Quarter-Finals confirmed on Day Four
It was the bottom half of the draws in action at Union Station today as the quarter-final lineups were completed.
Today’s matches featured players from eleven countries and five continents, with one all-European upset as British Champion Tesni Evans downed SJ Perry, one hone-grown thriller as Nour El Sherbini edged past Amanda Sobhy in five, and the end of eight-time champion Nicol David‘s Worlds as she lost out to Camille Serme.
Read on for quick reports and quotes …
World #1 in waiting Ali Farag won the final, all-Egyptian, match of round three as he beat Mazen Hesham in straight games. Controlling the first two, Farag found himself behind in the third but fought back to finish the match in three 11-4, 11-4, 11-9.
“It’s always tough against Mazen, he beat me comfortably last week back home so I knew I was in for a tough one.
“I was lucky that he wasn’t firing early on, and grateful to be able to come back in the third.”
The Egyptian led for most of the first, only for Sobhy to save two game balls and delightedly take the lead 12-10 on a Sherbini error.
Sherbini fought back again, and had the scoreboard advantage throughout the next two games, edging ahead again each time Sobhy closed the gap. She took the final two games 11-8, 11-7 to bring up delight in the Egyptian camp and disappointment in the American.
“At 2-1 down I told myself I didn’t want to leave the tournament yet and to keep fighting to the end, and not give up.
“I’m so happy to come through !!”
Saurav Ghosal acknowledged after the match how well Joel Makin had done to come back from the injury e incurred in New York last month. And te Welshman did do well, staying wit Ghosal through the first and edging into the lead on extra points 13-11.
Ghosal kept to his game though, and took the next two both 11-7. But Makin is a fighter, and he dug out an 8-5 lead in the fourth which took everything Ghosal had to claw back. e got to match ball at 10-9 but needed two more before finally quelling Makin’s challenge.
“When I was down in the fourth I told myself I’d been practicing this scenario with Shorbagy, so I could do it here, I just needed to dig in and make it as difficult as possible.”
Sarah-Jane Perry may have been the higher seed in her all-British match with Tesni Evans, but this is the Englishwoman’s first tournament after an extended injury break, while Evans has just taken the British Nationals trophy back home to Wales after retaining it earlier this month.
So the momentum should have been with Evans, despite her 1-7 record against Perry, and so it proved as she took an 8-2 lead in the first and a 6-2 lead in the second. Perry recovered somewhat in both, but Evans took a two-nil lead 11-6, 11-8.
Perry gained a measure of control in the third, taking the sting out of Evans’ attacks and pulled a game back 11-8.
But Evans was on the offensive again from the start of the fourth, and Perry couldn’t respond as Tesni took the game 11-7 to book a second consecutive quarter-final spot.
“That was the weirdest game of squash I’ve ever played, no idea what was going on!
“SJ started slowly then she came back, and I’ve lost to her so many times from 2-0 up – over the moon to finish that one off!”
Paul Coll and Fares Dessouky both reached the quarter-finals in Manchester 2017, but only one could do so this time out. Since then Coll has risen into the upper echelons of the world rankings while Dessouky has spent much of the time out injured.
Coll was in control of the first two games, taking them 11-5, 11-6 but the Egyptian pulled away from the middle of the third to reduce the deficit 11-6. The Kiwi took a quick lead in the fourth, 6-2. Dessouky fought back abut narrowly failed to draw level as a relieved Coll made it through 11-8.
“Fares has done really well to come back after a serious injury.
“I’m glad I managed to stick to my game plan today, but I really had to work hard to get those last couple of points.”
Camille Serme reached her sixth worlds quarter-final in a row, but more significantly, she did so by beating Nicol David in what turned turned out to be the eight-time champion’s last worlds match in what was her 17th consecutive appearance.
David didn’t want it to end as she edged the first game 11-9, but Serme played sublimely in the next three games, taking them 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 to notch up her 250th PSA win and bring down the curtain on Nicol’s worlds.
“Nicol’s beaten me so many times, I had to keep pushing, she’s always capable of a comeback!
“She’s been such a role model for so long, it’s an honour to have played her in her last World Championships.”
These European rivals amazingly hadn’t played PSA since 2013. Borja Golan won their first four meetings, Simon Rosner the next five, and with the German now in the top echelons you’d have though a comfortable win was in the offing.
Not a bit of it. Golan employed a perfect game plan, slowing the pace down, lifting the ball to the back with pinpoint accuracy, and Rosner struggled to find a solution.
They shared the first two games, 11-9 Golan 11-7 Rosner. Golan regained the lead 12-10, helped by a lucky nick at the back at 10-all, by now Rosner had worked it out and was in control of the final two games, taking them 11-5, 11-5 to – again amazingly – reach his first Worlds quarter-final in 11 consecutive appearances.
“In the first three games he played so well, he controlled the pace, controlled me, he was so accurate.
“I managed to get on top in the last two games but that was a real mental and physical battle.”
Joelle King recorded the first win of the day as she beat Joey Chan in straight games. The Kiwi was well in charge in the first two games, with Chan making a number of unforced errors in the first and saving four game balls in the second before King snuffed out the danger 11-9.
Te Hong Kong player led through most of the third, but King closed up to earn a match ball at 10-9 and had to save two game balls before closing out the match 13-11.
“I thought I was playing well at two-nil up, but if you lose the third it can change the momentum so I’m glad I managed to pull that one out.
“It’s my first time in this venue and on the Glass Court, it looks great and the court plays well.”