Dimitri Steinmann in action against Aly Abou Eleinen
Dimitri Steinmann in action against Aly Abou Eleinen

Steinmann Back From Brink To Upset Eleinen

Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann came back from match ball down to cause a big upset against World No.13 Aly Abou Eleinen at Cairo’s Palm Hills Club as round two kicked off at the CIB PSA World Championships.

12 of today’s matches took place today on the ‘traditional’ plaster courts, with four more to come this evening on the glass. Steinmann’s clash with Eleinen was the pick of the bunch from this afternoon’s session, with the World No.27 claiming the biggest win of his career.

It was a highly-entertaining match characterised by free-flowing, tough rallies and Eleinen was cheered on by a partizan crowd as he came back from 2-1 down to draw level.

The Egyptian battled hard to save two match balls and even held a match ball opportunity of his own, but a tenacious Steinmann fought through leg cramps to earn his spot in the third round of the World Championships for the first time. Steinmann will now play 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the last eight.

“It was a huge result, my best result so far on the PSA World Tour,” Steinmann said afterwards.

“Aly is a very solid and fit player, so I knew it was going to be tough. There was literally nothing that separated us today besides maybe a bit of luck on my side. I’m very happy to get over the line today.

“I enjoy it [the crowd cheering on Eleinen]. It doesn’t matter who they cheer for, it’s loud, it’s noisy and I like that, it doesn’t matter whether it’s for or against me. It creates an atmosphere and it got the absolute best out of me today.

“I’ve been playing really well recently and I think this is a result of the work I’ve put in over the past 12 months. I’m really happy it’s materialised in a last 16 appearance at the World Championships.”

There was nearly another massive upset in the men’s event as Colombia’s World No.44 Juan Camilo Vargas pushed World No.15 Youssef Ibrahim all the way to five games, with Ibrahim overturning a match ball to win 14-12 in a nail-biting decider.

“I’m happy to get the win in such circumstances, but I’m not really happy with the way I played each game,” Ibrahim said.

“Especially the first two games, I was 10-7 up in the first and 9-7 up in the second and I lost both. He gained so much confidence after winning those two games and then when I was 2-0 down I had nothing to lose. I had to think about the moment and take each point because it was going to be a long one if I had to come back.

“I stuck in there every game, I took the third and the fourth and I felt he was getting tired. I pushed a bit more mentally and physically than him during the last couple of points, but it was a toss of a coin in the end. I think I played the last two points better and I’m happy to get the win eventually.

“I told myself to keep fighting, but I didn’t want to think about losing or putting too much pressure on myself. I tried to be a bit more aggressive at the end because I didn’t want to be too passive, I kept attacking the ball because he was attacking too, so I’m happy it went my way this time.”

Ibrahim will play the winner of No.3 seed Diego Elias or Spain’s Iker Pajares, who play tonight over on the glass court. Meanwhile, Leandro Romiglio became the first Argentine to reach the last 16 of the World Championships following his win over Portugal’s Rui Soares.

Elsewhere, Belgium’s Tinne Gilis booked her spot in the last 16 of the women’s event with an assured 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 win over wildcard Amina El Rihany and she will take on England’s Sarah-Jane Perry, who beat Cindy Merlo, next.

“It’s always a good win and I’m happy,” Gilis said.

“I’ve never seen Amina before or heard of her before, so it’s always a bit tricky playing those players, especially if they’re Egyptian. But I managed to deal with her throughout the match better and better and found solutions to her shots. I’m happy to be in round three and to have Greg [Gaultier] in my corner always helps.

“It’s always hard against SJ, she knows how to stop your movement, which is always annoying. We always have very close and tough battles, it’s one I’m looking forward to, it will be tough one and it will be on the glass as well, which is nice. SJ is always hungry for the win, so I’ll have to be on my toes from the beginning, get stuck in for the whole match and hopefully it will go in my favour.

“I’m very excited [to get going on the glass court], I’ve seen some nice pictures and videos from the glass court and it looks very cool. It’s always a different match and style, but I do like it, so I’m looking forward to it.”

USA’s Olivia Weaver is also through to the next round after she enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win against Spain’s Marta Dominguez and her reward is a last 16 clash with No.10 Salma Hany.

“I’m really happy with how I played today,” said Weaver.

“That’s my first time playing Marta, but I think we’ve practiced together a few times. It’s always fun playing a new opponent, you can always be a little bit edgy at first, but I felt I settled in quickly and was volleying well. I’m very pleased to get through in three.

“He [Rod Martin] has done so much to help me evolve as a player and he’s helped me build up mentally for an event like this and believe in myself. I’m playing the best squash of my career right now and I’m really enjoying every minute on court.

