Ramy’s winning return
By SEAN REUTHE
The 2016 champion Laura Massaro crashed out of the 2017 J.P. Morgan China Open at the very first hurdle after falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of New Zealand’s Joelle King.
The 33-year-old World No.4 could find no answer to King’s early attacks, slumping to a staggering 11-0 defeat in the first game before King quickly doubled her advantage.
Massaro managed to gain some momentum in the third, playing with better control and length, but the early damage couldn’t be recovered and she bowed out 11-0, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4 as World No.11 King celebrated one of her most impressive wins of the year.
“I felt good out there, Laura is no mug, she won here last year, so to come out and win in four is really positive,” said King.
“I was seeing the ball early from the first rally. I was just in front of her throughout that first game and to take it 11-0 was beyond expectation. It can be easy to drop concentration after that kind of score though so I tried to stay calm and not get too excited.
“It’s early in the season, but I put in a lot of work in the summer and if I can keep playing my game and produce more of the same then who knows what will happen.”
King will now face Malaysian eight-time World Champion Nicol David for a place in the semi-finals while another English player, Sarah-Jane Perry, fell victim to an upset, losing out to Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in a tense five-game battle.
The duo last met ten years previously, in the World Junior Championship when El Tayeb squandered a two-game lead, but in what was a lengthy, high quality duel the Egyptian, playing with increased disciplined and control, overturned an early defecit to secure an important win.
“I’m very pleased with that result,” said El Tayeb.
“These are the kind of matches I need to win to get back inside the top eight. I have been working very hard in the off season to improve and especially work on my mental strength. I think that came through in the end today, so that is very pleasing.
“It’s a good start to the year and hopefully I can keep it going. To beat Sarah, who’s in the top eight now, is a good beginning.”
Elsewhere. top seeds Camille Serme and Nour El Sherbini came through their opening encounters unscathed while the men’s quarter-finals Egyptian eyes will be looking towards a clean sweep of victories.
Returning maverick Ramy Ashour ensured his season began in winning fashion courtesy of a straight-games win over Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, with compatriots and tournament top seeds Ali Farag and Marwan ElShorbagy also triumphing 3-0.
Competing on the all-glass court overlooking Shanghai’s Bund, ElShorbagy – whose brother Mohamed won the title here 12 months ago – was just too good for the ever-improving Scotsman Greg Lobban, while top seed Farag made light work of wildcard Joe Wong.
Despite starting flat-footed and losing the first exchanges, the Egyptian soon got into his groove and looked at ease as he moved into the quarter-finals to face Peruvian Diego Elias.
“It’s never easy playing someone for the first time and who you don’t know anything about – I didn’t know what to expect from him today,” said Farag.
“He hit some good shots and moved well so I’m happy to be through in three. I wanted to get used to the court as much as possible ahead of a big match with Diego tomorrow.
“We’ve played a few times recently and it’s always tough so hopefully I can carry that momentum forward.”
Fares Dessouky ensured Egyptian interest in all four last-eight matches while Daryl Selby, Paul Coll and Simon Rösner join Elias in flying the international flag.
2017 J.P. Morgan China Squash Open, Shanghai, China.
Women’s First Round:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-1: 12-14, 11-2, 11-0, 11-8 (33m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5 (45m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-6 (48m)
Joelle King (NZL) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-1: 11-0, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4 (45m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (28m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (55m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [WC] Li Dongjin (CHN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-2 (18m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 13-11, 11-9 (37m)
Quarter-Finals (to be played September 1):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v Joelle King (NZL)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
Men’s First Round:
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt [WC] Joe Wong (CHN) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (21m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt  Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-7 (39m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (30m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 11-8, 14-16, 11-7, 11-8 (70m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (28m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 (54m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4 (47m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (35m)
Quarter-Finals (September 1):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA