Reigning champion’s solid start
By SEAN REUTHE
Defending champion Nour El Sherbini led fellow Egyptians Nouran Gohar and Nour El Tayeb through to the second round of the Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship after they all rose to wins on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea on day one of the main draw.
El Sherbini, who defeated England’s Laura Massaro in the final of the last instalment of the prestigious tournament, was in dominant form to see off Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett by an 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 margin of victory to set up a meeting with Tesni Evans, who overcame Rachael Grinham on the Australian veteran’s 21st appearance in the tournament.
“I know she wasn’t playing well in the first, but I just wanted to try my shots and try the court with the conditions, the weather and everything,” said El Sherbini.
“Maybe I relaxed a little bit in the third, but I just had to get back to my length.
“I hope it [the Egyptian crowd] helps. I always love to play in Egypt and I love the crowd and everyone coming to support. I hope it’s not going to put pressure on me, I just want to play. It’s just a tournament like any other tournament.”
World No.5 Nouran Gohar bounced back from her shock first round loss at last month’s Allam British Open with a comfortable victory over close friend and fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin.
Gohar, who reached the semi-final stage of this tournament a year ago, fell to 16-year-old Nada Abbas in a huge upset in Hull 12 months after she reached the final of the sport’s oldest tournament.
But she responded with a focused display against World No.23 Shahin, with the hard-hitting 19-year-old completing the win by an 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 margin to ensure she will take on former World No.5 El Tayeb for a place in the quarter-finals after El Tayeb saw off Hania El Hammamy.
“We play the same, hard-hitting game, we know each other’s games really well,” Gohar said.“She is one of my close friends and we’re sharing a room here as well. Mentally, it’s quite difficult to cope with it because we were laughing and talking half an hour before, then you have to play.”
Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David took a step closer to winning the biggest title on the Women’s Tour for a ninth time after she negotiated a tricky encounter with India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik.
While the scoreline looked comfortable, it was far from plain sailing for David as she had to battle hard in both the first and second games to prevent Pallikal from getting onto the scoreboard.
“Dipika hits the ball very well and on this court I felt like my timing was a little out early on and I wasn’t timing my shots,” said David.
“I was opening up the court and allowing her too much time to attack. But I was pleased with how I worked through it to figure out my targets and I really found my groove in the third and felt like I was establishing my game.”
She will be joined in the next round by Hong Kong’s Annie Au – who beat Rowan Elaraby – while Sarah-Jane Perry and Victoria Lust will also meet in round two.
Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship:
First Round (Top Half):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 (25m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (32m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [WC] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (26m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (26m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 (34m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 14-12 (31m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (34m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (28m)
Draw – First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played April 8.
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
Olivia Blatchford (USA) v  Donna Urquhart (AUS)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
Mariam Metwally (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v [Q] Hana Ramadan (EGY)
[Q] Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA)
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
Second Round (Top Half): To Be Played April 9.
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA