El Hammamy scrapes past Orfi as top seeds move into the quarter-finals in Chicago
Third seed Hania El Hammamy avoided a shock defeat against 15-year-old rising star Amina Orfi as she won a nail-biting five-game thriller at Chicago’s Union Station to reach the quarter-finals.
World No.61 Orfi was the youngest player in history to appear in the third round of the sport’s most prestigious tournament and came close to causing one of the event’s biggest ever upsets. Orfi fought back from two games down against a stunned El Hammamy, with Hammamy eventually squeezing out the win by an 11-9 scoreline in a pulsating fifth game.
El Hammamy will now aim to avenge her British Open defeat to US No.1 Amanda Sobhy, who beat Salma Hany for the fifth tournament in a row. Top seed Nouran Gohar will take on fellow Egyptian Nour El Tayeb as they recorded straight game wins over Tinne Gilis and Sabrina Sobhy.
In the men’s draw top seed Mostafa Asal avenged his Canary Wharf defeat against Joel Makin and he’ll meet fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham who ended the run of Aly Abou Eleinen. Defending Champion Ali Farag overcame Chicago-based Nathan Lake and in the quarters will resume his rivalry with Kiwi Paul Coll, who got the better of Miguel Rodriguez in straight games.
Men’s Round Three (top half) :
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-1  Joel Makin (WAL) 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5 (85m)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1 Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 (63m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1 Nathan Lake (ENG) 11-9, 11-1, 9-11, 11-3 (34m)
Women’s Round Three (top half) :
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0  Tinne Gilis (BEL) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (31m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-0  Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 12-10, 12-10, 11-6 (31m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2 Amina Orfi (EGY) 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9 (71m)
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Gohar on Form to Dispatch Gilis
World No.1 Nouran Gohar came out all guns blazing to dispatch Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in straight games as she booked her place in the PSA World Championship quarter-finals in the opening match of the day.
Gohar had won both of their two previous matches without dropping a game coming into today’s match and the 25-year-old wasted no time in establishing a lead as she found her accuracy right from the off.
Gohar dictated the tempo of the match and Gilis was unable to live with her rapid pace of hitting as she succumbed to an 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 defeat in 31 minutes.
Up next for Gohar is a last eight encounter with either World No.6 Nour El Tayeb or USA’s Sabrina Sobhy as ‘The Terminator’ aims to capture her first World Championship title, having fallen at the final hurdle twice.
“I’m very happy with the start of this match,” said Gohar. “I knew Tinne is a very good player, so I wanted to make it a bit easier for myself today and have a good start and I’m glad I did that. It’s good and it’s bad [to win quickly], you don’t want to be caught in a 3-0 roller coaster because I was ready for a fight. I was ready to be losing a game.
“It’s not the end of the world if I lose one game. It’s obviously good for the body [to win in three], but you just have to keep in mind that you won’t be able to win every match in three.”
Result :  Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (31m)
Farag Tested by Lake
Reigning men’s World Champion Ali Farag was tested by World No.35 Nathan Lake as he recovered from a slow start to record an 11-9, 11-1, 9-11, 11-3 victory.
Lake, who is based in Chicago, was appearing in the third round of the World Championships for the first time and the local man had the majority of fans on his side.
He clearly felt comfortable on court and took the match to Farag, holding the ball to break up the World No.4’s movement and attacking whenever the opportunity presented itself.
After the Englishman had taken a 6-3 lead, Farag was able to respond and tightened up his game to sneak the opener. Lake’s resistance looked to be crumbling after he took just a single point in the second game, but he fought on and halved the deficit after a fine performance in the third.
Farag wasn’t to be denied though and the Egyptian stormed to victory in a one-sided fourth game to set up a last eight meeting with either World No.5 Paul Coll or World No.13 Miguel Rodriguez.
“Nathan Lake is another tricky campaigner,” Farag said. “He’s very skilful and very talented. I got off to a great start and I managed to win that one. With the second, I thought I had most control of the match, but then he came back very strong at me in the third.
“I never felt like he was giving up and giving up at any point. He was really taking it to me and I knew exactly what I was doing wrong. Karim [Darwish] just confirmed it with me, but then I had to be on my mettle and I hoped that I would run away with the first few points [in the fourth game] and I got more confidence as the game unfolded. I did that, so I was very happy.”
Result :  Ali Farag (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-1, 9-11, 11-3 (34m)
El Tayeb Ousts Sobhy
2019 runner-up Nour El Tayeb will take on World No.1 Nouran Gohar for a place in the semi-finals after she overcame United States No.4 Sabrina Sobhy in straight games.
El Tayeb had won all five of their previous meetings on the PSA Tour but things could have been different for Sobhy had she been able to take either of the first two games, narrowly going down 12-10 in both.
Sobhy was causing El Tayeb plenty of problems as she varied the pace of her shots and moved the Egyptian into all corners, but she wasn’t able to keep that up in a third game that was littered with errors as the Egyptian player took full control inside Union Station.
World No.6 El Tayeb closed out a 12-10, 12-10, 11-6 victory in 31 minutes to book her spot in the last eight.
“I think it was a very good performance from my side,” said El Tayeb.
“Sabrina [Sobhy] and I have played four times this season, so I knew every time that she’s going to take something from the previous match. But I think I played well. As I said in my interview, I think I was very lucky to win the first two games, and having won that one in the way I did and having a rest day tomorrow, I think it’s very good.
“I think I’ve had three tough matches leading into the quarter finals. It’s exciting to play against her [Gohar]. I haven’t managed to beat her since I came back, but I think I’ll be ready for this one and I’m excited to play against her in the quarter-final of the World Championships. I’m definitely very happy and grateful to be in the quarter-finals here again.”
Result :  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-6 (31m)
Coll Moves Past Rodriguez
World No.5 Paul Coll booked his spot in the quarter-finals after defeating the entertaining Colombian Miguel Rodriguez by an 3-0 scoreline.
It was their sixth meeting on the PSA Tour – with Coll winning the previous two – and the New Zealander made it a hat-trick as he sealed an 11-8, 11-5, 13-11 victory in 59 minutes.
Rodriguez is renowned for his ability to entertain and he certainly delivered in that regard, wowing the crowd with some exhibition-style flourishes.
They were willing him to take a tense third game, but Coll was equal to the task and ultimately had superior accuracy and consistency on the day, setting up a last eight meeting with defending champion Ali Farag.
“It was a short turnaround for my match yesterday and I didn’t get much practice on the court,” said Coll. “I was very happy with the way I was seeing the ball, the way I played on there, and how I physically felt. It’s my favourite court and I’m looking forward to getting on it again in a couple of days’ time and hopefully have another good result.
“I felt in control, I felt like I knew what I was doing, but he can sort of mess with you and mix it around a bit. I lost my concentration and he stepped up quite a bit and I was being a bit passive.
“The last match was a doozy [against Farag]. I’m looking forward to getting back on there at the World Champs. I know it’s going to be a battle and I know it’s going to be a clean battle. So I’m looking forward to it.”
Result :  Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 13-11 (59m)
Impressive Sobhy Cruises Into Last Eight
USA’s No.1 Amanda Sobhy cruised into the quarter-finals following a dominant display over Salma Hany.
Sobhy was well-measured in her play throughout, with her length proving to be problematic for Hany who had no answer.
29-year-old Sobhy has yet to drop a game on her way to the quarter-finals, with victory over Hany keeping her unbeaten streak against the Egyptian intact.
“It was pretty straightforward, I felt very comfortable out there, which was nice,” said Sobhy. “I think Salma is the player that I’ve probably played the most in the last few seasons. So I know her game, I know the tactics and it’s been working out in my favour, which is nice. Maybe the pace [could be a factor in why Hany struggles against Sobhy] or it could be a mental block at this point.
“Amina and Hania, going to be very interesting to watch. Amina has no pressure on her whatsoever, the pressure’s kind of on Hania. I’m excited to just watch it from the comfort of my hotel room.”
Result :  Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (27m)
Asal Overcomes Makin
Top seed Mostafa Asal came through a bruising 85-minute battle with Joel Makin to secure his place in the quarter-finals.
It was the seventh time the two have met on tour, with Makin coming out on top in their recent clash at the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic.
However it was Asal who triumphed on this occasion, as the Egyptian fought back into the opening game after Makin squandered five game balls. Asal drew first blood after winning 12-10 in the tiebreak.
The former World No.1 upped the pace, looking good value for his lead which he doubled with an 11-6 victory. But Makin charged back when he needed it most, taking a 5-1 lead which Asal clawed back to 7-7. However the Welshman took the third 11-9 to halve the deficit.
Makin requested a new ball at the end of the third, but it worked in Asal’s favour. As the Egyptian diffused the Golden Tiger’s fightback to seal his last eight spot.
Afterwards, Asal said: “My performance today was so good. “I didn’t mean to hit Joel at all. This was a stroke but I asked the referee for a let ball. I didn’t see him, I was trying to play a boast to finish the shot.
“It was intense and I wanted to play the ball because maybe the referee will give me a no let. I apologised to him and I think we played good squash today. We were saying sorry to each other and it was nice squash today.
“In football, Argentina lost the first match against Saudi Arabia [at the World Cup]. I couldn’t lose the first match but it was tough. You see Karim Gawad in 2016, it looked like he would be out of the tournament in round two or three and then he won the tournament.”
Result :  Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt  Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5 (85m)
El Hammamy Avoids Upset
World No.3 Hania El Hammamy avoided being on the wrong side of a shock result after she edged past 15-year-old starlet Amina Orfi.
El Hammamy looked on course to booking a quarter-final place when she went 2-0 up, with her experience and quality coming to the fore.
However Orfi, who became the youngest player to reach the third round of a World Championships yesterday when she knocked out Olivia Clyne, provided a stern test for her compatriot throughout.
The rising star produced two magnificent displays to level the match and force a decider against the tournament’s No.3 seed.
Orfi pushed El Hammamy all the way in the fifth, with the latter able to eventually pull away and swerve a huge upset.
“I’m not happy with the way I played after being 2-0 up,” said El Hammamy. “I’ve been a youngster myself, so I knew the excitement and courage that Amina would play with. She’s the World Junior Champion, she’s still only 15 and look how well she is playing now. I’m sure we’ll have some real battles in the future.
“I’m not thinking about it [the World Championship title], I’m just trying to bring my ‘A’ game in the upcoming rounds.”“I’m not happy with the way I played after being 2-0 up,” said El Hammamy.
“I’ve been a youngster myself, so I knew the excitement and courage that Amina would play with. She’s the World Junior Champion, she’s still only 15 and look how well she is playing now. I’m sure we’ll have some real battles in the future.
“I’m not thinking about the World title, I’m just trying to bring my ‘A’ game in the upcoming rounds.”
Result :  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Amina Orfi (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9 (71m)
Hesham Wins All-Egyptian Battle
No.9 seed Mazen Hesham progressed to the quarter-finals after defeating his fellow countryman Aly Abou Eleinen in four games.
It was just the second time the two Egyptians have locked horns on the PSA World Tour, with Hesham victorious at the Houston Open earlier this year.
After edging the first 11-9 Eleinen, who knocked Victor Crouin out of the tournament yesterday, drew level with an 11-8 win in the second.
Hesham restored his advantage in the third, which prompted Eleinen to introduce a fresh ball for the fourth game. The new ball didn’t come to his aid as Hesham secured a last eight spot.
“It was a tough match,” Hesham said. “All games went to the last few points. I’m really pleased to be able to push and to be solid in the big points. I think I played really well today, all credit to him because he pushed me to the wire, so I’m happy to get the win and hopefully I can perform better in the next round.
“It’s a nice venue and the court looks amazing on TV. New venues are always good and are nice for the sport.
“I’ll be expecting explosive squash and Mostafa is going to be tough to beat. The better player will win and hopefully it is going to be me.”
Result :  Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 (63m)
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