Day FIVE as it happens

Weaver Beats Hany to Reach First World Champs Quarter-Final

USA’s Olivia Weaver put in a strong performance at Palm Hills to overcome Egypt’s World No.13 Salma Hany as she booked her spot in the quarter-finals of the CIB PSA World Championships for the first time.

It was the pair’s third meeting on the PSA Tour, with Hany coming into the match boasting a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head record, although the American did win their last match at the U.S. Open last October.

The opening game was a back and forth affair. It was highly competitive and neither player was able to pull away. Weaver was ultimately able to hit her marks more often, particularly on the backhand side, and that was enough to see her sneak it 11-9.

The second game was more dominant from Weaver as she hunted the volley more and piled the pressure on Hany and she enjoyed a bit more breathing space as she held her opponent off to win it 11-5.

Weaver looked set to take the third game comfortably as she powered into a 5-0 lead, but a break in play as a result of Hany getting caught in the head with Weaver’s racket halted her flow and the Egyptian raced back to take seven straight points after she returned to court after treatment.

Weaver was able to stop Hany in her tracks though and closed it out by an 11-9 margin to set up a last eight clash with World No.19 Fayrouz Aboelkheir.  

  “I was happy with my consistency up to this point and was hoping to keep that going,” Weaver said.

“Salma is such a dangerous opponent and it was going to be extremely tough out there. I needed to not focus on that and needed to focus on putting the ball where I needed to be and focus on my game plan.

“It was surprisingly breezy in the warm-up, there’s definitely some wind out there. It wasn’t too cold, we were having some long rallies and the ball didn’t go off too quickly. It went off a bit in the third, but after the injury break we heated it back up.

“I thought the court was enjoyable, I played on it in El Gouna and I felt that getting some reps in there helped get me prepared. We’ve all played on glass courts at this point and I think we’re all used to adjusting and finding our adjustments as we go.

“I’ve never played Fayrouz. I’m going to enjoy this one, making it into the quarters for the first time and starting tomorrow I’ll have a rest day and then I’ll get back to work and continue preparing for the next round.”

[8] Olivia Weaver (USA) bt [10] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (48m)    

Aboelkheir Stuns World No.4 Gilis Egypt’s 18-year-old Fayrouz Aboelkheir stunned Nele Gilis to progress to the quarter finals of the World Championships in the first match at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.

It’s the second time Aboelkheir has featured in the World Championships, and the young Egyptian bettered her run last year by progressing to the quarter finals.

Aboelkheir and Gilis were going head-to-head for the second time on the PSA World Tour, with the Belgian victorious in the first meeting at the Malaysian Open in 2022.

World No.19 Aboelkheir drew first blood by edging the first 11-8, as the Egyptian starlet made it a two-game lead as she dominated the ‘T’ and attacking the ball early to win 11-7.

Gilis landed the perfect riposte as she began to find more accuracy into the back corners and executing her opportunities at the front of the court when they were presented to her.

Despite losing the third game, Aboelkheir was back in command in the fourth, dominating the middle of the court again as she closed out an 11-5 victory to advance to the last eight for the first time at the World Championships.

“I don’t know what to say! It’s my biggest win so far and it’s my first time to beat a top 10 player so I’m over the moon,” she said.

“I’m playing Nele [Gilis] and she’s the World No.4 so I had to play my best squash today. I think last year I changed a lot but I didn’t get the wins and it’s paying off now. I was trying to keep my focus on court as much as I can.

“She’s been playing on the tour for a very long time and I’ve been playing on the tour for about three years. Just like the first game I had the lead and she got back into it. I was nervous when I had match ball.”

Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) bt [4] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5 (52m)

Reigning Champion Farag Dispatches Romiglio in Three    

Reigning champion Ali Farag maintained his strong start to his title defence with a dominant win over Leandro Romiglio.

Four-time champion Farag cruised into the quarter finals after dispatching the Argentinian in straight games.

In their first meeting on the PSA World Tour, Romiglio – who ousted former World No.4 Miguel Rodriguez in the first round – made a solid start against Farag as he stood toe-to-toe with the defending champion before the World No.1 was able to pull away at 5-5 as he ramped up the intensity.

Having won the first 11-6, Farag wore down Romiglio with a lengthy rally at the beginning of the second before pressing on to clinch the game 11-3.

Farag was too strong and clinical for Romiglio, hitting his targets well and taking his opportunities as he notched another 11-3 win in the third for a quarter final berth.

“It’s always tricky playing someone for the first time even though both of us [Ali Farag and Leandro Romiglio] are older in age,” he said.

“We never got to play against each other but we practiced together at Black Ball last month and after I got off court I thought ‘why is Leandro not higher up in the rankings?’ His level is definitely higher than his ranking and he’s been showing that this week and he’s been showing it the last few months.

“At the beginning, my length hitting was a little bit too high and he likes to hunt the volley and I watched a bit from his match with Miguel [Rodriguez] and he wasn’t hunting the volley as much today and then he was hitting those low kills right from the start. I had to be wary of those two things, get my cross-courts a little bit wider and be a bit cleaner.

“I had to take a step forward to do these skills and when I did I felt like I was in control for the rest of the match. Karim Darwish doesn’t usually agree that my length hitting today, but he gave me the thumbs up after the first and second and that gave me a lot of confidence.

“With the sweat drops here [the museum] it’s much better. It doesn’t sit on it, so even if it does you don’t slip on it as much. Leandro wanted to wipe the court, but I wasn’t fussed because I knew it was hard to slip on this glass floor.

“The way it plays, if you were to blind fold me and ask me if this was a wooden floor or a glass floor, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. This court has delivered a lot of good moments for me.”

Result [1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Leandro Romiglio (ARG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (27m)

Momen Comes Back to Beat Crouin

Former World Champion Tarek Momen stormed back from a one-game deficit at Palms Hill to send Frenchman Victor Crouin out.

Crouin settled well initially and took the opening game after hitting his targets at the front of the court to go a game ahead.

However, that lead was quickly whittled away by Momen as the 36-year-old came back with a flourish. He cut out the errors he exhibited in the first game and forced Crouin into some tough movements as whatever physicality was left in the Frenchman’s legs was sapped.

The Egyptian wasted no time in taking three games on the bounce to avenge his defeat to Crouin during February’s Windy City Open. Next up for Momen is a quarter-final meeting with reigning World Champion Ali Farag. 

Momen has only won four of his 24 matches with Farag, but did take the World No.1 to five games when they met in October’s U.S. Open.

“I’m pleased to win in four, thankfully it wasn’t too taxing, which is good for my recovery for the next match,” said Momen.

“I’m obviously very pleased to be in another quarter-final at the World Champs. I’ve been improving in the last period and I’ve been playing much better. In the first game I wasn’t finding my range at all and I needed to give myself a push and take the ball earlier.

“I did that towards the end of the first game and from then on when I applied a bit of pressure his movement began to get exposed a little bit.

“I need to keep at it [against Farag], I think I get the game plan right but sometimes I don’t execute it very well. If I execute it well I think can sneak a win.”


[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [11] Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-1: 7-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-1 (36m)

Gilis Eases Past Perry

Tinne Giis
Tinne Gilis

Belgium’s Tinne Gilis stormed into the last eight of the PSA World Championships for the first time following a comfortable victory over England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.

Gilis’s next opponent will be defending champion Nour El Sherbini after her 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 win over World No.17 Perry.

The majority of the early rallies were quick-fire in nature, with either winners or errors flowing freely from the rackets of both players on a cold court which didn’t offer much bounce on the ball.

Once Gilis started to put some physicality into Perry’s legs, she ran away with the match and she will now go toe-to-toe with the World No.1 as she bids to reach her maiden World Champs semi.

“I thought it was going to be more bouncy than it was, so I was prepared for that, but it felt pretty dead,” said Gilis.

“But we’ve learned to adapt to the conditions and that’s what I did. I’m just very happy with the 3-0 victory today for sure.

“If I end up playing Nour, Greg [Gaultier, Gilis and El Sherbini’s coach] will just stay in the middle and not favour either of us. It was the same circumstances in El Gouna and I guess it will be the same in the next round.”


[7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt [15] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (26m)

World Champion El Sherbini Downs World Junior Champion Orfi

Defending World Champion Nour El Sherbini came through a testing battle with World Junior Champion Amina Orfi to book her place in the quarter finals.

El Sherbini, hunting a record-equalling eighth World crown, defeated Orfi in straight games but the World No.1 was given a tough test by the Egyptian starlet.

It was the pair’s first encounter on the World Tour, as El Sherbini’s immaculate line hitting kept Orfi pinned into the corners as the reigning champion sealed the first 11-5.

Orfi was much-improved in the second as she settled into the contest with aggressive squash and improving the quality of her length. Orfi saved game ball to force a tiebreak, but El Sherbini was able to convert second time round.

