England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry narrowly avoided a third-round exit at the PSA World Championships Cairo, as she defeated USA’s World No.24 Sabrina Sobhy in five games at the Club S Allegria.
Action took place across two glass courts for the last time at this event and it was once again the Club S Allegria that provided the drama as Perry was put through her paces by Sobhy to reach the quarter finals in Cairo.
The American scored a huge win in round two against compatriot and No.10 seed Olivia Fiechter to reach the last 16 and continued that momentum in a tightly contested battle with Perry today as she took the first game.
Perry was able to use her experience to grind out the win though as she closed out 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8 in 57 minutes to reach the last eight at the PSA World Championships for the fourth time in her career.
“For some reason, I have a good record in five-setters,” said Perry. “I’m not quite sure why, maybe because I just refuse to lose a lot of the time, I had no right to win that match today. She wasn’t giving me many opportunities so I was just taking what I could get really.”
Perry will face reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini in two days’ time for the 16th time in their careers, after the latter comfortably prevailed against Belgium’s World No.13 Tinne Gilis.
El Sherbini and Gilis have enjoyed some memorable five-game matches recently, but today’s match did not follow that pattern as El Sherbini was in top form in despatch the 24-year-old 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 in 30 minutes.
“I’m glad she wasn’t on her finest form, everyone knows what happened in the last two meetings,” said five-time World Champion El Sherbini. “I learned from those matches and tried to be prepared and mentally ready for this match. It was very important for me to win 3-0.”
The other women’s quarter final in the bottom half of the draw will see former World No.3 Nour El Tayeb go up against compatriot Hania El Hammamy for a place in the semi finals after they claimed respective wins over Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam and England’s Georgina Kennedy.
El Tayeb and El Hammamy last faced each other at the CIB Black Ball Open, where El Tayeb, who made her return to the tour this year after giving birth, claimed a huge upset against the current World No.3.
“I’m going to be very focused,” El Hammamy said following her win. “I’ll watch the last match [against El Tayeb] to learn from what I did wrong and hopefully I can change that.”
In the men’s draw, it was a straightforward win for defending champion Ali Farag as he manoeuvred past an on paper tricky opponent in Youssef Ibrahim.
Ibrahim, who came from two games down in the previous round against Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, looked as though he was struggling with an injury throughout as Farag powered to an 11-3, 11-1, 11-2 victory.
Farag will face No.7 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the last eight after he prevailed against Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, who he had lost both times to in their previous two encounters.
“The pressure is gone, I’ve already won it, so anything from here is a bonus,” said Farag afterwards. “There is pressure in terms of that I want to win every tournament I play in, but I’m not desperate anymore, thankfully, so I can enjoy my time.”
Elsewhere, Peru’s Diego Elias and Egypt’s Mostafa Asal will contest the last quarter final match, following their wins against Egypt’s Youssef Soliman and India’s Saurav Ghosal, respectively.
Both players were in dominant form to record straight-games victories and set up a fourth meeting between the two, with Asal coming out on top in the previous three matches.
“I’m coming here to perform and to win match by match,” said Asal. “Me and my coaches are looking at videos to see how I can play against the player. I focused on lots of things today and I love playing in front of the crowd. I’m here to perform and I’m here for the title as well.”
After his match, Elias said: “After playing in the Tournament of Champions [in New York] and then coming straight here and playing five games in the first round on the normal courts, the rest days help. I feel better and better every day I came here to win the tournament, so let’s hope that happens.”
The quarter finals of the PSA World Championships Cairo get underway tomorrow (May 19) at the Egyptian National Museum of Civilization, where play will start at 18:45 (GMT+2) and will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV.