Both top seeds were in action, and there was Egyptian interest in all four of tonight’s matches, starting and ending with all-Egyptian affairs.
You can watch 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
Dominant Gohar puts Elaraby to the sword
World No.1 Nouran Gohar’s bid to capture a maiden World Championship title continued in earnest as she put in a crushing performance to beat fellow Egyptian Rowan Elaraby and reach the semi finals in Cairo.
Gohar finished as runner up in last year’s final and on current form looks well placed to compete for the title again.
The 24-year-old made a brutal start to the match, taking the first game 11-1 after settling far more quickly and dominating the centre of the court.
Elaraby began to feel her way into the match in the second, but was still unable to prevent the Cairo native from taking a 2-0 lead, before Gohar quickly wrapped the match up with an 11-4 win in the third.
Afterwards, Gohar said: “Obviously Rowan is one of the most dangerous players on tour, so I had this in the back of my mind. She’s been playing really good squash lately, so I was just trying to play my best. She can chop anything in the nick or in the front, so it can be really tricky to play against her. I had my targets on tonight and just tried to be sharp and play good squash.
“It’s always good to be the first player through, I’ll watch the match [between Nada Abbas and Amanda Sobhy, the winner of which will face Gohar in the semi final]. Amanda and I just played the final of the TOC, which is one of the biggest tournament of the year, so obviously she’s playing well. Nada had a huge win [against Joelle King in the last round], it’s a huge thing to reach the quarter finals. These two will be tough opponents, because it’s the semi finals of the biggest tournament of the year. I’m up for it and am looking forward to this one!”
Result :  Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-1, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
Coll beats Momen in Cairo classic
In the evening’s second match, World No.1 Paul Coll overcame Egyptian 2019 World Champion Tarek Momen in an engaging battle.
Ahead of the match, the two shared a relatively even 8-5 head-to-head record in Coll’s favour, though with the caveat of the last five going in Coll’s favour.
Despite dominating the first game, Momen found himself behind after Paul Coll recovered from being 7-3 down to take the opener 11-8.
In a fantastic second game, Momen began to play his attacking shots with increased confidence, putting some hurt into Coll’s legs as he moved the Kiwi all over the court.
Momen reached game ball at 10-9 after playing some excellent squash at the front, but was unable to convert as Coll took the game to a tie break. Momen had another game ball at 11-10, but once again Coll clawed things back to level before inflicting a morale-shattering 13-11 win to take a 2-0 lead.
In a brutal third game, both men threw absolutely everything at each other, pushing the ball to the back of the court in a nerve-shredding contest.
To the delight of the crowd, it was Momen who was able to take this game, edging his way back into the match with a 12-10 win.
Coll appeared to struggle in the fourth and was blown away by Momen, who took the match into a fifth game with an 11-2 victory.
In a wild finish, both players played some of their best squash, before the match ended on a controversial stroke decision in Coll’s favour as the World No.1 closed out the match with an 11-9 in the fifth game.
Reflecting afterwards, Coll said: “It was a tough match, it’s very hot out here and he was taking me into all corners of the court and wasn’t missing. I’m just very happy to claw my way out of that one!
“It’s tough to back up two-hour matches but I do two-and-a-half-hour practice sessions at home. I’ve got my physio here, who’s the best in the world. I’ve got a recovery day tomorrow and will get myself sorted and come out firing for the semi finals. It’s not ideal, but I’m going to bounce back for sure.
“Tarek can make you do so much work. He’s got the softest touch in the world and if he’s not missing, then you just end up going into all four corners of the court. It’s absolutely brutal. If he’s on his day, he’s one of the hardest players in the world. He makes you do a tremendous amount of work, just due to his great hands and his soft touches.”
Result :  Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9 (122m)
Sobhy recovers from difficult start to beat impressive Abbas
In the second women’s quarter final, US No.1 Amanda Sobhy recovered after dropping the first game to beat Egypt’s Nada Abbas.
World No.16 Abbas caused the shock of the last round when she beat World No.6 Joelle King, and looked to be doing the same to No. 4 seed Sobhy when she took the opening game 12-10.
The American, however, fired back in the second game, levelling the tie with an 11-6 win.
Despite the vocal support of the home crowd, Abbas was unable to regain her rhythm, as Sobhy built momentum to take the third game 11-5 and the fourth by the same scoreline.
When asked what the difference was between today’s match and the 3-0 Sobhy win over Abbas in the Tournament of Champions earlier this month, Sobhy said:
“But a drastic difference from when I had a swarm of kids rooting for me, that was sad. She played so well, a lot better than when we played a couple of weeks ago at ToC and I think that she came out firing from the start, I’m glad that I got my momentum eventually and put a halt to that.
“Due to the length of the previous match I think I warmed up about four times. So, by the end, it was more just waiting and watching the scores. I was probably a bit slow to start and I knew the start was crucial. Unfortunately it didn’t go my way, but I kind of got into it and once I got into it, I felt pretty good and I’m happy about that.
“It’s nice to be the underdog [in her match against Gohar]. There’s no pressure on me, I know that she’s going to bring it and give her all and I’d expect nothing less from her.
“I know it’s going to be a battle, so it’s just recovering, so I hope a little more of the crowd can be on my side! Nouran’s World No.1 and Egyptian, but I’m Egyptian as well, I have citizenship, so you can root for me, too!”
Result :  Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (44m)
ElShorbagy downs Dessouky in all-Egyptian affair
In the day’s final match, World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy put in a fantastic performance against Egyptian compatriot and World No.10 Fares Dessouky to set up a semi final against Paul Coll.
2017 winner ElShorbagy made a huge statement in the opening game, as he looked to recapture the title having made the final last year.
‘The Beast of Alexandria’ was at his powerful best from the first minute, raining blow after blow past an out-of-sorts Dessouky in a brutal 11-1 win in the first.
Dessouky battled back impressively in the second, brining his creativity to the fore as he hit a number of impressive winners. Dessouky, though, was unable to pull away from ElShorbagy, who was able to clinch a 2-0 lead as the match became stop-start.
In game three Dessouky, whose natural inclination is to attack, threw caution to the wind in a bid to gain a foothold in the match and began playing crowd-pleasing winners from all around the court.
The gamble initially paid off, as Dessouky put together scoring runs took a lead in the game. ElShorbagy, however, came back well in the latter stages and had a game ball at 10-9 that was saved by Dessouky to go into a tense tie break.
Having watched potential semi final opponent Coll put through an exhausting two hours of squash after letting a two-game lead slip earlier today, ElShorbagy was in no mood to suffer the same fate, and was able to finish the match in three with a 12-10 win.
“Fares is a very dangerous player,” ElShorbagy said afterwards. “He has shown that he can beat anyone on any day. I think because our match started so late, he had a bit of a poor start to be honest. It wasn’t me playing amazingly, it was a mix of me having a good start and giving a professional performance and a mixture of him not getting into the match yet.
“In the second and third, it was all to play for, it was so crucial and could have gone either way. Maybe at a few points here and there, I just played the crucial point better than him, but it was a great and high-quality match and I’m glad to make the semis!
“When we chatted to each other in the third game, between the points, it was all respect to be honest. He asked for a let and I told him ‘That’s such an experienced let!’ and he told me ‘I wish I’m experienced, I’m your student when it comes to your experience!’ It was all just joking with each other; it was all just respect really.
We grew up together in Alexandria and there’s always been so much respect between us and I’m a fan of his game and the way he strikes the ball. He’s one of the cleanest strikers of the ball on tour. I’m a fan of all the players as much as their competitors. All of them inspire me. He’s another athlete that inspires me so much and I’m pleased I got off in three and I’m looking forward to the semis.
“Paul is the World No.1. When you’re the World No.1, it’s not because you’re beating everyone, it’s because you’re winning most of your matches. He has been the most consistent player on tour, so his story is probably the most inspiring story out of everyone.
“I have so much respect for him, it was probably one of the most high quality matches I’ve watched in years. They gave a great match to all squash fans. We both have a rest day tomorrow and he’s going to have 48 hours to regroup and he’s going to be completely fine. When you’re the World No.1, you’re the fittest player on tour. Back when I was World No.1, I played marathons like this and I was able to back them up and win matches and win tournaments.
“He’s the World No.1 for a reason and he’s going to show how fit he is in the semis. We haven’t played in a very long time and I’m so excited to play him. There’s a difference between watching him and playing him as the World No.1 and it’s been an experience being the underdog at this event and I’m going to give it everything to make another final at the World Champs.”
Result :  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 11-1, 12-10, 12-10 (54m)