World champion ElShorbagy came to bury Cesar, but Mexican fights to the end
By SEAN REUTHE in Chicago
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy overcame the country’s No.2 player, Olivia Blatchford Clyne, in Chicago’s Union Station to prevail in an all-American battle in round two of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family.
This season’s PSA World Championships offers up the biggest prize money in the tournament’s history – with $1 million split equally between the men’s and women’s events – and Sobhy will now carry US hopes on her shoulders after coming back from a game down to beat Team USA teammate Blatchford Clyne.
Sobhy had won five of their six PSA Tour meetings, with Blatchford’s sole win coming at the 2017 Ciudad de Floridablanca after a ruptured achilles saw Sobhy forced to retire. Blatchford Clyne started the brighter of the pair to take the opener, but World No.10 Sobhy fought back to claim an 6-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-6 victory in 34 minutes.
“It’s never easy playing your team-mate,” said 25-year-old Sobhy. “64 players in the draw and of course you draw your team-mate. We’ve grown up playing against each other and it’s never easy. She had no pressure on her and I probably had a bit more pressure on me and she came out firing.
“It was a bit more dead tonight than it was last night. I think the temperature has dropped quite a bit, so it was a bit of a lob-drop game and not very many long rallies, but I’m really happy to get through and make it through to the next round.”
Sobhy will play two-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the last 16. El Sherbini, the World No.2, was in formidable form to see off Australia’s Christine Nunn, winning 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 to reach round three.
The Egyptian will look to extend her two-match winning streak over the American and has won five of their eight PSA matches, with Sobhy’s last win against the 23-year-old coming at the 2016 Hong Kong Open.
“I needed to make sure that I played my game and got used to the court more,” El Sherbini said.
“We’re playing in a new venue, so you try to get used to everything. It’s a new experience when there are train announcements while playing, and it’s important for me to prepare with a good game plan and get better match after match.”
Reigning champion Raneem El Welily also booked her place in the next round after beating fellow Egyptian Hania El Hammamy and she will take on England’s Alison Waters for a place in the quarter-finals.
England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry, returning to action this week after injury, will meet British National champion Tesni Evans of Wales after victories over Yathreb Adel (Egypt) and Liu Tsz-Ling of Hong Kong. Former world champion Laura Massaro beat Coline Aumard of France and will now meet Annie Au of Hong Kong. There are certainly no easy matches this week.
Elsewhere, Malaysia’s legendary Nicol David, an eight-time World Champion, kept her title hopes alive at what will be her final World Championships after a dominant display saw the 35-year-old defeat World No.22 Millie Tomlinson in straight games. The former World No.1 will line up against France’s Camille Serme in the next round after Serme overcame Scotland’s Lisa Aitken at the University Club of Chicago.
In the men’s event, World No.1 and defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy (pictured) continued his title defence with a 3-1 win over Mexico’s Cesar Salazar.
The Mexican – who defeated twin brother, Arturo, in the first round – got off to the perfect start against the defending World Champion as he denied ElShorbagy two opportunities to take the lead.
However, the momentum swung in the favour of the Egyptian in the second and he stayed ahead throughout the rest of the match to book his place in the third round where he will take on Hong Kong’s Leo Au.
“He has beaten me once before, so he’s obviously someone who knows how to beat me and I knew it was going to be tough from the first point,” said ElShorbagy.
“Anything can happen and I knew with Cesar today that since he beat me before, my turn could have been today. I felt sharper than yesterday and sometimes when you get harder matches at the start of the tournament, it can make you sharper.”
World No.2 Ali Farag – who will overtake ElShorbagy at the summit of the PSA World Rankings on March 1 – will join his fellow Egyptian in the last 16 after he eased past World Junior Champion Mostafa Asal, beating the 17-year-old 11-1, 11-4, 11-2.
Farag will line up against another Egyptian, Mazen Hesham, in the third round, with Hesham ending the run of World No.10 Diego Elias’s conqueror, Adrian Waller.
“He’s the World Junior Champion for a reason,” said 26-year-old Farag following his win.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence coming off the back of the British Junior Open and I had to be on my metal from the first point. We played in Cairo and it was not easy at all, especially in the second game. He had multiple game balls, so I knew what to expect and I had to be solid from the very beginning.”
At MetroSquash, Youssef Soliman – the World No.33 who scalped World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad yesterday – saw his giant-killing run come to an end after he fell in five games to Welshman Joel Makin, who clinched the match 11-7 in the fifth after 82 minutes.
Meanwhile, 2010 runner-up James Willstrop and World No.7 Miguel Rodriguez will meet in a mouthwatering encounter at Union Station tomorrow after they beat Frenchman Victor Crouin and Scotland’s Alan Clyne, respectively, at the University Club of Chicago.
England’s Richie Fallows enjoyed the experience of playing Simon Rösner on the glass court but went down in straight games. Joining him on the flight home will be fellow English players Tom Richards, Chris Simpson and Ben Coleman meaning that Willstrop and Makin are the only Brits remaining in the men’s draw.
Third round action begins on Monday February 25 at 12:00 (GMT-6) with all eight matches taking place at Union Station. They will all be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the PSA World Tour’s official Facebook page (Excluding Europe and Japan).
2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, Chicago, USA.
Men’s Second Round:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (55m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-2 (45m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt [L] Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (52m)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (47m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (56m)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [L] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 13-15, 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (84m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-2: 11-13, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5 (71m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9 (42m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-9 (38m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7 (53m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (82m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (48m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 (44m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (49m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-1, 11-4, 11-2 (26m)
Women’s Second Round:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (35m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-9 (20m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (31m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 (28m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (26m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-1, 11-1 (42m)
[L] Melissa Alves (FRA) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (38m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  ZeinaMickawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (23m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Mayar Hany (EGY) 3-2: 12-14, 11-2, 15-13, 12-14, 11-3 (65m)
 Joey Chan (HKG) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (28m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (28m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 (29m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1: 12-14, 12-10, 11-6, 12-10 (49m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (37m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) 3-1: 6-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-6 (34m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Christine Nunn (AUS) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 (24m)
Men’s Third Round (Top Half – February 25):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Leo Au (HKG)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half – February 26):
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Borja Golan (ESP)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Joel Makin (WAL)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Women’s Third Round (Top Half – February 25):
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Annie Au (HKG)
[L] Melissa Alves (FRA) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half – February 26):
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Joey Chan (HKG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Report by SEAN REUTHE (PSA PR and Media Manager). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures courtesy of PSA