Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players in action on the side court on day one of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open Platinum event.
Side Court Schedule
11:00 – Leonel Cardenas (MEX) v Declan James (ENG)
11:45 – Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v Shahjahan Khan (USA)
13:15 – Borja Golan (ESP) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
14:00 – Greg Lobban (SCO) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
James Downs Cardenas In Three
England’s Declan James was the first man to win in the men’s event at the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo, as he got the better of Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas.
The pair had never met on the PSA World Tour before, but the Englishman’s experience paid off, as he booked his place in the last 32 of the Platinum level tournament.
“A good and solid player. I didn’t know anything about him but the players told me how good he was. Very clever with the racquet, and good variation with the heights,” James explained.
“I feel relaxed, it was a perfect first round really, with two hard first games. I knew that if I put 30 minutes of hard work, it would pay off, and a third where I could express myself more freely.”
Declan James (ENG) bt Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (45m)
Pajares Takes Down Khan In Marathon Encounter
Iker Pajares regroups after a massive win
Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu is through to the second round of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open after coming through a 98-minute clash against USA No.1 Shahjahan Khan.
The Spaniard has had a nightmare few days prior to his first round encounter, losing his suitcase on arrival in Cairo, but he was able to fight his way into the last 32.
“I had a few blisters at the end that burst, nothing too bad, but basically, my suitcase was taken by mistake by someone else. Thank God I had his, so I was able to find him with his name on Instagram!” he said.
“The case is coming back soon hopefully but today, nothing was mine but my underwear! New shoes bought today, borrowed racquet, shirt, shorts, etc!”
“Shahjahan is a very complete player, very good at the back, very solid at the front, and he made very few errors, maybe five or six the whole match. So I had to work very hard to win a single point.
“As it was not my racquet, I didn’t have any confidence to the front of the court, shoes brand new, but hey, I survived.”
Iker Pajares Bernbaeu (ESP) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-2: 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7 (98m)
El Hammamy Knocks Out Golan
Karim El Hammamy
Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy produced one of the surprises of the day in the first round of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, as he knocked out Spanish No.1 Borja Golan.
“Borja is very experienced and very sharp, especially at the back of the court, so if I had played only at the back, it would have been to his advantage. So I had to take him to the front, picking up the pace and volleying more, not systematically going for a winner, being patient,” the Egyptian said.
“Borja was very good at counter-dropping, so my only defence was to lob, and best case scenario, re-drop myself. But I was happy with how sharp I was especially in the middle of the court, I think I was in control most of the rallies.
“I have improved my fitness, thanks to my new fitness coach Samy Farag, so I trust my physicality, but I trust my squash even more now, I have started working with Karim Ali Fathy, and I am more confident in my shots now, in particular on the forehand side.”
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 11-2, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 (61m)
Tandon Overcomes Lobban In Four
Ramit Tandon and Greg Lobban in action
India’s Ramit Tandon secured a big win in the first round of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo, as he got the better of World No.21 Greg Lobban in four games.
“Greg and I, we train together when he is in New York and he is such a gentleman. Because of the COVID situation we actually spent two, three days chatting and training together, and he is an amazing guy to chat with,” Tandon said of his opponent.
“He is also working with Nick Matthew, and I have played a bit with him so I knew Nick would have given him a game plan, probably out of the box… So in the first game, I just tried to find out what he was planning to do, and then from the second game on, I was able to implement my game more.
“I could see he was trying to push me to the back, so I was able to put the ball to the front without fear of making too many errors. The third is crucial, I had a good lead, then I made a few mistakes, and I’m happy I managed to play three good rallies in a row.
“In the fourth, I think he got a bit tired from the running around of the previous games, and I was lucky enough he gave me a few points at the end.”
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (46m)