Day SIX – Last 16 Part Two

Quarter-Finals decided as King and Rodriguez score upset wins

The last day of play a the National Squash Centre saw the quarter-finalists decided in the bottom half of the draw, with an upset in each of the Men’s and Women’s events.

France’s Camille Serme eased through to the quarters at the expense of Olivia Blatchford,where she will face New Zealand’s Joelle King, who kept her unbeaten record against the higher-seeded Sarah-Jane Perry.

Eight-time champion Nicol David reached her 10th successive quarter-final as she held off Annie Au, and will face Raneem El Welily in a repeat of their dramatic 2014 final after the Egyptian ended English interest in the women’s event with a win over Vicky Lust.

Four Egyptians started as favourites in the men’s matches, and while Ali Farag and Marwan Elshorbagy set up an all-Egyptian quarter without too much trouble, beating Cameron Pilley and Lucas Serme, defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, who came from a game down to beat Saurav Ghosal, will meet Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez, who upset seventh seeded Tarek Momen in five games.


Read on for the full details …

DAY SIX at the World Champs

[3] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 [13] Olivia Blatchford (Usa)              11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (26m)

[4] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Cameron Pilley (Aus)                                       11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (32m)

[9] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)             11-1, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 (54m)

Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-2 [7] Tarek Momen (Egy)          11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-1 (69m)

[6] Nicol David (Mas) 3-1 [11] Annie Au (Hkg)                   11-7, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6 (33m)

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Lucas Serme (Fra)           12-10, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)

[2] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1 [15] Victoria Lust (Eng)    11-5, 15-13, 11-13, 11-5 (42m)

[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1 Saurav Ghosal (Ind)         12-14, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (59m)


Commanding from Camille

[3] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 [13] Olivia Blatchford (Usa)        11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (26m)

The opening match saw France’s Camille Serme advance to the quarter-finals with a commanding performance against USA’s Olivia Blatchford.

The Frenchwoman was in total control in the first two games as Blatchford struggled to find her marks.

Although Blatchford improved to briefly lead at the start of the third, a couple of errors and a surge from Serme lead to a quick finish and a fifth World quarter-final in a row for Camille.

“I felt comfortable in the first two games,” said Camille. “She obviously had some good advice and made it harder in the third, I had to change tactics a bit to get back on top.”

“I didn’t realise she was ranked 12 in the World, so I’m happy to have won in three!” 

All the fours for Farag

[4] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Cameron Pilley (Aus)                           11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (32m)

Ali Farag picked up where Camille Serme left off, dominating his match against Cameron Pilley with the big Australian struggling to make any headway.

The first few points were shared, but Farag’s movement, anticipation and ball placement proved too much for Pilley, who found himself having to anticipate, and too often wrongly, as he attempted to stay in touch.

“The scoreline doesn’t really do that justice. Cameron’s one of the hardest players to counter, and although things went my way today it was never easy.

“I’m really pleased with my form so far. To reach the quarters without dropping a game is obviously a bonus and you feel fresher in the legs and it gives you confidence moving forward.

Joelle keeps her hold over SJ

[9] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)             11-1, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 (54m)

Although this was, according to the seedings, the closest match of the day, New Zealand’s Joelle King went into her match with a 4-0 head to head advantage over Sarah-Jane Perry, the latest in Hong Kong last month.

In the first game it looked as though King would extend that lead quickly as she took a 9-0 lead, finishing the game 11-1 with SJ hitting tin after tin.

Perry stopped the rot to take the second, and led 6-1 in the third, but King pegged that back to edge ahead 7-6. Perry had two game balls, but it was King who edged back in front 13-11.

That proved crucial as the Kiwi took an early lead in the fourth and held onto it to reach the quarters for the second time in her sixth worlds.

“I think we’re the two tallest female players on the Tour, so it’s always tough trying to get the ball past each other,” said King.

“We’re also good friends off court, so it’s always nice just to come and play some good squash, where whoever plays the best squash on the day wins.”

Miguel marches into the quarters

Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-2 [7] Tarek Momen (Egy)    11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-1 (69m)

Colombian cannonball Miguel Rodriguez produced the first upset of the day as he heat seventh seed Tarek Momen in five games. Both were playing their 11th Worlds, but had only one quarter-final appearance each in the bank.

