By ALAN THATCHER and SEAN REUTHE
Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng claimed another major scalp with an epic 3-2 victory over Colombia’s World No.11 Miguel Rodriguez to reach his maiden PSA World Tour Platinum quarter-final at the CIB Egyptian Open.
The two players met last month at the Allam British Open when Rodriguez claimed a brutal 101-minute win. However, this time it was Eain Yow who clinched victory 12-10 in the fifth game after 81 minutes of enthralling squash.
The previous day, the 23-year-old claimed a huge upset over World No.8 Mostafa Asal. He backed that up in thrilling style as he saved two match balls to squeeze past Rodriguez to set up a quarter-final showdown with top seed and training partner Mohamed ElShorbagy on the glass court in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
“About three weeks ago, we played at the British Open and we had a massive match and at the end of the fourth, I fully cramped,” said World No.18 Eain Yow.
“Today I was thinking, it’s the same and there was a bit of that fear at the start. I just told myself ‘Play your game, be confident’ and I started to do just that.
“People who know me, my team, they know how hard I’ve been working over the last few years. Coming from winning the World Juniors, I wasn’t coming up as fast as I wanted to and the people close to me know how bad I was struggling with that.
“After being away from my family for a whole year in Bristol, it’s starting to pay off. The two ElShorbagy brothers toughen me up, and the reward is to play Mohamed in the next round.”
ElShorbagy made his way into the quarter finals after an 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 victory over compatriot Karim El Hammamy as squash made its return in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
World No.2 ElShorbagy ensured he got off to a good start on the glass court, on his first appearance in front of the Pyramids since 2016, as he overcame a resilient El Hammamy to progress.
“It’s an honour to be back here playing in front of the Pyramids and in front of an Egyptian crowd,” said ElShorbagy. “It’s never easy to be back playing in Egypt because there is so much pressure, but I feel blessed every time I can go on court and perform.
“I’m playing Yow in the quarters, he’s like a younger brother to me. We live in Bristol and I’m really happy for him to be in the quarters. It’s our second meeting, we practice a lot in Bristol, but I think our match in two days will be a bit different.”
Egypt’s former world champion Tarek Momen put on an imperious display on the glass court as he eased past Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu to reach the last eight.
Momen, who finished runner-up to Ali Farag at this event last year, laid down the gauntlet to show he was a contender for the title once again as he was at his accurate best to defeat Pajares 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 in 27 minutes.
The World No.4 will face compatriot Zahed Salem for a place in the semi-finals. Salem came from a game down to defeat USA’s World No.45 Shahjahan Khan on the traditional courts at the New Giza Sporting Club earlier in the day.
Momen said: “Today, I think I did pretty well throughout the whole match. I wanted to start a little bit sharper than yesterday. I played well yesterday but I just didn’t start well, so I wanted to flip that. I’m very happy with the way I managed to keep my errors at a low rate and am pleased to get through in three games.
“I’m playing Zahed next. He is a good friend of mine and is a really good player. He hasn’t been playing for a while. He hasn’t been able to travel, so it’s good for him to come here after such a long break and make it to the quarters.”
Women’s world No.1 Nour El Sherbini continued her title defence in front of the Pyramids as she overcame Canada’s World No.20 Danielle Letourneau in straight games.
The world champion, who has won two titles in front of the Pyramids in her career already, was put under pressure in the early stages as Letourneau brought the challenge to the home favourite to find herself two game balls up.
However, nerves appeared to get the better of the Canadian as errors began to creep into her game. El Sherbini eventually sneaked the first game, raised her game to a more consistent level, and powered home 12-10, 11-5, 11-3.
“It’s a tournament that every player dreams to play and it’s one of the iconic venues,” said El Sherbini. “It’s really great to come back, I have a lot of great memories here and I’m glad to be here again.
“Danielle is a really good player. The first game was very tight and I’m glad I got it at the end. I think that made a huge difference in the match. I’m really glad I went through.”
El Sherbini will now face compatriot Farida Mohamed, who defeated England’s Lucy Turmel to reach her maiden PSA World Tour Platinum quarter final.
The world No.34 claimed a huge victory over world No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry for the second year in a row and Mohamed ensured she maintained that form to overcome a determined Turmel 12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8.
Mohamed said: “Lucy played really well. She was fighting till the end. She had game ball in the first game, and she won the second, so it wasn’t easy at all. Her physicality is amazing, and she plays really great length, so it’s very tough to move her out.
“It’s my first Platinum quarters and first time at the Pyramids. I really wanted to play there, and against Nour, I hope it will be a better match than last time I played against her.”
The other quarter final in the top half of the women’s draw will see France’s world No.4 Camille Serme face Egypt’s world No.10 Rowan Elaraby after they claimed wins over Scotland’s Lisa Aitken and England’s Jasmine Hutton respectively.
Serme has been struggling with injury in recent weeks after she was forced to withdraw from the Allam British Open and the Frenchwoman suffered from a sluggish start in front of the Pyramids in Egypt as Aitken began strongly.
The Scot took the first game as Serme took time to cement her physicality on the match before eventually taking a 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 win.
Serme said: “To be honest with injury, I haven’t been able to train properly. I haven’t played a proper match since Chicago, so I needed to find my targets again, even my rhythm and footwork. I knew Lisa could be tricky and a very difficult opponent. She has been playing well.”
Elaraby has also been struggling with injury since the British Open, but she looked to have put that behind her as she overcame world No.43 Hutton 11-6, 11-2, 11-7.
“I have been struggling with my body since Manchester,” admitted Elaraby. “It’s not the best timing, and I have been struggling with my movement for three events now. I try to be on court, mentally more than physically. It’s the challenge now.
“At 10-2, I just felt a pinch in my leg, and it just worried me. My mind went blank. I had to regroup and thankfully I got it back,.I don’t know how I would have reacted had I lost that game, to be honest.”
Round three of the CIB Egyptian Open continues today at 12:45 (GMT+2). Action from the New Giza Sporting Club will be shown live on the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour and the PSA SQUASHTV YouTube Channel.
Glass court action from the Great Pyramid of Giza will begin at 18:15 (GMT+2) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
CIB Egyptian Open 2021, Great Pyramids Of Giza, Giza, Egypt (men’s and women’s platinum event with $295,000 prize money in each draw).
Men’s Round Three (Top Half):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (50m)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10 (81m)
Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-1: 11-13, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7 (42m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 (27m)
Men’s Round Three (Bottom Half, September 13):
 Paul Coll (NZL) v [9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Ramit Tandon (IND) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Men’s Quarter Finals (Top Half, September 14):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [9/16] Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
[9/16] Zahed Salem (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Women’s Round Three (Top Half):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (27m)
Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 (26m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 (52m)
Women’s Round Three (Bottom Half, September 13):
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [9/16] Olivia Clyne (USA)
Jana Shiha (EGY) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [9/16] Nele Gilis (BEL)
Nada Abbas (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half, September 14th);
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Farida Mohamed (EGY)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
Pictures courtesy of PSA