Top seeds through to last sixteens as Watanabe and Al Tamimi make history
Day Four of the World Champs once more featured four courts in action at the Nationals Squash Centre as players in the Men’s and Women’s events strived to reach the last sixteen.
There we no major upsets, as the top eight seeds in both events won through, but Sataomi Watanabe, Salma Hany, Declan James and Miguel Rodriguez all beat top sixteen seeds to progress while Abdulla al Tamimi created history for Qatar.
Top seed Gregory Gaultier was untroubled against Tsz Fung Yip, and he’ll now face England’s James, who saved match ball in the third on his way to beating 15th seed Cesar Salazar.
“Being 2-0 and match ball down, I was trying to think about staying in the match,” said Declan. “I wasn’t thinking about winning, I was thinking about my squash. I just can’t wait to experience another match, these types of occasions are what we train for.”
England have three players in round three – all in the top half of the draw – after Daryl Selby and Nick Matthew both won through. Matthew was again tested, beating Hong Kong’s Max Lee in four games, and he now meets surprise package Tamimi, who became the first Qatari to reach this stage as he beat Mathieu Castagnet in four games.
There was plenty of Egyptian success, of course, the much-anticipated meeting of Ramy Ashour and Mohamed Elshorbagy – who contested the 2012 and 2014 finals -was set up as they beat Omar Mosaad and Joel Makin.
They’re the only Egyptians in the top half of the draw, but each match in the bottom half features one. Defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, Marwan Elshorbagy, Tarek Momen and Ali Farag could well provide all-Egyptian quarter-finals, all face unseeded but dangerous opponents in Saurav Ghosal, Lucas Serme, Miguel Rodriguez and Cameron Pilley.
In the women’s draw 14 of the 16 seeds are still in contnention. In the opening round of matches qualifier Satomi Watanabe beat 12th seed Emily Whitlock to become the first Japanese player to progress this far – she now meets top seed and defending champion Nour El Sherbini.
“I used to watch Emily as a junior, so I was really excited to play her after coming through two qualifying rounds. She came back really well in the third and I had to change my mind to play my own game.
“This is my first worlds as a senior, and I’m just so happy to have made it to round two.”
Hany will meet compatriot Nour El Tayeb for a place in the quarters, Nouran Gohar meets Alison Waters and second seed Raneem El Welily meets Victoria Lust, one of four England representatives.
Third seed Camille Serme faces American Olivia Blatchford, who survived a tense five setter against Dipika Pallikal, while England’s 2013 champion Laura Massaro meets Wales’ Tesni Evans in an all-British clash.
The last sixteens will be held over two days with all matches on the Glass Court at the NSC.