Laura Massaro up next for Indian star in quarter-finals
By SEAN REUTHE in El Gouna
Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa came up with one of the biggest victories of her career as she stunned eight-time World Champion Nicol David at the 2018 El Gouna International to earn her place in the quarter-finals of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time since November 2015.
David was off the pace from the outset and Chinappa, who won a silver medal in the women’s doubles event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this month, attacked well to quickly build up a two-game lead.
The World No.14 then stormed into a 7-1 lead in the third and, despite a late fightback from her Malaysian opponent, she held on to claim her first ever win over David at the sixth attempt on the PSA World Tour.
“I don’t know how I did it,” Chennai-based Chinappa said. “A few of us are just back from the Commonwealth Games, not just me, and that’s one of the challenges of being an professional athlete.
“I knew I had a tough first round, then Nicol in the pre-quarters, so I had no pressure, and I just wanted to play freely and enjoy myself.”
Chinappa will play England’s Laura Massaro for a place in the quarter-finals after the number four seed put in a professional display to overcome Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in straight games.
Meanwhile, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini kept up her 100 per cent record in El Gouna as she defeated United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy in an entertaining five-game battle.
Sobhy recently spent 10 months on the sidelines due to a ruptured achilles but put in one of her best performances since returning to action after fighting back from a game down on two occasions to set up a dramatic fifth-game decider.
However, with the scores locked at 6-6 apiece in the decider, El Sherbini managed to establish a lead once more as she mixed up her attacking shots to take Sobhy out of any kind of rhythm, rattling off five successive points to prevent the American from completing the comeback.
“It’s really hard to play a player like Amanda that you’re used to playing in the semis or the quarters,” El Sherbini said.
“I’m really surprised and happy to see her playing like this once again and hopefully she can get back into the top 10 so we won’t have to play in the second round again.”
El Sherbini will go head-to-head with World No.6 Camille Serme in the next round, with Serme dispatching England’s Victoria Lust 3-0 in just 21 minutes.
World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy come from a game behind to see off former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the men’s event in a match that saw the 2016 El Gouna International champion dig in to avoid an upset.
Mosaad started the match on the front foot as he showcased the thundering forehand drives that earned him the ‘Hammer of Thor’ moniker.
But ElShorbagy responded by hitting some fierce efforts into the front of the court and he came back to claim an 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 victory in 61 minutes to set up a quarter-final meeting with Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner – who beat World No.25 Declan James.
“Today Mosaad took me by surprise at the beginning of the match, he played so well,” said ElShorbagy.
“He played with the quality he had when he was World No.3 so I had to dig in deep and I’m just really happy I got out of jail.
“I could have been 2-0 down but these are the kind of matches that sharpen you up for the tournament. I’m just really happy to be through and to beat a tough opponent like Mosaad in the second round gives you confidence.”
The prospect of a semi-final match-up with younger brother Marwan remains intact after the World No.4 overcame Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 to ensure he will take on last year’s runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad.
Gawad prevailed in a 58-minute battle with France’s Lucas Serme and he will look to avenge a defeat to Marwan in the quarter-finals of December’s PSA World Championships that prevented Gawad from retaining his crown.
Round two continues tomorrow (April 23) from 12:00 at the El Gouna Squash Complex. Glass court action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) from 18:30 local time (GMT+2) onwards.
2018 El Gouna International, El Gouna Marina, Egypt.
PSA M165 Men’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (61m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-1, 13-11, 11-9 (35m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-1, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8 (58m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 (58m)
Bottom Half (To be played April 23):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
[Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half, To be played April 24):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
PSA W165 Women’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6 (52m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (32m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (27m)
Women’s Second Round (Bottom Half, To be played April 23):
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half, To be played April 24):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
(Article by SEAN REUTHE. Edited by ALAN THATCHER)
Pictures courtesy of PSA