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Joelle King in action

El Gouna Day Four - Side Courts: As it Happens

The El Gouna International Squash Open continues at the El Gouna Squash Complex today as the third round of the PSA World Tour Platinum event begins.

The glass court action doesn't begin until 18:00 (GMT+2), but you can follow all the action from the side courts on this page, while you can also keep up to date with the live scores from the event here

Schedule – Court Two
13:00 [7] Joelle King (NZL) v Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
13:45 Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
15:00 Olivia Fiechter (USA) v [8] Salma Hany (EGY)
15:45 Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

Watch action from court two below

Elaraby Eliminates King

Rowan Elaraby takes on Joelle King

World No.14 Rowan Elaraby put in a clinical performance to send World No.8 Joelle King out of the El Gouna International at the third round stage.

Elaraby had won their only previous meeting on the PSA Tour – a 3-2 victory at the 2019 U.S. Open – but made short work of her opponent this time around as she powered to an 11-6, 12-10, 11-8 win in just 28 minutes.

King had been in decent form this season – reaching back-to-back semi-finals at the CIB Black Ball Open in December and March – but she couldn't live with Elaraby's superior accuracy and shot-making as the 20-year-old Egyptian marched into the last 8 of a Platinum event for the third time.

Elaraby will play either World No.2 Nouran Gohar or Malaysia's Sivasangari Subramaniam in the quarter-finals.

“It's probably the worst game I've played for a long time, to be honest,” said King.

“From the get go I felt like off. Sometimes you feel like that, and I wasn't tracking the ball. I was hitting the ball half court, I felt really flat, the movement wasn’t there and I just felt really really off.

“I was trying to get into it with what I had, and it wasn’t enough, sometimes it just happens. I don’t know what to say today except that it was just not good enough, time to go back to the drawing board.”

Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt [7] Joelle King (NZL) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-8 (28m)

Marche Reaches Platinum Quarter-Final for First Time

Gregoire Marche (left) takes on Raphael Kandra (right)

Frenchman Gregoire Marche will line up in the quarter-finals of a Platinum event for the first time after he came back from a game down to beat Germany's Raphael Kandra.

Marche had made it to the last 16 on nine previous occasions at Platinum tournaments without success, but he put a slow start to the match aside as he completed an 6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 victory over his opponent.

The World No.15 recovered well after his less than stellar opening, but Kandra proved difficult to shake off in two nail-biting games to close out the encounter.

The final rally at match ball was a frantic one which saw both players hit all four corners off the court, with Marche sinking to the floor in triumph after finally getting the better of Kandra.

“In the first game, I couldn’t find the right balance and I was struggling to find my lengths,” said Marche.

“I found myself wanting to finish the point too soon, hence the silly unforced errors, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do. I think the pressure had gotten to me a bit. It is the first time I have had an opportunity to reach a quarter without having to play a top five player.

“I haven't played a quarter for a long time, so I was a bit tense. I really wanted to win that match, so from the second onwards, I found a find a way to relax and settle down and found my length. I knew that Rafi was coming back playing at a very high level, one doesn’t beat Lucas Serme 3-0 by playing poor squash.

“I think it was a very mental match and that’s where I've really improved. Before I would have let go for easy points at crucial times, whereas now I’m far more solid on those points thanks to my work with Mathieu Benoît and, of course, my coach Thomas Adriens. It's work that you do day in day out, physically and mentally.

“So now I show my opponent that he’ll have to come and win the points from me because I'm not giving them away for free, That makes the difference, he is getting frustrated while I am getting my confidence back.”

Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (57m)

Hany Axes Fiechter

Salma Hany in action

World No.9 Salma Hany continued her good form with a comfortable 3-0 win over USA's Olivia Fiechter.

Fresh off the back of a maiden Platinum semi-final at the CIB Black Ball Open two months ago, Hany played with poise and purpose today in El Gouna to oust her opponent by an 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 scoreline.

Hany will line up a third Platinum quarter-final in a row and will take on either Fiechter's USA teammate – Amanda Sobhy – or England's Lucy Turmel in the next round.

If she comes up against Sobhy, Hany will look to avenge her last four defeat to the World No.5 in the Black Ball Open in March.

“I was up and ready for a battle today,” Hany said.

“I know Olivia is dangerous, she just had a great win against Nele [Gilis], so I know I had to come up with a very solid mindset and stick to my game.

“I was not really happy with my first match, but [today] I was focusing on my movement, I was trying to move smoothly and worked on my accuracy. I was not holding back my shots at all and I had the confidence in myself. I’m really glad with the way I approached that match.

“The score doesn’t say how hard it was on that court to contain her, to stay solid the whole match to and try not to let her in. She always tried to come back, but I’m glad I managed to hold her off.
I'm happy with the way I played today, I wanted to prepare myself for my upcoming matches and I'm looking forward to being on the glass.

“I'm so happy that I also had my mum watching me, my sparring partner, although I couldn’t see them I could feel how supported I was and that is very important for me. I’m happy that I am finally playing better in Egypt.”

[8] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (27m)

Gawad Ousts El Hammamy in Gargantuan Three-Gamer

Karim Abdel Gawad (fore) takes on Karim El Hammamy

It took two-time runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad a mammoth 70 minutes to get the the better of fellow Egyptian Karim El Hammamy despite the match only lasting three games.

The second game alone lasted 47 minutes as El Hammamy had multiple game ball opportunities, while there was also a lengthy break while El Hammamy received treatment for a hand injury.

But Gawad kept coming back at him and, after weathering the storm to add to his advantage in the first game, he closed out the third for the loss of six points to earn his place in the quarter-finals.

The World No.6 will come up against World No.4 Paul Coll or Frenchman Victor Crouin in the next round.

“I’m really happy with how the second game went because, as I said yesterday, I’m not 100 per cent ready mentally for competition matches,” Gawad said.

“But in the middle of the second, when I was 8-4 down, I told myself that I was not going to let that one go easily even if I lost it. If I did that, I wouldn’t be improving my match fitness and my mental side and would get into the next game even weaker, so I pushed till the end. When we got into the tie-break, I knew that when you have had so many chances to take the game, it happens that you actually lose a bit of focus, so I did my best to stay focused and I was very happy to be back in the game, taking it eventually after being so much behind.

“I’m really happy with the way I dealt with it and I miss those matches. I just want to be on court, and I know of course I’m not 100 per cent fit because in a year and three months, I've trained 20 days. That’s why today I didn’t want to take him to the front too much, hence our long up and down the wall rallies.

“Because he is so skilled, he would just make me run all the time. I'm very happy to live another day.”

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 15-13, 11-6 (70m)

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