Egypt’s World No.16 Nada Abbas stunned New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King in four games at the Club S Allegria to reach the quarter finals of the PSA World Championships Cairo for the first time in her career.
Today saw round three action take place across two glass courts, one at the Club S Allegria and one at the impressive new venue at the Egyptian National Museum of Civilization. However, it was at the former venue where the shock of the day took place as Abbas put in a mighty performance to down recent Manchester Open champion King.
The two players met last month when King took a comprehensive 3-0 victory at the Allam British Open, but it was a complete role reversal this time around as the 21-year-old Egyptian took control and managed to hold off a comeback from the Kiwi to prevail in four.
“I didn’t think about it, I was just here to enjoy it,” said Abbas. “I wasn’t pressuring myself about anything, I just wanted to play well and perform well.
“The crowd helped me a lot. They are cheering me for every point, helping me all the time. It was a boost for me to keep going and to play my best to win.”
Awaiting Abbas in the quarter finals will be USA’s World No.4 Amanda Sobhy after she prevailed in a tight 3-0 battle with close friend Nele Gilis of Belgium at the museum glass court.
“I thought it was a very fair match,” Sobhy said. “We didn’t have many calls [from the referee] and neither of us hit that many errors except from my last three points at the end.
“Nele and I are best friends and we know each other’s games inside out. I knew she was going to pick up a lot of balls, she’s a fighter and I’m so glad I won in three and finished off the games when it mattered.”
The other quarter final in the top half of the women’s draw will see World No.1 Nouran Gohar face compatriot Rowan Elaraby for a place in the last four, after the latter received a walkover into the quarter finals following the withdrawal of India’s Joshna Chinappa due to illness.
Gohar was at her dominant best to send out Wales’ Tesni Evans, who slipped midway through the second game and from then on look to struggle with the movement on that leg. The Egyptian, however, displayed a professional performance to move through the third round.
“The first game was very enjoyable, it felt like we were both playing well tonight,” said Gohar afterwards. “I was looking forward to a big battle against Tesni, it’s such a pity when a player is injured, but I was trying not to think about the injury because it could be tricky.
“World No.1 and World Champion, it’s something you always dream of. I’ve ticked the box of one of them, I just haven’t won the World Championship yet.”
In the men’s draw, 2019 World Champion Tarek Momen was forced to do things the hard way as he came from a game down against a resilient Joel Makin.
Welshman Makin edged ahead in the first in a tightly contested game, before Momen prevailed in a lengthy second game. That seemed to give the Egyptian the momentum he needed as he comfortably took a 2-1 lead, courtesy of an 11-2 win in the third, before closing out 11-7 in 73 minutes.
“It was a tough one for me mentally,” said Momen. “I lost the first game very close, and then he went up in the second game 9-8 and he was very close of getting to 2-0 up.
“I had to dig really deep, so I am proud of how I fought today because I have always played tough matches against Joel, I don’t think we have ever had an easy one. Today was no different, and I am so glad I got the win today.”
Momen sets up a mouth-watering quarter final fixture with New Zealand’s World No.1 Paul Coll after he defeated Egypt’s No.10 seed Mazen Hesham in straight-games.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Fares Dessouky reached the quarter finals of the historic event for the second year in a row as he held off France’s Gregoire Marche in an entertaining four games at the Club S Allegria glass court.
The two players went toe-to-toe in a high quality affair which eventually saw Dessouky triumph 11-6, 14-16, 11-8, 11-7 in 72 minutes.
That win means that he faces 2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy for a place in the semi-finals after he was dominant against former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad, who shook hands early in the third game due to an injury.
“I hope he’s fine, I don’t know what’s wrong with him, I know he’s been struggling with a foot injury, but he has been managing it quite well,” ElShorbagy commented. “He managed it well with me in Manchester and in the first two rounds [in Cairo].
“It’s very disappointing when you don’t continue a match for the crowd, the game, for anyone. I’ve played over 600 matches in my career and I’ve stopped only once. I’ve always made sure even when I was completely struggling to just make sure I continued.
“Some players, I understand that you can risk getting more injured if you keep going. I understand if he stopped for that, and I hope he comes back stronger because he is very important for the game.”