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Mostafa Asal

Oracle NetSuite Open Day Two: Player Reaction

The first round of the 2021 Oracle NetSuite Open continues on day two 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.

Egypt’s Mazen Hesham and Mostafa Asal get things underway at 13:00 (GMT-7), with the Welsh trio of Tesni Evans, Emily Whitlock and Joel Makin all to follow in the afternoon session.

World No.1 Ali Farag will be in action in the evening session, up against fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad, while England’s Sarah-Jane Perry takes on Rowan Elaraby in the final match of today’s proceedings.

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

Sign up to SQUASHTV now using the promo code SEASONIG15 to get 15 months for the price of 12!

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

Asal Opens Day Two With Comfortable Win

Mostafa Asal started things off on the second day of the Oracle NetSuite Open with a solid performance against compatriot Mazen Hesham, winning in under half an hour.

The ‘Raging Bull’ was featuring at the tournament for the first time, and he immediately showed the San Francisco crowd what he could do, dropping just three points in a lengthy opening game.

The second had the same scoreline, with Asal dominating from the mid-point, winning a run of points to take the victory, booking his place in the quarter-finals.

“First of all, I’m so happy and proud that I’m making it to an interview with you again since ToC,” Asal said.

“Every time I saw him before warming up, I wanted the second interview. I’m so happy I’m here and I have to thank John Nimick for his amazing work and his team, it’s my first time in the States since 2019. I love to play here, it’s like my second home, I’m so happy everyone is here and thanks for the cheering.

“Mazen is such a talented player and today it was like 50-50. Mazen had full advantage from the Egyptian Open and he is playing amazing, you have to be so accurate and fighting for every ball to find the errors and I’m so pleased I was able to do that today. I’m ready for more, every tournament is a challenge and I’m looking forward to what is next.”

[7] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 2-0: 11-3, 11-3 (29m)

Evans Downs Fiechter To Make The Quarters

Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans is through to the last eight of the 2021 Oracle NetSuite Open after she got the better of USA’s Olivia Fiechter in straight games at Embarcadero Plaza.

Evans, who has slipped down to World No.13 due to having time off with injuries, is looking to get back to her best, and she showed her good form by defeating the American, who was playing on the glass court in San Francisco for the first time, in just 20 minutes.

The Welshwoman made her way into the last eight thanks to an 11-6, 11-7 scoreline, and she will now face either Amanda Sobhy or Nadine Shahin on Saturday evening.

“It was tough [having an injury last year] but you learn as you get older that everyone is going through different things,” Evans said.

“It’s been a really rough period of time for me, on and off the court, so I’m just really happy to be back here, back playing and enjoying myself – that’s what it’s about. I want to win, but I want to enjoy myself and make the most of every opportunity you get because life is too short.

“We haven’t played much on the tour, I think we’ve only played once and she beat me. I remember that day a lot, it’s haunted me. She had only just started on the tour and blitzed me off the court. I was up for today, she is a great player, you can see each tournament – her results and ranking don’t lie and it won’t be long before she is up even higher than she already is. I had to come out and play my best.

“We both play fairly, it’s the way I like to play squash. I might get in the way a few times because I’ve got bad movement sometimes, it’s not intentional and it’s the best way to play the sport. Everyone wants to see a fair game of squash.”

[8] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 2-0: 11-6, 11-7 (20m)

Makin Defeats Ghosal To Reach Last Eight

Joel Makin secured a second straight victory for Wales, as he got the better of India’s Saurav Ghosal in straight games to book his place in the quarters of the Oracle NetSuite Open.

It was a tight opening game, with the Indian holding a 9-6 advantage, but Makin fought back, and he was able to roll off five straight points to end the game, winning it 11-9.

He took that momentum into the second game, and looked in control throughout, winning it 11-6 to seal his spot in the last eight, where he will face either Omar Mosaad or Ali Farag.

“It’s a difficult draw, he’s got a great touch around the front and has those skills that can really disrupt your movement, especially on a cold court,” Makin explained.

“I have that down as a good win, he’s a very tricky player and has some nice skills, so I was happy with that.

“I just tried to increase the intensity and just make myself harder to beat. Make myself big around the middle and take the shot on when it was there. I did it better today and in the big points it was good.

“We haven’t been able to come across to America in a while. We had Chicago in the summer and then before that we had nothing, so everyone is happy to be back. We had the whole season in Egypt and they saved the tour for a while, but it’s exciting to be back. We want to play in venues like this.”

[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 2-0: 11-9, 11-6 (34m)

Chinappa Into Quarters After Overcoming Whitlock

India’s Joshna Chinappa is through to the quarter-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open, having defeating Welshwoman Emily Whitlock in straight games.

It was Whitlock that started the stronger, and she held the advantage in the mid-point of the first game, only for the Indian No.1 to come roaring back, winning five straight points to turn the game on its head from 8-6 to win it 11-8.

She then held that momentum through the second game, winning it 11-5 to seal the deal in less than 20 minutes, and she will now face either England’s Sarah-Jane Perry or Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby in the next round.

“I felt like I had a little bit of a shaky start,” the Indian said.

“It’s just about getting used to the court and trying to find your length. I thought I managed to do that for the most part of the match and I’m so happy to be through against a very tough opponent.

“I was just trying to get the ball really deep, with the wind and it being a little chilly on court today. I just felt that was something I needed to focus on and it would create the opportunity for me to go short and I think it worked.”

[7] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Emily Whitlock (WAL) 2-0: 11-8, 11-5 (19m)

Momen Downs Wildcard Lovejoy

2019 World Champion Tarek Momen is into the quarter-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco, defeating US wildcard Spencer Lovejoy in straight games.

It was the young American, the World No.80, that started strongly, winning eight of the first ten points in the contest to hold an 8-2 lead. He also led 10-6, but ‘the Viper’ fought back, saving four game balls before then taking it on a tie-break 12-10.

It then looked like the opposite was going to occur in the second game, with Momen leading 10-6. Lovejoy saved three match balls, but the Egyptian was able to get over the line with the fourth, winning 12-10, 11-9 in 19 minutes to secure his spot in the last eight, where he will face compatriot Mostafa Asal.

“It is always tough when you play against a player and the crowd. I knew what to expect today but the toughest part was playing Spencer, because I hadn’t seen any of his matches before so it was tough. I got the chance to hit with him twice so I knew I wasn’t in for an easy match,” the 2019 World Champion said.

“I could tell from the way he moves and the way he hits the ball that he is a decent player so I didn’t expect it to be easy and it turned out to be that way, even worse! I am just really glad I managed to get that first game because I was trailing big, like 8-2. I thought I did really well to get that back because the conditions are very tough. It is very cold and he is very good with his hands, hit some decent kills.

“By the time I managed to get my legs going it was almost too late, but I am glad managed to get going in time. The second game was also not easy. I had a good lead but he managed to claw his way back and overall, I thought it was a very good match.

“It has been a blessed year for all three of us. We welcomed Shahir on January 2nd and ever since then it has been a true joy. It is hard for me to not have Raneem [El Welily, Tarek’s wife] at most tournaments with me, and of course it is even harder for me to fly around the planet and play tournaments so far away, especially as this will be a long trip. I definitely miss them, but on the other hand, we have had some blessed times!”

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [WC] Spencer Lovejoy (USA) 2-0: 12-10, 11-9 (19m)

Sobhy Beats Shahin In Commanding Performance

US No.1 Amanda Sobhy needed just nine minutes to book her place in the quarter-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open, as she blew Nadine Shahin away on the glass court at Embarcadero Plaza.

The American had the home crowd behind her, and she rode that wave, dropping seven points in a rapid-fire match, one of the quickest ever on the PSA World Tour. She will now face Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans in the last eight on Saturday evening.

“It has been a process, looking back. My injury, the whole road and journey that I have been on. To see that I was World No.5 was really a testament to the hard work. I have enjoyed it for that period of time, and now I need to keep going, solidify into the top five and hopefully keep going up,” Sobhy said.

“It’s been a tough time for everybody. I moved to Philly in August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic and everything was closed, the clubs were closed, the schools were closed, so I had nowhere to train.

“The Racquet Club of Philly took me in and they became my home. From there, and because that was the only club in the city that was open. A lot of the college students, the Drexel [University] team some of the [University of] Penn guys were there, so was my sister. It was just a blast and I think that being able to fully enjoy training and my squash there, that’s what kept me going. In this situation, if you’re not loving what you’re doing, it will be really difficult!”

[2] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 2-0: 11-3, 11-4 (9m)

Farag Overcomes Compatriot Mosaad To Advance

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the quarter-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open, after getting the better of compatriot Omar Mosaad in straight games on the glass court at the PSA World Tour Gold level event.

The reigning two-time World Champion was in great form as the temperature started to drop at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco, but he showed his class throughout the contest to take victory in 23 minutes.

Farag took the first 11-4, and was in complete control throughout the opening exchanges. The ‘Hammer of Thor’ started to mount a comeback in the second game, but the World No.1 was able to withstand the pressure, and he took the win with a lucky winner which went through Mosaad’s legs en route to the front wall.

29-year-old Farag will now face Welsh No.1 Joel Makin in the quarter-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open, with that match being played on Saturday evening in San Francisco.

“It is not only affection, but I have idolised him [Mosaad] since a young age. We grew up playing for the same club and he was World No.3 when I first started on Tour. He was giving me lots of advice and he still is! We share the fitness trainer so we train with each other a lot and I have nothing but maximum respect for him and a lot of affection as well!” Farag said.

“My goal is obviously to try and win it but there a lot of great names in the draw. Every top player is playing it and it is no coincidence because John Nimick knows how to put on a great event. All of us wait to come back to this beautiful city of San Francisco, with this great set-up, this amazing crowd and this court! None of this would happen without John and his amazing team. They take very care of us and obviously, the sponsor keeps coming back again! Evan [Goldberg, EVP of Oracle NetSuite], we can’t thank you enough!

“[Having a baby] is the best thing to happen to both of us in our lives so far. It is such a blessing and Nour [El Tayeb, Farag’s wife] is such a selfless mum. She is doing the job while I am here, but she has been hitting the gym already and she is aiming to come back to play in front of you guys! I can’t wait for that because I miss her being here!”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-0: 11-4, 11-7 (23m)

Perry Downs Elaraby To Make Quarters

Sarah-Jane Perry’s campaign to win a third Oracle NetSuite Open got off to the perfect start on Friday evening, as she got the better of World No.10 Rowan Elaraby in straight games.

The pair are separated by just three places in the World Rankings, making this the closest match on paper in the first round, but Perry showed her class in the opening game.

After closing it out 11-5, she then faced a comeback from the young Egyptian in the second game, but the Englishwoman, who won this event in 2017 and 2018, was able to close it out in 22 minutes.

“I absolutely love it here. It is great to see so many people in the crowd on this cold night. It’s fantastic so thank you very much! I do have a really good record here and I love playing on this court!” she said.

“I was super excited to get on here and play a match and I think the first game showed my experience on this court. Then, Rowan really got herself going in that second so I was pleased as I thought my level dropped a bit, but she was also playing better.

“I looked at it on paper and I am World No.7 and she is World No.10, so on paper, it was the hardest first round. She showed what she can do in that second game. We haven’t played for a couple of years, we had a five-game slog last time which I just snuck, so I knew how dangerous she was.”

[3] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 2-0: 11-5, 11-9 (22m)

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