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Saurav Ghosal on court in Cairo

CIB Black Ball Open: Day Three Afternoon - Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players who are in action this afternoon 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)
17:30 – Tom Richards (ENG) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
18:15 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
19:15 – [4] Paul Coll (NZL) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
20:00 – Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v [2] Mohamed 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.

Classy Ghosal Downs Richards

In his first appearance of 2021, Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal got the better of England’s Tom Richards, and booked his place in the third round of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo.

“It is my first match since November in Qatar. I got injured over there so it is always good to come out with a 3-0 win against a quality player like Tom. I am just happy to get through 3-0. The body is feeling okay and that is the big positive for me,” the Indian said.

“I think, mentally I was pretty good, especially in the second game when I was 5-0 down. I felt like he hit some really good shots and I didn’t do much wrong, but I stuck with it and I came back. That is going to be really important going through the tournament so hopefully I can keep that mental strength, fortitude, going.

“England are a fantastic sporting nation. I think the Cricket World Cup in India is going to be fantastic. I think it is fair to say that on paper, India and England are the two best team. Obviously I hope India wins, but personally, it is good to win, but I think it is fun that we have sport. It is a great release for us as players as well as those watching. I watch a lot of sport myself and it has helped a lot in the times we live in. Hopefully things will go back to normal very, very soon.”

Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)

Gaultier Comes Through Battle With Soliman

Former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier defeated Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in straight games, but that is only half the story. The pair were on court for 65 minutes, with the Frenchman needing a tie-break to win the third 15-13.

“I’m not going to dance too much, I don’t want to be cooked. I need to keep some energy for tomorrow, but I am just dancing to do some recovery for a couple of minutes!”

“I felt really sharp and good the first two games. My movement was great for me, I felt okay and comfortable. It was boiling inside [the court], the ball was very bouncy so I was just trying to with little pace, not to rush for all the shots or volley too much. I just tried to hit my targets to then get the openings and make him move around.

“After the second game, he had the injury break and I switched off with the five-minute break. I didn’t stay warm so even if I had started positively, that made me feel weird during the third game. It was weird because he had an injury break but then he played normal, so it gets into your head. He hung in there better in the third but then it was a nice winner at the end and I am happy to win in three.”

Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 15-13 (65m)

Coll Begins Campaign With Solid Victory

New Zealand’s World No.4 Paul Coll is through to the third round of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open after a tough-fought straight-game victory over Swiss No.1 Nicolas Mueller.

The Kiwi, who is currently at his highest ever World Ranking, will take on former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the last 16 on Monday evening.

“Nicky came out well in the third. I thought I was going to run away with it from the start but he hung strong, he can hit winners so easy off the volley, such a dangerous player right to the end and I am very happy to get through in three,” Coll said.

“I saw a little bit of the first, he [Gregory Gaultier] is playing really well for his age. It is incredible how he keeps going and keeps playing at such a high level. Really looking forward to the match tomorrow. It is going to be very tough, he is super experienced, and still very high quality, but I am really excited for it.

“He is one of the best movers in the game. You’ve got to be careful moving the ball round, he gets on it very quickly. He has one of the best backhands in the world so it will be a battle down that side and I will just have to look out for the backhand kill that he loves.”

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (44m)

ElShorbagy Downs Masotti To Advance

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy is through to the last 16 in Cairo, in his first appearance on Egyptian soil since the 2019 El Gouna International. He defeated Baptiste Masotti to book his place in the third round.

“I really enjoyed being back playing and competing again, it has been a long time. Since March last year, I have only played two events and in one of those, I lost in the second round. I haven’t really played for a long time, but at the same time, I was really looking forward to be back on the glass. I am a competitor so I enjoy playing, I enjoy winning. I am really happy to be back,” the World No.2 said.

“You can always improve every day. All credit to Baptiste, he played incredibly well. He went for it, he was fearless and he fought hard. I respect that. He tried to win from the first point, I saw it in his eyes. I watched him play before and I knew he wouldn’t fear that it was me. I respected that but at the same time, I had to be on my toes. He forced me to play at my best. That’s what I wanted and I needed for the tournament. This will only work well from here.

“Saurav [Ghosal] and myself go way back. We have played many times the last two being best-of-three, where I beat him in a tie-break in the third. Since then, I wanted to play with him in a best-of-five, I think I can do that, but I have so much respect for him and what he brings to the sport. He is a unique player, a unique character, we get along really well, but at the same time, I will be trying to beat him, and he will be trying to beat me too.

“My parents have done everything for me since I was a kid and they haven’t watched me play live in ages. I missed that, that is one of the biggest things I missed about playing, having my mum and dad there in the front row. To have them there watching me, it is everything, but I hope I can go all the way and make them proud.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 11-9 (43m)

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