US Open champions back to defend their titles
By SEAN REUTHE
Married couple Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb will line up at Philadelphia’s Drexel University for the FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships between October 6 -13 as they aim to repeat their remarkable triumphs at last year’s tournament, which saw them become the first husband and wife in sporting history to lift the same major sports title on the same day.
Inside Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center, Farag and El Tayeb stunned the squash world last October with upsets over current World Champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily in their respective title deciders.
Farag was warming up for his final fixture while El Tayeb was on court against El Welily, but was in his wife’s corner between games to give her advice, while El Tayeb returned the favour during his match with ElShorbagy.
“You want to be in the right headspace before your match, you want to be relaxed and you don’t want to be tense,” said Farag, the current men’s World No.2
“You want to warm-up properly but obviously you have to interrupt your warm-up sometimes to go and talk to her between games or to watch a crucial rally.
“It is tough, but I think given all the other pros we get as a married couple playing the same sport, I’m happy to deal with every tournament.
“Winning the 2017 U.S. Open championships alongside Nour, for both of us it was our first ever World Series title and when it happened I couldn’t even celebrate, I was in shock.
“We both won it for the first time on the same day. We can forever call ourselves U.S. Open champions and it means so much to us.”
World No.3 El Tayeb echoes her husband’s thoughts and says the couple’s mutual support of each other has helped both players break new ground and establish themselves among the world’s elite over the past couple of seasons.
El Tayeb said: “I didn’t care or know that we were the first couple, I was just happy I won it and was happy he won it. It was the first major [either of them had won].
“Knowing he’s there is just the thing for me. I just want to know he’s there and I can talk to him. Even if he’s out there warming up or I can call him on the phone, that’s enough.
“I like to get his support and see it in his eyes. His support and encouragement helps me keep going and he knows when I’m lacking motivation or too excited.”
Farag and El Tayeb both receive a bye into the second round, where Farag will meet Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, while he is seeded to meet ElShorbagy in the final once again.
El Tayeb, meanwhile, will face either India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik or Canada’s Danielle Letourneau in the last 32 and is seeded to reach the semi-finals, where she could play World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, who she beat in the quarter-finals of last year’s U.S. Open.
The U.S. Open, PSA World Tour Platinum event will feature equal prize money between the men’s and women’s tournaments for the sixth year in a row, with the tournament boasting a $338,000 prize fund.
A place at the PSA World Tour Finals will also be up for grabs, with both the men’s and women’s winners guaranteeing their places at the season-ending tournament.
Glass court matches from the Daskalakis Athletic Center will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will be broadcast live by mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets start from $25 and can be purchased on the tournament website
2018 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships.
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) (bye)
Todd Harrity (USA) v [9/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[9/32] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v (bye)
Ben Coleman (ENG) v [9/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[9/32] Alan Clyne (SCO) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
[9/32] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
[9/32] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]
 Paul Coll (NZL [bye]
[9/32] Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
[9/32] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) [bye]
[9/32] Omar Mosaad (EGY) [bye]
[9/32] Declan James (ENG) v [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA)
Adrian Waller (ENG) v [9/32] Borja Golan (ESP)
[9/32] James Willstrop (ENG) [bye]
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]
 Simon Rösner (GER) [bye]
[9/32] Daryl Selby (ENG) [bye]
[9/32] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v George Parker (ENG)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [9/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
[9/32] Max Lee (HKG) v Mohamed Reda (EGY)
Joshua Masters (ENG) v [9/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[9/32] Lucas Serme (FRA) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) (bye)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) (bye)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [9/32] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[9/32] Leo Au (HKG) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Arturo Salazar (MEX) v [9/32] Zahed Salem (EGY)
[9/32] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [WC] Andrew Douglas (USA)
Joel Makin (WAL) v [9/32] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[9/32] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) [bye]
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) (bye)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [17/32] Joey Chan (HKG)
[17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
Haley Mendez (USA) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
[WC] Reeham Sedky (USA) v [17/32] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
[17/32] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
 Annie Au (HKG) [bye]
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) v [17/32] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
[17/32] Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v [17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY)
[17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY) v Nikki Todd (CAN)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) (bye)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) (bye)
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Coline Aumard (FRA)
[17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [bye]
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v [17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
[17/32] Donna Lobban (AUS) v [WC] Olivia Fiechter (USA)
 Nicol David (MAS) [bye]
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) [bye]
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[17/32] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Ho Tze-Lok (HKG)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]
Article by SEAN REUTHE (PSA World Tour PR and Media Manager)
Edited by ALAN THATCHER
Picture courtesy of PSA