Amina El Rihany in action against Millie Tomlinson.
Amina El Rihany in action against Millie Tomlinson.

Day One Afternoon: Wildcard El Rihany Scores Upset Win

Women’s wildcard Amina El Rihany scored an upset win over England’s Millie Tomlinson as the 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships got under way today at the Palm Hills Club, with 28 matches taking place on the traditional plaster courts.

El Rihany was competing in her first ever match on the PSA World Tour but produced a superb performance on home soil against a former top 20 player, winning 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 to secure her place in the last 32.

“When I got on court today, I was confident as I had nothing to lose,” said El Rihany.

“I was the wildcard and I just played my game, I was really focused. I was playing deep back in the corner and I got a few volleys as well whilst keeping the pace up. When I lost the first game, I told myself, don’t worry, you can do it again, and I think the key today was my focus throughout the match.”

El Rihany will go up against Belgium’s No.7 seed Tinne Gilis in the last 32, with Gilis overcoming Malaysia’s Aifa Azman in straight games.

17-year-old Amina Orfi – the reigning World Junior Champion – also made a winning start, dispatching Hong Kong’s Ka Yi Lee in confident style.

The World No.11 will continue her campaign against Wales’s Tesni Murphy. A win there could set up a mouthwatering last 16 clash against reigning PSA World Champion Nour El Sherbini.

“After the first game, I relaxed a lot and was playing better and better,” said Orfi.

“I got more confident, so I’m happy with the way I played today. I had played her back in December in Hong Kong, so I knew what to expect, and I knew she was going to drop shot anything short, so I tried to lengthen the rallies. The court was quite cold at the beginning, I tried to keep the ball away from her height and that went well.

“Tesni is obviously a good player, she was in the top 10 for a while before her injury, so I am expecting a good and competitive match and I’m looking forward to it.”

Elsewhere, Sarah-Jane Perry overcame Jasmine Hutton in an all-English battle, while her compatriot Torrie Malik scored a win on her World Championship debut, beating Sana Ibrahim in impressive style.

In the men’s event, Colombian veteran Miguel Rodriguez saw his World Championship campaign come to an end against fellow South American Leandro Romiglio.

Rodriguez, a former World No.4, was the heavy favourite heading into the match and had beaten Romiglio in all seven of their meetings across the PSA Tour and previous Pan American Games. However, the Argentinian wasn’t to be denied as he produced one of the finest performances of his career to run out a 3-0 winner.

“I’m really happy with the win in the first round against Miguel, I’ve played so many times with him and it’s the first time I’ve beaten him, so I’m really happy with the win,” said Romiglio afterwards.

“It means a lot [to beat someone of Miguel’s calibre], he’s still at the top of the game and has a lot of experience. I’ve been working really hard and it’s a good win. I came close at the Pan Am games, but he beat me in the end. This time I could beat him and I’m really happy.

“Last year I was 2-0 up and he beat me 3-2 and in the third game today the ghost appeared again and I had to keep the focus and luckily I maintained the game plan.

“It is also the way I like to play [being patient] and with structure in the back. I said today I have to go short to beat him and I executed some nice shots, I was building confidence and in the end it paid off.”

Romiglio will take on Portugal’s Rui Soares in round two, offering both players the chance to reach the last 16 for the first time.

Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann also caused an upset as the World No.27 put in a composed performance to overcome World No.19 Mohamed ElSherbini.

Steinmann was in complete control during the first two games and held off a late surge from his opponent to get the win over the line. His round two match will be against Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen after he battled to a hard-fought 3-1 victory against France’s Sebastien Bonmalais.

“Niki [Mueller] just told me they were the best first two games he’s ever seen me play, and I think it was because I was so relaxed,” said Steinmann.

“I love the environment here, it’s a great club and facility. I’m enjoying my squash and I’m happy to get the win.

“Sherbini is a really good player and I gave him a little bit too much space to hit the ball, and as soon as he’s settled he’s really gifted with his racket work. He put me under pressure and played a lot of winners. After losing the third I knew I had to get him moving again, and that’s what I did at the beginning of the fourth especially, and that’s what got me over the line.

“I’ve been trying to be more relaxed in my entire life situation and I think that’s helped a lot. I’ve started working with a mental coach, Fabian Westermann, he’s been an absolute game changer for me, and I’m pleased to be more relaxed.”

2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and 2019 champion Tarek Momen were also amongst the day’s winners, beating USA’s Timothy Brownell and England’s George Parker, respectively.

Action from the glass court at the Palm Hills Club begins at 19:30 (GMT+3) and all of the action will be live on SQUASHTV.

For more information on the PSA World Championships, visit the offical tournament website or follow the PSA on XFacebookInstagramTikTokYouTube and WhatsApp.

Results – Men’s First Round (Top Half): 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships

Greg Lobban (SCO) bt [WC] Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-4 (28m)
Rui Soares (POR) bt Moustafa Elsirty (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8 (69m)
Leandro Romiglio (ARG) bt [15] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (57m)
[11] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Andrew Douglas (USA) 3-1: 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 (50m)
Simon Herbert (ENG) bt Leung Chi Hin Henry (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 (43m)
Addeen Idrakie (MAS) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9 (87m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 (27m)
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (29m)
Rory Stewart (SCO) bt Yannick Wilhelmi (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (40m)
Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3 (40m)
[14] Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-1, 15-13 (64m)
[16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 14-12 (38m)
Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) bt Ibrahim Elkabbani (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 (68m)
Iker Pajares (ESP) bt Tom Walsh (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-7 (56m)

Results – Women’s First Round (Top Half): 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships

Menna Hamed (EGY) bt Nardine Garas (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)
Tesni Murphy (WAL) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-0 (22m)
[11] Amina Orfi (EGY) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (28m)
[15] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-1: 13-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (48m)
Cindy Merlo (SUI) bt Danielle Ray (CAN) 3-2: 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 (46m)
[WC] Amina El Rihany (EGY) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (46m)
[7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (20m)
[8] Olivia Weaver (USA) bt Haya Ali (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-1, 11-1 (21m)
Marta Dominguez (ESP) bt Yiwen Chan (MAS) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 (40m)
Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Alex Haydon (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (28m)
[10] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-2: 11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 9-11, 11-7 (60m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) bt [16] Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (30m)
Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) bt Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-2: 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (48m)
Torrie Malik (ENG) bt Sana Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 (40m)


More Player Reaction…

Karim Abdel Gawad

Beat: Timothy Brownell 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (29m)

Next Opponent: Rory Stewart

He said: “Last time we played it went to five games and I was 2-0 down.

“This time I knew what to expect. You can get in your head, but this time I tried to focus on myself and the way I play. I’m happy to get through in three, in a longer tournament like the World Champs you need every bit of energy you have for the next round.

“I don’t like to put pressure on myself. When I was No.1, No.2 or whatever, I just tried to focus on the tournament. This is the way I play well and deal with the pressure. I just focus on how to play better.

“I came back from injury last year and reached the final. I play better with less pressure, I focus on how to improve and how to learn from every match. I keep watching the matches I lose and I talk about them with my coaches.

“Until the last day I will keep learning and enjoying my squash.”


Tesni Murphy

Beat: Enora Villard 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-0 (22m)

Next Opponent: Amina Orfi

She said: “At the start, I was giving her a lot of balls in the middle, where she is really good, she hits really good, nice kills and takes it in, she is very confident.

“She started very confidently and I thought I was in trouble here. So I tried to find my length and straightened up. I got a bit more opportunities and got her behind me.

“Last week was a hard week at the Europeans, everybody is a bit tired and obviously for Enora, it was a very hard week as she had to play all of the matches and had some pretty hard ones as well, with Melissa injured. So to be fair, I don’t think that Enora played at her best, maybe she was a bit leggy from last week, but it’s the World Champs, I’ll take that any day.

“I haven’t played Amina yet and I’m up for the challenge. I think that what she is doing is amazing for her age. It’s fascinating to watch. And being older now, it’s even more impressive. Her game is so solid and it doesn’t really break down, hence why she is beating so many top players.

“Hopefully I can bring something different to the table, and maybe throw her off a little bit if I can, get her out of her rhythm a little bit. It will be really tough, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll have no pressure, I’m going to go in, enjoy it, and see what I can do.”


Victor Crouin

Beat: Andrew Douglas 3-1: 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 (50m)

Next Opponent: Simon Herbert

“I’m happy to win a match on the PSA World Tour after three consecutive losses.

“The main goal was to find a solution to win regardless of how well I played. Sometimes I get stuck in trying to play my best squash rather than being efficient and win because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’m happy to get through to the second round – I’ve never been passed the third round of the World Championships before and I’ve got a good opportunity to do it thanks to my ranking and hopefully I can recover well and get my head in the right place.

“When you see a stat like this [losing at his last three events] you try your best to keep it out of your mind and it can lead to negative thoughts and they keep coming back and you start to doubt yourself. I’ve not won too many matches in all the leagues and Championships recently and I know the quality of game hasn’t disappeared – I just need to express it. It’s always good to get a win and it’s important to think about the positives from that.”


Simon Herbert

Beat: Leung Chi Hin Henry 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 (43m)

Next Opponent: Victor Crouin

“It’s massive for me. I’ve been on the World Tour since January consistently, I’ve not had the results I wanted, there were a couple of things in the background and this means more to me than anything.

“I’m massively pleased [to reach round two of the World Championships for the first time]. There was an opportunity to take it and I played really well today. Henry [Leung] wasn’t at his best today, but it’s about whoever was better on the day and I was.

“Henry’s not the kind of player to play really badly – he’s solid, fit and strong and he doesn’t give up. In the second and third games he came back and he’s never going to give up.

“It’s been a tough two months behind the scenes, I’m trying to work as hard as possible, things haven’t been going my way in tournaments, but the hard work is paying off and I’m ready for round two.”


Salma Hany

Beat: Hollie Naughton 3-2: 11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 9-11, 11-7 (60m)

Next Opponent: Hana Ramadan

She said: “It’s the first round of the World Championship, so there will always be nerves, but I think I managed that pretty well in the first game and I felt pretty good on the court.

“In the third I feel I relaxed a little bit and maybe I saw the finish line a little bit too early. That was my lesson for today, but all credit to Hollie, she played some really good squash and she fought back.

“You just have to give it the last push, you play solidly and try to focus on every point. You try not to think about the 2-0 lead because it’s gone already. I got a pretty good lead in the middle of the fifth and that definitely gave me a little edge.

“She [Hana Ramadan] will have nothing to lose. I played some good squash today, so I’m going to focus on those positives and learn from my mistakes. I have two days to recover and regroup. Hana has been playing well and pushing the top players.”


Hana Ramadan

Beat: Alex Haydon 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (28m)

Next Opponent: Salma Hany

“Alex is a really great player, she’s good at moving me on court and she can change the depth of her length and put some pressure on me by taking the ball early.

“I’m really glad I won in three, I dropped off in the second game a bit, so I’m glad I closed that one out.

“She’s played two tournaments on PSA and everyone is tricky to play. I had to put on my ‘A’ game as I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it would be tough and even if I didn’t play my best squash today I was trying to retrieve everything she threw at me.”


Sarah-Jane Perry

Beat: Jasmine Hutton 3-1: 13-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (48m)

Next Opponent: Cindy Merlo

“The only ‘come on’ you heard from me was at the end of the first game.

“I knew how important that game was. Rightly or wrongly, I felt that I was in the middle more than she was, controlling the pace a little more often than she was. When you are in that situation, you’ve got to take advantage of that, what is the use of controlling the middle only to be too passive?

“You’ve got to take advantage without overcomplicating it either. I sensed she got a bit frustrated in the middle of the fourth, she was up 6-2, I played a good rally then she gave me a cheap one, and suddenly it’s 6-4 and that’s a big difference.

“From that point on, I felt I was finding my targets just a bit better and I could see her forcing it a little bit. I knew I would get some nice openings if I kept fighting these targets. She still hit a couple of great shots, but she also hit more errors than winners from that point.

“She started to read my trickle boast better, and funnily enough, when I spoke to Rob (Owen, SJ’s coach), he told me ‘don’t play too many trickle boasts’. It’s ironic that I got to match ball with one of those, but I hadn’t played it for a while. It’’s all about playing it at the right time. I played one forehand drop and that was to win the match.

“I didn’t have the couple of years I wish I would have had due to some loss of confidence and illness. As I often say, I’m someone who believes you leave everything you have on the day, without any excuses. This actually made me not address what the real problem was, chronic fatigue and other things.

“I’m past that hill now and enjoying my squash again During the match, I was telling myself that these are the battles and the matches you train for. I’m working my arse off to get back to the level I want to play at, and that I know I can play at. There is still a way to go but I’m back on the road there and that’s a nice feeling.”


Cindy Merlo

Beat: Danielle Ray 3-2: 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 (46m)

Next Opponent: Sarah-Jane Perry

“I took it easy and let the racket do its thing.

“I tried to move the best I could and support my racket the best I could, so I’m pleased with my performance, it was nice to be on court.

“The game plan was quite simple, it was all about controlling my mind and not going short too quickly. I wanted to control the basic game and I think I did that quite well. Whenever there was an opportunity the intuition went in and I just went for it. They were pretty short rallies but it was worth it, definitely.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in [her first win at the World Championships] but I’m pleased, I’m grateful, and I’m lucky to be here for another round.”


Aly Abou Eleinen

Beat: Sebastien Bonmalais 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-1, 15-13 (64m)

Next Opponent: Dimitri Steinmann

“I wouldn’t say I played my best squash, but I found a way and that’s the most important thing.

“It’s round one of the World Champs, everybody wants to play their best at the World Champ, hence everybody is a bit nervous and excited, so it’s natural for the first round to be tough.

“Sebastien is a very good player, he is fit, he plays at a fast pace, he attacks, he’s got a good deep game, he is mentally tough and he’s got the whole package as a player. I’m super proud of myself.

“I was a bit unhappy with the gaps in concentration here and there, but this will help me sharpen up for the next round. I’m going to do a nice session tomorrow as I’ve got a day off to sharpen up and I’ll be ready to go hopefully.”


Youssef Ibrahim

Beat: Shahjahan Khan 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 14-12 (38m)

Next Opponent: Juan Camilo Vargas

“In the first game I was playing really well, my basic game was solid at the back, and when I had the opportunity I took it while keeping the pressure at the back,” said Ibrahim.

“I lost a bit of focus in the middle of the second and made a couple of silly errors, they were very cheap and the momentum shifted a little bit. I got a little bit tense with my game and started to overthink when I had the shots. I play way too often to the front, and I started to be a little edgy.vTo win that second was really important.

“In the third, I was playing ok, and he stepped up, he was playing really well, and I had to dig really deep to win the crucial points, because I could feel he was coming back strong. I had to keep strong mentally, I wish I could have kept the focus I had in the first game but I couldn’t.

“I have been working hard on that mental side of my game for a long time. Since I came back from injury, I can now focus on the game and not the injury like I was doing before. Since I am moving well, I now have to focus on the small details and that’s what made me lose a lot of close matches with the top guys.

“I’m definitely much better than I was last season and also a couple years ago. With the experience, I hope I can get more confident and deal better with those situations.”


Juan Camilo Vargas

Beat: Ibrahim Elkabbani 3-2: 5-11, 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 (68m)

Next Opponent: Youssef Ibrahim

“It was a bit of a roller coaster,” said Vargas.

“The start was really hard for me, the ball was very bouncy and he was very fresh and powerful. He hit the ball cleanly, with a lot of pace, and I struggled to get used to that. In the second game I changed my tactics, I relaxed a little bit and trusted my shots.

“Also, the ball started getting a bit more dead. I pushed through, it was a big battle, but I’m happy I got the win.

“Even in the fourth I had the lead, but then I made some silly mistakes and he just came back to life because he was a bit low. After winning the fourth, even though he was energised, I was better in the fifth. I was able to put the ball in low and wear him down.

“I’ll play quite relaxed [against Ibrahim]. Normally I’m the underdog at these big events but today I wasn’t. I’ll go out there, try to enjoy my squash and hopefully believe in myself.”


Rui Soares

Beat: Moustafa Elsirty 3-2: 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8 (69m)

Next Opponent: Leandro Romiglio

“It was a tough one. I thought I was really focussed when I started the game and I had a game plan. Moustafa [Elsirty] is such a tough player, he’s so good down the middle and if you lose your length, which I think happened in the second and third games, he started to control the game quite well and I was struggling to get in behind him. I think I’ve lost to him the last two times so it’s really good to get this win. I came into this World Championships with not much pressure because I got in at the last minute and it’s such a good tournament for me to play again. I’m quite happy to win this first round.

“We’re both quite tall players and we take up a lot of space. We were both struggling to get around each other, trying to dominate the tee and we’re both quite attacking and we like to control the middle. It was a battle for the tee and in the end I’m glad I kept my focus as it was very hard, I’m very happy with the ending of course.

“For the last two tournaments – this one and El Gouna – I didn’t expect to get in and it’s always good to play with no pressure. I didn’t think I was going to get in and when I did, I wanted to make the most of it and I’m going to have fun on court. It’s great to play here and I always love coming to Egypt – even more so for the World Championships.”


Iker Pajares Bernabeu

Beat: Tom Walsh 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-7 (56m)

Next Opponent: Diego Elias or Abdulla Al-Tamimi

“Today I was very nervous but I was very focused from the start, and it was very clear in my head.

“This tournament hits me very hard. I think I’ve played this tournament nine times, and I lost in the first round six times, through injuries and bad draws, hence me being very nervous. My draw changed a few days ago, I was playing Nathan Lake, and so today I had all the pressure, I felt I had to win, but I played too much to the back, I wasn’t confident with my shots at the front.

“My girlfriend came this time to support me, so I really wanted to win. Mentally, it was very tough for me this tournament. So I’m so happy to make it. Tomorrow I have a day off, and I’m then playing the winner of Diego and Tamimi.”


Torrie Malik

Beat: Sana Ibrahim 3-1: 11-5, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 (40m)

Next Opponent: Nele Gilis or Marina Stefanoni

“I’m really happy. I’ve had a couple of bad results recently so I wanted to come into this tournament feeling relaxed and confident and I feel like I did that today. I know I’ve not played Sana before, but I thought I did really well. I kept my game plan and I’m glad to be through.

“I had to vary the height and use the length a lot and make sure I got in front of her rather than going short too early and waiting for her to make mistakes and rally it out. I think I did it really well.

“Those last two games I really dug deep and I think won today mentally. It’s my first time [at the World Championships] so I’m really happy to be in the second round and I’m looking forward to my second round match.”