“The little chats throughout the day and before and after matches really add up and he’s had such a positive influence on my belief and confidence on court.

“Hopefully the time on the glass [court] in Gouna will help in terms of adjusting, but it’s always amazing to play on these beautiful outdoor glass courts in Egypt.”

Matches on the glass court at the Palm Hills Club begins at 19:30 (GMT+3) and all of the action will be live on SQUASHTV.

For more information on the PSA World Championships, visit the offical tournament website or follow the PSA on XFacebookInstagramTikTokYouTube and WhatsApp.

Results – Men’s Second Round (Top Half): 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships

[16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 3-2: 10-12, 9-11, 11-5, 13-11, 13-11 (71m)

Leandro Romiglio (ARG) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (35m)

[11] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Simon Herbert (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-3, 13-11, 12-10 (46m)

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Rory Stewart (SCO) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (28m)

Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt [14] Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-2: 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 3-11, 14-12 (83m)

[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Addeen Idrakie (MAS) 3-0: 11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)

Results – Women’s Second Round (Top Half): 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships

[11] Amina Orfi (EGY) bt Tesni Murphy (WAL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (44m)

[15] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-1: 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (27m)

[7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt [WC] Amina El Rihany (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (23m)

[8] Olivia Weaver (USA) bt Marta Dominguez (ESP) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 (24m)

[10] Salma Hany (EGY) bt Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-5, 3-11, 11-5 (33m)

Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) bt Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (34m)


More Player Reaction…

Sarah-Jane Perry

Beat: Cindy Merlo 3-1: 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (27m)

Next Opponent: Tinne Gilis

“I never really found my rhythm today, but that’s what Cindy tries to do to her opponents.

“She didn’t have any pressure on her or have anything to lose, she hits the ball beautifully and has some nice shots. If you give her time and space she can be quite deceptive and I gave her far too much time and space, which isn’t how you want it to be. I felt that my accuracy today was poor, but the aim isn’t to play well, the aim is to win, and to come off with a win is all that matters today.

“I’m looking forward to the next round and I’ll be the one without any pressure on my shoulders.

“I played into her hands completely in the first game, I was hitting the ball too hard and she was cutting it off well across the middle. I wasn’t using the front of the court at all or making her move forwards and she’s more than capable of putting balls away across the middle. I tried to give her less of those, I didn’t starve her completely, but I used the front a bit more and that was the difference in the second, third and fourth games.”


Leandro Romiglio

Beat: Rui Soares 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (35m)

Next Opponent: Ali Farag

“I’m super happy with this result.

“I beat Miguel in the first round which was very tough and then with Rui we’ve played before a couple of times and I knew he was a dangerous player.

“I’ve played two tournaments in Cairo recently, Black Ball and El Gouna, so I’m more used to the heat and the court conditions. I’m enjoying my time here and the weather is amazing. Everything is going well and I hope to keep going.

“It’s very important for me [to be the first Argentine to reach round three here]. Argentina is very big, they love squash and there are a lot of fans there and a lot of competition. I’m really happy to represent my country in these events.”


Amina Orfi

Beat: Tesni Murphy 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (44m)

Next Opponent: Nour El Sherbini or Menna Hamed

“I feel that today I played really well.

“I was focused from the first point to the last. Even when she tried to get me out of focus in the last game, I kept playing, I wasn’t speaking with the ref and I wasn’t thinking about anything else but my game. That was the most important thing today.

“I tried to move her a lot and tried not to play where she was standing because her hands are really good, so she would put any loose shots away. I don’t think I was in the way when I was going off the ball, I think I was clearing properly. Maybe in the end, there was a bit of unnecessary interference, and that’s what got her back to the game again.

“But in the first two games I feel I was moving well, playing my shots and going back to the ’T’ and waiting for the next shot.

“I have never played Nour. I don’t want to think about it as a pressure thing, I just think it’s a good opportunity. It’s a great venue, it’s my first time playing on the glass, I’m going to give it my all from the first point until the end, I will focus and see how it goes.”


Fayrouz Aboelkheir

Beat: Chan Sin Yuk 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (34m)

Next Opponent: Nele Gilis or Torrie Malik

“She plays that superb ‘East game’ which is pretty annoying for everyone on the tour.

“It’s one of the hardest games ever. It’s a very different style of play and not often played, so it’s very difficult to handle, I find. I spoke with my coach, Ahmed Shohayeb, who speaks to me before my matches and who gives me the best coaching tips and advice ever.

“Today was not so much about tactics as it was about mentality. I needed to keep my focus on court all the time. Like in the second game, I was up 8-4 and the next thing I know, I’m 10-8 down. It was about keeping my focus.”


Victor Crouin

Beat: Simon Herbert 3-1: 7-11, 11-3, 13-11, 12-10 (46m)

Next Opponent: Tarek Momen

“In the game, I’m struggling, but then again it’s tough for everyone at the moment, I just have to do my best.

“At the moment, my main goal is to win matches to try and find that form more regularly. By winning matches I’ll manage to set aside the little voice and keep moving forward.

Instead of falling into a hole and a negative spiral during matches, I’m trying to fight, no matter what, and today is a good example.

“My goal is to win matches and advance round by round. You have to give him so much credit because he attacks every ball, even on the return of serve, even when he plays from the back. It’s very unsettling, and it adds extra pressure, this rigour he demands of me.

“I’m strugging, but at the same time I’m very happy to win matches like these. These are the matches you have to win, and I’ve lost them this season. I don’t feel like I’m at my best on the court, even though I still enjoy it. It’s the tactical choices, the trajectories, that I’m losing a bit.

“It’s the first time I’ve reached the round of 16 in the Worlds after many tries, it’s my seventh, I think. So I’m going to enjoy my day off and play on Monday here at Palm Hills on the glass court. They are difficult conditions with tricky bounces and it’s very hot, so I’ll have to adapt.”


Tarek Momen

Beat: Addeen Idrakie 3-0: 11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)

Next Opponent: Victor Crouin

“I’m happy with the match overall.

“I also played well in the first match. Today it took him some time to find a rhythm. In the first game, he couldn’t read where the ball was going and his movement was off. As he is very quick on the court, I thought he would be able to get to a lot of shots and he started to do that halfway through the match.

“I’m happy that I got to play some good rallies in the second and third, which got me into it a bit. If you get a very easy win, you lose touch with the high-paced, high-intensity rallies, but thankfully there were some good rallies in this match that will sharpen me up for the following one against Victor.

“I’ve been looking forward to this match ever since the draw came out. This is one of the matches I had my eyes set on, as last time I was very disappointed with my performance and I just wanted to do better. I’m glad we got the opportunity to play again and I’m definitely looking forward to playing much better than last time.


Salma Hany

Beat: Hana Ramadan 3-1: 11-5, 11-5, 3-11, 11-5 (33m)

Next Opponent: Olivia Weaver

“I was definitely nervous about my match against Hana.

“But also I was very confident with the way I have been playing and handling these kinds of matches. I was ready for a fight, I was ready to win 16-14 in the 5th if that was that it took. I didn’t mind, a win is a win, but it’s the World Champs and you can see tough matches from day one.

“I myself had a tough match with Hollie [Naughton] in the first round. I played amazing in the first two games, then I relaxed slightly in the middle of the third, and there you go, you find yourself in the fifth game for a decider.

“Today I felt I was very sharp in the beginning and I was really focusing on my squash, I wasn’t thinking about the occasion or how big the tournament is. When you play Hana, you know she is the most dangerous when she feels she has even a slight chance, she is such a fighter, she is improving, and I have a lot of respect for her. So you’ve got to make sure you don’t give her a sniff.

“I’m not happy at all with the third, I made the same error that I did with Hollie, I kind of relaxed in the third and she played amazing in that game. But I’m pretty happy with the way I came back in the fourth, I played as solid as I did in the first two games.

“I’ve played Olivia in the U.S. Open, back in October, she beat me and she is playing very well at the moment, probably the best she’s ever played. I don’t really look at the past, I prefer to focus on the present, it’s a different tournament, a new week, a new day. I will just have a look at how I can improve on what I did today and come up with a solid plan against Olivia.”


Karim Abdel Gawad

Beat: Rory Stewart 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (28m)

Next Opponent: Dimitri Steinmann

“Playing in Egypt is different from anywhere else for me.

“My family is around and I feel like I’m going to a practice match. Of course, I always have goals in my head and I try to achieve them. Playing in Egypt is good and it’s always fun.

“I was under pressure because I didn’t know what to expect, I tried to focus on every point, I didn’t want to have a slow start and then I tried to come back. Dimi played a very hard tense match today, so I wanted to keep some fuel in the tank for our next match.

“They are different conditions, of course, it’s a glass court and it’s another venue, it’s like you are going to another tournament. Dimi is a very good friend, he came to Egypt a couple of months ago and we had a good five days of training. He is a very nice guy, but not on court.

“He is getting better, he is playing and training everywhere in the world and he never rests. He’s always had the physicality and I knew that one day he would get the skills as well. He is improving all the time and he has a great future ahead of him in the next few years.

“Hopefully not at this tournament though, maybe the next one.”