2019, EGYPT, CHAMPIONSHIP
The men's CIB Egyptian Squash Open PSA World Tour Platinum event begins today in Cairo, Egypt at the Shooting Club.
The PSA World Tour Platinum event sees the majority of the world's best players competing for the title with the likes of Spain's Borja Golan, Egypt's Mazen Hesham and Germany's Raphael Kandra all begininng their tournaments today.
Action begins at 12:00 local time (GMT+2) on all four courts at the Shooting Club 6th of October.
You can keep up with the live scores from the event here.
You can also follow reports and reaction from the players right here.
12:00 Chris Simpson (ENG) v Edmon Lopez (ESP)
12:45 Borja Golan (ESP) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
13:30 Lucas Serme (FRA) v Shehab Essam (EGY)
14:15 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
12:00 Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [WC] Yahya Elnawsany (EGY)
12:45 Raphael Kandra (GER) v [WC] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
13:30 Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v Mazen Gamal (EGY)
14:15 Greg Lobban (SCO) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
Court Three – watch live action below
12:00 Max Lee (HKG) v Ivan Yuen (MAS)
13:30 George Parker (ENG) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
16:45 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY)
18:15 Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Victor Crouin (FRA)
12:00 Leo Au (HKG) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
13:30 Adrian Waller (ENG) v Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
16:45 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Vikram Malhotra (IND)
18:15 Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
Ng Outlasts Elnawsany to Book RD2 Spot
Eain Yow Ng (left) takes on Yahya Elnawsany (right)
World No.32 Eain Yow Ng earned his spot in round two of the CIB Egyptian Squash Open after outlasting talented Egyptian wildcard Yahya Elnawsany in an entertaining four-game battle.
Ng started slowly as Elnawsany built up a 6-2 lead, but the Malaysian managed the game well and extended the rallies to sap the energy levels of his 17-year-old opponent, rattling off nine points in a row to go a game ahead.
Local player Elnawsany showed off some of his skills to take the second as he displayed some nice touches at front of the court and found a couple of nicks to take momentum away from Ng.
However, the rallies looked to bite into the legs of the Egyptian in the third as Ng powered into a four-point lead and he closed it out to restore his one-game cushion, with Elnawsany virtually giving up on the game in the latter stages.
And it was much the same in the fourth as Eain Yow controlled the ’T’ and dictated the tempo of the match to wrap up an 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 victory which will see him play either Germany’s Raphael Kandra or wildcard Moustafa El Sirty in round two.
“I think he played really well, playing a wildcard in Egypt is like playing any other player, they're all so good,” said Ng.
“I've seen him play a lot in the juniors and today he played well and he had no pressure. I was 6-2 down in the first game but luckily I managed to get that back. In the second game he did the same, but I stuck to my game plan and made it really hard for him and it paid off.
“In the first game there was a big rally at 6-4 and I figured out that he gets tired quickly. All credit to him, I didn't start very well in the second, but I just kept focusing and it paid off in four [games].
“All of the players dream of playing at the glass court in front of the Pyramids. I think it's a big motivation to do well tomorrow and hopefully get on the glass.”
Chris Simpson (left) v Edmon Lopez (right)
In the other 12:00 match, England’s Chris Simpson advanced to the last 32 after his fixture with Spain’s Edmon Lopez was cut short after just 10 minutes due to an ankle injury sustained by the latter.
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [WC] Yahya Elnawsany (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 (46m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 (35m)
Hong Kong Duo Lee and Au Through
Max Lee (left) Ivan Yuen (right)
Hong Kong duo Max Lee and Leo Au both prevailed in their first round encounters at the Shooting Club in Cairo for the CIB Egyptian Squash Open.
Lee was pushed all the way to five-games by Malaysia’s World No.47 Ivan Yuen, but prevailed in 69 minutes to book a second round slot and will now face England’s Daryl Selby.
The two players last met at the Malaysian Open with Lee also triumphing in a five-game battle that day, and today proved no different as Lee was forced to come from one game down to win 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6.
“I’m happy with my performance today,” said Lee afterwards.
“I didn’t expect that I would play well because it is just the beginning of the season. It’s good that feeling of winning your first match and hopefully this season I will be injury free. Ivan played well, I just tried to move as smooth as I can. My passion is still there and it’s great to get that feeling of being in another round.
“I wasn’t thinking about our last match because we have played so many times. We are good friends and train together, it’s great that we play really fairly on court and play with a positive attitude.
“Me and Daryl [Selby] are both over 30, so we will play in a different way. I just want to play as best as I can, he’s still so fit and so smooth and has that experience.”
Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s World No.26 Leo Au booked his place in the second round courtesy of a straight games victory over India’s World No.49 Ramit Tandon.
The 29-year-old will face the winner of Adrian Waller v Youssef Ibrahim in the next round.
“I’m happy I was able to stay focused throughout the match because Ramit is very gifted,” said Au following his win. “I couldn’t relax for a minute. I made sure I tidied up all my shots and my length, and tried to push him to make errors.
“I had a little niggle in my knee for the past months, nothing too serious, but it prevented me to perform well in my last two tournaments. But I’m now feel better, and I was able to put some training in, so I feel more comfortable.
“My goal is actually trying to play in front of the pyramids, it’s not a chance that presents itself often, so I’ll do my best to grab it.”
Max Lee (HKG) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 3-2: 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (69m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 (35m)
Masotti Halts Golan as Kandra Sees Off El Sirty
Baptiste Masotti (left) lunges against Borja Golan (right)
France’s Baptiste Masotti claimed a big win over Spanish veteran Borja Golan in straight games to earn a second round place on his PSA Platinum tournament debut.
The World No.59 has moved up almost 30 places up the PSA World Rankings since announcing himself on home soil as he reached the semi-finals of last season’s Open International de Nantes and he put in a measured performance to halt ‘El Toro’ in Cairo today.
He took his opportunities well and remained relatively error-free to complete an 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 in 44 minutes.
His round two opponent will be Colombia’s World No.9 Miguel Rodriguez, who has shrugged off a calf injury sustained at the U.S. Open to appear at the event.
“Borja is a good friend of mine and I know that he is playing very well,” said the Frenchman.
“It’s my first [Platinum] event, and since the beginning of the season I've started playing bigger tournaments as my ranking has been going up. I was playing $100Ks and a $70K in Nantes, so I've always played these kind of guys from the first round. I've only won one match from the beginning of the season, so this one was very special for me.
“A few weeks ago I started working with my mental coach and started being more calm and more confident with myself, so I'm very happy to win in three. It was a mental battle even if there were only three games. I can't believe I won my first match here, I'm going to play tomorrow against Miguel, so it's all good.
“I've not worked on Miguel's game because I have been going game-by-game and match-by-match, so I will speak to my coach, I'm pretty sure he knows Miguel very well, and with Greg Gaultier as well, I will get some advice to play him. I just want to enjoy myself on court and see what happens.
“He is the favourite, but in squash, especially on this hard court, you never know. I will try my best and I'm pleased to be on court with these guys.”
Raphael Kandra (right) battles with Moustafa El Sirty (left)
Germany’s Raphael Kandra, meanwhile, recovered from four game balls down in the opener of his fixture with wildcard Moustafa El Sirty en route to a 3-0 win.
The World No.30 eventually snuck it 13-11, but was back in front to win the second 11-7. He required another tie-break in the third to eventually see off the 18-year-old, and his reward is a second round match against Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng.
Kandra said: “He is a very strong kid, and whenever he sees an opening, he just goes for it, he is hungry and willing to do well. To be honest, I’m quite happy the AC was not on, as it allowed me to pick up a few more shots!
“I’m glad I sneaked in the first game, I was 10-6 down I think, that was crucial, and it got my confidence way up. The last game I thought I was in control. But that’s the way with those gifted players. You work so hard in the rallies, and out of the blue, they will get back in the game, scoring some quick points out of nowhere.
“There is still a long way to go to play at the Pyramids, but that is my dream since I was a kid. Just google squash, Egypt, and the iconic image is the court at the Pyramids. I just hope I can play there.”
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (44m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt [WC] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 12-10 (38m)
Yip and Serme Ease Through
Tsz Fung Yip (left) v Mazen Gamal (right)
Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip and France’s Lucas Serme claimed respective 3-0 wins over Mazen Gamal and Shehab Essam to earn their last 32 spots.
Yip, the World No.31, is through to the second round of a PSA Platinum event for the first time since December 2018 after he controlled the match to win 11-7, 11-3, 11-8.
He will take on India’s Saurav Ghosal for the honour of appearing in front of the Pyramids next.
“It’s always hard to focus right from the first point of a tournament, but I think I started the game well,” Yip said.
“That gave me the advantage, and I’m happy overall with the way I held on in the games and stuck with my game plan.
“I’m expecting good squash from him [Ghosal], he’s a very good player. I just hope that I can perform as well as I am able to, and we’ll see how it goes.
“It’s always been a great pleasure playing in different glass courts all over the world. I haven’t been there, but I’ve seen pictures of the set up and I think it’s really amazing. It would be a pleasure and an honour to play on that court, so I will do my best to get there and play in front of the Pyramids and the crowd.”
Lucas Serme (left) v Shehab Essam (right)
Serme’s opponent got called into the draw after a late withdrawal from fellow Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid and he overcame the World No.74 by an 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 scoreline.
Serme then revealed that a chat with legendary Frenchman Gregory Gaultier – who has been a sidelined with a knee injury for the past year – has helped him reassess his goals for the season.
“I had a good chat with Grégory Gaultier during the French Leagues in La Rochelle,” Serme said.
“He is really good at motivating you, he is a great pedagogue, and gave me confidence in my game again, got my head sorted, and I realise that I can lose or win matches, my life isn’t over, that I just need to keep giving 200 per cent in every match. It’s like starting from scratch, and making ‘table rase’, forgetting the past.
