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Nouran Gohar

U.S. OPEN DAY Two: Player Reaction - COURTS GE & 15

The U.S. Open presented by Truist continues today in Philadelphia with another exciting day of squash in store at the brand-new Arlen Specter US Squash Center.

We'll be bringing you reports and reaction from Glass Court East and court 15 right here where defending champions Ali Farag and Nouran Gohar begin their tournaments.

You can watch all the action LIVE on SQUASHTV, while action from the traditional courts will be shown live and for free on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

Subscribe now to SQUASHTV using the code OCTWEB15 to get 15 months for the price of 12.

As a special treat, we'll also be showing the 20:30 clash between Nouran Gohar and Sabrina Sobhy live and free on both Facebook and YouTube.

If you're in and around the Philadelphia area this week, you can buy tickets for the event here.

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

GE Schedule
All times local (GMT-4)

Court 15
12:00 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
12:45 Nada Abbas (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA)
13:30 Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
14:15 Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v [8] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
19:00 Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
19:45 Tze Lok Ho (HKG) v Alison Waters (ENG)
20:30 Greg Lobban (SCO) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
21:15 Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [7] Salma Hany (EGY)

Watch all the action from Court 15 live on our YouTube channel below

El Hammamy Moves Past Aitken

Hania El Hammamy takes on Lisa Aitken

World No.6 Hania El Hammamy got the victory in the opening match of the day on Glass Court East as she navigated a potential banana-skin fixture with Scotland’s Lisa Aitken to win 3-0.

The pair have met twice on the PSA World Tour and their most recent meeting – which came at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open in March – went all the way to five games, with El Hammamy eventually getting the win over the line after 76 minutes of intense action.

This time around, El Hammamy was able to emerge victorious after three games, but Aitken certainly had moments where she troubled the No.3 seed, and came close to taking the second game after storming into a 4-0 lead.

However, the crucial points went the way of the Egyptian player and she will now compete in the third round after winning by an 11-4, 13-11, 11-6 scoreline.

“Last March we played, it went to five and it was a really tough and physical match,” El Hammamy said.

“I had to be very sharp and ready from the beginning. I was happy that I got that draw as I like to get into the matches from the beginning and test myself from the first rally. I was definitely prepared for this match, Lisa is such a physical and strong opponent, so I had to take care of that.

“Whenever I lost a bit of focus or I gave her a loose shot, she volleys it very well. She took the lead [in the second game] and I tried as hard I could to find a way back into the game and thankfully I did.

“It’s very challenging now, I’ve never spoken about it but I felt like it was a little bit unfair for me [the ranking situation] because the rankings were frozen. I won the Black Ball and the World Tour Finals but these were the two events that we played again, so my points were taken off and other players kept their ranking points.

“It’s definitely challenging for me, so I’m taking it as a challenge to push myself and become stronger.”

Up next, El Hammamy will face either Nada Abbas or wildcard Marina Stefanoni, and she is expecting a difficult match regardless of who she lines up against.

“It will be a tough match for both of them [Abbas and Stefanoni],” said El Hammamy.

“It’s never easy to play against an Egyptian, she’s [Abbas] from my generation and we know each other’s games really well, and we train against each other a lot. It will be a tough match against Nada, and if Marina manages to win it will also be a tough one, I’ve seen her in junior tournaments and I know she is fearless.”

On Court 15, World No.15 Mohamed Abouelghar moved into the third round of the men’s event after he took out Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller 11-4, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5.

The Egyptian will play either No.5 seed Marwan ElShorbagy or England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop in the last 16.

Result – Glass Court East
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 13-11, 11-6 (35m)

Results – Court 15
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 (35m)

Solid Momen Vanquishes Tandon

Tarek Momen (right) takes on Ramit Tandon (left)

World No.4 Tarek Momen was in fine form as he opened up his U.S. Open title challenge with a commanding 3-0 victory against India’s Ramit Tandon.

Momen, 33, beat Tandon in their only previous meeting two years ago at the CCI International and he put in a tactically astute performance that saw him hit his targets in all four corners.

He was particularly accurate at the front of the court as he caused all sorts of problems for Tandon, who had to have an injury timeout before the third game due to a blister. He wasn’t able to move freely in the third as Momen closed out an 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 triumph in 31 minutes.

The former World Champion will take on either England’s Patrick Rooney or Frenchman Auguste Dussourd in the last 16.

“He also likes to attack to the front, so I knew today we couldn’t just play a front court game,” said Momen.

“I also wanted to test myself on the court and get my length right. I’ve fallen into a trap at some tournaments this year where I’ve got off court really quickly by only attacking to the front and not building a solid game. Sometimes it helps me, but against other players when this doesn’t work and I can’t find my length I get into trouble.

“I wanted to get into this tournament by exploring all four corners of the court. I wanted to find my length from the very beginning, it was the right tactic and I’m not trying a tactic that won’t work against my opponent because of course I want to win. I wanted to double check that I had everything covered so with every match I play better.

“I think I’m a bit more comfortable in this setup. It’s no secret that I don’t like to play outdoors, and in the past six tournaments we’ve played four of them outside. I try as much as possible to adapt to the conditions, but it’s always easier when you go into a tournament when you know you don’t have to worry about that.

“It makes me a bit more relaxed in general. I’m glad that in this tournament and in Qatar we will have a patch of playing indoors, and it’s where I like to play the most.

“I will definitely watch [Rooney v Dussourd] because I’ve never watched Patrick before. I saw Auguste in the last tournament in Egypt, I watched his match against Soliman, so I have an idea of how he plays. Patrick is also a dangerous up-and-coming player and I haven’t watched him yet, so I need to start doing some homework.”

Nada Abbas (right) takes on Marina Stefanoni (left)

On court 15, wildcard Marina Stefanoni saw her tournament come to an end after a 3-0 defeat against Egypt’s Nada Abbas.

Abbas is rewarded with a third round encounter against No.3 seed Hania El Hammamy.

Result – Glass Court East
[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)

Result – Court 15
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-1, 11-2, 12-10 (29m)

Sherbini Eases Past Tong

Nour El Sherbini in action

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini got her U.S. Open title assault under way with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Hong Kong’s Tsz-Wing Tong.

The U.S. Open is the only PSA World Tour Platinum event that El Sherbini hasn’t won, but the Egyptian looked in red-hot form as she put Tong to the sword with an assured 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 victory.

“I’ve reached a couple of finals here and I haven’t won it,” El Sherbini said.

“This is the only Platinum event I haven’t won so far, so I’m all in for this week and hopefully it will be this time.

“It’s amazing, it’s great to have a huge centre only for squash, they have 20 normal courts and two glass courts. You don’t see this in many places, so it’s really good to be playing here in this amazing venue and hopefully we can see many venues like this around the world.”

El Sherbini will line up against either USA No.2 Olivia Clyne or compatriot Nadine Shahin for a place in the quarter-finals.

Karim El Hammamy (right) takes on Youssef Ibrahim (left)

In the men’s event, World No.38 Karim El Hammamy claimed a big upset win against World No.17 Youssef Ibrahim, coming from behind to triumph by a 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 scoreline.

El Hammamy will now play the winner of either Paul Coll or Victor Crouin in the last 16.

Result – Glass Court East
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)

Result – Court 15
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)

Coll Moves Past Crouin

Paul Coll

New Zealand’s Paul Coll is through to the last 16 following an 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 victory over Frenchman Victor Crouin.

All three of their previous fixtures had gone the way of Coll in straight games, and this match was no different as the World No.3 booked his place in the last 16.

World No.38 Karim El Hammamy lies in wait in round three after he upset World No.17 Youssef Ibrahim.

“I think I’ve got a belief in my game and the shots that I can play now, and that makes sticking to a game plan a lot easier,” Coll said.

“It’s giving me a lot of belief in my ball-striking, even if I lose a couple of points there is no point changing. I’ve got to stick to that game plan and trust in it. I’m enjoying it out there at the moment, and I have a lot of belief in my game.

“The last three tournaments have all been in completely different conditions. Egypt was very hot, San Fran is very cold and here it’s normal, if not on the warm side again. I think what I’m doing well is that I’m switching off when I’m not playing.

“I’m managing to find some down time and switching the brain off because it’s very hard to go through all those tournaments staying switched on the whole time, so it’s quite key for me to switch off when I can.

“He’s [El Hamammy] a very tough player, he shows a lot of commitment on court, he chases down everything and he likes to play at a high pace. I’m going to try and focus on my own game, influence the match as much as possible. It’s a great win for him, he’s going to be flying high on confidence and I’m going to try and bring my ‘A’ game tomorrow.”

Georgina Kennedy takes on Rowan Elaraby

England’s Georgina Kennedy was in action over on court 15 and she has advanced to the third round of a Platinum event for the first time following a superb 3-0 victory against No.8 seed Rowan Elaraby.

Kennedy will line up against France’s Melissa Alves in the last 16 after she got the better of Kennedy’s compatriot, Lucy Turmel.

Result – Glass Court East
[3] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)

Result – Court 15
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [8] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-1 (25m)

Sobhy on Cruise Control to Beat Lee

Amanda Sobhy (left) takes on Ka Yi Lee (right)

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy began her title challenge with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Hong Kong’s Ka Yi Lee in front of her home fans.

The 28-year-old – who lives just 15 minutes away from the Specter Center – is in red-hot form after winning the Oracle NetSuite Open title in San Francisco on Monday without dropping a single game, which has elevated her to a career-high No.3 ranking.

And Sobhy was ruthless against Lee as she powered to an 11-4, 11-2, 11-9 in just 23 minutes to seal her spot in the next round.

“I haven’t really fully enjoyed [reaching No.3] it because it’s straight into the U.S. Open,” said Sobhy afterwards.

“I’m still staying in tunnel vision and I’ll enjoy it after this tournament when I have a rest. It was a nice feeling to wake up on Friday and see the hard work paying off, but the job’s not done and there is still this week to go.

“I ruptured my achilles in March of 2017 and honestly there are a few key people that helped me. My surgeon for one because he’s the one who repaired it and he did an amazing job. About four years ago it was probably my darkest time and that’s when I started seeing Joe Zarett, who is here in Philly.

“He basically brought me back to life when I was completely hopeless, out of sorts and had no idea what to do. At that point, it was six months in and my progress stalled, all the fun I’d been having for months was catching up to me, and I needed someone to take control, who knew what they were doing and oversee everything.

“He knew about squash and the movements of it. I saw him for one session and he ripped me to shreds, he asked me what am I doing in Boston and I said: ‘I don’t know!”. He said he needed me down here for five weeks, five days a week training with me.

“Within two days I got a place to live, I set up the system, went back to Boston, packed a bag, got someone to sublet my apartment and then I moved down here. He did wonders, so there was that and then my fitness coach, Micah in Boston, and Thierry [Lincou] helped me through it once I started playing squash.

“It’s been a long, long journey. It’s nice that my left calf has grown some muscle back and it’s nice four years later to come back, play this tournament and be at my highest ranking too.

“I’m in my element, I love to perform and I’m at a stage in my life where I’m ready to step into this role, be a leader and accept the pressure that comes with it. Before I probably would have panicked and freaked out, so now I freak out a little less.”

Youssef Soliman (fore) takes on Cesar Salazar

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Youssef Soliman booked his place in the last 16 after he overcame Mexico’s Cesar Salazar 11-2, 12-10, 11-2.

Soliman will play either three-time U.S. Open champion Mohamed ElShorbagy or Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng next.

Result – Glass Court East
[4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-9 (23m)

Result – Court 15
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-2, 12-10, 11-2 (36m)

ElShorbagy Recovers to Beat Eain Yow

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action

Three-time U.S. Open champion Mohamed ElShorbagy recovered from a slow start to get the better of Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng.

ElShorbagy, the World No.2 and a U.S. Open winner in 2014, 2016 and 2018, found himself 10-3 down in the opening game amidst a confident start from his opponent.

However, ‘The Beast’ launched a superb comeback to rattle off a series of points, halting Eain Yow’s momentum in the process.

That looked to drain Eain Yow’s confidence as ElShorbagy stormed into a two-game lead, but the Malaysian refocused and rediscovered the length he was hitting in the early stages of the match to halve the deficit.

Eain Yow, who trains with ElShorbagy in Bristol, briefly threatened to take the match into a fifth as he forced the Egyptian to a tie-break, but there was to be no stopping ElShorbagy as he closed out an 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 victory in 48 minutes.

“He’s played better than how he played in Egypt and I expected that,” said ElShorbagy after the match.

“When you play in the quarters, you’re usually peaking later in the tournament compared to when you play your first round match. I had to play with a different approach. In the first game he took me by surprise, he took me short, played very fast and then at 10-3 I wanted to just keep playing even though in my head the game was over.

“After I won three points I could see he was getting nervous and I was getting closer and closer. The first game was very important definitely. You’re playing in the States and it’s always going to be crowded and loud, so it’s something that the players are used to.

“It creates a great vibe to play when it’s busy like that and it’s the first time we’re playing at this centre. All the players have been giving a lot of credit to how amazing this centre is, and I’m no different. All the top guys want to put their name on that title, I would like to another time, but there’s still a long way to go.”

ElShorbagy – who will take on Youssef Soliman next – also touched on his younger brother Marwan’s defeat to former World No.1 James Willstrop earlier in the day, saying: “James and myself have played so much during the years, and we’ve had a great rivalry.

