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Nour El Sherbini and Sarah-Jane Perry

El Gouna Quarter-Finals: Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players who are in action for the first day of the quarter finals at the El Gouna Squash International.

Glass Court Schedule
(All times are local GMT+2)
18:30 [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
19:15 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [7] Joel Makin (WAL)
20:30 [6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [3] Camille Serme (FRA)
21:15 [6] Fares Dessouky v Mostafa Asal (EGY)

You can catch all the action live from the El Gouna Conference & Culture Centre 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.

El Sherbini Dominates Perry

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini showed her qualities in the quarter-finals, as she played for the first time in four days following her free passage through to the last eight after Yathreb Adel withdrew from the event.

The four-time World Champion got straight into her match with English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry, and she won out in just over half an hour, booking her place in the semi-finals.

“It is always tough playing SJ. You can see our head-to-head, it says it all. We have been played each other, I think, in every tournament this season, so I was trying to stick to my plan and to focus until the very last point,” El Sherbini said.

“This tournament has been difficult for both of us because we didn’t play many matches and we have had a lot of days off. We both tried to get our bodies moving and to get ourselves ready. SJ and I have had the same situation and I think we struggled a bit in the first game to play good squash. It was a bit difficult today but I am happy I played good. I tried to hit different shots and to make myself ready for the semis tomorrow.”

Perry said:
“I didn’t play at my best today but to be honest I was never really gifted for ice-skating! I really struggled on that court, if you look at our match in Black Ball, I was catching shots I couldn’t get near today, and I am fitter now than I was then.”

Result
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (31m)

ElShorbagy Eventually Advances Over Makin

Mohamed ElShorbagy

It took two courts, at two different venues, and over two and a half hours, but eventually, Mohamed ElShorbagy got the better of training partner Joel Makin to reach the semi-finals of the El Gouna International.

The pair started on the glass court at the El Gouna Conference & Culture Centre, but after just a single point, and a slip from the ‘Beast from Alexandria’, the match was suspended. That was due to an increase in humidity in the area, meaning the court conditions became too dangerous.

After an 80 minute delay, and a move to the Squash Complex where the early rounds took place, ElShorbagy and Makin got back on court. The World No.2 took the first two games, only for the Welshman to fight his way back, sending the contest into a decider. It was ElShorbagy that took the fifth to win the match, 158 minutes after it officially begun.

“What made it edgy for me, Joel and the referee was because on TV you can watch a match with double bounces, lets and strokes and that makes you edgy. The referee was the most relaxed and the was so important for him because we were both really edgy. Of course there were some decisions here and there, but overall he did the best job today. He had to stay calm and he did,” ElShorbagy explained.

“Me and Joel train so much together in England and we know each other’s games very well. Even when I won the second 11-2 or 11-3, I knew he is one of the few people on tour who is going to fight. He’s not going to give it to me easy, against a lot of people it would have been done with the way I won the second because I dominated him completely.

“He kept coming back and he’s such a warrior. There are a lot of things in my tactics that I got completely wrong, I played at a very high pace without any accuracy. I wasn’t happy with that, but I haven’t played that intensity in such a long time.

“I’ve had problems with my health the last two or three years that hasn’t allowed me to play with that physicality. I don’t like giving excuses but I’m proud that I found a way to win the fifth, that was so important. That’s what I’m normally what I’m very good at.

“After the fourth I calmed down a lot, I did a lot of breathing and a lot of visualising to forget what had happened in the previous four games. I knew I needed a good start and then when I was 7-2 up he started coming back and I tried to protect that lead as much as possible.

“There was so much in the match today with changing venues and everything. I dealt with the situation at the beginning of the match better. I’ve had this situation before in China when it rained and we had to move to the other courts which was very confusing, but today I knew what to do.

“At the end of the day you could see the respect we have for each other, we killed each other. We argued with each other throughout the match, we trash talked each other, but afterwards we shook hands. We’re both the kinds of people who say that whatever happens on court and is said on court is done.”