Sixteen-year-old Orfi continued to match El Sherbini in the third, but it was the seven-time World Champion’s experience which told as she secured her spot in the quarter finals with an 11-8 success.

“It was the first meeting [with Amina Orfi] and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Amina is pushing up the rankings and pushing all the top players,” El Sherbini said on court afterwards.

“I wanted to play this match and test myself where I’m at and with this pressure. I’m happy with not losing a game – one day I was in her place and I know how hungry she is, she’s very motivated and I’m hoping we’ll have many tough battles in the coming seasons.

“It’s the World Champs and I’m trying to be better prepared than El Gouna. I’ve had Greg [Gaultier] and my coaches back in Alexandria.

“It was really good to have all my team in one place and focus on what I need to do. It was a tough match and I’ve had two, short rounds before and two days off as well. I’m really happy with the match and I stuck at it until the end.

“We just played in El Gouna [El Sherbini and Tinne Gilis] and it was a tough four games. It’s tough to play back-to-back tournaments but I’ll be ready for it and I’ll have a good plan this time and I’m looking forward to it.”

[1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) bt [11] Amina Orfi (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 (45m)

Elias Cruises Into The Last Eight

Diego Elias cruised into the quarter finals of the World Championships after overcoming Youssef Ibrahim 3-0.

The Peruvian has yet to drop a game during this World Championships campaign, and the World No.4 eased his way into the last eight with a complete performance over Ibrahim.

Elias boasts an unbeaten record over Ibrahim, winning the last three matches, and the duo contested some lengthy exchanges early on in the first game. Mistakes from the midway point from Ibrahim’s racket proved costly as Elias went one game up.

More long rallies followed in the opening exchanges of the second, but Elias’ supreme accuracy left Ibrahim short of answers as the former World No.1 nudged two games ahead.

Elias’ quarter final spot was secured with a comprehensive 11-2 win in the third, as Ibrahim continued to find the tin while the ‘Peruvian Puma’ kept his error count low to advance to the last eight.

“I felt pretty good today. I knew Youssef [Ibrahim] had a tough one a couple of days ago and I wanted to make it tough for him from the start and I felt pretty well. I’m happy with my performance today,” he said.

“I’m learning from mistakes I’ve made in the past of playing long matches in the first few rounds. I want to play as good as possible from the start. I’m glad I only conceded seven points against Youssef as he’s a great player. I’m very happy with that.

“I think all of us [the top four] are playing well at the moment. Ali [Farag] has been playing amazing for the last year and a half. The four of us have a big chance this year and it’s about the guy who plays better on the day.

“Karim [Abdel Gawad] is such a great player and former World Champion. Here in Egypt he plays amazing and that’s going to be tough. Dimitri [Steinmann] is playing well this tournament and I hope they play a long one.”  

[3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 (35m)

Gawad Comes from Behind to Beat Steinmann

2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad overcame a slow start to get the better of Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann in the final match of the evening at Palm Hills.

The World No.5 wasn’t at the races in the opening game and was the more passive of the two players as Steinmann took full advantage of appearing on the sport’s biggest stage by punishing his opponent, duly taking a one-game lead.

Gawad finally got going in the second as the racket skills and flair that have made him a fan favourite came to the fore. He levelled up the scores before he dragged a rapidly tiring Steinmann into all areas of the court in the third as he took the lead for the first time.

Steinmann, who had a tough 83-minute battle against the higher-ranked Aly Abou Eleinen in the previous round, continued to fight hard and led 7-3 in the fourth, but Gawad’s pressure was telling as he fought back to a 9-8 lead.

There was then a break in play as Gawad took Steinmann’s racket straight in the face when chasing down a shot at the front of the court. Upon his return, Gawad showed no signs that the injury had affected his focus, and he closed out the win to set up a last eight encounter with No.3 seed Diego Elias.

“It was an unfortunate interference, there was nothing in it, I was trying to clear and he was trying to play the ball,” said Gawad.

“Dimitri is one of my best friends on tour, so I know he doesn’t mean anything bad.

“Nowadays in Egypt in the morning it’s very hot and in the evening it’s pretty cold. They’re different conditions playing outdoors in this weather. We’re used to playing inside or outdoors in warmer conditions, but it’s part of the game and we are used to it.

“Diego is in great form and I lost to him the last couple of times. It’s a different tournament and I want to focus on my recovery today and tomorrow, regroup and study Diego.”


[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-1: 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (66m)