Ruthless Nouran Gohar and Amanda Sobhy lead women’s top seeds through in style
By ALAN THATCHER and ELLIE MAWSON
World number ones Paul Coll and Nouran Gohar led the top seeds into the third round of the PSA World Championships Cairo on an entertaining day of squash at the Club S Allegria in Egypt.
Having got used to the open-air court in breezy conditions, play now switches to the new glass court set up at the Egyptian National Museum of Civilization.
Men’s top seed Coll continued his impressive start at the event as he looks to win his first PSA World Championship crown. The 30-year-old was dominant to open up a 2-0 lead against India’s World No.52 Mahesh Mangaonkar as he used his athleticism and well-chosen attacks to dominate.
The Indian put up good resistance in the third game and caused Coll some trouble when he went short, but from 7-9 down Coll rattled off four successive points to close out the match.
In the third round Coll will face Egypt’s world No.8 Mazen Hesham for a place in the quarter-finals. Hesham recorded an 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 victory over compatriot Karim El Hammamy to advance.
Coll said: “I felt a lot more comfortable on court than in the first round. It’s been a good first two rounds for me, coming through unscathed and with two 3-0s which is really good.
“I felt really good on court, just in time to swap courts in the next round! But it’s nice to have the experience of playing outside and I’m sure the conditions are pretty similar.
“It’s great, something that Egypt is very good at is finding new venues all over the country. Indoors, outdoors, they put on a good event. It’s great for the sport to have such spectator backdrops and using the glass courts in the way we can.”
Analysing the work he has put in with coach Rob Owen and looking ahead to the battle with the skilful Hesham, he added: “There’s no chance I’m announcing publicly (what he’s added to his game). I’m just sharpening everything, every shot we’ve been practicing with Rob over the last two years.
“Every time we go for a week we might add a new shot or find something that maybe is ten percent off and we’ll just get it back to 100 per cent. It’s overall a good week, sharpening everything that has got us to the top and just trying to keep it there.”
There will be a clash of recent world champions in round three as Egyptians Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad go head to head for a place in the last eight.
The former world No.1 ElShorbagy, who defeated younger brother Marwan to lift the title in 2017, was in confident form as he dominated throughout against Colombia’s Juan Camilo Vargas to secure his place in the last 16.
ElShorbagy, who has been training alongside Vargas with Gregory Gaultier, revealed: “I’ve known him for a very long time. He and his group from Trinity College, that generation, I used to stay with them and train with them between tournaments. They always welcomed me and were always nice to me and it’s nice to see him playing.
“I know it’s his first time on SQUASHTV and his first time on the big stage. It can take you by surprise and it takes experience to do that.
“To have someone after Miguel [Rodriguez] as well is very important for his country. I really hope he pushes through and keeps improving and moves to the next level.
“I’m sure I’m going to see him again playing these big stages in the future.”
Looking ahead to moving to another new venue, he added: “I’m really excited to go to the museum to be honest. It’s an amazing venue, very unique and I can’t wait to get back there tomorrow and see the venue and have a practice.
“Honestly, I think in 10-20 years no-one is going to know that we switched from court to court. We’ll only know who won the tournament. So, I think for anyone to win this event, they can’t have excuses.
“Obviously, the top players to get (to play on the Museum Court first) is an advantage, but at the same time I had to go through that myself to go up the rankings.”
Gawad, meanwhile, got his revenge on France’s Victor Crouin to safely move through to the third round. The two players faced each other just last week when Crouin secured another big victory at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York. However, Gawad made sure he was not on the receiving end of another upset this time around as he was at his best to win 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.
On the traditional courts, recent Manchester Open winner Joel Makin once again showed his consistency as he eased past France’s Lucas Serme 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 in 45 minutes on court two to secure a round three berth.
Meeting him in the last 16 will be 2019 World Champion Tarek Momen after he was pushed hard by USA’s Faraz Khan, eventually prevailing 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 50 minutes.
“You’ve got to accept that it’s not going to be a lot of fun for the first 30-45 minutes, take your punishment and accept he’s going to hit some unbelievable stuff,” said Makin on facing Momen in the next round.
“I can get into him physically and start to ask him a few questions, work him hard and wait for those errors to come because he’s always got them in him.”
The other men’s match in the top half of the draw will see recent Canary Wharf champion Fares Dessouky take on France’s Gregoire Marche for only the third time in their careers as they were both put through tough battles to reach the last 16.
Dessouky came out on top in a fiery encounter with Englishman George Parker as tensions boiled over between the two players.
It had been a tight and entertaining battle until a controversial decision in the fourth caused Parker to lose his focus and Dessouky was able to take full advantage.
Meanwhile, Marche was forced to hold off a comeback from India’s Ramit Tandon as he showed his resilience to prevail in four games.
In the women’s draw, there were no problems for World No.1 Gohar as she powered her way past compatriot Farida Mohamed and into the third round of the sport’s biggest tournament.
The 24-year-old Cairo-native put in a typically brutal performance from minute one, with her power hitting consistently troubling the 20-year-old World No.19, who struggled to construct rallies throughout.
“I had to play my A Game today to do it in three,” said Gohar. “Last time against her, it was a very tough battle, so that’s what we call learning lessons and definitely I learned from this one.
“I was really looking forward to the World Championships from the beginning of the year, it was definitely a goal. I’m not trying to think about it right now.
“Any match I play on the court, I want to win it, it doesn’t matter if it’s in the World Championship or in a practice match, I just try to focus on the game and do my best.”
Wales’ Tesni Evans will face Gohar at the National Museum of Civilization after her opponent, France’s Coline Aumard, was forced to retire after the second game due to injury.
Also on the glass court, USA’s World No.4 Amanda Sobhy showed no signs of slowing down her charge in Egypt as she comfortably put South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller to the sword in just 22 minutes.
Waiting for Sobhy in the third round will be Belgium’s Nele Gilis as she was also in top form to expertly despatch Scotland’s Lisa Aitken by an 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 margin.
“Me and Nele are best friends,” said Sobhy. “We haven’t played each other in a while, and I know it’s going to be a fair battle. I think we’re both excited to be at the museum. It’s going to feel like a totally different tournament which is kind of nice to break things up.”
New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King will take on Egypt’s Nada Abbas after they beat Egypt’s Yathreb Adel and USA’s Olivia Clyne on the traditional courts at the Club S Allegria.
Egypt’s World No.8 Rowan Elaraby face India’s Joshna Chinappa after 3-0 wins earlier in the day over Egypt’s Hana Ramadan and Wales’ Emily Whitlock.
Round two of the PSA World Championships Cairo continues today (May 16) and play starts at 2pm local time (GMT+2). Action from the glass court will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV, while the side court matches will be shown live on the PSA SQUASHTV YouTube channel.
PSA World Championships, Club S Allegria, Cairo, Egypt.
Men’s Round Two (top half):
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 (36m)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (40m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (45m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 3-1: 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 (50m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (50m)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-1: 15-13, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (66m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (37m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (27m)
Women’s Round Two (top half):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (27m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-2 retired (19m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt  Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 (37m)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt  Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (33m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-9 (28m)
 Nada Abbas (EGY) bt  Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 3-0 retired (13m)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (41m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 (22m)
Men’s Round Two (bottom half, May 16):
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Todd Harrity (USA) v  Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Youssef Soliman (EGY) v [WC] Yassin Elshafei
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v  Diego Elias (PER)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Henry Leung (HKG)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Women’s Round Two (bottom half, May 16):
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [I] Satomi Watanabe (JPN)
 Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v  Georgina Kennedy (ENG)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) v  Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Melissa Alves (FRA)
 Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v  Olivia Fiechter (USA)
 Hollie Naughton (CAN) v  Tinne Gilis (BEL)
[WC] Kenzy Ayman (EGY) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Men’s Round Three (top half, May 17):
 Paul Coll (NZL) v  Mazen Hesham (EGY)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Women’s Round Three (top half, May 17):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v  Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour