Day THREE : Round Three Part One

After two busy days in Chicago both draws are down to the last sixteens, and all matches from now on will be on the Glass Court at Union Station. Day Three saw the quarter-finalists in the top halves decided.

Annie upsets Laura, Miguel and Tarek survive

We started with a big upset as Annie Au downed former champion Laura Massaro, but after that the seeded players all prevailed – Miguel Rodriguez in a marathon first-ever win over James Willstrop and Tarek Momen in a nailbiting five-setter against Mohamed Abouelghar.

Read on for brief reports and quotes …


Tarek survives, ready for “nervous breakdown”

Asked how he felt at the end of his latest thriller against his friend and foe Mohamed Abouelghar, Tarek Momen replied “I’m having a nervous breakdown right now!”

It was that sort of match, with momentum switching one way then another. They shared the first two games, Abouelghar regained the lead and led 5-2 in the fourth, but somehow Tarek pulled himself back to 10-8, but it took him four game balls to set up the decider.

His reaction at the end of the fourth was of sheer relief, more so than at the end of the fifth, which he dominated.

“We seem to play each other in every event, which means it just gets closer and closer.

“He was ahead in the 4th, I just managed to sneak that one and got a good start in the 5th … so happy and relieved to get through!”

Raneem keeps her hold

Defending champion, top seed and World #1, Raneem El Welily has a lot on the line this tournament, but so far she’s living up to the billing with aplomb. Although her head-to-head with Alison Waters was just 10-8 in her favour, the Egyptian has won the last eight.

The ninth in a row came after three entertaining games, both showing great skill and firing in winners aplenty, but it was Welily who had the edge on all counts. It took her four match balls to seal the win, but seal it she did to reach a 7th Worlds quarter-final in a row.

“Alison’s a very tough opponent, I had to be sharp from the beginning.

“There were some tough rallies in the middle, I was pleased how I managed to keep my form after those.”

ElShorbagy eases past Au

There was to be no Hong Kong double today as defending champion and top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy turned in his best performance of the tournament so far to defeat Leo Au in straight games.

Au was always behind on the scoreboard, and with the World #1 – until the end of the month – in determined mode, he never seriously threatened the business end of the games as ElShorbagy won through to his 8th Worlds quarter-final.

“Leo and I came up through juniors so I know he’s a good player and I’d have to be sharp right from the start.

“After a couple of iffy performances I feel I’m playing better as the tournament progresses, which is the best way to do it!”

Tayeb ends Alves’ run

France’s Melissa Alves was the only non-seeded player in the women’s last sixteen – she’d beaten the 16th seed in round two – and although she lost in straight games to Nour El Tayeb, it was far from plain sailing for the Egyptian third seed.

US-based Alves kept Tayeb on her toes, and was level halfway through the first and third games, but Tayeb closed out both to reach her 3rd quarter-final in her 10th Worlds in a row.

“I hadn’t seen Melissa play before and she caught me out with a few of her sots, I didn’t like tat at all!

“I’m playing well, but I don’t care if I win 3-0 or 3-2, just as long as I win!”

Marwan through in Four

Finalist in the last event, Marwan ElShorbagy hasn’t long been back in action after a lengthy layoff, but there haven’t been many signs of rustiness here so far.

Against top Aussie Ryan Cuskelly the Egyptian was in charge in the first two games, and looked to be heading for a three-nil win at 9-5 in the third.

A run of points for Cuskelly extended the match, but not for too long as Marwan regrouped to take the fourth.

“Pleased to be through, I’m just happy to be playing this event to be honest, I really wasn’t sure I’d be playing. I’m very happy with the way I came back in the fourth to win the match, it means a lot to me.”

“The venue is fantastic, and obviously the aim is to win it but we’ll just have to see how that goes.”

Quartet of quarters for Gohar

Nouran Gohar reached her fourth quarter-final in a row with a straight-games win over Victoria Lust. The Egyptian was in charge in the first two games, but Lust mounted a comeback in the third as she led 9-5.

A combination of Gohar attacks and Lust errors saw Nouran take the next six points and the win.

“I felt I was playing well, but the third game was really tough. When she was ahead I was just trying to hit more winners, that’s what you do when you’re down!

“Really pleased to make the quarters again, hopefully I can go further.”

Massive win for Miguel

Miguel Rodriguez came through a massive match against James Willstrop, recording his first win in eight attempts against the tall Englishman to reach his 3rd Worlds quarter-final.

It was a long, and often physical affair with both players giving it their all. Willstrop edged the first but Rodriguez struck back immediately. Willstrop came from 0-5 down to retake the lead, but it was the Colombian who delightedly edged the final two games.

“I knew I was ready physically, but I’d never beaten James, so I knew I had to be strong physically and mentally.

“It was a really tough match, I’m proud to have come through it and into the quarters.”

A first for Annie and HK

A bit upset in the the opening match as Annie Au beat former champion Laura Massaro in straight games to become Hong Kong’s first World quarter-finalist.

Annie was on top throughout, taking 8-2 and 10-5 leads in the first two games and holding off Laura’s attempted recoveries, and it was a similar story on the third, Annie delightedly clinching the win on her first match ball.

“I had a good start, and I played well, but I knew I had to keep concentrating all the way or Laura would come back.

“To be the first HK player to reach the World quarters, I can hardly believe it, I’m so proud!”

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