Day FIVE : Last 16, Top

Tesni topples Laura as Mohamed gets his revenge

After four hectic days it calmed down somewhat  today as the action moved to a single match at a time –  the Round of 16, top half. Eight matches on the Glass Court at the National Squash Centre, saw eight players book their places in the quarter-finals at Manchester Central on Thursday.

All but one went with the seeding as top seeds Gregory Gaultier and Nour El Sherbini eased through and three-time champion Nick Matthew kept his home bid on course in a match that was interrupted by floor problems.

Paul Coll and Nouran Gohar both beat home hopefuls, Gohar setting up an all-Egyptian quarter-final with Sherbini.

There was all-Egyptian drama as Nour El Tayeb edged past Salma Hany in five, and Mohamed ElShorbagy beat Ramy Ashour in a repeat of the 2012 and 2014 finals.

But the big story was the defeat of former champion Laura Massaro by Wales’ Tesni Evans in a tense and dramatic four game battle.

Read on for the full details …

DAY FIVE at the World Champs

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn)           11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (23m)

[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Declan James (Eng)                      11-5, 11-3, 11-5 (39m) 

[5] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-1 [10] Alison Waters (Eng)                 12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8 (50m)

[8] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-1 [13] Daryl Selby (Eng)                               8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (80m)

[8] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-2 Salma Hany (Egy)                6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (53m)

[5] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)              11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (43m*)

[16] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-1 [4] Laura Massaro (Eng)         11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11 (77m)

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [10] Ramy Ashour (Egy)      14-12, 11-7, 11-4 (51m)


Sherbini safely through

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (23m)

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini was the first player through to the quarters as she beat surprise opponent  Satomi Watanabe in straight games.

A quick 5-0 start for Sherbini didn’t bode well for the first Japanese player to reach this stage, but Watanabe worked her way back into the match, closing to 6-7 before Sherbini pulled away again.

The Egyptian was always ahead in the next two game, but Watanabe never stopped working, and made her illustrious opponent work for her win.

“I hadn’t played her before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Sherbini. “She runs well and gets everything back and made it hard for me.

“I was moving well and towards the end of the game I found my range, I’m pleased with the performance and pleased to be through to the quarters!”

Greg through in three

[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Declan James (Eng)      11-5, 11-3, 11-5 (39m)

After his epic comeback yesterday, an early match against  World #1 Gregory Gaultier probably wasn’t what Declan James fancied.

He acquitted himself well though, competing well at the start of each game – especially the first – before the Frenchman pulled clear, taking each game with a string of largely unanswered points.

“It was obviously tough for him after such a hard match yesterday,” said Gaultier, “but he competed well.

“I just did what I needed to do today and I did the job.”

Gohar sets up all-Egyptian Quarter

[5] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-1 [10] Alison Waters (Eng)   12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8 (50m)

Nouran Gohar ensured that there will be an  Egyptian semi-finalist as she beat Alison Waters in four games to join Nour El Sherbini in the last eight.

Waters led for most of the first game but Gohar levelled at 9-all, saved game ball and took the lead 12-10.

The Englishwoman almost let a 9-3 lead slip in the second but held on to level. The Egyptian stormed through the third, then stayed just ahead through the fourth, moving through to a repeat of April’s semi-final in El Gouna.

“It goes without saying that was a very tough match, mentally, physically and in every other way,” said Gohar.

“Alison has such great experience in these events, and we have similar games so it’s always tough to play her, I’m really pleased to be able to win.”

Coll through to first Quarter

[8] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-1 [13] Daryl Selby (Eng)    8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (80m)

Daryl Selby versus Paul Coll didn’t look like a short match on paper, and a 28 minute first game confirmed that impression, the Englishman taking a hard fought lead 11-8.

Coll took the next three games though, stating ahead through the second and third, then pulling back a 4-1 deficit in the fourth, Selby making three errors at the end of the game.

“That was every bit as tough as I though it would be,” said Coll. “I’m happy to get through that in four games and to have a rest day before the quarters.”

Tayeb digs in to win

[8] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-2 Salma Hany (Egy)    6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (53m)

This was an up and down all-Egyptian match, with first one player then the other dominating the games and the play.

Twice Salma Hany took the lead, twice Nour El Tayeb fought back, and in the fifth the U.S. Open champion simply wouldn’t be beaten, retrieving for all she’s worth – and she’s worth a lot – and forcing a number of strokes as Salma simply couldn’t finish the points off.

“That felt a bit scrappy for a lot of, it not the whole match,” said Tayeb.

“She was in control all the way, I couldn’t find my shots and just had to fight and fight.

“For now I’m just happy to get through and I’ll try to work out my game for the quarters.”

Matthew through in delayed match

[5] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)     11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (43m*)

Nick Matthew duly made it through to his 11th successive Worlds Quarter-final, with a straight game win over surprise opponent Abdulla Al Tamimi in a match that took over two hours to complete due to a problem with the floor of the Glass Court.

The three-time champion took a 9-0 lead at the start of the match, and although Tamimi improved from there on, he was always behind and Matthew always looked the likely winner.

At 8-6 in the third the match was halted for repairs to the court floor – during which the crowd were entertained wimbledon-style by a singalong with Jenny Duncalf leading the choir – and Matthew quickly finished it off.

“It’s obviously tricky resuming a match after a break like that,” said Matthew. “You stiffen up and have to start all over again. I’ve been in that position a few times so maybe my experience helped there.

“Abdulla’s a really skilful player and a dangerous opponent, delighted to have got through to the quarters again.”

Tesni topples Massaro

[16] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-1 [4] Laura Massaro (Eng) 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11 (77m)

Tesni Evans produced the win of her life as she beat former champion and British number one Laura Massaro in four tense games.

The Welsh tiger was on fire in the first two, with Massaro looking strangely subdued. Evans advanced to 7-4 and 9-6 in the third, but Massaro’s fighting spirit brought her five points in a row to reduce the arrears.

The fourth was tense, and close all the way, with plenty of disputes and decisions. Evans got to match ball at 10-8, but Massaro kept fighting, saved those and saved another at 11-10.

Finally though it was Tesni’s turn for a win as she became the first Welsh player to reach the World quarters for a decade.

“My heart is beating so fast !!!” said Tesni at the end.

“I kept on wondering throughout the match if today would be my day – and it was. I felt good in the first two, but got so tense at the end of the third, she was giving me nothing, I’m just delighted to get the win.

It’s Mohamed this time

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [10] Ramy Ashour (Egy)    14-12, 11-7, 11-4 (51m)

In a repeat of the 2012 and 2014 finals, it was Mohamed ElShorbagy who prevailed tonight, gaining a measure of revenge for his defeats at the hands of Ramy Ashour.

The first game was brutal, and crucial, and lasted just over 30 minutes. Ashour had a game ball, but it was ElShorbagy who delightedly took the lead 13-11.

The second was more comfortable, and the third was over quickly as Ashour faded and ElShorbagy got his revenge.

“That first game was very important,” said Elshorbagy, “and it was the best game I’ve played this season. It had to be, because I was playing the best player in the world on his day.

“I failed last season big time, there are no excuses for that, so I trained really really hard this summer to achieve what I want to achieve, to go back to the person I used to be. 

“To be living it one more time is the kind of tales I’ll be telling my kids one day…”