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Mohamed ElShorbagy in action

U.S. OPEN DAY Three: Player Reaction - Glass East

Round three of the U.S. Open presented by Truist begins today in Philadelphia with some thrilling matches in store at the brand-new Arlen Specter US Squash Center.

We'll be bringing you reports and reaction from Glass Court East right here where defending champions Ali Farag and Nouran Gohar will be in action alongside the likes of Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini.

You can watch all the action LIVE on SQUASHTV.

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

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)

El Hammamy Grinds Out Win Over Abbas

Hania El Hammamy in action

No.3 seed Hania El Hammamy ground out a 3-1 victory against Egypt’s Nada Abbas to become the first quarter-finalist at this year’s U.S. Open.

It was a tricky match for the World No.6 and she took a while to find her range against her training partner, with Abbas finding her targets well and building up a 9-6 lead in the opening game.

And Abbas was able to convert despite an El Hammamy fightback which brought the scores back to 9-9.

The Egyptian went some way to ironing out the errors from her game in the second as she earned an 11-7 victory, before playing the crucial points well to win the third game on a tie-break.

That victory proved to be key to the outcome of the match as she dropped just four points in the final game to claim her third successive win over her fellow Egyptian.

“I definitely need to rest and recover because we don’t have any days off,” said El Hammamy.

“It was a long match, very physical with some long rallies, so I will have to recover well for tomorrow’s match.

“I know it would be very tough because we’re from the same generation, we used to play British Junior Opens all the time together and we train together all the time. Everyone can see that we know each other’s games really well, we can read each other’s shots, so I had to stay really focus and calm myself during the critical points.

“[In the fourth] I said I should go for it a little bit more. I was playing in a safe way with long rallies, so I told myself I should go short a little bit more whenever I had an opportunity. Even if it wasn’t a winner, I wanted to move Nada to the front and I think that was the difference in the fourth.”

El Hammamy will go up against either No.6 seed Joelle King – who she lost to in the Oracle NetSuite Open quarter finals last week – or India’s Joshna Chinappa in the next round.

[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (53m)

Momen Comes from Behind to Beat Rooney

Tarek Momen (right) in action against Patrick Rooney (left)

World No.4 Tarek Momen came back from a one-game deficit to overcome England’s Patrick Rooney in the second match of the day on Glass Court East.

Rooney, the World No.42, came back from two games down to overcome Frenchman Auguste Dussourd in the previous round but he made a much faster start this time around, displaying his fine racket skills at the front of the court to take the opener 11-8.

Momen, a former World Champion, stayed relaxed though and really hit his stride in the second and third games to take control of the fixture.

The 33-year-old found himself 7-5 down in the fourth as Rooney re-established his rhythm, but again the Egyptian didn’t panic and played some immaculate squash to rattle off six unanswered points, sealing the win.

“After that tough battle he had last night, I wasn’t sure if he had enough in the tank to push this hard today.

“I had to be prepared that he would give it his best. I watched a couple of his matches last night and looked him up a bit. He’s really good with his hands, with his anticipation, and his presence on the ’T’ is quite significant.

“I thought I started well and then I lost my way a little, I started to open up the court way too much thinking that I had exposed his movement, but I was wrong and he cut if off every single time with a really nice winner.

“The fourth was a bit tricky, he came back again and I made the same mistakes and opened up the court too much. I’m really proud with how I kept my composure at this critical moment because 7-5 down in the fourth was very critical, I had to be at 110 per cent, and I think I played the last six points really well.

“I’ve always preferred rest days until last year or the year before when I started to realise it’s good to have those rest days. When you play every day, you’re sharp, the match was just yesterday and you don’t have the time to relax and regroup again.

“I sort of prefer to play back-to-back but it would be nice to have at least one day in the middle to break the rhythm a bit and get some recovery work. Five days in a row is pretty tough.”

Former World No.1 James Willstrop will be Momen’s opponent in the next round, and Momen says he is delighted to see the 38-year-old roll back the years at this event.

“I’ve always looked forward to playing James, he’s one of my favourite players to watch and play against,” Momen said.

“I’m astonished by how well he has played this tournament, it’s unreal. He’s always been capable of putting it together and beating any of the top guys, but to do it two days in a row against [Mohamed] Abou [Abouelghar] and Marwan [ElShorbagy] is incredible.”

[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (43m)

El Sherbini Cruises into Last Eight

Nour El Sherbini (left) takes on Nadine Shahin (right)

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini surged into the quarter-finals with an assured 3-0 win over fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin.

El Sherbini had beaten Shahin in all four of their previous matches without dropping a game and their longest match previously had totalled just 23 minutes.

Today’s encounter was just two minutes shy of that as El Sherbini dominated proceedings at the Specter Center, winning 11-2, 11-6, 11-7 to set up a quarter-final clash with Melissa Alves.

“I’m really happy with the way I played, we have different styles, so I tried to stick to my game plan,” said El Sherbini.

“She’s very active and gets everything back, so I tried to be calm on court. I think I’m moving well, my body is okay, and I’m feeling good and enjoying how I’m playing right now.

“I was struggling a lot over the past few months, so I decided not to play tough tournaments after each other. I prefer to have a break so I can get mentally and physically prepared for this tournament.”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-6, 11-7 (21m)

Coll Sweeps Past El Hammamy

Paul Coll in action

New Zealand’s World No.3 Paul Coll was in fine form as he put in an assured performance to oust Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy in straight games.

‘Superman’ dropped just eight points in one-sided match, winning 11-2, 11-3, 11-3 to move through to the quarter-finals.

There is a prospect of a quarter-final fixture with Egypt’s Mostafa Asal up next which will be a mouthwatering one after their two previous matches went the way of the Egyptian, with his controversial celebrations causing a great deal of debate on social media.

Asal must first make it past France’s Baptiste Masotti though.

“I was a little bit disappointed, I made two mistakes in the last game,” said Coll.

”I’ve never played him before, but I’ve played enough Egyptians in my career to know that they’re all dangerous, so I took it very seriously.

“He’s a very respectful kid and he gives it 150 per cent every time. In the last few points he was still diving around the court.

“The British Open released a lot of belief in myself and in my game. I’ve got a lot of trust in my game now, and I think that adds to everything. You can train as much as you want, but if you don’t have that belief then you’re still going to be a bit hesitant.

“I’m trusting my game, trusting my shots and making sure it’s the right shots at the right time. The work with Rob [Owen] is doing me wonders, we had a great week and I’m really understanding what shot to play off what ball.

“It’s all about consistency, I look back at the San Fran match and towards the end of the last three games I made some critical mistakes. I made the wrong shot selections and against those boys [Ali Farag and Mohamed ElShorbagy] you’re not going to get a second life. Against Ali in the final, I was 7-4 up in the second and then lost the next five points.

“If a couple of those points go up or I play the right shot then who knows, I might be 9-4 up and then 2-0 up. If you make one mistake against those boys they’re going to make you pay for it, and that is why they’re at the top for so long. I’ve got to keep on there and keep the belief and the results will come.”

[3] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-3 (35m)

Gohar Overcomes Waters

Nouran Gohar

Reigning champion Nouran Gohar continued her attempts to lift a second U.S. Open title as she defeated England’s Alison Waters by a 3-0 scoreline.

Gohar had won eight of their 12 matches on the PSA Tour – including the last four in a row – but has found it difficult to deal with Waters on occasion and only just snuck past the 37-year-old in five games when they met last December at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open.

This time around though, the World No.2 put in an assured performance and played at an incredibly high pace to unsettle her opponent.

Gohar closed out an 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 victory in 33 minutes to ensure she will play either England’s Sarah-Jane Perry or Wales’ Emily Whitlock for a place in the semi-finals.

“Alison is very tenacious on court, she doesn’t want to give up and it’s always a great battle against her.

“I was happy to be with her on court today and I really enjoyed it out there. She is playing really well, she was out of tournaments for a bit of time, but she is very experienced and it seems she is very comfortable on the glass court. It’s not like when an unseeded player comes to the court, she was top three in the world and is one of the most experienced players on the tour now.

“I’m quite used to playing younger players now, I’ve been on tour for some time, so there are a lot underdogs coming and maybe it’s their first or second time on the glass court. With Alison, it’s different, she’s been on the glass court three or four times more than me, and it feels different that I’m the seed and she’s the unseeded player.

“I know when to put the intensity up and when to relax a bit or slow it down. It makes a difference in these matches.

“If you want to be the best in the world, you have to involved and improve your game. I want to be the best, I want to play my best squash and I know what I am capable of. I’m really excited to be improving every day and seeing the results on court.”

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (33m)

ElShorbagy Ousts Soliman

Mohamed ElShorbagy

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy’s attempts to win a fourth U.S. Open title continued as he dispatched fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman in four games.

The pair have met twice on the PSA World Tour, with Soliman taking ElShorbagy all the way to five games during August’s Allam British Open.

ElShorbagy emerged victorious from that fixture, and he made it three wins in a row over the World No.19 with an 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6 triumph in Philadelphia today.

Soliman tested the No.2 seed and took a 4-0 lead in game four but ElShorbagy responded by ramping up the pace to close out the victory.

“We train a lot together, he lives between Cairo and Bristol, so I have seen his growth over the years,” ElShorbagy said afterwards.

“He’s obviously knocking on the door now big time. He’s top 20 now and now he’s doing it more consistently. It was a very tough battle, I think maybe I played the big points better, except in the third game where I had a bit of a lead, he got back at me, and then I snuck it in the end.

“When I was 4-0 down in the fourth, I had to see a glimpse of him showing a bit of tiredness, and that’s when I stepped up the pace and went to another gear.

“They [the players he trains with in Bristol] have trained with me many times and they have watched me more than the other players that are coming up the rankings and that gives them an advantage. But when you play players that are new on tour, you don’t know what to do because you haven’t played them much. I have that chance that I’ve played them many times in Bristol.

“You could see there was no love lost between us, we were both really aggressive, but once the match was done there was so much respect between us.

“In Bristol, I work on so many things, and there are many things I work on in my game. I’m happy to be in the quarters here, but I want to go all the way. I’m sure other guys do to, so we all have to step it up from the quarters.

“This is the first time I’ve played a Platinum event with no rest days, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the players deal with it, and let’s see who does it better.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6 (61m)

Fiechter Claims Major Upset Against Sobhy

Olivia Fiechter

USA No.3 Olivia Fiechter claimed her first win over a top 10 player as she beat compatriot and close friend Amanda Sobhy to reach the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time.

It was a packed house at the Specter Center as fans flocked in to watch the two Americans do battle and Sobhy – playing at a career-high No.3 ranking and boasting a 3-0 head-to-head win record over Fiechter on the PSA World Tour – was the heavy favourite coming into the clash.

But Fiechter played some of the best squash of her career as she capitalised on a scintillating start to the contest where she dropped just a solitary point in the opening game against a shell shocked Sobhy.

Sobhy, who won the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco earlier this week, battled back in the second game to restore parity, but it was all about Fiechter in the third game as she outplayed the USA No.1 to move back into a one-game lead.

Again, Sobhy dug deep, and the 28-year-old overturned a 7-5 deficit in the fourth to send the match to a nail-biting decider. But the fifth game didn’t go to plan for the No.4 seed, who lost six of the first seven points on offer.

Sobhy did level at 9-9 but Fiechter held her nerve to complete her biggest win to date, with an inch-perfect forehand drive bringing the contest to a close.

“I’m trying to process it one second at a time.

“Amanda and I play at least once a week, every week, especially since she moved to Philly. I knew I was getting closer in practice matches and I’ve been feeling really good on court this week. I was feeling optimistic and thought that if I played my best squash I had a shot, but I wasn’t foreseeing it would be that close.

“I was just trying to hang in there and take it point-by-point.

“She’s one of my closest friends on tour, she’s been a mentor to me since I’ve gone pro, she’s been like a big sister to me and has given me so much advice. She’s at a career-high ranking of World No.3 right now and she’s been playing well. I knew she had left a lot out on court in San Francisco, so I was hoping that if I could make it physical she might not have been feeling 100 per cent.

“To get a win over a top 10 player is another level you have to go to, so I’m over the moon.

“I was trying to take it shot by shot and trying to hold it together mentally. I was trying to stay aggressive, obviously we were feeling it physically, and I was trying not be passive but still stay patient.

“I had a long chat with Danny Massaro and my entire team and they’ve been by myself through it all. I had a tough loss in San Francisco last week to Tesni, I was feeling really down in the dumps, and they told me to leave it in the past and focus on this tournament.

“I owe so much to them and definitely wouldn’t have gotten a win like that without them in my corner.”

Fiechter’s quarter-final opponent will be either Belgium’s Nele Gilis or Canada’s Hollie Naughton, who play later tonight. It’s a huge opportunity for all three players, neither of whom have reached a Platinum semi-final before.

Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt [4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 11-1, 8-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9 (43m)

Farag Finally Sees Off Hesham

Ali Farag

World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the last eight after he negotiated a tricky third round encounter against fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham.

Farag had won seven of their previous eight matches on the PSA World Tour, and for two and a half games he dictated the tempo and put some serious work into the legs of Hesham.

But after going two games behind, Hesham rediscovered the shot-making skills that have made him one of the most exciting players on the tour and he troubled Farag as he halved the deficit.

Farag responded by elongating the rallies and making Hesham move into all four corners and he eventually managed to get the win over the line with an 11-5, 11-3, 10-12, 11-7 victory that will see him take on Welshman Joel Makin for a place in the semi-finals.

“I got my tactics spot on today,” Farag said.

“I talked to Mike [Way] earlier, and I know how skilful Mazen is with a racket, but he’s most dangerous when he is hitting his targets in the back corners because it opens up a lot of attacking shots for him and he is the most dangerous when it comes to that.

“I think I contained him well in the back two corners and maybe he hit too many errors for his own liking. But we saw how Mazen can be resilient and how many balls he can get back and he got me edgy again.

“I didn’t know whether to put the ball away or whether to wait for the errors, but they weren’t coming, so I had to win the rally myself and if I’m not clinical enough he goes in with his cross court nicks.

“I was prepared for that to happen, I didn’t panic, and I came back in the fourth with a good plan. I could see it was getting into him physically but at 8-2 he came back, so I’m very relieved to be through.

“I couldn’t be happier with my game, I’m moving well, I’m feeling the ball well and I have confidence, but tomorrow is a very different challenge. Joel is a very physical player, he doesn’t give anything away. We played last week in San Francisco, but it was freezing cold, so I’m sure tomorrow is going to be a good one.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-3, 10-12, 11-7 (65m)

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