Omar Mosaad falls to Egyptian rival
By NATHAN CLARKE
Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad pulled off the biggest upset of the competition so far as he downed World No.4 Omar Mosaad in the first round of the 2016 Allam British Open during a day of high drama that saw a six-strong contingent upset the odds to book a place in the second round of the prestigious PSA World Series tournament taking place in Hull.
Inside the Airco Arena, Gawad, the 24-year-old from Giza, played with poise and composure to halt the run of Mosaad – who reached the final at both the Canary Wharf Classic and Colombia Open inside the past month – and inflict a first round exit on World Championship runner-up Mosaad for the first time since January 2014.
“I’m over the moon to come through today,” said Gawad. “The last time we played I think I only took about four points from him so when I saw I was playing Omar in the first round I knew it would be tough. He’s played a lot of tournaments recently and has had some good results and been in great form so I’m very happy to win.
“He’s one of the toughest players on tour mentally and physically and I could feel he was tired today but I still had to play at my best to make sure I could get the win and I need to focus on the second round and push on in the next match.”
Gawad will play compatriot Fares Dessouki for a place in the quarter-finals where Indian Saurav Ghosal could await after he toppled number eight seed Mathieu Castagnet, winner of the Canary Wharf Classic, to reach the second round for the first time since 2013.
Castagnet, who had suffered with illness prior to the tournament, struggled to cope with Ghosal’s pace and attrition and after sharing the first two games it was the World No.19 from Calcutta who asserted himself to earn an impressive win.
“Mathieu has been playing extremely well, his results over the last couple of months have been great,” said Ghosal.
“He won at Canary Wharf which was a massive win. I knew I had to be ready for an absolute battle. I was expecting long lung busting rallies but I was very pleased with how I played.”
Ghosal’s long-time training partner James Willstrop, the English former World No.1 currently ranked No.12, was another surprise victor as he dismissed World No.7 Tarek Momen 3-1 to set up a last 16 match with World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, where the top seed will be looking to gain revenge for defeat in the World Championship in Seattle. Qualifier Mohamed Abouelghar also upset the odds to defeat an under-the-weather Daryl Selby 3-0.
In the women’s draw Danish player Line Hansen completed a remarkable come from behind victory to record an improbable win over Malaysian Delia Arnold, who ranked 11 places above her on the World Rankings at No.15.
Arnold shocked the squash world last year when she reached the semi-finals of the British Open but, after edging the first two games, she couldn’t halt Hansen’s charge as the 32-year-old sealed an incredible comeback.
“This is the best I’ve ever done at the British Open and I’ve played here a fair few times,” said Hansen.
“Last time we played, I lost 12-10 in the fifth so I knew it was going to be close but I also knew I was in with a chance. I’m just glad I finally got a good win. To be honest, I got a little bit annoyed because I definitely thought I shouldn’t have lost the first.
“I was just thinking that I had to hit through the ball rather than try to be pretty and it worked.”
Hansen will face World No.1 Laura Massaro in the next round after the top seed saw off American Olivia Blatchford with ease while fellow Englishwoman Victoria Lust overcame higher ranked Emily Whitlock in straight games to progress.
“I’m thrilled to win, Emily’s a tough player and she’s been playing well so to get off in three is great and I’m really happy with how I played,” said Lust.
2016 Allam British Open, Hull, England.
Men’s First Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (42m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (46m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (25m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (39m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6 (67m)
Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-2: 11-3, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4 (64m)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-2, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9 (46m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 14-12, 11-4 (65m)
Draw – Second Round
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Ali Farag (EGY)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Women’s First Round (Top Half):
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
Line Hansen (DEN) bt  Delia Arnold (MAS) 3-2: 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (64m)
Victoria Lust (ENG) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [WC] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (29m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-1, 11-3 (25m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Sarah Campion (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (28m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 7-4 retired (21m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (21m)
Draw – Second Round:
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Line Hansen (DEN)
Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
Donna Urquhart (AUS) v  Nicol David (MAS)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)