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Borja Golan in action during round one of the CIB Egyptian Open

Egyptian Open Day Two: As It Happens - Courts 3 & 4

The CIB Egyptian Open continues today at the New Giza Sporting Club with the top 16 seeds getting involved at the first PSA World Tour Platinum event to be held following the COVID-19 pandemic.

We'll have reports and reaction from the matches on courts three and four right here. Stars such as defending World Champions Nour El Sherbini and Tarek Momen will be in action, while CIB PSA World Tour Finals victor Hania El Hammamy and French legend Gregory Gaultier also line up today in Cairo.

You can keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Schedule – all times local (GMT+2)
Court Three
11:00 Nele Gilis (BEL) v [7] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
11:45 Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
13:30 [6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
14:15 Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Tesni Evans (WAL)
16:00 Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v Olivia Clyne (USA)
16:45 [3] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Fares Dessouky (EGY)
18:30 Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
19:15 Tom Richards (ENG) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)

You can also watch the action from court three below.



Court Four
11:00 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Borja Golan (ESP)
11:45 Lucas Serme (FRA) v [8] Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
13:30 [WC] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
14:15 Alison Waters (ENG) v [8] Joelle King (NZL)
16:00 Olivia Fiechter (USA) v Salma Hany (EGY)
16:45 Donna Lobban (AUS) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
18:30 [4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Melissa Alves (FRA)
19:15 Nadine Shahin (EGY) v Yathreb Adel (EGY)

Gilis Beats Sobhy in Landmark Win

Belgium’s World No.14 Nele Gilis claimed her first ever win over a top 10 player as she overturned two match balls to overcome United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in round two of the CIB Egyptian Open.

Gilis, 24, has now reached the third round of a PSA Platinum event for the third tournament in succession and put together one her best ever PSA World Tour performances to vanquish the World No.7 by an 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10 scoreline.

Sobhy had won their two previous PSA World Tour matches 3-0 and twice took a one-game lead only to see a tenacious Gilis dig in and come back to restore parity on both occasions.

The American struggled with the pace Gilis was playing and tired as the match went on, but looked to have done just enough to get the win over the line when she held two match balls in the decider.

But two strokes against Sobhy over the next three points put an end to the 27-year-old’s title defence in Egypt, meaning Gilis moves through to round three where she will take on either Canada’s Hollie Naughton or England’s Lucy Turmel for a spot in the quarter-finals.

“I’ve been working with a mental coach,” Gilis said.

“We talked yesterday and this morning and we decided that enough was enough, that it had to be it, it had to be today because I was so close so many times.

“I don’t feel relieved, it’s more like I was finally rewarded for all that hard work for years.

“I made sure that I was playing at a fast pace, as I know that if I gave her time on the ball, if I played slow or mid pace, she would destroy me. So I volleyed as much as I could and twisted and turned her.

“A year ago, I would have been nervous for a match like this but during the lockdown I thought a lot about my father who passed away about 10 years ago, but who is still a huge part of my life and he would have wanted me to enjoy my life. It was like a mirror was placed in front of my face and asked me: ‘So, why are you stressed? You are living your dream. Start enjoying it’.”

Over on court four, there was a clash between two of the PSA World Tour’s most experienced veterans as two 37 year olds, Gregory Gaultier and Borja Golan, did battle, with the former winning in four games.

Gaultier was making his first PSA World Tour appearance since the return of the tour following the six-month COVID-19 enforced suspension but came into the match after a title victory at the Expression Networks Nolan and Liam’s Tournament, PSA Challenger Tour event last month – his first PSA trophy since May 2017.

It was a nip and tuck battle which lasted 61 minutes, with Frenchman Gaultier ultimately prevailing 12-10 in the fourth. He will play either Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez or compatriot Lucas Serme in the next round.

“I’m happy to get through today,” Gaultier said.

“It’s so hard, you come two days before doing nothing in an hotel room with no training, so the preparation is not that great. You arrive here, all is new, you never played on the court and you have to rely on what you hear from the players. They were not the best of conditions, but you have to play with the weapons you have on the day.

“Borja is a player that never gives you anything for free. Even at 10-0 he is a player that will fight tooth and nail and won’t let you get away with anything.

“He is still a great player and, actually, we were joking about our old age in the cab coming here. It was nice to chat about our respective families and how we lived through the lockdown. It was such a nice moment before we were about to play for our lives.”

Nele Gilis (BEL) bt [7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10 (64m)
Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 (61m)

Naughton Through to RD3 After Ousting Turmel

Canadian Hollie Naughton is though to the third round of a PSA Platinum event for the first time in her career after overcoming England’s Lucy Turmel in a thrilling five-game encounter.

In the pair’s first ever meeting on the PSA World Tour, there were two tie-breaks in the opening couple of games, with each player taking a win apiece.

Turmel, ranked 14 places below Naughton in the PSA World Rankings at No.36, took a surprise lead after winning the third but dropped the final two games 11-7, 11-7 to send Naughton through to the last 16.

Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez made his first appearance since the restart of the PSA World Tour, beating Frenchman Lucas Serme in straight games.

The World No.10 missed out on a place at the Manchester Open after last-minute travel issues, but returned to action with an  11-6, 11-8, 11-2 victory to set up a mouthwatering round three clash with French veteran Gregory Gaultier.

“I’m so happy to compete again,” said Rodriguez.

“I feel like when I was young, around 10 years old, and there would be a big break in the summer and I couldn’t play for two months, then you get that excitement the first time you get on court.

“You feel sore the next day, but what a feeling that is. I was supposed to go to Manchester, I got the authorisation from the Sports Minister, but when I tried to book my flight, I was told it was fully booked and I just couldn’t take another one.

“I finally feel 100 per cent physically, last year I was struggling with different injuries but, thanks to the lockdown, I was able to sort all the troubles out and I’m now ready for a new phase in my life.”

Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-2: 12-10, 12-14, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7 (67m)
[8] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (42m)

Mixed Fortunes for El Hammamy Siblings

There were mixed fortunes for the El Hammamy siblings as women’s World No.6 Hania El Hammamy dispatched fellow Egyptian Mariam Metwally to reach round three, while older brother Karim lost in straight games to Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.

Hania is in red-hot form after winning the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in Cairo last week and it took her just 24 minutes to dispatch Metwally as she powered to an 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 victory to make it three wins on the bounce against this opponent.

The 20-year-old will play either Welsh player Tesni Evans or Belgium’s Tinne Gilis for a place in the quarter-finals – where the winner will line up on the glass court in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza.

“I felt confident coming into the tournament,” said El Hammamy.

“I’m ready, I’m excited. Of course, I’m happy with winning the title last week, but this is not a time for celebration. I want to have the same result this week, so I need to focus on the here and now.

“Mariam had surgery, so I was not sure she was back to where she belongs, so I tried to be as sharp as I could as she is a very dangerous and tough opponent. She’s so talented and dangerous at all times.”

World No.60 Karim, a former World Junior Champion like his sister, is a wildcard for the men’s event and earned his place in the last 32 courtesy of a surprise win over Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu, who is ranked 34 places above him.

But there was to be no repeat against Mueller as the ‘Swiss Rocket’ controlled the match and closed out an 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 in 31 minutes to reach the third round of a Platinum event for the first time since April 2019.

[6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (24m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [WC] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (31m)

Gilis On Form to Axe Evans

Belgium’s Tinne Gilis followed the example set by older sister Nele earlier on today as she put in an immaculate performance to dispatch World No.9 Tesni Evans in straight games.

The World No.18 brought her ‘A’ game to Cairo as she controlled proceedings at the New Giza Sporting Club to follow up her 20-minute dismantling of Australia’s Sarah Cardwell in the previous round.

Evans is typically a strong competitor on the PSA World Tour but lacked her usual spark on court and cut a downbeat figure as the match began to slip from her grasp.

There was little the Welsh player could do to knock Gilis off her stride and the 22-year-old closed out a confident win by an 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 margin to set up a round three clash with the in-form Hania El Hammamy.

“We actually never played, so it was nice to play somebody new,” Gilis said.

“I went on there with nothing to lose and no pressure on me. Well actually, there was a bit of pressure as it was exactly one year ago I beat my first top 10 player, it was Joshna here in the Worlds, so I was a bit afraid of not performing as well and lose my ranking points.

“And I was a bit tense as well because I watched Nele’s match. That’s not true, actually I was fired up because I was thinking that it was my turn now to win.”

The final match of the afternoon session over on court four saw New Zealand’s Joelle King recover from a game down to defeat experienced Englishwoman Alison Waters as she won 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 in 48 minutes.

“Alison is a great player, she is not much older than me, and she’s been a top player for most of my career, so it was never going to be an easy match, especially as we are very good friends and it’s never easy to play a mate,” King said.

“She started so well, I was trying to find a way to get back in the match. I managed to get in front in the second and never looked back, but she never gave me an easy time on court.”

Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)
[8] Joelle King (NZL) bt Alison Waters (ENG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (48m)

Sobhy Downs Clyne in All-American Fixture

USA’s Sabrina Sobhy is through to the third round of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for only the second time in her career after axing fellow American Olivia Clyne in straight games.

The 23-year-old saw her older sister, Amanda, bow out of the tournament after a shock defeat to Belgium’s Nele Gilis, but ensured that there will be a Sobhy representative in the third round after taking out Clyne by an 11-5, 11-9, 15-13 scoreline.

Sobhy took 10 of the first 11 points on offer and that laid the groundwork for a composed performance as the World No.29 played her gameplan to perfection.

Clyne did battle away in the third game to save four match balls, but Sobhy wasn’t to be denied and she will now clash with No.3 seed Camille Serme in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza.

Egypt’s Salma Hany is also through to the last 32 after beating Sobhy’s compatriot, Olivia Fiechter, 3-0.

The World No.10 will have to come through another match to book a place on the glass court at the Pyramids though, with New Zealand’s Joelle King lying in wait in round three.

“It was a tricky first match, it’s so hard when you’ve never played before and it was cold out there,” Hany said.

“It’s hard to find your perfect length, so I made sure I’d taken a good solid start, but she pushed me. Maybe I didn’t play my best squash, but still it’s good to get a 3-0 win. My mum was watching, so was my sparring partner Sergany, that was a great feeling, and I’m looking forward to playing Joelle in two days.

“In Cleveland, right before Black Ball, I had a knee dislocation, which means that pretty much all the ligaments in my knee were strained. I’m so happy now to be fit again, I am enjoying my new fitness coach’s program, Mohamed Shihy, I feel the difference, I’m fitter and stronger.

“Also, I’ve been training with Wael el Hindi for about a year now. He was here in the summer, we had a good batch of matches and I’m so lucky to have him, we talk all the time. I’m really happy with my team, I’m enjoying my squash and we’ll see where it goes.”

Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 15-13 (36m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)

World Champions Momen & El Sherbini Reach Third Round

World Champions Tarek Momen & Nour El Sherbini moved into the third round of the men’s and women’s CIB Egyptian Open after recording respective victories over World No.11 Fares Dessouky and World No.21 Donna Lobban.

Momen, the World No.4, had a real battle on his hands against the talented Dessouky and relinquished a one-game lead after Dessouky recovered from a slip to draw level.

The lower-ranked player showcased his shot-making skills with a number of kills at the front of the court but Momen’s immaculate retrieval abilities saw him stay in the rallies before responding with winners of his own to take a crucial third game on the tie-break.

‘The Viper’ had the bit between his teeth in the fourth as he dropped six points en route to closing out an  11-7, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 victory.

Momen will play the winner of Mexico’s Cesar Salazar’s match with Youssef Soliman as he looks to claim his first victory in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

“I had a rough start of the season,” admitted Momen.

“I think two factors were in play. One, Raneem retiring and expecting our first child. Two, during the lockdown I sort of got used to our new life, a normal life which I’ve never had, and I was not sure I wanted to go back to being on the move all the time.

“But thank God, I have found my hunger again. I’m happy to compete again and I’m sure I’m going to get the results. If not this time, it will come soon because I’ve done the work, and today I think I played a decent match.”

El Sherbini, meanwhile, had an easier time of things as she defeated Lobban 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 in just 25 minutes.

