Day TWO : Round One complete at Club S

The 2022 CIB PSA World Championships continued with another busy day at the Club S Allegria, with a further 32 first round matches, four of them on the Glass Court to finish off the day.

Today’s matches are were from the bottom half of the record $550k Men’s and Women’s draws, with two days of Round Two matches to follow, also at Club S.  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 TVYou 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.


Glass Court
[2] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 Cristina Gomez (Esp)   11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (21m)
[2] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Leonel Cardenas (Mex)   11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 Sana Ibrahim (Egy)   11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)
[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 Adrian Waller (Eng)   11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (38m)

Court One
[7] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-6, 13-11, 11-3 (23m)
[5] Diego Elias (PER) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2 (57m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [28] Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (24m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (36m)
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (30m)

[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Iker Pajares (ESP) 3-0: 2-0 rtd(1m)
[24] Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 11-13, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 11-7 (50m)
Henry Leung (HKG) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (47m)
[WC] Kenzy Ayman (EGY) bt [32] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 (33m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (62m)

Court Two
[14] Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (39m)
[15] Youssef Soliman (Egy) bt Borja Golan (Esp) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (49m)
[21] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt Saskia Beinhard (GER) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (17m)
[WC] Yassin Elshafei (EGY) bt Asim Khan (PAK) 3-1: 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3 (42m)
[10] Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-1: 11-8, 12-10, 11-13, 11-6 (38m)

Raphael Kandra (GER) bt [14] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-6 (70m)
[22] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 (22m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-5 (47m)

Court Three
[9] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-2, 11-0, 11-4 (19m)
[16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 (54m)
[20] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)
Todd Harrity (USA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (32m)
[16] Hollie Naughton (Can) bt [wc] Nardine Garas (Egy)  3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 (29m)

[11] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (26m)
[23] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-1: 11-2, 5-11, 11-4, 12-10 (49m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (67m)
Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [19] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-1: 12-14, 13-11, 11-6, 14-12 (73m)


Brutal Kennedy performance shatters van der Heijden

The second day of the World Championships began with a bagel as England’s Georgina Kennedy put in a devastating performance to beat Milou van der Heijden 3-0 in 19 minutes, while Salma Hany also picked up a 3-0 win and Nadine Shahin won 3-1.

The World No.9, who has enjoyed a remarkable rise up the rankings over the season, swatted the World No.50 aside for a total loss of just six points.

The 25-year-old started at an electric pace, taking the opening game 11-2, before a ruthless performance in game two – in which she displayed a perfect balance of pace, power and accuracy – earned an 11-0 win.

Kennedy continued to punish the Dutchwoman in the third and she closed out the win with a comfortable 11-4.

While Hany, too, recorded a 3-0 win, Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica was able to offer some resistance, with the Egyptian taking the first game 11-6, a hard-fought second game 13-11, and the third 11-3.

Hany’s compatriot Shahin, meanwhile, came from one game down against Canada’s Nicole Bunyan to record a 3-1 win in 39 minutes.

Afterwards, Kennedy said: “I’m really happy with that, this is my first Worlds. I was really nervous because I know how dangerous Milou can be,”

“I decided not to play ToC, to give myself a chance to get a good block of training in because of how busy the season has been and it really paid off. I was feeling pretty sharp on there and looking forward to the next rounds.

“It’s really cool, the venue is amazing and the hotel is wicked. It’s nice to be around so many of the players, sometimes at Platinums when you get a bye, you’re around the same players. It’s really cool and everyone is really dangerous, everyone who is here deserves to be here and you have to play your best squash to win every round.”

Hany, meanwhile, paid tribute to her new coaching team: “I’m so happy with my new team, Mohamed Abbas, Abdelrahman Sergany, my main coaches, and Diana my trainer. And of course Danny Massaro, who I’ve been working with for a number of years. I am very blessed, I feel I’m doing the right work at the moment, the chemistry amongst the team is incredible. And that really makes a difference.”

[7] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-6, 13-11, 11-3 (23m)
[14] Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (39m)
[9] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-2, 11-0, 11-4 (19m)

Elias and Rooney play out five-game thriller

In what was perhaps the most entertaining match of the championship so far, No.5 seed and last year’s quarter-finalist Diego Elias came back from 2-1 down to beat England’s Patrick Rooney.

Elias started the match by far the stronger, moving well around the court to take the first game 11-4.

That same movement appeared to desert the Peruvian in the second, with the 25-year-old breathing heavily as Rooney pushed him around the court with a combination of drops and lobs.

In a dramatic reversal of fortunes, Rooney took the second and third games 11-7, 11-9 to take the lead, only for Elias to force himself back into the contest with an 11-8 win to take the match to five.

This time, the ‘Peruvian Puma’ was in no mood for another Rooney comeback. The World No.5 unloaded his full arsenal of explosive attacking shots, to which an exhausted looking Rooney had no answer, and Elias secured the match in style with an 11-2 win in the fifth.

In the other two men’s matches, India’s Saurav Ghosal overcame Egypt’s Zahed Salem, while Salem’s compatriot Youssef Soliman beat Spain’s Borja Golan.

Ghosal, who recently came back from injury, put in a measured performance against Salem, taking the first two games 11-4 and 11-9 before being pegged back 11-6. The Indian capably responded, though, finishing the match with an 11-7 win in the fourth.

While Soliman recorded a comfortable-looking 3-0 win, former World No.5 Borja made the 25-year-old work for every point, with Soliman edging the first 11-9, then taking the second 11-6 and the third 11-8.

Afterwards, Elias said: “He is a very talented player, and very fair. We played very fair squash, and at one point, he was controlling the game, with his lobs and drops, and the great hands that he has.

“I had to dig deep, in the 4th we had that huge rally and winning that one gave me a bit more confidence, and also the start of the 5th was very important.

I think I should have pushed a bit harder in the second game. At 7-7, one game up, I let it go straight to 11/7 and one game all, which gave hime a lot of confidence and I then had to fight really hard.

My team is quite large now, as always, I work with my dad, and Jonathan Power, of course, but I moved to Florida now, and I work too with Wael El Hindi who has a club over there. Jonathan and Wael are such great players, they help me so much.”

Ghosal said: “I got injured a little bit in Chicago and then that got worse at the Optasia Championships in London in early March. It took a while to get ok as I had a tear in my abductor and had to do a lot of work. In a lot of ways, I had to be very patient because you expect yourself, as soon as it’s healed, to go back to the level you were playing at before the injury.

“It’s not just the injury healing [though], it’s about finding the explosiveness again, finding the rhythm again and having clarity in terms of what you want to do, how you want to do it and if you have that clarity, how you want to execute it as well. It’s been a slow process, but last week in New York I had a good run and every day it’s been getting better and my leg is getting better. I’m feeling more confident with it both physically and mentally. In that sense I’m in a good place, but this is a new tournament.”

[15] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (49m)
[5] Diego Elias (PER) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2 (57m)
[16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 (54m)

Rapid victories for Subramaniam, El Tayeb and Letourneau

In the first clean sweep of the day, Sivasangari Subramaniam, Nour El Tayeb and Danielle Letourneau recorded 3-0 wins to secure their progress to the second round.

Malaysia’s Subramaniam made short work of Germany’s Saskia Beinhard, with the 23-year-old World No.20 needing just 17 minutes to complete her win, taking the first two games 11-3 before ending the match with an 11-2 win in the third.

El Tayeb, a runner up in 2019 got the better of Malaysia’s Aifa Azman with a well-balanced performance. The Egyptian played a good length throughout, with Azman unable to cope with the 29-year-old’s range of shots.

Letourneau, too, made short work of her opponent, the Czech Republic’s Anna Serme. Letourneau looked strong in an 11-6 win in the first game and only improved from then on, with the World No.25 taking the match in 21 minutes with 11-4 and 11-3 wins in the last two games.

Afterwards, Subramaniam said: “I thought I controlled the match really well, it’s her first World Championships, so it was important to get on it, stay steady and finish in three – which I thought I did really well today.

“It is important to have the rest days as everyone is targeting for World Championships, so it’s important to stay focused every match. I didn’t take it easy and it’s important to go in with a positive mindset but not be over confident.”

El Tayeb added: “I’m very happy with the way I played. She is an up and coming player but I’m glad to be back playing with no pressure. Last time the pressure was huge, I felt I had to win, but not this time round. Nice nerves this time. Today, I just wanted to play and see, while my baby was sleeping throughout the match!”

Letourneau said: “I’m very happy with that, I felt like I played with a lot of variety. I played her last week at ToC and I knew she would have a lot of confidence because we played four games there. I really wanted to come out and try and put some pressure on her and rise up to the occasion.”

[21] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt Saskia Beinhard (GER) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (17m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [28] Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (24m)
[20] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)

Wildcard Elshafei downs Khan

In one of the biggest upsets of the day, Egyptian wildcard and World No.99 Yassin Elshafei shocked Pakistan’s World No. 56 Asim Khan to progress to the second round, where he will face compatriot Youssef Soliman.

Elshafei made a blistering start to the match when he took the first game 11-4 to shock Khan, before Khan restored parity with an 11-8 win.

The 20-year-old responded phenomenally, though, upping the tempo to recapture the lead by taking an 11-6 win. With momentum well and truly behind him, Elshafei bulldozed his way into the second round with a convincing 11-3 win.

Joining Elshafei in the next round are the USA’s Todd Harrity and France’s Sebastien Bonmalais, who both recorded quick 3-0 victories after convincing showings against Scotland’s Alan Clyne and Spain’s Bernat Jaume, respectively.

After his win, Elshafei said: “First, I want to thank Karim Darwish for giving me this opportunity, he is someone I have a lot of respect for and I have learned a lot as a player from watching him on YouTube. I’m glad to go through second round for the first time and I am really happy with my performance today. Youssef is amazing player and I will work on recovery and focus for this match.”

“I’m really happy with that today,” Harrity said afterwards. “I was a little nervous coming in today because it’s the World Championships first round and there’s a lot of stuff at stake. I was feeling a bit edgy but my main goal was to stay calm and focused, stick to the game plan and I’m really happy that I did that today.

“I’m currently still training in Egypt and it’s definitely helped coming into this tournament. Egypt has been a really rich experience for my squash game, I’m comfortable here, I’ve been living here for a year and a half now basically. I still have an apartment, I came here early and was able to arrive with no stress and no jet lag, that was an advantage for me.

Bonmalais said: “With my coach Renan Lavigne, we studied his game, and realised that he doesn't like when the rallies are long, he makes errors when the ball keeps coming back. So I tried to make him move around, get him to the corners, but also, when he goes to the front, he has a tendency to stay there, so sending him to the opposite diagonal right away.

At the start, being the first match of the worlds, I was a bit stressed. In general, I'm a bit slow to get into tournament, so the first match is always a bit tricky. Although he was leading, I made the rallies long, and I saw that he was starting to suffer physically. So I kept pushing, it gave me confidence, and I managed to keep him under water. He eventually let it go.”

Todd Harrity (USA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (32m)
[WC] Yassin Elshafei (EGY) bt Asim Khan (PAK) 3-1: 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3 (42m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (36m)

Naughton in comeback and ElShorbagy match over after just one minute

In the next set of matches, there were three 3-1 wins for Hollie Naughton, Sarah-Jane Perry and Olivia Fiechter, while Marwan ElShorbagy’s match against Iker Pajares Bernabeu ended after just one minute due to an injury to the Spaniard.

World No.17 Naughton recovered from a slow start in her match against Egyptian wildcard Nadine Garas, responding well after going a game down to defeat the 18-year-old in 29 minutes.

ElShorbagy’s match against Pajares had been a hotly-anticipated encounter, only for an achilles strain just two points into the first game to bring the encounter to a disappointing end.

Perry and Fiechter, meanwhile, were able to hold on after taking opening game leads. No.6 seed Perry looked strong in her first two games against Hong Kong’s Chan Sin Yuk, which she took11-4, 11-8 before Chan took the third 11-6. Perry was able to steady herself, though, to take the fourth game 11-4. Fiechter, too, took the first two games, winning the first 11-8 and a hard-fought second game 12-10, before Lee edged the third 13-11. Fiechter was able to shake this off to take the fourth 11-6 to progress to the second round.

Afterwards, Naughton said: “It’s been very busy recently, the end seems to be in sight for me, I’ve got a couple more events and then I’m done for the season. I was struggling I would say this season to find my form. I had some tough draws and just felt like I hadn’t got any momentum going and it’s so easy to lose confidence when you’re just playing the top guys all the time. I played a couple of smaller events and I found that really helped to just get some confidence back and believe that I can still do what I want to do and I think that definitely helped leading into this.”

Perry said : “I had a bit of a lapse of concentration in the third, before that my length was pretty good. But then, my length went really short. She is really good at taking the ball low and she’s been having some good results so I was aware of that. I lost my length so she was able to put her shots in then, I was not putting her under enough pressure.

“I said to myself that it was a good way to make sure that if it happens again, I can get my length right again. Instead of visualising it again, I did it!

“It’s going to be nice to have some time to relax afterwards because I got delayed arriving here, I got stuck for hours behind a lorry on fire on the motorway and missed my flight! So now I’m going to go to the hotel, relax, and watch Liverpool in the FA Cup Final.”

Fiechter said: “The scoreline doesn’t show you, but it was neck and neck all the way through. Lee played incredible squash, she was just taking it in so severely and it was a bit of a cold court, so I was just trying to retrieve her short balls all the time, find my way into the match.

“I’m very relieved to get past her, she was just on fire for several bits throughout that match and it was weathering the storm. Incredible match in terms of getting through and going into the second round. I had to fight hard for that one.”

[16] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt [WC] Nardine Garas (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 (29m)
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (30m)
[10] Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-1: 11-8, 12-10, 11-13, 11-6 (38m)
[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 2-0 retired (1m)

Alves and Kandra through in five-game epics

Next up, both France’s Melissa Alves and Germany’s Raphael Kandra played out hugely entertaining five-gamers to reach the second round, while rising star Youssef Ibrahim secured a quick 3-0 win.

It was Mickawy who struck first in an entertaining and even first game, with the Egyptian preventing Alves from settling in a 13-11 win.

Alves picked herself up in the second, striking back with an 11-6 win, only for a big 11-3 victory to seemingly swing momentum in Mickawy’s favour once again.

Alves, however, was yet again able to fight back, with the 28-year-old levelling with an 11-8 win in the fourth before finally snatching a memorable victory with an 11-7 win in the fifth to bring the match to a close in 50 minutes.

It should be little surprise that the match between World No.19 Kandra and Colombia’s World No.14 Miguel Rodriguez was an even affair that went down to the wire. Their last encounter, in El Gouna in 2019, was a 3-2 epic that Rodriguez edged, and this time it was Kandra’s turn for a measure of revenge.

The German took the first game 11-6, with Rodriguez responding with an 11-5 win in the second. Kandra again took the lead in the third, only to be pegged back once more by Rogriguez in the fourth. In the fifth, Kandra was able to maintain his concentration to take the all-important game 11-6.

In the other match in the set, Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim quickly saw off England’s Nathan Lake in a left-hand battle, taking the match 11-5, 11-7 and 11-4 in 26 minutes.

After her match, Alves said: “I actually tore my foot aponeurosis, twice, which took me out of the tour for six months. But you just have got to get on with it.

“I was feeling it all: stress and nerves, plus during the match, as I stepped on her foot, I felt my injury flaring up. It’s just extremely sensitive and then it plays on your mind the whole match.

“All credit to her, she played superbly, I didn’t expect her to retrieve so much during the match, and I was surprised by her accuracy in her length. She buried me at the back, and was more daring and attacking than I was. I struggled to find opportunities really, so I just went with the mental strength, I just wanted to win so badly, after such a long time without playing.

Ibrahim said: “I’m very happy with the way that I played. The World Champs is always nerve wrecking; it’s the biggest tournament of the year. Playing the first round with Nathan Lake is tough, he’s been in good form the last year, so I had to be on my metal to get the win in three and I was very happy to stay mentally strong.”

Kandra said: ““I knew before we went on court that it was going to be a super tough match. We’ve played a few times and once or twice I’ve been able to win but all the times it’s been a really hard match and so many five-setters as well. “I knew what to expect today and that’s even better for me that I could get it at the end, especially in the World Championship, it’s the biggest scalp here.”

[11] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (26m)
[24] Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 11-13, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 11-7 (50m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt [14] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-6 (70m)

Gilis, Leung and Sobhy all through

Belgium’s Tinne Gilis, Hong Kong’s Henry Leung and the USA’s Sabrina Sobhy, are all safely through to the second round as they overcame Scotland’s Georgia Adderley, Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen and Egypt’s Jana Shiha, respectively.

Gilis made a perfect start against Adderley when she took the first game 11-2. Adderley hit back well in the second to level with an 11-5 win, before Gilis came back to take the match with an 11-4 and an 11-5.

Leung had to come from behind to beat Yuen, with the Hong Konger dropping the first game 11-8, before winning the remaining games 11-6, 11-5, 11-5.

Sobhy, meanwhile, was able to secure relatively comfortable passage through after beating Shiha 11-3, 11-5, 11-8.

After the match, Gilis said: “I’ve watched Georgia play so many times now, we just had the European Team Championships and she was there, she had to play every single match on the No.1 and she fought for her country for every single point even though she was tired and had a tournament straight after.

“I knew she was not going to give me anything easy, so I had to fight for every single point. If I’m honest I didn’t feel great on there and she took advantage of that. She had nothing to lose, I was the higher seed, so she just went for it and she is very dangerous when that’s the case, so I’m pleased I got the win.”

Sobhy reflected: “As always, the nerves in the first round are skyrocketing and with it being the World Championships there’s that much more pressure, expectation, desire, grind and everything! This is the tournament, and if we’ve learned anything from watching squash it’s that it’s never over until the referee says match!”

Leung said: ““I just tried my best and didn’t think too much. I had to keep calm and motivated. When I played against [his opponent in the next round, Marwan ElShorbagy] at last year’s World Championships, I lost 3-0. I just hope I can do better, so I’m going to not think too much and instead will try my best and enjoy the match.”

[23] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-1: 11-2, 5-11, 11-4, 12-10 (49m)
[22] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 (22m)
Henry Leung (HKG) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (47m)

18-year-old wildcard Ayman in shock win

In the second wildcard upset of the day, Egypt’s World No.79 Kenzy Ayman dispatched England’s World No.29 Jasmine Hutton 3-0.

18-year-old Ayman, who was playing in her first major PSA event, took the first game 12-10, with her speed and aggression consistently troubling Hutton.

She then beat Hutton by the same scoreline in game two to take a crucial two-game advantage. There was a whiff of deja vu in the third, as once again Ayman was able to grind out her third 12-10 of the day to claim the most deceptive of 3-0 scorelines.

Elsewhere, Qatar’s Abdulla  Al Tamimi recovered from an indifferent start in which he made a number of errors to edge Greg Lobban in five, while Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller beat Japan’s Ryosei Kobayashi in a comfortable 3-0 win.

After the match, Ayman admitted she had been having trouble coping with the speed of matches on the tour: “The pace in PSA is really hard. It’s so much easier in the juniors! Today, I was focusing on each point, not thinking about losing or wining. I wanted to enjoy my game.

“It’s my first time playing in a big PSA event and my first World Championship. I took a lot of experience from my event in Bermuda that I won. It showed me how I can learn to play like Raneem El Welily and Hania El Hammamy, like a professional squash player, and I hope that one day, I can play like Nouran Gohar, all the top players. And I’m so excited because I get to play Nour El Sherbini, on the glass!”

“I had nerves at the start, in that first game I think I made nine mistakes!” Al Tamimi said afterwards. I was so nervous at the start and I knew he was going to have a gameplan against me, to slow the pace. It was all in my head, especially as I’ve never beaten him before. I’ve been up and lost, which was in my head as well. I just had to up the pace to get rid of the nerves.”

“In the fifth, it was all about keeping my focus and keeping it above the tin. I knew he was tiring so it was a case of just needing to find a way to win at the end without hitting the ball well or playing well. I was glad to win this match when I wasn’t playing well.

“It feels great [to win matches when you’ve played below your level]. It gives you confidence because you can’t play worse in the next round and you know you can play better.”

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
[WC] Kenzy Ayman (EGY) bt [32] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 (33m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (67m)

Exciting end to day’s play

In the final set of matches, Mexico’s Cesar Salazar came from two games down to beat Yahya Elnawasany, Japan’s Satomi Watanabe came through a bruising encounter against England’s Lucy Turmel, and Egypt’s Omar Mosaad recovered from a difficult start to beat compatriot Moustafa El Sirty.

Egypt’s Elnawasany may have thought he had one foot in a second-round showdown with World No.2 Ali Farag when he took the first two games 11-5, 11-9. However, a stunning reversal from 35-year-old World No.38 Salazar stopped the 20-year-old World No.55 in his tracks.

Salazar found a foothold in the match with an 11-4 win, before a hotly-contested 11-9 pulled the Mexican level. Salazar continued to press the issue in the fifth, taking the match with an 11-4 win.

Watanabe, meanwhile, played out an exhausting match, the last of the day on the traditional courts. Although she triumphed 3-1 over Turmel, every game felt like it could have gone either way, with a whopping 73 minutes needed to separate the two as Watanabe won 3-1.

Elsewhere, it was a battle of experience v youth as 34-year-old World No.26 Mosaad got the better of 20-year-old World No.32 Moustafa El Sirty.

El Sirty took the first game 11-9, but it was Mosaad who had the last laugh, with the powerful Egyptian takin the next three games 12-10, 11-3, 11-5.

After his match, Mosaad said: “Safely through is the right way to describe things, I think it was a good match from me and I did a good job. Over the last six months, I’ve worked on my squash fitness and nutrition so I’m feeling pretty confident. Sometimes you need a few matches to get more confident in your game again. I think this match was very important because he’s young and hungry and he really wants to win, so I had to push hard.”

Salazar said: I didn’t have a good start and he played really well. He was confident, I wasn’t. Last tournament I played in England, Optasia, I couldn’t finish my match with a pelvic injury. I went back to Mexico, and had to do some specific work: hard, slow, you know, specific for my legs.

Watanabe said: “It was a really, really tough match, both physically and mentally. When so many games go to deuce, I was pleased to get through those and win today. I’m really looking forward to the match against Hania [El Hammamy]. She’s a really good player.

“Because of COVID, I didn’t play a tournament for two years, so I’m really looking forward to how far I can go against her. I’ll have to give all I have.

“I feel like I’m slowly coming back [to match sharpness]. I’m on the right track and that makes me confident in how I’m training, because I wasn’t really sure when I was doing everything in Japan for two years.”

Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-5 (47m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (62m)
Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [19] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-1: 12-14, 13-11, 11-6, 14-12 (73m)

El Sherbini Gets Title Defence Underway

World No.2 Nour El Sherbini kicked off the defence of her PSA World Championships crown with a comfortable victory over Spanish No.1 Cristina Gomez, winning the opening match of the evening on the glass court in straight games.

The par had never met on the Tour before, but El Sherbini’s experience of both glass courts and playing in outdoor conditions certainly seemed to help her, as she was able to find her length more consistently than the Spaniard throughout the match.

The five-time World Champion, who has actually featured in the last six finals at the sport’s premiere event, came through in just 21 minutes, winning 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 to book her place in the last 32 of the competition.

“It feels good, I am really happy to be back. A good first match for me and I am so excited for this week,” El Sherbini said.

“I am trying to have no nerves this week, putting all the negative thoughts out of my mind. I am feeling good, my body is good, physically way better than three months. I am just happy with the way I am playing now. No pressure, no stress, just try to relax and play the best squash I can this week.

“It is always tricky playing on an outdoor court. we have been in this situation before. In Gouna, I played in worse conditions than today, so I am happy with today. It wasn’t that windy inside the court, so for my match, I think it was good. It is tricky to play on a court like this, but hopefully I can battle through more like this!”

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Cristina Gomez (ESP) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (21m)

Farag Starts Title Defence In Style

Ali Farag, the reigning PSA World Champion, became the second player to get their title defence underway on day two, and he followed Nour El Sherbini in the same fashion, winning in straight games against Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas.

The pair had never met on Tour, but the Mexican had moved inside the top 40 thanks to a good run at the Manchester Open in April, and he proved no fool on court in the opening round of the World Champs, as he took an early lead in the opening game.

However, Farag was able to come from 7-3 down to win it 11-8, and he held that momentum throughout the rest of the contest, winning in three to book his place in the second round in Cairo.

“First rounds are always tricky, especially if you are playing at a new venue, and if it is outdoors because you have to adapt to the conditions of the court,” Farag explained.

“I had that in mind coming into the match today. I knew the first game was only to the back two corners to try and find my groove. At least I found it, put some work into his legs, and then I went short a lot quicker in the second and third.

“You have to look at.. Every player now moves really well but they all have holes in their movement somehow so you try to look at them. I watched him play in Manchester and he played brilliantly well, so I watched with a lot of focus, on how I wanted to play today.

“The danger I always myself. If I feel alright, I have the belief that I can beat anyone on my day. I hope I can put six of those performances in a row. I can only focus on the next match, either Yahya Elnawasany or Cesar [Salazar], I don’t know who, but that will be my primary focus for now!”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)

El Hammamy Downs Ibrahim To Reach Round Two

World No.3 Hania El Hammamy got her World Championships campaign off to a great start, with a straight games victory over compatriot Sana Ibrahim, in the penultimate match of the evening’s play.

The pair had never met on Tour, but had seen a lot of each other throughout their junior careers, and Ibrahim tried to come out and playing her typical attacking style, but El Hammamy was able to be the one on top.

The reigning British Open champion came through in three games, to book her place in the second round of the tournament, as she begins her run towards a first World Championships, perhaps?

“It’s good to be back at the World Champs. What an opportunity for any player to be playing in such a huge tournament!” El Hammamy said.

“First round, playing against Sana.. She is very tricky, very dangerous and she likes to attack a lot. I had to be sharp and to control the nerves to get through the first round.

“I know Sana, we both played a lot of juniors together, so I knew what to expect. She is very flexible and her swing flows a lot. You can wait for a drive and then you find a boast. You have to be sharp and stay alert in the middle of the court.

“As much as I love playing outdoors, it is very tricky and one day you can find the court very good, another day it is very weird. It can change from one match to another so it really depends on how alert you are and how prepared you are for the conditions.”

[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Sana Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)

Asal Overcomes Waller To Book Second Round Spot

World No.4 Mostafa Asal was the last man to book his place in the second round of the 2022 PSA World Championships Cairo, with a win over Adrian Waller on the glass court at the Club S Allegria.

It was a very disrupted match, with decisions and court conditions continuing to stop any sort of rhythm from getting into the match, but Asal was able to battle past that, winning in straight games to advance to the last 32.

“I love playing here. I love playing in front of this crowd, my friends, my family, so thank you for coming, supporting me on the first day, the first round. I will arrive at my goal, and drive at the trophy,” Asal said.

“We do Ramadan for all the Muslims, so it is tough for us. To get in shape is also tough and do it during Ramadan is even tougher. During COVID as well has probably affected it a bit but I am here to perform, I am here in front of everyone here, it is almost 10pm and the guys are still here cheering for me.

“I love how the kids are reacting to me. Almost seven years to get on his court. I played lots of juniors, lots of PSA tournaments to get here. To be honest, it is hard but if you are committed then you will get here.”

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (38m)