Ali Farag hails Amr Mansi as he chases another El Gouna title
By ALAN THATCHER and SEAN REUTHE
LONE British survivor Joel Makin fell to Egypt’s Mostafa Asal in the third round of the El Gouna International.
Wales’ world No.7 Makin went down in four games lasting 83 minutes. The match was full of long, attritional rallies but it was still 12 minutes shorter than their best-of-three battle at Canary Wharf in March.
That, too, was full of familiar traffic issues but Asal was relieved to work his way past Makin 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center
Asal said: “Every match is a new challenge. I was disappointed (at the World Championships) because I believe in myself and my game.
“I was so close to the final, but there is a lot to come. I know I can be there and competing for the title one day, but for now I’m focusing on this week and a rest day tomorrow, so I’ll focus on the next match.”
His next opponent will be Peru’s Diego Elias, who halted Gregoire Marche of France in four games. The match between Elias and Asal in Cairo was particularly fractious.
Men’s world champion Ali Farag booked his place in the quarter finals, but the Egyptian was tested by World No.19 Raphael Kandra, who took a game off his opponent for the first time since 2016.
Farag held firm to complete an 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 victory which will see him play No.7 seed Marwan ElShorbagy next. ElShorbagy, who lost out to Farag in the CIB PSA World Championships two weeks ago, defeated India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar in straight games.
“El Gouna International is one of the main events of the year. It was Amr Mansi and ievents who kickstarted all the events in Egypt,” said Farag.
“I know we had the Pyramids back in the 90s, but it was backed up by the government; this was the first one that was a privately-run event.
“I was here at the very first one and I’m honoured to have lifted that trophy one time, but it will definitely sound better if I can lift it again.”
Reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini continued her title defence at the El Gouna International as she overcame Belgium’s Nele Gilis in a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Gilis, who came back from two games down in a brutal 75-minute encounter with England’s Lucy Turmel in the previous round, was carrying an injury and her movement around the court was impeded.
That meant she was unable to live with a dominant El Sherbini, with the World No.2 easing into the last eight courtesy of an 11-3, 11-2, 11-3 victory in 23 minutes.
El Sherbini will go up against Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam after the World No.20 defeated Australia’s Donna Lobban at the El Gouna Squash Complex to reach her first PSA World Tour Platinum quarter final.
Subramaniam is also the first female Malaysian to reach the last eight of a major PSA event since the legendary Nicol David in January, 2018.
“I’m trying not to think about any tiredness or anything,” said El Sherbini, who captured her sixth World Championship title a fortnight ago.
“This is a new tournament and a new event, so I’m trying to just focus on this. The rallies get longer in the heat, I try not to get involved in too many long matches and rallies.
“The court is hot and bouncy, so I was trying to keep it short and today, I wanted to finish as quickly as I could and thankfully all my shots went in and it helped me a lot.
“I’ve never played her (Sivasangari Subramaniam) before but she’s very talented and still young. I can’t expect anything, but I’ll do my best to prepare for it.”
British Open champion Hania El Hammamy is also through to the last eight after the World No.3 got the better of Subramaniam’s compatriot, Rachel Arnold, winning 11-5, 11-3, 11-8.
“After the Worlds, we haven’t had much time to move on and recover from disappointment,” El Hammamy said.
“This tournament is a little bit nicer to be able to get through more easily, so I can have more time to relax, move on and be mentally sharp for the next rounds. We’re going to see a response from me this week.”
New Zealand’s Joelle King will be El Hammamy’s opponent in the next round after she defeated USA’s Olivia Fiechter.
2022 El Gouna International, El Gouna, Egypt.
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half):
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (83m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3 (46m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (30m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (50m)
Men’s Quarter Finals (Top Half, May 31):
 Paul Coll (NZL) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Men’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half, June 1):
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Diego Elias (PER)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half):
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (27m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (40m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 (32m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-3 (23m)
Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half, May 31):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)
Women’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half, June 1):
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour