QF Roundup: Elias Downs Gawad To Become First South American To Reach Semi Finals 

Diego Elias has become the first South American to reach the semi finals of the CIB PSA World Championships after ousting former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

Elias, who lost out to Gawad in the quarter finals last season, avenged that defeat with a dominant performance over the 2016 World Champion to progress to the last four of this tournament for the first time in his career.

The third seeded Peruvian did an excellent job of neutralising Gawad and converting his opportunities when they were presented to him, with his accuracy leaving the Egyptian short of answers. Elias held off a late surge from Gawad in the third to close out an 11-5, 11-1, 11-6 win. 

“Playing Karim in Egypt is always tough and I’m just really happy. I was focused from the first point and I’m super happy with that performance,” he said.

“I’m super happy with how I played in all these rounds. I’m feeling great, I’m feeling fresh and it’s going to be a great match [against Ali Farag].

“I’m here with my dad and all my team and I’ve been doing a lot of sessions in the gym and a lot of recovery and hitting with my dad. It’s been really long days with playing last every night and I’m enjoying my time here.

“I felt great but I didn’t expect this. I played great squash like I have been all week and I’m happy to win in three.”

Elias’ semi final opponent will be the defending champion Ali Farag, who downed 2020 World Champion Tarek Momen in straight games.

The four-time World champion overcame Momen 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 in 52 minutes, as Farag kept Momen at bay to extend his unbeaten run over his fellow Egyptian to 15 matches on the PSA World Tour.

The other men’s semi final will be contested between second and fourth seeds Paul Coll and Mostafa Asal, after they defeated Mohamed ElShorbagy and Mazen Hesham at the Palm Hills Club.

In the women’s draw, Olivia Weaver progressed to the last four of the World Championships for the first time in her career after beating Fayrouz Aboelkheir 3-1 at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

It was the first time Weaver and Aboelkheir were going head-to-head on the PSA World Tour, and the American’s experience told against the teenager as she took a two-game lead.

However Aboelkheir halved the match deficit as she started to get on the ball early and finding the back corners well, taking the game 11-3. But Weaver got back to what she was doing best in the first two games while regaining control of the ‘T’ and finding her targets again to seal the match with an 11-3 success in the fourth.

“It feels great,” Weaver said.

“That was a huge match and a huge opportunity for both of us – our first time in the quarter finals. It’s funny as the first time I met Fayrouz [Aboelkheir] was during 2020 in covid and I was training in Alexandria for a few days and they asked me if I wanted to get on court with a 15-year-old who was No.1 in the 17s, and I could tell very quickly that she was going to get to this top level at a very young age.

“All credit to her for coming out and playing aggressively and to perform like that under these circumstances is very impressive, she’s had a great run this week and she’s got a bright future.

“Rod [Martin] has been in my corner all week which has been incredible and I’ve been working so hard with all my team and my family has been backing me with all the work we’ve been putting in for all these years.

“It was obvious I needed to come back out in the fourth and change some things and find my game again. It was a combination of her skill and hold but I lost my accuracy and my length a bit. It was about going back to doing what I’ve been doing well this season which is getting the ball into the back corners and being aggressive around the middle.”

Standing in Weaver’s way of a place in the final is seven-time World champion Nour El Sherbini, who produced a clinical display against Tinne Gilis to safely progress to the last four.

El Sherbini’s accuracy and shot selection was too much for Gilis as she moved a step closer to a record-equalling eighth World crown with a 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 11-5 victory in 27 minutes.

The quarter-finals of the CIB PSA World Championships continue tomorrow (Thursday May 16), with the bottom half of the draw in the women’s event. Play at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization begins at 19:30 (GMT+3) with both matches live on SQUASHTV.

Results – Men’s Quarter Finals: 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (52m)
[3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-6 (34m)
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 2-11, 11-8, 11-3 (58m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [7] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 (49m)

Results – Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships
[1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) bt [7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 11-5 (27m)
[8] Olivia Weaver (USA) bt Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 11-3 (40m)

Draw – Women’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played May 16th
[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[9] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v [2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)