Makin said:
“It was a ridiculously hard situation coming from the glass court and warming up about five times on and off, it was a mental test. I lost 15-13 in 30 minutes in the first game and lost the second game and it wasn’t going well. I just had to dig in and get on the board. I had to force myself up the court and got in front of him and was more aggressive, which helped.

“I fought back well and gave everything, I was flying around at the end and after a difficult situation I was happy how I pushed mentally. He was cleverer at the start of the fifth to be fair to him, he got a lead, was clever with his shutouts and exploited the situation with the referee and the change and stuff.

“I thought it was a good match considering everything going on, it was messy at times but we were both just fighting hard and going at each other and I enjoy that. I wanted to win it, but I love competing like that and it became a good fight, so I enjoyed it.”

Result
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 13-11, 11-3, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7 (158m)

El Hammamy Beats Serme to Reach Semis

The latest chapter in the enthralling rivalry between World No.7 Hania El Hammamy and World No.4 Camille Serme went the way of the former as the Egyptian earned her place in the semi-finals here for the first time.

It took the pair some time to get going after the delay earlier on in the night caused by humidity on the court, which saw them head onto court over an hour after their scheduled court time.

El Hammamy and Serme have contested some classic encounters over the past 18 months and, while Serme had the better of the head-to-head record by a 6-4 margin coming into today’s match, 20-year-old El Hammamy had won three of the last four.

The Egyptian took the first two games with ease, dropping just two points in the opener, before continuing to hit her targets in the second as she doubled her advantage.

Serme finally came to the party in the third as she got in front of her opponent and edged it 11-9, but despite El Hammamy’s physicality finally waning in the dying embers of the fourth, the Egyptian had enough in her locker to outmanoeuvre her opponent, and she completed an 11-2, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 victory to set up a tasty semi-final encounter with World No.1 Nour El Sherbini.

“It was a long time before we got in, so I made sure I warmed up really well,” said El Hammamy.

“I wanted to get the first and try to be as sharp as I could from the start because it wasn’t really very good for us with the conditions and waiting outside. I think it took me by surprise that I was 2-0 up because every time I play Camille it goes to a fifth.

“Normally if I take the first, she takes the second, and it’s always really tight from the start. Maybe I was a little bit relieved and I ran out of my plan and lost my focus a little bit. At 10-4 down [in the third] I tried to get back to my game plan and I managed to, but it was a bit too late.

“I’m really looking forward to it [the match with El Sherbini]. I’m so happy to be in the semis for the first time in El Gouna. Since I was a kid I definitely loved this tournament and I always wanted to be a semi-finalist and finalist, so I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can make it to the final.”

Result
[6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [3] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-2, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (59m)

Dessouky Downs Asal After Delay

Fares Dessouky

World No.7 Fares Dessouky is into the semi-finals of the El Gouna International Squash Open, with play finishing just before 1 in the morning, following a medical emergency with video referee Ralf Harenberg having to go to hospital.

That lengthy delay came after the first game, which Asal had taken 12-10. The ‘Raging Bull’ also secured the second game to put himself in a commanding position, but within the blink of an eye, Dessouky was level in the match. He then went on to win the deciding game to set up a clash with World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the last four.

“Today, it was a very tough match starting from the first point. The court was very bouncy and I didn’t find my game until the end of the second. I had to dig deep and hard to find my game, and that’s what I did,” Dessouky explained.

“I did it before with the World No.1, so I am used to these kind of situations. I am happy to be through because he is a very dangerous player. Off-court, he is a brother, but on-court, he is a bit annoying, but I am happy to keep my head today and to stay solid until the end.

“I had to make it physical, I had to try and play to the very last point and make the rallies a bit longer and play one more shot on each point. I am lucky that it worked today because I thought I was going to lose in three.”

Result
[6] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9 (123m)

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