‘Training in France has helped me progress,’ says Kobayashi, who now meets Fares Dessouky
By SEAN REUTHE – PSA World Tour
Yokohama-born Ryosei Kobayashi has become the first Japanese man to reach the second round of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family after he ousted India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar in five games at the University Club of Chicago.
World No.70 Kobayashi’s first-round appearance at the 2019-20 PSA World Championships saw him become the first male Japanese player since 1982 to compete at squash’s most prestigious tournament, and the 27-year-old went one better this time around with a 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 victory against World No.48 Mahesh Mangaonkar.
“I’m the only one that is actively playing on the PSA and I’m eager to improve,” said Kobayashi afterwards.
“I had to get outside of my country and I’m training in Aix-en-Provence and learning a third language as well. You need to be determined as a Japanese player, and I hope that a lot of juniors coming up will do the same thing, have the fighting spirit I have, or even more, and make ourselves proud.
“I’m really happy and really proud to make that record for the squash fans in Japan, for myself, my family and everyone that is supporting family. It’s something that will stay forever in Japan, especially because squash in Japan is so small.”
Kobayashi will take on World No.7 Fares Dessouky in the next round after he came back from a game down to defeat Scotland’s Greg Lobban, while 2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy ramped up his attempts to take the World No.1 ranking with a 3-0 win over Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip.
If ElShorbagy makes it to the final he will be guaranteed the World No.1 spot regardless of what current incumbent Ali Farag does, and the 30-year-old’s strong start against Yip could spell danger for Farag’s reign as the world’s top player.
“I know that if he doesn’t reach the final I’m going to become World No.1, but if I reach the final I’ll be World No.1 anyway,” ElShorbagy said.
“It’s all in my hands, I’m in control, I want him to keep winning, and I want to keep winning. I want to kick him out of the World No.1 spot, that’s all I’m thinking of. I’ve been counting down the days until that moment, and that moment is very, very soon now.”
2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad also got his title challenge underway with an entertaining 3-0 win over Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais, while 2019-20 World Championship runner-up Paul Coll axed Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam in straight games.
The in-form World No.2 Nouran Gohar began her event in the women’s draw with an 11-6, 11-1, 11-5 victory against England’s Lucy Beecroft.
Like ElShorbagy, Gohar is bearing down on the World No.1 spot – currently held by fellow Egyptian Nour El Sherbini – and will be guaranteed top spot in the August rankings if El Sherbini fails to reach the semi-finals.
“Who doesn’t want to win this one?” Gohar said.
“For me, it is about taking it match by match, I am really enjoying it right now and that is the main thing. My aim is the semis so hopefully I can do better.”
No.3 seed Camille Serme also began her tournament, beating Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi 11-7, 11-1, 11-4 in 23 minutes to set up a round two fixture with Australia’s Donna Lobban.
“I was quite happy with my accuracy today and I will try to move better and better each day, and also be more aware of where my opponent is because she caught me a few times today,” Serme said.
“This year is different because although it is the World Championships, we can’t have our staff with us [due to COVID-19 protocols]. These are special conditions, so I will try to take it as it comes.”
USA duo Sabrina Sobhy and Olivia Clyne also secured victories with respective wins over Wales’ Ali Loke and Switzerland’s Cindy Merlo.
Round two of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family takes place tomorrow (July 16) and play starts at 11:30 (GMT-5). Action from the glass court inside Cathedral Hall will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan) while the side court matches will be shown live on Facebook and the PSA SQUASHTV YouTube channel.
For more information on the 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.
Results – First Round (Bottom Half): Men’s 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (28m)
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 15-13, 12-10 (43m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (24m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Aly Hussein (EGY) 3-0: 11-1, 11-5, 11-5 (38m)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-6 (22m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 (45m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Mohammad Syafiq Kamal (MAS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-3 (29m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 17-15 (51m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (43m)
Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-2: 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 (80m)
Arturo Salazar (MEX) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-5 (62m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (36m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 11-3, 12-10, 11-6 (42m)
Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 7-7 retired (45m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Chris Hanson (USA) 11-1, 11-3, 11-8 (24m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)
Draw – Men’s Second Round: To Be Played July 16th
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) v  Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v George Parker (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Diego Elias (PER)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v Shahjahan Khan (USA)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v Victor Crouin (FRA)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v  Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN)
Arturo Salazar (MEX) v  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Results – First Round (Bottom Half): Women’s 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-1, 11-6 (21m)
 Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Lily Taylor (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (28m)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Nadia Pfister (SUI) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (20m)
 Olivia Clyne (USA) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (21m)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Georgia Adderley (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
 Sabrina Sobhy (USA) beats Ali Loke (WAL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-2 (20m)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Marie Stephan (FRA) 3-1: 11-3, 11-6, 5-11, 11-3 (31m)
 Salma Hany (EGY) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-9 (23m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Karina Tyma (POL) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-2 (20m)
 Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Lucie Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-1, 11-6 (21m)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt  Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9 (46m)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Menna Nasser (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (21m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Nikki Todd (CAN) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 (18m)
 Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (29m)
 Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Hana Moataz (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 (42m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Lucy Beecroft (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-5 (21m)
Draw – Women’s Second Round: To Be Played July 16th
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Emilia Soini (FIN)
 Olivia Fiechter (USA) v  Tinne Gilis (BEL)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v  Melissa Alves (FRA)
 Coline Aumard (FRA) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v  Hollie Naughton (CAN)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) v  Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
Tze Lok Ho (HKG) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Donna Lobban (AUS)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v  Olivia Clyne (USA)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v  Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Emily Whitlock (ENG)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) v  Nadine Shahin (EGY)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v  Lucy Turmel (ENG)
 Lisa Aitken (SCO) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of : PSA World Tour