t done it every since [repeat the U.S. Open victory with wife Nour El Tayeb], even though it’s not a platinum event, it is still quite a prestigious one and I would love for the two of us to grab the first titles of the season. We know the challenge that lies ahead of us though in Raneem El Welily and Mohamed ElShorbagy, so we will have to be at our very best.”
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (34m)