The CIB Egyptian Open gets under way at the New Giza Sporting Club today in what is the first PSA Platinum event to take place since the return of the PSA World Tour following the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can follow all the action from courts three and four here, where the likes of Tinne Gilis, Hollie Naughton, Borja Golan and Cesar Salazar are all in action.
You can keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Schedule – all times local (GMT+2)
11:00 Ineta Mackevica (LAT) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
11:45 Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Enora Villard (FRA)
13:30 Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v [WC] Salma Eltayeb (EGY)
14:15 Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Sarah Cardwell (AUS)
16:00 Nicole Bunyan (CAN) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
16:45 Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
18:30 Richie Fallows (ENG) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
19:15 Tom Richards (ENG) v Auguste Dussourd (FRA)
You can also watch the action from court three below.
11:00 Benjamin Aubert (FRA) v Borja Golan (ESP)
11:45 Lucas Serme (FRA) v Ben Coleman (ENG)
13:30 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v [WC] Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
14:15 [WC] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
16:00 Olivia Fiechter (USA) v Tessa ter Sluis (NED)
16:45 Donna Lobban (AUS) v Menna Hamed (EGY)
18:30 Jana Shiha (EGY) v Melissa Alves (FRA)
19:15 Nadine Shahin (EGY) v Jasmine Hutton (ENG)
Naughton Beats Mackevica In Four
Canada’s Hollie Naughton continued her promising start to the season with a 3-1 victory over Latvia’s Iveta Mackevica at the New Giza Sporting Club to reach round two of the CIB Egyptian Open.
Naughton impressed in last month’s Manchester Open as she took World No.5 Sarah-Jane Perry to five games in a second round finish and came into this match after winning her only meeting with Mackevica on the PSA World Tour last year in Cleveland.
The World No.22 hit solid lines and controlled the majority of the match, but did surrender an 9-4 lead in the third as Mackevica clawed a game back to send the match into a fourth.
However, Naughton redoubled her efforts and cruised to victory in game four, dropping five points as she completed an 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 victory in 36 minutes which will see her take on either USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy or Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the next round.
“I don’t think I ever got settled in the match today,” said Naughton.
“And after a bit of a nervous start, I think she relaxed from 2-0 down, and I got ahead of myself a bit from 9-4. Instead of pushing forward, I let the shield down a bit, and got a bit frustrated.
“So in the fourth, I got back to my game plan and stuck to it to try and break both her rhythm and her confidence and it worked.”
Meanwhile, over on court four, Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan overcame the challenge of Frenchman Benjamin Aubert to win 11-7, 13-15, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5.
Golan, now ranked at No.27 in the world, required time off court to recover from an ankle injury after slipping on court, but kept his composure to complete a hard-fought victory which will see the 37-year-old take on fellow veteran Gregory Gaultier for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I know I always say this but this could be my last PSA season,” Golan said.
“So I’m very happy to compete here and very happy to win. I'm very grateful to PSA and the sponsors to allow us to be here, and it’s a great venue, everything is new, it's a great place.
“I felt quite well, it’s all about adrenaline really, sometimes you get tired, then you recover and he does the same, he is not a machine.
In the second, I was in control at 7-3, but I lost a bit of focus.
“In the fourth, I got up 7-1, I took my chances to the front, played short rallies, it worked. The fifth it was about the same, I got a good start, and I think the quality of my squash was higher with no more unforced errors. And he was struggling with his movement to the front I think because it was a bit slippery.
“I'm so happy I can compete again, I screamed very loudly at the end because I was so happy to be playing again. I think this match will be good for my confidence. I’m enjoying it, which is the most important thing.”
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 (36m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Benjamin Aubert (FRA) 3-2: 11-7, 13-15, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 (83m)
Turmel Takes Out Villard
A dominant display from England’s Lucy Turmel saw the 21-year-old take out France’s Enora Villard 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 in just 23 minutes to book her spot in the last 32.
Turmel controlled proceedings at the New Giza Sporting Club as she hit her targets well and gave Villard no time to settle and her reward will be a round two fixture with Canada’s Hollie Naughton, who got the better of Ineta Mackevica earlier today.
“I felt very comfortable out there today,” Turmel said.
“I felt confident, I had a plan, and I was able to execute it from the first point. I tried to make the court very big and to take it short as soon as I could. I was clinical in taking it short, which is what I wanted.
“Enora is fit and strong, so I wanted to make sure I would control the squash, otherwise it could have turned into a physical battle and I didn’t want that. I managed to prevent her from getting into it, which is good.”
Frenchman Lucas Serme is also through to the second round courtesy of a 3-0 victory over England’s Ben Coleman.
“The conditions were not easy for either of us really,” Serme said.
“The courts are pretty slippery and it was all about adapting to those conditions. I tried and persuaded myself that it was part of the conditions that couldn’t change and tried to anticipate a possible slip all the time.
“It was more of a mental battle than anything really, a tactical adjustment as well.”
Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (23m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 16-14, 11-6 (67m)
Sobhy Ousts Eltayeb
USA’s World No.29 Sabrina Sobhy came back from a game down to overcome the talented 16-year-old Salma Eltayeb as she booked her place in round two.
Eltayeb was appearing at her first PSA World Tour Platinum tournament and caught Sobhy out in a quick-fire first game performance that made a mockery of the 65-place gap between the pair in the PSA World Rankings.
Despite being just 23 years old, Sobhy has the superior experience between the pair and she remained focused in the second game to restore parity.
From there, she rattled off a victory in the third for the loss of two points and the fourth game – characterised by short rallies and errors from the Egyptian – also went the American’s way.
An 8-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7 victory is enough to see Sobhy through to the last 32 where she will take on fellow American Olivia Clyne.
Sobhy was based in Egypt during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown and opened up on what it was like to be out there during the global pandemic.
“I spent three months here in Egypt during the lockdown, from the end of Black Ball to the start of June,” said Sobhy.
“I think it burned me out of Egypt quite quickly as I felt a bit too isolated. When I got back to the US, I realised how much I missed it and that maybe Egypt was not for me. But now I’ve been back with Amanda [sister], and Joelle [King] came and stayed with us, and that made a huge difference not to be on my own.
“As like all the young Egyptian players, she is fierce and fearless from the start. I tried to keep the rallies going because that’s what I’ve learned over the years, when we are young, we are trying to finish the point too quickly. So I tried to be more patient, kept the length going and let her make an error.”
There was a wildcard win on court four as former World Junior Champion Karim El Hammamy dispatched Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu after 92 minutes of brutal action.
“It means a lot to me,” said El Hammamy.
“I missed playing, I missed winning. I haven’t won a match between September 2019 and February 2020, when I got injured.
“Even two weeks ago, I really didn’t feel confident with my body. I went to my fitness coach, Hossam Shaddat, and I need to thank him for all the energy and hard work he has put into me because I surprised myself in the fourth. I didn’t think I had that kind of energy anymore.
“I didn’t want the match to be a physical one, but it ended up being one. Also, I want to thank my coach, Andrew Wagih, he too has put a lot of work into me.
“I was playing the World No.26, so I knew it was going to be a hard match, but for once I didn’t expect too much of myself, I didn’t put too much pressure on the win. I only have one thing to take care of now, only one thing to think of, it’s squash, I don’t study anymore. For the match, I had a game plan for each game, I had watched Iker play a lot and studied him. This means so much to me.”
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [WC] Salma Eltayeb (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7 (30m)
[WC] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-1: 4-11, 11-5, 11-6, 16-14 (92m)
Gilis Eases Past Cardwell
Belgium’s Tinne Gilis made no mistake in her opening round fixture against Australia’s Sarah Cardwell as she eased into the last 32 courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 victory.
The World No.18 has played almost 200 matches less than Cardwell in her career but her relative lack of experience didn’t play a part today in Egypt as she dismantled the Australian to win 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 in just 20 minutes.
Gilis will play Wales’ Tesni Evans tomorrow for a place in round three.
Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller is through to round two of the men’s event after he dispatched wildcard Moustafa El Sirty in four games.
“I played well, I had plenty of time to prepare physically, I cannot remember the last time I had so much time to get fit and prepare, six months,” said Mueller.
“It was really nice not to have to travel, I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I made the most of it. It also gave me time to think, time to reflect.
“I’m happy with my squash, the body is fine, the head is in the right place, so I think I can be dangerous. Now, it’s a question of proving it, not just saying it.”
Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 (20m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [WC] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6 (43m)
Metwally Moves Past Bunyan
Egypt’s Mariam Metwally has earned her place in the second round after the World No.31 recovered from a game down to beat Canada’s Nicole Bunyan.
Bunyan is ranked 32 places below her opponent in the PSA World Rankings but made a strong start as she rebuffed Metwally’s attacks and played some consistent squash to take the opener by an 11-7 margin.
It was then nip and tuck in the second as both players vied for supremacy but Metwally pulled away from 6-5, taking five points in a row to draw level.
