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Mazen Hesham (left) takes on Iker Pajares Bernabeu on day three of the CIB Black Ball Open

CIB Black Ball Open: Day Three Morning - Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players who are in action this morning on day three of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open Platinum event.

Here’s the schedule for this morning
(All times are local GMT+2)
11:00 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
11:45 [8] Joel Makin (WAL) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
13:15 Lucas Serme (FRA) v Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
14:00 Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)

You can catch all the action live from the Black Ball Sporting Club on SquashTV, and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).

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

Hesham Pushes Through as Pajares Retires

The opening match of the day saw both Mazen Hesham and Iker Pajares Bernabeu struggle with injuries, with the latter retiring from the match midway through the fourth game.

Pajares suffered with a knee injury sustained during his first round match with Shahjahan Khan and sported heavy strapping throughout. Meanwhile, Hesham required treatment in between games for shin splints.

Despite the physical struggles of both players, the match was an entertaining affair with some hard-fought rallies throughout. But Pajares’s spirit was finally broken in the fourth as he could play on no longer, and the Spaniard shook hands to send Hesham through to round three.

World No.14 Hesham will now play either Welshman Joel Makin or England’s Patrick Rooney in the last 16.

“You never want to win a match when the other player is injured, it’s not a nice way to win,” said Hesham after his 150th PSA win.

“I wish him a speedy recovery. I hope he can keep playing the next few tournaments because I know how bad it is to be an injured player. This is the first time I’ve played Iker, he is very tricky and you never know what you’re going to get from him and he is a fighter as well.

“It was really tough mentally as well as it was physically for me. I had a bit of shin splints but I think it was better as soon as Derek [Ryan, PSA Physio] started putting some heat on it. I was struggling in the first two games a little bit myself, but I think with the amount of matches I have played through injury I know how to play these matches.”

Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-1: 11-9, 13-15, 11-6, 5-0 retired (57m)

Makin Overcomes Rooney in Five-Game Battle

Joel Makin (left) and Patrick Rooney (right) touch rackets

Welshman Joel Makin has booked his spot in the last 16 after fighting to a 3-2 victory over Englishman Patrick Rooney in a high-quality, marathon 75-minute battle

It was tense at times for the World No.9, who dropped the first game and was unable to convert the fourth, but he kept his head to grind out the result in the decider.

Makin will line up against Egypt’s Mazen Hesham in the third round.

Reaction from Makin

“I just felt flat with my movement, something wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t relying on getting on the ball early, he was getting in front of me all the time.

“That allowed him to use his skills and he was putting the ball away unbelievably to be fair to him.

“He didn’t give me much chance to settle, so I really had to dig in hard towards the end because I wasn’t feeling right. His quality going in short was pretty unbelievable on a glass court like that, so I just had to deal with it like I did and find a way. The quality wasn’t right, I’m not sure why but we haven’t played in four months so you can’t be perfect.

“I’m physically fine to go again tomorrow as long as my body is alright, so I’m looking to push on from here really. As long as it doesn’t take too much out your legs, they're [hard matches in the early rounds] fine because it gives you a hard match and gets you ready for the later rounds, so it’s not a problem. But you don’t want too long a match at the same time, so there is a balance.”

Reaction from Rooney

“I gave it everything. He is one of the top three fittest players on tour for sure, and I knew it was going to be hard.

“I was exactly like I was expecting. I felt I was playing well, I can see a lot of improvement here. Although I’m gutted to lose, I will take away a lot from it.”

[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (75m)

Ibrahim Makes it Back-to-Back 3-2 Victories

Youssef Ibrahim (right) in action against Lucas Serme (left)

Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim made it back-to-back 3-2 triumphs as he came back from 2-1 down to defeat Frenchman Lucas Serme.

The left hander overturned a 2-0 deficit against England’s Richie Fallows in the previous round and came from behind once again to earn his place in round three.

Ibrahim will play either World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy or World No.59 Karim El Hammamy in the next round.

Reaction from Ibrahim

“I didn’t enjoy it all.

“It was a tough game, Lucas is a very physically fit guy, and I knew today I would have to work for this one. I tried not to give him any freebies, he doesn’t give you any and he makes you earn your points. I know I’m not at the best of my physical abilities at this tournament, so I had to play it smart a little bit.

“It’s hard for me to mentally focus, I’m always mentally a little bit shaky and inconsistent. But at this tournament I have to rely on a strong mentality because the physical ability is not there yet. That is another challenge at this tournament and I’m happy I pulled it off today.

“I hate to play against left handers. I train with right handers all the time, so for me it’s not as hard as playing a left hander. We need more left handers on tour, they’re a rarity in the men’s and women’s game, but I don’t find it difficult to read right handers because I play with them all the time.

“I guess for them it makes sense that they can’t read left handers because aren’t many of them on tour.”

Reaction from Serme

“The ball went very dead in the fourth and fifth and he took better advantage than I did. I tried to change it after the fourth, but of course, I was too late, you can only change the ball after the third.

“I thought I was going to be able to get him physically maybe in the fifth, but he shortened the rallies too well both in the fourth and the fifth. I thought I was able to pick his shots up, but kept getting no lets and, again, the ball was pretty dead and staying short. He played some great shots in the last two games.”

Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-2: 4-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 (61m)

Marwan ElShorbagy in action

World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy began his Black Ball Open with a 3-1 win over Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy.

There were a number of lengthy rallies between the two former World Junior Champions, but ElShorbagy had the edge, while El Hammamy required treatment for a hamstring problem in the latest injury issue to crop up during the men’s tournament.

An 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6 victory was enough to send ElShorbagy through to the third round, where he will play fellow Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim.

“I’m really happy with today’s performance and I’m looking forward to the next match,” said ElShorbagy.

“Karim improved so much, he played well and surprised me. I think all I need is to sleep and I’ll recover for tomorrow’s match, I should be fine hopefully. I don’t need too much recovery, just a bit of sleep.

“Five or six hours would be fine.”

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6 (67m)

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