“He’s going to be able to play great squash from time-to-time and I’ve been a victim to those kinds of performances from him for so many years and a lot of other guys were. Obviously I’m upset for my brother, but when you see a great player perform like he used to perform, as a squash fan, you love to see it.

“If he can play like that for a few more years it will be great for the tour. He’s the last one left from that golden generation and every time I watch him play it brings back so many memories of these great players I’ve played against, the likes of Greg [Gaultier], Nick [Matthew], [Amr] Shabana and all of those guys.”

Alison Waters (right) takes on Tze Lok Ho (left)

England’s Alison Waters is also through to the last 16 after she dispatched Tze Lok Ho in the women’s match over on court 15.

Waters will play either defending champion Nouran Gohar or USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in the next round.

Result – Glass Court East
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 (48m)

Result – Court 15
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Tze Lok Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (30m)

Gohar Beats Sobhy to Reach Last 16

Nouran Gohar in action

Defending champion Nouran Gohar sailed into the last 16 courtesy of a 3-0 victory over home player Sabrina Sobhy.

The World No.2 was playing Sobhy for the first time on the PSA Tour and hit her targets well in a 29-minute, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 victory.

“Sabrina is a very tough opponent and to play her in the first round is very tricky.

“I really knew that I had to be on my toes from the very first point. The court is fast as well, so you have to be ready for any attacking shot at the front. It’s a little bit dead in the back corners, so you have to be aggressive from the beginning.

“San Francisco was quite different, it was my first time playing there and the conditions were different to any other place. I’m always learning new lessons and I’m into a new tournament. It’s one of my favourites, I won it last year and it [Philadelphia] is one of my favourite cities to come back to.

“Usually when you come back to a tournament it’s the same venue and you’re only defending champion for one year, not two. In a way, I feel like it’s a different tournament. It’s good in a way as it’s a fresh start, you have good memories in the back of your mind, but you don’t take it for granted.

Gohar also touched on the battle for World No.1 she has going with current incumbent Nour El Sherbini. Gohar can’t return to top spot at this event but can certainly keep the pressure on with a title win in Philadelphia.

“We [Gohar and Sherbini] have had some matches where the winner takes it all but I never have it in my mind,” Gohar said.

“I turn off my social media before going on court and I play every match as if I want to win the tournament. I don’t really care about the ranking, if I’m doing well then the ranking will take care of itself.”

Gohar will line up against England’s Alison Waters where she will continue her title charge.

Baptiste Masotti (left) takes on Greg Lobban (right)

Meanwhile, France’s Baptiste Masotti got the better of Scotland’s Greg Lobban in the men’s match over on court 15, winning  6-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9.

Masotti will do battle with either Egypt’s Mostafa Asal or Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu in the next round.

Result – Glass Court East
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)

Result – Court 15
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 6-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)

Farag Books Last 16 Berth

Ali Farag in action

World No.1 and reigning champion Ali Farag has booked his spot in the third round of this year’s U.S. Open after beating India’s Saurav Ghosal in straight games to bring day two to a close on Glass Court East.

Farag had won all four of his encounters with Ghosal on the PSA Tour coming into the match and, while Ghosal played well and tested his opponent, the Egyptian was always the one in the ascendancy as he wrapped up an 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 victory to make it 10 matches unbeaten.

Farag will now play either France’s Gregoire Marche or Egypt’s Mazen Hesham in the next round.

“I very much enjoyed it out there,” said Farag.

“I was talking to Mike [Way] earlier today and I wanted to get off to a good start because it’s not easy to back up a tournament two or three days afterwards. I’m glad I came here early to settle in and.

“I got off to a good start and from that point onwards I took confidence and dictated most of the play, which I’m very happy with.

“On paper, and in reality, Saurav is one of the hardest to get in the first round. He’s been around the top 12 area for years now, and it’s a testament to how good he is. I knew it would be tough but getting off to a good start gave me confidence and I got on with it from that point on.”

Hollie Naughton in action

Meanwhile, Canada’s Hollie Naughton claimed one of the biggest victories of her career to date as she upset No.7 seed Salma Hany in a superb 3-0 victory.

Hany is fresh off the back of a run to the final of the Oracle NetSuite Open but she was unable to get the better of an inspired Naughton, who will now take on Belgium’s Nele Gilis for a place in what would be a first Platinum quarter-final.

Result – Glass Court East
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (37m)

Result – Court 15
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt [7] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 19-17, 11-7 (36m)

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