Egyptian aces renew rivalry in Manchester
By SEAN REUTHE
World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy and three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour will meet in a spectacular third round showdown at the 2017 Men’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship today (December 12) in a repeat of both the 2012 and 2014 World Championship finals.
ElShorbagy and Ashour have had an enthralling rivalry on the PSA World Tour ever since their first meeting back in 2009 and they will meet for the 10th time after they claimed respective wins over Welshman Joel Makin and 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad at Manchester’s National Squash Centre.
Ashour has won seven of their meetings – including wins in both of their World Championship final clashes – but, with ElShorbagy in red-hot form having won five of his last six PSA World Tour events, the eyes of the squash world will be on their climactic meeting today.
“It was a tough match as he [Makin] fought hard,” said ElShorbagy after his 15-13, 11-5, 12-10 victory. “It’s a long tournament and you’re not going to feel at your best every single day, but its more important that for those difficult days you find a way to win and that’s what I did.
“Matches like this sharpen you up and it was important for me to get a hard match before I play a big match against Ramy. We [him and Ramy] are both athletes and we both want to win.”
Meanwhile, Ashour triumphed 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to dispose of former World No.3 Mosaad in straight games. “It’s not good to play people who are your friends on tour and that you are close to,” said Ashour.
“As Egyptians we are close and we train together so there is a matter of respect and decency on court because we are together all the time. I thought he played well and I thought I played well so it was a good match.”
Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew was also victorious on day two courtesy of a 3-1 win over Hong Kong’s Max Lee and his reward is a third round meeting with World No.37 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, who will become the first Qatari ever to appear in the third round of the World Championships after his win over Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet.
Matthew will be joined by compatriots Daryl Selby and Declan James, with Selby beating New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson and James coming back from two games down and match ball down to beat Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, reaching the third round of this tournament for the first time in his career.
He will face World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, while defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, World No.3 Ali Farag, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Marwan ElShorbagy, Lucas Serme and Saurav Ghosal all claimed victories.
The 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro prevailed on the opening day of main draw action in the women’s event after a 3-0 win over Nele Gilis saw her progress to round two, where she will take on Welshwoman Tesni Evans in a repeat of last month’s Hong Kong Open quarter-final.
“It just felt really good to get my World Championships under way,” said Massaro. “With all the build-up and with it being in Manchester, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about the event, not only for the last few weeks but the last few months, so it was great to get it going.
“I’ve got to be careful it doesn’t feel too homely, like I’m just rocking up for a practice match, so it was nice to have some home support and I’m sure it’ll be the same again tomorrow.”
Defending champion Nour El Sherbini was also in action and she dispatched Australia’s Donna Urquhart in straight games as she kickstarted her attempts to lift a third World Championship title.
“We just played in Hong Kong second round,” said El Sherbini following the match. “I’m just trying to focus on my game and my squash more and not put any pressure on myself and try to enjoy the game. I’m going to do my best and whatever happens it’s not the end of the world.”
April’s World Championship runner-up Raneem El Welily defeated Rowan Elaraby, while the likes of World No.3 Camille Serme, World No.5 Nouran Gohar and eight-time World Champion Nicol David also won.
Round three action from the men’s tournament and matches from round two of the women’s tournaments takes place tomorrow and matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only).
PSA 2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championships, Manchester, England.
Men’s Round Two:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (35m)
Declan James (ENG) bt  Cesar Salazar 3-2: 8-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-4 (74m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (49m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (73m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (63m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7 (57m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (41m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 15-13, 11-5, 12-10 (58m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Youssef Soliman 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (28m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (48m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 (70m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (32m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 (44m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt  Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-4, 9-6 retired (13m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (45m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 11-3 (47m)
Men’s Third Round (Top Half) To Be Played December 12:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Declan James (ENG)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half) To Be Played December 13:
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Women’s Round One:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 (24m)
[Q] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 11-3, 11-2, 5-11, 11-9 (33m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-9 (29m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (25m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-1: 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9 (44m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (38m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (30m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 3-2: 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8 (56m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-1 (22m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (31m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [WC] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 (23m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (21m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-2: 11-6, 11-2, 6-11, 6-11, 11-6 (44m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (23m)
Women’s Second Round (Top Half) To Be Played December 12:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Q] Satomi Watanabe (JPN)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Salma Hany (EGY)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Women’s Second Round (Bottom Half) To Be Played December 13:
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA