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Nour El Sherbini in action

CIB Black Ball Open Day Two: Glass Court Player Reaction

We'll have reports and reaction from the glass court right here as the CIB Black Ball Open continues into round two in Cairo.

Play begins at 12:00 (GMT+2) live on SQUASHTV and you can also stay up-to-date with all the live scores from the tournament here.

We'll also be streaming Amanda Sobhy v Sabrina Sobhy live and free on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok as the sisters meet for the first time on the PSA World Tour.

Order Of Play
All times are local (GMT+2)

Mohamed Suffers Injury Against King

Joelle King (kneeling) and the physio (right) check on Farida Mohamed

New Zealand’s Joelle King finally got the better of World No.22 Farida Mohamed as she booked her spot in the third round of the 2022 CIB Black Ball Open following her opponent’s retirement in the fifth game through a knee injury.

King, the World No.6, had fallen to Mohamed in both of their previous two meetings on the PSA World Tour, with Mohamed prevailing after five gruelling games on both occasions.

Both of those matches took place at the Black Ball Sporting Club – once in 2020 and another in 2021 – but the latest chapter of their annual Black Ball battles belongs to King after the Kiwi battled to an 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-13, 9-3 victory.

King took the opening game after finding a consistent line and length and she profited off a series of errors from her opponent, who took a while to settle. King started the second well too as she took a 5-2 lead, but from that point it was all about Mohamed, who stepped up the court and attacked to win nine of the next 10 points on offer, levelling the scores in the process.

King recovered to take the third until, at 5-3 up in the fourth, she was caught in the face by Mohamed’s racket on the follow through. The 33-year-old required treatment from the physio and returned to court after a 15-minute break.

The pair played two further rallies, at which point Mohamed suffered a knee injury when returning a backhand drive and crumpled to the floor. A 10-minute break then ensued as Mohamed received treatment for her injury, but the Egyptian returned to court and fought on through the pain barrier.

It took King a while to get going again as Mohamed defied the odds to force a decider, but she broke down during the fifth game and was forced to concede the match, handing King a place in the last 16, where she will face Belgium’s Nele Gilis.

“I don’t really know how to feel after that,” said King.

“It’s a bit of a weird one to win a match that had so much disruption. Obviously I hope she’s ok, because she was really struggling with her knee, there was a lot happening. I’m just pleased to be playing tomorrow, to live another day and another match, hopefully it’ll be free-flowing tomorrow.

“It’s been a long time since I played Nele, I’m excited. I enjoy playing different players, sometimes in tournaments you play the same people a lot, so it’s nice to have a different challenge.

“Obviously she brings a lot of physicality to the court, hopefully tonight I can recover from today and come and play my best squash.”

“It’s been a long time since I played Nele, I’m excited. I enjoy playing different players. Sometimes in tournaments you play the same people a lot so it’s nice to have a different challenge. Obviously she brings a lot of physicality to the court, hopefully tonight I can recover from today and come and play my best squash.”

[6] Joelle King (NZL) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-13, 9-3 retired (81m)

Amanda Wins Sobhy Showdown

Amanda Sobhy (right) celebrates her win over younger sister Sabrina (left)

World No.4 Amanda Sobhy overcame younger sister Sabrina to prevail in their first ever meeting on the PSA World Tour.

Despite her superior experience, Amanda certainly didn’t have it all her own way as Sabrina, nicknamed ‘The Roadrunner’ for her speed around court, hustled and pushed her sister all the way to five games.

It was Amanda who held her nerve in the crucial moments though and she kept Sabrina at arm’s length to take the fifth game by an 11-6 margin, earning her spot in the last 16.

“I think every older sibling kind of knows how I feel,” said Amanda.

“The younger sibling never really has much pressure and everyone kind of roots for them to make the upset. It gives me added pressure, expectations and stress. It’s a relief when you win and then you just hope and pray that you don’t have too play each other for a very long time.

“I’ve been avoiding it, thankfully, for a couple of years and mentally preparing for this day. This day has happened now and I hope I have a few years to recover, I’m sure we’re going to play each other and I’m sure it’s not going to be fun.”

Sobhy will go up against India’s Joshna Chinappa next as she eyes a spot in the quarter finals.

[4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 (49m)

Elaraby Sails Past Letourneau

Rowan Elaraby (fore) takes on Danielle Letourneau

Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby made short work of World No.20 Danielle Letourneau as she booked her spot in the last 16 after just 26 minutes of action.

Elaraby had won both of their previous PSA matches – one which lasted over 50 minutes at the 2017 Charlottesville Open and the other which lasted just 24 at last year’s Allam British Open – and today’s clash was more similar to the latter.

World No.9 Elaraby hit her targets and made very few mistakes as she powered into a 2-0 lead.

A frustrated Letourneau came out fired up in the third, but Elaraby pulled away from 11-7 to secure a victory which will see her take on wildcard Jana Shiha – who came back from two games down to upset Wales’ Tesni Evans – in the next round.

“I’m happy with my performance, I made sure I was fired up and warmed up really well, so I could play my best from the beginning,” said Elaraby.

“I think the match was fair and we both played well until the middle of the second game. There was some tension and I didn’t know where it came from, she kept talking with the ref and to me. I’m not really happy with how it ended, but let’s take the positives and I’m happy I’m through to the next round.”

[8] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)

Perry Dispatches Whitlock in Three

Sarah-Jane Perry takes on Emily Whitlock

World No.5 Sarah-Jane Perry got her Black Ball campaign off to a fine start as she overcame Wales’ Emily Whitlock in straight games.

Perry, who won the Gold tier Black Ball event back in 2020, had won her previous six PSA matches against today’s opponent, but Whitlock had begun to make life difficult for the England No.1, who required five games to defeat the World No.18 in their last two matches.

This time around, Perry needed just three games as a scintillating performance from the 31-year-old saw her record an 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 victory in 25 minutes.

“I thought it was pretty good,” said Perry.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect of myself this week and Emily has played really well against me the last couple of times, I’ve just snuck them in five. If I got a good start I wanted to keep the pressure on, so I really focused on my start in every game. Even then, she came back at me with all she had, so I had to fend that off a bit.

“I was pleased that even though I made a few errors, I still played how I wanted to, I didn’t get passive, which I have done a couple of times before.”

Perry became a mother for the first time earlier this week and welcomed her son into the world on Tuesday together with her partner, Becky.

Discussing the new arrival, Perry said: “Becky did all the hard work but little Elijah is absolutely gorgeous. I’m so thankful, it’s been quite a long journey to get to where we are, so I just wanted to relax and enjoy playing. Everyone says that when you have a kid, squash is not the main thing anymore.

“You still love it and you want to win, but it can take a bit of that pressure off. I was trying to not overthink the match today and enjoy the time I had with them before I came. He was only born on Tuesday night, so it was a pretty swift turnaround.

“He didn’t want to come on time, he was too comfy in there but he’s doing really well and I’m so proud of Becky and where we’ve got to. I just want to enjoy this and make them proud.”

[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (25m)

El Hammamy Overcomes Turmel Challenge

Hania El Hammamy (right) and Lucy Turmel (left) on court in Cairo

World No.3 Hania El Hammamy is through to the third round of the CIB Black Ball Open in Cairo, after she got the better of England’s Lucy Turmel in a three-game contest on Sunday afternoon.

The Egyptian, who sensationally claimed this title in March 2020, and has reached the final on two other occasions, took the first game with ease, before then finding herself 9-4 down in the second, after Turmel fought back well.

However, El Hammamy was able to get a run of points to bring herself level, before going on to win that crucial second game on a tie-break, and that was pivotal, as she went on to win in three to book her spot in the last 16, where she will face compatriot Nour El Tayeb.

“I wouldn’t say I am happy with my performance, but really happy with the way I managed to come out of this match in three,” the World No.3 said.

“I had played against Lucy once, in the World Juniors in India a couple of years ago. Now we have grown up and we have both improved. She has been doing great the last couple of tournaments. I really didn’t know what to expect, but she is a tough opponent, very hungry as well and although it was a 3-0 win, it was very tight, and I had to keep focussing to win in three.

“In these scenarios, I only think about trying to find a way, so I can start the next game with a better gameplan. If I find my way and win the second then it is to my advantage that I am 2-0, it’s better than be 1-1. If she won the second, then the match could have been different, so I am glad I managed to come back from that deficit.

“I was looking at the draw and in my part of it there are all the juniors that I was competing against at the World Juniors. I remember the last two, even the one where Rowan [Elaraby] beat me in the final, we were all playing against each other. I beat Lucy in the semis I think, and Jana [Shiha] was there. All those juniors are now aiming for the very top.”

[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-7 (39m)

Gohar On Form To Down Aitken In Three

Nouran Gohar (right) in action against Lisa Aitken (left)

A relentless Nouran Gohar was on song to get the better of Scotland’s Lisa Aitken inside half an hour, booking her spot in the last 16 of the Platinum level CIB Black Ball Open.

Just 11 days after winning the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family in Chicago, the World No.2 came out firing once again, as she aims to make it back-to-back major titles to kick off 2022.

Her match against the Scottish No.1 was only going one way from the off, as Gohar’s hard-hitting game was too much for her opponent. After winning the first two games by an 11-6 scoreline, she ran away with the third, allowing Aitken to score just two points, as she booked her place in the last 16, where she will face USA’s Olivia Fiechter.

“It felt good to be back on court after a week. This season, we don’t really have time to celebrate. Job done and on to the next one, which I do kind of like, to keep the momentum going and getting more matches under my belt. It feels good to be on court again today, yeah!” Gohar said after her victory.

“It gives you a boost, entering the next event. It is tricky though, because you don’t want to be too confident so you have to find the right balance. Sometimes I have gotten it wrong, so I am trying to learn from the past, not to get too excited by it and to focus on the task in hand.

“I am just happy to play matches, to learn more and it was still the first major tournament of the season, it is a long year, so I don't get too happy, and I focus on the next one.

“Just taking it match-by-match, be focussed on the match I have right now and to enjoy it as well! One thing at a time!”

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-2 (28m)

El Sherbini Survives Scare To Beat Gilis

Nour El Sherbini (left) and Tinne Gilis (right)

Just two weeks on from beating Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in five games at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini had to dig deep once again to win by the same scoreline against the Belgian.

It looked like it would be plain sailing for the defending Black Ball Open champion, as she took the first game 11-3 in no time at all. However, the Belgian fought back to take the second game, with some incredibly strong backhand drives.

El Sherbini then won the third game and looked all set to win the fourth as well, but Gilis saved a match ball, before going on to take it on a tiebreak 12-10, to send the match into a deciding game.

The fifth followed a similar pattern, in that Gilis fell behind, but threatened a comeback, pulling within one of the ‘Warrior Princess’. However, the two-time Black Ball Open champion was able to seal the deal with an 11-8 scoreline in the fifth to win after 55 minutes of action, and book her place in the last 16 of the competition.

“Two matches back-to-back, 3-2. It is tough! I am very lucky to go through this time. Tinne surprised me the last couple of times we have played. I tried to be strong, have a good gameplan, but she is very strong and very good. I am enjoying these tough matches against her and we are definitely going to have more tough matches like this again!” El Sherbini said after the match.

“Even if I am not the defending champion, I am still the highest seed. That means there’s no pressure on them, they want to play the best and they always get the bets out of the. I am trying to get used to the pressure, trying to not be stressed or under pressure, to always play and enjoy my squash. Getting the win today is a really good start, and I like to play a tough first match, so it’s a good start for me!

“I just tried to stay in every point. Even when I was up in the last game, she came back and won a few points in a row. I think, I just wanted to start the fifth game strongly and take a big lead, and that helped me to win the match!”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-2: 11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8 (55m)

Hany Downs Lobban To Reach Third Round

Salma Hany

World No.7 Salma Hany is into the third round of the CIB Black Ball Open in Cairo after coming through a tense four-game battle with Australian No.1 Donna Lobban in the final match of the evening’s play.

Hany started strongly, and held a commanding lead in the first game, only to see that disappear, as the left-handed Australian found her range. However, it was the tournament’s No.7 seed that was able to claim it 11-8. She then found herself level in the contest though, as Lobban fought back with some clever play to take the second game.

From there on though, as the match started to get a little bit scrappy towards the end, it was the Egyptian that was in control of the contest, and she was able to claim the victory in four to book her spot in the last 16, where she will face England’s Georgina Kennedy.

“It felt pretty cold at the beginning. I made sure I had a good warm-up, and then I had a good start, but I then felt the cold a little bit and she started to come back,” the Egyptian said.

“I lost the gameplan in the second and that was why I stayed on court, to try and get back my focus and stay warm, keep the ball warm as well. She has really good hands, and I had to take sure that I was ready for all of her shots.

“It was a little bit scrappy in the end. I saw the ball good, and it was a pretty good dive! I am pretty sure I got the ball! It sometimes happens and you just have to stick to the plan, adapt to it and just close it out as soon as you can, and I am just glad I went through.

“I am just taking it day-by-day. I just try to improve my performance every day. I felt pretty good, I love playing on this court and I have all my family, my friends and my coaches. It feels really special, and I am just trying to enjoy it. Glad I made it to another day here!

[7] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7 (36m)

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