Top seed Laura Massaro in China semi-finals
By NATHAN CLARKE
Following an opening day of action that saw a host of title-contenders crash out of the 2016 China Squash Open it was a return to order during today’s quarter-final action as all top seeds progressed in both the Men’s and Women’s draws, although Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad was forced to call on all his sublime skills to avoid becoming the latest casualty on Shanghai’s Bund.
Gawad finished as runner up at last week’s Hong Kong Open – his best ever result at a PSA World Series tournament – but was drawn into a ferocious battle with Indian Saurav Ghosal, conquerer of World No.8 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in round one, at the M100 event.
The Egyptian, world ranked No.6, opened up an early 2-0 lead before Ghosal mounted a huge comeback to level the match and force a decider that was nip and tuck until the very end, with Gawad managing to sneak the vital points to win the fifth 11-9.
“I’m very happy that I managed to win in five after I was 2-0 up and he managed to come back,” said Gawad.
“He played some unbelievable squash and is such a great player so all credit to him.”
He’ll now face World No.2 and defending champion Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals after the Frenchman got past Tarek Momen in straight-games while World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy continued his run with a straight-games victory over Mathieu Castagnet.
ElShorbagy will take on Spaniard Borja Golan for a place in the finale after Golan ended Cameron Pilley’s charge, following the Australian’s impressive first round victory over World No.3 Omar Mosaad.
In the women’s draw top seeded Laura Massaro stormed into the last four courtesy of a straight games 3-0 win over India’s Joshna Chinappa to set up a meeting with New Zealand’s Joelle King.
The second semi-final will see defending champion Raneem El Welily and Hong Kong Open winner and in-form star Nouran Gohar clash in what promises to be a breathtaking encounter.
JP Morgan 2016 China Squash Open, The Bund, Shanghai, China.
Women’s Quarter-final Results:
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11 (60m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 (57m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-4 (50m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Men’s Quarter-final Results:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)
 Borja Golan (ESP) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4 (69m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9 (76m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 14-12 (50m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Borja Golan (ESP)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Pictures courtesy of PSA