Day Seven – As It Happened

The quarter finals of the CIB PSA World Championships begin today, with six matches split across two venues in Cairo, Egypt.

Four matches will take place at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, with two men’s matches hosted at the Palm Hills Club.

All the matches can be watched live on SQUASHTV and you can also keep track of the live scores by clicking here.

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Weaver Reaches World Champs Semi Final For First Time

USA’s Olivia Weaver has reached the semi finals of the World Championships for the first time after overcoming Egyptian teenager Fayrouz Aboelkheir at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

Weaver, who was playing in the quarter finals of this event for the first time this evening, defeated Aboelkheir 3-1 for a spot in the last four.

It was the first time Weaver and Aboelkheir were going head-to-head on the PSA World Tour, and it was the American who made the brighter start as she found winners on her forehand side. Despite a flurry of points from Aboelkheir, Weaver was able to keep her at bay to go 1-0 up.

Another early lead for Weaver was soon reduced by Aboelkheir who reduced the arrears with some quickfire points, but Weaver’s experience came to the fore to make it a 2-0 advantage.

Aboelkheir, who defeated World No.4 Nele Gilis in round three, halved the match deficit as she started to get onto the ball early and finding the back corners well, taking the game 11-3.

Despite losing the third, Weaver got back to what she was doing best in the first two games, as she regained control of the ‘T’ and started to find her targets again, closing out with an 11-3 success to seal the match.

“It feels great,” Weaver said.

“That was a huge match and a huge opportunity for both of us – our first time in the quarter finals. It’s funny as the first time I met Fayrouz [Aboelkheir] was during 2020 in covid and I was training in Alexandria for a few days and they asked me if I wanted to get on court with a 15-year-old who was No.1 in the 17s and I could tell very quickly that she was going to get to this top level at a very young age.

“All credit to her for coming out and playing aggressively and to perform like that under these circumstances is very impressive, she’s had a great run this week and she’s got a bright future.

“Rod [Martin] has been in my corner all week which has been incredible and I’ve been working so hard with all my team and my family has been backing me with all the work we’ve been putting in for all these years.

“It was obvious I needed to come back out in the fourth and change some things and find my game again. It was a combination of her skill and hold but I lost my accuracy and my length a bit. It was about going back to doing what I’ve been doing well this season which is getting the ball into the back corners and being aggressive around the middle.

“I try not to panic in those moments and me and my team do a lot of work to prepare for moments like that, don’t go how you plan but how you respond is being able to bounce back.

“Not much needs to be said about Nour [El Sherbini] as she’s won this title seven times which is crazy and arguably the best player of all time and Tinne [Gilis] has been in such good form and it’s always a good match between them so anything can happen and I’ll be excited to play either of them.”

[8] Olivia Weaver (USA) bt Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 11-3 (40m)

Coll Outlasts ElShorbagy to Book Semis Spot

New Zealand’s World No.2 Paul Coll earned his place in the semi-finals of the 2023-24 CIB PSA World Tour Championships after he outlasted 2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy to win 3-0 in the first of two matches at the Palm Hills Club.

Coll trailed 14-6 in the pair’s head-to-head record coming into today’s match – which included defeat to ElShorbagy in the 2021-22 PSA World Championships in Cairo – but he did get the better of the Englishman during December’s Hong Kong Open.

The first match played straight into Coll’s hands, with a high-quality, entertaining battle lasting 28 minutes in length. ElShorbagy was looking to soak up the pressure and hit Coll with the angles, while Coll was content to make the rallies as long and physical as he could.

ElShorbagy saved two game balls to hold two game ball opportunities of his own, but he wasn’t able to convert as Coll came back to take a crucial opening game.

The importance of that first game was evident as ElShorbagy looked to tire physically in the second game, making more errors as the game dragged on. Coll kept his composure and a 2-0 lead was soon his.

The third game quickly followed as ElShorbagy went for winner after winner, frequently finding the tin. That handed Coll a 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 win and he will line up against either World No.3 Mostafa Asal or World No.6 Mazen Hesham for a place in his second PSA World Championship final.

“I didn’t want to get tied down on the backhand, he’s so accurate there and hard to compete with,” said Coll.

“I had to shift it at the right times and attack him when I could. At 10-8 up [in the first game], he came at me like a rocket, so it put me on the back foot, which I knew he was going to do at some stage because he’s so good at changing styles and aggression. I managed to sneak that game, which I think was pretty crucial.

“I was never easing up, I wanted to keep it quite open and physical. I’m very happy with how I handled the conditions and he’s always made me a bit nervous playing him, so I’m happy with that win.”


[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [7] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 11-2

Farag Sails Into Last Four

Defending champion Ali Farag advanced to the last four of the World Championships after downing Tarek Momen in straight games.

Farag, who’s seeking his fifth World crown, hasn’t lost to his fellow Egyptian in four years and the World No.1 kept that run intact with a superb performance.

After some lengthy rallies in the opening exchanges, it was Farag who looked the better at the business end of the first game as he cruised to an 11-3 win.

The high quality squash from Farag flowed into the second, shutting down Momen and nullifying his attacks as the four-time World champion came out on top in more long rallies.

Farag’s momentum carried through to the third, but some errors crept in which opened the door for Momen. However Farag was back on top to seal the third 11-6 for a semi final spot.

“Because of how tough the match, at the end I saw the finish line and I had to do a lot of running, I had to stay disciplined and even the first the scoreline doesn’t show it,” he said.