The Egyptian’s shot-making talents ultimately decided the match as she attacked well at the front of the court to take Bunyan away from the ’T’ and she achieved victories in the final two games to seal the win.
I got surgery on my knee in April, but because of the lockdown, I didn’t start my rehabilitation before July, which was a bit late,” said Metwally.
“I didn’t have any kind of real matches coming here so I wasn’t sure I should play, I was aiming to play in December, but my sponsor told me that it’s a competition in my country, I cannot miss the opportunity.
So I came here with no expectations and when we started playing I saw how fit and fast on my shots she was, and I thought this is not going to be easy. My head is not completely at the right place at the moment, and I can tell you my family and my fitness coach are probably very surprised I was able to hold it together physically today.
“I’m not the feeling the game yet, I think it’s a lack of matches, but I managed to play at my own pace, and took my shots. It was more of a mental battle than a physical one today, but I managed to do what I wanted to do.”
Olivia Fiechter has also earned her spot in the last 32, beating Dutch player Tessa Ter Sluis 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 in 18 minutes.
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-1: 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (37m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Tessa ter Sluis (NED) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (18m)
Salazar and Soliman Set Up RD2 Clash
Mexico’s Cesar Salazar made a winning return to action as he beat England’s Patrick Rooney on his first PSA World Tour appearance since February to seal his place in round two.
At the same time his brother, Arturo, was seeing off USA’s Shahjahan Khan on court two, Salazar recovered from a game down to complete a 6-11, 11-5, 15-13, 11-5 victory.
The World No.23 will line up against Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in the next round.
“It was seven, eight months without competition, so I was a bit nervous at the start,” Salazar said.
“But I so wanted to play, I so wanted to compete, I worked so hard, and I’m happy with the result.
“I was not happy at all in the third, I was up 10-9 and there was in my opinion a terrible call, a ball called that was out of court, and was called good. It really angered me because I was not the only one to see it, and it was at such a crucial time. I don’t know what would have happened if I lost that game to be honest, he is such a good player, talented with great hands.
“So I lost my focus at the end of that third, but I got the control back in the fourth at the start, and I think he lost a bit of heart in the last one.”
Soliman was on fine form as he got the better of England’s Richie Fallows, winning 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 in 53 minutes.
Elsewhere, Australia’s Donna Lobban overcame Egypt’s Menna Hamed on court four in a tight five-game victory, which contrasted with a comfortable victory for France’s Melissa Alves against Jana Shiha in the following match.
Alves said: “I didn’t win a match for a very long time, since Black Ball I didn’t play PSA except Manchester, and I lost in the first round. I was in search of self confidence really.
“Plus we organised a few tournaments playing with men, and that didn’t help feeling confident about my game. So that’s why I came here for 10 days, to train and play with a lot of different girls, to rebuild my game and rebuild my confidence.
“Now I’m playing Nour El Tayeb again, it’s like PSA is trying to make sure I know how to play her. The result will be what it will be, but I’m going in there with no pressure and to try and put her under pressure. I want to enjoy the match and also make sure I show what I can do.”
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 15-13, 11-5 (53m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (45m)
Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Menna Hamed (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9 (61m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (22m)
Richards Survives Against Dussourd
England’s Tom Richards stayed in the Egyptian Open by the skin of his teeth after fighting back from 9-6 down to beat Frenchman Auguste Dussourd in a nervy fifth game.
The match was characterised by lengthy rallies, with a mammoth opening game going to Richards by a 16-14 scoreline.
Dussourd fought back though to level and, after sharing victories in games three and four, the Frenchman played some superb squash to move two points away from a first ever PSA Platinum round two berth.
But Richards displayed impressive mental fortitude to keep his composure and reeled his opponent back in, scoring five points in succession to book his place in the last 32 in the final match on court three today.
Richards will play India’s Saurav Ghosal next.
“The conditions were horrible for both of us,” Richards said.
“We were slipping all the time, and as I snapped both my hamstrings I was not looking forward to do that again.
“I was never comfortable hitting or moving, which normally goes together. Normally for a few years, I’m good at attacking straight, but today I was missing my targets and in these tournaments you don’t get away with it.
“It was the first time I was playing him, he is very strong, it’s funny to get to 34 and play somebody for the first time.”
There was an Egyptian winner in the last of the court four matches, with World No.17 Nadine Shahin beating England’s Jasmine Hutton 3-1 to reach round two.
Compatriot Yathreb Adel stands between Shahin and a place on the glass court in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-2: 16-14, 5-11, 11-3, 3-11, 11-9 (63m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-7 (38m)