Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy fights back from the brink … again
By SEAN REUTHE
World No.10 Paul Coll today became the first male New Zealander in a quarter of a century to reach the quarter-finals of the prestigious Allam British Open after he upset former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad at the PSA World Series tournament taking place in Hull’s Airco Arena.
Coll, the 26-year-old from Greymouth, edged a tight five-game battle against Egypt’s Gawad as he came back from a one-game deficit on two occasions to win 3-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5.
That win means that Coll follows in the footsteps of compatriot Ross Norman, who was the last male Kiwi to make it to the last eight of this iconic tournament.
“It was a weird match, it’s not one that I tend to enjoy,” said Coll following his win. “There wasn’t much rhythm in the first few games, I wasn’t consistent with my targets and his hands are too good.
“But I’m happy with the last two. I just tried to take it early, hit my corners and try to get a bit of rhythm going.”
Coll’s reward is a quarter-final meeting with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, who was forced to come back from two games down to win for a second day in a row.
The two-time British Open champion overturned a 2-0 deficit against Peru’s Diego Elias to earn his place in round two and he was on the brink of a shock exit once again today as he conceded the first two games against French qualifier Gregoire Marche.
But ElShorbagy fought back once more as Marche caved in to the pressure his Egyptian opponent was exerting on him and he took an 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 triumph to book his place in the last eight.
“He played so well the first two games,” said ElShorbagy. “I lost a bit of focus in the first game when I was 7-4 up but all credit to him, he played some incredible squash. We came together through juniors and have shared a lot of memories together and it’s great to see him playing well. He is a pleasure to watch and I’m really pleased to see him playing well.
“I’m still in the tournament, it’s not over for me and I know that any day I can beat anyone and I don’t think I can be written off yet. I’ve had two tough matches but that’s what I train for and I’m just glad to be in another quarters.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Gregory Gaultier is also through to the quarter-finals after he defeated Egyptian World No.9 Mohamed Abouelghar in straight games and he will face Germany’s Simon Rösner, who overcame India’s Saurav Ghosal.
In the women’s event, Laura Massaro is still on course for a third British Open crown after she defeated Egyptian qualifier Yathreb Adel by a 3-0 margin.
The former World No.1 was in control for the majority of the match – although she did have to fight back against her opponent to win a second game tie-break – as she earned her place in the last eight where she will take on World No.3 Nour El Tayeb.
“No matter what happened today, Hull would always hold happy memories in my mind and whatever happens this year at the event that won’t change,” said defending champion Massaro.
“To win two British Open titles is more than anyone could wish for. It’s really nice to be back and I’m happy to be here.”
El Tayeb is through to the quarter-finals of the sport’s longest-running tournament for the first time in her career after edging former World No.6 Amanda Sobhy in a dramatic five-game battle.
The Egyptian has enjoyed the best season of her career to date, taking two World Series titles in the U.S. Open and Windy City Open, and El Tayeb showed she had all the components it would take to add the iconic British Open title to her ever-expanding collection as she prevailed in a tough encounter against the American, winning 11-5 in the fifth after Sobhy had come back from two games down to level.
“Amanda is really hard to play and we have been playing since juniors,” said 25-year-old El Tayeb.
“It’s amazing how well she is coming back from injury. I’m not going to say she is back 100% but she’s almost back so it was a hard game. I thought at 2-0 up she was going to go slower a bit but she didn’t and I was lucky to have Ali [Farag] and my coach Haitham [Effat] in my corner to keep pushing me and to keep focused even when I lost the third and fourth games.”
The other winners on day two were England’s Alison Waters – who upset World No.5 Nouran Gohar – and World No.1 Nour El Sherbini – who defeated fellow Egyptian Salma Hany – and they will meet for a place in the semi-finals.
Second round action from the British Open continues tomorrow at 12:00 local time (BST) with live action shown on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
2018 Allam British Open, Hull, England.
Results – Men’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (55m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 3-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 (68m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (31m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-9, 11-3 (36m)
Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played May 17th
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) v Nick Matthew (ENG)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Max Lee (HKG) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played May 18th
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Paul Coll (NZL)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Women’s Second Round (Top Half):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-6 (34m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-2, 11-3 (32m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 15-13, 11-3 (31m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5 (49m)
Women’s Second Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played May 17th
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played May 18th
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Nour El Tayeb
Article by SEAN REUTHE (PSA PR and Media Manager). Edited by ALAN THATCHER
Pictures courtesy of PSA