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Joelle King

PSA World Champs: Day Seven - Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players featuring on the seventh day of action at the 2020-2021 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family.

The quarter-finals are wrapped up this evening with the bottom half of each draw aiming to make it into the last four. French No.1 Camille Serme starts off the evening against World No.9 Salma Hany, before Joelle King and Nouran Gohar do battle in the other women’s contest.

Two former World Champions have the chance to make the semis once again in the men’s draw. 2016 winner Karim Abdel Gawad takes on New Zealand’s Paul Coll, who finished runner-up in the 2019-2020 edition, while 2017 World Champ Mohamed ElShorbagy takes on ‘Fearless’ Fares Dessouky in the last match of the evening.

Schedule
All times local (GMT-5)
Glass Court
17:00 [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [8] Salma Hany (EGY)
17:45 [4] Paul Coll (NZL) v [6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
19:15 [7] Joelle King (NZL) v [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
20:00 [7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

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 Last Four

Camille Serme (blue) in action against Salma Hany (white)

European No.1 Camille Serme is through to the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships for the fifth time in her career, after she defeated World No.9 Salma Hany in straight games on Tuesday evening.

Serme held the 4-1 advantage over the Egyptian, and she started very strongly in front of the crowd in Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago.

She took the first 11-7, and although Hany was able to start the next two games well, the Frenchwoman was able to break away at the 5-5, 6-6 stage to comfortably see the match through. ‘La Panthere’ will now face either New Zealand’s Joelle King or World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the semis.

“You can put pressure on yourself as well. I was trying use the experience more than the pressure today,” Serme said.

“As you could see, she is very talented and she can hit very nice drop shots from the back. When you give her an angle she just hits the nick, so I knew there would be some. Most of the time, I was trying to play wide and tight to the wall so I could be in front of her and play my shots.


“I just hope they [Joelle King and Nouran Gohar] go to five and have a great, long game!”

Result
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [8] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (35m)

Coll Survives 90 Minute Test To Make Semis

Paul Coll celebrates

New Zealand’s Paul Coll was runner-up at the last PSA World Championships, but he had to come back from the brink to defeat Karim Abdel Gawad in his quarter-final clash this time round.

The Kiwi led in both the first and second games, but in both, the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ turned it round to hold a two game-lead. Coll then found himself 4-0 down in the third game as well and on the brink of no return.

However, he won the next four points, and with that, the momentum swung in his favour. He managed to scrape the third 11-9, before going on to win the fourth and the fifth, where his superior fitness levels shone through.


“I actually felt good. The first two I was up 7-5 or 7-6 but didn’t convert and then he went up 4-0 in the third and I was thinking ‘what is going on?’ But I told myself to trust my game, don’t get caught up in trying to change to plan B, trust my ‘A’ game. It was working in the first two games, just not quite at the end [of them],” Coll explained.

“He is such a classy player, I love watching him so it is a pleasure to play him. He is one of the best ball strikers on Tour so it is so difficult!

“You train for two and a half hours. You can’t prepare for tournament play, you just prepare harder and it’s not easy, for sure, but you’ve got miles in your legs and you can dig deep when you need to. Kept my acceleration right to the end, which I was happy with.

“Hopefully it’s at least 92 minutes, and they [Fares Dessouky and Mohamed ElShorbagy] knock seven bells out of each other. I’ll be back at the hotel doing my recovery and watching that one.


“You would rather win 3-0 of course, but it sets your stall out for the rest of the tournament. They know I am not going to go away and that I will play for as long as I need to to get the win. I will do some recovery tonight, you know I train this hard back at home to prepare for these sort of matches so I can back up the next day. Jump in the ice bath, smash a lot of food and I’ll be fine!”

Result
[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (91m)

Nouran Gohar (grey) and Joelle King (red) on court in Chicago

World No.2 Nouran Gohar is into the last four of the 2020-2021 PSA World Championships in Chicago, after she got the better of New Zealand’s Joelle King.

The pair had met eight times previously on Tour, with each player having won four times. This one saw ‘the Terminator’ roll out into a two-game lead quite quickly, with her power game on song.

However, King adapted and fought back to take the third game and breathe life into the contest, but Gohar was able to wrestle back the momentum to win the fourth game, claiming victory and booking her place in the semis for the fourth time in her career.

“I am just happy that I was able to stick around. Sometimes I wasn’t finding my length, but I was really happy to adapt again in the fourth game, finding some good shots, obviously Joelle played well, coming back in the third with a change of tactics. I really enjoyed the match, it was fun to play,” Gohar said.

“Sometimes, the conditions you have to adapt to. The court can sometimes be a little bit cold or warm. I think it was a bit dead today so I had to adapt and play more short shots. I am just happy with the way I dealt with it.


“I think I have played Camille [Serme] in one or two World Championships quarter-finals, and I always enjoy playing against her. It is really tough and we have great battles so I am really looking forward to it tomorrow.”

Result
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [7] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 (57m)

ElShorbagy Onslaught Ends Dessouky’s Charge

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy is now just one win away from overthrowing Ali Farag as the men’s World No.1 following an 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 victory over World No.7 Fares Dessouky.

Dessouky said after his quarter-final match that he wanted to avenge his El Gouna International defeat to his compatriot, but it wasn’t until the second game that the 26-year-old finally got in front of his opponent to string a run of points together.

ElShorbagy has a knack for moving up the gears at crucial moments though, and he did exactly that, with an onslaught of attacking squash seeing him double his advantage to hold a commanding lead against an opponent that struggled physically as the match went on as a result of the back injury that saw him pull out of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals last month.

And there was no stopping ‘The Beast’ as he closed out a hugely impressive win to underline his credentials as a potential two-time World Champion following his victory at the 2017 World Championships.

ElShorbagy will now take the No.1 spot in the August rankings if he reaches the final, while a defeat to Coll in the semi-finals would leave Farag needing to win the event to hold onto the coveted ranking.

The form book is certainly in ElShorbagy’s favour with eight wins to Coll’s one, however Coll did claim his sole win over the Bristol-based Egyptian at the University Club of Chicago during the 2020 Windy City Open.

“I have so much respect for Fares because there is so much that happens behind the scenes that not many people know about,” ElShorbagy said.

“He wasn’t fully prepared for this tournament and there are things as squash players we understand, and I could see he couldn’t lunge as much as he would have liked too. He didn’t really complain, he got on with it and gave everything he had. He didn’t complain on social media like other players sometimes do, he just gave it his all.

“This is the sign of a champion, thank you for not giving me an excuse before the match, but I’ll give it to you now.

“I came here for two jobs, to get World No.1 back and to win the World Championship. There is one more match for the first job and two more matches for the second job. I’m really looking forward to that.

“I’m not waiting for Ali’s results, I know what I’m capable of. I missed most of last season last year and I lost World No.1, so I wanted to remind everyone of The Beast. A lot of people seem to have forgotten how I’ve played most of my career.

“To all of my opponents, The Beats is back, and I’m not going anywhere.

“He [Coll] is the most physical player on the tour and I don’t think one match is going to affect what happens tomorrow. In El Gouna, I had the tougher draw and dealt with the final better than him, right now he’s had the tougher rounds. He’s class, he’s a great player and I have a lot of respect for him.

“I had it easier, I had [Amr] Shabana, [Karim] Darwish and Ramy [Ashour] who did it before me, but he had no one. He’s a great guy, we trained together when we first got here, but tomorrow is not going to be like a training session.

“I’d also like to thank the Walter family, who always have such great support for our sport. Sometimes the sponsor doesn’t watch the last match of the evening, but they stayed, so thank you.”

Result
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (32m)

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