‘The Warrior Princess’ had won all seven of their previous PSA World Tour matches and made no mistake in booking her last 16 spot, where she will play either Canada’s Danielle Letourneau or England’s Millie Tomlinson.

“To stay at the hotel since Friday morning, doing nothing on your bed, and then to arrive and have to play, it's really not simple,” El Sherbini said, referring to the COVID-19 protocols that mean players must stay in their hotel rooms.

“The conditions are really tricky and the court makes the whole difference. I think the upsets we are seeing are partly due to the conditions. 

“She is very skilful and she has great shots, so I made sure I started well and I controlled the court as well as I could. She was leading in most of the last game, I got her behind me so I didn’t have to do too much work.”

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 (69m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (25m)

Salazar & El Tayeb Through to Last 16

Mexico’s Cesar Salazar earned his place in the third round of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time since May 2019 as he overcame Egypt’s Youssef Soliman 3-1.

It was the pair’s first meeting ever on the PSA World Tour, with Salazar prevailing by an 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 scoreline to book his place in the third round where he will compete in front of the famous Great Pyramid of Giza.

World Champion Tarek Momen will be Salazar’s opponent there and the World No.23 will look to end a four-match losing streak to the Egyptian, who he has not beaten for six years.

Meanwhile, CIB PSA World Tour Finals runner-up Nour El Tayeb got her tournament under way as she made fast work of beating France’s Melissa Alves, winning 11-3, 11-9, 11-4 in 28 minutes.

El Tayeb will play a fellow Egyptian in round three, with Yathreb Adel and Nadine Shahin vying to earn a spot on the glass court opposite the ‘Black Widow’.

“It was my first match after the [CIB PSA World Tour Finals] final and I wanted to move on from that feeling as quickly as possible,” said El Tayeb.

“It's the second time in a major final, against Nouran [in the U.S. Open] I was up 2-0 and match ball up and again this time, 2-0 and I seem to panic, and stop playing or seeing the ball.

“But since last week's final, I had the time to reflect and realised that two finals in two events is really not bad at all, it's quite good actually. I'm quite excited to play another event right away, that way I'm not going to get fixed on that final.”

Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (63m)
[4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-9, 11-4 (28m)

Ghosal Beats Richards

India’s Saurav Ghosal is back up and running following the restart of the PSA World Tour following his 11-9, 11-4, 11-1 win over Englishman Tom Richards.

Ghosal, the World No.13 from Kolkata, had beaten today’s opponent in five of their previous six matches on the tour but was troubled in the opening game and narrowly snuck it by a two-point margin.

He had complete control against a despondent Richards though in games two and three as he closed out the win to ensure he will take on Mazen Hesham in front of the Pyramids on Tuesday.

“Tom and I grew up together, we played in the juniors, then in PSA, and the last match we played was last tournament before the lockdown, Canary Wharf,” Ghosal said.

“He is a quality squash player with great racket skills and he can fire at will, so I had to contain him for preventing him from firing those shots. My basic game was ok, but I was not sharp enough, I was opening the court when I was going short and he took full advantage of it. I was still a few points ahead, so it gave me a bit of a mental cushion as he always had to catch up.

“From the second [game] onwards, I was more incisive, my length got better and he couldn’t fire as much as he wanted.”

Nadine Shahin closed out the women’s round two action with a 3-1 win over newlywed Yathreb Adel.

The World No.17 will now play the in-form Nour El Tayeb for a place in the quarter-finals.

“As she just got married and went on honeymoon, I think I was lucky enough for her not to be too prepared and she probably had a few other things on her mind,” Shahin said.

“I was pumped up from the start, it was 8-0 in that opener, and I went in that mode to the end of the second, 10-4 up. But she started finding a game and came back point by point up to 10-7. She went on with the momentum in the third, took it 11-8, she hasd nothing to lose and I got a little nervous. 

In the fourth, we were point for point, at 4-4, then I had a couple of points lead. It was 10-6, match ball, and again she clawed back to 10-9. I was lucky to take that one.

“I’m so happy to finally play in front of the Pyramids. I tried three times, so it’s my first time and I’m not done yet. Nour El Tayeb, here I come, everyone is creating upsets, so why not?”

Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-1 (31m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1: 11-2, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (33m)

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