Day of shocks in Hong Kong
By SEAN REUTHE
The third day of action at the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open saw two massive shocks take place at Hong Kong Squash Centre as former World No.1s Nicol David and Laura Massaro slumped to respective defeats against England’s Millie Tomlinson and Egypt’s Yathreb Adel in round two of the PSA World Tour Platinum event.
David, an eight-time World Champion, won this tournament 10 times in succession between 2006-2015 – going over 50 matches unbeaten in Hong Kong in the process – but fell victim to an inspired performance from World No.26 Tomlinson, who came back from an 11-0 defeat in the second game to claim arguably the biggest win of her career.
“I’m really happy and it’s probably my biggest win,” said 26-year-old Tomlinson afterwards.
“It’s the first time I’ve won in the second round as well so it’s a really good feeling. I had nothing to lose, she is such a legend and is so used to this court.
“It always helps being the underdog because you can just go out there and enjoy it, there is no pressure on my shoulders.”
Tomlinson will contest her round three match with France’s Camille Serme after the World No.4 dispatched former World No.1 Rachael Grinham 3-0 in just 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Adel will clash with the last remaining female Hong Kong player in the women’s draw – World No.19 Joey Chan – after sending 2015 runner-up Massaro to a surprise defeat on the side courts.
The player from England looked off the pace as Adel played a measured game to build up a 2-0 advantage. There was a resurgence from World No.5 Massaro in the third as the 35-year-old came back to close the gap, but it proved to be in vain as Adel stepped up and dropped just three points in the fourth game to seal a huge victory for the World No.24.
“I had to focus from the first game to the last,” Adel said. “I had to keep it tight all the time and had to go for my shots when I had the opportunity. I’m very glad to be through and hopefully it can be another day, another match and I can take it forward.”
World Champion Raneem El Welily got her tournament under way with a win against World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby and she will take on England’s Victoria Lust in the next round after she defeated Canada’s Hollie Naughton by a 3-1 margin.
World No.8 Nouran Gohar and World No.11 Alison Waters will also go head-to-head for a place in the quarter-finals after they overcame England’s Emily Whitlock and Canada’s Danielle Letourneau, respectively.
Spectators will also have a local player to cheer on in the men’s draw as World No.25 Tsz Fung Yip claimed victory over England’s George Parker in five games to book his place in the third round of this tournament for the first time.
The two players met earlier this season at the U.S. Open, where Parker prevailed by a 3-2 scoreline. However, buoyed by his home crowd, the win went the way of Fung Yip this time around and he will come up against former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the next round.
“It’s always a nice feeling to play in front of your home crowd,” said Fung Yip. “They are very supportive and that gave me an extra boost. I hope to play to my capabilities and perform the way I have practiced [in the next round].”
The men’s Hong Kong No.1 Max Lee came within a whisker of joining his compatriots in round three but fell in five games to World No.7 Miguel Angel Rodriguez after a gripping 79-minute battle.
The pair contested a high-octane match which saw both players entertain the crowd with some incredible feats of athleticism and a number of superb winners. But some gruelling rallies eventually took their toll on Lee as he began to suffer from cramp and he was unable to hold onto an 8-5 lead in the decider as Rodriguez came back to win.
“I’m so happy to go on court and see the crowd today,” said Rodriguez. “That definitely signals the improvement of squash here in Hong Kong. A couple of years ago, squash was a small sport here but thanks to the likes of Max, Yip and Leo [Au] it has grown a lot and I was delighted to play in a full court today. I knew it was going to be tough because he is the local hero and I had experience with Yip a few years ago when I lost 3-2, so I knew it was a tough place to play the Hong Kong guys.”
Elsewhere, 2017 finalist Ali Farag kicked off his title challenge with a 3-0 win over Gregoire Marche to set up a mouthwatering third round clash with World No.12 Diego Elias, who was in red-hot form as he axed India’s Saurav Ghosal in straight games.
Germany’s Simon Rösner and Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller were the other victors in the men’s event and the pair – who are close friends off the court – will do battle for a place in the last eight.
The third round of the Hong Kong Open will take place on Thursday November 22 and play will begin at 12:00 (GMT+8). Matches from the centre court will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open.
Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 (47m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4 (53m)
Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 3-11, 13-11, 11-7 (70m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 16-14, 11-8 (79m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 14-12 (41m)
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-2: 14-12, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9 (79m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 13-11 (35m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
Men’s Third Round (to be played November 22):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Declan James (ENG) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Zahed Salem (EGY) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Diego Elias (PER) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Women’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-0 (20m)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 3-2: 12-10, 0-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 (49m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 11-9 (30m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-1, 11-6 (22m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3 (32m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 15-17, 11-7 (47m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 (34m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-1 (20m)
Women’s Third Round (to be played November 22):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA