The 2022 CIB PSA World Championships are finally upon us, and it’s going to be a busy opening day with 32 first round matches at the Club S Allegria, – scene of last night’s opening reception – four of them on the Glass Court tonight to finish off the day.
Today’s matches are from the top half of the record $550k Men’s and Women’s draws, with the bottom half tomorrow followed by two more days of Round Two matches. From there it’s evening matches on the Glass Courts only, with Round Three taking place at Club S and the Egyptian National Museum of Civilization simultaneously over two days, with quarter-finals onward all at the Museum.
All the side court matches will be streamed live on the PSA YouTube channel with Glass Court action live on Squash TV. You can also follow with Live Scores and our Social Media channels, and we’ll have reports and reaction right here with a roundup to follow at the end of the day.
Reports & Reaction
Gilis comes from behind to beat Soini
In the day’s opening match, Belgium’s World No.11 Nele Gilis came from behind to beat Finland’s World No.41 Emilia Soini 3-1 in an impressive display,
Soini took a shock lead in match when she won the first game 11-9, with the Finn impressing around the court as she went after Gilis’ attack. The Belgian responded emphatically in the second, increasing the tempo to blow away Soini 11-2 in eight minutes.
The World No.11 kept up the aggressive pace in the third, taking it 11-3 before completing the comeback with an 11-4 win in the fourth.
Tong started the stronger of the two, earning a 5-3 lead as she settled quickly. The experienced King, however, soon recovered to take first game 11-7, before wrapping up the match with 11-5 and 11-8 wins.
Abbas and Ho, meanwhile, played a more even match than the scoreline suggests. The pair traded points throughout as Abbas took the first two games 11-6 and 11-5, before a grandstand finish that went to the World No.16 13-11.
After the match, Abbas said: “Since the beginning of the match, I never felt comfortable. Even at 2-0 up, I knew she could come back. She’s been playing very well recently, she created huge upsets with the top 20. So I made sure I was ready and not panicking.
“I’m really happy to get through, especially as I just came back from the ToC, my sleeping has not been good at all. Last night, I only slept for four hours and didn’t know what to expect today. I was trying to take it easy, and not pressuring myself too much.”
Results Joelle King (NZL) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) Result: 3-0 Scores: 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (36m)
 Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Tze Lok Ho (HKG) Result: 3-0 Scores: 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 (37m)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Emilia Soini (FIN) Result: 3-1 Scores: 9-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (41m)
Marche survives Dussourd fightback in French epic
In the first set of men’s matches, Fares Dessouky, Gregoire Marche and Karim Abdel Gawad all triumphed over Rui Soares, Auguste Dussourd and Dimitri Steinmann, respectively.
In an all-French, and at times bad-tempered, affair, Gregoire Marche headed off an applaudable comeback from Auguste Dussourd to reach the second round. Marche appeared to be heading to a comfortable victory when he took the first two games 11-4, 11-7. Cue an impressive fightback from Dussourd, who levelled the tie with an 11-6 and an 11-9 win.
Perhaps exhausted by his efforts in reaching parity, Dussourd struggled in the fifth. After initially exchanging points in a frantic start to the game, Marche took the initiative and never let it go, claiming the final game 11-3 to win in 71 minutes.
Gawad took the first two games 11-9, 11-6, before Steinmann fired back with an 11-7 to put pressure on the Egyptian. Former World No.1 Gawad, though, was able to hold his nerve in a frenetic finish, taking the fourth game 11-9 to seal the victory in 54 minutes.
While the other two matches were characterised by comebacks, there was no such danger for Egypt’s Fares Dessouky against Portugal’s Soares.
The opening game was initially an even affair, as both players tested one another as the scores went to 4-4. From there, though, it was one-way traffic, as a furious flurry from Dessouky saw him take seven unanswered points to seal the opener 11-4.
Dessouky continued his blitz for the rest of the match, refusing to let up the pace as the World No. 10 took both of the remaining games 11-2 to wrap up a 22-minute win.
“I came back strongly in the fourth and was leading 9-5 or something and there were two or three rallies where he took his space a bit too much for me. I know he’s like this sometimes, he didn’t announce his double bounce sometimes so he got me a bit nervous and I hate playing in those conditions,” Marche said.
He added: “Today, ok it’s a French player and we train together sometimes, but I know how tricky he can be and that’s the respect that we should show to the crowd and not the way I like to win a match. I’m happy to win in five, it’s still a win but it could have been the other way around and I’m just happy to get through. I just have to forget and focus on the next one,” Marche said afterwards.
“He did everything he could, trying to get in my head, and he does that very well all of the time, so that’s all credit to him. I need to be more consistent in that situation, I know it’s a win but I hope that I didn’t lose too much energy today and I have a day off tomorrow. This is the World Championships and it can be a long week.
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 (22m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 (54m)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-2: 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 11-3 (71m)
Adel overcomes Metwally in brutal battle
In a brutal 73-minute battle, Yathreb Adel came from behind to beat Egyptian compatriot Mariam Metwally 3-2.
Both players opted for similar lines throughout the match, resulting in a number of clashes, one of which caused a lengthy injury delay after Adel took a heavy fall.
Despite her injury, Adel was able to return, with the World No.38 coming from one game down to eventually triumph 3-2.
Afterwards, Adel said: “I’ve been reflecting a lot lately, on so many things, off court and on court. When I stopped for a while, and then came back, I felt that I was not going to win with my racquet nor my shots, they were not the ones that were going to take me there.
“In fact, I had to hang in there, and push so hard in those kind of matches where it gets very physical. [There was] a lot of talking, where you could easily lose your focus. That’s when you really have to stick around, watch yourself, and no matter what’s happening, hang in there!”
In another physical battle, Scotland’s Lisa Aitken got the better of Australia’s Donna Lobban in straight games. Aitken took a tough first game 11-9, before wrapping up the win with 11-1 and 11-4 wins as Lobban struggled with injury.
In a second comeback, the USA’s Olivia Clyne recovered from going one game down to beat England’s Julianne Courtice in a back-and-forth encounter, while Scotland’s Lisa Aitken recorded a 3-0 victory over Australia’s Donna Lobban, who at times struggled with an injury.
Clyne said: “It’s been tough and a rough couple of months and a couple of tough draws for me personally. It’s been a long season and I’m quite happy that we’re winding down. I’m taking it one match at a time and if this is one of the last matches I’m going to play before the summer break then I want to try and fight as hard as I can and prolong that inevitability as long as possible.”
Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt  Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-1, 11-4 (29m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt  Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 4-11, 11-5 (73m)
 Olivia Clyne (USA) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (40m)
Crouin overcomes training partner
The next set of men’s matches went largely to ranking, with 22-year-old World No.23 Victor Crouin’s 3-1 victory over 26-year-old French compatriot and World No.21 Baptiste Masotti the only minor upset.
Crouin took the first game 11-6, only for Masotti to strike back and level with a hard-fought 11-9 win. Crouin, though, who has recently recorded impressive victories over the likes of Karim Abdel Gawad and World No.1 Paul Coll, never looked rattled. The young Frenchman played a consistent game to recover the lead with an 11-5 win in game three, before securing the match with a win by the same scoreline in game four.
Crouin said after the match: “We know each other very well and during COVID we played a practice match every week I would say. This year I came back to Boston and we haven’t played for more than a year now and I was looking forward to playing him because we both went up on the rankings during that period post-COVID. I handled it pretty well and I’m happy with it.
“I’ve been trying to survive with exams last week and this week, my last one was due last night at 11pm and now I kind of enjoy it on court. I’ve been trying to play as much as I can and beg my teammates back on campus to play with me during the week. I was mostly trying to find that consistency, it’s great to beat Paul [Coll], it’s great to beat [Karim Abdel] Gawad but you earn the same points as the guys who lose on the same ground, it makes no difference who you play. I’m trying to find that consistency again, which has always been my strength.”
In the other matches, England’s World No.31 George Parker downed Spain’s World No.111 Edmon Lopez 3-0, while India’s World No.46 Ramit Tandon beat the USA’s World No.65 Christopher Gordon by the same margin.
Parker added: “It’s been tough going into this event, I had a bit more time for this one, a good seven or eight days, which helped a lot. Between all the Europeans and stuff I’ve struggled to keep fit and mentally sharp as well because there’s just too many back-to-back games without enough training. I’ve had enough training for this one, so I feel better coming into it.”
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5 (45m)
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (27m)
George Parker (ENG) bt Edmon Lopez (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (33m)
Evans recovers to topple Tyma
In the next set of matches, Tesni Evans recovered from a slow start to come from a game down and beat Poland’s Karina Tyma 3-1, while India’s Joshna Chinappa and Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby recorded straightforward wins against English duo Kaite Malliff and Millie Tomlinson, respectively.
World No.61 Tyma made a strong start to her match and looked confident as she caught World No.15 Evans unaware to take the first game 11-7.
Evans, though, was able to steady herself, finding better lines in the subsequent games as she levelled the match with an 11-5 win.
The 29-year-old then followed this up with a second 11-5, before finishing Tyma off with an 11-4 in the fourth game.
The other two matches were relatively simple affairs, with India’s World No.14 Chinappa taking out English World No.74 Katie Malliff in three, while Egypt’s World No.8 Rowan Elaraby beat England’s World No.73 Millie Tomlinson by the same margin.
“She started really well, she came out no pressure and so relaxed and hitting winners from everywhere. A shaky start, but I think that was more down to her than me. I came on in the second and tried to find better length, hit it to the back more and get that length through and she made a few unforced errors, which was nice for me,” Evans said afterwards.
She added: “Last week was such a good week at the Europeans, we did well and that gave me a buzz and I played some good squash there, so I’m looking to bring that into this week. The preparation has been a lot of rest and make sure I’m recovered.”
Elaraby, meanwhile, said: “I have been working on my physicality. What I like is short shots, short rallies, so now it’s all about keeping the rallies going, to be able to play either. It’s starting to pay off, so I’m quite happy.”
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (28m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Karina Tyma (POL) 3-1: 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (32m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Katie Malliff (ENG) Result: 3-0 Scores: 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (33m)
In the first set of clean sweeps of the day, Tarek Momen, Mazen Hesham and Joel Makin all recorded 3-0 wins.
Former World Champion Momen went up against talented Malaysian World No.22 Eain Yow Ng, against whom Momen enjoyed an unblemished 4-0 record.
In a thrilling first game, both Momen and Eain Yow put on attacking displays, with Momen’s guile and movement eventually leading to a 15-3 win for the World No.6.
Buoyed by taking the tight first game, Momen pressed in the second, which he took 11-6 before finishing the match with an 11-9 to reach the second round.
Momen’s Egyptian compatriot Mazen Hesham, meanwhile, went up against Canada’s David Baillargeon. Hesham made a quick start to the match and didn’t let up, taking the first game 11-9 and then the second and third games 11-7, 11-7.
Wales’ Makin, meanwhile, put in a steady performance to get the better of Leandro Romiglio, beating the Argentine in 32 minutes with 11-8, 11-4 and 11-2 wins.
Reflecting on the win, Momen said: “I just kept playing my game and tried not to force it, until I managed to edge it out in the end. Overall, I’m happy with the way I played, he played much better than he played last time, so I’m happy to get a 3-0 win again, despite a massive improvement in his game.”
Hesham added: “It’s my first time playing David, so I didn’t know what to expect. He’s such a good player, a lefty as well so it’s very difficult to play against a lefty. It’s a good start for the tournament and see how the rest of the rounds go.”
Makin, meanwhile, said: “I’ve always had confidence that I can beat the top guys, I’ve done it in one off matches and I’ve beaten pretty much everyone. Manchester was good because I got off to a good start, got off quickly and was able to put together a good run. That was another quicker win for me today, that’s the direction I’m trying to go in and I feel good.”
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 15-13, 11-6, 11-9 (43m)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt David Baillargeon (CAN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (23m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Leandro Romiglio (ARG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (32m)
Epic Aumard comeback stuns Arnold
France’s World No.39 Coline Aumard produced the day’s biggest comeback in her match against Malaysia’s World No.35 Rachel Arnold.
Aumard got off to a challenging start when she went 2-0 down against World No.35 Arnold, with the Malaysian’s accuracy and pace keeping Aumard pinned.
The 32-year-old, though, impressed as she battled back well, controlling the court as she pulled a game back with a closely-fought 11-8.
In response, Arnold threw everything at Aumard and with little to separate the two, the match could have gone wither way. In a nail biting fourth game, Aumard pulled level with a 13-11 win.
Though the scores were level, there only looked like being one winner from here on, with Aumard in the ascendency and Arnold despondent, the Frenchwoman completed the comeback with an 11-3 win.
Elsewhere on the traditional courts, Emily Whitlock recovered from a game down to beat Cindy Merlo, while Hana Ramadan beat Marie Stephan 3-0.
“Actually the more I was playing, the better I was feeling, then I felt more confident with my squash. My tactics came more naturally. I had the wrong tactic to start with, I was going way too quickly to the front, where she is actually so good. I tried to be a bit more patient, more aggressive, wanting to fight for the win, so I’m glad I won today.
“I hope she is ok though, she looked not at her best at the end, maybe tired, maybe not right in the body, I’m not sure.
“I’m rather happy with my game plan today, I’m not going to lie, I haven’t trained much, I didn’t play a lot of matches, but playing the Europeans actually helped a lot to be ready for this one. Last week, I hardly trained, I had to rest my body and also I got married!
