ElShorbagy brothers to clash again
By NATHAN CLARKE in Chicago
An inspired Simon Rösner put together one of the best performances of his career to date to secure a huge win over World No.5 Ramy Ashour and move into the last eight of the 2017 Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and Equitrust Life Insurance Company.
Despite trailing 0-6 in their head-to-head coming into this encounter, Rösner was unfazed by the maverick three-time World Champion and came out with all cylinders firing as he attacked with abandon from the off.
The 29-year-old German hit winner after winner as he took the opening game and could do no wrong as he stormed into a 9-0 lead in the second. Ashour, in his typically flamboyant style, roared back into contention and, after narrowly losing the second 11-8, took the third to give himself hope. But it was Rösner, whose forehand drop in particular proved to be a valuable weapon, who kept calm to claim the fourth and set up a quarter-final encounter with Ali Farag.
“That’s one of, if not the, biggest wins of my career,” said Rösner.
“You never know what to expect from Ramy – he’s such a unique player. I think he played well today but I managed to keep him away from the centre of the court and it was one of those days where you step on court and have a good feeling.
“My front corner game was working very well and everything was clicking. I knew I had to be aggressive and go for it and I think every aspect of my game worked together today – and that’s what you need to do to beat a player like him.
“I’m very happy with the match and I think that’s one of the best performances of my season. I’m very proud to be back in the quarter-finals here.”
The winner of Rösner’s encounter with Farag will face one of the ElShorbagy brothers in the last four after World No.1 Mohamed gained revenge on Cesar Salazar – after losing out to the Mexican in the first round of last month’s Motor City Open – winning 3-0 with World No.6 Marwan caming through a bruising five-game encounter with South African Stephen Coppinger.
After taking the first Marwan found himself embroiled in a battle of attrition with Coppinger and had to save three game balls in the third to regain the upper hand, before gritting his teeth to squeeze through in five.
“To be honest I don’t know how I won that one today,” said Marwan, who is yet to beat elder brother Mohamed on the PSA World Tour in seven attempts.
“In the third game he was 10-7 up and I just started to go for it. I think he started slowly in the first game but in the second he was controlling the pace.
“I was just digging in there. It was very tough. I’m just very happy to have won and got through and to have a day off to recover.”
In the Women’s draw, the in-form Camille Serme also scraped through her second round match against Tesni Evans, winning 3-1 to keep up her unbeaten start to 2017.
Serme won both January’s Tournament of Champions and the recent Cleveland Classic and recorded an 11th straight victory when she came from behind to defeat World No.21 Evans, after the Welshwoman had put together one of the most impressive performances of her season so far.
Evans looked like a top five contender as she took the match to Serme from the off, at times exposing Serme’s traditionally strong backhand, but the 27-year-old showed the qualities of a champion as she fought back to save two game balls in the fourth and prevail 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11.
“It’s a big relief to get that win,” said Serme. “She had a big win in the first round against Nour El Tayeb and we always have big battles on court. I’m just really happy to get through it in four.
“I felt like I would have been the fresher of us if it went to five but I knew I had to try and not give her anything at 8-10 in the fourth. Anything can happen in the fifth game so I tried to make her earn it.
“I’m happy with how I stuck at it and came back and I’m excited to be in the quarters now.”
Serme will face England’s Alison Waters for a place in the semi-finals while former World No.1 Nicol David and current No.1 Nour El Sherbini are set to lock horns in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final – when it was El Sherbini who triumphed in one of six consecutive victories over David stretching back to 2015. English pair Victoria Lust and Emily Whitlock both went out in straight games, Lust losing to El Sherbini and Whitlock to David.
2017 Windy City Open, Catedral Hall, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Men’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (42m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6 (63m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6 (69m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-3 (47m)
Draw (Bottom Half, To Be Played Feb 26):
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
[Q] Leo Au (HKG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Women’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (25m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (34m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Joey Chan (HKG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6 (46m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 (56m)
Draw (Bottom Half, To Be Played Feb 26):
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Annie Au (HKG)
[WC] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA