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Ali Farag

U.S. OPEN Quarter Finals: Player Reaction - Glass East

It’s quarter finals day at the U.S. Open presented by Truist, with eight exciting matches in store at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

We'll be bringing you reports and reaction from Glass Court East right here. World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and France’s Melissa Alves start the day at 17:30 and will be followed onto court by three-time champion Mohamed ElShorbagy and Peruvian Diego Elias.

Next up is Olivia Fiechter – the only remaining American left in the tournament – and Belgium’s Nele Gilis. The winner will reach a maiden PSA World Tour Platinum semi-final, so the stakes are high.

The evening’s entertainment will be rounded off by defending champion Ali Farag and Welshman Joel Makin.

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 Sherbini Cruises Into Semis

Nour El Sherbini (right) takes on Melissa Alves (left)

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini earned her place in the semi-finals of this year’s U.S. Open courtesy of a commanding 3-0 victory over France’s Melissa Alves in just 24 minutes.

Alves was appearing in the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time in her career but was put to the sword by El Sherbini, who hit virtually all of her targets in a peerless display.

The 25-year-old won 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 to set up a semi-final meeting with either compatriot Hania El Hammamy or New Zealand’s Joelle King.

“I’m very happy with my performance, I felt very comfortable on court.

“All my shots went in and I just went for it. I’ve always had a bit of a hold, I’ve tried to improve and have worked hard on it, and it’s working really well for me. I like to hold a little bit before playing any shot.

“Every day is different to the day before. Some days it’s bouncy and very fast and then on other days it’s been very dead and the shots have gone in. Maybe because it’s the first match, the court is a bit colder today and it’s a bit dead, but I love it like this.”

Looking ahead to her semi-final clash, El Sherbini said: “I haven’t played either of them this season. Joelle played amazingly against Hania in San Francisco, but I’m sure Hania will want to take revenge today and she’s going to put everything in this match.

“I don’t care [who wins], I just wait for every match and will see who wins.”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (24m)

Elias Axes ElShorbagy to Reach Semis

Diego Elias (left) takes on Mohamed ElShorbagy (right)

Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias claimed his second win over No.2 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy to seal his place in the last four of the U.S. Open.

ElShorbagy had won four of their five previous matches, with the four matches that were played under a best-of-five games format going the distance.

It was a confident start from the World No.2 as he controlled the tempo, dropping just five points as he took a one-game lead. It was nip-and-tuck in the second game, until Elias pulled away from 8-8 to draw level.

That was crucial in determining the outcome of the match as the intensity ElShorbagy had been playing with soon dissipated. He looked to fatigue considerably as Elias ran away with the third game and was a virtual spectator as Elias stormed to an 11-1 victory to seal the win in 45 minutes.

Elias will play World No.10 Mostafa Asal for a place in the title decider after the Egyptian came through a gruelling 103-minute battle with World No.3 Paul Coll.

“I’m really happy it didn’t go to five, we played five games every single time.

“I’m happy to win, but I think this was the worst match we’ve played together. I could see he wasn’t moving that well and I was a bit nervous at the start, I didn’t know if I should start putting pace on the ball because he’s good at that, or try to play smart. In the first game he was playing really smart, hitting the perfect shots and I got a bit frustrated.

“I’m happy that I could start thinking a bit more and start running. I tried to get every shot and make it long.

“It was 8-8 in the second game, and if I lost that one it would have been a disaster. Being 2-0 down against Shorbagy, you’re almost finished. I needed to win that game and then I could see he started slowing down, so I kept going and stayed strong.

“The most important part for me this year was to get my body right and work on my fitness. I had a couple of injuries at the start of the year, so the most important thing was for me to get better. I missed a few tournaments this year, but I think that was the right decision.

“I’m happy with my game right now and I have to start going further than the quarter finals now.”

[7] Diego Elias (PER) bt [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-1 (45m)

Fiechter Reaches First Platinum Semi

Olivia Fiechter

World No.20 Olivia Fiechter continued her stunning progress in front of passionate home support as she defeated Belgium’s Nele Gilis to book her place in her first PSA World Tour Platinum semi final.

Fiechter, the USA No.3, stunned close friend and USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy in the previous round to reach her maiden Platinum quarter-final, while Gilis was also vying to reach her first Platinum semi following her win over Canada’s Hollie Naughton in the previous round.

Despite the stakes being the highest in her career, Fiechter put in a fearless performance to nullify Gilis and send the packed house at the Specter Center into raptures.

The 26-year-old from Philadelphia will line up against either defending champion Nouran Gohar or England’s Sarah-Jane Perry next as she aims to continue her dream run.

“I don’t think I could be more pleased with that performance.

“Nele’s such a tough competitor, and it was an opportunity for both of us to make it to our first semi-final, so I knew the stakes were high. She’s the type of player where if you get past her it’s a performance you’re going to be proud of. She makes you earn every single point.

“I was trying to enjoy the moment in front of my home crowd and at this new centre they’ve built for American players. I couldn’t be more pleased.

“Throughout the day you go through moments when you’re hanging out in your hotel room and you’re trying not to think about it, but obviously you’re trying to prepare for it and get yourself ready. I was trying to take it point by point and focus on my game plan. I knew if I thought about the situation and the moment too much then things could unravel quickly.

“I was just trying to hit my targets. In the whole week leading up to this I’ve been trying to nail my length. I knew if I could find my length on the glass court then I would get opportunities to express myself and be more creative on the ’T’. I was able to hit my targets well, and I knew if we got into a battle of pace it would be a struggle.

“I was trying to use variation out there and I’m very pleased with the performance.”

Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 (37m)

Makin Ends Farag’s Title Defence

Joel Makin (right) celebrates against Ali Farag (left)

World No.9 Joel Makin has ended the title defence of World No.1 Ali Farag here in Philadelphia with a superb performance that saw him defeat the No.1 seed in straight games.

Makin had never taken more than a game in three previous defeats to World No.1 Ali Farag but finally prevailed 11-5, 11-7, 16-14 after 64 minutes of intense action.

Farag had been in red-hot form after winning both the CIB Egyptian Open and the Oracle NetSuite Open in September, but he never had a moment to settle against the 26-year-old from Pembrokeshire, with Makin striding into a 2-0 lead after just 24 minutes to put him on the verge of ending Farag’s 11-match unbeaten run.

What followed was an incredible battle that had both players scrambling from corner to corner, with one incredible rally seeing Makin pull off a spectacular double dive to keep the ball alive.

The Welshman held his nerve though and emitted a huge roar once he finally hit the crosscourt drive which brought an end to the clash.

“I was frustrated coming into it, I’ve lost in too many quarter finals now and I’m not happy staying around there,” Makin said.

“I brought a lot of intensity into the match and I took it to him. I don’t want the match to be us saying ‘great shot’ and clapping each other’s shots, I wanted to take it to him, get across the middle and dominate the court.

“He got quite a few [decisions] wrong in crucial stages and that’s going to happen in sport. I had to deal with it as best as I could, it probably wasn’t the best squash I played after that because it was stop-start, but I was up for it, it didn’t effect me, and I was trying to get on top. There were a couple of errors but then I came back from 10-7, and I’m happy with how I did that.

“What’s got to me here is closing the court down and being tough. That will get you to 10 in the world, that will always be there, that’s not something I need to worry about, but you have to take the shot when it’s there. These guys are so skilful, they take the balls off their feet.

“I work a lot on it, I spend a lot of time doing it, and I need to take it into these kinds of matches and show what I can do.”

Speaking ahead of a semi final fixture against World No.4 Tarek Momen – the highest ranked man left in the tournament – Makin said: “I’ve done alright against Tarek. I know what game he’s going to come into it with, I’ve got to take him out of that and I can’t give him that space around the backhand middle where he’s going to hit that long drop.

“I’ve got to take the middle away from him and close him down.”

Joel Makin (WAL) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 16-14 (64m)

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