“I’m in a happy place, I’m glad I won and I’m excited to play Tesni the day after tomorrow. One match, and then, why not one more, let’s see, I’m enjoying myself at the moment.”
 Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Marie Stephan (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (27m)
 Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-1: 4-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
Coline Aumard (FRA) bt  Rachel Arnold (MAS) Result: 3-2: 5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-3 (46m)
‘Not the best tactician’ Khan masterminds comeback
In the penultimate set of matches on the traditional courts, the USA’s Faraz Khan, France’s Lucas Serme and Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy recorded good wins to secure their progress through to the second round.
World No.53 Khan, who in 2021 crashed out in the first round in a 17-minute defeat to Ali Farag, may have been worried history was repeating itself when he dropped the first game against Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini 11-5. The 28-year-old, however, soon shook the disappointment off to record an 11-8 win, before pressing home his advantage with an 11-9 and 11-5 win to set up a second-round clash with Tarek Momen.
While neither Serme nor El Hammamy required a comeback today, there was no shortage of drama in either of their matches. For Serme, who is known for his long matches and strong defensive work, today’s match showcased some of his attacking skills, as he put in a good showing to dispatch Hong Kong’s Tsz Kwan Lau 3-0 in 28 minutes.
El Hammamy, meanwhile, was forced into a battle by talented 19-year-old Ibrahim Elkabbani. Despite the 3-1 scoreline, there was little comfort for El Hammamy, with three of the four games finishing 11-9, before El Hammamy ended things with an 11-4 in the fourth.
Speaking afterwards, Khan said: ““I’m not the best tactician, but maybe there was just a bit of luck [separating the two]. It’s fine margins like the ball clipping the tin, the margins are so small. I maybe just kept running a bit more and his shots didn’t go deep enough to prevent me from getting it.”
El Hammamy added: “I’m happy to be through that one! He’s another up-and-coming player from Egypt. He’s young and in Egypt there are so many good players and it’s always tough to play another Egyptian.
“It was tough for me to get a win, because I’ve been struggling for a while, perhaps since November, to get in form. So I’m glad to get through. I’m gaining form slowly but steadily.”
Faraz Khan (USA) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (49m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (28m)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Ibrahim Elkabbani (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4 (67m)
Fuller finds form to finish with flourish
In the final set of matches, there were wins for Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar, Colombia’s Juan Camillo Vargas and South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller.
In one of the most entertaining matches of the day, which ended long after the rest, World No.31 Fuller was pushed to the limit by World No.84 Fernandez.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, who lost to Fuller 3-0 in the quarter-final of the 2022 Odense Open in March this year, came out aggressively from the first moment, shocking Fuller with her attacking play from all over the court.
After losing the first game 11-7, Fuller appeared to have the situation under control when she responded with 11-3 and 11-4 wins, only for Fernandez to fight to parity with a 12-10 win.
Fuller, though, was able to rediscover her winning touch, putting in a ruthless fifth-game performance with an 11-2 win to end the match.
In the other women’s match, Mohamed overcame Egyptian compatriot Nour Aboulmakarim 3-1 in a physical encounter.
In the last men’s matches of the day, Mangaonkar eased to a 3-0 victory over Mazen Gamal, while an entertaining match between Vargas and Shahjahan Khan was ended by an injury to Khan.
Although the first game was a close 11-9 for World No.52 Manaonkar, he was able to build on this to convincingly beat the World No.62 11-2 and 11-5.
Vargas, meanwhile, will no doubt take joy from a performance that looked to be delivering a victory before Khan’s injury. The Colombian had looked in excellent form as he took the first game 11-6 and an engrossing second game 12-10. At 9-7 up in the third, victory was within reach for the 28-year-old, before an injury forced Khan from the court.
Afterwards, Fuller said: “I think she really came out well today. I didn’t quite execute my gameplan well enough and she really picked me off on that. So I’m happy to sneak away with a 3-2.
“When you play people [more regularly], they start to analyse you and start to know your game. I kind of expected her to come out all guns blazing and I wasn’t ready in the first game at all, so I was kind of playing catch up for the rest of the match!”
 Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 11-8, 14-12, 11-5 (40m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 11-5 (33m)
Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 9-7 retired (41m)
 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Marta Dominguez Fernandez (ESP) 3-2: 7-11, 11-3, 11-4, 10-12, 11-2 (50m)
Gohar Eases Past Villard
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.”
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 (28m)
Coll Battles Past Shenawy
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.”
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt [WC] Seif Shenawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)
Sobhy Storms Past Mendez
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.”
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-1 (17m)
ElShorbagy Ousts Farkas
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.”
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Balazs Farkas (HUN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (25m)