U.S. Open Philadelphia (link to official site, draws, etc)

Finals

[6] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini   11/8, 7/11, 12/10, 11/9 (54m) 
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-2 [4] Nick Matthew (Eng)
                                                         10/12,12/14, 11/1, 11/4, 3/0 rtd (68m)

Nour didn't do anything wrong, good tactical game, no unforced errors really, but just a fearless determined letting the arm go French woman that kept a perfect balance between deep squash and attacking volley drop shots. Just too good today.

It was not a piece of cack for Mohamed, Nick pushed him and got under his skin at times, but an injury in the second game -that looks like an hamstring trouble - prevented the three times World Champion from finishing that match.

Not the way you want to win, but there was nothing Mohamed could do to prevent it. Well done Mohamed.

[6] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini
                                   
11/8, 7/11, 12/10, 11/9 (54m) 

Steve Cubbins Reports
Capping off a week of tremendous performances, Franceís Camille Serme added the current world champion and world number one to her list of scalps as she claimed her first U.S. Open title with a four-game win over top seed Nour El Sherbini Ė having already beaten the world number two and defending champion in the quarter-finals and the home favourite in the semis.

sp_22609The first two gamer were shared, Sherbini getting the better start in the first as she advanced from 2-all to 6-3 and holding that lead to take it 11/8, Serme did the same in the second, going from 3-4 to 8-4 and levelling the match 11-7.

There were a number of swings in the third, Sherbini led 4-2 and 6-3, Serme pulled back to lead 8-7 but Sherbini responted to reach game ball at 10-9. That was saved, and after the Egyptian tinned Sermeís serve landed in the backwall nick to give her the game and the lead.

sp_22617Sherbini regrouped and came out attacking in the fourth, taking a 4-0 lead. Sermeís defence has been outstanding all week tough, and it was no less so today. Often at full stretch she would just keep getting balls back, and anything loose would probably be punished as Sermeís volley drops have been just as good.

sp_22612The Frenchwoman took five points in a row to lead 5-4, then 8-5, and quickly 10-7 for three Championship balls. Two lets, two tough rallies both won by Sherbini, but on the third a loose ball presented itself and Serme fired it into the front corner to claim her second career World Series title, and a well deserved one at that.

I just canít believe it. Two weeks ago, I was so far from this, and now, you are telling me Iím the US Open ChampionÖ Itís crazy!

Today was a completely different match from the semi against Amanda, we all know that Nour has got unbelievable shots as well, she is not number one for nothingÖ

Itís crazy because I felt I was behind, I just kept pushing and she gave me some important points, and I thought OK, you can do this, you can win and I just pushed so hard, and at the end, I just tried and played a few shots as well.

Iím so happy, thank you so much for the support, the crowd has been very supportive and fair, even when I played against the Home Girl, they were extremely fair. Today, the atmosphere was amazing, for such a big battle.

Thanks to the organisers for their hard work, I love playing here, Iím looking forward to come back here next year.

Reaching the final was a good achievement for me, even if I lost in the final, I gave it everything I had. She was the better player today, and she deserves to win.

Iím really happy to reach the final. Itís not the end, Iím coming back next year.

Thanks everybody for coming and support us and see you next year

I wanted to give the crowd the best spectacle possible but you need two good legs to beat Mohamed, he is the best player in the world, so, I tried my bestÖ

About the week first of all. In the second round, I was 2/0 down, this week was about more than squash for me, I found myself. I might not have won the tournament, but I won my squash back, on and off the court, I found that method to enjoy my squash, to play with a smile on my face, but ultimately, my body let me down.

But the mind was in the game, I was just enjoying it, I had no pressure, I loved it, I loved being on this stage. I was a winner this week, full stop, regardless of the result tonight.

You know, I have great memories here, two years ago, when I won it, it took me to the top of the rankings, whenever I come back here, Iím just so happy to be back. It really gives me a lot of confidence, and Iím really happy I found my best squash this week. It had been a while since I found the way to play the way I like to play, I got it back againÖ

I grew up watching Nick playing, he comes out from my generation, we call it the Golden Generation, for me, he is the greatest of all of them. Every time, he always raised the bar for everyone. I watched him doing it. And I learned from that. And every time anyone would get close to that, he would push it even further. He is the greatest champion Iíve ever seen in my life, the greatest athlete I ever seen in my life.

What I have learned from him is just incredible. He pushed himself, he deserves respect from everyone in this world, what he did this week, what he did today, was unbelievable, and I think that people will only realise how important he was for the game when he stops, because without him, this sport will never be the same.

Shabana has been great with me all week, we Egyptian players are so lucky heís played all the generations, he knows them inside out, and we speak about the tactical side of the game before every match. Of course, my mum, she is here with me, such a great support mentally..

To win my first World Series of the season is giving me a great confidence, for sure, thanks for the people that came to support us all week, USSquash for organising the event, Delaware Investments, and I really cannot wait to be back here next year.

Thanks everyone.

SEMIS

Semis

[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-1 [5] Raneem El Welily                8/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/3 (37m)

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-0 James Willstrop (Eng)            11-7, 11-5, 13-11 (59m)
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-2 [5] Karim Abdel Gawad 11/4 7/11 16/14 3/11 12/10 (91m)
 

[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-1 [5] Raneem El Welily  
                     8/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/3 (37m)

Gaining revenge for her defeat in last monthís Al-Ahram final, top seed Nour El Sherbini moved into her second U.S. Open final as she came from a game down to beat compatriot Raneem El Welily,

The reigning world champion, Sherbini led for the vast majority of the match, only at the end of the first game did Welily manage to wrest control from her young pretender as she recovered from 4-7 down to take the lead 11-8.

Sherbini responded well, staying ahead throughout the next three games, racing away at the start of the fourth and sealing her placein the final after 37 minutes.

USOpen Report

Feeling great definitely, it has been a very hard match from beginning to end, we just played in the final of Al-Ahram a week ago, she has been playing well the whole week, she is on top form, so I didnít expect I was going to play like this, so Iím very happy with my performance.

I was trying to take the middle of the court away from her, because if she is in front of me, I cannot control the game, that was the planÖ But in Al-Ahram, she was on fire, she was killing every shot, and today, although she was playing well, she made a lot of errors.

I feel Iím getting better with every match, and Iím really happy to be back again in the US Open final. I hope that this time, I can make it.

Raneem is not just a friend, she is my big sister, I learned so much from her, she is always giving me a lot of advises, and we are always together. So itís really hard to play against each other, itís that feeling of wanting to win, but not wanting her to loseÖ So yes, very hard, but we are trying to get used to it, thatís sports, we have to do it, and the better player on the day will win.

I Played the first round, I thought I was already back home, training in England for my next tournament, and then the next minute, I find myself playing in the final of the tournament. When you are living moments like these, you are lucky, and youíve got to appreciate those moments.

Playing james today, I had to play my best squash, my A game, James has been playing so well this week. He had a tough year and a half, back from injury, how he is getting back to the form he is in, show the great champion he is. He is such a great example for me, for everyone. Thatís the kind of players we learn from.

So happy I was able to win today, so happy to be back here in the USOpen final for the second year.
Iíve been lucky to be able to play against James and his generation for nine years. They taught me a lot of things, they taught me the mental strength of the game, how to win matches, and I will always be thankful to all of them.

I was so happy to see Nick and James back in the semis. The game has been changing for the past year and I feel a bit lonely with the new generation, because for the past 9 years, Iíve been playing with another generation, and I have to get used to different style of play now.

When I saw them again in the Semis, I felt well, that my team was back with me again. If I was someone watching squash, I would want to see Nick and James in the final because they are very good for the game. But unfortunately, Iím not watching, Iím playing, and Iím trying to win
Just a personal thank you to Joe Zarett for all his help this week. Since the first round, all my muscles were really stiff, everything was going down in the wrong way in my body. Without his help, I wouldnít have been able to move that fresh today. So Iím truly thankful for all his help with week.

 

[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-2 [5] Karim Abdel Gawad
                              
11/4, 7/11, 16/14, 3/11, 12/10 (91m)

Controversial End to a great match...
Steve Cubbins Reports

ďI donít know how many U.S. Opens Iíve got left,Ē said Nick Matthew, the 2007 champion, after prevailing over in-form Karim Abdel Gawad 12-10 in the fifth after an hour and a halfís play, ďso I had to leave everything on court to get through that one.Ē

At the end of the match it was Gawad who had given everything though, he lay sprawled in the back corner after a desperate double dive to stay in the rally on Matthewís second match ball.

The match started well for the Englishman as he dominated the first game, and led the early part of the second. But as he did last night, Gawad finished the second strongly, taking five points in a row to level the match.

He needed a run of five points to stay in the third too, working his way back to 7-all and setting up a tense, and ultimately crucial ending. 8-all, 9-all, two game balls for Gawad and four for Matthew, who finally retook the lead 16-14, urging the crowd on as he exited the court.

That must have taken a lot out of his, and he let the fourth go in the classic ďsaving yourself for the fifthĒ style.

It worked too, but only just. Matthew just about stayed ahead during the decider, 5-3, 6-4 then 9-6. Gawad fought back to 9-all, then Matthew went to match ball as Gawadís pickup was - after the rally had ended in the Egtpyianís favour - called not up.

The replay seemed to suggest otherwise, much to Gawadís annoyance but that was deemed Ďinadmissable evidenceí....

We also had a let when Matthew slipped/dived into the corner and returned the ball, but Gawad stopped and a let was awarded on safety grounds, much to Matthewís annoyance.

Anyway, that all seemed to work out as Gawad won the next point for 10-all, but Matthew earned a second match ball, and worked Gawad out of position resulting in that double dive to finish.

 

QUARTERS

Quarters

Today

[7] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-1 [4] Nouran Gohar             7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (42m)

[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 Ali Farag                                       11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (57m)
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 [2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)   3-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (67m)


Wednesday

[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 [8] Alison Waters (Eng)                   11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (27m)
[5] Raneem El Welily 3-1 [3] Nicol David (Mas)          8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 (57m)

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 [6] Marwan ElShorbagy        11-7, 11-5, 12-10 (50m)
 

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 [2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
                      3-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (67m)

The 33-year-old was in total control as he took the opening game for the loss of just three points before opening up a 6-1 lead in the second. But, after becoming irritated with a series of calls by the referees, his game began to break down as he lost concentration

Slowly Gawad started to get a grip on the match, started to make Gaultier work harder, and importantly started getting under the Frenchmanís skin

From 3-7 Gawad scored a run of points to lead 9-7, took the game 11-9 and, with the Frenchmanís accuracy and composure diminishing Gawadís game and confidence grew.

Gawad took the lead mid-way through the third to take the lead 11-7, and although Gaultier took a 3-1 lead in the fourth the end came quickly as Gawad dominated the rest of the match.

I think thatís my best win ever in my career so far.

Greg is the No.2 in the World - it says it all - and one of the most experienced players on Tour. Before today heíd beaten me 8-0 on head to head record so itís my first win against him and that means a lot.

My coaches didnít have kind words for me after I lost the first, and 11-3 6-1 wasnít good, but they gave me good advice. I knew I had to change something and really just try and get some points.

I pushed and pushed to get as many points as possible, Iím really happy to get the win, and Iím glad I could turn it around in the end.

[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 [8] Alison Waters (Eng)    
                                                         11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (27m)

Nour Too Accurate

I don't think Alison did much wrong today really. With a strong H2H in favour of the English lady and a last battle in the TOC in January 2015 that ended 13/11 in the 5th, we were expecting the same kind of lenthy match.

But it wasn't to be as the Youngest ever world champion was today in a devastating form.


Nour won the match Shabana's way, at the back, her accuracty in the back corner was just astonishing, again again. On top of that, she managed to absorbing Alison stunning attacks by transforming them into splendid defence/attack shots that prevented the English from getting the dividend of her hard work.

An 8m first game, 5m second and another 8m last match, it was a clinical and smashing peformance from the world number1 world champion today.

Alison has been playing a very strong tournament, she was playing very well from the start, so I had to be on my guard from the begining on the match.

I'm lucky to manage to win it but we had some unbelievable rallies. Really happy to win today.

This tournament is one of the best in the world, and it would mean the world to me to win it, so I'm going to fight till the end...

Now, we have two legends on court, Nicol and Raneem, it's obviously going to be a very hard match, I'm going to wish them all the best, and may the best win...

Iím so, so happy to win.

There were so many points when I didn't think I was going to make it - she was playing so well. I think I was always behind and she was controlling it so I just had to dig deep and keep on pushing to stay on court as long as I could.

I was so happy to finish that fourth game because I donít think I could have played a fifth one.

I donít know, I really don't know how I turned it around, but I'm sure glad it came at the right time! Iím so happy to be in the semis.

[5] Raneem El Welily 3-1 [3] Nicol David (Mas)                 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 (57m)

Nicol Hungry, but Raneem Switched on

I don't think we'll ever be able to stop talking about how amazing Nicol David is. After dominating the world for so long, you could have thought that when they changed the height of the tin, she would have gracefully retired and bowed to the exit. But she didn't.

Along with long time friend/mentor/coach Liz Irving, they re-invented the Malaysian game. And it is working. Yes, she lost the match today. But she won the battle in her head I feel. She is showing to herself there was an attacker in her all those years, and she never knew about it!

Queen Nic was in control of the first game, very high on the T, attacking superbly, taking a strong lead 8/3. Raneem reacts well, 8/8, but again splendid attacks from Nicol, and it's 11/8 for the Malaysian in 14m.

The second is pretty close, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, but this time, Raneem manages to put Nic under a lot of pressure, and it's three errors to give the Egyptian an 11/8 in 8m to level at 1/1.

Third will be the crucial one, as so often. Nicol again is playing a squash with an intensity and power, a positivity rarely saw before. She leads 8/4, and looks like she finally got Raneem contained. But out of nowhere, a calm and not panicking Rino strings the points to come back to 7/8.

Nicol takes the advantage again, 10/8. Two HUUUGE rallies, powerful, fast pace and attacking squash, and Raneem is back at 10/10. She will score 5 points in a row, forcing 2 errors out of Nicol - who looked just a bit tired at the end - tand takes the third in 15m, 12/10.

We know Nicol, she was not going to fold, was she. The fourth is as close as it comes, not a point between them until 5/5, but Raneem is lethal when confident, and she will have a little cushion til the end, 7/5, 9/7, 10/8. A rare tin on the first match ball, but a superb volley drop shot yet again, that Nicol cannot get and calls not up. On a match ball. And that, my friends, is called Class.

What a match. Get the replay on SquashTV, it's definitely worth it....

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 [6] Marwan ElShorbagy        11-7, 11-5, 12-10 (50m)

We have been dealing with each other all day as weíre sharing together Ė itís been awkward for us but at the same time we have to get used to it.

Every time weíve played in the past heís beaten a higher seed to get there but this was the first time weíve been seeding to meet.

We talked about it before the season that we knew weíd face each other and thatís tough mentally. To be able to finish in three is lucky Ė mentally itís tough for us on there.

My mum has been able to raise two champions. Marwan and I have totally different personalities but sheís dealt with us differently to get us to the same place.

Making my parents proud is the most important thing in my life Ė to see them being proud of us both is the most important thing, titles come after that.

I have such great memories of playing here Ė itís where I got to the No.1 ranking. Today was the first day this season that I felt like I was moving well and playing well Ė Iíve been struggling with my movement but it all came good today. Unfortunately it came against my brother.

Iíve got James now and it should be a good match. James, Nick, Greg Ė those are the guys that I have learned from and without them I wouldnít be the player I am today.

SECOND ROUND

Second Round - Top Draw

Monday
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy
3-1 Chris Simpson (Eng)       10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 (64m)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy 3-1 [Q] Diego Elias (Per)             3-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (48m)
James Willstrop (Eng) 3-2  Mohamed Abouelghar          9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7 (70m)

[5] Raneem El Welily 3-1 [10] Joelle King (Nzl)                        1-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (50m)
[8] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-2 [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim 12-14, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 14-12 (63m)
[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-1 [13] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)              11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6 (38m)
[3] Nicol David (Mas) 3-2 [11] Nour El Tayeb                4/11, 9/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (53m)

Tuesday
Ali Farag 3-0 Fares Dessouky                                              11/7, 13/11, 8/3 rtd (36m)
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 Max Lee (Hkg)         4-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 (74m)

[4] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [14] Emily Whitlock (Eng)                    11-7, 11-8, 18-16 (42m)

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 Max Lee (HKG)
                       4-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 (74m)

Karim had to push hard...

Sometimes, you just have a bad day at the office. Was it a bit of a jetlag, or just Max playing too fast pace from the startingblocks? In 6m, and a few uncharacteristic errors, Karim was down 11/4.

He responded well in the second, from 3/3 keeping his nose in front, ever so slightly, forcing Max to catch up. From 5/5, Karim finds his groove, 9/5, but again the Hkg player won't be beaten, 7/9. Game ball, 10/7, and 11/8 in 14m.

Third is very close again, good start for Karim, who seems to get over the "very very long first rally" better - as it seems it was Max' plan in the first 3 games, 2/0, 3/1, but change of dynamic, and a hit hard and low Max, and it's now the Hkg player that leads that game, 6/4, 8/6. Nice catch up, 8/8, 9/9, but a nice push from Max, 11/9.

Fourth shows how much Karim has matured. The Old Karim would have folded it and gone home. But Top 4 Karim doesn't. At 7/5, Max is looking very good indeed, but that's the moment the Egyptian choses to go back to his top game. He'll score 5 points in a row, 10/7, game ball. It will take Karim 4 of those to finally take the 19m game, 12/10, to play - wait for it - a five setter. It's a shock to us all....

I think that in his old age, Karim will write a book how to win a match in 5, so needless to say Max didn't have much chances there, only kidding... From 4/4 though, 7/4 Karim, and from 6/7, it's all about the Egyptian, 11/6 in 14m, 74m match....

Thank the Lord he's got another day of rest tomorrow...

I canít believe Iím in the quarters now, it was a very tough match, he was very close to win today. I had to work so much in the 4th and 5th to win this. He is a very strong, very talented player, he is one of the great players on the tour.

I didnít play my best, itís all credit to him, he played really really well, he closed all my winners today, he played a very tight squash, very close to the walls, very deep at the backÖ Omar Abdel Aziz and Shabana worked more than I did today! They coached me and gave me about 6 different plans to win!

Sometimes, itís just not your day, you are not playing your best, but if you want to be one of the top players, youíve got to find ways, you must try and push, you must find ways to push yourself, mentally and physically.

I know Emily is tough Ė weíve played a lot in Juniors so I knew I had to be on my game.

We have different kinds of styles and she slows the pace down a lot and made it a contrast and in that third game I think it was whoever imposed their pace would win.

Itís my first quarters here in the US Open so Iím excited to be in the last eight and Iím looking forward to it.

Nouran Gohar

[4] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [14] Emily Whitlock (Eng)   11-7, 11-8, 18-16 (42m)

Egyptian world No. 4 Nouran Gohar will make her U.S. Open quarterfinal debut - she never passed round 2 here - after a tough three-game victory over Englandís world No. 16 Emily Whitlock.

The nineteen-year-old from Cairo had a good lead in the first game, 5/1, 6/3, only to see Emily clawing back 6/6. But within two minutes, the Egyptian was walking off court, 10/6, 11/7...

In the second, the English young lady was extremely positive and had gotten used to the ferocious pace, leading 6/4, but the rest of the game was going be close indeed, 7/7, 8/9, but the two last points for Nouran, and it's 11/8, 2/0 for the Egyptian.

The third was anything but a walk in the park for the Wadi Degla girl, as Emily led comfortably 9/5, Nouran back to 8/9, but game ball 10/8.

Emily actually held five game balls in that last game and fought off three match balls before Gohar closed out the forty-two-minute match 18-16, the last game alone was 20m.

Nouran will be delighted to get off in three, as Emily played an excellent squash, very positive, not afraid to get into Nouran's "raquetface", and showed she is not a force to be ignored. I believe that Emilly will be a top player very soon....

Ali Farag 3-0 Fares Dessouky                     11/7, 13/11, 8/3 rtd (36m)

Fares not right from the start...

In retrospect, you are so clever, aren't you. When a player as solid as Fearless Fares going and make 6 unforced errors in the first game in rallies about 40s each, surely one could think mmmm... something is not right there is it.

But then again, in the next rally, he seemed to settle down a bit, from 1/4 down, he score 4 points to even score out, 5/5, 6/6, no more unforced errors well, until 9/9, going for too short too early, so uncharacteristic of Fares really, 10/9 game ball.

At that point, Ali picked up a shot that seems doubled to Fares - the replay and SquashTV saw it was good - but we heard Fares shout and getting v
ery animated, again, out of nowhere... He will have a game ball of his own, 11/10, but he will rush again, a corner shot that ends on his body, then a tin after only a few shots, and another stroke... 13/11 Ali in 18m.

The third, well, saw both boys very close 3/3, only to see Fares throwing away the points, making errors upon error, to finally shake his opponent's hand at 8/3.

According to my sources - and I think they are pretty reliable, Fares would be pretty sick, high temperature and really not as his best, which would completely explain why he would go for too much too soon...

I think I played well today Ė itís unfortunate the way it ended. I hope heís ok and that whatever it is isnít too bad.

It was a tough game but I though I was playing well today. I was playing aggressive squash and I was 100% focused out there.


I was disciplined from the beginning and didnít give him many openings but I was also aggressive as well instead of being passive. So Iím happy with how I played and hopefully that can continue into the next round.

Itís been a tough draw for me so far but I don't think anybody is having an easy draw at the moment so Iím just pleased with how Iím playing and delighted to be through to the quarters for the first time.


 

[5] Raneem El Welily 3-1 [10] Joelle King (NZL)                     1-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (50m)

Terrible start from Raneem, who took a massive first rally in the opener, and that was it really. 11/1 for playing magnificently Joelle.

Was is the deep knowledge that comes from having beaten your opponent 9 times that led the Egypitan to regroup and play her A game from that point on, although Joelle had the momentum in the second and led 9/6.

Determined and accurated, Raneem score five points in a row to level and was ahead throughout the third as she took the lead 11-7, 2:1. The fourth was point for point, but with King leading 8-7 Welily again got the better of a tremendous rally, drawing applause from the crowd and her opponent alike.

The Egyptian was determined to win today, and with the bit between her teeth she closed out the match 11-8 in 50 minutes.

It was a very long time since I played Joelle, I think the last time we played was before her injury. To play with her again is absolutely fantastic, I really enjoyed it.

It was obviously not an easy one today, she played fantastic squash I think I never saw her play this way before. All credit to her for a great match today, it wasn't easy AT ALL.

Like Shabana said, what made the difference I was playing like I didn't want to lose, not playing like I wanted to win...

The women's game has improved a lot, this year is going to be really close, like just have a look at the draw and you'll see that all the matches are probably going to be very close. It's really good for our sport. I think we are all enjoying the competition, one way or the other.

James Willstrop (Eng) 3-2  Mohamed Abouelghar       9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7 (70m)

So proud of the performance from the Tin Man today, who basically, played the squash we all know he can play when he stops being 13 years old and going for too much too early too often. If he can keep that level of squash, Abou will make his mark on the PSATour. Only him can decide to do so.

First game, close and very intense, 7/7, 8/8, but it's Abou 11/9. Second is as close, 7/7, 8/8, but the reverse result, 11/9 James, who dominates the Tin Man easily, 11/6 in the 3rd, 12m still, hard work, and two harsh no lets at the end of the game that really must have annoyed the Egyptian

The 4th is Abou at his best, taking his anger onto the ball, 8/0 and wining the second in 8m, 11/5.

The 5th, well, looks like Abou is going to get to the quarters, 6/3, but James just uses his experience to score 4 points in a row, 6/6, 7/7, and another 4 points, to take the decider... 70m of pure joy of a squash. Well done to both.

That was an hour and something of frantic intensityÖ Hats off to him he made me work so hard, I thought he played a good match, he made it so hard, I couldnít find myself really on there, and that was all him.

Iím so pleased to get through, I want to keep playing! I was quite happy at the end, I just donít want to stop now, I feel Iím in the groove, I was very pleased to managed to get that.

Itís pretty dead on there, I couldnít get off his racquet in that sort of middle area, he took his chances from me, he would played those excellent shots across me, Iím a big guy, and he put me on edge. He played incredibly well, and I had to play very well to beat him

In the 5th, I just tried and had a little faith in what I can doÖ Itís again all credit to him, he outplayed me a bit in the fifth, well he outplayed me completely in the 4th, he was on course to being one of the best games anyone has ever played against me, I just started to get into it at the end.

I just tried and keep doing what I know I can do. You donít have to change things: David was quite right when he was coaching me, he said itís not rocket science, just keep with it, that paid off a little bit today.

[8] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-2 [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim  12-14, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 14-12 (63m)

Salma had a 3 match balls

Alison Waters reached the quarter-finals of the U.S Open for a sixth time after coming through a roller-coaster of a match against Egyptian qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim.

Hany was off to a flyer, chopping in the winners as she went 7-1 and 9-3 up in the first, but Waters fought back to lead 10-9 before finally losing out 14-12 as Hany fired in a volley drop.

sp_22162The next three games were one-sided, Waters romping through the second 11-1, Hany taking a 7-2 lead in the third before taking it 11-7, Waters grabbing the momentum back in the fourth 6-0, 9-2 and levelling again 11-4.

The fifth was more even, Hany leading the early stages 4-2, Waters coming back to lead 7-5, then it was the Egyptian again, advancing to 10-8. Waters saved the first match ball then Hany went for her favourite long drop off the next serve only to see it clip the tin.

sp_22168Waters saved another match ball with a crisp volley drop, then earned a second of her own with the same shot at 12-all, then Watersí final serve dropped into the back corner and died in the nick, a cruel ending for Salma but a big relief for the Englishwoman.

It was a tough game and it was hard to get into a rhythm Ė one game she was chopping it and the next I was in front so it was a case of trusting yourself.

I just tried to keep hitting my targets and push until the end and luckily it was my day. I enjoyed it and was happy that it went the right way for me.

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-1 Chris Simpson (Eng)
                                      10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 (64m)

Really happy to live in that tournament another day, you know, I was just one point away from being out from the first round so, I consider myself very lucky to be on court today, and feeling even more lucky to have the chance to play another round here.

Chris put a lot of pressure on me today, he played great squash. The kind of pace he played at, he is so good at it, so I tried to slower the pace, to confuse him a little bit in the middle but all credit to him, he played really well today.

I am happy I was able to contain him, especially at the crucial points, especially in the third game, maybe it's a little bit of experience that got me through. Just really happy to got through at the end.

It was a very tough match in the first round, but I got everything out of my system so, I felt better the day after, and you know, we train to play five tough matches at every tournament, so there is no excuse: if you play one tough match, you cannot say you are tired, no excuse.

Nobody can play his best match after match. I try and be that person who can, but it's not possible. So mabye I'm just going to try and relax, and see what happens.This week is going to be an interesting week, all the players are going to give everything they have, and maybe, I can have a shot at this tournament.

      

MOHAMED STILL FIGHTING

He is a bit in a place where he doesn't trust himself as much as he did last season.

Not sure why, maybe the pressure is getting to him, maybe it's a bit of physical or mental tiredness, but we can see how the body language shows how lost he can be at times.

Still, Mohamed is at the top of the rankings and for a reason. He is often under criticism for his style of squash. Well, let me put it that way: Mohamed is like Djoko in tennis. He has an strong style that some people do not appreciate. But does it matter? He is extraordinnary good at it people. And he will keep on dominating the rankings for quite a while  we can predict.

Like he said "I was born to fight, and I'll keep on doing it until I die."

[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-1 [13] Sarah-Jane Perry(Eng)
                              11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6 (38m)

There is nothing easy, everyone is dangerous, and I have been watching her in the past tournaments, and I was expecting a very tough match.

It means the world to me to have my family around me, my brother, and also my cousin, he is a bit like my brother, weíve been training together since we are very little, they both came and support me, and that helped me a lot today.

[3] Nicol David (Mas) 3-2 [11] Nour El Tayeb
                              
4/11, 9/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (53m)

Three-time U.S. Open champion Nicol David needed all her renowned determination to stave off a first-ever defeat at the hands of Egyptís Nour El Tayeb.

David had won all seven of their previous meetings, but was quickly on the back foot tonight as Tayeb dominated the first game and a half, taking the first 11-4 and leading the second all way way to double her advantage 11-9.

David has been in these positions before, of course, and once again she dug deep into those reserves, starting the third strongly keeping Tayeb at bay as she extended the rallies, as she does.

David took the third 11-4, the fourth 11-6, and although Tayeb took a 4-0 lead in the decider, the momentum was still with David as she mounted one last comeback, taking the lead at 6-5 and finishing it 11-7 with a delighted yell.

(source, USOpen site)

Iím over the moon.

I wasnít firing in the first game and a half and she made it very hard for me. I knew I had to fight all the way. I trained really hard over the summer during the off season and I wasnít going to go down without a fight Ė I pushed to the limit and Iím really pleased to win that 3-2.

I didnít let up Ė I knew I wanted to keep going until the very end and thatís what I did.

FIRST ROUND

First Round:

Women

[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 [Q] Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn)                   13-11, 11-9, 11-2 (28m)
[Q] Salma H. Ibrahim 3-2 [16] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-5 (55m)
[5] Raneem El Welily 3-0 [Q] Nele Gilis (Bel)                              11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (30m)
[10] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0  [Q] Nadine Shahin                          11-8, 11-7, 12-10 (33m)
[11] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 [Q] Fiona Moverley (Eng)                      11-4, 11-8, 14-12 (28m)
[4] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [Q] Coline Aumard (Fra)                            11/6, 11/5, 11/5 (37m)
[9] Joshna Chinappa (Ind) 3-2 Heba El Torky        7-11, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (55m)
[2] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy          11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (35m)

Men
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-2 Cesar Salazar (Mex)    6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 117, 13-11 (77m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1   [Q] Karim Ali Fathi                     11-7, 11-9, 12-14, 13-11 (70m)
Mohamed Abouelghar 3-0 [Q] Campbell Grayson (Nzl)                  11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (41m)
James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [3] Omar Mosaad                                 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (56m)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy 3-1 Cameron Pilley (Aus)               11-4, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (60m)
Fares Dessouky 3-2 Leo Au (Hkg)                            11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10 (71m)
Ali Farag 3-0 [8] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)                                     11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (40m)
[5] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Tom Richards (Eng)                          11/8, 11/9, 11/7 (36m)

On Saturday

Nour El Sherbini
had to be precise and focused to past Misaki who was for the first time on SquashTV! It seems to agree with the lovely Japonese who played a good and positive squash for the first two games, only losing, 13/11 and 11/9. Nour now plays SJ Perry, a force not to be taken lightly, having beaten Camille and Nicol in Al-Ahram.

About in the same lenght of match time, Raneem and Nour El Tayeb disposed of their respective opponents, Nele Gilis in 30m, and Nour El Tayeb, 28 against Fiona Moverly - who had a massive 5 setter the night before against Hania. The Tall English Lady push hard at the end, with Nour only clinching the third, 14/12. Nour ET will play Nicol, a match I will not miss for sure, and Raneem Joelle K.

Only Salma created the upset, going up 2/1 again former World number 2 Jenny Duncalf, losing the 4th 15/13 and taking the 5th 11/5, 55m of game.

As for the boys, Mohamed gave us grey hair when he went down 2/1 then 6/1 in the decider against On Fire Cesar Salazar, but managed SOMEHOW to save the day bless him.

Mosaad played against a Rejuvenated James Willstrop, back at his best form, and the Ha, mmer just couldn't do much to stop the Pontefract man from wining a magisterial performance, 8 8 and 8 in less than an hour. Same fate for Qualifier Karim The Smile Ali Fathi, but Chris Simpson had to fight hard the whole match, Karim nearly managing to get to a fifth after saving numerous match balls...

Marwan was just again too strong for Cameron Pilley - Marwan, please can you help your big brother and give him a few tips?....



On Sunday

Nouran Gohar had a strong encounter with French number 2 Coline Aumard. A few too many calls but still Nouran comes out with the comfortable 3/0 victory in 37m.

Kanzy offered us as ever a great diving show. "Diving Queen Kanzy" is now 22, and you feel the potential she has on offer. Remarkable hands, fast, incredible athlete, she just need a little bit of disciplin and she would easily be a top 10 and to be honest, I wish she gets up there. We need that kind of squash, a flamboyant and intense style. I just love that young lady.

One of the biggest battle of the day was Heba El Torky, who I really thought had the match in hand. She went up 2/0, hitting hard squash and moving very well, forcing Joshna into long rallies that I don't think the Indian enjoyed that much. But Joshna dug in superbly, and clawed back, saving 2 match balls in the 4th, 10/8 and 9/10, to score 4 points in a row.

In the decider, our Heba kept on pushing. A few discussions from both girls I seem to hear, but again very intense squash, 4/4, close up to the end, but Joshna that gets it on her first attempt.  Blast.

On the traditional court, Fares was comfy up 2/0 and cruising really against Leo Au. Did he relax a bit? He lost the next two games 8 and 5, and only clinched the 5th, 12/10! Never in doubt me....

Yeah right.

As for LittleShabs Karim, he is the man to beat at the moment. He played a superb relaxed match today, imposing his game to Tom, and was able to switch to plan B when A didn't function anymore. He is truly impressive at the moment, may it continue IsA.

Last Egyptian match on the glass was Ali Farag against Mathieu, but a Frenchman a bit impaired, and it was a clean 3/0 for the Cairo Man...


 

It's a very tough first round actually, Mathieu is such a tough opponent, we all know it.

Unfortunately, he's been strugging with his adductor and calf, so I'm lucky today to get away with the win because I know that when he is 100%, he is very very hard to beat.

Like last time, in Windy City, I was 2/0 and he never gave up, and he came back and won.And I had a match point too last time, when I think about it, I had about 10 match balls against him I lost over the years! So today, even when I was up 2/0, I never relaxed until the end, thanks to my coaches Amr (Shabana) and Nour.

Well, I always had in the back of my head he was not moving at his best, I wanted to finish the point quite quickly, but Shabana told me that he natural movement is to the front, so it would be better to win the points at the back. And actually, that helped me a lot in the 2nd and the 3rd.

Nour doesn't say much, she is just the psychological support there [diabolic laugh]...

Against Fares, it's a test, every match is a test, anybody can beat anybody, we just played each other last week in Al-Ahram, and I'm sure it's not going to be anyless easy, it's going to be very very tough, he is such a tough competitor...

Ali Farag 3-0 [8] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (40m)

Those two had met 5 times on the Tour, and it was a close 3/2 for Mat, with their last battle I watch actually, was in Chicago, with if I remember well, match ball(s?) for Ali in the 4th, and cramps in the 5th.... But I could be mistaken.

Today, we all knew that Mathieu was probably not at his best, having been suffering from several niggles that prevented him from training properly. But that's so dangerous when you are playing a not so fit opponent. You've got to focus on your squash, not on the other's body....

First game, very close point for point at up 6/6, then 10/7 and game 10/8 in 15m. Second is shorter, 10m, with Mathieu not moving as he would like it seems, coupled with the nerves that seem to impair Ali having magically disapear with the win of the first game....

Good start in the 3rd for Ali, 4/1, 5/2, a good push and determination from the French, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, but Ali is too relax and too in control to be stopped, 11/7, a clean 3/0 win...

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Tom Richards (Eng)                          11/8, 11/9, 11/7 (36m)

Karim didn't come here to play numbers. He nows believes he is good enough squash wise (thanks Aziz & Abbas) and strong enough (thanks Ali) to win majors. So the opening against Tom was a good test.

Those two had played 7 times in the past, both PSA and League matches, and if Tom never managed to beat Karim, those two had some memorable battles, one going to 95, last two games 14/12, 13/11.

Karim will be please today with his performance. First game was pretty close, 7/6, with Karim giving a little push speed wise, 11/8. The second was the crucial one, with Tom being up 7/2, and cruising really. A good reaction from Karim, zoomed to 9/7, errors from the Egyptian, 9/9, but Tom just clips the tin twice, and it's 11/9, 2/0 up...

Third is simpler, from 4/4, it's match ball 10/4, but if Tom comes back to 7/10, he cannot stop Karim to take the third, 11/7 in 36m...

I think I have played well for the past month, so I just hope to keep continuing like that. After each tournament, I just try and forget about the last event, and focus on the next one.I just try and do my best, and continue with my recent form.

Tom is a tough player, one of the best in the world, very talented. So when you play against someone like him, you have to have different game plans.

I spoke with my coach Omar Abdel Aziz before the match, trying to find as many plans as we could, go to plan B if plan A didn't work! And that was good as I had to change up in the middle of the match.

I have never beaten Max Lee in my life - so far - he is a very tough player, very strong physically and mentally, Iím looking forward to trying to grab the win this time.


 

SATURDAY GAMES

Shabana kept telling me in between games that you are World No.1 because you find the way to win Ė you deal with the matches.

In the past two seasons I have played more matches than anyone else and lately things have been going wrong with my body. Iíve had stomach problems and fevers and been struggling.

Iíve been hungry to play and been wanting to play but my body hasnít been letting me. But ever since I was young Iíve been a squash warrior. Being the best is about hating losing Ė and no one hates losing more than me.

I came back on court at 2-1 down and 6-1 down in the fifth and had to fight and fight. I won today Ė thatís what matters Ė and I have a rest day tomorrow and Iíll keep fighting until the end.

Cesar played with a completely different attitude today compared to last year. I could see it in his eyes he wanted to win and do something special today. He played great squash and I was struggling to find a way to stop him.

Iím really happy to come through Ė finding the way to win is the most important thing and I know that Iíll definitely be better next round after that match.

