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Karim Abdel Gawad

Oracle NetSuite Open Day One: Player Reaction

The Oracle NetSuite Open gets underway at the spectacular Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco today, and you can stay up to date with all the reaction from those in action on the glass court right here.

Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez and Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad will get the action underway at 13:00 (GMT-7), with New Zealand’s Joelle King and USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in the first women’s match.

Both top seeds, in Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nouran Gohar, will be on court on the opening day of action, with British Open champion Paul Coll featuring in the last men’s match.

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

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We will bring you the results and all of the latest player reaction right here. Play starts at 13:00 local time (GMT-7).

You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Order of Play
Times are local GMT-7

Gawad Battles Back To Down Rodriguez

Former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad is into the second round of the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco after coming back from a game down to overcome Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez at Embarcadero Plaza.

In the first match of this year’s PSA Gold level tournament, it was the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ that came flying out of the traps, but Gawad pulled him back, forcing the first into a tie-break. Both men had their chances, but it was Rodriguez who took it 14-12 to hold the advantage in the match.

The 2016 World Champion fought back though, and after a tight second game, which he took 11-7, the Egyptian cruised through, winning the third game after dropping just two points, and booking his spot in the last eight where he will face either Mohamed ElShorbagy or Mohamed Abouelghar.

“Best of three is a totally different story. For me, it’s almost a different sport, sometimes you’re up 2-0, sometimes you’re 2-0 down and things can turn around,” Gawad said.

“In the last period I’ve been on and off, so I just wanted to play my best. I was a bit worried at the beginning of the match, I didn’t want to lose in the first round and Miguel is a very dangerous player.

“After the first game I just told myself to leave everything on court even if I lost in the first round. I just wanted to play my best squash, tried to win and hopefully I can win again. I had more confidence [in the second]. I wanted to play my game, he was the one controlling the game, so I wanted to play my game at the end.

“When I came back on court in the third, I wanted to play an attacking game with more winning shots and I’m glad it worked. Miguel can come back at any time, in the first game I was 10-8 up and lost that one. The second game, I was 5-3 up and he came back, so I wanted to focus on every point.

“It’s one of my favourites tournaments, I love California and I like the people here. Playing in the morning is a different story, it’s sometimes hard to see the ball, but you have to adapt at any time, any moment, so thanks to everyone for coming to support us and I’m looking forward to my next match.”

[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 2-1: 12-14, 11-7, 11-2 (51m)

King Downs Sobhy In Decider

New Zealand’s Joelle King is through to the last eight in San Francisco, after a battling performance against one of the home favourites, Sabrina Sobhy.

It was a match of comebacks, with the Kiwi fighting back to take the first on a tie-break, before Sobhy won seven straight points to come back to take it 11-9.

She then threatened a comeback in the third game as well, after King had made a move. Sobhy fought back, but it was eventually the New Zealander, and No.5 seed, who took the victory and booked her place in the last eight.

“I think she started better than I did. In the last tournament we played it went right down to the wire, and I think we both had that in our minds coming into this match,” the Kiwi said.

“She started really well and I just thought that I needed to find a way to get back into the match, even if I didn’t win this game. She’s such a fighter and is one of our really class players coming through. She never gave up, which is really great to see.

“In the first match there are always a few nerves and these young players are hungry and they want to beat us oldies. I was a bit hesitant with my movement at the start. Even if I didn’t win that [first] game, I wanted to fight until the end.

“We play at ToC in Grand Central where there is a lot of noise happening. It’s such a beautiful city here, we’re all grateful to be back. Once your focus is on the match, you forget about everything else and try and play every point.”

[5] Joelle King (NZL) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 2-1: 12-10, 9-11, 11-8 (38m)

ElShorbagy Overcomes Marche To Open NetSuite Campaign

Marwan ElShorbagy got the better of Frenchman Gregoire Marche in the opening round of the Oracle NetSuite Open, taking the win in straight games to book his place in the quarter-finals.

After just two points, there was a stoppage in play, with ElShorbagy’s racket clipping the Frenchman just above the right eye. Following a brief pause in play, for the cut to be bandaged, play continued.

‘The Jackal’ kept his calm throughout the match, and did not get involved in the chatter between Marche and the match referee. That played to his advantage, as he won in two games, winning 11-7, 11-7 to book his place in the last eight, where he could face Youssef Ibrahim or Paul Coll on Saturday.

“It’s a best of three event, so you need to be really sharp from the first point. You can’t give cheap errors, if you’re not sharp then you waste points. I’m really happy with the way I started each game and really happy with today’s performance,” the Egyptian said.

“I’m trying to focus on my game, to be honest. I try to discuss less with the referees, and I’m just happy with today’s win.

“I didn’t mean to hit him, it was very unfortunate and I hope he is going to be okay. Anything around the eye is quite dangerous, I think he might need some stitches. I definitely didn’t mean it, and I hope he is going to be fine.”

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 2-0: 11-7, 11-7 (38m)

Hany Cruises Past Letourneau

World No.9 Salma Hany made the perfect start to her campaign in San Francisco, as she needed just 15 minutes to overcome Canada’s Danielle Letourneau on the glass court at Embarcadero Plaza.

The Egyptian started strongly, winning seven of the first eight points, and she always looked to be in control of the contest, as she booked her place in the last eight of the Gold level tournament.

“I made sure I got a good start because you can’t afford to get into the game late, but at the same start you don’t want to rush into winning,” Hany said.

“I focused on my length and my short game, and I just wanted to get used to the court. Danielle is coming up hungry and I’m very pleased with my performance today.

“I was enjoying being on court, I love this tournament and I love being in San Francisco. It’s different playing in daylight, so thank you to everyone for coming. I know it’s Thursday and a work day, but it really means a lot.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back on this court again in two days.”

[6] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 2-0: 11-3, 11-6 (15m)

ElShorbagy Survives Abouelghar Test

Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy is into the quarter-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open after coming from a game down to defeat compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in the opening round.

The World No.2 found himself behind after a slow start, which allowed ‘the Bullet’ to race into a 7-2 lead in the first game. Although ElShorbagy attempted to fight back, it was Abouelghar who took the opening salvo.

However, the ‘Beast from Alexandria’ fought his way back into the contest, taking the second game, before going on to win the third as well, and make his way through to the last eight in San Francisco.

“I think the most relaxed out of the three of us today was the referee, so I have to thank him for staying relaxed. He had two tense, dramatic squash players arguing all the time!

“But having Abouelghar in the first round is very tricky. I was very nervous before the match and everyone could see how tense I was, arguing at some decisions that I had no right to argue about as well, and the referee did a good job. He knew how tough that first round was, and he did a very experienced job.

“The last three years here, I have made three finals. I have won two but this is actually one of my favourite tournaments of the whole year. I love coming back here, coming back to San Fran. Everyone knows how much I love playing here. I told my mother, and she has been everywhere with me, but she has never come to San Fran before. This year I told her that she had to come, that she would love it here.

“My mum was very aggressive with me today, shouting ‘Come on, come on!'. That’s how she brought me up and I have achieved so much because of her. I am just happy to win today, it was a tricky match, and I am looking forward to the quarter-final.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 2-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (49m)

Gohar Flies Into Last Eight

Fresh off the back of her victory at the Pyramids, World No.2 Nouran Gohar showed her class in the first round of the Oracle NetSuite Open, beating Canada’s Hollie Naughton in straight games.

The pair met in the second round in Egypt, in what was Gohar’s first step to her latest major victory, and this contest between the pair went the same way.

‘The Terminator’ looked in complete control throughout, showcasing not just her power hitting, but also her deft touches around the front of the court. She took the win in just 20 minutes, booking her place in the last eight in San Francisco.

“It has been five years now, but because of university I have missed it every time so I am glad this year. Actually, I had my graduation today but I was not going to miss coming to San Francisco this year!”Gohar said

“I was really excited. When I saw it on the calendar, I think I was one of the first people to enter my name. I was really looking forward to it. It is a beautiful city and I have been hearing about it a lot. It has not disappointed me!

“Having a rest day tomorrow helps. A match like this one makes you feel warm and ready to go. It is the top 16 playing this week, and it is very competitive from the first round. It is very special and it is best-of-three so you don’t have time to warm up. You have to be on fire from the first point.”

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 2-0: 11-6, 11-7 (20m)

Coll Downs Ibrahim To Advance

New Zealand’s Paul Coll is into the last eight at Embarcadero Plaza after a confident performance over Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim on the opening day.

The Kiwi, who is appearing at the Oracle NetSuite Open for the first time, started strongly but Ibrahim held a 6-4 advantage in the mid-part of the game. From there, though, it was Coll who took full control, winning the last seven points of the game to take it 11-6.

The second was slightly more difficult for the New Zealander, as Ibrahim continued to fight for his place in the tournament. However, Coll was able to battle through, winning in straight games to set up a quarter-final clash with Marwan ElShorbagy on Saturday evening.

“My mindset was the full 100%. I respect him as a player and what he can do on the court. He is a young fella but he has a strong head on him. I gave him my full attention,” Coll said.

“I have never felt better in my life on a squash court [winning the British Open] so you might think there is more pressure, but I actually feel the least pressure I have ever felt in my career.

I proved to myself that I could do it and I have some serious major goals that I want to achieve, but I know if I play well then I can beat everyone in the world. I am loving life, feeling good on court. It is my first time here in San Francisco, and I am loving the city.”

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-8 (37m)

El Hammamy Into Quarters After Beating Clyne

Hania El Hammamy is into the last eight of the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco after she got the better of US No.2 Olivia Clyne on the glass court at Embarcadero Plaza.

El Hammamy settled the quicker of the two, but the home crowd got behind Clyne, and she fought her way back into the first game, holding a three-point lead in the latter stages. However, the young Egyptian clawed her way back into it, forcing a tie-break, before taking it 13-11.

The second game was more comfortable for the World No.5, as she cruised to victory to book her spot in the quarter-finals, where she will take on New Zealand No.1 Joelle King.

“The first game, I started slow. Olivia threw everything at me and it was really crucial. I had to fight and dig deep in order to take the first game 13-11. That shows how tough it was. She is playing in front of her home crowd and that definitely gave her a push!” she said.

“Deep down, I knew what kind of errors I was doing throughout the first game, and the whole match actually. I was giving her too many opening and every time I lost focus, I kept telling myself to go back to the gameplan and to stop giving her openings. That is what gave me the edge.

“It is my first time and it is really amazing. I love this city and it is definitely giving all the players joy to be back. For me, it has a different atmosphere!”

[4] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Olivia Clyne (USA) 2-0: 13-11, 11-6 (31m)

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