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The glass court housed in the spectacular Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago

World Championships Day Two: Glass - Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players featuring on the second day of action at the 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family.

There are some big hitters in action on the second day in Chicago, including Frenchwoman Camille Serme, New Zealand’s Paul Coll and the Egyptian trio of Mohamed ElShorbagy, Nouran Gohar and Fares Dessouky.

All times local (GMT-5)
Glass Court
11:30 [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v Lee Ka Yi (HKG)
12:15 Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v [6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
13:30 Cindy Merlo (SUI) v [12] Olivia Clyne (USA)
14:15 [7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
17:00 Lucy Beecroft (ENG) v [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
17:45 [4] Paul Coll (NZL) v Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
19:00 Ali Loke (WAL) v [18] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
19:45 Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Action from all of the traditional courts will also be available on the PSA SquashTV YouTube channel and on the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (worldwide for traditional courts).

You can also check out reaction from the players in action on the side courts here.

You can catch all the action live from the glass court in Chicago on SquashTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).

Keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Serme Advances To Second Round

Camille Serme

Four times a semi-finalist at the World Championships, Frenchwoman Camille Serme got her 2020-2021 campaign off to the perfect start, defeating Hong Kong's Lee Ka Yi in straight games.

The first match on the glass court on day two saw Serme take on Yi for the first time in their careers, and it was the World No.4 who came out the victor in just over 20 minutes.

“You know, it’s the morning, the first match of the tournament. You have to get the legs going so I am just happy with the performance,” she admitted.

“I was quite happy with my accuracy today and I will try to move better and better each day, and also be more aware of where my opponent is because she caught me a few times today.

“This year is different because although it is the World Championships, we can’t have our staff with us. It is special conditions so I will try to take it as it comes.”

[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-1, 11-6 (21m)

Gawad Comes Through Exciting Contest

Karim Abdel Gawad

2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad is through to the second round of this season’s edition of the tournament after beating Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais in a wonderful contest in Chicago.

Bonmalais was playing on the biggest stage for the first time in his career, and he showed that could compete with the best, pushing the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ all the way.

“It’s the first time we have played each other and I think he is a very tough opponent. He just needs that bit more experience, and with that, he will break the top 20 very soon. He is very clever on court and he has very good tactics. He moves very well so it won’t be too long until he gets into the top 20,” Gawad said.

“To have a first round match like this gives you more confidence for the rest of the tournament and makes you ready for the next round. With this, I am happy with the way I dealt with the match. It is a good start after a long time without playing. It is nice to be back on court, and to try and to get back to the form I used to have. It is a good start for me.

“I am getting older, of course, that is why I don’t want to play 3-2 matches, which used to be 95% of my matches! With the recovery, I have to be smart. You have to change the way you recover, when I was 23, 24, I didn’t focus as much on the recovery. It is now the most important part of the game, it is very important.”

[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 17-15 (51m)

Clyne Advances To Last 32 On Home Soil

Olivia Clyne

US No.2 Olivia Clyne continued her great form on this court in Chicago, with a comfortable victory over Swiss No.1 Cindy Merlo to reach the second round of the PSA World Championships.

The World No.13, who reached the quarter-finals of the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family at this venue last February, came through in straight games, needing jut 21 minutes to book her spot in the last 32.

“Every good result I have ever had is on this court. To say I am happy to be back here is the understatement of the century! I am definitely happy to be playing on home soil, I am ecstatic.

“We are just ready, like everyone in this world, we are ready for normal, a new normal. We have just built our national centre down in Philly, there is a lot of squash happening in the States, and we are happy to be back playing in front of this crowd.

“We are indoors a lot of the time, and spending hours by ourselves, I am a talker and spending hours talking to yourself, probably not normal, probably not healthy! It is about management, you have to figure out what works for you.

“My biggest thing is wanting to wipe my hands on the wall as it is something I have done since I was a kid. You just find a new normal but everyone is in the same position, you find what works, we get to play, we get to travel and that’s better than a lot of people can say right now.

“You feel like you have to make the most of this. I am really happy that I get to play again tomorrow!”

[12] Olivia Clyne (USA) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (21m)

Dessouky Battles Back To Defeat Lobban

Fares Dessouky in action

World No.7 Fares Dessouky started slowly in his first round clash at this year’s World Championships, but came through to win 3-1 against Scotland’s Greg Lobban.

The Egyptian missed the CIB PSA World Tour Finals through injury, and in his first appearance back on Tour, he was a bit sluggish from the get-go. However, once the rustiness had worn off, he found his game, and comfortably secured his place in the last 32.

“I was injured, as you know, so I haven’t trained at all. I am only on court with spirit and with what I have had over the last few months, and I am happy it worked,” he explained.

“The first game, I was not confident with my shots and I was struggling to read his game. My eyes are a bit slow! I am happy that I adapted very quickly, and I started playing very well from the second, and applying the pressure, so I am happy with that.

“I am very happy to be able to get on a flight to go somewhere, and it is here in the US. It is a lovely tournament, I like the city and it is great to be here again.”

[7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (43m)

Gohar Takes Dominant Win Over Beecroft

Nouran Gohar

World No.2 Nouran Gohar continued her fine form after winning the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, to notch a dominant win over Lucy Beecroft in the opening round of the PSA World Championships 2020-2021.

‘The Terminator’ allowed the young Englishwoman to score just twelve points across the entire match, cruising to victory in just 21 minutes.

“I really enjoyed my time on court. I mean, I have played my best matches here actually. I remember Laura Massaro’s match in the quarters, and great battles with Raneem [El Welily]! It is always a great place to play and to have familiar faces here as well!

“It was the last place we played before COVID, we have played in Egypt, but the first time outside of Egypt and there is nothing better than this to come back to!

“It has been really tough. Not being able to play, not finding momentum, even when we were back. Thanks to CIB, the sponsored all the Egyptian events, and without them, we would not have played for 16 months now so I am very happy to be able to play again.

“Who doesn't want to win this one?! For me, it is about taking it match by match, I am really enjoying it right now and that is the main thing. My best is the semis so hopefully I can go better!”

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Lucy Beecroft (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-5 (21m)

Coll Starts World Champs Campaign With Win

Paul Coll

New Zealand’s Paul Coll is into the second round of the PSA World Championships 2020-2021 after a win over Pakistani No.1 Tayyab Aslam.

The Kiwi finished runner-up in the previous edition of the World Championships in Qatar in November 2019, and he will be looking to go one better this time round.

“I love this venue, the crowd is very close to the court so it’s a great atmosphere and I love the city of Chicago! It’s nice to be here in the summertime and there’s good vibes!” Coll said.

“Last time I was here, there was one solitary Kiwi sat in the back row and he was just smashing it for me, it was amazing!

“To be honest, my last two or three months has been trying to peak for this. My training has been tapered for this so the last few tournaments I have been playing well and getting some good results, but everything was tailored for this event. Coming in here, feeling really good, confident and excited for the week.

“For me, it is perfect. PSA have done an amazing job in gives us enough leeway to get outside. I am here to win the tournament so I don’t really want to be doing too much else. We can get outside and get food. So a bit of fresh air, get out on the streets, go and train, so I am happy!”

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (28m)

Sabrina Sobhy Books Second Round Berth

Sabrina Sobhy

After her sister did the same yesterday, Sabrina Sobhy booked her place in the second round of the World Championships after a straight-games win over Welshwoman Ali Loke.

The pair had never played on Tour before, and Sobhy came out firing in typical style. The pace of her game did not wavered, and she was able to come through after just 20 minutes on court at the University Club of Chicago.

“These days, because of the COVID restrictions, feel like five days in one, so once you get out here, it's so exciting. Especially when it’s 7pm and you have the whole day to just count down until your match,” the American said.

“We have a practice court in the morning, so I like to come early to get out of the room and roll. I actually have a part-time job which I do remotely as well. I have been walking around everywhere, as well, anything to bide the time.

“This has always been one of my favourite venues, of course it’s so beautiful and breathtaking. The general vibe is to just have fun and make the most of being on court because as we learned from this year, we don’t really know when the next time we will be on court with opponents might be.

“I think, just stick to trying to have fun on the court. I like to just take it one step at a time. The first match is always the most nerve-racking and stressful so I don’t think about anything else. I don’t have a return ticket, I am here to play this match.”

[18] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) beats Ali Loke (WAL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-2 (20m)

ElShorbagy Gets Title Challenge Under Way

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action

2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy ramped up his attempts to take the World No.1 ranking with a 3-0 win over Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip.

If ElShorbagy makes it to the final he will be guaranteed the World No.1 spot regardless of what current incumbent Ali Farag does, and the 30-year-old’s strong start against Yip could spell danger for Farag’s reign as the world’s top player.

Yip was making his first appearance outside of Hong Kong since the Windy City Open in Chicago back in February 2020 – before the COVID-19 pandemic saw the tour go on a temporary hiatus.

The World No.38 struggled to knock a rampant ElShorbagy off his stride, and the Bristol-based Egyptian marched to an 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 win in 25 minutes to ensure that he will take on England’s Patrick Rooney in the next round.

“Everything was in check, and I feel like I played really well,” said ElShorbagy.

“The Hong Kong players haven’t played a tournament for a year and a half, they haven’t been able to get out of the country during the whole of COVID. I was just telling him that it’s good to have him and the Hong Kong team back again, it’s good for the tour.

“I know that if he [Ali] doesn’t reach the final I’m going to become World No.1, but if I reach the final I’ll be World No.1 anyway. It’s all in my hands, I’m in control, I want him to keep winning, and I want to keep winning. I want to kick him out of the World No.1 spot, that’s all I’m thinking of.

“I’ve been counting down the days until that moment, and that moment is very, very soon now.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)

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