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-2 Cesar Salazar (MEX)      6/11, 11/9, 8/11, 11/7, 13/11 (77m)

When Mohamed is giving us all grey hairÖ

The world number one is not thinking of his poor mum, stuck in her seat, kick the life out of the poor people in front, or his brother, trying to stay focus before his match tonight, or any of his fans. Nope, he goes down 2/1, then 6/1 in the 5thÖ

Itís all credit to Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar, who came within one point of causing one of the biggest upsets of the season during the first round of the U.S. Open after an inspired performance saw him take World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy to the brink.

Salazar looked like a different man from the one who lost out in straight-games to ElShorbagy at the same stage here twelve months ago as he played with variation, poise and accuracy to upset ElShorbagy from the start and take the opening game 6-11.
The World No.1 looked like heíd recovered from that early blip as he restored parity by taking the second but then Salazar was in control again, taking the third game 11-8. Fourth saw Mohamed a bit more assertive and fast, evening the scores 2/2Ö and he again caused difficulties for ElShorbagy in the fourth only for the scores to be evened again.

The fifth was a bit of a drama in itself, with both hitting the ball as hard and fast as they could, but Mohamed seems lost at sea, 6/1 Cesar. Thatís the moment the Egyptian chose to show what world number 1 are made of. He claws back to 9/9, but itís Cesar that getís the first match ball, 10/9. A no let takes care of that. A terrible tin at 10/10 offers the Mexican his second match ball, 11/10. What appears like a no let (Cesar truly thought he won the match) is given as a let - confirmed by the video ref - and Mohamed carries the momentum to 13/11.

The social network are virulent on the poor refereeing, but I was struggling with my steaming, and cannot comment, as I didnít see much, to say NOTHING.
 

 

[Q] Salma H. Ibrahim 3-2 [16] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
                     11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-5 (55m)

Twenty-year-old Egyptian Salma Hany Ibrahim pulled off the only womenís upset of the day, taking down world No. 17 Jenny Duncalf in five games.

The victory advances the world No. 25 from Alexandria to her first U.S. Open second round where she will face another English opponent in Alison Waters.

It feels amazing.

Before coming here my aim was just to qualify and just get off court in one piece. Iím so happy I managed to win this game. Jenny is such an amazing player and experienced. It was really tough.

Thanks to all of my friends who came to support me, my coaches and Shabana of course. Iím just glad to be in the second round of the U.S. Open for the first time.

Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1 [Q] Karim Ali Fathi
                  11-7, 11-9, 12-14, 13-11 (70m)

Karim "The Smile" nearly got his decider...

After playing in the last qualifying match at Merion last night, Karim Ali Fathi was the first on Drexelís Kline & Specter court one.

The Egyptian found himself two games down to Englandís Chris Simpson, and trailed 10-7 in the third, when he dug in and fought off three match balls.

Simpson edged back ahead twice, and twice Fathi fought back to win the third 14-12. Up again in the fourth, Simpson squandered four more match balls before finally closing on his ninth match ball at 13-11 after seventy minutes on court.

 

ďI still felt like I was in control of the game, but I got a bit annoyed with myself getting quite nervous with those match balls, and again in the fourth, so not too happy about that.

Ē But Karimís a great player so Iím still pleased to get the win.Ē

I played Campbell before and it was a battle. Heís a very tough player and solid all around.

I had to mix things up a bit throughout each game. Happy to get away in three.

I havenít been playing well since the start of the season so itís my lucky place here.

Happy to be in the second round.

Iíve been progressing well the past few months.

My shoulder is getting better every month. Iím hoping I can go just as far as last y-ear.

I have my sights set on the title this year, not just the final. But I need to take things match by match. Iím just hoping to play well.

I'm always happy to be back to the US Open, it's my 4th or 5th year.

I'm happy with the way I played today, the first match is always a bit, you know, on and off, but happy to come out with a 3/0 win. Nele played really well, and I'm sure we'll have many many more tough matches in the future.

Yes, my victory in Al-Ahram is to make me smile when I remember, it's a great memory for me but it's in the past now, I hope I can give it a big push and keep playing like that...

QUALIFYING

Read the report on the Qualifying Finals - 16 Egyptians in the Main Draw!

Qualifying Finals:

[12] Karim Ali Fathi
3-1 [8] Greg Lobban (Sco)                    11-5, 11-6, 1-11, 11-6 (48m)

[11] Salma H. Ibrahim 3-1 [3] Low W Wern (Mas)               11-9, 11-5, 3-11, 11-5 (35m)
[2] Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-1 [15] Amina Yousry                     9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (50m)
[10] Nadine Shahin 3-1 [8] Mariam Metwally                        11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 (42m)
[7] Fiona Moverley (Eng) 3-2 [13] Hania El Hammamy 7-11 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 12-10 -62m)
[12] Kanzy El Defrawy 3-1 [1] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)     11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (45m)

Qualifying 1st round

Ivan Yuen (Mas) 3-2 [1] Zahed Mohamed       5-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 (75m)
[12] Karim Ali Fathi 3-0 Kush Kumar (Ind)                        11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)

[8] Mariam Metwally 3-0 [L] Reyna Pacheco (Usa)          11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (19m)
[15] Amina Yousry 3-0 [L] Haley Mendez (Usa)                11-7, 11-2, 11-1 (19m)
[10] Nadine Shahin 3-1 Millie Tomlinson (En         7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-8
[11] Salma Hany Ibrahim 3-0 Hollie Naughton (Can)       11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (24m)
[12] Kanzy El DeFrawy 3-0 [L] Marina Stefanoni (Usa)    11-5, 11-4, 11-5
[13] Hania El Hammamy  3-0 [L] Corey Schafer (Usa)    11/3, 11/5, 12/10 (23m)
[1] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)3-0 Nouran El Torky           11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (43m)

 

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