Day Three Glass Court

Gilis Moves Past Malik

World No.4 Nele Gilis advanced to the last 16 of the 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships after she got the better of England’s Torrie Malik in straight games in the evening’s opening match.

Gilis, who came through a testing match against USA’s Marina Stefanoni in the opening round, had beaten Malik 3-0 during last month’s German Open in their only meeting so far on the PSA Tour but found it more difficult this time around as she completed an 11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7 victory to reach round three.

It was a confident start from the Belgian, who dropped just three points in a one-sided first game. Malik showcased some of her undoubted racket skills, but Gilis was the more assertive player of the two as she went a game up.

Malik stayed ahead for the opening stages of the second game as she took the attacking opportunities away from Gilis, but once the No.4 seed’s short game got going she overturned the deficit to double her lead.

Malik, who is appearing at her first PSA World Championships, put her opponent under severe pressure in the third game as Gilis struggling to deal with her aggressive hitting into the back corners and she duly halved her opponent’s lead.

The Englishwoman continued to test Gilis in the fourth but the experience of the Belgian eventually told as she held her nerve to earn the win in four games. World No.19 Fayrouz Abdelkheir will be her opponent in the last 16.

“It was definitely a tricky one,” Gilis said afterwards.

“Torrie [Malik] is such a tricky player and she’s still young and an up and coming player. As you saw in the third game, she’s such a dangerous player and lethal around the middle of the court. It was all about sticking to my game plan and trying to find the back corners. I’m very relieved to get away in four.

“She’s [Fayrouz Aboelkheir] very strong and also an up and coming player, she’s improved a lot over the last couple of years. I feel like I’m growing into the tournament and I’m going to fine tune a couple of things. I’m really looking forward to playing her and it will be a big battle.

“It’s difficult having to change courts inside a tournament. Having played on this glass court first may have prepared me better than Fayrouz. Hopefully it’s an advantage. You have to adapt quickly and also with the weather, it was a bit windy today so that was an adjustment too.”


[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Torrie Malik (ENG) 3-1: 11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7 (42m)

Farag Through to RD3

World No.1 Ali Farag continued his title defence with a routine 3-0 victory over Scotland’s Greg Lobban in the second match of the night.

Farag boasted an unbeaten run against the Lobban – who this week returned to the top 20 for the first time since November – after four previous meetings and he put in a clinical performance to record an 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 triumph.

The 32-year-old was at his web-weaving best as he dictated the tempo and put Lobban through some uncomfortable movements en route to setting up a third round clash with Argentina’s Leandro Romiglio.

“I talked to Karim [Darwish] after the knock up and said that Greg [Lobban] is a tough player, he’s very resilient with his tactics and the way he uses height,” said Farag afterwards.

“He doesn’t give me many things to play with but thankfully my length hitting was good enough to get some loose shots out of his racket and I started taking control from that point. Greg is always a very tricky opponent to play against, I was 2-1 down to him last year in El Gouna and he knows how to win. He’s had a lot of scalps against some top players, I knew I had to be on my mettle and I think I did that.

“So many things have to fall into the right place. You have to hit a good shot to limit your opponent’s options and if you’ve got all the options in the book there is no way you’re going to be able to read it. You want to have the take off from the ’T’, you want to be able to take off in any position and then when you play with your opponents a lot you get to understand their body shapes and what kind of shot that would produce.

“From the inside I’m always shaky and sometimes it may look easy for us professionals, but believe me it takes a lot of work from the squash side, the fitness side and the footwork side on court. I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me become a great reader [of the game].”

Lobban said: “The last few times I played Ali, I lost 3-0. I had a close one in Gouna a few years ago and he is taking me seriously since then.

“I’ve tried to wrap my brain over the last few days as to how I can get closer to him as I got clubbed the last two times. I thought I came up with a good plan but I couldn’t execute it as well as I wanted.

“You don’t get time to adjust against the best player in the world. He is definitely the best player I’ve ever played against. You’ve just got to try and find the answers but it’s never easy against Ali.

“What I would do differently? The mental side has always been a bit of a weakness of mine and in the second and third, I got a bit distracted. I think I tried to use it a bit in my favour to try and get a bit of rest in these warm conditions, but I would have like to get a bit more mentally stubborn in a few of those points in the second and third.”


[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (34m)

El Sherbini Downs Hamed

Women’s World Champion Nour El Sherbini made it back-to-back wins in under 20 minutes after she continued her ruthless start to this year’s PSA World Championships with a 3-0 dismantling of fellow Egyptian Menna Hamed.

El Sherbini – who is aiming to equal the legendary Nicol David’s record of eight World Championship titles this week – required just 19 minutes to beat Australia’s Jessica Turnbull on day one, and she only needed the same timeframe to dispose of Hamed following a dominant performance.

‘The Warrior Princess’ wasted no time in hitting her marks as she raced away to an 8-1 lead in the opening game. The World No.1 was reading Hamed well and taking the ball early, only succumbing to some late winners from her opponent into the front right corner towards the back end of the first.

After moving ahead, the second was more of the same from El Sherbini, whose high-quality squash saw her walk off court with a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes.

She wasted no time in adding the third too, with an 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 victory setting up a mouthwatering third round clash with 17-year-old World Junior Champion Amina Orfi.

“You try not to stay too long on court, it’s a long week and I know she’s young [Menna Hamed] but I don’t think we’ve played in a PSA match before,” said El Sherbini afterwards.

“You can never expect what’s going to happen, but I’m definitely happy with the way I played. The conditions were really tough today, so I don’t want to take anything from today and hopefully it’s not going to be the same at the next venue. The ball was stopping short, so I tried to focus on my length and tried to put it back into the corners.

“Everyone has seen how good Amina [Orfi] is and how quickly she’s climbing the rankings, she’s been testing the top players. To be honest, I’ve been waiting for this match since the beginning of the season and I just want to play this match. I think I’m the most ready for it and I’m going to focus and have a good plan.”


[1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) bt Menna Hamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 (19m)