“The start of the season was ok, I nearly took out Mohamed ElShorbagy in Shanghai, at HKFC I equalled my seedings, but in the US, I lost against the wildcard, with all due respect it’s a match I shouldn’t have lost.
“That was first a huge huge building falling on my head and got me to question why I was doing this job, and a lot of other worries that I probably overthought. Then a big wake up call, back to the drawing board.”
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Shehab Essam (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 (26m)
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (29m)
Lake and Waller Make it an English Double
Nathan Lake in action against George Parker
England’s World No.57 Nathan Lake and World No.24 Adrian Waller ensured their progression at the CIB Egyptian Squash Open after defeating George Parker and Youssef Ibrahim, respectively.
Both matches went the distance to five-games, with Lake forced to hold off a comeback from Parker after taking a 2-0 lead as the 23-year-old Englishman began to rally back. However, it proved to be Lake’s day as he had held the mental to edge to claim his first victory over Parker.
He will now face Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy in the next round.
“I’m really pleased with today,” said 27-year-old Lake.
“George has such a physical presence and plays a high-tempo game, very strong around the middle, so I knew I had to hit my targets, especially deep and I thought I did that pretty well in the first couple of games. He let me back in in the second, which I thought was a big help and then the ball died off after the second and he adjusted very well to that.
“I’m pleased with how I regrouped in the fifth, it’s a big win and it could have been anyone’s day. I’m really happy to win.
“Marwan plays very intelligent squash and is very purposeful with what he does. I think it will be a battle of chess if I can get into it enough and then hopefully, I can give him a challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Waller was forced to call on his experience to come from 2-1 down against World No.44 Youssef Ibrahim with the Englishman prevailing by an 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7 margin in 65 minutes.
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-2: 13-11, 12-10, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7 (82m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7 (65m)
Asal Beats Clyne in Gruelling 99-Minute Clash
Mostafa Asal (left) v Alan Clyne (right)
It took Egypt’s two-time World Junior Champion Mostafa Asal 99 minutes to finally get the better of Scotland’s Alan Clyne in a match that saw play come to a standstill due to a length injury break at the end of the second game.
The match was an attritional affair which saw some intense rallies, a blood injury and combative exchanges make for an absorbing affair in front of a packed house at the Shooting Club 6th of October.
Asal, 18, sneaked the opening game 11-9, and then clipped Clyne just above the right eye with his racket, meaning the Scot had to take time off court with the physio to stop the bleeding.
Alan Clyne (right) gets treated by PSA Physio Derek Ryan (left)
Upon returning to the court, Asal finally closed out the game after a number of refereeing decisions caused by constant interference and, despite his evident talent, Asal received a conduct stroke for perceived ‘block’ en route to a tenacious Clyne winning the third.
Asal let his racket do the talking in the fourth though as he built on a 7-0 lead to close out an 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-5 which will see him take on Peru’s Diego Elias for a place in round three.
“I know it looks like I’m blocking on purpose, but I promise you, I am working very hard with Mr Defrawy on my movement to force my return off the ball,” Asal said.
“When I’m not moving well, like I was in the first two games, I move awkwardly, and I am aware I’m in the way. But I’m really trying to work on it to avoid that situation.
Today, I’m very disappointed with my squash, very, very disappointed.
“It was a poor performance. I can’t wait for tomorrow, a new day, new squash, and a good match I hope against Diego, who is such a great player.”
Scotland’s Greg Lobban and Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy went on court at the same time, and their match was also disrupted by injury, with El Hammamy collapsing to the floor after sustaining an injury after lunging to the front of the court.
After a length spell being seen to by the physio – which saw him taken off court in a wheelchair – he was forced to concede the match, meaning Lobban advances to the last 32 where he will play Karim Abdel Gawad, who won the 2016 Al Ahram Open in front of the Pyramids three years ago.
Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-5 (99m)
Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 14-13 ret. (30m)
Mueller Flies Through to Second Round
Nicolas Mueller (left) Vikram Malhotra (right)
Switzerland’s World No.28 Nicolas Mueller sailed through to the second round at the Shooting Club in Cairo after defeating India’s World No.60 Vikram Malhotra in straight-games.
The Swiss Rocket was meeting Malhotra for the first time on the PSA World Tour but executed his game plan to perfection to close out the 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 victory and will now face the winner of Mazen Hesham v Karim Ali Fathi.
“He’s a very tricky player,” said Mueller afterwards. “He’s very attacking and you never know what to expect with him. He could hit five ridiculous winners or five in the tin as well, so I had to stay focused, even if I lost a few points in a row because it’s very hard to keep that up for a long time. I managed well to keep the ball away from the middle and I’m really pleased to be through in three games.
“It’s been a good season so far. There have been a few matches, so it means that my body is fine and my mind is good. My squash is good and it’s been an ok start to the season, but there is more to come.
“Growing up it is always the picture you show people that don’t know squash and you say that’s where the squash is being played. I’ve always wanted to play on there, I have one more step and hopefully I win tomorrow, it will be a brutal match, but the winner of us will get to play on the glass court and I think that is an extra bit of motivation.”
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Vikram Malhotra (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (26m)