El Sherbini makes successful start to title defence
World No.2 Nour El Sherbini was amongst the winners on day two of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family as the Egyptian kickstarted her attempts to win an incredible seventh World Champs title with a victory over Hana Moataz at the University Club of Chicago.
“I’d never even seen Hana play before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” said El Sherbini, who will overtake Nouran Gohar as the World No.1 on Monday. “I’m pleased to be going back to No.1, but it’s still a long week and a very important one for me. I just want to take it day-by-day without thinking about it that much. But of course I’m happy to be back to No.1 and hopefully I can keep this spot.”
In the men’s draw, World No.1 Diego Elias began his efforts to become the first South American World Champion with a win against Germany’s Raphael Kandra. The only seeding upsets on Day Two saw Scotland’s Greg Lobban overcome 14th seeded Swish Nicolas Mueller while Egypt’s former champion Karim Abdel Gawad overcame 12th seeded compatriot Youssef Soliman. Former World No.7 Mohamed Abouelghar was the only qualifier to advance as he beat George Parker in straight games.
The second round takes place on Friday and play begins at 12:00 (GMT-5), be split between the spectacular glass court at Union Station as well as the University Club
Reigning champion Nour El Sherbini began her attempts to lift an incredible seventh PSA World Championship title as the World No.2 overcame fellow Egyptian Hana Moataz at the University Club of Chicago this afternoon.
El Sherbini is hunting a fifth successive World Championship crown and her total of six titles puts her second to only Malaysian legend Nicol David, who has eight to her name, on the women’s tour.
Chicago has been a happy hunting ground for El Sherbini in the past – with both World Championships held in ‘The Windy City’ going the way of ‘The Warrior Princess’ – and she got her title challenge under way today with a comfortable 11-4, 11-2, 11-6 win over World No.38 Moataz.
“I’ve never even seen Hana play before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” said El Sherbini, who will overtake Nouran Gohar as the World No.1 on Monday.
“She’s playing full-time now and I’m happy with the way I played.
“I’m pleased to be going back to No.1 but it’s still a long week and a very important one for me. I just want to take it day-by-day without thinking about it that much. But of course I’m happy to be back to No.1 and hopefully I can keep this spot.”
El Sherbini will go up against France’s Marie Stephan in round two after Stephan defeated Malaysia’s Yasshmita Jadishkumar in five games.
Stephan said: “It was very tricky, I’ve watched a couple of videos of her and I’m just happy to get through.
“It’s been a goal to win one of these matches for a long time, so I’m happy to be in the second round.”
Perry – the World No.9 – is aiming to progress beyond the quarter-finals of this tournament for the first time and her next opponent will be Canada’s Nicole Bunyan.
“I thought Nadine played a lot better than when we played in Black Ball, but I was also very in and out with my concentration, which affected my length,” Perry said.
“When I had a good length I felt like I had control of the rallies and I was getting opportunities, but when that dropped off she was unpredictable and lethal. I made life difficult for myself today with some of my shot choices and some poor errors at times. But I’m really pleased to sneak it at the end there, from 7-7 in the fifth it’s anyone’s game.
“I’ve never played Nicole on PSA before. She’s a solid player and our coaches are very good friends, so they’ll know what each other will be telling us to do. It’s really good to play different people, especially at the World Championships where it’s a 64-woman draw.
“With the qualifying event being held a few weeks ago there are some different faces and that’s great for the sport. It’s nice to have a different challenge with some different patterns and different strengths and weaknesses. I really like that part of the game.”
England duo Georgina Kennedy and Lucy Turmel will go head-to-head in round two after respective wins against Wales’ Emily Whitlock and Egypt’s Mariam Metwally, while No.4 seed Joelle King dispatched France’s Enora Villard to set up a last 32 meeting with World No.42 Lucy Beecroft.
Meanwhile, Welsh No.15 seed Tesni Evans overcame England’s Katie Malliff and will take on Malaysia’s Aifa Azman after she disposed of wildcard Caroline Fouts.
“On a traditional court it’s a bit harder and I’d never played Charlie before,” Momen said. “I’ve played his older brother Joe and he used to give me a hard time on court, so it obviously runs in the family. He had a very good start and I knew the first game was important, so I needed to give it a big push. I came back from 7-3 down and winning that one proved crucial.
“I started to enforce my game plan a little bit and play better. It’s always great to have them [Momen’s wife, Raneem El Welily, and son, Shahir,] here. Raneem has had huge success here in her career, so she has good memories. We’ve had a couple of World Championships here in the past few years and I love having them with me, hopefully we’ll have a great week.”
The 35-year-old will go up against Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas in the next round, with Cardenas claiming his first World Championship win courtesy of a 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-2, 11-9 win over Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais after 76 minutes of action.
Cardenas said: “It was tough, Sebastien is a great player and he is fast. “I managed to be intelligent and resolved the match. I like the pressure to compete and being in these positions. I’m going to fight against Tarek [Momen] and I’ll give it 100 per cent.”
Egyptian duo Fares Dessouky and Mohamed Abouelghar will contest a mouthwatering second round clash after wins over Canada’s David Baillargeon and England’s George Parker, while Youssef Ibrahim and Greg Lobban were the other men’s victors this afternoon.
World No.1 Diego Elias crowned his 250th win on the PSA World Tour by booking his place in the second round, beating Raphael Kandra 3-0.
The ‘Peruvian Puma’ drew first blood after a close opening game, before taking the second and third 11-7 and 11-4 to progress to the second round.
“At the start I was a bit nervous, but that’s normal, it’s the first match of the tournament,” Elias said. “I’ve been very excited for this tournament. I’m feeling good and it’s my first tournament as World No.1. Hopefully I can go all the way and try and win it.
“There is less pressure compared to when I was trying to get to World No.1. Now that I’m there I’m a bit more relaxed and I’m just going to try and win titles.”
Baptiste Masotti, Elias’ opponent tomorrow, defeated Andrew Douglas to secure his place in the second round while his French compatriot Auguste Dussourd beat Rui Soares.
Home favourite Olivia Fiechter comfortably sealed her place in the next round after beating Nada Abbas.
The World No.7 was in strong form as she took the first 11-7 before shrugging off a fightback from Abbas to clinch the second 11-3. Fiechter sewed up the match with another dominant display in the third, winning 11-4, to prevail.
Afterwards, Fiechter said: “I’m very relieved to get through that in three and I’m pretty happy with my performance. “The last time we played it was a really tight four games and she was one of the toughest opponents I could have drawn in the first round. Some people would say it was a tough draw, but I looked at it as a great opportunity to come out strong.
“She’s a momentum player so when she won some big rallies I tried not to panic and trusted that even though she got the point I had put some work into her legs.
“It’s the best when you have a lot of the team from US Squash, my sponsors, my fiancé, my friends in the crowd, there’s nothing better than playing on home soil. “It’s fantastic, last year this was in Egypt, so I definitely prefer playing Nada here. It’s a blast, Chicago is one of my favourite cities.”
Henry Leung held off a spirited fightback from James Willstrop to progress to the second round. Leung was two games to the good before Willstrop mounted a terrific fightback to level the match, before the Hong-Konger clinched an entertaining fifth game 15-13.
“I’m happy to get the win today,” Leung said afterwards. “I played well in the first two games but then in the third and fourth games he controlled the rallies well and it was hard for me. I didn’t think too much, I just put effort into every rally and made every rally as hard as possible.
“I need to recover well tonight. Hopefully my body will perform well tomorrow.”
“It wasn’t easy to come through in five, Yahya played really well and put me under a lot of pressure, so credit to him,” said Ghosal. “I’m happy that I found a way and used my head in the fourth and fifth games to get out of the hole I was in. It’s always easy to be self-critical and say that you didn’t do things right, but you have to give credit to your opponent once in a while. Yahya played some good stuff.
“It’s the World Championships, it’s in Chicago which is a great city and we are happy to be here. I have fond memories and the people are brilliant. I find it satisfying playing at the University Club of Chicago and Union Station. “I feel privileged to be doing what I’m doing right now.”
Elsewhere, Dimitri Steinmann, Eain Yow Ng and Karim Abdel Gawad notched straight game victories over Iker Pajares , Abhay Singh and Youssef Soliman, respectively.
World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy cruised into the second round after downing Timothy Brownell, who was on home court.
“He’s a great player, he’s really talented,” ElShorbagy said afterwards. “I saw him take Mazen [Hesham] to five at the British on the traditional courts. When you give him anything around the middle he can definitely win the point. This is the second time we’ve played, the first time was at the Nations Cup in New Zealand.
“I think he gave me a bit too much respect in that match but today he didn’t care and he fought hard. After the match we shook hands and I told him that I respect that. “To get through in three in any match is always pleasing. It’s not like when you had Ali and myself and everyone was falling behind, now the level is very close and anyone can beat anyone right now.
“I’m playing Yow now and we know each other very well, we’ve trained together in Bristol for many years now and have played so many times. He’s been a lot more consistent this season and he’s taken out Paul [Coll] in Singapore and Victor [Crouin] at Optasia. “No one knows me on tour better apart from my brother.”
Mohamed’s brother Marwan will also be returning tomorrow for the second round, having also got the better of an American in Shahjahan Khan.
Meanwhile, Melissa Alves had to come from behind to beat Aira Azman 3-2, but it was a comfortable win for Nele Gilis – dispatching Zeina Zein 3-0.
Eighth seed Rowan Elaraby dispatched Grace Gear in three, while Sivasangari Subramaniam was triumphant over Marina Stefanoni.