“Everything was highly contested, even from the very first rally. That set the tone for the entire match and Tarek [Momen] and I were up for it, we gave it our all and we gave the crowd a very good match.

“You can have all the game plans you want but to execute them against a high calibre player like Tarek is never easy. I was discussing with Karim [Darwish] that I was nervous and I know Tarek.

“When his shots are on and he’s stubborn like he is today then he can be hard to beat. It’s funny because every match is a story and the twists can go your way or the other way and it might change the entire ending.

“At the mid-stage of the first, if he took that lead maybe I would have taken a step back and he had a rise in confidence. I’m glad it went my way and stayed with him for the entire match.

“Thankfully I had Karim with me and we discussed a few things. It’s funny because I was 1-0, 6-3 at El Gouna and I hit a few errors as well. They weren’t the wrong shots but when you’re 1-0, 6-3, you shouldn’t give away three points.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (52m)

Reigning Champion El Sherbini Cruises Into Semi Finals

Seven-time World champion Nour El Sherbini produced a clinical display against Tinne Gilis to safely progress to the semi finals.

El Sherbini dispatched Gilis in straight games to advance to the last four, as she moved a step closer to a record-equalling eighth World title.

The ‘Warrior Princess’ set the tone from the off, as she found her targets time and time again as she comfortably took the first 11-2.

The second was a much-improved display from Gilis as she found more success on the backhand side, but any loose shots were pounced on by El Sherbini. Despite some unforced errors opening the door for Gilis, El Sherbini was able to double her lead after taking the game 11-8.

The accuracy from El Sherbini and shot selection left Gilis short of answers, as the Egyptian secured a semi final berth with an 11-5 success.

“I think the last time I felt good or sharp on court since the start of the tournament,” she said afterwards.

“We played in El Gouna and it was a tougher one. I think I started better as we’re going to play back-to-back tournaments and I’m really happy with the way I played today.

“He [Gregory Gaultier] is trying to make me move better on court and I’m definitely doing more movement stuff than squash.

“Both are important but it’s really nice to have him in Alexandria and my other coaches as well, having all of them in one place is amazing.

“I’m really grateful for all of them having my back and being in my corner and I’m hoping this week is going to be good for all of us.”

[1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) bt [7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 11-5 (27m)

Asal Overcomes Hesham

Mostafa Asal celebrates.
Mostafa Asal celebrates.

World No.3 Mostafa Asal has advanced to the semi-finals of the sport’s biggest tournament for a third successive year after he defeated World No.6 Mazen Hesham in the final of tonight’s two matches at the Palm Hills Club.

Asal, who lost to Hesham in their last meeting at January’s Houston Open, raced out of the blocks, playing the scintillating, hard-hitting style he is synonymous with and Hesham had little to answer with as the higher-ranked man went a game ahead.

If the first game was a showcase of Asal’s talents, the second game saw Hesham prove he has considerable racket skills too as he nullified Asal and hit a host of winners to draw level.

Asal refocused and took a crucial third game, before pulling away to victory in game four to set up a semi-final battle with No.2 seed Paul Coll.

“It’s really difficult to play Mazen, it’s a nightmare,” said Asal.

“He’s playing really well and beating most of the top guys. I got the win today and I’m very pleased with this because I lost last time we played in Houston and it was very tough, I lost 3-2. You can never expect what’s going to happen on court with his nicks and everything, so when I play with Mazen I have many game plans in my mind.

“I’m trying to hit my width and not give him so many opportunities. If you are fit or getting the balls he still has many winners. I tried to be calm, hit my targets and it was very solid today.

“I didn’t see the match [Coll versus ElShorbagy] because I was warming up. Paul is in amazing form but playing him in Egypt is different. He beat me the last three times and he was very solid, so all credit to him in this ebattles. 

“I’ll have the advantage in Egypt, the crowd will be with me, and I’m going to go for it.”


[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 2-11, 11-8, 11-3 (58m)

Elias Becomes First South American To Reach World Champs Semis

Diego Elias has become the first South American to reach the semi finals of the World Championships after ousting former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0.

Elias, who lost out to Gawad in the quarter finals last season, avenged that defeat with a dominant performance over the 2016 World Champion to progress to the last four of this tournament for the first time in his career.

Gawad won 3-0 last season in Chicago, but it was the Peruvian who prevailed on this occasion with a straight games success.

Elias neutralised Gawad from the beginning of the first game while converting his opportunities when they were presented to him.

Having taken the first 11-5, Elias’ accuracy was making life difficult for Gawad as he stormed to an 11-1 victory in the second.

Elias looked on course to notch another comfortable win in the third, but Gawad surged back with a flurry of points to get within a point at 6-7 down. However the Peruvian pressed on for his maiden World Championships semi finals appearance.

“Very happy. Playing Karim [Abdel Gawad] in Egypt is always tough and I’m just really happy. I was focused from the first point and I’m super happy with that performance,” he said.

“I’m super happy with how I played in all these rounds. I’m feeling great, I’m feeling fresh and it’s going to be a great match [against Ali Farag].

“I’m here with my dad and all my team and I’ve been doing a lot of sessions in the gym and a lot of recovery and hitting with my dad. It’s been really long days with playing last every night and I’m enjoying my time here.

“I felt great but I didn’t expect this. I played great squash like I have been all week and I’m happy to win in three.”

[3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-6 (34m)