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Amanda Sobhy in action

TOC DAY THREE: PLAYER REACTION

The action continues in New York as day three of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions kicks off today with 16 players looking to book their places in the next round.

Play begins at 12:00 (GMT-4) live on SQUASHTV and you can also stay up-to-date with all the live scores from the tournament here.

More top seeds enter the frame on day three including No.2 seeds Amanda Sobhy and Diego Elias as they take on Egyptian duo Farida Mohamed and Moustafa El Sirty respectively.

2017 Champion Karim Abdel Gawad will also be in action as he takes on World No.23 and Harvard student Victor Crouin, who overcame England's Nathan Lake in round one.

Order Of Play
All times are local (GMT-4)

Order of play

Abbas overcomes compatriot Shahin in five-game thriller

Abbas celebrates her win

First onto court was an all-Egyptian clash between No.7 seed Nadine Shahin and Nada Abbas. The last two meetings between the two have gone all the way to a five-game conclusion, with Shahin winning both times, the latest at the Windy City Open in February.

In a tightly contested first game, Shahin pulled ahead at the start of the game to lead 5-2. Abbas started to put her game together however and by exposing the technique of her compatriot, Abbas took the first game at the third time of asking 13-11.

Abbas carried her form into the second game and continued to pile the pressure onto Shahin in the front right corner. The World No.16 utilised her backhand boast to great effect and forced errors from Shahin’s racket to take the game 11-7.

Shahin showed her fighting qualities, however, and managed to disrupt the rhythm Abbas had settled into, moving her younger opponent into all four corners of the court and took the third and fourth games 11-7, 12-10 to set up yet another five-game encounter.

Abbas started the better of the two in the fifth game, but Shahin wasn’t going away without a fight. The higher seed set herself up with a game ball at 10-9 to complete the comeback, but after three well-constructed rallies, Abbas claimed her first win over Shahin in 62 minutes winning 12-10 in the fifth game.

Abbas had this to say after the match:

“I'm really happy to get through, me and Nadine have played twice this season and it was so close today but I'm just so glad I could get the win today.

“I'm feeling okay. I'm looking forward to the next match and I'm looking forward to be playing on this beautiful court once again.”

Result
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [7] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 12-10 (62m)

Ghosal ends amazing Brownell run

Saurav Ghosal & Timothy Brownell

Next onto court was Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal against wildcard, Timothy Brownell. The American impressively won the J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions Challenger to earn a spot in the Gold event main draw and claimed a huge scalp in round one to beat Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy.

A different task awaited him today as the experience of Ghosal was sure to play a huge part in the second round match. Ghosal displayed his trademark touch at the front of the court to tidy up some of Brownell’s loose drives and take the opening game 11-7.

The World No.17 continued to pressure the young American and force him into several uncomfortable movements both at the front and back of the court. Ghosal looked comfortable and took a commanding 2-0 lead, winning 11-8.

Despite a better showing in the third game and really taking the game to his opponent, Brownell’s Tournament of Champions run came to an end in 47 minutes. Ghosal secured the victory on a stroke at 11-10 to defeat the spirited American and set up a quarter final match with either Youssef Soliman or Dimitri Steinmann.

“It's a nice affirmation of what the players that I get on the court and fight with think of me, I guess I'm doing a decent job of keeping in their good books” said Gosal talking about becoming the PSA President.

“I think it's important to enjoy this sport, whilst it lasts, in these brilliant venues. And Tim was smiling at 10-8 match ball down the other day so it's such a great attitude to have, it's very easy to tell someone to do it and especially in high-pressure situations. But the older I've got the more I feel grateful and privileged to be doing what I'm doing and I cherish it a lot. In that rally I think I chose some shots I wasn’t so happy about but fair play to Timmy, he was on the back end of most of the shots but he stuck in and played a great winner so, fair play to him.

“For starters, what he’s done this week and last week is beyond amazing. I think everyone in here and US squash should take care of this guy, he's so so good, he's a very good squash player and he's one of the nicest people that I've met and I truly hope he keeps that mentality and tries to win the right way. He’s going to do some real damage going forward and thankfully today I could minimise the damage to a certain extent, he's a brilliant guy, a great squash player and still young and he's learning all the time and happy to do well.

“I know he has a very good support system, apart from US Squash, I’ve met his mother once and I think you can tell what kind of person he is. What he said this week is a small testimate to what she is as a person and what she’s done for him and I hope he remembers that in his career and his life because that will hold him in really good stead.”

Result
[7] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [WC] Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 (47m)

Hany fights past Sin Yuk to reach last 8

Salma Hany all smiles after her win

No.3 seed Salma Hany booked her place in the quarter finals after overcoming a tricky match against Tournament of Champions Challenger winner and therefore event wildcard Chan Sin Yuk from Hong Kong.

Sin Yuk came out firing in the first game and wasn’t shy in taking the ball in short and put Hany under all kinds of pressure from the start. The Hong Kong player earned herself three game balls to take a shock lead, Hany showed her class however and tested the mental capabilities of her opponent. Hany won the next five points to take the opening game 12-10.

After taking a 2-0 lead and looking in fine form, Sin Yuk responded in impressive style and gave her Egyptian opponent no time on the ball to display her amazing attacking skills. Her unique style continually asked questions of the No.3 seed and gave herself a lifeline by taking the game 11-9.

Hany regained control in the third game by narrowing down her opponent’s angles and capitalising on her chances at the front of the court. Despite a strong fight from Sin Yuk, it was not enough to stop Hany moving into the quarter finals.

“I'm not very happy with my performance, to be honest,” admitted Hany.

“She's done amazing this week, she's so young and came through the challenger event and had a really good win in the first round, so congrats to her. I was a little bit flat today and it was just one of those days, I was struggling to find my targets, and I just wanted to get over the line with the win and I'm just glad I am the winner today.

“Every win is a bonus for me, I'm just trying to enjoy my game and go as far in every tournament that I play. Every time I finish a tournament I go back and work with my team to improve myself. I don't really pay attention to the seedings, I just take advantage of me coming here, playing in an amazing venue and in front of amazing people and that's all that matters.”

Result
[3] Salma Hany (EGY) bt [WC] Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (43m)

Crouin finds top form to beat No.6 seed Gawad

Victor Crouin celebrates

Gawad, who typically starts slow, was dominated by his French opponent in the first game. The Frenchman kept the ball straight and tight, giving the 2017 Champion no angles to work his usual magic and after just seven minutes, Crouin took the lead 11-4.

The second game was a closer contest, as Gawad started to create more and more attacking opportunities to test the movement of Crouin. The former World Champion earned the first game ball but Crouin quickly equalised to force a tiebreak. Crouin took the game 13-11 to double his lead.

Despite Gawad securing the third game 11-7. Crouin kept his consistency up and rushed Gawad into making several unforced errors and finding winners of his own in the fourth game. The strong, composed movement from Crouin was making Gawad search a little deeper for his winners, which he was unable to find. After squandering a game a match ball at 10-9, the Frenchman regrouped to take the next two points and book his place in the last eight.

Crouin had this to say after the match:

“I've watched Karim for many years and I remember watching him at the World Championships in Egypt, where he nearly lost in the first round and then basically chopped everybody else. I knew it would be tough, I've never played against him and usually, when I play someone for the first time it takes me a few matches to get the right tactic and play my game. Usually, my strength is my consistency, I've beaten almost all the players ranked below me and not beaten many people ranked above me. Like I beat Paul Coll and Gawad today but have lost to some up and coming players, but still ranked below me, so I’ve just been trying to figure out what’s going on, I need to keep winning those matches but also get my consistency back.

“It's hard to know what to do when you're two up against Karim, you feel like you're playing well and you want to play even better but after losing the third I tried to tell myself to not change anything and keep it on his backhand and play a three-quarter game and try to avoid that front left corner and every time I hit off the back wall it went over there and I thought ‘Damn you’re going to be in trouble’ and usually I was, but I was just trying to win one point at a time.

“I’m just starting my final exams, I have four essays due so I'm going to go back to my studies now.”

Result
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt [6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 13-11, 7-11, 12-10 (64m)

Elaraby Comes Back from Brink of Elimination to Beat Sobhy

Rowan Elaraby celebrates

World No.8 Rowan Elaraby came back from two match balls down to avoid an upset against USA’s Sabrina Sobhy.

Elaraby had beaten Sobhy in three of their four previous PSA matches but needed to dig in as she came back from the brink of elimination to win 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10 in 57 minutes.

It was a topsy-turvy encounter with both players enjoying strong periods of the match. Elaraby came out of the blocks the quicker as she dominated the middle of the court, but Sobhy was able to weather the storm in the second game thanks to some deft touches at the front.

Momentum soon shifted back in Elaraby’s favour, with the Egyptian hitting her targets with power and accuracy to give Sobhy no time on the ball.

As good as Elaraby was in the third game, she was unable to sustain it in the fourth as she handed Sobhy a number of points either from errors or strokes, with the American coming back to level, giving herself an opportunity of a first PSA World Tour Gold quarter final.

It was a chance that Sobhy was not able to take as she squandered a 10-8 lead in the decider. Elaraby held firm and scrapped hard to work her way back into the contest and a shot out of court from Sobhy sealed the American’s fate.

“That was brutal,” said Elaraby.

“I’m really glad I’m through. ‘Beans’ [Sobhy’s nickname] is a very tough opponent, and playing her is always tough. We just played last month [at the Carol Weymuller Open, which Elaraby went on to win] in the early rounds as well. I knew from the very beginning that it was going to be a tough one.

“She’s a really good friend of mine. There will always be traffic on court, but we have to get through it.

“I was in trouble [at 10-8 down] but I was trying not to hear the score and trying to play point by point and give it my all. Even if I had lost it, I would have still been proud because I feel I gave it my all.”

Result
[4] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10 (57m)

Elias on Form to Beat El Sirty

Diego Elias in action

Peruvian No.2 seed Diego Elias got his title challenge under way with a confident 3-0 win over World No.32 Moustafa El Sirty.

It was a clinical performance from Elias as he completed an 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 victory in 31 minutes.

When he had the chance, El Sirty was able to excite the crowd with some superb winners, but those opportunities were few and far between as Elias controlled the match and hit a consistent line and length throughout.

Elias will now take on either Frenchman Gregoire Marche or Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller for a place in the last four.

“I’m feeling really good and I think I prepared well for this tournament,” said Elias.

“We have a very busy end of the season and I’m feeling ready for the next matches.

“For a lot of years what was missing was the fitness and I think I have it now, so I’m ready to win big tournaments, hopefully starting with this one.

“He [Elias’s father] is here, for a couple of years we weren’t able to travel with coaches or family, so I’m very happy to have him here, it’s great support for me.”

Result
[2] Diego Elias (PER) bt Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (31m)

Sobhy Marks 350th PSA Appearance with a Win

Amanda Sobhy celebrates

World No.4 Amanda Sobhy eased through to the quarter finals of the Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2016 after the USA No.1 saw off the the threat of Egypt’s Farida Mohamed.

Mohamed, who broke into the top 20 for the first time this month, has established a reputation as a banana skin fixture for any of the top players, but the World No.19 had no answer to Sobhy today as the American completed an 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 victory in 32 minutes.

Sobhy – making her 350th PSA appearance – was the more consistent of the two and hit her targets at both the front and back of the court, while Mohamed hit a number of errors early on as Sobhy built up an unassailable lead.

Mohamed’s best work came in the latter stages as she fought back from six match balls down to come back to within two points, but Sobhy kept her composure to close out the win.

Sobhy will end a six-year absence from the last eight of this prestigious tournament when she takes on another Egyptian in Nada Abbas next.

“It’s nice to be back, I’ve waited two and a half years for this,” said Sobhy.

“I wanted to show the ref that I was making an effort to play the ball, I didn’t want to get into a scrappy match with lots of lets. I wanted to show that I’m here to play squash, and if you’re going to get in my way, I’m going to push you out of my way, I’m going to go and get the ball.

“There was a minor panic at around 10-7 [in the final game]. I kept my cool, I think a couple of decisions all of a sudden didn’t want to end the match, but that happens. She hit some good winners, she hit some lucky winners, and I just said to myself to stick at it, keep the game plan and one of them would go in my favour. Thankfully, it did.”

Result
[2] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (32m)

Hesham Takes Out Khan to End US Hopes in Men’s Event

Mazen Hesham (fore) takes on Shahjahan Khan

Egypt’s Mazen Hesham ended US hopes in the men’s event as he got the better of World No.30 Shahjahan Khan in straight games as day three drew to a close.

Hesham will appear in the last eight of this event for the first time after he prevailed in an entertaining encounter, winning 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 to send the highest ranked USA male player out of the event.

The World No.8’s tricks and flicks were on full display in front of a packed house under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall and he will take on Frenchman Victor Crouin in the next round.

“I’m getting injured less, so I can train more, I can play better and I can execute my game plan the way I want to,” said Hesham.

“There is no secret, I need to train and before I was not able to train because of my injuries. Now I can train more, I can cause more damage on the tour, and hopefully it keeps improving from here.

“Shah has been improving a lot over the past few years. He’s hit the top 40 mark and being the US No.1 is pretty huge for him. I think he’s going to keep improving from here, I see how hard he works and I’m pretty sure he is going to make it to the top one day.”

Result
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (32m)

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