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Camille Serme

CIB Egyptian Open Day Three: Player Reaction - Glass Court

The evening session on day three of the CIB Egyptian Open sees action move to the spectacular glass court in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

SQUASHTV – and ON Sport for viewers in Egypt – are the only places to watch the action from the glass unfold.

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Top seeds Nour El Sherbini and Mohamed ElShorbagy are both in action as they take to the glass court in one of sport's most iconic locations.

No.3 seeds Camille Serme and Tarek Momen will also be playing as they face Scotland's Lisa Aitken and Spain's Iker Pajares Bernabeu, respectively.

We will bring you the results and all of the latest player reaction right here. Play starts at 18:15 local time (GMT+2).

Order of Play
Times are local GMT+2

Serme Prevails in Aitken Test

Camille Serme and Lisa Aitken in action

France’s World No.4 Camille Serme was forced to come from a game down against Scotland’s World No.39 Lisa Aitken to book her place in the quarter finals of the CIB Egyptian Open.

Serme has been struggling with injury in recent weeks after she was forced to withdraw from the Allam British Open and the Frenchwoman suffered from a sluggish start in front of the iconic Pyramids in Egypt as Aitken came storming out of the blocks.

The Scot, who was playing in front of the Pyramids for the first time, gave a good account of herself as she took control of the first game, mixing the pace and causing problems for the experienced Serme to take the lead.

That continued at the start of the second as Aitken built up a 5-1 lead before Serme came back well and took full of advantage of some errors from Aitken to get back into the match and draw level.

In the third and fourth, it looked as though Aitken was starting to run out of steam as Serme made the match more physical and used her experience to dominate as she closed out 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 in 52 minutes.

The 32-year-old will go up against World No.10 Rowan Elaraby for a place in the semi-finals.

“To be honest with injury, I haven’t been able to train properly,” said Serme.

“I haven’t played a proper match since Chicago, so I needed to find my targets again, even my rhythm and footwork. I needed to find my rhythm again and I knew Lisa could be tricky and a very difficult opponent, she has been playing well.

“She was more precise than me and every time I would do a bad shot, she would punish me and that’s what I focused on after. It was either play more straight and more tight or when I cross, put it wider – that was the main thing I thought about.

“It was ToC that I won in 2020 when we last played [against Rowan Elaraby], so it’s been a while.”

Aitken said:

“At 1-0 and 6-3 up, I got a bit stage fright. I thought oh woah, this is more possible than I thought and I could feel that the squash I was playing was causing her damage.

“Then, literally, from that moment, I took a step back, and I stopped being so early on the ball, aggressive and purposeful with my shots and then I just let her come to life. So, quite frustrated, but that’s a lesson learnt I guess.”

Result:
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 (52m)

Momen on Point Against Pajares

Tarek Momen

Egypt’s former World Champion Tarek Momen was at his accurate best to condemn Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu to an 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 defeat under the lights of the spectacular glass court at the Pyramids.

Momen outlined his intentions as a clear contender for the PSA World Tour Platinum title as he was in formidable form to make light work of Spain’s World No.34 in just 27 minutes to march into the quarter finals.

He will face compatriot Zahed Salem in the next round.

“It’s always a special feeling coming back here,” said the World No.4 in his post-match interview.

“It’s a special venue, everyone would kill to play five minutes on this court. I feel very privileged to have this opportunity and keep playing every year and happy to be back after tomorrow.

“Today, I think I did pretty well throughout the whole match. I wanted to start a little bit sharper than yesterday, I played well yesterday but I just didn’t start well, so I wanted to flip that. I’m very happy with the way I managed to keep my errors at a low rate and pleased to get through in three games.

“I know Iker is a very tough opponent, but I knew that he had a couple of tough matches, so I wanted to make sure that I made the first game as tough as possible, so I could run away with a few points. The first game was a bit tough and the conditions today were pretty hot, so we felt it a bit on court and I wanted to make the most of it.

“I’m playing Zahed next, he is a good friend of mine and is a really good player. He hasn’t been playing for a while, he hasn’t been able to travel, so it’s good for him to come here after such a long break and make it to the quarters. Hopefully it will be a good match and everyone will enjoy it.”

Result:
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 (27m)

El Sherbini Continues Title Defence to Reach Quarters

Nour El Sherbini

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini overcame Canada’s World No.20 Danielle Letourneau to reach the quarter finals of the CIB Egyptian Open.

The World No.1, who has won two titles in front of the Pyramids – the Women’s World Championship in 2019 and last year’s CIB Egyptian Open – was put under pressure in the first game as Letourneau executed her game plan well in the early stages to find herself two game balls up for the lead. However, a sense of nerves came into play as the Canadian began to make errors which saw El Sherbini edge her way back in before taking the first.

That proved to be a crucial moment for El Sherbini as afterwards she was able to exert her usual dominance, comfortably powering to the finish line by a 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 scoreline.

She will face compatriot Farida Mohamed in the next round.

“It’s a tournament that every player dreams to play on this court and it’s one of the iconic venues,” said El Sherbini. “It’s really great to come back and play again here. I have a lot of great memories here and I’m glad to be here again.

“It’s more difficult to prepare because you’re alone because of the bubble. I try to just focus on the squash and have a good game plan. Be relaxed, it’s always nerve wrecking playing in front of the crowd and in front of the Pyramids, it’s really hard but I’m pleased to be through.

“Danielle is a really good player, the court is very bouncy and physically, she is very good. First game was very tight and I’m glad I got it at the end, I think that made a huge difference in the match being 1-0 up and losing the first game. I’m really glad I went through.

“Hopefully my matches will be good, I’m in the quarter finals of another Platinum event and fingers crossed I’m going to do well and keep the momentum going.”

Letourneau said:

“She kept applying the pressure until I guess I felt I had no option and there are a couple of shots where I just forced it instead of being more patient, definitely getting overexcited, instead of following my initial game plan which was staying calm as much as possible.

“Obviously, it’s hard not to get ahead of yourself. She didn’t want to drop a game either, and she is experienced enough not to let me in.

“Last year, when I was playing her, I had absolutely no clue where the ball was going the whole match. I was frantic, I had no idea and part of it was because I was so excited and nervous, I was not even watching. I improved my movement a lot, so even if I wasn’t able to recover, I regrouped and kept building the rallies a little bit more. She is putting so much pressure, your legs become heavier as the match goes along, because every shot is quality.”

Result:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (27m)

ElShorbagy Advances to Quarter Finals

Mohamed ElShorbagy

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy is through to the quarter finals of the CIB Egyptian Open after defeating compatriot Karim El Hammamy 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 on his first appearance back at the Pyramids since 2016.

ElShorbagy, who is the top seed at this year’s event, started strongly to take a 2-0 lead before a resurgence from El Hammamy saw him threaten a fourth game after coming within touching distance of holding game ball.

However, an odd stroke decision at 9-8 in favour of El Hammamy saw ElShorbagy bring out ‘beast mode’ as he turned the tables to take three points on the bounce to close out in straight-games.

His next round will see him take on Bristol training partner, Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng.

“Karim is a great player,” said ElShorbagy. “He won the World Junior Championship and he focused on his studies at the American University, which is one of the toughest universities in Egypt, so he didn’t play as much as he would have liked to, so he’s now playing more in the big stages, where he should be. This is our first meeting and it was a high quality match.

“The most challenging thing today was actually the court conditions. I came to practice yesterday and it was really windy and the weather was much nicer than today because today was so humid and hot. I’m just happy to be able to win the last point and not go to a fourth game because it was tough at the end.

“I haven’t played a tournament here in the last two years, the last tournament I played here was in 2016. It’s an honour to be back here playing in front of the Pyramids and in front of an Egyptian crowd. It’s never easy to be back playing in Egypt because there is so much pressure, but I feel blessed every time I can go on court and perform.

“I’m playing Yow in the quarters, he’s like a younger brother to me. We live in Bristol, just next block to each other, he came to Bristol a couple of years ago to train there and it should be an exciting match. I’m really happy for him to be in the quarters, he has had some big battles to make it here and a great tournament the last event as well. It’s our second meeting, we practice a lot in Bristol but I think our match in two days will be a bit different.”

Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (50m)

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