Rodriguez was all action as he took the first, Momen taking an injury break for his writs towards the end of the game. That didn’t affect him as he came back to take the second and third games, both hotly contested.

After a similarly tough opening to the fourth, Rodriguez went ahead and then levelled quickly as Momen let the game go, and carried that momentum as he raced through the fifth.

“It’s always tough playing Egyptians,” he said, “but I’m just delighted to get through to the quarter-finals again!

“It’s been a tough season, probably the worst in my career, but this is definitely my best tournament of the year, I’ve been fixing problems and it’s working so it’s good to be playing at this level again.”

Nicol back on top against Annie

[6] Nicol David (Mas) 3-1 [11] Annie Au (Hkg)        11-7, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6 (33m)

Although Nicol David has won 25 of her matches against Annie Au and lost just one, the record in the last two months is one-all – Annie won for the first time in Philadelphia, Nicol beat Annie in Hong Kong last month – so there was a little pressure on the eight-time champion going into this match.

The Malaysia superstar looked up for the task, determined, fast and aggressive from the outset and she was in total control in the first two games.

She carried that into the third too, going 10-5 up, but a run of seven points from Annie brought her back into the match and probably introduced some doubt into Nicol’s mindset – she looked like she was simply trying too hard as those match balls drifted away.

There was no mistake in the fourth though as Nicol once again forged ahead, and this time finished it off on her first match ball to reach her 10th Worlds quarter-final in a row.

“I felt good in the first two games, but I knew Annie would find her game, I think she was struggling with the court,” said David.

“I’m really pleased with the way I played today and in the fourth game, I knew I just had to keep the pressure on.”

Marwan through to a first Quarter-Final

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Lucas Serme (Fra)           12-10, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)

Two youngsters, but making their 7th and 5th consecutive appearances in the World Champs, Marwan Elshorbagy and Lucas Serme played a long, patient first game with the Frenchman leading most of the way.

Marwan closed down the lead, taking the game 12-10, and made the running thereafter, delightedly closing out the match after 46 minutes.

“Lucas is a great player and he’ll be top 20 soon,” said ElShorbagy. “He beat me in Canary Wharf, so I knew it would be tough.

“This is my first time in  the quarter-finals, so I’m very pleased with that, but I hope it doesn’t stop there.”

Raneem ends English interest

[2] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1 [15] Victoria Lust (Eng)    11-5, 15-13, 11-13, 11-5 (42m)

Raneem El Welily made it through to a sixth successive World quarter-final as she beat Vicky Lust, in the process ensuring that there will be no English representative in the women’s last eight for the first time ever.

The Egyptian world #2 romped through the first, but was made to work hard to extend her lead, saving three game balls as she took the second 15-13. Lust continues to hold her own in the third, this time taking advantage of her third game ball to reduce the deficit 13-11.

Welily’s racket skills ruled the day in the fourth though as the two-time finalist moved through to the quarters.

“Vicky has improved a lot recently,” said Welily. “I won a close 3-0 in the Weymuller so I knew it would be tough. I enjoyed it and am happy to be through to the quarters.

“I don’t think Nicol and I have played each other in a while. Nicol is a legend of squash and it will be an exciting match.”

Gawad finalises the quarter-finals

[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1 Saurav Ghosal (Ind)         12-14, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (59m)

The last player through to the quarter-finals was men’s defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, reaching the last eight for just the second time in seven Worlds appearances.

The Egyptian had his chances in the first, but it was India’s Saurav Ghosal who took the lead at the end of a physically tough first game that took half an hour to complete.

Ghosal went 4-0 up in the second before Gawad caught up with a series of well-crafted rallied, and the current world #4 was always ahead after that.

“I think we were trying to play like Shorbagy and Ramy in their first game yesterday, but still, we couldn’t beat the record and we were both very tired after that!

“Today was a really tough match, I had to push until the end, even when I was 10/6 match ball I knew that he could come back easily with his awesome winners.

“Last year, I didn’t have any pressure, I played my best squash in the Worlds and in Qatar, but this year, I come here with a little bit of pressure, as the defending champion. So I’m trying to forget about the stage we are in and just play like it’s the first round of the event, and hopefully, I can defend my title…”