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Nouran Gohar in action

PSA World Champs Day One: Glass Court PLAYER REACTION

The PSA World Championships begin today – and we'll have all the player reaction from the glass court at Cairo's Club S Allegria right here.

Play begins at 18:45 (GMT+2) live on SQUASHTV* and you can also stay up-to-date with all the live scores from the tournament here..

World No.1s Nouran Gohar and Paul Coll are in action, as are stars such as Amanda Sobhy and Mohamed ElShorbagy

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

Gohar Eases Past Villard

Nouran Gohar

World No.1 Nouran Gohar kicked off her World Championship campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over France’s Enora Villard.

The match, which was delayed by 45 minutes due to adverse weather conditions at the Club S Allegria, was over in just 28 minutes as Gohar adapted to the cooler conditions quickly and hit her targets at the front and back.

Villard showed some nice touches – particularly in a first game which saw her mount a mini-revival from 7-2 down to 7-6 – but was unable to put a game on the board against a ruthless Gohar, who finished as runner-up at the 2020-21 PSA World Championships.

“It’s always great when you’re done 3-0, it’s a 64 draw, there are a lot of matches, it’s the biggest tournament of the year, and you just want to be as fresh as possible,” said Gohar, who will take on Farida Mohamed next.

“I’m just trying to enjoy it. I’m not going to lie and say there is no pressure, obviously there is a bit of pressure, but I’m not trying to think about it too much. I’m trying to take it a match at a time and execute my game plan. I’m trying to focus on the small things so I don’t get too overwhelmed with the whole thing.

“It’s so amazing [to have the event in her home country], especially with this venue. I’m happy to play a big event like this in front of my home crowd, my family, friends, everyone.

“Farida [Mohamed] is an up-and-coming player. She’s proven to be one to watch and I’m going to have to be fully ready for this one.”

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 (28m)

Coll Battles Past Shenawy

Paul Coll in action

Men’s World No.1 Paul Coll booked his place in the last 32 after he overcame Egyptian wildcard Seif Shenawy in straight games.

Despite the scoreline, it wasn’t one-way traffic and Coll had to be sharp to stave off a potential upset, with 20-year-old Shenawy making a good start in both of the opening games.

Coll – who turned 30 four days ago – kept his composure to take a two-game lead and held off a comeback from his opponent in the third to complete an 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 victory in 40 minutes.

Up next for Coll is India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar.

“Today, it was more about getting a feel for the court for me,” said Coll.

“With the outdoor court you’ve got to get used to it. There’s a lot of external factors to deal with, but I felt more comfortable as the game went on. I’m happy with a 3-0 first round win and I got off there and did the job.

“I wanted to focus on my own game, I thought if I played well enough I would win. I researched him a bit, but he’s a young Egyptian in front of his home crowd, I knew he would be up for it. I wanted to stem the flow as early as possible so the crowd didn’t get involved.

“I heard my name called out two or three times by some young kids, so it was nice to finally get some support in the lion’s den.

“The last couple of tournaments I’ve felt that pressure [of being the No.1 seed] more. It was really good being home training for four weeks, I got back into a normal routine. I’m feeling good on court, so I’m probably feeling less pressure at this tournament compared to the British Open.

“It was a real confidence boosting tournament for me that one, Chicago also. Both of those tournaments there was a lot of pressure on me, I felt like I dealt with it well, and now I’m feeling less pressure in the role and I’m starting to really enjoy being No.1.”

[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [WC] Seif Shenawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)

Sobhy Storms Past Mendez

Amanda Sobhy in action

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy marched past her compatriot – Haley Mendez – to claim a commanding 11-4, 11-4, 11-1 win in just 17 minutes.

The 28-year-old had won both of her previous meetings against Mendez in similarly dominant fashion – winning those matches in just 34 minutes of combined play time – and Sobhy wasted no time in making it a hat-trick of victories as she bounded round court and hit winners at will.

Sobhy will go up against South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller as she steps up her bid to become the first American ever to win the World Championships.

“I’m happy that I finished it quickly because it was cold and windy, and I wanted to get off court so I could eat dinner and sleep,” said Sobhy.

“I’m happy with how I played, the conditions were tough.

“We’re used to delays, it’s just tough with the wind, the sand and the slippery court. Squash is hard enough as it is, we don’t need these external factors. I think it takes away from the sport, instead of playing our game, now you’re battling the conditions.

“Whoever adapts to the conditions the best is going to win. I’m just glad that I finished it, I didn’t slip, I’m okay and I found my targets. Conserving energy is crucial here.

“We’ve [Sobhy and Fuller] have never played. It’s exciting to play someone new after so many years on tour. We have a rest day tomorrow, so I know she’s going to feel fresh and I’m going to use the glass court to my advantage because she hasn’t played on it, I’m going to try and make as fast a start as possible.”

[4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-1 (17m)

ElShorbagy Ousts Farkas

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action

2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy required just 25 minutes to record his first win of the 2021-22 PSA World Championships as he got the better of Hungary’s Balazs Farkas in straight games.

ElShorbagy, the World No.3, had never played Farkas on tour and the first game of tonight’s encounter was a high-quality affair which saw both players move each other into all four corners of the court.

The experienced Egyptian was the more consistent of the two though and kept his error count low to go a game ahead.

Farkas tired in the second game after some heavy-duty rallies and ElShorbagy took full advantage to close out an 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 victory which will see him take on Colombia’s Juan Camilo Vargas in the second round.

“I’m really happy to win, you can see it’s his first time on the big stage,” said ElShorbagy.

“I know how it feels and it was a good experience for him. For the first time he is playing a major, he played really well in the first game. He took his chances and it took me a while to hit my corners and stay aggressive.

“I studied him, I watched him and I asked some of the Egyptian youngsters this morning about him to find out how he plays. When you play a lefty for the first time, it can be a bit tricky, but I’m happy to get off in three.

“Luckily, we have so many rest days, in my whole career I’ve not played a tournament with this many rest days. I think it’s something we should invest in, in the future for our sport because there are so many semis and finals I have watched where they are one sided. Not because one player was so much better than the other but because one had much tougher matches than the other.

“In tennis, in the Grand Slams, they make sure the players are as fresh as possible in the later rounds. It sells the sport better, you get more quality and I think when you have these rest days you are going to get the best players in the world playing at their best and that’s the quality you want to see from the top players.

“It’s very weird to go into a tournament being an underdog. I haven’t had that for the last 10 years and that’s due to my poor run of form this season. In my last three majors I have not even made it to the quarters. It’s a very different stage in my career and I have never experienced anything like this.

“I’ve made some changes, I’ve started working with Greg [Gaultier] which has given me so much hunger and motivation back. Even though I lost the final in Manchester, I wanted to be on court mentally, the aggression was back, so I have a good feeling about this week. I’m being written off by so many people and I think that can put a lot of pressure on the other guys and not on myself.”

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Balazs Farkas (HUN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (25m)

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